June 27th, a day of celebration

Today is a big day.

8 years ago, on June 27, 2001, I was raped. It was an unimaginable nightmare physically and emotionally that I spent years recovering from. Last year I spent this day rejoicing because I was able to against all odds have a beautiful, healthy, textbook pregnancy and have an incredible daughter to show for it... something that I was told at a tender age wouldn't be a possibility because of the damage caused that horrible night. I was in a bad place last year though... my marriage was falling to pieces, I was just officially starting my design firm, and I had just finished remodeling my house. I was stressed, exhausted emotionally and physically, and I spent this day crying. I sat for hours watching Marti Pearl sleep thinking about how lucky I was despite what I'd been through, and I resolved never to do that again.

In fact, it was the first year that I actually cried... every other year I was entirely too busy celebrating. In 2002, I had just graduated from high school. I had great friends who were very concerned about me, knowing the first anniversary of the rape would be difficult. They picked me up from my house, and threw me a lovely surprise party complete with a bonfire, copious amounts of alcohol (not that I endorse underage drinking of course!) and lots of dancing. It became my very favorite tradition... an unconventional one, but what's common about this mama anyhow?

I've gone on trips, thrown dinner parties, had sleepovers, and each time I've eaten too many cupcakes and completely enjoyed myself. I love celebrating this day because it makes something that was in every way negative a very positive thing. I celebrate because I made it through, because it didn't break me. I celebrate because when I had Marti Pearl I was able to overcome this in the greatest way. This day reminds me that I am strong... much stronger than I normally give myself credit for.

Tonight I'll be celebrating. Two of my favorite bands, Cletus Got Shot & Damn Bullets (my clients, I just finished their website today!) will be playing at my favorite bar The Smoke & Barrel Tavern, which my friends and family jokingly call my office. I spend all of my baby-free time there working (free wireless, air conditioning, and cheap drinks!) or dancing... tonight I'll definitely be dancing. The three owners are so near to my heart, and the timing of tonight's show couldn't possibly be more perfect. Thank you boys, for tonight. There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

If you see me out tonight give me a hug. We'll toast to 8 years of kicking ass, taking names, and being healthy, happy, and strong.

Also, a side note: did you know that Mayor Jordan proclaimed June 27th Gay Pride day in Fayeteville, AR? He's a good man and an excellent mayor. I'm thrilled to know him. I spent a few hours at the pride picnic promoting The Lighter Side and handing out rainbow popsicles... a wonderful way to spend the day. Thanks to the NWA Center for Equality for giving me an excellent reason to celebrate this day all day long.

O hai!

Take Your Kids to Dickson
was a huge success. An event that went together in about 4 weeks as a response to some negative publicity turned into one of the most fun things I've ever done. A solid month of 80+ hour weeks and neglecting my (money-making) business proved to be well worth all of our hard work. In the process, I got much closer with one of my good friends, made some new ones, and met lots of people I really enjoy being around. We're already starting planning of our next event, and plan to do lots more of that in the near future. Personally and professionally, this was a huge achievement. I'm thrilled with all of it!

I give advice now! I know, everyone's shocked- right!? Some good friends came to me when they started their online magazine and asked if I'd contribute... I was thrilled to jump in, and have had lots of fun with it so far.
Read Cattywampus

In other work-related news, have you seen all the new stuff I've been doing?
Bella Vita Jewelry
Damn Bullets
and I'll be finishing up a couple more sites this week... Needless to say, work is fantastic.

Marti Pearl and her dad went to Kansas City to visit his dad & half-sisters this weekend... it was a wonderful trip for them, and a great mama-break for me. Marti Pearl got to meet her aunts & grandpa for the first time, and had lots of fun with her cousins. I danced barefoot with my mama to one of my favorite bands, had margaritas at lunchtime with one of my best friends, and feng shui-ed my apartment. I feel well-rested and officially recovered from TYK2D.

Lots I've missed out on recently, I'll start catching up quick! Promise!

One Smarmy Mama shares some knowledge...

I'm so sorry I've been neglecting you guys!! Preparation for Take Your Kids to Dickson has taken up all of my time, and we're almost there!!

In the meantime, my very good friend One Smarmy Mama agreed to guest blog for me, so without further ado... enjoy, kids!

Heather is one of my favorite people, so when she asked me to guest blog for her today, I was stuttering and stammering for just the perfect post to fill her space. What would be important and earth shattering? What would thoughtfully and eloquently fill her lovely blog for a day? What OH WHAT is worth of putting on momuncommon?

There are a lot of things that are important to me, many issues that are near and dear to my heart. But it wasn't until I was contemplating this while on the pot after lunch that it hit me....I needed to write about an issue that is afflicting children all over the country. An issue we simply cannot ignore anymore.

The infliction of crappy music on our children.


When I was a wee child, I was blessed with an musician father who had, for the most part, superb taste in music. I was raised on all things Beatles/Wings/Macca (natch) but also was exposed to Boston, The Eagles and The Beach Boys as well as then unknowns like T Bone Burnett and Tonio K.

My dad would make me sit and listen to particularly amazing instrumentations while 12 year old me rolled my eyes and groaned. It wasn't until I was a bona fide grown up that I realized what a freaking awesome musical education I had been raised with.

