Wednesday, December 17, 2014

All I Want For Christmas Is This Stuff...

It's time for my annual Christmas list.

Because I'm five.

This is a thing around here, and if you're so inclined, you can read the lists from prior years here:


Holy cow, is this really the sixth year I have done this?!?!

Anyway, sorry that I'm writing this so late this year. Usually I try to get it done in time so that it could actually be of real use to people who want to get me something....not that most of the things I ever wish for are things...

1. I want the people who live in my house to do things without me having to become a nag. I hate the sound of my own voice, I hate being annoying...but that is quite literally the only way shit's getting done around here. Well, not true....I could just do it all, but that's not gonna happen. I'm supposed to be teaching my children life skills. I'm supposed to be teaching my children life skills. I'm supposed to be teaching my children life skills.

2. I want more patience. I try, I try SO HARD to hold it together when I'm dealing with my most difficult child. Really, I do. But goddamn. There are days every once in a while that I just can't handle any more interactions with this one. I need more patience. Or shorter days. Or an earlier bedtime. Or something. Serenity now.

3. I want more room on my DVR. Yes, we already upgraded and got the one with a ton of storage, but it just isn't enough. We need to record ALL THE SHOWS!

4. I want the bridges fixed. Seriously, the flood was over a year ago. Let's get on that, city.

5. While we're at it, I want the pool that was destroyed rebuilt. Pronto. I've got another baby who would like to play at the pool this summer, so hurry.

6. I still want a pair of thigh high red patent leather platform boots. A girl can dream, right?

7. I want a tattoo. Well, three actually. Okay, fine. More than three. But there are three that I know I want for sure. I got money for a tattoo from my inlaws for Christmas last year (because clearly, they are the most kickass inlaws in the history of time, amiright?!?!), but then I ended up pregnant right after New Years and had to use the cash for maternity clothes, which aren't very much like a tattoo at all. Unless we're talking about new stretch marks...

8. I want to get back to writing my books. I've neglected them for a while, intentionally. The thing about the books I am working on is that they are tremendously draining, emotionally, to write. I didn't want to go there while I was pregnant for health reasons. Now that the baby is living on the outside, I could theoretically get back to it. Of course, he has to cooperate, and that hasn't happened yet. I keep telling myself the books will always be there, but he'll only be a newborn once. Sometimes I have to repeat it on an endless loop.

9. I want the Batman v. Superman movie to not suck. I especially want Gal Gadot to kick ass as Wonder Woman so that she can get her own movie.

10. I want a dancing Baby Groot. A real one.

11. I want a money tree to take root in my backyard immediately. The Oldest is such a joiner, and all the things he wants to do cost so damn much money.

12. I want the time and energy to repaint the main floor of my house. I have the paint. I just need a cooperative child (hahahaha) and the motivation.

13. I want my basement organized. It's seriously scary down there. I need a week, uninterrupted, and a dumpster. For the love.

14. I want this ring. It's actually pretty cheap. It has seven strands, like the now seven members of my family. It's silver, which I prefer, and the stones are CZs, which I actually prefer too. Diamonds are overrated, not to mention the whole conflict diamond issue. But yeah. This one.

Hey, while we're at it, you can buy it here....just don't pay full price. Wait for a sale or a good code. Size 7. Hint, hint.

15. I want a new crockpot. The lid for the smaller one that I've had since we got married has vanished. I have no idea how something that big can just disappear, but it has. Gone. Totally gone. Everyone in the house has looked for it. Weird. Someone knows what happened, and nobody is talking.

16. I want to sleep. Right now, that's really what I want. Just being honest.

17. I want a do-over on Little Asskicker's birth. I know that's not possible unless someone invents time travel, but there has to be someone working on a real life Tardis, right? I'd totally go back and change how that all went down. Grumble grumble.

18. I want to take a shower without having to play a game of 20 questions with at least one of my children.

19. I want world peace, an end to hunger, freedom for all, true equality and for Citizens United to be overturned. I want Ginsburg to stay on the Supreme Court forever, and I want her replaced with someone as feisty and left leaning as she is when she retires.

20. I want Daryl Dixon sitting under my Christmas tree with his motorcycle and crossbow. Claimed.

Oh, and just in case you think that the things on my list are crazy and ridiculous, they are...but they aren't nearly as unrealistic as I thought. There was this one thing I'd been secretly wishing for...

Sometimes wishes do come true. xo

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - The FFS edition

Maybe it's a good thing that this year is almost over. Maybe it's a good thing because next year is 2015, the year we were promised hoverboards in Back to the Future. While hoverboards may not fix any of the things wrong with the world, they would be a fabulous distraction.


Back to the Future isn't real.


It's not a good week to watch the news...
Just this morning, the Taliban is claiming responsibility for the deaths of over 100 students between the ages of 12-16 in Pakistan. They've said that the school, an army school, was chosen for the attack because the government is targeting them. They were told specifically to shoot only the older students, all of whom were innocent and had nothing to do with the harms the Taliban claims have been perpetrated upon them.

The hostage situation in Sydney finally ended this morning after two of the hostages were killed, leaving people to wonder how the man responsible was missed by the system for as long as he was.

Then there is the huge manhunt going on in Pennsylvania today after 6 family members of Bradley William Stone were discovered killed in three different crime scenes yesterday. People locally have been receiving reverse 911 and shelter in place calls, the authorities trying desperately to locate him before anyone else is hurt.

...and those are just the major stories this morning.

Amal Alamuddin is the most fascinating person of 2014, so says Barbara Walters
As she has done every year since the dawn of civilization (okay, fine, she isn't that old...), Walters ran her end of the year special profiling the most interesting people of the year from her perspective. Amal Alamuddin was chosen as the most fascinating, but the reasons should make you bang your head on the wall a little bit.

For those who don't know, Amal is the woman who just married George Clooney, which is mostly why she was chosen. Prior to that, she wasn't flying high on the public radar. Now, though, she's fascinating simply because she landed one of the most persistent bachelors in the free world.


Nevermind the fact that Amal is one of the most high profile attorneys in the world with a client list that includes Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. She clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor while she was in law school and previously worked on the investigations of Enron and Arthur Andersen. She's been involved with international war crimes cases too. I could write and write about all the amazing things she has done....but somehow the fact that she married an actor is deemed the most interesting thing about her.

No. Just no.

The Cosbys. Ugh.
By now, most of the world seems pretty handily convinced that Bill Cosby is a creeper. As more and more women come forward, the picture it paints of him isn't a flattering one at all. Though there have been some people assuming that the women now speaking up are solely doing it for some kind of financial incentive, this is too big and too gross for that simplified kind of explanation.

There isn't a huge "make Cosby look like a predator" conspiracy.

He is one, though, or so it seems.

