Coffee and Conversation: Subtle Discrimination

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while. It’s time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

This post is a part of Rose B. Fischer‘s Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge. It is my response to Question #17:

Have you experienced discrimination because of disabilities? Discrimination comes in many forms, from refusal to employ or accommodate a person with a disability to treating that person with disrespect because of it.

Before I was married my husband, I was engaged to a man named Tim, who died of cystic fibrosis in 1995, at age 32. Too often, I watched others treat him differently, because of his disability. Discrimination isn’t always outright and a clear violation of someone’s rights. It can be subtle, a matter of attitude and treatment in smaller, less obvious ways.

I myself was guilty. Our first date was a year before our second. Although I liked Tim, I chose not to continue seeing him, because he was sick – seriously sick, in a way that would lead to death. I was afraid of that, and so I hid from any relationship we might have had. We only had a second date because I happened to run into the mutual friend who had introduced us, and she mentioned having seen me. Tim called me the next week, and, while he was talking about his involvement with a support group for adults with cystic fibrosis (no so long ago, people with CF always died in childhood), something clicked inside of me, and I told him, “I’d go with you, if you wanted.”

During our time together, I observed assorted forms of mild discrimination against Tim, such as:

  • Staring.
  • Treating him as though he were contagious or untouchable.

These might seem insignificant, but they bothered him enough that he became something of a hermit for the first year or two after his diagnosis, seldom leaving his apartment.

Sadly, the ways in which my own family discriminated against Tim were more serious, because they affected our relationship directly.

  • My mother never made a secret about wanting grandchildren. Most men with CF are rendered sterile by the rigors of the condition. There were measures that could be taken, but no guarantee they would work, and so, in accepting Tim’s proposal, I accepted the distinct possibility of a childless life – and my mother resented that openly.
  • I asked my sister to be in our wedding party, and she refused, because she didn’t think my marrying Tim was ‘a good idea’, because he had a life-threatening condition.
  • It wasn’t easy for Tim to get up, once he was sitting. I was happy to bring things to him, but, if I was at any distance, his weakening voice didn’t carry well, and raising it made him breathless. At some point, we realized that whistling was easier for him, and an effective way to cut through the normal sounds of conversation. I could hear it even at a distance. Again, though, my family objected to this adaptive measure, characterizing it as ‘whistling for you like you’re a dog’, and resented my going to him when he did. The things she said about it made it seem ugly, when it was truly an elegant solution we had both agreed upon.

There was even a case of discrimination by Tim’s own mother, who, after his death, left me a card with a message that said that Tim had needed ‘someone to look after him’, and she was glad that I was ‘willing’.

But it wasn’t like that. I wasn’t just ‘looking after’ Tim, and I wasn’t just ‘someone.’

I loved him. Fiercely, and without reservation. I all but lived with him in the hospital. Our relationship was rich, passionate (we had ways of adapting there, too!), deeply layered and textured. He wanted to be my husband, and I his wife, and, although we didn’t make it to that point, we lived, for those months, as though it was true in fact as well as in our souls. I wasn’t ‘someone’ – I was his lifepartner. I was the one who held him as he died. I was the one who lived with him, and loved him.

Tim’s disabilities were a part of every breath he took, every minute we spent together. But they weren’t him. He was a person. A man. The man I loved.

It will be twenty years next April since Tim died- and yet, he’s still a part of me, still with me in ways too deep to analyze. But the most important thing I gained from loving him was the certainty that every person with a disability is wholly a person – with the same needs, hopes, and dreams for personal connection, for being seen and valued as they are, as ALL of who they are, as any of us. That’s something of great value to me, and something I hope I have been able to instill in my own children.

People are people. No one IS their disability. It may affect them in every area of their lives – but it makes them no less human. To imply that it does, to act as though it does, is to cheat everyone – the person already contending with the obstacles of the disability, and the person who won’t ever get to truly know that person, because the label and the condition are all they can see.

Have you experienced subtle discrimination, against yourself or a loved one?  Would you like to join in the challenge? Join the conversation; I’ll pull up a chair and supply the refreshments.

