Archive for the ‘family’ category

Intelligent But Hilarious Children And Critical Thinking

September 14th, 2010

Today has been one of those day where the slightest thing has tried my patience. A normally even-tempered Jules had to avoid much of the internet today. Things that normally would cause me to say, OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”, had me yelling, “OH FOR FUCK OFF!” to my monitor. This is not good. So I spent a lot of my day avoiding blogs, which I normally love to read, and avoiding reading my Facebook news feed. I was in such a mood that I would have not felt any remorse at all when I inevitably stopped biting my tongue, so to speak, and lashed out.

In an attempt to calm the raging monster lurking inside of me, waiting for a moment to devour the first of many unsuspecting but deserving victims, I decided to listen to the one time that I was interviewed. Kid2 decided to join me for the last few minutes of the interview. And am I ever glad that he did. The conversations that occurred as a result managed to not only calm this savage beast but also subdue it into fits of roaring laughter.

Near the end of this interview, I was asked who I liked better, Wil Wheaton or Phil Plait. He came in just to hear the end of the conversation, where I say, “That is like asking me who I like better, Kirk or Picard” and some banter on that subject. Kid2 asked me, “Did Joe just ask you who you like better, Kirk or Picard?” I replied, “No. He asked who I like better, Wil or Phil.” His eyes became wide as saucers as he said, “OUCH! That is even more difficult to choose between! How could he ask you to choose?!” I howled and said, “You’re awesome! Yes, it is a more difficult choice.”

He sat with me for the remaining 10 minutes of the interview. We laughed together over the ridiculousness of it and other things; such as having Joe and Sammy team up on me being just as bad as if it were him and a myriad of other people, who are very good at teasing me, team up on me. Once it was done, I told him it was time for his shower.  Still laughing, he went to the shower and I checked Twitter. That is when I saw the following tweet from my friend Travis, “Just saw a good-looking woman I’ve never heard of accepting some kind of important Republican nomination on CNN. Most unpleasant deja vu.”

I HOWLED! I giggled and snorted for a good few minutes. I was still giggling when Kid2 got out of the shower. He asked me if I was still laughing from our discussion prior to his shower. I said, “No. I’m laughing at something a friend said on Twitter.” He asked me to tell him what it was. I told him he wouldn’t understand. He gave me that puppy dog look, which only children can give their parents, so I told him what it said.

Wanting to be part of the conversation, he laughed. I smiled at him and said, “You don’t get it, do you?” He shook his head, “No.” So, that is when I explained to him that it was a reference to Sarah Palin. He cocked his head and said, “That name sounds familiar, but I don’t know who she is.” I then explained to him that she was a candidate for the Vice President of the USA, she is pretty but she is not that smart. She believes that the earth is 6000 years old and that she can see Russia from her house in Alaska, among other things.

The look on his face and the ensuing conversation was priceless!

Kid2: Wait a minute. She thinks she can see Russia from her house?

Me: Well, that is what she said.

Kid2: Okay, well… that seems a little ridiculous to me. But what I have more issue with is, SHE THINKS THE WORLD IS 6000 YEARS OLD! REALLY? Has she ever heard of Science, mom?!?”

I smiled and said, “About 50% of Americans are what is known as “Young Earth Creationists”. Meaning, they believe that the Bible is literal, therefor the Earth is only 6000 years old and people and dinosaurs inhabited the planet together.

Kid2: Seriously?!? Again, have they not heard of Science??? Do they not go to school? How can they believe this?

It was then he gave me a demonstration of the history of the Universe using his arms. He held his arms as wide apart as they could go, told me to imagine this was the entire time line of the Universe and then showed me the minuscule portion of when the Earth formed, the even smaller portion of when dinosaurs inhabited the planet and the yet even smaller portion of human existence.

Kid2: It’s more complicated than that, mom. But that is basically it. That is SCIENCE! How can they rationally believe anything else?

Me: I didn’t say it was rational. I said that is what Young Earth Creationists believe. They believe that people rode dinosaurs, etc.

Kid2: Honestly!? You mean to tell me, what? That they think the time that the earth was all molten rock and stuff… and what about the ice ages, mom?!? What about those? So they think the earth being a molten lava pit and the ice ages, happened in like what? Minutes from each other?!?

Me: Pretty much. Well, you see, love. They have their own “scientists” who, with their own “science”, “prove” Science wrong.

Kid2: Well, isn’t that just stupid! That isn’t how you do Science! They are purposely going to find the answers they are looking for! That isn’t how it’s done! It’s like…  ummm… okay… as an example, if I go out searching for proof that God doesn’t exist, of course I’m going to find proof to suit my own beliefs because I’ve made my mind up on what the answer is. The same is if I go search for proof that God does exist! Of course I’m going to find “proof”. That isn’t finding answers or proof! That’s just trying to find things to support the ideas you already have! That isn’t how you are suppose to do it! And they call that science?!?

Me: Yes, hun. And you are exactly right. When you have an idea about something, you are not suppose to make up your mind first regarding the results but just test your theory and go from there. You gather the data, apply the math and let it give you the answers, not the other way around.

Kid2: I still can’t believe in this day and age people still think the Earth is only 6000 years old! That is just insane!

And with that, he went to bed.

I smiled. I am still smiling. I have some of the best conversations with my children. It makes me happy that I’m teaching them how to think critically and be skeptical about the world around them. I worry sometimes because Kid2 will see something on YouTube or elsewhere (2012 being a big one lately) and we have to have long discussions about the faulty science behind it. But then he will have a rant of Jules Epic Proportions or we will laugh and geek out about things together, and I can be content.

Aside from being able to laugh with my child tonight, chasing away the monster within, I had the opportunity to have a very good discussion about the world in which we live and the people we share it with. And to think, those comments came out of the mouth of an 11 year old child.

It is too bad that many adults still do not know how to apply such logic to the world around them.

Rainy Holidays And In Which Kid1 Builds Kid2 A Tree House

September 6th, 2010

Today is the last day of summer holidays. And of course it is raining (much needed rain). The last day to sit, relax and really enjoy my children before another crazy school year begins tomorrow morning. Two more days to enjoy having a 14 year-old before he turns into a 15 year-old. One day filled with soaking in all that is Kid2. You see, he has been away for the last 23 days. What was suppose to be 1 night with my sister, turned in 2 which turned into 5 which turned into, “I’m going to keep him until either I can’t afford to keep him anymore or I can’t handle him anymore.” (He isn’t a handful but he does talk A LOT.)

