Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

For those who haven't been paying attention, last semester I took a class on the History of International Law and War Crimes. It sounds complicated, but really it came down to how the international community has viewed war and how world leaders attempted to prevent it. In my final paper I discussed the transition international law underwent from the Concert of Europe to the United Nations and how drastically the goals have changed from the preservation of state power to the lofty goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  I spent an entire semester discussing war and ways world leaders have tried to prevent it.

What big conclusion have I come to after reading Frank B. Kellogg's War Prevention Policy, "Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau" by Jean Bernard and countless other primary sources? I have learned that we can only legislate the world we know and that war has taught us many things. From war we've learned we cannot control our weapons. As the German's learned when mustard gas blew back in their faces, weapons take on a life of their own and can just as easily be used against us so we banned chemical warfare. We shouldn't be so quick to think of new ways to kill ourselves. I've learned that hope can be found in the ashes. Countries rebuild, lives are changed, but we move forward. After World War II, the Human Rights Commission made it possible to protect not just the victims of war crimes, but guaranteed basic rights throughout both war and peace times and they did so with the hope that the atrocities they had come to face-to-face with at the Nuremberg trials would never happen again. They sure did aim high. We all know people still suffer, but that doesn't mean we should lay down our swords, not yet.

War is dark and horrible, some would argue a necessary evil. It is sometimes a manipulated tool of international policy and sometimes a righteous sword. For me, Memorial Day isn't just about commemorating the lives lost. It is a moment to consider why we go to war. Why does the young man (or woman) enlist and why does the congressman send him on his way with a vote? There are so many reasons, so many complex issues, but in the end someone chose war and in that moment all of our notions of how the world works have come to a crossroads. War is change.

They called World War I "The Great War" and "The war to end all wars" and yet here we are, a hundred years later and war is as much a reality as ever. I don't have much of an opinion to share, nothing controversial, at least. War is terrible, no one can argue that, but we can learn from it and I hope that as you think about the loved ones lost, you think about what their sacrifice means for you and for the world we live in. Millions of men and women have given their lives for their cause over the years and their sacrifice was noble because it allows us a chance to learn, a chance to be better.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Leave the stroller at home!

I was reading a r/parenting thread about strollers in Disney. I can't believe everyone recommended strollers for kids (some up to 8 years old!). Kevin walks everywhere. I haven't owned a stroller since he was 2 or 3. Maybe I'm a strange parent, but I was taking Kevin on a 3 mile hike when he was 5. He did 10 hour days at Disney without a problem for a week straight. (To be fair, ADHD has its advantages, but still, I conditioned the kid to go the distance)

Then, they were talking about using the stroller to carry stuff. Unless you have a kid under 3, I have no idea what sort of "essentials" you think you need in Disney. I took a small purse, had any purchases sent to my room and happily wandered, unburdened, the entire vacation.

If you let your kids be lazy, they will continue being lazy. They can walk, I swear. You don't need a mountain of stuff in the park. Leave it in your room, you won't need it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Questions Left Unanswered

A friend of the family died recently, a wonderful young man who had struggled for quite a long time. At 22 years old, he took his own life. This isn't the first time suicide has intruded on my life. My ex-husband died when he was 23. It will be 4 years in two weeks. No matter how well I've dealt with it, the wound has been freshly rent, growing wider with this new grief. It  made me surprisingly angry at first. Why has this terrible tragedy come back into my life? Why should such a kind and loving family suffer?

For most people the question will be "Why?", "Why would a young person do this to themselves?". I have the unfortunate advantage of not asking myself that question. I understand completely. The human capacity to love is infinite, but our ability to endure pain cannot always compare. No amount of love or understanding can stop the torment that comes from within. My heart breaks for every person who suffers, who is tortured by their own brain chemistry. It takes too many people in their prime.

Most people don't want to talk about the "How?" of things either. They don't want to confront the end. For others, it offers a sense of reality. If you know how, you can know it is real, know that this isn't some cruel joke or a bad dream. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to know and there is nothing wrong with seeking the truth. The most important thing is to grieve and to be there for those around you.

The real question is "How do I move on? Where do I go from here?" With purpose is the answer. It takes an indescribable amount of strength, but with each new day, with each step, you move forward. It can motivate you to be a force for good in the world, to seek God, to better yourself. Find purpose in loving your family, in loving yourself.

Karl wanted people to celebrate life. It was the gift and the purpose he left to his friends and family. The young man we just lost would want us to seek faith and to be kind to each other. For me, I have been motivated to reach out at times and to always be open about what I have experienced. The most productive I can be now is to do just what I'm doing, sharing.

If you need help, don't hesitate to reach out to those around you. If you know me, give me a call. I'm always here. If you don't, please talk to someone. Reaching out is the first step. There are so many people out there willing to share your burden.

If you don't feel you can talk to friends or family, here is a great list of resources all over the country:

Reddit offers a place to talk online at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Unrealistic Expectations for First Graders

"How can we harm our environment? Use evidence from 'The Lorax 'and 'The Wump World' to support your answer."

No this isn't a prompt for my Environmental History class. This is Professors's school work. Why in the world would you ask this of kids still learning to read and write in sentences? I'd need at least 5 pages to answer this question properly. No wonder Professor shuts down in school. He is either bored out of his mind or struggling to keep up. Not to mention he has dsygraphia and gets extremely discouraged two words into a sentence so much so that he loses sight of what he is supposed to be writing about. The audacity of putting a failing grade on this just kills me. What is the point? Why hurt a child's self-esteem when there is a learning disorder that needs to be addressed and you've just set him up for failure? I am so glad that he will be changing schools in January.