Medical Oxygen by Twang Photography, on Flickr Creative Commons license.

A Time-Traveling Stretch: ROW80 Update, 8/18/14

The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life!

So, what were you up to, last weekend? The kids and I traveled to the Finger Lakes Region, and through time, and spent a lovely afternoon at the Sterling Renaissance Festival. We’d been once before, a few years back, but they’re older now, old enough even to go off by themselves some – even to the maze that terrified Lise the last time we attempted it.

So, while I made excellent progress on several goals; things got a little backed up on Saturday, which was a long and strenuous day, and I didn’t get either of my Sunday posts done yesterday. I’m catching up, but there’s further to go before I return to an even keel.

Sometimes life is like that.

The pictures are a bit of time-traveling, too. I do have new pictures – on my camera…these are from our first visit, in 2010.

I have lots of ideas churning, still – and still not quite ready to be born. There will be things written, but not in this post.

Here’s what I’ve been up to, besides time- traveling, that is…=)

August Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Chameleon’s Dish Revision

  • Social Media/Blog Design

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. Target attained for posting; nothing queued as yet.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. Target attained!

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed. Target attained for this session!

  • August 13: 791 words.

  • August 14: 913 words.

  • August 15: 937 words.

  • August 16: 850 words.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

Revise all plot points by September 1. On target.

  • Still on plot point 2/10; Scene 10/60.

  • This is a resolution scene; I’m taking my time with it, and it’s much improved with one pass left to make.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset. On target.

  • More porch decluttering.

Clean out email files. On target.

  • Got rid of another sheaf of messages.

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • Much more decluttering, a little beautifying.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment Daily Writing Frames for the rest of the year. On target; goal changed.

  • I’m adapting my daily flow to accommodate my current goals and life rhythm.

Use Daily Hometending Frames; adapt to suit shifting goals and circumstances as needed. On target; goal changed.

  • I’m liking the plan as it stands, for the moment. I’m making big progress in small sprints; and that’s making a difference in several areas of the house.

Set aside several sessions weekly for Adminstrative Frames, shifting according to goals and circumstances. On target; attention given intermittently, but weekly.

  • Going well enough. Right now, I have a LOT of administration; so I’m digging through it.

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting. Tis the season for major homeschool administration, so here it is.

Complete Jeremiah’s PASS test and submit results when received.On target.

  • Reading section complete.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect. Target attained!

  • Reconnected with my friend Jen Tilottson. I hadn’t seen her since my wedding almost 17 years ago! =D

  • I’ve got messages and tentative plans with others, as well.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Plan a monthly family excursion that involves physical activity. Target attained!

  • The kids and I attended Sterling Renaissance Festival. The festival is permanent, and built on a steep hill. Lots of walking up and down translates to lots of physical activity.

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Not quite.

  • 4/5; 2 of each.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target exceeded!

  • 3-4 Greek yogurts; lots of almonds; pumpkin seeds.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “2”s every session. On target.

  • Yup.

ROW with us through writing and time!

Second-Serving Sunday (On Monday): Time Traveler’s Edition

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, in my little corner of the blogosphere

Time-traveling girl on a war horse…

 

Have you ever time traveled?

It’s definitely been a time-travel kind of week for me. It began with the news of two deaths, and much contemplation and remembrance of the treasures that remain after the passing of the lives that offered them. And then there was:

  • Traveling to the Globe Theatre on 29 June 1613, with characters who are contemplating traveling to the far-distant future, as I revise my fantasy novel, Chameleon’s Dish.
  • Traveling into the future, and, at the same time, Spock‘s past, while drafting my fan fiction duology novel of his childhood, Perchance to Dream.
  • A Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday post with the theme ‘time’…
  • And then, at week’s end, a visit to the Sterling Renaissance Festival, to explore a fanciful, somewhat anachronistic sojourn into Europe’s past, and my own, as I got the chance to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen since my wedding almost 17 years ago!

I’m tired – that was, after all, a LOT of time traveling for one week! I have new pictures on my camera; but I’m going to share images from the last time we attended the festival, five years ago, when the kids were much smaller people than they are today.

