Sunday, April 13, 2014

I've Moved!

I'm not sure if anyone reads this blog anymore, but I wanted to update just in case. I've decided to change the name of the blog and move it to a self-hosted site. There are several reasons for the change. First, High Maintenance Hippie was not available for purchase as a .com domain. Second, the name is kind of long, and while I like it, I feel like it presses me into a niche that I'd like to be free from. So, I've moved to This allows me to be a little bit more free as to what I write about. The content will still be similar to what I wrote about here, and I hope you'll join me!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, New Theme Song

Ever have so much to do, that you shut down, don't do any of it, and play on Facebook all day? No? Just me? That's why it is now January 12th, and I'm just getting around to writing about the new year. I think I get so excited about the prospect of the fresh start a new year always feels like it brings. I know, I could start over any time if I'm not happy with the way something is. Each day is an opportunity to start fresh. But, I guess it's just the magic of that ball falling into a new year that makes me want to DO ALL THE THINGS!

2013 wasn't the greatest year for me. Certainly, it could have been a whole lot worse, and I'm very thankful that it wasn't. But in terms of personal growth it left a lot to be desired. The end of the year also came with a lot of medical issues. Both of my boys got concussions within a few weeks of each other. That alone gave me a bunch of new grey hair. Then my youngest fractured two bones in his wrist. Shortly thereafter, I found out I'm having some medical issues that require more trips to the doctor. So, given that all of that happened at the end of the year, all of the bills are arriving now. That means January is starting out in a financially bad place.

This is somewhat discouraging, but I am telling myself that it is just residuals from 2013 and that the year to come will still be great. I have an extremely high anxiety level, and that often leads to thinking about a lot of things that aren't going well, which leads to depression and a vicious cycle begins. But, deep down in that pit I sometimes find myself in, I still believe that I have the ability to change things that aren't going well for me. Sometimes it just takes a while to crawl out of the hole. I was in the hole for a good bit of the last few months, and really, I still am. But, I'm taking as many steps as I can to work my way back up. It's a slow process sometimes. Today was a really difficult day for example. But, it will happen in time.

Part of my new year ritual is to pick a theme song for the year. I keep it on my iPod or make it my ringtone to keep myself reminded of my goals. This years choice may make you laugh a bit, because it's such a pop cliche, but hey it's my theme song.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"His Day is Done"

For years I wrote poetry like it was going out of style. I could fill a notebook in a few days. I had volume after volume of the poetry of others on my shelf. I haven't written any for a very long time. Poetry is something I know a lot of people struggle with. Whether writing or reading, it can be a challenge. There's this fear that you're doing it wrong. If you don't "get" it there must be something wrong with you. I wish more people wrote poetry. It can be all your own, and very cathartic.My love for it led me to have the word Poetry tattooed on the back of my neck. Poetry is magical.  

This week we lost the amazing Nelson Mandela. There's nothing more that I could say about this amazing man that hasn't already been said by so many. But, I find that the poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou always seems to say things just a little bit better. Listen and enjoy. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

My TEDx Experience

I'm going to warn you before you even start reading...this post is going to be long!

You were warned. 

This past Friday I had the amazing experience of a TEDx event. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then, then you need to go (after reading this post of course) to the TED website and just spend the rest of the day watching TED talks. They're basically short talks, given by just about anyone you can think of, on whatever they have to say. A TEDx event is an independently organized TED event where the organizers can use their materials, branding, and show a certain number of archived TED talks. It's a way to spread the events around the world. TEDx events feature speakers who are local, or who were suggested by someone local. The event I attended was in a small city about an hour away from where I live. It was an all day event, and I can't even begin to express how amazing it was. 

When I first arrived, I was given my name badge, and directed to the swag table! 

I was given this awesome bag with the coffee mug, a water bottle, and some snacks! 

Then this beautiful stage, and awesome bad greeted us as we walked in and found a seat. The theater this event was held in was truly beautiful, and the stage design was awesome. 

This post will get insanely long if I go over all the speakers at the event. They were all really amazing, but I'll just go over my favorites, in no particular order, and you can see the rest on the TEDx Charlottesville website. 

First up was John Kluge, co-founder of a company called Toilet Hackers, and a rather well known name in the area. His family used to own a winery recently purchased by Donald Trump, and his name is on quite a few other things in the area. I think everyone locally just associates the Kluge name with money, but John is really doing some good stuff with his company. It's designed to bring sanitation options to countries where children die every day from diseases related to poor sanitation. He had a good message, and his company will be able to do some amazing stuff. 

Then there was Ralph Cohen, who is cofounder of the American Shakespeare Center. He gave a talk about how leaving the lights on during theater productions is of far greater benefit to the actors and audience than being in the dark all of the time. I've always wanted to go to see Shakespeare performed in this manner, and after his talk, I really have the itch. 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman was the speaker who caused me to purchase tickets to the event. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Fuhrman's work in nutritional science, and I've been wanting to hear him in person for a long time. I had the pleasure of unexpectedly getting to see him the night before this event, but he gave a great talk here as well. The results he has had with treating his patients with diet alone are truly amazing, and not to be ignored by anyone suffering from any disease. 

Deb Gottesman was the one speaker who made me cry. She was part of creating a production called My Soul Look Back and Wonder which took a group of women who had recently been released from drug treatment, jail, or other difficult circumstances, turned their stories into a play, and had them act it out at the Kennedy Center. It was a moving talk to say the least.

Then there was John Hunter. Before he spoke they played a short video about his World Peace Game, and talked to some of his fourth grade students about the game. After the video, they brought out three of those students who are now grown, and had them talk about what they game taught them. Then, Mr. Hunter came out and talked about what he learned from creating the game, and about being an educator. He met with a standing ovation, and for good reason. 