I was talking to someone about how there's even potentially a case to be made for criminal charges surrounding the incidents that may have happened a long time ago, even though the statute of limitations would have long ago expired. In cases where there is a deliberate deception and/or hiding of the fact that a crime may have been perpetrated, the statute of limitations can be found to be frozen, arrested. The clock doesn't start ticking on it until the victim reasonably would have known that a crime occurred.

Here, the women were systematically abused then told they'd gone along with it. As more of them have started to come forward, it reframes the way that others see the interactions they had with Cosby. It's entirely possible that some of them didn't even realize they'd actually been raped until now.

In these cases, since he seems to have drugged most of the women then convinced them that whatever happened was consensual when it wasn't, there is at least a theoretical argument to be made that he could face criminal charges. I highly doubt that will happen, but it's a possibility if there is a really creative person working in the DA's office and wants to try it.

What I'm having trouble believing this morning, though, is his wife's defense of him. She said this, "None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim," she wrote. "But the question should be asked -- who is the victim?" The man the media has been talking about of late doesn't sound to her like the man she married.

Well, yeah. That sure as hell doesn't mean that all these women are lying, though.

$81 Million Torture Handbook
There are pieces of the CIA report that I can't bear to stomach. The rectal hydration, the waterboarding, the leaving men on the floor to die of hypothermia.

For fucks sake.

Whoops. I let out the swears. 

We should be so ashamed of ourselves. The fact that the government paid two contractors $81 MILLION dollars to develop the torture procedures used is sickening.

I can't say much about this better than Jon Stewart and Senator John McCain did, so I'll just let them do it.

There is a line of reasonableness, a line where interrogation becomes torture, a line past which nothing is defensible or justified.

We were so fast past that line that we cannot defend our actions. Period. If anyone would know about torture, it's John McCain. Maybe we should listen to him.

In the YAY department
There was one small shining beacon of good news this week that I wanted to share. Dr. Vivek Murthy was norminated for Surgeon General over a year and a half ago, but hadn't been confirmed until this week.

These are your tax dollars at work, friends. 

He wasn't confirmed, even during the early days of the Ebola crisis, for a reason. It's a good one. Are you ready to know what that reason is???

He has said that the number of gun deaths in the country is a public health crisis, WHICH IT IS.

But you can't just go around and willy nilly say things like that without pissing off the NRA and all the gun rights groups. I mean, suuuuuure...we'll ignore the statistics on gun deaths and just pretend like there aren't more people that die from guns than a very long list of diseases...


His confirmation was delayed this long because of the gun lobby's opposition to him. The Senate finally told the gun lobby to suck it, and confirmed him. 

Score 1 for humanity. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

I wish I had that. Instead, I have guilt. A Guest Post from Anonymous.

Today's post is a special one, and I hope that you'll all see what I mean. This person asked me to write about this topic, and I turned it right around on them. You do it, I said. Tell me how you really feel and why.

And they did just that. 

I'm absolutely certain that more than a few of you out there will relate.


Such a powerful word.

People say you only feel guilt if you let yourself feel it.  Hmmm...I don't know about that.

I'm talking about the guilt that you wrestle inside your head with.  

I don't think I should feel guilty about anything. I'm a good person. I've raised my kids to be responsible adults, that job is done.  I've lived a "fairly" unscathed life.  I mean, who gets through this life totally unscathed by anything? I've been divorced and remarried.  I've had a career I was good at. My grandchildren are starting to appear now.  

On the surface, I'm a happy person.  Ahhhh, but don't pick that scab.  That guilt scab.  The one I don't admit to out loud.  

Now that the holidays are upon us and everyone is bustling about, buying this and that for family and friends, exclaiming, "Oh, I've found the perfect gift for (insert name here)" , and I wish my parents were still here to enjoy the holidays with us.  Or, I miss my mom, dad, or both, who have crossed over.  That brings the guilt.  

My mom is still with us.  Dad passed 5 years ago.  He was always the healthier of the two, so it was a shock that she's outlived him, but that's another conversation.  

Let me just say it.  Out Loud.  If my mother wasn't my mother, absolutely, positively, under no circumstances, would I have anything to do with her!  

Yes, she gave birth to me.  
Yes, she gave me life.  
Stop there.  

Her love is a strange kind of love.  The love of, "you have to love me, because I'm your mother, and you better respect me, or else".  On the outside, she's sickly sweet to strangers, outsiders and friends alike. 

Growing up, when my friends would come over, after hearing me regale tails of her escapades, and she'd pour on the sweetness that would turn my stomach, they would think I was the troubled one! So consequently, I  wouldn't have friends over.  

It continues to this day.  Her facade.  Her fakeness.  

Am I alone in this feeling of guilt, that I, the good Italian girl, can't stand her elderly mother?  

I feel guilt when people gush holiday sentiment over their loving families and all I feel is dread.  

I don't want to feel this way and Heaven forbid, I'd die if my kids felt this way about me!  

I don't want to go over to her apartment for the  obligatory holiday visit, so she can critique my hair, my weight, my husband, my kids.   I have no feelings for her.  It's been deadened by years of harsh criticism and now I feel guilt.  

No one is making me feel this, because it's not been said out loud.  

No one knows.  

Will I feel more guilt when she does pass away?  
Because of a relationship lost?  

Don't get me wrong, I've tried to have one with her.  I'm no spring chicken, I'm in my 50's.  I've done some living.  But doesn't there come a time in your life that you just say "Stop the Madness" ?  

I'm actually jealous of people who have wonderfully loving relationships with their parents. 

I wish I had that.  
I never did. 

I was a nuisance to my parents and they didn't have a problem showing that.  

Who said I had to pay homage to my mother for the rest of her life?  Where is that written? I'd like to meet the author.   

So to try to make up for the relationship I never had with my parents, I try to be the best Mom and Gramma to my kids and grandchildren.  

I push the guilt down. 
I swallow the bitter pill when I have to go for a visit. 
I ask myself, why do I keep doing this to myself and the answer is always, to be a better person than she is.  To show my kids that I can be the better person.  

Push the guilt down, take a stiff drink, and make my husband drive home from "the visit".  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Thursday - torture, fracking, diabetes and Nick Jonas. What???

I know, I know, I know. It's Thursday.

Normally, this is a Tuesday thing, the ranting and the raging and all that. I've been busy. So there.

Let's just get on with it since we're already two days behind, shall we?

If you haven't at least glanced at the report that came out this week, you should. Truly. I've only seen tiny snippets of it, but what I've seen only served to confirm some of the worst things I have believed about our behavior in the past 13 years or so.

And yeah, when I say our, I mean it, because like it or not, the actions of officials working within our government reflect on each and every citizen of this nation.

There are, for reasons I can't quite understand, some people vehemently defending the torture techniques employed in the report. Even when it has been revealed that they didn't yield much in the way of information. Even when it has been stated that we could have obtained most of what little information we did in other ways. Even then.

Here's the problem with most of the arguments I have seen in favor of the torture: there would never be a justification for the things we have done. I don't care what kind of information it yielded, what happened was not okay.

