Naughty or Nice?

It seems as if my dear blogger friend (Santa) Ralph has been in a bit of hot water lately, first for not letting on until after the fact that the party he recently arranged was his birthday party, and then for being – as he put it – a Natural Flirt.

The only reason I thought Santa was naughty (and I told him so) was because of the birthday party, and just yesterday I had been wondering about the nature of LOVE when I received notification of a new post on Ralph’s blog inspired by a “young Lady whose husband told her that our conversations were over the top and that we had to tone it down”. Now, this was not my husband, and I am not that young Lady, but Ralph’s post inspired me to write the following comment:

Oh, Ralph – I am so sorry to hear that your natural sweetness has gotten you into any trouble at all.

I was thinking about just this sort of thing this morning, when I came across a couple of posts on other blogs about LOVE, and what that word means – what that emotion is.

Why is it acceptable for me to tell my Sis (who is not my biological sister, but is a very, very dear classmate of mine), or tell my mother-in-law or my children that “You mean the world to me”, “I love you to the moon and back”, “I love you from the depths of my heart”, or to send them e-hugs….BUT it is NOT acceptable for me to say or write those exact same things to my dearest friends who happen to be men?

Now, I know from experience there IS a (fine) line between dear friendships that may appear to be flirtatious, and relationships that have gone beyond flirtation to something more. I know from experience how painful the latter can be to a spouse, and I also know that simply not keeping secrets can keep relationships limited to the former. However, when even not-keeping-secrets causes alarm or jealousy, I believe it is due either to a deep insecurity in the relationship, or to the fact that one member of the relationship has at some point crossed that fine line between dear friendship and “something more.”

Love is very complicated, and friendships can be, but I have learned it is much better to tell someone how much you love them rather than wish you had. If you can’t do that without hurting your “significant other” then I believe something is wrong with one relationship or the other.

I love you dearly, Ralph, from the depths of my heart, to the moon and back…and that is no lie and no secret 🙂



See my post on The Social Impact of the Internet at

Of course, I happen to follow my own advice on this matter, and I keep no secrets from my husband. The difficulties in my marriage extend far beyond the complexities of flirtation vs. cheating, and I will admit that I am a spouse who remains suspicious of my husband’s e-life…however, I do not meddle in his “affairs” and I will state emphatically that my friendship with Ralph has actually inspired my husband to try to be a better man in many ways. That is a good thing!

Beyond that, my friendships both on- and off-line have led me to understand that it is not necessary to view every relationship my husband has with a woman as a potential threat to my own relationship with him. My friendships have led me to a better understanding of the world and my place in it. All my relationships have led me to a greater understanding of LOVE, if not to a constant contemplation of what “love” is (or is not).

Above all, I do know that my children are of utmost importance to me, and if it weren’t for my friendship with Santa Ralph, they would not be having much of a Christmas this year. And regardless of my “issues” with my husband, our children deserve to have us work through our differences in order for them to grown up in an unbroken home. It’s not easy, but day by day we keep it together and only time will tell whether the marriage will survive once the children have grown and flown the nest.

I’m grateful to Ralph, the Starfish Man (that’s another story) for many things, not the least of which is bringing to the forefront a discussion on what the boundaries of certain relationships ought or ought not to be. I hope that readers will check out his blog and my own post about Santa Ralph, as well as the blogs I mentioned in my comment to his post about being a Natural Flirt.

Hugs all around!



The Social Impact of the Internet

My final paper for an elective I took, about the 1960’s:

[Note: I wrote this before I realized I do not want to pursue a graduate degree in legal studies]

The Internet

Aside from my own birth, only one event in the 1960s causes me to wonder what life would have been like if it had not occurred: the birth of the Internet. More than any other invention, the Internet has revolutionized the world; the stage may have been set by the invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer, but it is the Internet which is simultaneously a global broadcasting entity, a mechanism for the dissemination of information, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location” (Brief History of the Internet). The Internet enables people to communicate and share interests as never before, and as the Internet has become ubiquitous, ever-faster, and increasingly accessible, social networking and collaborative services have grown rapidly; sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube, Flickr, and Pinterest, as well as blogs and wikis, enable people of all ages to instantaneously (and continuously) share their interests of the moment with others everywhere (History of the Internet Timeline, 2011).