Portrait of a plaited war horse.

Recently at shanjeniah:

Welcome to My Sunday Summary August 10, 2014: A change of Sunday focus; writing, revision, Shakespeare, a peek into my plans, Gretchen Wing celebrates 20-somethings; Eileen Anderson explores ways to know if your dog is enjoying your petting; and this video debunking some misconceptions about pit bulls.

Coffee and Conversation:

WIPpet Wednesday:

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

ROW80 Updates:

  • A Huge Stretch: In which I go way outside my comfort zone, in several ways – oh, and do some writing, too.
  • A Diffused Stretch: In which I allow deep feelings to be as they are, and writing, revising, and hometending ensue.

Ready to ride the Crow’s Nest!

What’s Next:

My focus for August and September is on revising my time-travel fantasy novel, Chameleon’s Dish, set in the 1612-13 London area. I’m also drafting another WIP, Perchance to Dream, a Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel,which is the second half of a duology, And then there’s the ever-present homeschool administration – ’tis the season for masses of reporting and testing requirements.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

T’Pol is not a fan of time travel, or smoking, either, for that matter. Doing things that the Vulcan Science Directorate has determined impossible makes her a little tense…

300 foot giant slide, and one happy slider!

Life Stuff:

  • More writing and revising, more homeschool testing, even more decluttering and hometending…and some important conversations.
  • Annalise and I went to a diner late at night- something she’s been wanting to do for a long time. It was delightful!
  • I completed my blogpost for the World Sexual Health Day writing contest, hung out with an old friend, got a great workout, and time-traveled.

What’s been going on with you lately? Got any plans for the coming week?

Compunded loveliness! =)

SoCS: Terran Time in a Vulcan Life

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

Rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that uses time as its theme.

I’m in a bit more of a hurry than I usually am. The kids and I are off on a time-traveling adventure a bit later in the day; I’ve got just a couple hours in which to catch a nap before we set out for the

Sterling Rennaisance Festival. It’s the last weekend of the season, so we are seizing the day, and I’m even going to get to see a friend I haven’t seen since my wedding day nearly 17 years ago!

Rather than deal with real life time-shocks, I’m playing with fan fiction, this week. Disclaimer: Yes, Paramount owns them, and I play with them, for love, not money. Enjoy!

We said nothing else to one another, until we reached the courtyard of Sarek’s home. My time sense was still unreliable; but a glance at the sky showed that Eridani 40 was nearly a sunlength above the horizon, and I could feel that my skin was beginning to tighten with the exposure to even this weak sunlight.

“I will prepare the morning meal, Sarek.” I stepped aside, as a guest, and allowed him to pass and open the gate. An eyebrow lifted slightly, but he did not look at me; I had not yet given him leave to do so, I realized.

“There is no need, my son. Your mother left the servitor fully programmed; you will find your preferences well represented, and I am capable of making my own selections.” There was an assumption in his words; one I knew I must address at once, before it became the nature of this interaction.

“It is traditional for an adult guest in another’s home to prepare the morning repast, Sarek. You honor me by allowing me to fulfill that tradition while I shelter in your home.”

The silence stretched out, to the persistent meter of Mother’s floor chronometer, which had also a Terran name, ‘grandmother clock’. When I was small, I had asked Mother to translate the name, and she had given an explanation that sprang to new life in my dreams, but offered little in the way of factual knowledge. However, the stories she had told me – Earth stories, stories of humans being human upon a human world – were all bound up somehow in the omnipresent ticking of the Terran clock, the gentle measured swaying of its pendulum behind etched glass. It was a human invention, and yet it soothed something within me that I knew was Vulcan, in some way that I could not define.

“This is your home, Spock.” I was surprised almost to the point of turning to look directly at him. There had been a strong shading of emotion in the words. I resisted it with the three deep breaths, with concentration on the tick-tocking (a sound-name Mother had given; far too imprecise to describe the layers and textures I heard in the mechanical workings). I did not hasten to answer – that was the human way, and Sarek was Vulcan. But I possessed human impulses that could not be erased, and so I must do something while I was not saying the words that seemed to burn within me, demanding freedom. I set my bag upon the bench beside the inner door, and propped my lyre against it.