If we are to hold ourselves out as the leaders of the free world, we simply cannot stoop to that level. We cannot honestly believe that we can police the rest of the world and get away with the atrocities we've perpetrated. I don't care what these prisoners were accused of, we don't treat humans that way.

There aren't two sets of rules, one for us and one for everyone else. No.

We are better than this, or we should be.

There are so many problems with what happened. The ethical implications are huge. HUGE. There were almost certainly domestic laws broken, but bigger than that, we violated just about every peace treaty and international agreement written in the world. The report stopped short of saying that the President was involved, but I don't buy that. I'm sure Bush was aware, just as I am sure that Senator Udall's accusations about the complicit nature of the Obama administration have at least sizable elements of truth.

This shouldn't be a political issue, this should be an ethical one. Period. There are people involved at every level of government on both sides of the aisle who did things and approved things and authorized things they weren't supposed to. Period.

I have been saying for years that in the eyes of many people around the world, we have become the terrorists.

I wasn't wrong.

We've just given them confirmation.

The Bullshit Fracking Commercials
Now that the elections are over, we're back to seeing wiener pills and urinary incontinence pads on television. In this part of the country, we're also back to the constant propaganda of the oil and gas industry.

There is a new commercial that makes me stabby and the more I read about it, the angrier I get. CRED - or Coloradoans for Responsible Energy Development sounds like a legitimate organization concerned with balancing environment, health and industry, right? It isn't. It's funded by O&G.

They just make it sound legit.

Anyway, there is a new commercial pairing organic farmers with fracking interests, claiming that these poor downtrodden organic farmers depend on fracking to keep the lights on. You can see this fantastic piece of fiction here if you are interested.

The woman in the ad, the one who claims to be the organic farmer that needs fracking wells drilled in all the places??? She's in the O&G industry. Shocking, I know.

Her family might own a farm, they might not. I don't honestly care. But if they are running an organic farm in the red and would depend on fracking rights to survive, then maybe they shouldn't be in the organic farming business.... disturbs me GREATLY that there are tons and tons of wells being drilled here in the center of fields. Those fields are growing crops. Food. Food that you eat and I eat and no one seems to care that there are wells being drilled in the center of fields growing food. We'll just assume that everything is fine and that there isn't anything to be worried about as far as pollution. Uh huh.

Nick Jonas
Nick isn't actually pissing me off all that much. I mean, his lyrics could use some work...they are a bit on the side of ridiculousness. The suggestion that he has a "right to be hellish because he still gets jealous"??? No. You don't have a right to anything, young man. Sorry.

That isn't what this rant is about, though.

It's about the fact that there are groups of people kinda angry with him. You see, he has a new solo album out now and is working on a drama that involves S-E-X and nudity and dirty dirty dirty adult things.

He's an adult now, so whatever.

And, personally, I like him dirty. What???

The problem is that he's a Disney child, so people think that, like Peter Pan, he should never grow up. Not only was he a Disney child, he was a Jonas Brother, purity ring and all. Part of their deal was that they were supposed to be uber religious and into purity and saving themselves for marriage and all that stuff that makes the overprotective fathers of tween girls feel somewhat at ease with the world. Even if it's all manufactured and doesn't work anyway. (but that's another post entirely)

People are bent out of shape that he's most often shirtless these days, that he isn't being a role model anymore, that he's taken off the purity ring. He's human, he's an adult. Seriously.

He can have sex. He can be sexy. I'll allow it.

There are other people upset that he isn't using his most recent propulsion into fame to stump for Type 1 Diabetes. Nick was diagnosed as a kid, and there are some vocal T1 people out there who feel like he's slighting the cause by not talking about it all the time and using his fame to raise money.

Here's the thing.

We don't want our kids to be defined by their conditions, right? Why then should we expect him to be? 

We shouldn't.

He doesn't owe anything to anyone just because he has the same diagnosis some other people live with.

Also, he's solidly in the young adult self discovery phase. I'm going to assume that the two things that defined his youth the most were 1) the highly repressive public identity associated with the Jonas Brothers and 2) the fact that he has Type 1 diabetes.

He has every right to figure out who he is without those two things limiting him.


Always shirtless.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

When you get it...

Every so often, I'll realize that something I haven't watched in a very long time but have always loved is running on Netflix.

Last week, we introduced the kids to Stand By Me this way. That was a coming of age film that first was released when I wasn't much different in age than my kids are now. I was prepared for my experience with it to be a little bit different as a parent than it was back when I was the one watching it for the first time.

Aside from the bit about how he was a writer, it wasn't.

That part though, oh, did it resonate with me.

As Netflix is so ingeniously programmed to do, it began to show me movies that I might be interested in because I had recently watched Stand By Me. One day, a new film appeared on that list. One that I loved from the moment I saw it the first time.

American Beauty.

Original film poster
It was released in October of 1999. I'm almost certain that my husband and I saw it in the theater just before everything in our lives changed later on that month. Though he'd soon be diagnosed with cancer, we didn't know it yet. I was just a law school student drowning in case law and he was a guy celebrating passing the CPA exam.

I saw that film as a young adult, as a film critic, as a person who felt closest to the younger characters in the movie. I related mostly to Jane, the misunderstood daughter. Though things in my life were necessarily different than hers, I felt a kinship with her, a connection. I lived most of my life feeling like no one really knew me. There are days that I still feel that way. Hell, there are times I'm not sure I understand myself.

I fell in love with the film immediately because it was so brutal, so honest. So real. It was, of course, over dramatized for effect as movies tend to be. It would be highly unlikely for that amount of things to happen to any group of people in such a short period of time, with all the interconnected stories and such. Highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility.

That, and it was disturbing. It bothered me. It bothered most people that watched it on some level. And it bothered us because it was not too far off from the things that we've seen or lived or felt.

The mid life crisis.
The emotionally detached marriage.
The feeling stuck in a dead end job.
The craving irresponsibility.
The lusting after shiny and new.
The discomfort in your own skin.
The denial.
The attempts to control other people.
The fact that no one asked how you were in so long you can't even remember.

I can still remember with so much clarity the discussion I got into with a family friend over the movie. It wasn't so much a discussion as an argument, really. I insisted that it was an instant classic, so well done. It was cinematic brilliance, I reasoned. He, a generation older than I was, insisted that it was sick and wrong.

Or maybe it just hit home too much.

I'd make the argument that is exactly what it did for him, knowing what I know now.

Anyhow, it popped up in my recommendations and I couldn't wait to watch it again. Over the past three days, I've re-watched this film, a bit at a time, taking it all in anew.

It's different this time. So very different. I don't so much relate to Rose anymore as I do to her parents these days.

I've lived more than 15 years in the 15 years since this film was released, I'm certain of it.

The things I have seen, the experiences I have had, all changing my perspective on just about everything.

I get Lester now. I feel like I have crawled into his skin and lived his life a little bit, save the part about being obsessed with his daughter's friend of course.