The early internet was used by computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians; there was nothing friendly about it. The first proposal for a global network of computers came from J.C.R. Licklider of M.I.T., who relocated to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in late 1962 to head the work to develop it. Lawrence Roberts, also of MIT, connected a Massachusetts computer with a California computer in 1965 over dial-up telephone lines; this showed the feasibility of wide area networking. Roberts moved over to DARPA in 1966 and developed his plan for ARPANET. The first information packets were sent on ARPANet on Oct 29, 1969, by Charley Kline at UCLA. As Kline tried to connect to Stanford Research Institute, the system crashed as he reached the G in LOGIN. E-mail was adapted for ARPANET by Ray Tomlinson of BBN in 1972; he chose the @ symbol from the available symbols on his teletype to link the username and address. (Howe, 2012).

The Internet was initially funded by the government and was limited to research, education, and government uses. Commercial use was prohibited unless such use directly served research and education; this policy continued until the early 1990s, when independent commercial networks began to grow. In May 1995, all “pretense of limitations on commercial use disappeared…when the National Science Foundation ended its sponsorship of the Internet backbone” (Howe, 2012). The entry of Microsoft in the browser, server, and Internet Service Provider market marked beginning of a shift to a commercially based Internet, and the release of Windows 98 in June of 1998 completed the major shift to a commercialized Internet (Howe, 2012). The benefits of sustained investment and commitment to research are represented by the Internet and the development of an information infrastructure. (Brief History of the Internet).

The Social and Economic Impact of the Internet

My life today would be much different without the internet, although this has become apparent to me only recently. I have no doubt that without the Internet I would not have returned to college a year ago, and I certainly would not be nearing completion of my Bachelor’s Degree as I am now. The Internet has made education available to countless people like me, who are unable or unwilling to travel any distance to attend classes, and online education is available to students at every level, from elementary school to graduate degree programs. Even M.I.T. has realized the value of the Internet as a tool for education of “the masses” and offers all of its courses for free over the Internet; while completing online courses from M.I.T. will not lead to completion of a college degree, the value of the availability of the education cannot be understated. Even Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan are beginning to offer open online learning projects. Those who complete online coursework from these elite universities will not earn official credit, but will earn a certificate of mastery; the internet has opened “vast new learning opportunities for students around the world” (Lewin, 2012).

Without the Internet, the work I do now would not be possible, and I am certain the same could be said about untold numbers of other people around the world. Only a decade and a half ago, while living in Denver, I wrote articles for the Journal of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians with the aid of a computer, but without the Internet my submissions all had to be hand-delivered on floppy disk to my editor. Research was performed at the library, and interviews were a time-consuming chore for a person like me who relied on public transportation (or my bicycle) to get me anywhere away from home. My home was cluttered with stacks of books, newspapers, and periodicals, and I was endlessly frustrated by searching for materials my (well-meaning) family had either tossed into the trash or returned to the library. With the Internet to assist me nowadays, not only can I perform research via the Internet and interviews via Skype, but my home is no longer filled with stacks of papers and magazines collecting dust, and I don’t waste much time looking for books my family has misplaced; nearly everything I need to read is available over the Internet. Better yet, all my submissions to my editor (now the newsletter for the Kaplan Chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society) are easily transmitted via the Internet.

