Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

Category Archives: rants

Enough, I am enough, you are enough. We can stop.

I’ve gotten myself into this frenzy of saving people from “wrong” choices.

It started with Yahoo Answers and it escalated to several Facebook groups.

People post something like

“My 18 month old is biting. Spanking and time outs aren’t working.”

And then I get annoyed, because spanking and time outs aren’t teaching tools. And I get anxiety about this person getting MY RIGHT answer and taking my advice.

I am making myself insane.

Also, I’ve taken to really being annoyed about the lack of tolerance shown by so many people in my personal non-writer Facebook. “God wants you to say Merry Christmas” and “Saying Happy Holidays is turning your back on Jesus.”

Tis the season for intolerance.

So, here is my plan. Block Yahoo Answers. Leave these crazy mom communities which seem so often to thrive on drama and infighting and the whole “mommy wars” thing and regain the energy I’m losing toward worrying about things that are not in my control. I will give up my good fight to someone else who has more energy and time than me.

What things are you losing energy to? Could you let go of some of those things and regain that energy?

 

 

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Fucking SAD again

Okay, so every  year I experience seasonal affective disorder.

I know this. I try to plan with exercise and getting outside and things.

I failed this year.

My dear sweet little boy, I call him Sunshine Boy, hates going outside when it’s mildly cold. He HATES, loathes with a passion, wearing hats and mitts. Within minutes of being outside they are on the ground and he’s screaming “my hat fell off, my mitts fell off” and I run over and put them back on again and again until I lose all patience and start screaming back to the get into the house. (okay this only happened once). Then I calmly take him back into the house.

I also used to walk Princess Girl to school. But since I’m watching twins in her grade, they all walk together and I don’t have to wrestle Sunshine into clothing and listen to him whine.

Added to that it’s been -15 to -36 C with windchill. (That’s 0 F to -32 F), we haven’t gotten outside nearly enough.

So what about exercise?

yeah I”m a slacker. Sunshine is a toddler. He is a demanding toddler. When my daughter, my sweet easy going daughter was a toddler, we struggled as parents. It’s much harder now.

So, I have things happening in my head that won’t happen on paper or on the computer until sometime in the new year after I get a handle on this.

The plan for dealing with SAD (and currently PMS backache and cramps) is daily exercise. Getting outside at couple times a week, if only for 10 minutes. Just a quick walk. Strap Sunshine boy on my back if I need to. Morning pages, if I start sleeping earlier at night. I’ll try to stick some free writing in during the day.

If I don’t take care of myself, there will be no Mom to take care of anyone else. I know this. I KNOW THIS. I once again thought that it wouldn’t happen. Sunrise is 8:30 AM and sunset is like 3:30 PM. Seriously we had to turn lights on today at 3:30, the kids weren’t even home from school.

I’m looking into SAD light therapy. They are pretty expensive. 10,000 lux, which is what is recommended, 10,000 lux for a half hour is more feasible than 2,500 lux for 2 hours. If we weren’t in the middle of paying for Sunshine Boy’s teeth removal, might be different. This will be a must have for next year.

Also my DH isn’t working a lot of hours with his new company, so that will entail another company switch soon, likely back to the first trucking company he worked for. But anyway  I don’t want to stress him out by saying I need to spend $200, when if I just went outside for 15 minutes I’d get the same result. Again, going to try backpacking Sunshine and see how it all goes.

Also did I mention the Princess brought home lice. Again. Holy fucking hell. We don’t get lice very often in this house, but when we do, my sister in law is over and we share between us. (sometimes she gives it to us or we give it to her).

 

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Obsessions: Short people problems

If you fit in a group, there is a tumblr for you.

Mine is short people problems. I am 5 feet 2 and a half inches tall. That is 157 and a half centimetres tall.

When you are this tall, those half inches count A LOT.

Most of my shoes are size 5. Except my boots had to be a 7. Which was really funny because my son wears a 7 in shoes and I had to buy him a 5 in boots.

Anyway, I am small.

Working on this!

I learned to hem this week from Pinterest with the original hem. Search it!

I used to be an educational assistant in a grade 5/6 class. The girls were all hitting their growth spurts, and they all loved to come up to me and say “I’m taller than you Mrs. Devin.”

really? I hadn’t noticed. There were days I was afraid Administration would come into the room and wonder where the teacher was. *sigh*

What is your “problem”?