The film is narrated by his voice, and you know from the first moments how it will end - with his death. Dying in those last moments, his words:

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday.

What does it mean if I know what he's talking about already?

I think that it means that all the shit I've been through wasn't for nothing. I came out on this side of it all, bruised and scarred sure, but with a wisdom that can only be acquired this way.

Wisdom isn't just an outcome automatically generated by a certain number of years lived, I don't think. I believe that it has a hell of a lot more to do with the experiences we have than it ever will with the number of times we've seen the calendar change. You can live a lot of years and learn almost nothing. You can have lived only to the ripe age of 37 like I have, and learned enough to fill a few lifetimes.

I want to believe that since I'm past so much of the naivete that comes with youth, it necessarily makes me more grounded. I have a perspective that most people my age just don't have, not yet anyway.

Like Lester, I could have let those experiences change me for the worse. I could have used them to wallow and be miserable (and in all honesty, I did for a while).

Instead, they made me stronger.

I get it. Maybe you don't yet. Maybe that's okay.

You will.

Monday, December 8, 2014

30 Days of Quotes about Life - Rose Kennedy

Up today in the quote series is one that I was asked to write about. This quote came to me from someone that I've only ever met online, but have come to know and love as a friend. It's a good one, for sure.

Incidentally, if there is a quote that you'd like me to write about in this series, please send me an email to 

Off we go.

"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?"
~ Rose Kennedy

Ah, Rose. She is of course most well known as the mother of JFK, Robert and Ted Kennedy, but she was much more than that. She was born of privilege and wealth, but lived a life of heartbreak that included, among other things, enduring the assassinations of two of her sons.

She's known for resilience in the face of loss, and this quote is just one of many well known pieces of her wisdom.

This quote was sent to me by a woman who knows what Rose meant perhaps more than most people ever will. When terrible things happen to us, when we experience painful losses, when tragedy strikes, it is easy to let that define you. It's far easier to mourn indefinitely than it is to figure out how to truly move on.

Our society is such a strange one when it comes to grief. We don't like sadness, we don't like loss, we are afraid of death in a bizarre way here. We don't do well at recognizing and acknowledging grief. We push people to suck it up, to overcome, to deal with it and move on. We give ourselves unreasonable expectations for how we should process losses too, and none of it does us any favors.

For as much as we are collectively in denial about grief, for as much as we cringe at it when we see it, it is a part of life.

We all lose people.

We all have things go wrong.

We all experience loss at some point.

Live long enough and it is inevitable.

What matters is how we cope with it, and by coping I mean actually processing it as opposed to the superficial management that society likes to see.

Society just wants things to be "better", even if "better" is nothing more than a bandaid.

We need time to process the things in life that don't go the way we believe they should. We need to feel all the feelings, we need to grieve. We need to let go of the past. We need to do all that, and rarely are we given the time, space and opportunity to do so.

If we don't, though, if we just put the fake smile on and act like we're okay, we never really heal.

I think that that quote says that isn't enough. We need to do more.

It says that once we endure a loss, we need to accept that life isn't going to be the way we thought. Once we recognize the paths that won't be walked and the futures that can never be, only then can we truly find happiness again.

I know that in my life, this has been true. I also know that after enduring heartbreak and loss, I had to get to a place of acceptance. Then, I had a choice to make. I had to choose to be happy again.

Choosing to seek happiness can be terrifying when you've lost so much before. It's simpler to just say that things will always be awful, that they'll never be perfect so why bother trying.

It just isn't living, not fully anyway.

It's existing, and that isn't the same thing at all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the I took a week off and this is what you get edition

Oh hi, blog. I haven't been around much, mostly because I haven't been in the mood to write.

Strike that.

I've been in the mood to write all kinds of things. I could have written ridiculously long posts full of rants and rage and anger and sadness, but I didn't. I figure at some point you guys might get tired of all that. Plus, I live with a tiny dictator who decides when I write these days.

At least he's cute.

Anyway, last week was a rough one where I hardly touched the computer at all, and to be honest it was probably better that way. Thanksgiving is always emotional for me, plus my Dad's birthday, plus all the kids were home, plus there was all kinds of social unrest, plus someone around here had surgery (I might tell you more about that later. Maybe.) Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited for a little peace and quiet around here, even if it only last 7.3 seconds before the tiny dictator issues his newest list of demands.

Speaking of which, I'm running out of time here, people, so let's get to what we need to cover for the week.

The Kids Aren't Alright
There should be an unspoken code when it comes to the children of politicians. They should be off limits. They should be. Usually, they are, though every once in a while some one crosses a line like what happened last week.

GOP staffer Elizabeth Lauten said this on Facebook about Sasha and Malia Obama:

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.

Needless to say, it didn't go over well.

She resigned.

She resigned, but the problem with this is bigger than just her. It's this idea that those on the far right can disparage the Obama family in whatever way they want and it's supposed to be okay. There are the subtle racial jabs (okay, some aren't even subtle), the disgusting things said about Michelle, and now this. These girls aren't fodder for some political point you think you are making. They are kids.

Leave them alone.

Also, those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, Ms. Lauten. ;)

The Trouble with the Grand Jury
I haven't actually watched the news all that much because I just can't bring myself to do it. The news out of Ferguson is awful. I decided that I would write about what went wrong with the grand jury at some point, I just haven't had a chance to get to it. I used to work for the district attorney's office and I can tell you one thing about prosecutors. It's this: If they want an indictment, they almost always get one. It's just reality, and honestly there's nothing to argue with me about on this point. The statistics overwhelmingly support this truth, except of course for cases where a police officer is the one accused of a crime.

The reason that one wasn't issued in the death of Michael Brown seems pretty obvious to me....the prosecutor didn't want an indictment issued.

What most people, even those talking head "experts" on television don't seem to understand is that the grand jury system isn't supposed to operate the way it did in this case. The sole purpose of a grand jury is to decide if there is enough evidence, enough of a question about the facts to bring it to trial. They aren't supposed to weigh the credibility of witnesses and they sure as hell aren't supposed to determine guilt or innocence. In a case like this, with an unarmed suspect, with the number of shots fired, with vastly different stories about what happened, with conflicting autopsy reports, there certainly was enough evidence to warrant bringing charges. Any one of those facts alone would be enough in most cases, let alone the combination of them.

There are so many problems with what happened in Ferguson without even getting into a discussion of the racially charged background it all took place in front of. From the time of the shooting, Wilson was listed as the victim even though he was still indeed very much alive. There was questionable handling of evidence, interviews that weren't performed properly and more...all of which point to the fact that police departments shouldn't be permitted to investigate cases where one of their own officers is involved in a shooting such as this one. An external investigation should be the default.

The prosecutor in this case is the President of the board of directors for an organization that supports police and other first responders. His father was an officer killed in the line of duty, shot by a black man. That smells an awful lot like a personal conflict of interest here.