She then emailed me a few days ago, offering to keep him for a few more months. It was more of her telling me rather than offering. There are many reasons for this offer. I told her, as much as I appreciate her help recently (she was not always this helpful), I really need my baby home. I have missed him terribly and things are just not the same without his incessant chatter. Today he came back home, loaded with new clothes, school supplies, an xbox and xbox games, Star Trek Transporter toy (which caused me to squee), at least an inch taller, looking, sounding and smelling more like a man. (From Twitter: Kid2 is home. YAY! Kid2: Mom. I’m expecting a squee. Me: Why? Kid2: Come look. Me: *sees Star Trek transporter set* SQUEE! Kid2: tee hee)

When he had finished showing me all of the things he brought home (the transporter is SERIOUSLY AWESOME!), he finally gave me another huge, great big long, bear hug. He looked up at me and said, “You missed me, didn’t you?” I responded, “Boy, did I ever! I am so happy you are home.” He smiled and said, “I bet.” (Later he made comments about how I was probably happy to have the break as I needed it. I said, “Not really even so it was nice not to have the constant chatter all day long.” He laughed and said, “That is why I think it was a nice break for you. I really don’t know when to shut up.” I laughed and said, “Yeah… maybe. But I missed you more than not. Things are not the same when you are not around.”)

While he was away, Kid1 made him the best gift ever! He built him a tree house in the backyard forested area. Seriously, how many nearly 15 year-old boys spend days hauling material and building a tree house for their 11 year-old brother to come home to as special surprise? Not many. When Kid2 discovered the tree house, his reaction was, “OMG! OMG! THIS IS AWESOME! OMG! OMG! OMG! THIS IS SOOOOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!” My boys are seriously beyond amazing. They may argue like all siblings do, but over all they are rather fabulous together. Kid1 really takes the time for Kid2 (when he isn’t complaining about his annoying younger brother).

A couple weeks ago, I decided to take some video of his efforts shortly before kid1 installed the laminate flooring. Alas, you will now all find out the name of kid1 as I am too lazy to edit the video. The quality is shitty. I took it with my very ancient (4 year-old) camera. It is also rather shaky. But I think it rather cool. And you get a bit of a tour of what is my backyard.

How many kids get to have a tree house (built by their older brother nonetheless) in their backyard? Pretty groovy!

UPDATE: YouTube FUBAR’d the video. I tried to re-encode the video and YouTube still FUBAR’d it. So, here it is hosted on my server. Please be patient while it buffers.

Another Update: The video is out of sync again. Even so when I previewed it, it was fine. I don’t know why. Technology is deciding to hate me again. I may fix it over the next few days.

Yet Another Update: Okay, uploaded in original format. You’ll need to QuickTime plugin to view. When I viewed it, it was in sync. Hopefully it stays that way. Or you can click the link below to download the video. Once again, you will need to be patient while it buffers.

Kid1 builds Kid2 a Tree House

In Which I Attempt To Hold Down My Thoughts Floating In The Aether

September 4th, 2010

Oh yes. You guessed it. It is going to be another one of those rambling thought blogs. I find them necessary in order to vomit out some of the copious amounts of thoughts that run through my brain at any given time.

Many of you are probably aware that the last little period of time in my life has been quite difficult for me: financially, mentally, physically and emotionally. My Lupus has been attempting to beat my ass down in ways that are very painful. In the last week, I think I’ve managed all of 24 hours sleep due to it. My life has undergone an extraordinary amount of change recently. I’ve had many obstacles thrown in front of me. Most days, I feel as if I am running an octagintathlon, leaping and flailing from one event to the next in an effort to finish the trial alive. Winning and finishing unscathed, without any bumps or bruises, is not the goal. Survival and just making it through has become the objective.

I have loved ones who are poorly. I have baby’s daddy’s who are trying to make my life as difficult as possible. I have children who are each going through their own trials. I have family members who I wish would just cease to exist. I have people trying to attach themselves to me, not because of who I am but what they think they can gain from it. There are people who attach labels to me that I am not at all comfortable with. I have fear. I have doubt. I have moments of feeling defeated and then…

Somebody will reach out and say something to me, small things, that mean the world to me. I am all about the little things. This can be good and it can be not so good. It means that I’m easily pleased and can get quite giddy and squee with the utmost ease. It also means that I am easy to frustrate and want to bang heads. Thankfully for those around me, I am more patient than I am not. I can hold myself back in the moments where all I really want to do is rage against something. These small things give me the strength, power and energy to leap and flail over my next hurdle. They help me find my inner strength when I am unable to see it. And they always come when I need them the most. Lately, with such a frequency, it is almost unbearable and I feel as if I am going to explode. Unbearable may me a peculiar word to attribute to something that is quite positive. However, I grew up with more negatives in my life than positives. At times, the positives are more difficult to accept than the negatives.

Examples of these small but enormous things are: friends who know that I have an uncomfortableness around being referred to as a ‘celeb’ (Seriously. People call me that and with greater frequency lately), jokingly telling me on Twitter: “Liek OH-EM-GEE! It’s Jules! Let’s all be fan-kids over her and swoon!” Somebody sending me short but sweet email telling me that something I’ve writing really touched them or when people tell me that I’ve inspired them. And not because of who I supposedly know but for who I am and how I live my life. For me, this is really important. I need this in order to tell myself that living with Lupus is not for nothing. I need to know my life is not in vain and that I am doing actual good, even if it is inspiring just one person. I have been so very lucky to inspire more than just one. Somebody saying something or playing a song when I’m feeling the most vulnerable, reaching out in a very sweet and romantic way, a way that only the two of us know what is going on.

And I suppose this is where part of the paradox comes in. When I started with my radio show and online things, I honestly did not think anything would come out of it. It was purely for my own pleasure and needs. And then something happened. Somehow, I got noticed. For some strange reason, people started to pay attention and I had no bloody clue what to make of it or what to do with it. It was not anything I had intended nor planned. It was not my goal. There is one event that I can point to and say, “This is when I stopped being anonymous.” Sometimes I want to both thank and curse the person involved in this turning point. And then I stop myself. Not because I am not thankful for some parts they have played in it but because I actually earned it. I got the recognition, the head nod if you will, because of my work and talent. It was not asked for. Any recognition or head nods I have received have been unsolicited. In fact, I specifically said, “You don’t need to promote this. It is just for fun.” Well… for some crazy reason, they did.