 

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Things I hate: blogger captchas

For everyone and anyone who blogs via Blogger platform and wonders why I don’t comment, it’s because Blogger hates me.

I’m trying to comment on a post as I type this. It’s an owned website which uses the Blogger (google owned) interface for their blog. I’m going to give up. I really want to leave this comment so I am persevering.

Earlier I tried on the same site and the captcha wasn’t working. Which is what is usually the problem.

Tonight the problem is my wordpress address. Apparently it cannot be verified.

Half the time I can’t read the image that google/Blogger provides me for the captcha so I’m guess. And when I am sure of it, it just tells me I’ve typed it in wrong.

Oh it finally worked, but it’s being held for approval. Which I think happened two or three times, but i missed it.

Blogger make your captchas REAL words so we can figure out what it is we are supposed to type out. Or anyone using blogger, change to WordPress, please. (Which, said, I still use blogger for my smut stuff, but I don’t expect much commenting).

 

** the blog post in question is this: http://www.thealphaparent.com/2012/11/the-laziness-conundrum.html

to which I need to reply this:

It is too easy and often pushed on tired new moms to just “give baby a bottle”. Uninformed doctors, nurses, partners, friends and family push the issue on struggling moms. I don’t think the blame is solely on the mom. (It amazes me how few people search out knowledge for any topic). The whole culture surrounding babies needs to change.

Sure the post is blunt and judgemental. Judgment and/or criticism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s like watching a friend make a bad choice repeatedly and staying silent or worse, supporting her choice to ram her life into a brick wall. Maybe she needs some blunt truth.

Maybe we don’t need to work so hard not to offend people. It is hard to take a hard stance

 

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Things I’m obsessed with: Positive Parenting

We have two children. Our daughter is ten, I’ll spare you a lot of details, because I don’t want to broadcast her life on the internet, telling things that not even she knows.

She’s a naturally passive child. She’s quiet and she likes to please us with her behavior. And she is hard on herself, negating the need for us to be hard on her a lot of the time. (There are cons to that trait as well. It takes a long time to be perfect).

Our son is 2. He is loud, he is boisterous and he is rough. He doesn’t stop. He’s funny. He throws tantrums and kicks and hits and screams. he is challenging and high needs, which I think most two year olds are.

anyway, early on I would get very frustrated with him. he would throw tantrums and I didn’t know what to do. My mom said “ignore the tantrums” but it was really hard to just walk away. I would try to cuddle him but i found myself getting frustrated and losing my cool. Yelling, a slap on the butt happened more than once.

I really didn’t like MY behavior in response to him being a toddler.

I don’t really know the exact chain that lead me to http://www.positive-parents.org/ which after a couple months led me to http://www.ahaparenting.com/ which is a website written by a Dr. Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist and parent.

Advice like: time outs don’t help to do much besides make your child feel bad and ignoring our natural empathy for our children. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

And that you don’t have to ignore tantrums. In fact, ignoring them doesn’t teach children to regulate their emotions or help calm themselves. Tantrums are an overflow of emotion, we all have them, cry fit or need to rant and rave are ways that adults throw tantrums (at the worst end of the spectrum we have people with assault or murder charges because they never learned self-control). Children need a parent to help calm them and then they can learn to calm themselves. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

That punishment and consequences are not necessary to teach a child to behave. I have had several arguments about this one. A good parent-child connection is the basis for everything on the site. And then you set a limit. When the child is younger, you just end the behavior. Hitting means we go home, or have a time in. (Dr. Markham explains it better in the link than I’m doing in summary). As the child grows, he can help solve the problem with you. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Consequences_Punishment

So I am totally crazy about the idea.

What do you think?

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Blogging …

I know blogging about blogging how boring.

I was just thinking about my process. It’s probably not the best. And if I did better I might get more views. I often write these things up late at night. I’ll be surfing Pinterest or Twitter or my blog feed reader and get ideas. Usually I’ll schedule a bunch of stuff in advance and ignore my blog for the next two weeks.

Eh I’m not here because I’m trying to grow my blog. I like yelling into an echo chamber. My focus is on my fiction. I am not into niche blogging right now. I’d like to be but I don’t have time to read into one niche ’cause all my free time is fiction time.

Anyway, I write these blog posts late at night. And then I hit schedule and I really don’t look at them again. Occasionally I’ll check to see if the formatting is good and I do read comments. But I don’t reread my content.

