Sunday, October 5, 2014

CRUSHED alive

just a quick note:
after writing this, i then realized how heavy it is. i don't usually have posts like this, but it is something that has been on my mind. i don't touch on all the reasons these things happen, but rather, i maintain a level of simplicity. i took this stand because when dealing with our very real societal concerns, sometimes it is necessary to look at through a different lens. 


i am around children everyday and what captures me the most is their overwhelming zest. their spirit and passion for life is immeasurable. they are so innocent. they are eager. excited. happy. thoughtful. silly. kind. inquisitive. compassionate.

then life happens.

life and exposure to our world slowly crushes these amazing characteristics of a child. of course, there are people in this world who possess these qualities, but not like when they were a child. not like when they truly did not care what others thought. not like when others did not shame them. not like when nothing else mattered.

the world changes us.

as i sit here and ponder this complex, yet simple notion, i wonder - can we avoid having the world change us? is it better that this cruel, challenging, true, and harsh world changes us?

is it better that people cannot manage the emotions that come with getting fired from a job so they return to that job and simply start killing people?
is it better that being transferred to a new job is difficult to deal with so the immediate solution seems to be to set fire to a local air traffic control center?

events are constantly happening in our country that shed light on people struggling with life. as of late, there are so many times that a person cannot handle life and the emotions it throws at them. they end up lashing out in very permanent ways.
the typical human life includes things like school, work, church [for some], obtaining food [groceries, restaurants], travel. all of these places require us to interact with each other. because these places are so necessary to survival, it seems fitting that they should be safe. we are far past the days of the cavemen. our lifestyle, especially in first-world america, is not based the evolutionary idea of "survival of the fittest". we are not fighting each other for resources. in fact, we have an abundance of everything we could possibly need. so much so that we often throw away things that others could use [food, clothes, household supplies].
since our primary concern is not the battle for resources, the places that we frequent for survival [work, school, places with food], should be safe. for them not to be is fundamentally wrong.
we must work everyday to earn money to pay for the food and the house we live it. work is necessary for survival in our first-world society. we must go to school everyday. education is required by law [until a certain age] and it fosters employment opportunities, which helps pay for the food and house. we must eat to live - that is basic biology. all of these things we must do in order to survive [and then to be successful] in our society. because these things are necessary, they should be safe. since we all must do them, and do them together - it should be safe. our schools, workplaces, stores, parks - none of theses places are a battleground. we are not at war.
we should not fear these places because of another person's emotions, difficult circumstances, or mismanaged situations.
we should be safe. so that we can survive.

in it's most simplest form, we all are just trying to survive life. what we do with this life is what makes it special. our chance at survival should not be affected because another person didn't want a chance at theirs.

how did we get to this point?

it's whenever that five-year-old lost their sparkle.
when the world took over and crushed that sweet, hopeful spirit.

xoxo,
ks

Friday, October 3, 2014

the 2nd annual VOCV

hello and ohmigosh, it's friday!

we've been home from our family vacation for almost a week. it seems like the week before and the week after vacation are always completely nuts. am i right? the week before a vacation is crazy because you are are busy trying to organize, make lists, pack for you [and your family] - and packing doesn't include only clothes, you must bring food, entertainment [computers, games, workout gear], linens and household products [paper towels, soap, etc]. it's a lot. plus, you have your regular life to maintain during this week before your magical vacation. and once you return it feels like you are running on E, going 100mph, just trying to get through the week. there are 40 loads of laundry, groceries that need to be bought because there is nothing to eat, the house needs to be cleaned even though it sat clean and empty for a week [how does this happen!]...plus, there is this silly thing called work that you have to return to.
so yeah...that is three weeks of life that is just nuts all for a vacation. but it is worth every second of the crazy.

this was the 2nd annual vinson/o'connor clan vacation [VOCV - nice acronym, eh?]. our families met up in rehoboth beach, delaware. never heard of it? i hadn't either until we planned this little trip. southern delaware is beautiful. i keep telling everyone that i am not sure what i was expecting of DE, but what we found, definitely was not what i was expecting. what i loved the most is that it reminded me of home. everything about the landscape eastern north carolina is beautiful. it's luscious. green. full of farmland. vibrant. southern delaware was much of the same. farms as far as the eye could see, pine trees, beautiful beaches and marshlands.