Murphy's Pre-Thanksgiving Visit to the Wilson Household

So far this morning I have:

Turned off my alarm in my sleep causing me to oversleep by half an hour.

Missed shampoo in my hair and had to turn the shower back on.

Tripped over my 80lb dog at least 20 times because she WON'T STOP FOLLOWING ME!

Professor couldn't find his shoes (mostly because he was staring at the TV instead of actually looking).

Professor's seat belt managed to do that thing where it was both locked and twisted too much to feed it back in.

He then freaked out about it.

The house smells bad.

I took the trash out (cause of the aforementioned stinkyness) and managed to get the bag stuck on the dog gate, tearing it and getting cat litter in the living room.

I took the trash can lid off and it landed in a huge puddle.

I have only been awake for 75 minutes! I have resorted to closing the dog out of my room and hoping Murphy forgets I'm here. What a terrible houseguest.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Twilight Zone of Parenting

Some days I honestly feel like I'm living in some sort of bizarre twilight zone story when it comes to Professor. Sometimes I think I would be at a loss of how to interact with a typical kid. Before bed this evening Professor and I discussed the concept of multiverses. I used the example of Shrodinger's cat to explain the moment when there would be an obvious split under the multiverse theory (i.e. the moment of observation). Not only was this something Professor was familiar with but it helped him better understand the concept. Shrodinger's cat and time-space theories are the bread and butter of my daily life. I know that Professor isn't the first or only bright kid but it is hard to argue that he isn't something special. I'll admit that I revel in the strangeness of it all, that is when I'm not having a panic attack over it.

It is a wonderful and strange thing to talk with a child genius especially on a daily basis. It certainly skews my view of the world. I see science everywhere. I'm constantly learning new things and I'm always teaching. Today is was multiverse theory and constellations. Yesterday it was multiplication. Tomorrow it will be chemistry.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Murphy and I travel to Montreal

Apparently international travel is much simpler than domestic flights. I had absolutely no line at security. The TSA employee seemed to have forgotten why he was standing there before he remembered his responsibility to systematically violate my rights. Not only was security incredibly simple but it took me longer to put my shoes back on than it did to walk to my gate. Airports truly are the worst case of “hurry up and wait” that one can experience, except for maybe the ER. Nothing like feeling like you’re dying and being told someone else is dying just a bit more quickly than you so you’ll have to wait your turn – but I digress. All in all, the beginnings of my first foray into international travel have been stress free.  I did manage to embarrass myself by noticeably eaves dropping on a cute little old couple quietly speaking French to each other. The older man noticed and came over and talked to me since I was so obviously curious. He was kind and well-meaning but I kept my eyes firmly on my laptop screen throughout the rest of my wait. Nothing like a bit of embarrassment to round out your day.
I’m probably more excited than I should be about this but MY PLANE HAS PROPELLERS! I know, I’m a child but come on. It is cool. Of course there is a part of me, the part that is scared of things like death and that monster that lives in the basement that finds a propeller plane frightening. No one wants to fall out of the sky. Okay, maybe some people do but those people are crazy and usually have parachutes. I am not crazy nor do I have a parachute so I will stay firmly in the not-falling-out of-the-sky camp.
I don’t have a single plan for when I get there. I’m not even 100% sure how I’m getting from the airport to Nikki’s and frankly, I’m terrible excited about that. I’ve craved adventure and there is nothing like navigating public transit in a city where they don’t speak your native language. I rather look forward to putting my French skills to the test. I’ve never used it in a practical situation so we’ll see how that goes. I’ll either make a complete fool of myself or just embarrass myself a bit. It’s a toss-up.
It feels strange to travel without Professor. I love our adventures. He is surprisingly easy to travel with and has a fearless nature. I feel a bit guilty leaving him for the weekend but he will have a ton of fun with my parents. Besides, I consider this my test run. Learning to manage this on my own is the beginning of vacations and adventures with him down the road.
Of course, I forgot to run to the bathroom before I got on my flight. Murphy’s law  - When you have a window seat, you will have to pee. I didn’t eat lunch so of course I accepted the pretzels I was offered which then required I also have water but it is impossible to eat pretzels without something to drink. I sipped the water so as not to explode my bladder until turbulence hit. If you know anything about me, and you must since you’ve read this far, you’ll know that I am a walking accident waiting to happen. I watched as the water sloshed in my cup with each pocket of air we hit. My choices were immediately apparent. I could either watch my water inevitably spill on me and to the full effect of embarrassment, likely the person sitting next to me OR I could punish my bladder further and hope to God that I can hold it to Toronto. I’ve now made a bad situation even worse and my bladder will seek revenge (hopefully when I’m old and don’t give a damn that I’ve pissed myself).
On a giggle-worthy note I only just now realized that my calendar reminder that pops up on my phone at 5pm every day reminding me to not be a lazy student is abbreviated. So instead of “Read Assignments” my phone kindly reminds me, every day at 5pm to “READ ASS”. Thanks, phone.

I’d like to add that I consider it barbaric that there is no Wifi on my flight. Get with it, Air Canada. Mama needs to get her fix. I mean I’ve resorted to offline blogging to get by. There are better methods to put off the reading on Islamic history I’m supposed to be doing and I’m absolutely disappointed at Air Canada but not better supporting my internet addiction.