In the Northwest

can't seem to get a good pic with the boys...oh well

This trip to the Northwest has been, thus far, pretty amazing.  The weather has been uncharacteristically warm, I've already plowed through 2 novels, and the boys are fully obsessed with Pokemon - a cartoon I can actually get into!  I sense a really cool Halloween costume coming on.
My parents are moving in August (?!) and we came here with the intention of helping them clear out their house for the move.  It started out well, we filled up the truck and took loads to the dump and the recycling center, cleaned out the attic, sorted through boxes of old photos.  Even organized a last minute mini yard sale.  Now, a week later, it seems I have hit my plateau.  I'm currently procrastinating on listing two huge boxes of clothes on Ebay. 
This is shaping up to be a pretty solid life plan.  Summers out of state, visiting family.  I can work and write and get stuff done, my kids can experience a life outside the island.  But, I think in order to prove this is possible, I need to stop treating it like a vacation - staying up all night reading, sleeping in all morning, etc.  I need to be more purposeful.  Starting with finishing the Ebay listings.
Happy Travels!


Ikaika Reading - end of preschool

I took a video of Ikaika reading at the beginning of the year and here is where we are after 7 solid months of quality education:

This is more for posterity than entertainment so I apologize for it being long and without subtitles.


The Tough Job of Raising Boys Who Value Women

One of the reasons I wanted to have boys is that I erroneously believed it would be easier.  They seem to come out on the better side of gender discrimination and they don't generally have the same level of sensitivity to pesky issues like body image.  This, of course, was before I had two sons.

Now I see what I am truly up against.  Mr A and I were watching top 40 music videos the other night (what people who live in rural parts of an island do for fun) and came across this "gem".  Sarcasm.  This video is so gross in it's sexual objectification of women that I literally had to turn it off.  And I acknowledge the irony of positing it here and giving even more widespread voice to something so offensive, but I must let crap speak for itself.  

The women are nothing more than hood ornaments for their car.  Every women in the video is scantily clad and devoid of any personality outside of their availability to provide sexual pleasure for these men.  But don't worry - each dude got his own "image" complete with his own chick as an accessory to that.  And don't be fool enough to expect any real suggestion of interracial attraction.

This, of course, is nothing new.  In fact, at this point, I doubt it's even provocative (I had a hell of a time trying to figure out why I got so upset in the first place).  BUT - this is a trend that is not going away and it is unhealthy for both genders. 

I don't relish the idea of raising boys within a society that views women as objects.  I don't want to have to explicitly teach them how to think about and treat women respectfully, especially when the rest of the world around them tells them something completely opposite.  Or, worse, that to treat women differently from this somehow makes them less of a man (I think I was supposed to glean from this video that Nelly is "the man").  I honestly don't even know where to begin.  I certainly know how to be a feminist, but I don't know how to be a strong man in a modern world.  I want to openly talk about this stuff, but I want to be heard as the voice of reason, not a fringe radical.  

Maybe girls would have been easier, after all...


30 Day Good Feedback Challenge

Yesterday at work a customer was so upset about the service she received that it moved her to call the highest level of authorities (in this case, our district manager).  Now, for the sake of this story, it's neither relevant nor necessary to determine if she was "right" or not, the point is that she felt compelled to give feedback.

This, of course, got me wondering why it's so much easier to give negative feedback than it is to take time out of our day to compliment someone.  Thank God Facebook doesn't have a 'dislike' button - most people would be clicking on that thing left and right!  When we feel hurt, slighted, or offended, it is easy to take the time to contact the proper authorities and make sure that this is brought to someone else's attention.  Our offense has been validated.

I turn 31 tomorrow and, based on what I saw yesterday, I decided that I'm going to start this year of life off with a challenge.  For 30 days in a row I am going to seek out one place everyday where I can give positive feedback.  Excellent customer service, products I like, articles in the newspaper that are thoughtful, or even just good company policies.  Management should hear about the things I appreciate and I should be using my precious time to express my appreciation, rather than always giving voice to my complaints.  I'm giving compliments and taking names!

Want to play along?