   


we enjoyed relaxing, a lot. but we managed to do a lot too. here are some of the highlights of our trip.

cape henlopen state park 
this park was amazing, in many ways. it had well over 20 miles of biking trails [of varying terrain]. we biked as much as we could without our bodies revolting against us. we spent a good 3 days at that park, biking and saoking up all the history it had to offer. as cited from the park's website," With the onset of World War II, the U.S. Army established a military base at Cape Henlopen in 1941. Bunkers and gun emplacements were camouflaged among the dunes, and concrete observation towers were built along the coast to spot enemy ships." the history that lies inside this park is truly what attracted us to it. there are 13 observation towers along delaware's coast that were used during WWII. we were lucky enough to be able to climb one. it was amazing!

   


dogfish head
dogfish head brewery is located in rehoboth [the original brewery location, which is now a brewpub]. the current brewery is located in milton, delaware [which was only about 30 minutes away]. dogfish head [DFH] makes amazing beer. so knowing the brewery and brewpub were so close just made our trip. i think we went there every day of our vacation. and i am not even kidding. we enjoyed trying beers we can't get at home and beers they only serve at the brewpub and brewery. plus their food was delicious. we didn't mind becoming regulars for a week.

   



no sales tax
this should maybe be self-explanatory, but i'll offer some details anyway. there is no sales tax in delaware. i am not sure how many other states have this awesome law, but as a guest of delaware, i think it's wonderful. mostly because i benefit greatly from it. it is a very novel thing to see an item on the shelf for $12.99 and when you get to the register...guess what? the amount you owe is also $12.99!!! it's freaking amazing. and this also maybe shouldn't be so exciting, but whatever, it is.

time well spent with my family
this was by far my favorite part of the trip. we celebrated two birthdays, played cards against humanity [parents included. eep!], and shared lots of good beer [and wine and champagne!]. all of the silly and funny things that you do on vacation, you can take home with you as  memories, but you can't incorporate them into your life. well, because the people that made it funny aren't there [bye felicia!]. believe me you guys, it doesn't work - no one understands why they are being called felicia. but for real, i love learning more and more about my family. they live too far away and we don't get to do enough with each other, so this is our time to give each other a "crash course" on our lives over the past year. the more we do get together, the more we learn about each other and the closer we become. and that is truly what makes this vacation so special. vinson/o'connor clan, you all are wonderful, beautiful people. i can't wait for next year!




xoxo,
ks

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ray rice

ray rice.

where to start. i have so many emotions, thoughts, concerns, questions. if you don't live under a rock, you have heard by now, that TMZ released the video of him TKO-ing his now wife. and shortly thereafter he was released by the ravens and indefinitely banned by the NFL.
i think both of those were appropriate responses.

i didn't watch the video. i didn't want to. i didn't want to see domestic violence in its most brutal form. the description was enough for me. but then...EPSN so kindly shared the video during halftime of monday night football. i was so caught off guard, i couldn't look away. i hate you, EPSN.
however, having watched the video, just reinforced how awful the attack was. whatever the altercation was about, whatever started their argument, whatever led to the pushing and eventual left hook by ray rice - well, it doesn't matter. he had so many other options other than PUNCHING OUT HIS WIFE. if punching something was what he felt he needed to do, there were four walls to chose from. pick one.
what engaged me about the entire thing is that this is a person he cares about, supposedly. and he knocked her seemingly unconscious. who the fuck does that?! i mean, let's talk about that for a minute. think of the maddest you have ever been at a person. a person you care for - wife. mom. brother. friend. husband. sister. dad. aunt. whoever.
have they ever made so mad that you wanted to knock them unconscious? that you wanted to hit them so hard you quite literally knocked their lights out? sure, we've all wanted to punch someone before, but to the point of sleepy-time? would that make you feel better to know that you now need to take them to the ER?
i mean, fuck!
seriously guys, who does that? more importantly, who thinks that is OK? who thinks that hitting someone that fucking hard is acceptable behavior? ever. even if you are split-second angry. even if you are "lost your shit" angry. how is it an appropriate response? since when is giving your wife a concussion the right way to end an argument?
because once you gather yourself, regret consumes you. "what the hell did i just do?" consumes you. when it comes to your relationships, if you feel the need to hurt the people you are involved with there is either something wrong with you, them, or a combination of you together. so, the best solution is to let that relationship go.
hurt, physical and/or emotion, is not worth it.

i am not trying to preach advice. i am simply stating what should be obvious. but, we as emotional beings, have a hard time letting go of things we know we should.