When I moved from Colorado to Oklahoma just over a decade ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, and while I did not realize then how my life was hampered by the lack of the Internet, I certainly realize now how my life is – and could have been – enhanced by use of the Internet. While living in Denver I earned extra money by transcribing micro tapes of interviews performed as part of a study on Parkinson’s Disease at the University of Colorado (C.U.); when I moved to Oklahoma I continued to transcribe the tapes until the logistics became too frustrating and I had to concede that the work could be more easily performed by someone still in Colorado. For several months, C.U. would mail tapes to me, I would transcribe them using my computer and a special tape player, and then I would mail the transcriptions and tapes back to Colorado. If the Internet had been in wide use as it is now, the audio of interviews could have been transmitted to me, and I could have transcribed the interviews and e-mailed the completed transcriptions. Without the Internet, I lost not only a stream of income, but a working relationship that was dear enough to me to endeavor to continue even long-distance. If the Internet had never been developed, I would not have been able to develop the network of personal and professional relationships which replaced those I lost.

Without the Internet, there would not be Facebook, Twitter, or blogs – all of which have proved to be not only entertaining but useful to promote worthy causes and to join others around the world with interests akin to my own. Without the Internet, it is not likely I would have discovered what Hinduism really is (it’s not Buddhism in India), and I would not have become part of a formal internet study group comprised of Hindus from around the world. And, without the Internet, and especially Facebook, my marriage would not have suffered what has become known as cyber-cheating and the bane of many modern marriages. While I have found the Internet to be immeasurably useful for academic study and networking with others to promote worthy social causes, my husband found the Internet to be useful for studying scantily clad women and networking with women whose only social cause was the promotion of promiscuity. At the very least, it seems the Internet might have proved useful in making it more likely that an adulterous relationship will be discovered by a faithful spouse than it would have been if the Internet had not ever been invented. It might also be said that perhaps the Internet forces honesty and openness into relationships like never before.

If the Internet had never been developed, I doubt first that I would have decided to complete my Bachelor’s Degree and second that I would have chosen my current course of study; I doubt that I would have been able to participate in causes which interest me to the extent that I can with the aid of the Internet, and I doubt I would ever have had the good fortune to meet such people as I have the pleasure of interacting with on a daily basis now. A number of personal experiences led me to choose Legal Studies as my major and to plan to attend law school. The growing acceptance of the Internet as a viable alternative to traditional schools from elementary through college has made it increasingly likely that I will be able to attend (and afford) law school online. The fact that there are not presently any online law schools which have the proper accreditation for me to ultimately practice law anywhere but in California has led me to alter my education plan and delay attending law school; while I still intend to study law with the hopes of helping others, I have decided instead to pursue an online Master’s Degree in Applied Legal Research. I believe it is safe to say that when the time comes that online law schools are accredited by the American Bar Association, students of law will not be the only ones benefitted – it will be society as a whole (but that’s another story).

The Internet and its many tools – Facebook, Twitter, blogs – are proving as useful to me in working toward helping others as I ever thought a law degree would, and maybe more so. Online studies lead me to the knowledge (and credentials) I need; online tools lead me to the people I need to help and the people I need to work with. Countless numbers of other people certainly view the Internet as one of the most useful tools in their personal and professional lives. Without the Internet, the quality of my own life, and my ability to have a positive impact on the lives of others, would be greatly reduced; without the Internet, the quality of lives around the world would be substantially lessened, and the task of people working together toward improving the quality of life for those less fortunate would be much more daunting.


Update 12/14/2012: related posts…the links will take you there in a new window 🙂

It’s Official, I am a Flirt !! on Bluefish Way

Sprinkle: Saying I Love You on Sprinklin Thoughts

Love: Quantifying the Unquantifiable   on Brandy Desiree Collins – Living, Dreaming, Waking, Seeing, Becoming




History of the Internet Timeline. (2011, August 26). Retrieved May 19, 2012, from

Brief History of the Internet. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2012, from

Howe, W. (2012, May 3). A Brief History of the Internet.   Retrieved May 18, 2012, from

Lewin, T. (2012, May 5). Harvard and M.I.T. Offer Free   Online Courses. Retrieved May 6, 2012, from

Vedder, R. (2012, May 6). The Promise of Lower Costs and   Quality Education. Retrieved May 8, 2012, from

On Second Thought

For quite some time now, I’ve had on my mind to write about how so many things in my life happen twice. Not just twice in an ordinary way, but in some way that is significant, notable, remarkable, unusual or weird. For example, I have been married twice, as many people have (so that’s not notable in and of itself), but in each marriage I have had four children…as many people have (so that’s not notable, either).