“It is not, Sarek.” I attempted to keep each word neutral, but, once they had voice, they emerged in a challenge. I moved to the kitchen in the ensuing silence, and passed my hands under the sanitizing sonics before going out through the sunroom to see what was ready for harvest in the small but prolific kitchen garden.

I was gone as long as I could safely be, and remain protected by the cowl of my robe. I had no desire to return to the house, but, logically, I must, both for safety and to secure the needed permission to travel.

Sarek had settled himself in the sunroom, with a small stack of datapads. He said nothing as I entered; nor did I. Mother had never understood the long silences between us; were she here, she would certainly have attempted to engage us in conversation with one another, and, when that failed, as it must, she would fill the time with her own talk, much in the way that Doctor Phlox did. But I found no logic whatever in speaking when there was nothing I wished to say. Better to absorb myself in the cleaning of vegetables and herbs, the small preparations – Mother had indeed seen well to the matter of nourishment – and to the familiar, soothing lull of the grandmother clock, measuring time as though it was still on Terra, and not on Vulcan. Mother had said that it made her happy to know that she could still know what time it was at her mother’s home, just by looking at the clock.

I prepared the meal without speaking; Sarek did not look up from his reading. He set it aside when I brought the tray laden with leaf and root vegetables, kivasberries, kevlas toast with marmalade, and tea. Clearly, he expected me to sit and share the meal; but I felt the urgent passing of time, held in the sounds of Mother’s clock, calling me home, to Earth, a place I had never been. I breathed deeply, and came to the table again, bearing a pitcher of water and two clay drinking bowls that had been made on Earth, from earth. I placed them carefully to one side, and then I sat to eat, angled so that Father needed to turn to pin me with his regard. I sipped my tea as though I didn’t know he watched, and counted the measures of the clock.

Do you enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Anyone can play, so long as they are willing to follow a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

Join in or read more SoCS posts here!

The Anti-Bully

shanjeniah:

I haven’t reblogged anything for months – but this… I need to share this, and help it to spread across the world!

Originally posted on joeyfullystated:

Years ago, when the girls were in first and second grade, we sat in the food court of the PX (Post Exchange) and Sassy said she wanted to go get a drink refill, but she wanted to wait til this other kid wasn’t over there. I asked her why she didn’t want to be around him, and she told me, “That’s Eric. No one likes him.”
“Why not?”
“Cause he’s so weird. He’s always roaming around the classroom, talkin to himself. He wears these patch things on his arm and they’re supposed to help him sit down and be quiet, but they don’t work.”

kindness1

How I felt was monumentally affected. Sad for Eric is an understatement. Sad for his parents, too. Grievous might be the better word.
“Sassy. That could be a little version of your brother over there. He had the same troubles as Eric, only he didn’t roam…

View original 509 more words

A Diffused Stretch: ROW80 Update, 8/13/14

The writing challenge that knows you have a life!


Have you ever felt like there was so much welling up from deep inside you that it had to come pouring out – but, at the same time, these richly layered thoughts and feelings exist beneath the level of language?

That’s where I am today – achurn with things I can’t begin to express in words.

Instead, I’m letting the videos in this post speak for me, express some of what’s going one beneath my surfaces.I’ll save my words for the actual goal update, WIPs, and comments, for now.

Are there any images or videos that say things for you that you can’t express yourself?  I’d love to see them! If you care to share, post up a link in the comments (keep it family-friendly, please!).

August Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Chameleon’s Dish Revision

  • Social Media/Blog Design

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan.

Get the Kristen Lamb social media wizardry ball rolling. On target.

  • I began a list of issues I would like to address. It’s raw, and not complete, and it’s a beginning.

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. On target for posting; nothing queued as yet.

  • I have a list of snippets and ideas for queuing; the next step is to begin to develop them.

  • I’m thinking I need to adapt the queuing part of this goal; more on that later…

Develop a sharing strategy that feels natural; incorporating input from Kristen. On target for sharing; no input from Kristen as yet.