And so, today, in an age of T Paine and Flo Rida and TPDs and 3 year olds dancing on YouTube to Beyonce, I say this to you, my fellow parents...Stop The Insanity! I know it's cute when your little one sings along with Taylor Swift in the car, but this is almost downright abuse. These poor children are being raised on the musical equivalent of Hostess Cupcakes and Wonderbread. Let's give them some musical health food...you know, the gooood stuff that is tasty and good for you too.

So, my friends, I present to you..........
The Ten Albums/Artists You MUST Expose Your Children To Before They Start Ignoring You.

1. Pearl Jam - Ten

The grunge era brought us out of crappy pap pop music and bad boy bands and back into real musicianship, insightful lyrics, and concerts that were practically spiritual events. I personally find Eddie and crew to be a little bit more appropriate and palatable for the kids than Kurt, but that's just me. Pick one and make sure your kids know them and love them.

2. They Might Be Giants - Flood

Many followed in their footsteps, but John and John pioneered geek rock and made it an art form. I mean, come on...."Particle Man"??? "Istanbul (not Constantinople)"??? CLASSICS. When our kids are in high school, the cool ones are gonna be rocking "Birdhouse in Your Soul". You know it.

3. Semisonic - Closing Time

Let's face it, our kids are going to hear "Closing Time" a million times on classic radio when they are teens, let's show them why it was so much more than a one-hit-wonder song. If you've never heard this album in it's entirety, shame on you! It's pure pop perfection. Evocative, sentimental lyrics, sweet and clean guitars, crisp, peppy drums. The entire album is just simply adorable, and enjoyable listen from start to finish and makes you realize these guys were more than just "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here".

4. Elliott Smith - XO

Before "shoegaze" there was Elliott. The kind of music Elliott Smith produced could easily take a minuscule step to the side and be contrived crap. But his songs are haunting and beautiful, his voice both wistful and so incredibly real. His talent and impact on a whole new generation of sad bastard music is unquestionable, and you know when our kids talk about famous rock and roll legends, his death will top the list. Do your kids a favor and let them know that Elliott Smith was more than a dude who maybe stabbed himself with a steak knife.

5. Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker

No child's musical education would be complete without a lesson in Alt Country. And, it was a little tough to pick what the best representation would be. I think Ryan is it. When you introduce your kids to Ryan, you introduce them to Whiskeytown, and well, that opens up a whole range of artists. This album is so good, it hurts to listen to it sometimes. You get lessons in blues, country, rock........and it's so so good. And, Ryan is such an interesting character, I'm sure he's going to be making crazy headlines well into the next couple of decades.

6. Stankonia - Outkast

Our kids are going to want to know what the heck was up with all the hip hop and rap and R&B when we were young, so show them something decent, for pete's sake. Outkast is what it's about...writing about real issues, rapping with real talent. None of this effing auto-tune crap, talking about ladies underpants and sh*t like that. Now, there are definitely things on here that aren't appropriate for younger kids, but may get you having some good conversations with your older kids. Good, timeless album.

7. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans

Let's face it. One day, you're going to have to explain "hipsters" to your children. Wait till they are about 14, put on Plans, and I think they'll get it. Death Cab pretty much have defined a genre and era right now and, for that, they do deserve some props. (Oh yeah, and you're going to have to explain "props" and then get eye rolls when you do).

8. Oasis - What's The Story Morning Glory

One of the most important, significant influences on American music is British music and one of the best influences on American pop music in the 90's was Brit-Pop. There are probably a dozen bands that are suitable to share with your kids, I picked Oasis because they are accessible and, much like Semisonic above, you KNOW they are going to hear the HECK out of "Wonderwall" on classic radio someday. If that is all they ever learn of the most pompas band in the world, it would be a true shame.

9. Green Day - Dookie

Ok, the subject matter is questionable for little kids, so I'll let you substitute American Idiot if you must. But Green Day made it cool to be punk while still remaining punk. Your kids are gonna want to know about punk. We didn't start it, and we can't claim it. Luckily, though, we have one of punks greatest sons in OUR generation.

10. U2 - Joshua Tree

DUH! The beginning of it all, kids. U2 is to our generation what the Beatles were to our parents generation. As self-important as Bono has become, it shouldn't take away from that pure genius musicianship, lyrics, and art that comes from these guys. Your kid wants to learn to rock? Slap on Joshua Tree and school them.

And there you have it, friends. Now go, dig out these CDs and play them in the car on the way to school. In 20 years, I promise, your kids will thank you.

On late-term abortion, I couldn't have said it better myself.

I have totally neglected you guys. So sorry about that... its been a crazy couple of weeks, planning events and working hard has been fun but pretty exhausting. Free time is a thing of the past... I miss it!

Anyhow, I just want to link to an incredibly well written blog this morning. Writing on late-term abortion is difficult to say the least, but this was done with grace, tact, and respect... This needs to be said, but more importantly needs to be heard.

Sex ed won’t make this go away. Contraception won’t make this go away. Looking after babies won’t make this go away. And making women travel halfway across a country away from support networks and stay in hotels while life-threateningly ill, and then have to run the gamut of harassers and gun-wielders? This. is. not. OK.