And I suppose in reality, it is not for a crazy reason. I remember a wonderful conversation that I had a few months ago when I needed help regarding a crazy (but awesome) idea I had for a project (which I still hope to make a reality sooner rather than later). Somehow the conversation changed from tips to sharing moments of  (to paraphrase), “OMG! When did this become our lives?!?” I remember saying something like, “Sometimes I want to ask these people [who have helped in ways that I never asked for or have gone out their way to do something for me], why me? But obviously I’m not going to ask them. That would be stupid.” The response and following conversation will be something that I will keep with me for rest of my days.

The response I received was, “Why not? I mean don’t ask them but I think the question you should be asking is ‘why not you?'” I had a quick reply to that, “Because I’m just this girl from a very small city in Canada. There is no reason for anybody to do anything for me. And yes I realize they are just people too. You know that. But they are extremely busy and probably get a load of stupid requests all the time. And yet, when they can, they find moments for me. Something  I do not expect but is nonetheless appreciated.” And then he said (and I’ll never forget this), “It doesn’t matter what town you’re from when you live on the internet.” This conversation helped illustrate to me that I must be doing something right. That I may have more talent and abilities than I’m willing to give myself credit for. Most importantly, it helped to teach me that I’ve earned (through my own talents and hard work) any moderate successes (that for me, on a personal level, are HUGE) I have achieved. At the end of the day, I can proudly say I’ve gotten to where I am through my own blood, sweat and tears, not through the work of others. And I think it may all finally pay of, with real money (I’ll get to that eventually).

The last week and a bit has been a blur of events. I was finally able to announce one of my sooper sekrit projects (if you missed the news, check out this post and this post over on Geeky Pleasures). I figured out what it is I’m going to write about for And then there are more people reaching out in ways that cause me to want to yell, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! I want to tell you to fuck off right now. But only because I don’t know how to deal with this event as you just blew apart my brain!”

One example of this, is someone (not going to name names) leaving a comment on something I posted somewhere which reads, “I just came here to say “Hi Jules!” It was another moment where I wanted to get all melty and d’awwwwh and say, “thank you for taking a little bit of your time out for me and stopping by just to say hi” in ways that are even less eloquent than that, in ways that would leave me looking like a downright idiot. And in reality, I wouldn’t be an idiot but it is a result of me truly appreciating the really small things that people do, especially when there is no need for it.

And then, I received this email (Email shared with permission. Names removed to protect privacy):

Well then, Jules… If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet…

I’m just this guy, you know? But when I say it, it’s not like when Wil says it. I’m actually at the bottom of the totem pole. So, whenever you do something as gracious as shamelessly finding a way to mention us when there’s no need to… Well… You’re like, MY [Name redacted. Me being compared to this person (not Wil Wheaton) left me at a complete loss for words and rational thought as it is someone I have a HUGE respect for]. It geeks me out to no end. Thank you again and always; I know you’re not just doing it because we’ve become friends, but on that note I’m so glad that we’ve become friends.

It was all I could do to not call this person an asshole for saying something that caused me to become extremely overwhelmed. But the thing I appreciated the most about his comment was not that they likened me to someone I have a huge respect for. It was because they see and appreciate that I don’t promote something just because they are my friend. And it doesn’t matter what it is that I put on Geeky Pleasures, except for the gaming press releases that I receive. It doesn’t matter how big of a name or how small of a name somebody has. I promote things on my site that I truly believe in. Not because it was asked of me. Not because it is expected of me. It is because I truly enjoy it and am very happy that I’m given the privileged to consume these things that people have made (we are not entitled to these things). I want to share the things I like with others. So when I see something I like or believe in, I’ll write about it because I chose to. I get quite pissy when people ask or expect me to mention something.

That being said, if you come across something you think I’ll like, I have no problem with an email being sent to me saying something like, “I thought you may enjoy this.” And if I feel it necessary, then I’ll make a mention of it. Also, if you want me to review something you’ve done, great! I’d be more than happy to. This doesn’t mean it will be a good review, even if you are my friend. It will be an honest review. This is one of the reason I found writing a review for Memories of the Future so difficult.

I’ve also been getting a lot of “guidance” type questions from people in the last couple of weeks. This is very strange. I am trying to figure out when did I go from the person who seeks others for questions and become the person people want to ask questions regarding media related things. Most days I still feel as if I’m a novice even so I’ve been working in various parts of the industry for years. I am still the person who asks others for advice on these things. And now people are asking me. It is such a strange phenomena. Sometimes I want to ask the people who’ve been nice enough to give me their advice, “How do you manage your life without wanting to explode with awesome giddy, squee and excitement over it all? Especially since etiquette tells us, in public, we are not to show our excitement. We are to remain ‘cool’.” But I stop myself because I know they are just normal people, who like me, keep asking themselves, “When did this become my life?!? Holy shit, this is awesome!!”

Now to make things even more awesome for me, I think it is all finally starting to pay off in a way that goes beyond HUGE personal satisfaction. As I’ve mentioned many a times in the past, when I started on all of this, it was for my pleasure only. I never planned, expected nor wanted to make a living from it. It was purely a hobby (in many ways). Then life threw me a curve ball and I’ve had to attempt to turn all these things that I’ve built into money. Without being an egotistical asshat, I am quite good at what I do. I am so very self-critical (I think this is true of a lot of creative types). I know when something I’ve produced is crap (even so others will tell me otherwise) and I know when it is good. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are in any given task. I know that I have many valuable skills, abilities and attributes.

I’ve gotten where I am because I have never been afraid to try. When I applied at the radio station, I went into it thinking I will not get the job because thousands of people will be applying. Sure enough, thousands did. But for some strange reason (well it isn’t strange, I just have a really hard time giving myself compliments), within a couple hours of sending in my application I was contacted for an interview. During the interview, I was hired on the spot and within a couple of weeks, I was asked if I wanted to be the Program Director. I’ve taken many such “risks” since then. Every single time I approach someone about something, I always expect a no. The results have been far from my expectation.