  • I’ve got ideas for wider sharing; and will be implementing them organically in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for progress…

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. Target attained!

  • I’ve got diversification ideas; again, I’ll be implementing these organically.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed. Target exceeded!

  • August 10: 759 words.

  • August 11: 776 words.

  • August 12: 901 words.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

Revise all plot points by September 1. On target.

  • I’m still on plot point 2/10; scene 10/60.

  • I was stuck, and feeling detached from this scene. I took Sunday and much of Tuesday off, then reread what I had revised – and now I think I see how the scene is meant to play out.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset. On target.

  • Continued with the porch/playroom cleanout; significant progress made.

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • I’m sorting through bins and bags of small stuff that have been waiting in the middle of the floor for an embarrassingly long time…

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1. On target.

  • Refining this; a goal change on Sunday.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

  • Going well; progress being made.

Set aside time weekly for administrative stuff (Adminsitrative Frames, maybe?) On target.

  • Again; a change of goal coming on Sunday.

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting.

Complete Jeremiah’s PASS test and submit results when received. On target.

  • Jeremiah began the Reading section.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect. Target attained!

  • Next up; planning and executing!

Indulge in days with both children, at least one date with Jim, and one with myself. On target.

  • Annalise has been wanting to go to a diner late at night; a local diner’s birthday celebration offered us a perfect opportunity, which we took.

  • Jim and I have plans for a lunch date next week! We haven’t had a date in years! <3

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Plan a monthly family excursion that involves physical activity. On target.

  • The children and I are planning on attending a Renaissance Festival this weekend. Lots of walking involved! =)

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

  • I had a pleasingly vigorous workout.

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program. On target.

  • .75 mile in just under 16 minutes.
  • I took a few brief breaks, and lowered the resistance. Once I make the time and distance, I’ll start increasing those.

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program. On target.

  • 7.09 miles in 30 minutes, with manual intervals.
  • Again, I lowered the resistance; will increase once time/distance goal is met.

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly. Target exceeded!

  • Arms: 4; Legs: 5: Torso: 3.
  • Increased weights on several machines.

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. On target.

  • 2/5: 1 of each.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. On target.

  • Yogurt:1 /2; Nuts: 0/2.

Weight goal for August:

Maintain or reduce weight measured at beginning of the round. Target exceeded!

  • My weight was down 3.5 pounds. Some of it was likely being sick; but I feel that my nutrition and fitness goals played a role.
  • Goal change coming Sunday.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “2”s every session. Target attained!

Read more ROW; or, better yet, join in! =D  Carpe Diem!

WIPpet Wednesday: The Happiest Human on Rigel 10

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

I don’t have much to say today, except that I’m in a pondering place, with thoughts and images and emotions aswirl, sunlight and shadows blending, and deep things happening…maybe I’ll have more to say next week.

Until then, here’s another snippet from The IDIC Romance, my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip. I’ll be sharing the remainder of this story, and a Twitter fiction, before we give Trip and T’Pol some much-needed privacy.

Disclaimer: T’Pol, Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered throughout the month. The stories are sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices.

For those keeping track:

This is the sixth installment of Story #4, “Tigress T’Pol” . The prompt was to write a story of exactly 2000 words. An additional guest prompt from Heidi Durrow invited us to explore passion in this story.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is August 13, 2014.
  • 22 sentences (8+13, for the day and month, for 21, and then adding the one from the year for a total of 22.)

This snippet follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, Let’s be Friends. Trip and T’Pol, imprisoned together, are navigating the turbulent space of human-Vulcan communication when- well, they encounter a different kind of turbulence…

This is an add-on scene for the pilot episode: “Broken Bow Part 1”. Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

 

“At least look at me when you lie to me, or can’t you lie to my face like other Vulcans?” Damn, that came out like I was angry with her; could she tell the difference between anger and frustration – would she even care? I put a hand on her shoulder, hoping to get her to turn to me and tell me why she thought she needed to hide from whatever this was between us.

