An Open Thank You Letter

So, yea, hi. It’s been a while, blog.

I wanted to find a way to thank someone for really helping me in a round about way. When that person is Ryan Hurst and you’re some girl who lives in Ohio, well, it’s problematic. lol

First, a little back story. For the last few years of my life I have been dealing with the fall out of my husband’s non-compliance in taking his diabetes medicine. He’s had four toes amputated and was off work. Take your insulin, peeps, it’s important. I had to get a crap job at a Walmart portrait studio and we struggled, a lot. It always seems worse when you’re in the thick of it.

Now, on to the reason for my thank you.

About two months ago my best friend and I were talking about Sons of Anarchy. Yep, we love that show. She was telling me about a picture she downloaded for her wallpaper and I was telling her about one I downloaded because Opie (Ryan Hurst) had on such an amazing shirt. I’ll post the picture in just a second, I know everyone likes visual stimulation. So my best friend was all, “Oh, really what kind of shirt is it?” So I send her a link to the picture and she agrees it is an awesome shirt. In true Hope fashion, she then goes on a hunt to find the shirt online. When she does find it ( http://theidproject.org/node/773 ) she also comes to find that this is actually a Buddhist philosphy. So, I was curious and I turned to my dear friend Google.

Here is the picture by the way.

Yes, that is the actual wallpaper on my laptop right now. I know, I know. I digress.

How to continue from here, hmmm.

Watching the breadwinner of my family be taken out of the game from late 2009 until August of this year was hard.  On top of that is the lingering reality that, at age twenty-eight, you’re dealing with a disease that ultimately kills people and it is eating your loved one up piece by piece. By the time you start loosing appendages to diabetes it has already wrought all kinds of havoc you can’t see and coming to terms with the fact that your husband probably won’t live to be an old man is a hard thing to do. I’m not the only one who gets that. Many people have, unfortunately, been in my shoes.  You lift your head high and you go on with life. You try not to be angry or resentful. You try to not hold on to all the ngeative emotions. If you’re me, and I am lol, you fail at that.

You think that once you come out on the other side of something like this you’ll take a big breath, sigh, and say, “Wow I feel better.” Really it’s more like this; Deep breath, sigh, “Why am I still pissed off?”

Fast forward to my conversation about the shirt with my best friend.  We joke and laugh about how awesome it is. We talk about how Opie’s life is an awesome walk through a field of tulips. All the while, I am looking up stuff about Buddhism. At first, it’s just curiousity. I like to know about the things that truly define people. The way I see it, religion, faith, spirituality, you pick the name of it is one of those things. Basically, I’m that insufferable person asking you 48765345769453 questions about junk you don’t really want to talk to me about.

As I read things really start to click and jump out at me. I keep researching. And researching.

Than another amazing thing happens, I start letting shit go.

Seriously, it’s like a little kid letting popcorn fall out of the cart at Target. I’m just watching it bounce on the floor as I walk away. For the first time in months I am less pissed off.  Less pissed off is a great place to be.  I keep reading.Everyday I am a little bit less pissed off as a person. I stop worrying about the disease and how much time it might steal. I let it go. Little things I used to really enjoy start to be enjoyable again. It’s like waking up from a deep, long nap. Though it hasn’t been long on my path of research and discovery, I have an a-ha moment. I want to be Buddhist.

It’s suddenly like my life is this open book full of blank, fresh, pages replacing the dark, angry, dingy pages that were there before. I really wish I could describe here all the ways that Buddhist teachings, the rather small amount I’ve read so far, have helped my life. I wanted to write this huge touching, but funny, letter of thanks, but it is so hard to acurately relate the amount of change I’ve seen from this.

Why post such a deeply personal thing on such a public forum you ask? Simple. When we affect massive change in someone’s life, whether indirectly or directly, knowing the person is grateful always makes us feel like the things we do are worthwhile. I thought about it for a while before deciding to go this direction. Hell, maybe someone will read this and get curious like I did and read up on it and be changed too.

So, Ryan, Mr. Hurst or whatever a random girl from Ohio should address you as, thank you. Sure, you didn’t walk up and give me The Angry Girl’s Guide to Buddhism, but you did change my life. Even if it was just a t-shirt.


Meeting in MY ladies room?

My first thought, I doubt we would all fit!

Seriously though, when Linda e-mailed me about submitting a picture to her book in September of 2008 (yes I just went through all my google mail to find the date I am that crazy) I was shocked. I really admired Linda’s ability to make beautiful art out of any setting. I certainly didn’t think I was anywhere near good enough to be in her book, but I accepted any way.

Over the course of time, as non-luck would have it, things on the seesters and Pam’s end of things started to try to road block them, but if you know anything about Jews and red-heads then you know how hard it is to trip them up once they have a goal. I really felt for Karen and Linda because, at the time, a close friend of mine was dealing with a father with breast cancer.

So, I started my quest for a good picture. I tried bathrooms at book stores, bathrooms at my friend’s house.

Over the year that this was being worked on, many things happened in my life. Someone close to me lost their dad to breast cancer, I went to seven funerals, I laughed, I cried a LOT, I did NOT get pregnant,two GREAT women did get pregnant FINALLY, I got to know some people, I lost some people, I got new glasses, two new cameras, a LOVE of taking pictures, heard from the dad that never was and had to make a choice, watched as my dearest friend walked away from me. Through this disastorous year, I have had one thing I have been looking forward to all along, this book.

In the end, Linda came across an old picture of mine that she LOVED.

