Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Summer School of Rock ~ Tina Turner

There are so very many things going on in the world, with my friends, in my own life right now that I can hardly think straight let alone speak a coherent sentence right now. Garbled nonsense is all that is coming out of me when I try to talk or write about the things that are going on, then I can feel the anxiety rising up and putting its hands around my neck.


In order to hopefully avoid a full blown panic attack right now, I'm writing this instead. And I've been meaning to get back to the music posts anyway. So here we are.

I had a few other bands and performers lined up before this one, but I think the world needs some Tina Turner right now.

In fact, I may have showed the Proud Mary video to my son a few nights ago to remind him that women can rock just as hard as the men can, do it forever and still kick ass after many many years on stage.

This video, in fact.

She was 70 years old in that video. FOR THE LOVE.

Born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee in 1939, she was raised by several different family members over the years and grew up singing in church. She wanted to become a nurse, but that all changed when she saw Ike performing in a club one night and felt pulled to the stage to perform. One night, a drummer with the Kings of Rhythm gave her a microphone. Shortly thereafter she was invited to perform with the band.

When another singer failed to show up for a recording session, she got the lead.

Ike insisted she change her name to Tina, though the reasons aren't entirely clear. Some say it was to ensure that if she left the band, he could replace her with another woman easier. Others say it was to discourage her from trying to make a name for herself.

Ike started beating her very early on in the relationship, and their marriage would become one filled with drug abuse and violence, even as they were successful on stage together. The abusive nature of their marriage was the center of the 1993 film What's Love Got To Do With It.

They opened for the Rolling Stones on tour in 1969 and shot to fame.The duo recorded and toured together until the mid 1970s. Tina filed for divorce in 1976 and started performing solo in Vegas the following year. Her 1984 album Private Dancer was a smash hit solidifying her career without Ike. She won four Grammys the following year and starred in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. 

She can dance, she can sing, she can act, she can do it all. And she's a badass. So there's that.

And those legs. My goodness.

She even holds a Guinness World Record for performing before the largest audience ever with Paul McCartney. She moved to Switzerland in the early 90s. She and Ike were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Ike was in jail at the time of the ceremony, and though her career after they broke up was far more successful, she has yet to be inducted as a solo artist.

She moved to Switzerland in the early 90s and would consider herself to be semi-retired these days, though she showed up on stage beside Beyonce in 2008. Tina was a diva before Beyonce was born.

And she still had it. She still totally had it.

Hey, Hall of might want to get her another nod.

“Physical strength in a woman -- that's what I am.”
~Tina Turner


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the hey look it's actually Tuesday edition

Alert the media. I actually have my shit together this week. Sort of. Well, okay, fine. I don't, but I am at least writing this post on the correct day of the week, so I get a high five.

Let's just get to it because I don't know how long I'll have before the kids stage a mutiny. No, but really....

Rape is rape is rape.
If you haven't seen the cover of New York Magazine this week, go. Here is the link to the story. 

On the cover, black and white photos of every woman who has come forward (so far) accusing Bill Cosby of drugging and abusing them. At the bottom of the photo, an empty chair to represent the victims we still don't know about, the ones who may still not even realize they are victims, the ones who may never come forward.

I've seen a lot of people angry over all this, for the fact that he wasn't charged with anything when he should have been, for the fact that he basically confessed in a deposition and still nothing happened, for the fact that there are people who seem hell bent on still defending him.

There is a legal argument to be made that he could still be charged, though it would take a little fancy footwork to get it done. The statute of limitations has run, Cosby believes he is in the clear for the crimes he perpetrated, but the truth is that he may not be. All it would take is one very creative and convincing attorney. In the law, there is a way to stall the statute of limitations, to arrest it and keep it from running when there is active concealment of a crime. Here, since Cosby routinely drugged the women before raping them, there is at least a theoretical argument to be made that some of them may not have actually realized that they'd been raped until other women started to come forward. The drugs he used could have fogged their memories of the interactions to such a degree that the couldn't have reasonably known what actually happened to them.

I hope one of them seeks charges, and I hope that there is a prosecutor out there willing to go for it.

Oh, speaking of rape....
As if Donald Trump isn't disgusting enough as it is, it's come out now that Ivana accused him of raping her several times while they were still married. His lawyer seems to think that the fact they were married is enough of a defense, but actually it isn't. Rape is rape. Period. Just being married to your attacker doesn't make it okay.