today, janay defended her man via instagram. i guess, as she should. she was the one who decided to marry him. some suggest it was for money. some suggest that she can't find her way out of this troubled and abusive relationship. some may suggest that they really do care for and love each other. i have no idea why she did. on the surface, i think she is crazy. because i know if i was with a guy who knocked me out, there would be no wedding date, there would only be a court date.

she does say some things that shed light to the other side of the story - it is their life, we don't understand how it affects them, she mentions unwanted opinions from the public and media, having to relive something they regret, blah blah blah.
the thing is - they live in the eyes of the public. forever and always. it comes with being a professional athlete. if she didn't want any of the things mentioned above, then she shouldn't have dated and married a famous person. good or bad, the public is always going to offer their opinion on the matter. it is just the way of it. we always have something to say. ray rice could have been the best running back in the league, and someone would have something to say about it. it just comes with the territory. it doesn't matter what the issue is at hand, if you live in the view of the public, they are going to have "words of wisdom" for you. if janay didn't want the public involved in her life, then she shouldn't have chosen such a public lifestyle.
dealing with this incident specifically, if she wants to blame the public for ruining their life [which is ridiculous], then she should reconsider where she wants to have her arguments with her husband. because if they are going to have knockdown, drag-out fights [quite literally], then they should not have them in public places that have surveillance cameras and possible witnesses, like casinos.

at the end of the day, it is her and ray's life. but they both must evaluate and understand the life they have chosen. all of the things they have, they have chosen. everything that is happening to them is because of decisions they made. no one else. all of this is happening because of two, well, ultimately one person.

ray rice.

had he not punched the shit out of his wife, they would not be where they are today.

END OF STORY.





Monday, September 8, 2014

what makes us southern

one day i was sitting in our classroom cutting out pictures from the august 2013 our state magazine. as i was looking for particular pictures to cut out, i was also skimming the articles, features, events, and stories. it is such a soft, sweet, and inviting magazine. i wish everyone spoke with the grace and kindness that this magazine is written. the feature article particularly struck my fancy. it is entitled what makes us southern. there are so many amazing things about living in the south and being southern. i am quite certain that among all of us we could come up with a very lengthy, yet accurate list.

the our state article listed only six things. i find each of these things so important to being southern and to being north carolinian.

screen doors. you just can't live in the south without a screen door. [at least] three seasons of the year, there are days where it beautiful enough to have the windows and doors open. [last night was a perfect example of that].

grits. most people either love them or hate them. southerners love them. they complete the country breakfast. what is breakfast without grits? well, it just isn't.

tobacco barns. our state is covered with farm land. and with farms comes old tobacco barns. some are falling apart and a complete mess, and some are still intact and used today. both are quite beautiful. all of these barns tell a story and share our history.

tobacco-barn
from our state august 2013

swamps. i don't think i appreciated the beauty of swamps until i moved to eastern north carolina. they are so mysterious. so silent and so still. they are eerie. and they are full of life, hidden right before your eyes.

copyright: me :)

cheerwine. i don't think this one really needs an explanation. if you are from north carolina, you love cheerwine. there is no other option.

kudzu. it's nice to look at, but it ruins everything. it takes over the world because it is so invasive. it fills in gaps and softens jagged edges, but it is cumbersome. it is everywhere! as a southerner, you understand the love/hate feelings that are associated with this plant. it just wouldn't be the south without it.


i encourage all of you to read the full article [scroll down to FEATURES and you will see each item listed] to learn more about why these six things are just so important to being southern. other than being an old "stand-by" or simply present in a southerner's daily life, together, they have created a way of life.

i find all of these things truly southern. what i loved the most about this list, is that it wasn't overly cliche. these things truly represent the south as a culture instead of a stereotype. these simple six items show that the south is made up of far more than BBQ and football. i would suggest that each region/state of the US represents a specific culture that consists of its own history, traits, and functionality to which each respects and is extremely proud of.

and the south is no different.

xoxo,
ks

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

we need help

our emotions are complex. they are massive and deep. our thoughts control us. we often feel things that we cannot explain, and cannot overcome. our lives are channeled by our emotions. we bury how we feel, but it's still there. we have emotions about ourselves, about our lives, about the people around us. it surrounds us. our emotions can suffocate and drown us. we become trapped and have no way out.

emotions control us.

on the outside we may seem happy, successful, and motivated; while on the inside we are crying and dying a slow death.

it is a constant battle. where there is no end.

we seek happiness, yet have no way of finding it.


depression and anxiety, and addictions are real. mental illness is real. our society and health care system needs to provide more support for mental illness. it is complex and difficult to understand, diagnose, and treat. however, there are real people who need real help.
simply because it is something that we all do not understand or grasp, does not mean it does exist.