What strikes me about my ‘two sets’ of children is that each set is three girls and a boy, in that order. And with each set, I have been ‘attacked’ and falsely accused by the government of things which led to my children being taken from me (I will address these “episodes” at some other time – they are the reason I am a Legal Studies student…). The first time, I was not able to recover my children from the long arm of the law; the second time, I knew exactly what was going to happen and I knew what I had to do to defeat a lying and thieving government – and I did it.

I am happy to say that my youngest four children weathered their ‘adventure’ well – far beyond what I dared hope throughout that long, awful year – and have been home again, and thriving, for nearly four years. And I was given the focus for “my latter half”: the determination not only to complete my Bachelor’s Degree (after three decades of procrastination and excuses), but to major in Legal Studies so I can come to understand the enemy our government has become to the people of this nation…

“Those of us living in what we consider free societies often feel secure that if we comply by laws, pay our taxes, and maintain other civic duties we should not live in fear of government officials entering our homes and disrupting our families”. This quote comes from an article about a family in Belfast and their dog. The pup, Lennox, was”a disaster waiting to happen” in a ruling that upheld Lennox’s death sentence not on the basis of any past or current behavior, but on a projection that he might be aggressive at some point in the future. The author asks, “Imagine if a human defendant were convicted on these grounds!” – while the fact is, innumerable families are convicted (literally) and given a ‘death sentence’ exactly this way. Read An Outrage in Belfast: The Sad Case of Lennox, the Dog

Children, pets…it’s all the same to wrong-minded “authorities” who misuse policy. I speak from experience, and the ‘stories’ of these families, as well as my own, are the driving force behind my decision to become a Legal Studies student and my commitment to my studies ♥

On to another example…

A year before my family’s run-in with “child protective services” (which, by the way, began with some unknown person’s “call of concern” to what is known as DHS here in Oklahoma over my homeschooling my children – and it mattered not one whit to DHS that homeschooling is a right guaranteed to parents by the Oklahoma state constitution…), I woke up one morning before dawn with that creepy feeling you get when someone is staring at you. I asked my husband to turn on the nightstand light, and found myself eye-to-eye with…a frog – who had made himself comfortable on my pillow. Yeah, I thought that was a little weird, so much so that I did something I did not ‘normally’ do back at that stage of my life: I looked up what symbolism there is regarding frogs. I wasn’t expecting anything good, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, symbolically, frogs are * Luck * Rebirth * Renewal *  Metamorphosis * Transitions *; I also read that many Asians believe frog energy is a link between the dead and the living. All well and fine, but I didn’t know what to make of that information; I decided to think of the frog as a sign that some change was coming, and to hope that the change was good.

As ‘luck’ would have it, a few weeks later I received a phone call from an insurance company informing me not only that my first husband had died, but that he had left a life insurance policy and I was the beneficiary – to the tune of $50,000. Now, it would seem on the surface that this is awful rather than good (or lucky), but my first husband had been very ill for quite some time with a rare form of cancer, so it was not awful that he had died, but a rather a relief that he had ‘transitioned’ at last and was no longer suffering. The insurance policy, and the money, was a complete surprise to me; my current husband said to me, “that was the last, best thing he ever did for you.” Sad, but true. And I then had no doubt about the symbolism of the frog on my pillow.

Unfortunately, while that $50,000 was a great help to me, the money also became a tremendous source of contention with my current husband. We had been having ‘difficulties’ for quite some time, and I thought of the money as due me for the hell I’d lived through in my first marriage; while I spent a considerable amount of the insurance money on my youngest four children (remember, the oldest four had long been lost to me), I spent at least an equal amount on making life in my second marriage less of a living hell for myself. I bought myself a truck so I would no longer have to rely on my husband or his family for transportation, paid off an old student loan, and paid tuition to attend paralegal school (thinking, I would need some means to support myself if push-came-to-shove and I had to leave this marriage). My husband wanted an XBox360, which I promised to buy for him after I completed paralegal school; I just knew he would devote himself to that thing rather than the children, and I also knew I was going to need him to help me get through the coming months of school. I promised the XBox360 in return for help getting through school; my husband demanded the XBox immediately.