T’Pol surged up, spinning, grabbing a double handful of my jumpsuit, and damned near yanked me clear off the floor before I realize she was moving. She shoved me across the cell, slamming my back against the wall, her eyes glazed and unblinking. She leaned in close, and there was something raw and dangerous in her voice, almost a growl. “Indulging my – interest – in you, and in human entertainments, was a foolish mistake.”

I didn’t answer – hell, I was trying not to breathe, remembering the way she’d touched those Suliban with a single hand, and they’d dropped instantly. What was that she’d said about mastering powerful emotions? What was she planning to do to me? Had that blow to the head, or my badgering, gotten under that thick Vulcan hide of hers, and snapped her control?

I didn’t get to find out. T’Pol gasped, and her hold shifted to clutching as her knees buckled underneath her. I got my arms around her fast, and pulled her close to keep her from falling. She was staring at me the same way she had that night at Fusion. Her lips parted, and a soft sighing sound came from them, and I thought she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. And then, somehow, I was kissing her, her mouth first still and soft against mine, her eyes wide with surprise- and then she was kissing me back, first tentatively, then almost aggressively, nipping and darting out her tongue.

Her mouth was hot, and she tasted of exotic, spicy things I didn’t have names for…she tasted and kissed like no one I’d ever been with, and her eyes stayed open, holding my gaze so that I couldn’t close my own. She caught my head forcefully with one hand, fingers tangling into my hair, and pressed her hot quivering body tightly against me – no way in hell to hide the effect she was having on me now. But T’Pol groaned – a soft, hungry, almost animal sound, and seemed to be trying to wriggle even closer. I inhaled the scent that wafted up from her – smoky, citrusy, and wild – damn, how could she smell so good after hours on this gritty planet?

For a minute or two, I was the happiest human on Rigel 10. I was kissing T’Pol the way I’d wanted to since the first time I saw her, and she was kissing me back with absolute abandon, as if she’d been starved for this.

 

Where will this kiss lead? Should we be averting our eyes? Is Trip about to satisfy his curiosity about Vulcan mating protocols? Is either one of them thinking about escaping, or their mission? Why does T’Pol smell so good?

You guessed it – you can watch the episode, or come back next week for another WIPpet snippet!

Story A Day excerpt and commentary…

Full original version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project I’ll be expanding in 2015, so your input is always valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun… for the most part. ;)

 

 

Coffee and Conversation: Zucchinis + Condoms = Sexual Empowerment

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while. It’s time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

How did you learn about sex? If you’re a parent, how did you approach it with your own children?

One day last summer, one of my kids asked a question about how condoms work. They were 9 and almost 12.

We’ve never had “the sex talk” with either of our children. We’ve always talked about sex in the same way we do other aspects of life, like eating, toilet learning, and safety in various situations. They’ve known the proper names for their sexual organs since they could understand language, and known “how babies are made” for almost that long. My copy of Conception, Pregnancy, and Childbirth lived on the same shelves with their own books, from the point where they were no longer likely to try to eat it or tear the pages.

When the “condom question” arose, they knew both how the mechanics of sex work, and that condoms are intended to prevent both pregnancy and disease.

When I was 13, my best friend slept over, and, during our late-night conversation, the topic of condoms, and whether our parents had any, arose.

I had very little idea what a condom was – I’d never seen one. I was all but clueless about sexuality – I had many questions, but my parents were not open about sexuality, and I didn’t dare ask them, for fear of the consequences. The double standard was a part of my life, and always had been. I was taught that “good girls” didn’t “do it” until they were married.”Protecting my virtue” was the objective, so that I would be the ultimate “good girl”, one day – a virginal bride “entitled” to wear white.

Seeing to it that I was prepared to conduct my sexual life safely and from a place of personal empowerment was not a part of the equation.

Photo by Glenn, shared with a Creative Commons license, via Flickr.

 

When my own children were curious about how condoms worked, decades later, my response was colored by the condom incident from my own childhood. Rather than ignore or set aside the question, we looked in the refrigerator, and found three zucchini. I brought out a package of condoms, and opened one so that they could see what it looked and smelled like, while it was still in the package.