This case has created some unlikely alliances in its wake. While the vast majority of the conservative media and political machine has celebrated the outcome, some very vocal opposition has come from those like Justice Scalia and Nancy Grace, both heavily critical of how the grand jury was handled. Scalia criticized the situation, discussing the propriety of Wilson's testimony and the fact that the grand jury is charged only with deciding if probable cause exists and no more.

Nancy Grace, another surprise. She has plainly said that she just isn't buying Wilson's story, that it doesn't add up.

In addition, since the issue of whether Michael Brown had his hands raised or not is one that not everyone agrees on, it's possible that the grand jury was instructed improperly. Police officers are not allowed to use deadly force on fleeing suspects or on suspects that do not pose a threat, under a 1985 Supreme Court decision. If, as some of the eye witnesses say, Brown was walking away and/or had his hands up in the air, he would not have presented a threat to the officer at the time. That question is one that should have been put to a trial jury. Instead, the grand jury here was instructed using an outdated law about the use of force, one that was found unconstitutional in certain circumstances.

There is a federal investigation of the case, though I highly doubt anything will come of it. Far more likely is a civil case brought by the family against both Wilson and the police department.

At this point, nothing will bring Michael Brown back. The best that we can do is learn from this experience and make changes going forward. Departments need to better reflect the communities they serve. Non lethal force must be the first line of defense when dealing with unarmed suspects. Profiling must end. We need to confront the uncomfortable realities of racial bias in law enforcement (and every other aspect of life for that matter), admit what is going on, and work towards eradicating it. When incidents like this occur, external investigations need to be performed. Those with conflicts of interest need to recuse themselves from these cases to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Grand juries need to be instructed properly and limited in the scope of their duties.

Until and unless all those things happen, what happened in Ferguson is destined to repeat itself. Maybe not now, maybe not there, but it will happen again.

And that pisses me off.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It doesn't get easier, it just gets different

Hey Dad. It's me.

It's that time of year again. You know, the one that I dread.

You and The Oldest.
Thanksgiving weekend, 2001.
This will be the fourth Thanksgiving without you, the fourth year you aren't around to lie about how old you are on your birthday with a grin on your face.

The years tick by. It doesn't seem like it's been so long that you've been gone.

It doesn't get easier. It just gets different.

This time of year has driven me a little bit crazy for as long as I can remember. The hours spent in the car, going back and forth between grandparents' houses as a kid for the holidays.

The predictable chaos that was your family, with the house full of people, the scent of chocolate chip cookies always hanging in the air. The long afternoons spent in the backyard until someone dared someone else to climb the pole. The nights of challenges around the pool table, of old bowling team stories, of that time someone ended up on the roof. Trying to figure out how many soccer balls and basketballs and tennis balls and baseballs the ivy on the side yard had swallowed and digested over the years. The recollection of the trips you all took as kids, of the famous dinner guests, the stories always interrupted by the doorbell telling us someone else was there. All the times we took turns sliding down the wooden stairs, sneaking away to do it so we wouldn't get in trouble. The way that the cabinet doors refused to shut anymore unless you leaned into them just so after years and years of Grandma coating them with the same white high gloss paint. The drawer that always held the same toys that we never outgrew and the huge tub that got smaller with each visit. The scent of Listerine that always reminded us that Grandpa was there, even after he wasn't anymore. 

So many memories in that house. Each time we'd make the trek down, it was emotionally charged. It always was. With so many people in house, even a house that size, it's no wonder. Whenever it was time to leave, you'd just announce loudly that we were leaving. We'd hide, or we'd try to because we knew that once you said it was time to go, you meant business.

We could stay only as long as it took you to find us.

You didn't linger.

You hated long goodbyes.

You were more of a rip the bandage off kind of a guy.

You left us the last time that way too. You didn't want to make any of it harder than it already was, and you were more worried about us than yourself. You didn't want to be a burden, and when you said that, you meant it all the way down to your core.

Just before you left, there was that night with your sisters, my aunts. Two of them had come to stay, knowing the end was near, sensing it, and wanting to squeeze out what they could of what time was left. That night is one I am so very grateful for. I saw a side of you that I hadn't seen in so many years before, one that I only caught passing glimpses of back in those days in the house you grew up in on the rare occasions when everyone was home. You teased them, they teased back. We all drank and laughed.

God, did we laugh.

You died on a Thursday morning, swept away by the roaring winds outside. They calmed as soon as you were gone, you know. It's like they were there for a purpose, with intention that day, and once they'd done what they came to do, their work was complete. They left as abruptly as you did.

Tomorrow is a Thursday. Thanksgiving. The first time that it will share your birthday since you died. It happened often enough that I've just always associated Thanksgiving with you, but this is the first time that the two dates are overlapping since you left.

I guess it's more efficient. (That is supposed to be a joke. I know. I's a terrible one.)

We aren't going anywhere. We aren't doing anything. We're just going to be home.

And by we, I'm including a little boy that you never had a chance to meet. We named him after you.

I so wish you could be here right now to see his first smiles.

We don't have plans tomorrow, and I'm grateful for that. We're having dinner Friday with the family that is here these days. I need the break, and you know how I am. I'll be more upset than I'm letting on. I'll act like I'm fine, but I'll be fighting back tears most of the day. I'll instinctively be waiting for the phone call that doesn't come anymore, the one I was programmed for once we moved away.

I know that if you could, you'd tell me not to do all that. You'd tell me to hugs the babies and give them a kiss for you.

I know that. I do.

And I will do those things.

We'll watch the parade, bitch about the awful television coverage like you always did. We'll watch the dog show, argue about which breed is the best like you always did. We'll watch some football game, not really caring who wins or loses, but be grateful for the background noise and the distraction, like you always were.

I'll call my brother, your son, and tell him I love him. I'll check on him, like I always do on this day and he'll tell me that he's fine, like he always does on this day.

If nothing else, we're predictable.

I'll defrost the cheesecake that snuck into my cart at the store and pour the cherries on top and fight back the tears when the kids ask me why we are eating it on a night that is Thanksgiving but isn't, on a night when we are having pizza instead of a fancy dinner. I'll remind them that it isn't just Thanksgiving, that it's your birthday too, and that even though you never did want a big fuss over your birthday, you never met a piece of cherry cheesecake you didn't love.

Happy birthday, Dad.

I miss you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Life - Mark Twain and Truth

Hi there. My head is an absolute mess today, just throwing that out there. I have so much going on inside my brain at the moment, I'm working pretty damn hard to suppress so many emotions right now. And all the kids are home from school. And I have to get to the orthodontist in a while...

So here we are. Attempting to be distracted by a quote.

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
~ Mark Twain

Twain was known, of course, for his writing. He wrote Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn among other things. He was a humorist, but also a great observer of humanity, and quotes like this one show just how well he understood people.

This one is something that I've had to deal with quite a few times in life. I bend over backwards to be honest with just about everyone about just about everything. It's something that has gotten me into trouble more than once, my stubborn insistence on telling the truth almost all the time.