Last night, I decided to take another such risk. I saw another ad. This time for a writing gig which I thought for sure thousands would be applying for. To make it even better, it is a paying job which I get to do from the comfort of my home (something that is necessary). It is a writing job that, in many ways, is quite prestigious or at least has the potential to be. In the application process, you only had 2 paragraphs to illustrate why you think you would be a good addition to the publication. ONLY 2! Well, we all know long-winded Jules is long-winded. I wrote my two paragraphs, gave the links asked for and sent off the email. I went to sleep thinking I would be damn lucky to hear anything back because 1) The ad was over a week old, and 2) I know the industry and I know how much crap has to be waded through to get to the good things. Today, I got a response from the founder and publisher.

I’m assuming he liked what I wrote as he is forwarding my information on to the rest of the team. I suppose you can say I’ve been short listed. This really is a major accomplishment for me. I didn’t fail the audition process. I was able to impress in only two paragraphs. My inner editor did its job (I’m sure some of you wish my inner editor would do its job as I type out yet another blog that is sure to be near 3000 words). And to make me even happier about this success, I was asked my advice (once more), this time as a writer. Keyword here: writer. Not as a blogger. There is nothing wrong with being a blogger but there is this bad taste associated with “bloggers”, “self-publishers”, etc. There is this very unfair image of the blogging community. A very misinformed image, perpetuated by mainstream media. And I do consider myself to be a writer as well as a blogger. So it felt nice to have someone ask me advice “as a writer” and from a publisher no less.

This put a (much needed) added spring to my step. I woke up once more after only a couple hours of sleep, feeling beyond exhausted and like someone beat the shit out of me in my sleep. I was at a point of wanting to curse every thing and every one.

Then immediately afterwards, kid2 came whizzing into the house (my sister has had him for the last 3 weeks). I got extremely happy (because I miss his terribly) thinking my sister was bringing him back 3 days early. He quickly dashed my happy to sad by informing me, “I’m only here to get my iPod charger and then I’m going back to auntie Catherine’s.” However, before my sadness got the better of me, he added, “Can I have a hug?” I said, “Of course! I’ve missed you so very much!” And then he gave me the hardest bear hug he has ever given me. It was so very much needed and exactly at that moment too. My week and a bit has been yet another one filled with really high highs and really low lows. At times, I’m having great difficulties navigating it all.

My children are my reasons. I have been very lonely without the constant chatter from kid2. He will be 12 soon but he still finds excuses to crawl into bed with me. And he still wants my hugs. After giving me the longest and hardest hug ever, he whisked down the hall to get his charger and out of the house he shot. But not before “I love you”s were exchanged. I cried for a bit after he left for two reasons: 1) I was sad to see him leave when he has been gone for so long; 2) He still wants hugs from mommy.

These are just a small fraction of my thoughts floating in the aether and the events of the past little bit. Aren’t you glad I don’t share them all? However, now that I’ve purged some of them, hopefully I can get back to more focused writing soon. And at just over 3000 words, I’ll stop.

Reflections Of A Hectic Soul

August 17th, 2010

This poor space of not much happening. The tumbleweeds and cobwebs have been finding their home in this once frequently updated spot. I wish I could fully explain what has been happening. But once the crazy hectic that is my day is over and it time for quiet reflection, communicating with others is the last thing on my mind.

My friends have suffered. My personal blog has been sorely neglected. Once upon a time, I had told myself that I would update this spot at least three times a week. Even if it were just a paragraph or two. But I am the type that does not believe in stories that begin with “once upon a time.” They are filled with grand dreams and desires but contain little reality.

My life continues to take twists and turns that were never envisioned and I find myself sorely unprepared. The last three months have been overflowing with high highs and low lows. I realize I find myself thinking and sharing this often. And no sooner do I think, “things can’t get any more insane and peculiar”, life decides to show me different.

And because I am a person of privacy, a person who keeps the really good things and really bad things close to my chest, because I’m the type who withdrawals frequently to a Fortress of Solitude which later became my Batcave, during these moments, the rest of the world outside of my teeny tiny circle becomes invisible. For me it is a necessity. And if something threatens the inner then the outer starts to collapse. I am the type who needs to feel secure within my nucleus world before I can feel secure in my interactions with the outside forces. And at times, I am feeling as if my core is beginning to fracture. So my energy has been focused on making sure that I remain whole.

It really isn’t all doom and gloom. There have been way more moments of awesome than not. And the not isn’t what I would consider terrible, it just needs a little more support and care. I’ve been needing to focus my energies on the things that fall under the category of “makes a real difference in my life at the end of the day” and allowing the “it is pretty window dressing, neat and cool but at the end of the day, when all is said and done, it doesn’t really change anything” to be ignored.

At times though, I feel as if I am not being perfectly honest with people. And I’m not quite sure what to do there, especially as I’m known for being unfailingly honest and blunt. People ask me how I’m doing and they get the default answer of, “I’m good.” Which isn’t a total lie. Overall, I really am quite swell. Sure my Lupus has been a real pain lately. I’m the worse I have been in years. I’m not as bad as I once was but I haven’t been this beat up in a couple of years. So “I’m good” is a completely valid answer to an extent, as it could be and has been much worse. However, I guess this is my own “Lupus Lie“. I’ve never fully shared the extent of my Lupus until just very recently. And only 1 person has heard the full, unedited truth of the situation.

People ask how the boys are doing. Again, the answer is, “They’re good.” And they are. But they are each going through different things right now. My heart breaks for them. But they fall under the sacred category so only 1 person will hear the entire truth on that situation as well. I had a conversation with Kid2 the other night that nearly devastated me. I suppose I haven’t been doing as fantabulous job as normal masking the pain that I am in lately.

As we were curled up watching a movie together, out of the blue he asked, “Mom… why isn’t there more focus on Lupus fundraising? Why do people care more about Cancer than they do Lupus? Do they not understand Lupus can kill you too? I don’t understand why nobody cares…” And then he went into his quiet place. I considered him for a moment and tried to mask the tears in my eyes and voice, and responded, “I think maybe it is because more people get Cancer than Lupus. Cancer is easier to understand, treat and diagnose than Lupus.” He came back with, “More reason to research Lupus instead of Cancer. They have the answers for Cancer. They don’t for Lupus. I don’t want you to die.” What do you say when your 11 year old says that to you? How do you respond to such adult questions coming from such a young child? How do you cope with something that no child should ever have to think about? I did the only thing I could think of. I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head and told him that I loved him and he is never to forget that.