Marital rape is...wait for it...rape.

The advisor has since apologized. Sort of. Then threatened to sue the reporter who published his comments. Because that's the Trump way, right? Make an ass out of yourself, then threaten other people because of it.

    So fucking gross.

    Money can buy anything....
    By now, some of you may have seen the story of the Minnesota dentist who paid $50,000 to kill a healthy male lion in Zimbabwe. 

    I just can't even with this shit.

    What the hell is wrong with people???

    Poor misunderstood hunter man is now dealing with the wrath of the internet. Awww, almost sucks as much as getting hunted for a trophy. Let me play a tiny violin. NOT.

    The Boy Scouts Make Progress. Just not entirely.
    The full vote of the national executive board was taken yesterday, and they decided to do away with the ban on gay leadership.


    Church sponsored units can still choose to limit leadership to exclude gays if they so choose. 

    We are fortunate to have found a troop that has always been inclusive and will continue to be so.

    Here's the thing about boy scouts (and just about any organized activity for kids as it is)...ready for this truth I'm about to drop on you?

    It's hard....really freaking hard to find adults who are willing to take on leadership positions to begin with. BSA has seen a fairly dramatic drop in membership, and I can tell you that I know many many people who've pulled their children because of the policies against gay youths and leaders that existed until now. A lot of the people who left because of those rules had been leaders, and damn good ones.

    BSA knows that society is evolving. They also know that a core part of their membership is based in churches who refuse to see that. This decision is a compromise of sorts. Let the churches keep their outdated rules, let the rest of us embrace all the kids and adults who want to be a part of the organization.

    It's progress. Slow, lumpy, ugly progress.

    Tragedies are tragedies, for sure, but they aren't what social media makes them out to be
    The case of Madyson Middleton, a missing 8 year old girl appears to have come to a tragic end when a body was found yesterday in a dumpster. Shortly after the discovery a 15 year old boy was arrested in her disappearance. 

    This is an awful, unimaginable, horrible tragedy. Please don't misunderstand what I am about to say and confuse it with trying to minimize how awful this particular case is, though.

    Cases like this are rare. Exceedingly rare. Statistically less common than in the past even.

    The biggest threats to kids when it comes to abduction, kidnapping, abuse and murder are family and friends, not strangers. 

    The problem is that cases like this one, where a child just disappears, are terrifying for parents. The media, social media especially, hyperfocuses on these specific type of disappearances, not ever recognizing just how rare they are. In the process, parents become scared and anxious, living in fear of something like this happening to their children.

    Reasonable caution is important, obviously. Children should be taught to trust their instincts when it comes to interactions with both strangers and people they already know. What shouldn't happen though, is what I'm seeing in the comment sections and attached to shares of the story, where parents are vowing never to let their children play outside or ride their scooters or go to the park out of an irrational fear, fed by social media, of something like this happening.

    Could it happen? Of course.

    Anything is possible.

    It's just not very likely.

    We can't let fear dictate how we raise our kids, you guys.

    Go Set A Watchman
    It took me months to decide whether I would read this book or not because of all the controversy surrounding it. I read it and haven't honestly had the visceral reaction to it that so many people assumed I would. I see it for what it is, a rough first draft of a story that wasn't intended to be made public. People are having a hard time reconciling this Atticus with the Atticus of TKAM, not realizing that these characters are fictions. It's entirely possible to see them as separate and distinct individuals, one more evolved than the other through the tools of time and editing...but it's as possible to see them as exactly the same person, separated by time and point of view.

    Reconcile the two Atticuses or don't, but the truth is that the version of him that appears in GSAW is probably a hell of a lot more historically accurate given the time and the setting of the story. For that matter, it might even be more accurate now, and perhaps that is what is so threatening about this book.

    It certainly makes reading it timely in 2015 in light of all that has been going on.

    Atticus isn't perfect, but he never was. In TKAM he did his duty in court, did the best he could one could argue, but only after he was assigned the case in the first place. He is more preoccupied with the Ewells than he ever is with the Robinson family. It's entirely possible that the GSAW Atticus and the TKAM Atticus are indeed the same person.

    And people don't like that.

    Because people don't like having their biases revealed. People want to be resolute in their convictions, not revealed to having given in to their biases and practicality. Atticus did both.

    Atticus is just a little too close to home, I think.

    I didn't hate the new (old) book, in fact to me it humanized Atticus and Jean Louise in ways that TKAM never did. This book was far more about her personal evolution, about how her view of the world changed, about seeing the flaws in the people around her.