The XBox360 issue nearly killed us; my refusal to buy the thing immediately turned my husband into a tyrant and the next ten months turned into a living hell. I was attending paralegal school, homeschooling my children, and working ‘to boot’ while my husband spent every available minute playing his old XBox. When DHS showed up at my front door one morning (that “call of concern”, remember), my husband informed DHS I was insane – the truth was, I was exhausted but nowhere near insane. To make a long story short, my husband’s lies to rid himself of me backfired, and DHS took the children away (rather than send me away and leave my husband with the children). All of this over a stupid XBox 360.

Fast-forward to this week:

As I wrote in my last post, my husband’s XBox 360 died this week (yes, he finally did get an XBox 360), and as much as I’ve been suffering the effects of that, my ‘poor’ son Zack has been suffering even more. Zack loves to play Halo, and spends no small amount of time studying to earn “Halo time.” I have been having quite a difficult time imagining Zack having to go through the entire upcoming summer with no way to play his favorite game (don’t worry, the boy spends a great deal of time outside playing – he is an outdoor boy and I’m grateful we live out in the country where he can play ‘wild and free’); worse, my husband blamed my son for the demise of the XBox. Poor Zack has been hunting for spare change, collecting coins and wondering aloud how much he needs to save to buy a new XBox360 and asking me how long that might take him.

Well, now we come back to critters and symbolism. As I write this, it’s the middle of Friday night (about 2 a.m.). Wednesday evening, as I was taking a break from studying and going into my bedroom to change out of my pajamas (yes, my schedule is a bit “off”), one of my daughters called to me from the kitchen, “Mom! Come here NOW – there’s a snake in here!” Oh, I knew that could not be good, and I could hardly bring myself to look into the pantry (which has no door) where Trinidad was pointing; sure enough, there was a very large snake coiled up in a pile of icky loops on the very top shelf, on top of my containers of rice and cereal. I started screaming for my husband, who begrudgingly got up from the nap he was taking, to come take a look. It wasn’t pretty.

I would have taken pictures if I didn’t have the camera memory card in my computer – or, maybe not since I was so totally beside myself with disgust. My husband managed to catch the snake, grabbing it by the throat, and he yelled at me, “drive me somewhere, quick!” We ran out to my truck, and I drove “far, far, away” to a field where my husband flung the snake out the passenger side window. I was still beside myself with disgust, and completely unnerved. All that night every little thing startled me, and it didn’t help that our dog George kept barking in his sleep. I usually stay up all night studying, but that night I couldn’t study and I couldn’t have slept if I tried.

At some point, though, it dawned on me that I’ve seen pictures of Hindu gods wearing snakes as bracelets; it occurred to me that maybe snakes aren’t bad, and maybe there was something good to be found in the snake’s visit to my home, and especially my pantry. And sure enough, when I looked it up, it turns out that snakes are associated with the Hindu god Vishnu – who happens to be the primary deity of the Hindu temple my family has been visiting recently. You can read about Vishnu and snakes here.

In short, Vishnu is the Preserver, the protector of all humanity, a deity who saves mankind from calamities which result from its own foibles. One icon of Vishnu shows him in a dreamlike state reclining on a mighty serpent floating on the primordial waters. Vishnu in the dream state represents the gap in time between ‘what is’ and the birth of a new age; this is where ‘prototypes’ are yet to be realized. ‘What was’ is embodied in the serpent floating on the waters.

I’ve been expecting a living expenses check this week, in the amount of $129. Not much, but better than the $69 it was the last time – and that was a couple of months ago. Friday afternoon, the check arrived, and it wasn’t for $129; the check was for nearly $2000. And the first thing I said – more for my son than for my husband – was “we’re buying a new XBox 360.”

Zack, earning Halo time