from robin williams instagram


i am sick and heartbroken over the death of robin williams. we have no idea what a person is going through. we don't always know what their journey has been or what their current journey is. our outside persona is not always who we truly are. get to know those around you, pay attention to warning signs, and offer support.

the simplest thing we all can do is offer kindness, a smile, a hug. showing a loved one [or a stranger] that you care, can go a long way into changing their day, or perhaps their outlook.
no matter your journey, no matter how close we may be, i am always here - to offer a silly blog, conversation, virtual smiles, or support.

lots of love and hugs to all of you.

xoxo,
ks

"you will have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to." -robin williams


if you need help, here are some people who can provide you the attention, advice and support you may need. please visit their website or call.
suicide lifeline
phone #: 1-800-273-8255

Friday, August 8, 2014

sugar water bath


hey gang! i haven’t been around this blog much. and after some thinking, i realized this blog has gotten away from it’s original premise.

ridiculousness.

i love sharing other things with you other than ridiculousness: love. life. happenings. emotions. however, i must include some ridiculousness too. am i right? i am right.

so, today, i have a silly little story to share.

we live in a condo. it’s located on the second floor and it offers us a small outdoor porch space. the porch is about 12' x 8', if i had to guess. i have tried to make it our small patio oasis. my dream is to have beautiful green plants and colorful blooming flowers. well, i fail at all of that. everything i plant, i kill. well, almost everything. currently i am successful growing a pineapple plant [yes! i know! isn't that awesome!!], a wandering jew [yes, that is the name. it is a hanging leaf plant that is green and purple.], and a lantana [i thought i killed it, but it magically started to grow and is doing awesome!]. i have several mint plants that are doing well - only because mint is the easiest thing to grow. ever. a moron could grow mint. i have a dead rose bush, lilies and maybe a climbing hydrangea.  

it's sad. i need to figure out really easy things to grow. and plant those. so, in order to mask my suckiness of growing vegetation, i've added other beautiful patio adornments. we have a bird feeder and a reflective sun ornament. we have a beautiful iron corner shelf for our non-growing plants. i have a hanging basket for the wandering jew. we have a cute bird house. so, i try. i really do.

i also got a hummingbird feeder. not just any hummingbird feeder. i saw this feeder at target, i think, and i just had to have it. it is gorgeous. a red glass feeder, shaped like a teardrop, with the spout for the hummers at the bottom. oh! so cute. no other feeder would do. however, it was like $20. YIKES. all for some more birds. i kept searching and searching and finally found it on ebay for $10. whoohooo.





i mean, look at it. it is glorious. absolutely to die for. ok, let's not get carried away. but, needless to say, i was excited to get my hands on one. well, when i got mine in the mail, this is what it looked like....




GREEN. since this hummingbird feeder was difficult to find at that point, i decided to just keep it. but it arriving in the wrong color should have been my first red flag. notice in the picture of the red feeder how the spout points down? well, due to this design flaw, the feeder always dripped. this was a problem for many reasons. it dripped on the railing and wall of the porch. this kindly invited ants and bees. plus, with it slowly dripping, the feeder simply emptied itself without allowing the hummers to get any food. brilliant!

as you can see the the picture with the green feeder [mine], the spout is in more of a "U" shape. i melted the plastic so that i was able to bend it into the shape that made more sense. by being in a U shape, it still allows the juice to reach the end for the birds, but not allow it to drip all over my damn porch.


ok, so we have the hummingbird feeder - the porch is now somewhat complete. fast forward to yesterday, as i was sitting at my desk, i saw a hummer come up to the feeder! he was a pretty greenish color. i've never seen a hummingbird look like he does. yay! victory is mine - i finally fixed that feeder and it works. 
so later that morning, i go outside to water the plants that i am delivering a slow death to, and i notice that the siding on the porch is all dirty and moldy. this immediately made me crazy. i had to clean it all. i mean, why is my oasis dirty and filled with mold? how did this happen? why are things so out of control out here?! so, after 45 minutes of scrubbing vinyl siding, my job was done. i then noticed that the hummingbird feeder was dripping a little bit. why the hell is it dripping? i fixed that piece of shit plastic spout. why is it dripping!? plus, i just cleaned the railing and wall that it is dripping all over. AHHHH. so, naturally, i went to the feeder to adjust the spout to point up a bit more. maybe that was the problem with that piece of junk. and guess what? the entire spout came out. and since it hangs upside down, the whole feeder spilled its sweet sugar water all over me and the wonderfully clean porch. are you serious with this?