    It hasn't ruined anything for me.

    I do sincerely hope that Harper Lee wasn't manipulated into releasing it, though I suppose we may never really know the truth.

    My favorite quote from the book is this one.

    "Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, 
    have something in common: 
    they both begin where reason ends."

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Paper Towns, Teenagers and Remembering What It Was Like

    Every summer, I come up with a list of books that I plan to read with the kids. I try to pick books that have all been (or will be) made into movies, so that they can compare and contrast the books with the films. I also try to mix up the material throughout the summer so that there are some classics, some new books, some science fiction, some YA fiction, and so on.

    You can get it on Amazon here.
    This year, I chose the book Paper Towns, not knowing at all what it was about. I chose it for a few reasons, the biggest of which is that it is written by John Green. I read The Fault in Our Stars with my daughter last year, and it spoke to me on a level I'm not even sure he intended as the survivor of a couple trips to cancer-land myself. 

    His books are about teenagers, sure. There are lots of books out about teenagers these days. Most of them are dystopian novels set in some post apocalyptic world of strife and struggle. Green's book are infinitely more real, more present, more likely to strike a nerve.

    The best part about them is that, unlike far too many writers (and far too many parents of teens), he seems to really have a handle on what it was like to be one. 

    He actually remembers.

    I think too many people forget what it was like, especially once they have teenagers of their own. The trend towards hovering parenthood, the strange attachment and simultaneous disinterest of this generation of parents has been interesting for me to watch, certainly. I've seen far too many people out there who seem to think that they truly can micromanage the lives of their children, that they can dictate from the mountaintops what their children want, who their friends should be and so on. What I see less of these days is the parenting that guides from a distance, that tries to equip them with life skills and then sets them free on the world to make their own inevitable mistakes. 

    I try every day to be that parent, the one that teaches and trusts, guides and releases. It is excruciating at times, don't get me wrong. But it's important.

    I want my kids to feel like they can make their own choices in this world. That they have the set of skills necessary to make those decisions. That they will screw up, but that I'll be here to cushion the fall when it happens. 

    I can't prevent those mistakes. I won't even try. They have to learn.

    I had one of those parental pangs just this morning as I dropped my oldest child off at school for yet another band event. As he got out of the car and flipped his hair to the side, checking his phone as he waved goodbye to me, I hardly recognized the man he'd become. This six foot tall being can't possibly be the same little boy I just remember starting kindergarten, can he? 

    He is starting high school in a few weeks, already planning to work at summer camp next year. He'll be gone for most of the summer, and there is a dull ache in my heart forming already at the thought of it. I struggled to express what was bothering me the most about his wanting to do this, and finally I blurted out to my husband, "but we only have him for a few more years and then he will be gone and I'm not ready".

    And he is growing up. I know this. I'm not ready now and I won't be ready then, but I'm going to do my damnedest to make sure he is.

    Anyway, as he was getting out of the car this morning, I lamented the fact that I'd only had my daughter read Paper Towns, and resolved to have him read it in the next few weeks before high school starts. The story centers on the friendship of three boys as they near the end of high school. Much of the message in the book is about realizing what is important in life, about grabbing the joy now, about refusing to let fear make our decisions for us, about the value of true friendship. 

    Forever is composed of nows. ~John Green

    I mean, yeah, there's the whole romance girl quest for love thing, but it really isn't the most important piece of the story. I promise. 

    I want him to read this book now, before he starts these four years. I want him to know that I get it, that I remember what it was like to feel all those feelings, that you can wish for something to last forever and hurry up and end at the same time. I want him to understand that sometimes teenagers do crazy, irresponsible things, and that I'm the kind of parent that he could call halfway through a roadtrip like that and get the support he needs. (Not that I'm saying I want my kid to drive 1200 miles totally spontaneously, mind you...)

    I want him to know that these years are going to fly by, that some of the relationships he makes now will shape who he becomes, regardless of whether that person stays in his life long term or not. I want him to see people for who and what they are, not the illusions created. 

    Mostly, though, I want him to live. I want him to enjoy it. I want him to work his ass off and learn as much as he can. I want him to fall in love and have inside jokes with friends and find the joy in little moments. 