I showed them how to apply the condom to the zucchini, and then they experimented with their own for about ten minutes. Here’s a brief list of what we talked about:

  • The purpose of condoms in pregnancy and disease prevention, and other methods of birth control.
  • The purpose of spermicides, quantity of sperm in an ejaculation, and the possibility of sperm in the pre-ejaculate, and how long sperm can live, and how only one sperm to fertilize an egg.
  • How to use the reservoir, make certain the condom is applied and removed properly, and using a fresh condom each time.
  • One of the condoms broke at the retention ring. We talked about what to do if a condom broke, and that they can fail, and that some substances or time can degrade them.

German condom ad. Photo by Jeramey Jannene, shared with Creative Commons license, via Flickr.

 

Once they were done exploring with the zucchini, they asked if they could use the rest of the condoms as water balloons (because they were 9 and 11!), and experimented with how much water they could get into them before they ruptured.

The experience was worth far more than the time spent in exploration, or the price of a few condoms and three zucchini. A question was asked, and, rather than brushing it aside, I answered in a way that they could understand. My daughter knows, now, what a condom looks and smells like; she’ll be harder to fool should any guy in her future attempt it. My son has some idea of how condoms work, so, when he is ready to be sexually active, he won’t need to feel clueless and fumbling on the condom front.

But it goes deeper than that.

My own mother overheard that condom late-night chat between my friend and I – and she responded by humiliating and punishing me in front of my friend. She told me that I should be ashamed of myself for even wondering about such a thing, and that I had a “dirty mind”.

After that, I knew I couldn’t come to her with questions about sexuality.

My children received a different message. They know that they can come to me with questions about sex, the same way they can come to me for help with spelling a tricky word, or ask me to take them somewhere they want to go. It goes far beyond sex- into trust, into all the different issues they’re going to face as they journey from their childhood into adulthood.

Sexual empowerment, being able to come to their parents and receive honest, open feedback, stretches beyond sex itself. It says that they can come to us, that we will give them information they need in order to make their own judgments, in many areas. It’s a matter of trust, between us.

And that is a healthy thing indeed.

This post, which was read and approved by both of my children, is my entry into the World Sexual Health Day 2014 Writing Contest. How about you? Have something to say about sexuality, or how to approach the topic with children? Condoms? Zucchini?  Learn more about the contest here!

Make yourself comfortable, and I’ll provide the refreshments – zucchini bread, anyone? ;D

Refreshments, anyone? Photo by Austroneslan Expeditions, shared with a Creative Commons license, via Flickr.

A Huge Stretch: ROW80 Update, 8/10/14

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

Ever get the chance to do something that terrifies you? Did you leap into it, stretch your comfort zone, lean in, freeze where you were, slip out the back, or flee in terror?

This week, a remarkable opportunity presented itself to me – well, not only me, but this is pretty special to me, on a deeply personal level.

On September 4, I will be traveling, hopefully in the company of two fellow ROWers (to be named later, if they want to be), to New York City, for World Sexual Health Day.

I have some strong feelings on this subject, but I’ve seldom articulated them beyond my own family and very close friends. Most especially, I have opinions on the way children are introduced to matters of sexuality – for reproduction or otherwise. I believe that the manner in which they learn of these important facets of humanity can affect their approach and attitudes toward sex and gender for a lifetime – and that makes it vitally important to do it well.

I’m not quite ready to leap into this headlong. But I am ready to stretch. It feels right.

Tomorrow, I will be posting my entry into the WSHD Writing Contest, as my Coffee and Conversation feature. If you’re so inclined, stop by, cheer me on, join the conversation – and maybe even male your own entry into the contest!

Doesn’t stretching feel great?!

All stretched out!

And now, on to my ROW80 Update:

August Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Chameleon’s Dish Revision

  • Social Media/Blog Design

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. On target.

Develop a sharing strategy that feels natural; incorporating input from Kristen. On target for sharing; no input from Kristen as yet.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. Target attained!

  • For a brief moment, I was caught up with comments. That’s OK- bring ‘em on!

Dragonfly Sexual Health Day?

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed. Target exceeded!

  • August 6: 767 words.

  • August 7: 752 words.