And then there is my relationship. Despite the fodder, it is doing just fine. We may each be going through different things at the moment and individually may not be doing so brilliantly but we are fine. I suppose people ask because they are concerned. However, my gut reaction is to respond with either “None of your fucking business” or “We are doing horribly. Does that make you happy?” As with my children, this is sacred. So the really important things do not get discussed in public. If I wanted people to know, I’d tell them. But only after clearing what is okay and not okay to talk about with the other person in this relationship. Because after all, we are the ones that are in it. Not the observers who whisper and gossip in dark corners and then fish for information. So again, they get the “We’re okay” because we are even if individually, it isn’t the entire truth. But the whole truth is nobody’s business but our own.

It feels weird even sharing this much. But I am tired. I am feeling like a dartboard caught in the middle of all these different spheres that I use to keep quite separate from each other. Somehow they have managed to meld and collide. My friend life has mixed with my relationship life. My family life has mixed with my friend life. My relationship life has mixed with my family life. What use to be quite distinct worlds that never shall meet have mixed and mingled. What use to be clear and defined boundaries have become a blur, leaving me to build new lines in an effort to keep the core whole and secure.

At the end of the day when I’ve had time to reflect, after being bombarded by “how are things?” emails and messages and feeling like every body is being nosy and not respected my boundaries, I can conclude that they do it because they care. They may not show it in a way that I am comfortable with and instead show it in a way I find quite intrusive but for the most part I can conclude they care. The problem  is (and most would not agree this is a problem), too many people care. And I’m not always sure that they care for the right reasons. My energy is finite at the moment. It only has enough real focus for my inner most relationships: my children, my relationship and myself. Everything else is just window dressing. So instead of answering a million questions about how life is, I blog. Then I just have to say it once and if they honestly wanted to know, if they honestly cared, they will read it and understand.

I also have so much awesome going on right now. Like a lot! And I can’t share that either. SETEC ASTRONOMY (too many secrets). When the time is right, people will know. As I’ve written, things are mostly really good. I have a lot of pretty amazing things going on right now. I’ve been presented with some really cool opportunities as of late. These opportunities may not be paying off monetarily (which seems to be important for a few people in my life) but… well I think people will understand why that does not matter once I am able to share.

I’m blessed. I have solid relationships and a beautiful family. But my core is a little rattled at the moment, leaving my soul hectic and feeling frenzied. In time, I will reach a new state of equilibrium. I just ask that people are patient. I ask that people allow me to come out of this on my own time. The more I feel pushed and pressured into being sociable and “happy Jules”, the more I retreat because I don’t feel as if my needs are being respected. I feel as if people only care about their need for a happy Jules and not my need for space.

Honestly, I am good. I am just in my cave at the moment, taking care of the things that are truly important. When I am ready, when I am done reflecting on my hectic soul, I will emerge once more. I always do. And honest to bob, I think you will all squee with me when I can share the really awesome that is going on at the moment. I just thought I owed it to every one (mostly myself because I needed to get a few things off of my chest and erect some lines) to update this space and disperse with some of the cobwebs.


July 28th, 2010

It is 4 o’clock in the morning and it will probably be quite some time later by the time I’m done writing this blog. Why on earth would I be blogging at 4 in the morning and not sleeping? Because my mind is spinning in a whirling dervish of thoughts and my gut is aching. To put it bluntly, I am devastated. And honestly, it is not as terrible as it may sound. This devastation is actually quite a good thing.

Yesterday was the Spintunes round 3 listening party. For those of you who may not be in the know of what is Spintunes, it is a song writing competition. I am one of the judges for this competition. The challenge for round 3 was to write a sad song about a normally happy event: birth. Not only was it to be a sad song, but a real tearjerker. The words “happy” and “birthday” were not to be used.

Once the deadline for each round has passed, I host a listening party in ustream. It is an opportunity for every one to listen to the songs for (mostly) the first time before they are available to the general public for listen and download. And during this listening party, I am on web cam so that people can not only hear me but see me.

I had tweeted a few time prior to this round’s listening party that I was worried about having my cam on. I didn’t want to give away any reactions to this round. I didn’t want to let on in any way if I felt (in the literal sense of the word) that people met the challenge. It totally takes away from the judges not allowed to give any real type of feedback before our rankings and reviews go live. And if the songs did indeed jerk tears out of my eyes, well the jig is up.

For a brief moment, I had contemplated not having my cam on but then decided against it. I thought I would be able to distract my brain enough, through multitasking and throwing in happy songs for breaks, that there would be no emotional responses. I failed miserably at said distraction and broke in front of those who were in attendance. 1 song jerked tears. 1 song broke me. 1 song completely devastated me. It was all I could do to keep it somewhat together and not completely crumple over with emotional pain.

I was very worried about this possibility which became reality. I had a strong feeling that this round would be quite difficult for me to listen to. I had also strongly hoped that every one would fail miserably, leaving me to have to judge from an objective perspective instead of having to include the emotional perspective as well. In my first review, I wrote that if a song elicits an emotional response from me, that is a very good thing.

I have a very difficult time emoting. Strong emotions are quite foreign to me. I never know what to do with them when they happen. But I am always thankful when something aides me in achieving a significant dam-breaking flood of emotion. But I didn’t want to have the emotional break in this round even so it was the point of the challenge. Plus, it was a challenge that I strongly advocated be the way it ended up being.

This doesn’t make sense, does it? Let me see if I can explain this in an adequate way. It may be difficult because the flood of tears will not end and my gut will not stop twisting in knots of pain and sorrow. And if I do not purge, I think I may collapse in a heap on the floor, curl up in the fetal position and tremble with the ferocity of the Big Bang. Honestly, this is not a terrible thing. What I am currently experiencing is actually quite therapeutic. I am quite grateful for it all. Okay… I should explain and hopefully I do not break any rules I am bound by as a judge in the process.

This round hits way too close to home for two reason. I knew people would write (among other topics) songs about either losing their child at birth or about the mom dying during childbirth. I almost lost Kid2. When you are pregnant, you have all types of “what if” thoughts. At least I did. You want your baby to be healthy. You want to have an uneventful pregnancy. You want all of these things and more. But if you are the realistic type, like I am, then you think about the other things just in case. You try your best to mentally prepare yourself for all scenarios… just in case.