For as much as I try to be honest, I've had to deal with my fair share of liars. Some of them were terrible liars. Some of them were so good at it that it was a bit terrifying. Some of them used to be awful at it, but honed the skill to the point of becoming so convincing that I couldn't tell the difference anymore.

Some were so pathological about it that it got to the point where I just assumed they were lying about everything.

^^^That's not a good place to be. I promise.

I've often said this about the experiences in my life, particularly in circumstances where people made assumptions about something they believed that I was hiding....I don't have the energy to devote to that kind of nonsense.


Lying has to be exhausting, because it is almost impossible to keep a lie contained. Lies multiply, they grow exponentially at times. One lie leads to another, then another and pretty soon that lie has spiraled out of control.

I really don't have the energy to devote to that. I have too many kids, too many things to do, too many responsibilities. There's no way I would layer elaborate lies I have to remember on top of that. I'd lose my damn mind.

Hell, I almost lost it a few times just dealing with the lies other people told.

One of the most skilled liars in my life was my mother. She could tell five different people five different versions of a story and somehow manage to keep them straight most of the time. I never understood how she could do it. After time, those of us around her realized that we all had to talk to one another about things to try and tease out where the truth ended and the lies began.

She was hardly ever honest with any of us. At best, we'd get tiny pieces of truth woven into elaborate lies.

The only time she couldn't lie anymore was when something happened and she was unconscious or otherwise unable to keep it all straight. I can't adequately put into words how frustrating it was to deal with at times.

I wanted to believe her, I just knew that I couldn't.

It's easier to be authentic, to be real. The truth might be scary at times, but it's a hell of a lot better than a constructed illusion.

Besides, I can't remember anything these days unless I write it down. Even then, half the time I forget. I have gone to the store to get potatoes four times in the same week and never come home with potatoes.

I have a's just not for lying.

Friday, November 21, 2014

30 Days of Quotes about Life - Tolstoy and Thanksgiving

I'm going to attempt to kill two birds with one stone today, primarily because the time that I get to peck away at an actual keyboard is so fleeting these days that I have to try and make the most of it. If this child has done nothing else for my writing career, he's made me infinitely more efficient, that is certain.

I was asked earlier this week to write about familial dysfunction around the holidays. The person who requested that I write on this topic may be submitting a guest post in the coming days or weeks, which I will gladly feature here upon its arrival.

This time of year always makes me think about family, as I'm sure it does for most people, at least in this country. The tail end of November has always firmly belonged to my father, as his birthday is the 27th. Was the 27th. 

Death is so pesky that way. He may not be here anymore, but there is a part of me that still thinks of certain things in a present tense, as though his birthday still falls on the 27th even though he hasn't been here to celebrate it in years now.

This year, his birthday will fall on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since his death. I hate that, though I am sure that it will just work itself out to be more efficient this year, the grief and all that comes with it. We aren't actually celebrating the holiday on that day and have nowhere to be. We'll be spending the following day with my inlaws instead.

To be completely honest, I am glad to not have anywhere to be that day, glad not to have a laundry list of tasks to complete, glad not to be cooking for a small army all day. I think we may just buy some pizzas to throw in the oven and a 6 pack of Coors Light, park ourselves in front of the television and call it a day.

I'll just be home with my husband and our kids that day, which ironically is something I longed for back when I still had both of my parents and every holiday was filled with chaos and expectation and obligation.

Be careful what you wish for, my friends, because one day you'll find that you have nowhere to go on that holiday and you'll long for the days of holidays past.

Since I'm going to try and combine the quote with the topic request, here is the quote I have chosen:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” 
~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tolstoy was, of course, a famous Russian novelist. The book from which this quote was taken, Anna Karenina, was one of his most popular, alongside War and Peace. One of these days, I mean to re-read them both as an adult. I have this habit of loathing some books when I was assigned to read them in the past, but falling deeply in love with them upon revisiting them with the perspective I have on life these days. 

When I read this quote again yesterday, I knew that it would be perfect for this series, and for this topic about family dysfunction, because it is one filled with so much simple truth. We are all messed up in our own ways, certainly, and our issues had to come from somewhere. 

Damned apple trees.

To me, this quote seems to say that we are all indeed screwed up, even those who appear from the outside to be stable and happy, perhaps even more so. 

I can only speak from my personal experiences, of course, but I can tell you that what others see is hardly ever a true full picture of what reality is. Almost never. Those who have family problems that play out for the world to see are called names in our society, accused of being dramatic and worse. Most of us keep it all hidden, behind closed doors, behind those perfectly manicured lawns and bright white picket fences. 

Things in my family were never perfect growing up. They didn't get better as I aged. In most ways, they got worse. Either that or I just became more aware of the dysfunction as I got older. From the outside, though, things never seemed so bad. In my adult life, with my own husband and children, I think the illusion was even grander at times because it wasn't just the outside world being snowed, it was us too. We'd fallen for the idea that things were fine when they weren't. 

We put on the fancy clothes and the happy faces and pretended splendidly.

It's easy to believe that other people have their shit together. It's easy to see what is displayed to the world and believe it to be the entirety of someone. 

It's just not true. 

It's easy to believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but you should never make the climb over that fence on the assumption that your beliefs are accurate ones. The grass isn't greener, it almost never is, and even if it seems to be for a while, it might only be because it ends up being astroturf. A fake construct that you had in your head, revealed for what it truly is only once you've scaled that fence to the other side.

We've all got problems. Even and especially those of us who seem not to. 

Some of us are just better at hiding it.

The trouble comes when all those people with all those problems are thrust into the same dining room for holidays such as the one coming up next week. We build up the expectations so high, we hope that everything will be wonderful, we intend to make only good memories, and then we are slammed back down to earth when reality hits and we occupy the same space as all those people we are related to. 

Sure, some people have Rockweillian holidays. They take the gorgeous family photos, they have spirited but civil conversations, they catch up with one another, they leave on good terms. Some people have that. 

At least I assume some people have that.

Not everyone does. 

Not everyone can engage their family without flinching. Not everyone can get past the past. Sometimes the passive aggressiveness takes over, the snide remarks pile up too high. Sometimes the hurts are just too big. There's always someone drinking too much in the corner. Someone avoiding everyone else by staying busy in the kitchen. Someone who volunteers a little too quickly to try and find a store open somewhere in town because we've run out of butter or need a turkey baster. 

I've been that someone. More than once.

Oh god, there are times I've been all those someones.

Holidays are hard because we want them so desperately to be good. We want to believe in our hearts that we can overlook all the bad things about ourselves and each other for just that one day, except that sometimes we just can't. 

Perhaps if we didn't create these expectations in our minds, if we didn't wish for things to suddenly be rosy and perfect just because of the date on the calendar, if we gave everyone else and especially ourselves a break, it wouldn't be this way. 

What I wouldn't give for the chance to find out.