  • August 8: 837 words.

  • August 9: 1003 words.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

Revise all plot points by September 1. On target.

  • In the midst of revising plot point 2/10.

  • WIP progress: scene 10/60 in progress.

And new opportunities!

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset. On target.

  • In working on a heavy-duty decluttering of our front porch, I’m also preparing for moving furniture from the family room into that space.

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • Going through some bags and bins of random items; sorting and homing.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1. On target.

  • The adapted frames are working fairly well; there will be monthly tweaks, but I find the flow helps my focus.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

  • Again, these will be changeable, but I’m pleased with the system I’m currently using.

Set aside time weekly for administrative stuff (Adminstrative Frames, maybe?)On target.

  • Yes, I’m finding I can attend to administrative items in 3-5 purpose oriented sprints per week.

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting. Tis the season for major homeschool administration, so here it is.

Complete Jeremiah’s PASS test and submit results when received. On target.

  • Jeremiah has completed 2/3 pre-tests which will determine his testing level in each area.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect. Target exceeded!

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Nutrition goals for August:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Not quite.

  • 4/5 this week; 2 salads; 2 smoothies.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target exceeded!

  • 3/2 for both.

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

  • Visit my “2”s every session.Target attained.

Wanna ROW with us? The water’s fine!

Welcome to My Sunday Summary August 10, 2014

Blogging from wherever life takes me…like Pinewood Lodge in Plymouth, MA.

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, in my little corner of the blogosphere

Notice anything different?

Since June, I’ve been participating in the Sunday Post meme, as an experiment. I like the format; it’s a tidy recap of my week just past, and a little preview of what the week just beginning will hold.

However, the meme just isn’t a very good fit for me, personally. It’s geared toward book blogs; I’m interested in blogging about – well, life. It’s not that I have a problem with book blogs, but, personally, I would rather read books and write books than spend all of my blogging time blogging about books.

So I’ve decided to drop my participation in the meme, and, over the next weeks, I’ll be adapting this space into something that’s a better fit for my own life…won’t you come along and explore with me?

Who needs a window when a deck is this lovely?

Recently at shanjeniah:

Welcome to My Sunday Post for August 3, 2014: Writing and revising, Shakespeare outside, feline death, and the rest of life; Amy Mitchell shares deep thoughts with her kids;August McLaughlin

explores whether pretty is a privilege; and I may have shared this video:

Coffee and Conversation:

  • Would You? An internet meme posed the question, “Would you give up the internet for three months, in exchange for three million dollars?” I pass the query along, with my own answer.

WIPpet Wednesday:

  • Let’s be Friends: Trip and T’Pol, held captive by the Suliban for unknown reasons, attempt to get the knack of interspecies communication. Will their mutual attraction be help, or hindrance?

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

ROW80 Updates:

  • A Shakespearean Stretch: In which we enjoy the Bard in a beautiful setting, and I move some goals along their paths to completion.
  • Stretching Into Revisions: In which I get cozy with three fascinating characters I haven’t seen for a while, and do some other things, too.

Lakeside View….soothing and lovely.

What’s Next:

My focus for August and September is on revising my time-travel fantasy novel, Chameleon’s Dish, set in the 1612-13 London area. I’m also drafting another WIP, Perchance to Dream, a Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel, and the second half of a duology, And then there’s the ever-present homeschool administration – ’tis the season for masses of reporting and testing requirements.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

And because this is my little piece of Lovely Chaos, and I love pit bulls…

Life Stuff:

  • This week has been a week of writing and revising, getting into state- required homeschool testing, lots of decluttering and hometending…and then there was the Big Thing…
  • Yes, I will be attending the World Sexual Health Day in New York City on September 4! And – and this is the coolest part! – I’m gonna get to meet my friend August McLaughlin live and in person! =D
  • I introduced my 9 year old nephew to Star Trek: Enterprise! It was lots of fun watching him enjoy something he hadn’t known about.

What’s been going on with you lately? So, what are your plans for the coming week?

Triple Exposure, Me, with the lodge behind, the lake through the sliding glass door behind me, and Enterprise on my Kindle.