Well, there is no such thing as being prepared for it. Nothing can prepare you for that gut wrenching and heart sinking feeling when the doctor informs you there is something wrong with the baby. The bottom falls out of your world. The world become vacuous and fuzzy and speeds up and slows down and it is all you can do to remain calm and not want to die yourself. What you wouldn’t do to insure that your baby lives. Even if that means giving up your own life. Nothing is more important than the life you’ve chosen to grow inside of you. This thing that is technically a parasite, eating away at your resources, becomes your entire Universe.

I knew my children before they were born. They were my sun and my moon from the moment I had confirmation they were growing and developing inside of me. It was a bit of a trial to get pregnant. It was something I wanted more than anything in the world. All of my life I knew my most important job was to be a mom. That was going to be my major role in life. So when I was told there was something wrong with Kid2, I was devastated beyond words. It took every ounce of strength I had to continue through my day to day, doing whatever was needed to guarantee that he would experience his first breath and grow up to be a man.

Part of this involved possible surgery on his brain while he was still in utero. When I was told they may have to do BRAIN SURGERY before he was even born, once again it was all I could do to remain outwardly calm while on the inside I was a hot sick mess. The moment to moment living that I use to get through my Lupus became of the utmost importance for both my mental and emotional survival. Thankfully, over time, the problem in his brain started to correct itself (the problem would take quite a long time to explain. If you’ve read my book then you are familiar with it). We were told that he had a pretty good change of coming through the pregnancy fine. Of course we wouldn’t know for certain until he was born and they did CT scans and closely watched his development as he grew up.

And then came childbirth and he almost didn’t make it. After all the fighting and remaining calm and trying to be optimistic while remaining realistic throughout the pregnancy was almost for nothing. He turned quite frequently while I was in labour causing the cord to wrap around his neck three times. The last 20 minutes of labour and delivery, his heart rate dropped down to 40 beats a minute every time I had a contraction. At that point, my contractions were 2 minutes long and only 20 second apart. So for a good period of time, he was being strangled plus having a heart rate drop down to almost nothing for a significant period of time without time to recover.

When his head emerged from the birth canal, the silence in the room was deafening. I looked to his dad for signs of what was going on. All my doctor told me, in a calm yet very assertive manner, “Whatever you do, Do. Not. Move. Or Push. Until I give you the word.” I read the books. I’ve seen movies. Those are not the words you want to hear. Again, it was all I could do to listen to what he was telling me to do and not panic and kill my baby. Desperately, I searched the room for answers. Desperately, I held on to my own strength. Desperately, I fought so that my baby could breathe. I just wanted him to breathe. Silence. The most painful silence one could ever know.

Finally, I was given the go ahead to push. Only to have to stop again because his collar bone got caught in my pubic bone and my doctor had to do fancy manipulation to get him out without breaking him. Once again in a very calm yet stern fashion, my doctor ordered me to not move until given the go ahead.

These two instances were only moments long but they felt like an eternity. Time stood still. The world around me ceased to exist. All that was left was the pounding of my heart, the screaming in my head and the sick feeling in my stomach, pulsating, threatening to explode at any moment. He was out.

Why wasn’t he crying? WHY IS HE NOT CRYING? WHY IS NOBODY TALKING? SOMEBODY TALK TO ME!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BABY!?! Oh please God, somebody talk to me!! He is my baby, please, please, please, let him live. WHY IS HE NOT CRYING??? Oh God, no…

5 minutes later, after a lot of frantic motions from the doctors and nurses, he cried. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. Someone asked on Twitter tonight, “Can some girl please describe how you feel seeing your baby for the first time? happy? Joy? Victory? I’m not even a father….” My response, “Soul exploding joy. I don’t think it is really all that describable aside from saying that intoxicating feeling of being in love to the power of the speed of light to the power of infinity.” The moment Kid2 finally cried, when he finally took his first breath, it was as if I had taken my first breathe. The moment I knew he was alive, I was alive. I fell in love with him before he was even born and there he was. He was battered and bruised, had awful discolouration as a result of being cyanotic, had Klingon ridges and scratches which remain scars to this day. This made him quite ugly in many ways, but he was also the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes upon. He was a miracle.

So yeah… there is that. I don’t think I could properly explain the horror that is almost losing your child. I would have been devastated if he died. Based on my past attempts to prepare myself for the possibility of complications of pregnancy and almost losing a child and failing at said attempt, I don’t think I could ever prepare myself for the loss of my child. I can speculate. I can trick myself into thinking I am prepared for that event. But I do not think you can ever properly prepare yourself for that. And because I came so very close to losing a child I fought for, that I had planned for, I have the utmost empathy for any parent who was not as fortunate. And because of this, this round hits really close to home.

And then there is the whole losing the parent thing. Obviously I am still alive and my children didn’t lose me during childbirth. Their fathers will never have to explain to them those events. Their fathers will never have to remind them from the day they were born how much their mother loved them, even before they took their first breath. But my children do face losing me now. And this kills me.

I’ve written about this before. It is why the movies Stepmom and Finding Neverland leave me a hot sick mess. I don’t even want to begin to imagine what it will be like for them if the complications of Lupus rear their ugly heads and leave them motherless. It is why I wrote my book. So that they will have something, always always, to remember me by. I’ve left them my stories. I’ve left them love letters. I’ve done the things that fathers have to do with their babies when they are left motherless. And it breaks my heart. I’m not saying losing your mother at birth is the same. But it is relatable and as a result, I greatly empathize with both the parent left to tell the stories (I cannot count how many tears were shed as I was leaving a record for my children) and the children without a mother.

I think I needed this cry. I don’t think I have ever fully dealt with the emotions related to Kid2’s birth. I was so busy surviving and getting through the moment, I didn’t take the time to actually let it hit me. If I had done so… well I don’t think it would be good. I don’t know if I will ever fully deal with the emotions surrounding these events. Every time I think about the sadness of it, I feel as if I am doing the wonder and joy of it a disservice. I should be counting my blessings and not dwelling in the sorrow. And of course, that is what I do.

But every now and then, events will take place that bring it all back up to the surface as if it were my current reality. So I have to stop. Remember. Be thankful. All the while, allowing myself to give into the devastation.

In Which I Tell The Tale Of The Crispy-Fried Child

July 6th, 2010

My mommy heart is breaking right now. And yet, I can’t help but to laugh. I suppose that is what happens when you raise a child who is so overly dramatic. So many things with him are such a production. The way he expresses himself in times of sadness, pain and frustration, are right out of a sitcom. Grand hand gestures, elastic facial expression, quirky bodily movements, exaggerated speech, over the top physicality become his norm. And even so the mommy heart breaks, it is all one can do to not burst out into laughter.