Yeah …

I should probably save those things into a draft and read it over just once more before it goes live.

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Cleaning up computer files

When I’m working on something I wind up with several files. One of the draft, one with some notes scribbled: like children’s names and ages,  a plot map (mostly done as I work or after I’ve written the entire draft) and sometimes a file with deleted scenes. I try to save them with either the working title or character’s names.

But then I never delete them.

Other things I never delete: short stories I started writing. Some of these are finished, but then I decided they were crap. Others I realize are crap while writing them and stop working on them. I have a dozen or more in my dropbox folder, at least four are fan fiction that I”m too embarrassed to share. (All Dragon Age related). Once in a while, there is nothing wrong with a premise I started to write, I just lost all interest.

I have numerous files with self-help, self-improvement and/or power of intention exercise answers in them. I read the burning question from Danielle LaPorte or something from Gabrielle Bernstein and I copy and past the question into a notepad, I answer it and then save it.

Like Done Fucking Deal. (Mine is a big check from Amazon, which I will celebrate by taking people out for dinner after I call my Mom).

I have this odd little montage I did a couple years ago, in the style of “Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures” done in MS Paint. It’s about  how I don’t have to be perfect. I might still post that one.

For each of the five novels there are at least 3 saves each as I worked through various stages of edits. If I screwed up a round of editing really badly, I did not want to have to back to the pre-edited manuscript, but I didn’t want to save over that first draft either.

I have three different spreadsheets for various months for tracking sales on Amazon. I’ve never managed to update the spreadsheet for more than 3 consecutive days, so I gave up on that idea this last month.

I have three different spreadsheets for blog planning. (Also a few text notepad saves of various ideas that just didn’t work out in the end. Never mind the eighteen drafts I have saved in WordPress of ideas I later realized were stupid).

And that’s just the laptop which I’ve only had about two years. Never mind the desktop we’ve had for the last four years. Free pdfs from every self-improvement website in exchange for my well guarded email address. Duplicate photos of the kids. In case that last shot didn’t turn out. Every really bad cover image I made. And there were some bad ones.

I need to go through all this stuff and save what is important and delete what is not important. Back up the irreplaceable stuff, like photos. And delete everything else that I can bear to delete. (I am as much a digital packrat as I am in real life).

Do you keep your computer files organized in neat folders? or are they scattered and ill-named, leaving you hunting for things? Do you need to clean up your files?

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Get excited about your life

This is the culmination of a few things. First, my latest crush obsession with Eddie Redmayne . Second, trying to figure out my next novel, which I’ve started and crashed about three different times. Third, subsequent daydreaming linked to said crush and writing attempts. Fourth, (I keep adding on) my best friend is in the middle of falling in love. She and her boyfriend as just disgustingly cute about it all!! And last, a post by fellow WANA classmate/friend Kristy K. James, Why Can’t Life be Like a A Love Song?

I was having a lovely daydream the other day about a life different from my own. A life where the mundane things weren’t so mundane, where I was just excited about things and my partner.

And then I started thinking about my husband. I don’t want a new partner. I want him, we have future plans together, which is going to be legendary. But, in the meanwhile, we have to live day to day life and it can get boring and we get entrenched in the exhaustion of two kids, jobs, bills, and the constant threat of clutter taking over our lives. (My husband is perfect for me. I’m keeping him).

But the mundane crap is really a drag.

So it hit me. Why not feel excited about the mundane things? Why not do things for him and be happy I’m making him happy, instead of feeling a bit resentful? Why not be more present with him and with our kids? Why not feel more sexy? Why not put on a bit of an effort for him? Why not feel excited when I see him?

Some people might consider it fake or false to force excitement. You can call it fake it til you make it. I don’t think it is false. After a decade, I can’t expect to feel spontaneous excitement and flooding in my lady bits when he walks in the room like when we were first together. Doesn’t mean it would be false to dwell on it and get excited about him.

A lot of people had the wrong idea about how love should feel. I know I had wrong ideas.

I thought for ages it be as Kristy K James says:

Am I way off base here, or are the feelings expressed in this song the samefeelings that most every adult in the world wants to feel? The newness of love? The uncertainty? The hope? The knowledge that this is the one?

Maybe it’s not the wrong idea of how we should feel, but the idea that we should feel that day in and day out without putting out any effort ourselves.