Unfortunately, it had been taken in the kitchen!! So I tried to recreate it for her the best I could. This is what we came up with

In the end, this book has been a great journey and I hardly did any work! At the risk of sounding like the letter at the end of the Breakfast Club, this book isn’t about JUST photography, it’s about women, musicians, comediennes, mothers, seesters, friends, insecurities, peace, acceptance, loving yourself, chocolate, the things we’d rather be doing, bathrooms, mirrors, the things that make up each of us. We aren’t just the happy face we put on the outside, we are a never-ending flowing river of thoughts, wants, needs, desires. All of us, even the perfect Susie Homemaker, wants to get away from it all and, sometimes, the only place to do that is in the seclusion of the bathroom.
And it’s ok that we aren’t always happy. It’s ok that we get frustrated and frazzled and lose sight of that perpetual happy place. Frustration bring about some of the best art. The things that make us appreciate the good times have to happen, sometimes more frequently than we would like, because it just wouldn’t be the same without them. So, the next time you have your kids out and they are screaming and your husband is whining, (oh wait, that’s my life) and you are having that moment where you are thinking I would rather be ANYWHERE but here, remember that it’s ok to feel that way because, without that moment, the one’s where you think I would like nothing more than to stay right here FOREVER, wouldn’t be nearly as sweet. Just give yourself a time-out and go read this book.

I want to thank Karen, Linda and Pam for coming up with an idea that mean much more to those involved than I think they know and for giving me a light in this long tunnel I’ve been in. You guys truly are thought provoking women.

Everyone should buy this book.



Ok, so I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging on the whole doctor thing.

I went in and the nurse worte me down for 1:30 even though I told her 2:15. They treated me like shit and I resecheduled for the next friday at 2:15. Got home and realized that was when Aiden was set up to get his kindergarten shots, so I had to call and cancel with their answering service. So, I will have to reschedule AGAIN. Really shouldn’t be this hard.

Aiden got into the open enrollment at NE BUT if he requires an IEP he will be denied open enrollment. That seems like discrimination to me and now we are racing to try to find something to live in in the district.

I’m exhausted and all I want to do is sleep. I can literally get 10 hours and still be so tired that I want to nap. I am 25 wtf is up with that?

I may be losing a very good friend to circumstances beyond my control and utterly absurd. I’m not happy about it.at.all.

Now for some music



So, my cousin read this poem at her Mother’s funeral a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful. Strive to be happy.


A funny little story

Ok, so it’s the 4th grade and Mrs. Farmer is teaching science.

Just as she is telling everyone to come to the front of the room and sit on the floor in front of the board, 4th grade Brice has the urge to pass some major gas. Luckily for 4th grade Brice, his table is by the front of the room, so he thinks he has dodged the bullet.

Oh how wrong 4th grade Brice is.

Mrs. Farmer tells 4th grade Brice to get his science folder. 4th Grade Brice looks around his table for it only to be terror stricken when he realizes it is on the floor.

Now 4th grade Brice has two options, tell the teacher he can go without the folder or bend over to get it, thus releasing said huge wind.

4th grade Brice choses to tell the teacher he doesn’t need the folder.

Mrs. Farmer tells him to just get it.

Then, slowly, like a prolonged walk of shame, 4th grade Brice bends over to get it.


The room is silent as he sits back up, red faced.

Thus, is the story of 4th grade Brice.



91/365, originally uploaded by ladylennon1964/amanda.

Once again Cali has taken three giant leaps back.

I don’t understand it. How Cali of all places ban gay marriage? Why Cali?

You want to know what I think? Sure you do, you’re reading my blog aren’t you? Oh, got here by mistake you say, well, grab a chair and open your ears.

So you are defending Prop H8, b/c that is what it is HATE, with your religion. Really? Didn’t the original inhabitants of this country come here to escape religious persecution? How easily we forget. I really don’t give a damn if you think it is persecution because it is. If you can honestly look me in the eyes and say, “But Amanda, The bible says being gay is wrong and I will go to hell for allowing those people to be married,” then I say this to you: first and foremost, go fucking smack yourself for referring to the gay population as “those people”, they are just people, just like you. Second, how dare you push your religion into a law where it has no place. Let me say this very slowly for you, just to be sure you get it, SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Religion has no place in the laws of this country;

“But Amanda,” you say, “Most of our laws come from the morality of the bible and the ten commandments.”


Let me say it again, bullshit.

How many agnostic, atheist, pagan people do you know? Now, do any of them run around like hethans killing people willy-nilly? Exactly what I thought, can’t name one can you? Do you really think society didn’t have a punishment if you killed someone BEFORE Christ? Obviously they did. Obviously things like that were deem immoral before the Bible.

Also, the bible says a ton of shit is wrong, but you don’t follow that. All or nothing man. Seriously, if God is all knowing, who are you to pick and choose which parts of the bible you should follow?

Now, for those of you who are just “creeped out” by it.

What exactly is creepy about two people loving each other committing themselves to each other forever in front of friends and family. Vowing to love only their other half forever and always? Don’t we do it regularly? Oh, that’s right, we do.

If you can give me one, just ONE, legit reason, that isn’t based on the bible or ick factor, I will consider it.

Picture this, if you will, religion isn’t protected under the constitution and someone gets a wild hair up their ass and decides all religions should be ban. It goes up to a vote and the majority wins. Hw do you feel? Do you feel robbed, shafted, victimized, unprotected, denied civil rights, misunderstood, and completely outraged? Well, maybe you should think about that.


Aiden got in!!!!!!

So we applied for open enrollment at the school Brice and I grew up in for Aiden last week. We did it to cover our bases until we can find a plce out there.

Well, he got accepted!!

Now he doesn’t have to go to this crap pile of a school district we live in!


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