Kid2 got a sunburn today. And not just any sunburn. My poor, pathetic child is a wonderful fiery crimson. It is enough to make the angriest sunset jealous. He came home from a sleepover feeling tired, miserable and in a lot of pain. At first I had no idea until he asked me a question. I could hear the sound of suppressed tears. I asked him what was wrong and was met with a very grumpy and pain-filled, “I’m tired and I have a frikken bad sunburn! OKAY!!” Sheepishly, I responded, “Oh sweetheart… Okay, to stop the burning, what we need to do is…” “I don’t want to hear it! I just want to be left alone! Please…”

I swallowed my instinct to completely mother him. He is so much like me. He is stubborn, strong-willed and becomes cave-dweller when something is bothering him. Like me, he needs to be left alone until he is ready for help and asks for it. So I told him to go do what it is he wants to do and if he wants my help, come and find me.

Shortly thereafter, I found him asleep on the couch. Watching my child with the crimson-coloured-angry-skin sleep was quite saddening. I was tempted to put cold, wet clothes all over him while he slept in order to stop the burning. But heaven forbid I wake the Angry Dragon. So patiently I waited for him to wake up and allow me to fix.

Accompanied by painful cries, he awoke a couple hours later. It was so completely pathetic and terrible. I asked him once more if he’d allow me to help him. He said yes, much to my own relief. I took one of his shirts, ran it under cool water and attempted to put it on him. I may as well have been beating him. The loud yet silent cries which ushered from his mouth were the most unbearable things to hear. Holding back my own tears, I left him alone as he wanted when the torture session was over.

A short while later, hunched over in the doorway, he asked me at what temperature it would be safe for him to have a shower. I gave him the instructions and down the hallway he creeped in an Igor-esque fashion. 45 minutes later he emerged, hair dripping and what I told him should be a damp shirt was leaving a trail of water wherever he went. And this is where the pathetic tale starts to turn oh so comedic but still so very pathetic.

Kid2 (shoulders hunches and pain in his voice): What time did I go to bed last night?

Me (puzzled): I don’t know, hun. You were at a sleepover last night.

Kid2 (half through tears in an over-dramatic fashion): What?!?! You mean… it is still the same day?!?!

Me (a smile trying to crack my face): Yes it is, love.

Kid2 (with the frustration of a 1000 men who have prematurely ejaculated): OH GAAAAWD! (looking up to the sky) WHY?!?! I just want this day to end!

Me (wanting to cry and burst into laughter at the same time): *sigh* Oh sweetheart…

Kid2 (almost fully on the verge of tears): This is the worst day EVER!

His brother had arrived home while he was in the shower. I told him he needs to leave Kid2 alone and not tease him because he has a horrible sunburn and is not in the best of moods. Can you guess how well he took that under advisement?

Kid1: Hey. You realize you are a ginger don’t you? And therefor burn easily? Dude! Why did you take off your shirt?

Kid2 (hands up in the air, through tears and completely exacerbated): GEEZ! I forgot, OKAY! I will NEVER forget again! GAAAAAAWD! Just leave me alone!… This is the worst day ever (collapses into couch face first with hands covering face and sobs)

Is it awful that I can’t help but to giggle over this? Am I a terrible person. I am the type of person who laughs at the most inappropriate and morbid things. I really have a whacked sense of humour. I feel so terrible for him. My heart is breaking over his pain and the fact I don’t have a quick cure to make both the emotional and physical pain he is currently suffering just disappear. But my God, this kid is hilarious even when ill.

It Really Is All My Fault

May 29th, 2010

I love my kids. I love them to bits and pieces. And not only do I love them but I actually like who they are as people. But there are days where I look up in exasperation and think, “why me?!?” I should never have named them and given them an identity. I should never have taught them to speak, never mind teach them how to speak for themselves and speak their minds. I should never had taught them to tell me anything and that I may not always approve but I will never love them any less. (Even so I am whining right now, in all honesty I wouldn’t change it for a thing.)

The last 2 days have been filled with many moments of laughter at the crazy things they say to me and many moments of “WTF!?! No parent wants to hear this stuff! LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” I will even turn to them and say, “DUDE! Really! Oh dear GOD! Why did you have to tell me that?” Only for them to smile and walk away. And even so part of me is serious, there is a bigger part that says, “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life even though the pod people have taken you and you are NUTS! THANK YOU for not shutting me out and not being afraid to tell me ANYTHING.” And I really mean, anything. They don’t hold back.

The last two days have been a long series of “that’s what she said”s. My youngest realizing just how dirty the word “geekasm” is and what it eludes to and a long conversation about how it could be wrong that we shared one together. My youngest telling me “You know what, mom. If a girl ever asks me what my favourite planet is, I’m gonna tell her Uranus. Isn’t that funny? Yeah, Uranus. I can’t wait to see her reaction. Now I just hope a girl asks me what my favourite planet is.” Ah man, there are a lot of other things but I think my brain has blocked it out of existence in an effort to preserve what little sanity I have left.

But this also leads to some pretty cool moments of sharing. My oldest just played one of the best jokes on my youngest. He took him outside under the guise of showing him a magic trick. They searched the neighbourhood for a seeded dandelion as it was part of this. The trick goes: 1) You tell someone to hide a leaf on their body. 2) Once the leaf is hidden, you tell them that the dandelion is going to detect where the leaf is. 3) You “scan” their body (as if going through airport security) with the dandelion while making beeping noises. 4) You tell them to open their mouth so that you can do a full body scan. 5) You shove the seeded dandelion in their mouth.

When they returned home, Kid1 told me what he had done to his brother so that his brother couldn’t attempt it on me. The practical joker inside of me howled but the mother, while trying to suppress a laugh, had to tell him, “That’s mean!” He had told me that his brothers reaction was, “Dude! That’s awesome! I can’t wait to do that to someone esle!” as he was spitting out bits of dandelion. Then once his brother left the room, he informed me of another joke he is going to pull on his brother. This joke involves my help. I have to say, it is pretty mean and pretty damn awesome and I can’t wait!