That ship, though, has sailed. My parents are both gone. 

Believe me when I say that as hard as the holidays are with your family, as much as you may wish to be without them at times, as much as you may want to stay home and refuse to engage them...once you don't have any other options, you will wish that you did. You'll miss them in ways you never imagined, and you'll always wonder what could have been.

Once they are gone, so is the hope that things could ever be better.

This Thanksgiving, I wish for each of you out there reading this to find some peace and solace. Be gentle on yourself. Lower the expectations you put on yourselves and on everyone else. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. 

And know that sometimes, on some years, pizza and beer can make the best Thanksgiving dinner. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Life - Bob Marley

Hi there. Welcome to the newest series around the Hive. This time around, I'll be writing about quotes that interest me and those that I'm asked to write about. I'm hoping to get through about 30 of them, though I highly doubt it will happen without interruption.

Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy this series. If there is a quote that you would like me to write about, please send me a message at

The first quote up in this series is from Bob Marley. He was an amazing man, one that left this world far too soon, but one that left behind a huge volume of material for the rest of us. His music, his philosophies, his words.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for."
~Bob Marley


Anyone else need a moment just to breathe after reading that one? I know that I do.

I'm going to start with the assumption that you all know who Bob Marley was. When I come across quotes with questionable sources or lesser known speakers, I will go into more detail. For him, I think...or at least I hope that you all know a little bit about him.

He was a reggae musician that shared the music of his people with the whole world. He changed so much about the music industry as a whole and has left his legacy through the influence and inspiration of countless artists. He was a peace loving man who made some of the most poignant observations about society in a tumultuous time.

His words cut right through to the heart of the issues that affect us all, and this quote is a perfect example of his uncanny ability to reduce humanity to a sentence.

This quote, one that has painful truth attached to it. One that those of us who've lived long enough know to be true.

When we are young, when we are naive about how the world really works, we don't believe things like this to be true. We think that our friends, our families, our partners will never hurt us. For certainly, if they love us, they wouldn't, right?

In an ideal world, that might be true.

In this world, it might even be true...for a little while.

Eventually though, any relationship with any person at any level will result in pain. It's just a part of the reality of human interaction. There is no universe where two people can exist in perfect harmony forever.

We hope that those we love don't hurt us with intention, and in many cases there may never be intent involved with the pain that is inflicted. As individuals, we necessarily want and need different things in life. At some point, our wants and needs may diverge. At some point, we may act selfishly and do things that hurt others, even if hurting them is never part of what we are wanting.

In my life, I've been hurt the most this way, by those closest to me.

In many ways, the harm inflicted this way is the worst. It would be one thing if someone meant to hurt me, if they made a conscious choice to do something to hurt me.  I've been hurt that way, certainly. I've hurt people I loved that way too, though I carry regret for doing so.

Being hurt without intention, though, it carries more pain I think. At least it has in my experience. Knowing that I was hurt as badly as I was simply because they just weren't considering the damage they were doing to me, that I was irrelevant in their choices, that I was collateral hurts more. It hurts more, and it requires more levels of forgiveness to move on from the hurt. We don't just need to process and forgive the harm done, but the fact that we were so willfully ignored first.

People do stupid, selfish things. In the process, they will hurt those they love most.

I've hurt others like this. I've been utterly devastated by others doing it to me.

The recovery from this particular pain is something that took years, something that isn't complete and may never be. It's something that changed, fundamentally, who I am as a person. It altered just about everything in my life.

I could have refused to let those who hurt me back in to my life. I could have harbored resentment. I could have stayed angry, stayed hurt. I could have. I could have built walls to protect myself from being hurt again, but those walls would have kept out the good along with the bad.

The people we love can and will hurt us more than anyone else ever could, but if we protect ourselves from the hurt, we deny ourselves the love too. To stay safe, we stay isolated. Opening your heart to love means opening it to the chance of being hurt.

There is great risk in love.

That risk is terrifying once you've been hurt. Allowing yourself to love and be loved requires a huge leap of faith once you've been hurt because it requires a conscious choice to be vulnerable again.

It's terrifying, but for the right people, it's worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the broken internet edition

The sleep deprivation is starting to really take hold, and I'm having a hard time getting riled up about much these days. 

I'm also deliberately avoiding the news because it makes me mad right now. I am fully aware that the head in the sand approach isn't a long term solution, that the problems of the world won't go away simply because I am ignoring them and that I can't kid myself for too long. I know that.

Right now though, I'm tired. And emotional. So there.

Having said that, there is one story that is really pissing me off this week, and it has to do with this.

In case you need a caption, that's my boob in my son's mouth. Yep. 

What is pissing me off about this has nothing to do with nursing, actually. It took him and I several weeks to get our particular nursing relationship all squared away, but now that he's mastered latching, we are good. The funny thing about nursing is that it should be so natural and it isn't. Even for someone like me, a doula with over a decade of nursing my own babies already, it's not always this simple beautiful easy thing like we believe it should be. 

It's frustrating and painful and exhausting and messy at times. It's hard to teach a baby how to do something that they don't seem to want to do, and doing it all while under the microscope of twice a week weigh ins and growth charts and threats of supplements is a special form of torture. I won't lie and tell you that nursing is this magical thing. It can be, but it isn't always, and it especially isn't in the beginning. 

My daughters latched easily and we never had problems. All three of my boys struggled. 

We got here though and we are settled in. Finally.

In these weeks since he was born, the typical fights on the internet have raged. I've tried to avoid them, tried to keep my head down, tried not to comment on things. Really, I have. 

This though, this is what is pissing me off. 

What, you ask?

I'm pissed off by the fact that my picture up there, the one of my beautiful baby boy eagerly nursing discreetly, would in all likelihood be deemed offensive and removed from social media if I posted it there directly and someone complained. Hell, even having it as the photo attached to this post might mean that it gets yanked. 

Instagram and Facebook are notorious for removing pictures of breastfeeding mothers and their babies. I have countless friends who have had pictures pulled. 

To have those pictures pulled, someone had to have reported them. 

Someone on their friends lists, presumably.

Look. If you are on my friends list and you have a problem with seeing a picture like this one, maybe we just shouldn't be friends. Anyone who has known me in real life in the past 13 1/2 years has likely been around me while I was nursing one of my babies. I don't hide to feed them. I don't sneak off to bathrooms. I don't drape huge covers over their heads. I don't. 

I never have and I'm not about to start doing it now.

I feed my babies when they are hungry, wherever we happen to be, and I have the legal right to do so. 

There is nothing offensive about a breast being used for what nature intended.

There is nothing offensive about a picture of a nursing mother and child, particularly in a world where celebrities are stripped down, oiled up, paraded around and turned into trending topics. 

So there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the Judgy McJudgerson edition

Hi. I'll warn you in advance that I'm in a mood today. One of those moods where I really just need to avoid looking at my fb newsfeed because I'm virtually certain that it will be filled with more things that will just piss me off.

