the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Blogs by YOU: ask-Lillia-the-fan-troll

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My dear wife gives her Dragon’s Treasure Award to our daughter’s Tumblr– but this is no mere nepotism– this is where her art REALLY shines. Please have a look and give her some blog love.

The Dragon's Lair

Blog ButtonThis week’s recipient of the Dragon’s Treasure Blog award is ask-Lillia-the-fan-troll.  Now, I’m not going to lie to you.  This blog belongs to my daughter.  With that knowledge, I know quite a number of you are going to scream “nepotism” at me.

Hear me out.

My daughter draws nearly everything in this blog HERSELF.  Seriously!  She made up her own cast of characters: 6 trolls and 2 humans.

“Wait.  What?”  I hear you saying.

I hear your confusion and answer it with this:  Homestuck

Don’t ask me to explain.  It’s way too long and complicated for that.  Suffice it to say that, in a nutshell, everyone dies.  In the fandom, however, everyone fights over “‘ships” (short for relationships) which is much more relevant to this because it’s fan made.

Now then, back to why I chose this blog.

This is why.

tumblr_nu6dt38c7h1ucv4n1o1_1280So congratulations, Yellow_Neru.  I hope you display your…

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Candle in the window

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Bringing this up from the archive; #domesticviolence was an actual thing for us. (Really, really.)

the tao of jaklumen

I love you, my dear, every time I go

You have a way to let me know

No matter how upset I may be

I know when I return, I can always see

That signal waiting home for me

Welcoming me home with light so low

That sign so warm, that candle in the window.

A candle in the window like this always let me know that it was okay to come home, after an argument.

Prayers and warm regards to Bill Hamilton (who is dealing with COPD), samara’s BFF (who is dealing with cancer), and a good friend of mine (who is dealing with T-cell lymphoma).

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The continued loneliness of a SAHD (in 2015)

Based on a post written October 18, 2011. 

I am still sick and bloody tired of the stigma that is attached to Stay-At-Home-Dads, and house husbands.  I never like answering the following question: “So, what do you do for a living?” The people that ask it are rarely satisfied with my answers.  They are usually fishing for employment status, and often they wince and writhe with uncomfortable facial expressions and gestures once they learn I am on disability.

It was worse when I was younger, and lived in a slightly more affluent part of town.  The most uncomfortable reactions were at church, of course; it’s not unheard of for mothers to work, but fathers working has been the norm for LDS families for many decades.  I stood out like a sore thumb.  It was worse when my children were little.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  My current ward (congregation) understands my situation, mostly.  There were dozens of fathers taking turns looking after their babies, and I got help, mostly when my son was little (Neru was school age by the time we entered the ward).  But of course they were all gone at work weekdays, and I never much enjoyed church playdate activities, as women dominated any conversations.  There was only so much common ground before topics slid to things that really didn’t pertain to me as a man.

Then, of course, there were all the challenges autism presented– Cimmorene got really overwhelmed for a time, and so the Primary leadership would come to me when Boy was throwing some conflict.

The media is all about Mom

I enjoy being a parent. But EVERY SINGLE parenting magazine I pick up is “Mom.” “Mom.” “Mommy.” “Mom.” and it’s blatantly obvious in the advertisements, as if Madison Avenue believes that all dads still will have nothing to do directly with their children– because that’s Mom’s job. Sure, there are articles about SAHDs and such, but far, far, far too many keep the taboo in place.

Just one of many examples. This was part of a Cool Whip campaign on their Facebook page. Image credit: 360i_bucket at Photobucket

I speak of print, but as I saw “social media” unfold, and come into the mainstream, the message persists.  Note, dear readers, that what I had written previously was about WIRED– specifically about “GeekDad“, and “GeekMom”.  The contributors all seemed to cling to the status quo.  GeekDad contributors, if they wrote about parenting, wrote about it as if it was almost an afterthought. I cringed when Jonathan Liu demurred and said he just “happened” to be working at home to be a SAHD.  So I left GeekDad articles behind and started reading GeekMom articles more, because they would talk about parenting issues more directly.  But then it was the same “mom talk” drift– they’d quickly shift to topics that really were about women, and not really about men.

I see this image WAY too often– as if Dad blogs aren’t really a mainstream thing.

What… am I supposed to climb back to my video games, tools (hand or power), and assorted mannish hobbies?  Please, understand.  It’s pretty discouraging to see the onslaught of sites that either refer to “Mommy” or “Beauty & Fashion”, and I go and see that the voices of fathers will be pretty few.  If men respond, they rarely identify themselves as fathers.  It was very, very true at GeekMom… almost ZERO responses from men.