Here's a link to his book. World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

My two favorite speakers of the day both came from an open mic night held in Charlottesville where they were picked by the crowd. Darius Nabors, and educator, talked about his bucket list, and it was really entertaining. Denise Stewart talked about how to approach problems, and she had the crowd laughing the whole time.

And finally, Laura Mulligan Thomas and the Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble. They can only be heard to be believed.

So, those were the highlights of my TEDx experience. It was amazing, and I'm going to make sure to go to any of these events that I'm close to. If you have one in your area, GO! I promise you, it will be worth the price of admission.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Things That Matter

I wasn't in the best mood this morning. I was irritated by how something was going in my life when I went to bed the night before, so I didn't sleep well. I was looking forward to some extra time with my kids later in the day because they were out of school, but upset that I was going to be missing time at work and that meant not getting paid.

Then my ex-husband called and told me that someone had passed away. One of the kids in my oldest son's grade at school had been battling Leukemia for a long time, and it finally took him in the early hours. I sat in my car outside my office and cried. just isn't fair. This is not how death is supposed to happen. It was all I could do to work the few hours I could be at work and get back to my kids.

I decided to take them to let my oldest spend his birthday money, then I donated blood, and decided to get them a pizza for dinner. One the way to get the pizza, I popped a tire. So the rest of the afternoon was spent dealing with that. I ended up spending $130 for a new tire. This has been a really tough month for me financially and that was not money I really could part with. But I did and my car is back on the road.

Ordinarily I probably would have gone home and gone into a funk for the rest of the evening. I did eat some ice cream, not going to lie. But, all I could really think was...we are all OK. I didn't wreck when the tire popped. No one was hurt. Yeah my wallet is lighter, yeah Christmas will be smaller...but we don't need a bunch of stuff anyway. While I'm thinking about what I can't buy my kids, another mother just down the road is thinking about burying her child.

A year ago I didn't have the money to fix that tire, and now I do. I used to tell my mom when we were struggling that the money always comes...and it does. Yes, there are lots of things about my life that I might change if I could, but the things that really matter are here and I have to start remembering those.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Does It Always Have to Be About Them?

I'm sitting in a busy coffee shop and it's impossible not to hear the conversations at the tables around me. There are a few people working away alone, but several tables that are groups of women. Hearing the snippets of what they're talking about it reminds me of another episode of Sex in the City when Miranda freaks out on the other women and screams "Christ, does it always have to be about them?". She was referring to the fact that they had spent all of their time together talking about the men in their life.

The women at these tables have been talking about the men in their lives since I sat down. Talking about who their dating, how it's going, who is getting married, and various other topics all surrounding the men they're involved with. I get it, we are women, and if we don't analyze every detail of our relationships then we just wouldn't be normal. It's the most popular topic when we get into groups. There's nothing wrong with it. We need to get those thoughts and feelings out. But, they don't sit around talking about us.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately because I have a lot of female friends who are going through some tough times in their relationships. In listening to the issues they're having and how they're feeling, it makes me think about how we are once we get involved with someone. Now, I'm speaking in generalities because I know that there are plenty of exceptions. But why do we always make it about them? The women sitting at these tables look to be college students, and the fact that I'm near campus leads me to believe that they are. So, that means they're doing all sorts of things now. Why aren't they talking about the classes they're taking, the work they're doing, and the plans they have for life?

It seems that when we love someone, we wrap ourselves up in every aspect of them. We often lose parts of ourselves to make room for those parts of them in the process. I'm not saying this is all bad. It's good to find common interests with the person you love. It's good to show love by showing interest in their life. But so often I see a huge discrepancy between the amount of things a woman adopts of her partners interests vs how many he adopts of hers. Now, I know plenty of couples who share a lot of common interests, so there is a much more even playing field. But I also know a ton that can't remember who they were before they got married and had kids. They can no longer separate their life from their husbands.

Some of this is just love, devotion, and the nature of women. But sometimes, it makes me really sad to see how much some of us give up and compromise. Why does it always have to be about them?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Does Love Do?

Two things happened today that made me think about what it really means to love someone. What a person will do, and what they won't do to the person they love. I'm talking romantic love here, not the love we have for our children or other blood relatives, but the person whom we choose to be with.

I won't share the specifics of either so as to protect the privacy of those involved. But one was something someone said, and one was an act that I suspect was somewhat cultural, but appeared to have been the norm from my outside observers eye. Both made me hurt for the women involved. Now, it's very possible that neither woman actually felt any pain themselves because this might be acceptable to them.

But I have been thinking all day about both women, and all the women I know going through one thing or another in their own relationships. It's also made me think a lot about what I have accepted over the years in my own. What does love do to us? What does love do for us?

It's really the most amazing feeling in the world. To be in love is just fantastic. No relationship is perfect, we all have our fights, our things that we just learn to live with because while they may annoy us, they're certainly not deal breakers. But what makes us just take it when something isn't right? Even if it isn't something that we want to end the relationship over, why do we let it pass?

I guess those involved would say that it isn't that big of a deal or they would say something. Or that it's just the way that it's always been done. Or, they've learned to live with it. But, I know myself that these little things are sometimes bigger than we let on. That they eat away a little at a time at our soul. Maybe it stops with those little things, or maybe it grows into something worse. Maybe it impacts who we choose in our next relationship.

What keeps us from demanding better? Are we so scared of losing someone who loves us that we don't teach them a better way to treat us? What does love do for women that so many of us will give up part of who we are to keep it?