I'm sitting here in the dark with my coffee, listening to the baby swing creak back and forth, the washing machine spin. In the background, The Crow. One of the best movies ever. Also one of the movies that some Hollywood executive has decided to remake. I'm not pleased. Sure, they could make it so that it is closer to the comics, less related to the original version of the film. Here's the thing, though. Brandon Lee died making that epic film, and I think we should all just agree to leave it alone.

But no one asked me.

Anyway, off to some of the other things pissing me off this week.

Bill Cosby
So, it turns out that America's Dad in the ugly sweater is also a rather rapey guy. Vomit.

He's done his fair share poking bears and pissing people off in recent years with his outspoken nature about race relations, welfare and more...but the recent news he's made is the worst yet. Apparently, he has a long sordid personal history of bad bad things, not the least of which are rape allegations.

For some bizarre reason, either he or his handlers decided to ask people to make Cosby memes this week, and it backfired in the most spectacular way. Check out some of the images people made here.

I'm disappointed. Sigh.

Ebola, still
This is something that will in all likelihood piss me off for a very long time. Now that we've dealt with a threat of this disease on our shores and it suddenly hit the radar of the millions of people who live here, we care about it as a society. Well, sort of. We are totally paranoid about getting it ourselves.

The last Ebola patient being treated in the United States was released today. No one else is sick, though there are some still waiting out quarantine periods. I'm sure that there will be some more people who contract the disease, and I'm sure that the media will pounce all over it again and scare the shit out of everyone because that's what they do, even if it is completely irresponsible.

I want to know when they're going to apologize for scaring the shit out of the American public.

Don't worry. I won't hold my breath.

Speaking of infectious disease...
There was a minor outbreak of a stomach virus last week at the school that my kids attend. Bad enough that they sanitized the entire school over the weekend. Bad enough that the health office was overflowing with kids who needed sent home when I was called in to pick up one of mine.

Schools are giant petri dishes, truly.

Don't lick anything, you guys.

What pisses me off are the parents who send their kids to school knowing that they are sick. Who dose them intentionally with fever reducing meds and send them on their way, knowing full well that those meds are going to wear off at some point during the day and will do nothing at all to address the fact that their kid is probably contagious. I cannot even tell you how many times I'll hear about this kid or that one running a high fever or barfing or whatever, only to see that kid at school the following day (or even later the same day in some cases).

Criminalizing Compassion
There is a very disturbing movement nationwide going on right now, one having to do with criminalizing homelessness and poverty. Some areas are putting spikes on sidewalks to keep people from sleeping near buildings, others are enacting ordinances that criminalize feeding the homeless. One such law is on the books in Florida. There, a 90 year old man has been arrested repeatedly for feeding the homeless.

As soon as he gets out of jail, he goes right back to doing it too. Because he's a compassionate man, a kind soul who has been doing this for years and a badass. Because the law is asinine. Because there is something very, very, very wrong with the powers that be enacting a law like that in the first place.

The Mother Who Threw Her Son Off a Bridge
If I have a chance, I will likely be writing a post exclusively about this, mostly because I have a lot to say about it and the short little TTPMOT snippet won't be enough. I'll try to summarize my thoughts here just in case I don't get to it.

By now, you've probably heard about this disturbing case. A mother in Oregon threw her 6 year old son off a bridge. She had a long history with mental illness and a sick husband. She had asked for help with her son, who was autistic, in the past and those calls had gone largely unanswered. She was arrested and has been charged in his murder. 

As seems to be the case when something like this happens, people rush to vilify the parent or defend them. I try the best I can to look at the entirety of the situation, learn from what happened, see how we can do things different going forward so that tragedies like this don't happen in the future. Many say that the son's autism is irrelevant, that the diagnosis of the victim shouldn't matter. Many say that her mental health shouldn't be a consideration if she failed to get treatment. Some say they understand what drove her to this place. Some say they will never understand it. I'd never do that, they say...except none of them know what was going on in her head at the time.

Ultimately, there are some uncomfortable truths we as a society need to face when something like this happens, aside from the ugly reality of a mother taking her child's life. We need to admit that there are not enough resources to help parents who have children that place more demands on them. We need to admit that our mental health system sucks and fails people all the time. We need to understand the burdens placed on caregivers of those with serious health conditions like what her husband faced. We need to stop being a society so hell bent on blame and judgment and somehow start to give a shit about other people again, before they get to the place she did where she did what she did. We need to ask people if they need help, what they need help with...and then there needs to be a system in place so that they can actually get that help. Period.

Standing around and pointing fingers won't get us anywhere, and it won't bring this little boy back. 

The Bandwagon to Judgyville
This was really pissing me off yesterday. I've learned through years and years of human interaction, that sometimes I just really need to keep my damn mouth shut and not get involved in arguments. So I don't. Or at least I try not to.

There is this lovely phenomenon in the blogging/fb world of bandwagon riding. Someone starts talking about some controversial subject, then everyone with a keyboard has to weigh in. Last month, everyone cared about the inseam length of their daughters' shorts. Next month will bring the obligatory posts about Christmas as it always does.

Right now, for whatever reason, the internet is full of posts and rants about the mommy wars and dad bashing. It's the topic of the month, and it's a particularly frustrating one because it seems like there are two main groups of people involved. First, those who have an opinion about everything and want to impose it on everyone. Second, those who advocate for supporting the differences in parenting styles and decisions.

Except, here's what happens fairly often, even with that second group of people, the ones who want people to leave other people alone and stop judging....wait for it....the judging starts.

I totally respect the right of parents to make all their decisions and I won't impose my opinion on them or shame them or insist that I'm right except with ______, because well, that's just unacceptable. 


I saw it SO many times yesterday in particular because there is a post on Jezebel about how people don't get to have opinions about how women give birth. It's gone viral, not so much because of the point she is trying to make, but because of her insistence that people don't get to have opinions.

People absolutely do get to have opinions about everything. It's human nature to opine on things.

What isn't cool, though, is burdening other people with your opinions.

If you don't want people judging you, you can't turn around and bash others for their choices. As a doula especially, this pisses me off because pregnancy and childbirth and parenting are all things that are hugely important in our lives. We have some degree of control over the things that happen, the choices we make. Sometimes, though, we don't get a choice.

To have self righteous people condemn how things played out for you isn't helping. I wrote a post about the mommy wars a while back - a tongue in cheek sarcastic bit. You can read it here if you are interested. Suffice to say that if you're running around telling people not to judge how a woman delivered, where she delivered or how she feeds her child, but if she eats her placenta, she's disgusting because that's just're absolutely part of the problem.

Go buy a mirror and look in it for a hot second. You're just as bad as everyone else you are condemning.

I ate my placenta. Get over it. I'm not telling anyone that they are less of a mom because they didn't eat theirs. Stop telling me that I'm gross. SMH.

I really need to stop reading the comment sections.

For the love.

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