My world has plenty of yin, plenty of yang

There is this notion that women drive social media because they drive conversations in general, but I call bullshit.  Men will talk for hours upon hours about subjects that interest them.  Why the hell aren’t they comfortable talking about parenting?   I’m also very weary of the post-war stereotype that “men do the work outside of the home, women do the work inside.”  Cimmy’s helped me a ton with DIY projects (unless it’s electrical- then she leaves it to me) and I cook most of the dinners.  On the stove.  In the oven.  I broke the grill my parents passed down to me, and I haven’t fixed it yet.

And since my back has grown worse, Neru and Cimmy help me with the yard work.

Disability has already got this SAHD feeling like an old man

I was grateful when an old family friend moved into our neighborhood.  We are usually comparing notes on cooking, food preservation, music, mechanics, and many scholarly topics.  His children are about the age Cimmy and I are; he was friends with my mother-in-law since childhood.  He is retired, although he is miserable if he isn’t working on something.  He’s an amputee since he blew off a bum leg with a shotgun (long story), but he likes to keep busy.  Despite a miserable first marriage, he is happy married again to a woman that is full-time employed.  He welcomes my company, and Cimmy’s, too, when he is at home, although he is rarely, if ever, idle.

Generally speaking, the only people I can socialize with during the day are retirees.  (My mother recently retired, but that’s another very, very long story.)  Maybe that’s just as well; the sciatica, the neuropathy, and other health issues have got me acting like a grumpy old man.  I couldn’t stay in the mommy world.   And I’m not in a daddy world.  There aren’t many guys my age in my daily activities I can relate to. I can’t help it. Stereotypical guy stuff costs $$$– especially what many in my men’s group at church do. Firearms: $$$. 4X4 wheelin’: $$$. Fishing: $$$. Paintball: $$$. And so on.

I would write about how I was considering asking to attend the older men’s group at church, but, again, another story for another time.  I’ve struggled for a long, long time to relate to men my age.  There’s got to be something for the modern world.  I don’t have a business to pass to my children.  I was never that interested in sports.  Anything I am interested in is not one of the national pasttimes.  Most of the time, if I’m hitting the gym, it’s because I’m desperately trying to get better, either taking Cimmy, or Neru.  And that’s growing rarer all the time.  I try to be involved in my children’s schooling, but I cringe when the phone rings and someone (usually not connected to my son) makes the assumption that they need to talk to Cimmy.  I guess they need to hear my stories about failing student teaching and all that.  I’m aware of how schools work.

Once again, I feel like this is just a pointless rant.  The more I search the Internet, the more depressed I get.

 


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JJQ #75: The Most Wonderful Thing

I asked Cimmy to serve up a standard JJQ to break up the stream of “Affirmations from my therapist” posts I’ve been doing at this blog regularly.

jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

“Tell about the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you.”

Ooh!  This one’s a toughie. Let’s see…

Sunday School smilesOur wedding dayI could tell you about how I met my sweetheart at a church function and how we dated and were eventually married in the Bellevue Washington Temple.  Even though it was raining on that day, it was pretty wonderful.  I got to wear a wedding dress made for me by a dear friend of mine in a beautiful building where I was sealed for time and eternity to my very best friend in the whole world other than Jesus Christ.  Yeah, I could talk about that.  It was pretty wonderful, especially considering our 17th anniversary is coming up in December.  So I guess it would make sense for me to talk about that.

14308379517_5d8d5abeaf_mThe T-shirtI could share the story of when I gave birth to my daughter, which began early in the morning…

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I STILL want a dog.

Dear readers, I’m a church-going religious man.

I don’t talk about it much because I really don’t want to hurt anyone that’s been burned by organized religion.  But I mention this because yesterday was tough.  I was home, in terrible pain.  I just couldn’t seem to get ready on time and told Cimmy to go ahead and take the kids without me.

I saw these images slowly appear in our mutually shared Dropbox. Cimmy uses a Samsung Galaxy tablet, and since Boy destroyed our Canon PowerShot, it’s now the primary photography tool.  Because Cimmy is a little bit protective of her technology, it now means she’s also our principal photographer right now.

This evoked a FLOOD of emotions.  If you don’t follow all the links, dear readers, just observe that I have blogged about wanting a dog, and researching service and therapy options, for at least five years, or more:

 

JJQ#18: Pets

 

I want a dog.

 

More on the service dog quest.

 

Yet more on the dog quest

 


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REBLOG: …the father becomes the son. (more thoughts)

About a week ago, Cimmorene remembered where she was during my father’s near-death experience, and the weight of the sacrifice that I made to encourage my father to resume his life, so mine could begin.

the tao of jaklumen

[ADDENDUM: 11 January, 2015]  When my father first told me of his near-death experience, many years ago, a flash of memory hit me, like a curtain being drawn from my mind, to reveal the light of the morning sun.