#$%@$^&&!!!!

i wanted to smash that feeder into a million little pieces. i also didn't feel like scrubbing the porch. AGAIN. but i had no choice. otherwise, i'd have a very serious ant colonization within minutes. so, i cinderella-ed my ass and cleaned it all over again. i took the empty feeder down. i washed my sticky arms, face, legs, and feet. 

and i said, "that's it. i'm done with that hummingbird feeder. it's been nothing but trouble."

well, later that night......
that beautiful hummer was back, in search of food. i felt horrible that there was nothing there for him. so guess what? i made some more sugar water and hung that godforsaken feeder back up. 

i went outside today. and i noticed it was dripping. 


if i want this hummingbird feeder, i guess i will have to have a porch covered in sugar water, ants and bees.


xoxo,
ks

Friday, July 11, 2014

coming out: "wired wrong"

i really thought about not sharing this blog with you guys. it is deeply personal and the issue hits home. it is important to me, and this is also very emotionally charged about current social issues. so, with that said, reader, beware!



have you guys ever heard of my drunk kitchen? you haven't?! well you should stop reading this and go watch an episode. or 10. go on. GO. i'll wait.

.....

so. how was it? i mean, other than amazing, of course.

the creator of my drunk kitchen, hannah hart, has grown into this huge internet community. she does weekly videos that include advice, music, book clubs, traveling, among other things. she also has another youtube channel, yourharto, which is much more personal. on this channel she has an entire series about her coming out story. it was so moving i watched all 6 videos in one sitting.

each person's coming out story is deeply personal. it is a struggle between your current reality and what you actually want your life to be. there were a couple of things she said that almost moved me to tears. what i want to focus on today is when she decided to come out to her family.

so, hannah had finally decided to come out to her family. but what you must know is that her parents are very religious. so when she came out to her dad, this was his response: within his religious belief, her dad believes that sexuality is a part of your make up. however, it is your choice whether or not you choose to act on it. so basically he told her that she could choose to never let herself fall in love because she is wired wrong.

"no one is wired wrong."

i just rewatched that video and i am just as stunned as i was the first time. i am truly at a loss for words. [it is the CH. 5 video of the coming out series. at the 3-min mark is where she talks about her dad.]

.....

ok...here we go.

typically when two people [or sometimes just one] have a child, it is out of desire. a child is wanted and is something, as parents, you created. you nurture this baby and care for it. deciding to become a parent is a BIG deal. even if the baby was a "whoopsie", and you are unsure about having a child, there is time to make decisions about keeping the baby or allowing another family to love and raise the child.

so. you have decided to have a child. you love your child. you raise it. provide for it. teach them. and all the while, you learn that having a kid is hard. they do amazing things, but they also do things that anger you. frustrate you. disappoint you. hurt you.

you realize that your baby, your child, has developed their own ideals. morals. their own way of life. and some of those things are the same as yours, but some are very different.

no matter what you have gone through with your child, they are still your child. and you still love them. the love for a child is the purest, most unconditional love there is.

this is why i simply cannot understand why parents are so willing to abandon, disown and write-off their own children because they are gay. your child has always been gay. they simply did not realize it until a certain point in their life because the way our society is. just like heterosexuals have always been straight. it is just an easier process for them to figure out because it is "mainstream".

we are who we are. and we love who we love.

it hurts every bit of my heart to hear about parents walking out on their children. because they are gay. because they have figured out a huge piece of their identity. simply because it is different from the "norm" and doesn't fit "religious beliefs". if you can't accept every piece of your child - good, bad, straight, gay - then don't have a kid.

kids are messy. kids are difficult. you never know what they are going to throw at you. as a parent, you must think of every possible thing that could happen: diseases, developmental disorders, drug abuse, being an asshole, running away, being an exceptional athlete, academically gifted, being in a band, involvement with gangs, anything!

never say,"that won't happen to my kid." you never know. you must be ready for all life will hand you. if you can't handle it and be supportive of the LIFE YOU CREATED, then don't create one.

it is ok if your child's identity is different from yours. it is alright if your lifestyle doesn't mesh with theirs. you don't have to agree with every decision your kid will make. just be there and be supportive. as a parent should be. walking away is the absolute worst thing you could do. you signed up to love them forever, no matter what. love doesn't always equal agreement, but it does equal support, caring, and commitment.


xoxo,
ks