So, yeah. It really is my fault. I tell them to be themselves. I tell them to stand up for what they believe in. I tell them that if an authority figure is abusing their power, do something about it. I introduce them to all kinds of things that are a little bit off. I treat them like real people. I tell them that they can come to me and tell me anything. And so they do. At least when they are adults, they have a solid self-assured foundation. But man oh man, my house is rather insane at times and there are days that my head wants to explode due to TMI.

I really wouldn’t change it for a thing.

And Then He Was 11

April 16th, 2010

Kid2 is 11 today (officially at 22:14 PDT). For me, this birthday has a few different feelings surrounding it. This entire week I have been reliving the week leading up to his birth. He was born on a Friday and well… today is Friday. It was at the beginning of this week (which started with over 24 hours of false labour) that one of the longest weeks of my life began.

A week of having to convince the OB/GYN to approve an early induction because I was done with this pregnancy. I was done worrying if they would have to do surgery on his brain while he was still inside of me. I was done worrying if the swelling would return. I was done with the way too many doctor’s appointments. I was done and needed him out of me. I needed to hold him. I needed to touch him. I needed to breathe him.

Today marks the 11 year anniversary of those needs becoming a reality. Today is the anniversary of a day spent planning for the arrival of our newest addition. Today is the anniversary of trying to distract my brain until 17:00 PDT when I was to show up at the hospital to have my water broken. Today is the anniversary of 9 long months, followed by 5 hrs and 14 minutes of the most unimaginable pain coupled with complication, ending with one of the most joyous moments of my life, when Kid2 FINALLY took his first breath and screamed his big head off. I don’t even know where to begin expressing how wonderfully joyful this is (especially since he almost didn’t make it through the pregnancy) and how extremely difficult it is to watch your children grow up and allow them to be their own person. He certainly is his own person and an amazing one at that.

I had thought I would include here the story of his birth which can be found in my book. That doesn’t seem appropriate for a few reason. I thought I would try and summarize some of the highlights from his life. That does not seem adequate. How can you effectively summarize the joys and pains of raising a beautiful young man? I don’t think I ever can.

So I guess that all I can really do is wish him a happy birthday, remind him how he truly is a miracle and maybe the last paragraph of his story is appropriate:

Even during the hardest of times, [Kid2] has been a constant source of humour and joy in my life. I have not even for the briefest of moments considered what my life would have been like had I decided to stay with my decision to tie my tubes and not have another child. He is one of my reasons.

Grab A d12 And A Chess Board And Game!

March 20th, 2010

Kid2 has decided once again to invent a new game with his friends. This one involved a d12 and a chess board. Rules are as follows:

1) Set up the chess board as normal.

2) Grab your d12.

3) Rolling the die determines the number of spaces your chess piece can move up, diagonally or backwards.

4) If an opponent is in front, diagonally or behind you, you can attack.

5) If an opponent is directly beside you in any direction, you can kill them without having to move at the beginning of your turn.

6) If you are advancing, you can only advance as far as another team piece. Exception is the Knight, which can jump over other pieces as it advances on the board.

Last team standing wins.

So there it is. Pretty simple I think. It may sound like a stupid game to some, however I find it awesome that my 10 year decided to take one of his favourite games (chess), grab a die and create something new with it.

In Which Kid2 Stands Up For What He Believes

February 15th, 2010

There has to be a better word to describe your amazing children than just amazing. And the word proud doesn’t even begin to articulate how I feel. I have raised my boys to stand up for what they believe in and to voice their opinions. I have raised my children to not allow themselves to be bullied by anyone. They have a wonderful sense of self and it shows.

Kid2 has been doing a lot of standing up for himself, others and for what he believes lately. When he comes home from school and tells me some of the stories, part of my high fives him and part of me winces as I wonder what on earth his school possibly thinks about his actions. A couple examples of this is: 1) he circulated a petition at school that he was going to present to the Principal in an effort to get a substitute teacher reprimanded for her bullying behavior towards the students, 2) this same teacher tried to take away snack and PE as punishment for the children not behaving. Despite worry that he may be sent to the Principal’s office, he stood up in front of the class and told the teacher she was not allowed to this as it was against the law (1 hour of daily physical activity is MANDATORY in this province for school aged children. The school is responsible for providing part of that physical activity on a daily basis and the parents are responsible for the rest. Snack time is mandatory as well). Then he told her that if she did, he would leave the classroom to go immediately to the Principal and tell. The teacher backed down and responded with, “well you guys just are bad and are behaving poorly.” He came home to tell me the story and I was very proud that he was not afraid to stand up for his and his fellow classmates’ rights regardless that it was a person in authority breaking them. Today was another such incident.

Because the Olympics are happening right now and because this province is hosting them, they are having to learn all about them. I am anti-Olympics being in B.C. for a lot of reasons. Kid2 knows this but I have never told him my reasons. When he asked what my reasons were, I told him that he needs to form his own opinions regarding the Olympics and choose for himself if he was for or against them. It is not my place to push my beliefs on this matter onto him and told him to do his own investigations. So without telling me that is what he did. Today the teacher gave the students the following assignment: Watch the Olympics daily and report back on how Canada did.

Upon receiving this assignment, Kid2 (he is 10) told the teacher there is no way he would be doing this assignment. When asked why not, he responded with “because I do not believe the Olympics should be here and will not support them let alone watch them on TV.” The teacher then asked him why he didn’t support the Olympics and he said, “Because of the Olympics being in BC, education and health care were cut. Because of the Olympics being in BC, important social programs were cut. Because of the Olympics being in BC, taxes are going up. Because of the Olympics being in BC, jobs are being lost. Because of the Olympics being in BC, homeless are being kidnapped from the streets of Vancouver and relocated so that they do not embarrass the province. Because of the Olympics being in BC, poor people were evicted from their houses to make room for athletes. Because of the Olympics being in BC, access to part of Vancouver are being restricted. Because of the Olympics being in BC, we have lost our free speech and can go to jail for being anti-Olympics. And there are more things I still need to read about.”

When he told me about the conversation my mind did a mix of cheering and thinking “oh crap!” But what happened as a result of him standing up for his convictions was pretty awesome. The teacher told him he did not have to watch the Olympics. That instead he would do a different project. He has to make a poster stating why he is anti-Olympics.

Free speech may be dead for a lot of people right now as a result of the Olympics but I am so happy that it is alive and well in my child’s classroom. I am very proud of him at this moment. This is just another example of something huge that he has done to make sure he is heard and standing up for what he believes despite fear of prosecution.