I remember begging, pleading with him, to go back, so that I would have a chance to be.  I did not remember all, but over the years, I came to know the deep sacrifices that were made in those moments.  I would revisit them when he nearly died, again, and each time I climbed up on the surgeon’s table, the last time being the 7th of January, 2015.

This is my Atonement with the Father.

JOR-EL: Once, when you were small, I died, while giving you a chance for life.

It was a shock when I saw him.  He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body.  He was NOT…

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REBLOG: When women abuse boys.

Three years after I wrote this post, a news story broke that was much closer to where I live. This woman was not a teacher, but was the town mayor for a time, and her husband was the high school principal. The name? Linda Lusk, then 49. The boy? Only 14 at the time. The town? Prosser, WA, just 45 minutes from my home.

The news agency that covered the story– 20/20 and ABC News– also covered the story of Mary Kay Letourneau. Years later they returned to both MKLT and Lusk, and in my opinion, whitewashed a lot of their stories. Fualaau, LeTourneau, and the two girls– now teenagers– were portrayed as a happy family. Lusk was shown with a young 20-something man who was supposedly the new love of her life. No mention was made that he was married, and eventually returned to his wife and child.

See also A Survivor’s Journey: The Challenge of Triggers & the Media

the tao of jaklumen

                          <div>         I'm an avid reader of periodicals. I generally read more news in print than I do online.

The Associated Press recently decided to do a series of stories on teachers who sexually abuse their students. I was shocked at their emphasis on male teachers. Have the stories of Pamela Smart, Mary Kay LeTourneau, and Debi LaFave said nothing that did not bear repeating? While many offenders may indeed be male, it in no way diminishes the crimes of those who are female.

I decided to research the stories of the women a little more. On the surface, the horrors seem apparent enough. Smart’s case seems especially bizarre to me since the media focus was on the murder of her husband. There is fairly discussion of her methods of preying on Bill Flynn. LeTourneau had two children by her victim, and is now married to him. LaFave currently blames her…

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Fortune Cookie Ponderings

Please give Cimmy some blog love. She hasn’t been writing as much lately (been more into gaming)

jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

The other day following a dinner at one of the local Chinese Buffets, the cookie following my meal had an interesting fortune.  It said  “You long to own your own home and family is all important to you,” or something similar to that.  My husband, jaklumen, suggested I write a post on it.  So here I am tapping away at the buttons of my keyboard, trying to come up with something you might find interesting or that might, at least, perk your interest.  Personally, I’m not sure how interesting you’ll find philosophical discussions with regards to fortune cookie inserts.  Still, it’s worth a shot, right?

6566848537_8977d5444e_m Christmas Fire with Mom and Son

So, my family lives in a home that we aren’t renting.  Still, technically, we don’t own it.  It’s under mortgage, a payment that jak pays every month without fail.  The main reason we bought are buying the house in which…

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Feminist Friday: The Myth of “Girl Stories”

“Eclectic” Allison writes about the Myth of “Girl Stories”, or why it’s a great disservice to young readers to stereotype stories by gender. I hope, dear readers, that as I’ve written about the Hero’s Journey, that I’ve demonstrated that both men and women characters can follow the Monomyth cycle. Today, especially, there are more storytellers that men and women alike have much to show us about becoming heroes, and that we are telling such stories more than ever before.

Eclectic Alli

When I asked my friends for fantasy book recommendations for an 11 year old, they had many wonderful  suggestions.  I hadn’t mentioned the gender of the child in the original post and a few posters made assumptions which appeared to influence the recommendations they gave (much to their chagrin).  When I noticed this was happening I pointed it out, and that led into some great conversation.  One friend, Lynn, had recommended books that her son enjoyed, but noted that she “assumed the child in question was a girl, but only because she liked the Princess Bride — interesting huh?  I kind of hate to admit that.”

“It’s incredibly frustrating that parents, educators, and librarians continue to say that boys don’t have to read books that center on girls. There’s no reason that boys can’t empathize with girls, other than that we don’t teach them to. And as we continue to not teach them…

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REBLOG: Masks Aren’t a Precious Asset (mattheweatonwriter.com)

From Matthew Eaton: Writer | Child Abuse Survivor, Writer, Blogger- Finding My Voice One Post At A Time

Masks Aren’t a Precious Asset –.

Matt is using WordPress.org, which is the full-on, DIY, self-hosted WP.  Maybe there’s a plug-in that would allow WordPress.com-style reblogging, but, none that I know of.  If I wasn’t so horridly in pain, I would have done the proper blog thing and wrote up a lovely comprehensive post of my own, instead of using the “Press This” bookmarklet.

Anyways, to my point- someone caught me wearing my mask a few weeks ago.  I waited for things to blow over before making an apology, but, they didn’t, and I was compelled by said person’s spouse to give one.

Please, read Matt’s post, to understand this mask analogy.