So, bring up the excitement in your life with what you have. Put out an effort to make the people around you feel the way you want to feel, don’t wait for them to make you happy.

 

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Does failing teach?

I shouldn’t read the comments on Huffington Post articles (or almost any other opinion “newspaper” for that matter). But I’m addicted to it, so I doubt I’ll stop.

Today we have Alfie Kohn‘s article on HuffPo titled “What Do Kids Really Learn from Failure?” is provocative. His ideas are. If you aren’t familiar with Kohn I’ll give a summary. He believes that we should get rid of imposed consequences, rewards and punishments. He dislikes the idea of grades, especially when what is being graded is subjective.

I agree with Kohn’s ideas. I tried reading a book of his, but it’s kind of dry, psychology stuff so I didn’t do very well. I will try again because he has ideas worth learning about.

If he had his way he’d revamp the entire school system. OH YES PLEASE. It is broken.

So there was a comment from a user who said he/she wanted his children to fail. because this commenter didn’t fail in school, they didn’t learn how to survive in the world. I, too, found school very easy and I never learned to study. I did learn about the world from my parents. My dad ran his own business, my mom did the basic accounting.

I think failure is the wrong word here. We shouldn’t want our children to fail. Failure generally teaches children they are dumb and not to bother trying.

The word we want is “challenge”. We should want our children to be challenged. One big problem with school is that it’s not individualized. One child who can read at a very high level is put in the same class with a child who struggles with basics, because they are the same age. Some teachers are better than others at changing things up to challenge children. In second grade my daughter picked two bonus words to learn to spell because the basics were too easy.

When we are challenged at just the right level, we get excited about the work. And occasionally we get frustrated. And if parents and teachers do their job correctly, a challenged child who reaches an obstacle or problem, we can teach them how to problem solve.

Do you challenge your children? Do you challenge yourself?

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Letting it Go

My personal philosophy is to just let things go. There are few things I get worked up about. Not throwing stuff away ranks high on my list of things to get worked up about. It can be a big issue in my relationship. My husband would just rather throw stuff out. I’d rather donate it, give it to someone or sell it.

This has been my philosophy when it comes to publishing as well.

Right now I have a review for my book Love Can’t Wait on Amazon KDP that says the book is horribly edited. It says words are missing, the book needs to be spell checked. I panicked because this book was professionally edited. I formatted it and I’ve looked at it (not on a Kindle because I do not have one) on my tablet. It looks fine to me.

When I read the review I panicked. I opened the file and ran a spell check. I was going to comment back, because I think it’s a formatting issue. I don’t know. I decided to just let it go. I don’t know if it’s the right or wrong thing to do. The other review is positive. If there were several comments on the formatting problem, I’d reformat and re upload. (If anyone has read the book and notices similar problems please comment here or email at asrai.rd@ gmail.com).

I also noticed that despite my price being changed EVERYWHERE my book, Complications Over Coffee, is sold to 2.99, Amazon has it discounted to 2.99. Annoying? yes. Worth my time to email them? Maybe. Worth their time? Not likely. I checked ALL my others sales channels, it’s 2.99. I don’t know where else it’s discounted. I’ll watch it for right now, if it doesn’t go up, I’ll ask where their data is coming from.

The last thing I’m forced to let go but is really irritating me is Smashwords distribution lag. Any book that’s distributed already goes up fairly quickly. But my last two releases Love Can’t Wait and When Love Knocks claim to have been distributed the last three weeks. They are not up on Barnes and Noble, Apple (Apple doesn’t have Second Chance Romance either) or Sony. The latter two aren’t a big deal, I don’t sell much on either. But I sell a lot of books on B&N this delay is costing me tons of sales. TONS and therefore Smashwords is losing out as well. I have people waiting for it.

I wrote Smashwords an email, but they say they have a backlog for service help. They are hiring more staff it says, but expect to wait 2 weeks to hear from them. I told them I didn’t expect to hear back, but that I wanted my frustration noted. I’ve heard of people waiting 4 months for distribution. Frustrating. Especially if you are a non-US resident, Barnes and Noble won’t let you in without Smashwords.

I love all that Smashwords has done and I’m not going to abandon them during these growing pains.

All of this reminds me that I need to write a letter to the editor of my local paper telling him that I’m thankful he doesn’t get to make the laws on abortion. (I’m very pro-choice and if that alienates you- GOOD. One woman, one brain, one choice what to do with it.).

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