    A few years ago, I wrote about how I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that he liked middle school. I hated it, I felt like most people hated was it possible that he didn't? I couldn't reconcile it in my head. I had to come to terms with the fact that nothing about my experience had any bearing whatsoever on him. He had to have a chance to make this life for himself, and if he loved every second of middle school, then I had to let him. 

    I had to let him. I had to let him live his life without being ruled by my memories or my fears or my worries. 

    I had to remember what it was like to be a teenager so that I could let him be one himself.

    And therein lies the trick of parenting teenagers. 

    I have to let him be.

    First, though, he has a book to read.

    Friday, July 24, 2015

    Things That Piss Me Off Friday - the because why not edition

    Waves. Hi. I've been so busy that I haven't even been on the actual computer with more than a hot second to write in days. Kids. So much with the needing and the eating and things.

    Plus, we got a puppy. Because I wasn't crazy enough.

    This is Oliver. Say hi, Oliver. His full name is Oliver Queen DeBie because we really are those people.

    Anyhow, this week has been one filled with all kinds of stories in the news, so we should just get to the things pissing me off (I mean aside from the baby eating the dog toys and the dog eating the baby toys...)

    The Bad Blood Twitter Feud
    I'm going to try to summarize what happened quickly. The VMA nominations came out and Nicki Minaj wasn't on the list, even though many would argue that she certainly should be. She noticed. She tweeted a comment about not being nominated, saying that videos with a certain body type seemed more likely to be on the list. Taylor Swift, who is on the list and was nominated for a song that is ironically about a feud with another singer (Katy Perry if you're wondering), took the statement personally, then accused Minaj of being divisive towards women.

    Nope. Other way around.

    Queue the internet explosion. Minaj was making a fair and valid criticism, Swift took it personally and people came to Swift's defense for the most part, taking the focus off of what Minaj was trying to say, at the same time lending credibility to her point. 

    Feminism isn't just about all women as though we all exist in a vacuum with the same sets of biases to overcome and issues to deal with. Intersectional feminism, which Swift got a lesson in from the internet in the last few days, deals with the reality that women don't fit into a one size fits all box. This article says everything I'd want to say about the topic and more, but better. I highly recommend that you go read it.

    By the way, this isn't just a twitter feud between two singers that is attempting to expose societal biases against the bodies of black women....not at all. I read a piece on Serena Williams by Kareem Abdul Jabbar this week, and it was very well written. Body shaming the bodies of black female athletes (and singers, and anyone for that matter), as he says, isn't just about race. It's about so much more than that and the discussion of the issue has to be multifaceted because the biases that create the issue in the first place are layered.

    p.s. Kendrick Lamar should win anyway.

    Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Still Doesn't Work
    Arizona just released the findings of their welfare drug testing program, and they've fallen into line with what we've learned from other states that have decided that people should be forced to submit to testing for drugs in order to eat.

    It doesn't work.

    The number of positives captured is almost laughable. Wait, it is laughable. The cost savings are in the hundreds of dollars. HUNDREDS. (I feel like the Count should say ah-ah-ah here)

    People need to stop believing that poor people are all strung out on drugs and just looking for a government handout to get high. They aren't.

    Oh, but my completely anecdotal evidence that can't be replicated tells me otherwise!

    I gotta go with statistics and numbers on this one.

    This is classism at its finest, and the politicians (hey, maybe we should drug test them...) have done a phenomenal job convincing people that welfare abuse and fraud is responsible for not just busted budgets but for the downfall of society.

    Meanwhile, corporate welfare abounds, costing taxpayers a whole lot more than hungry people ever will.

    Call me a bleeding heart if you must, but I just think people should be able to eat. I don't honestly care if people use drugs. Until there is a system in place to actually confront and deal with addiction and mental health issues in this country, until there is an honest discussion of the cost of living for people trying to get off of welfare, until there is a complete overhaul of the way we hand out money in this country (hint, hint, the rich get way more of those handouts than the poor do), I don't think we should be wasting any time trying to micromanage and shame the poor.

    Gun Violence. Again. Because we just don't care.
    If nothing else, every new episode of gun violence proves that we, as a society, really just don't care about it. We don't.

    Another shooting happened last night.

    Kids in schools are massacred, people in perfectly good movie theaters gunned down...nothing changes.

    The Onion did a great satire piece on it last year, and I'm sharing it again because it's still just as valid. 

    Thousands more have been killed since then, but we still don't care.

    We don't care enough to fight the NRA, demand actual background checks, limit third party sales. We don't care enough to actually deal with the mental health issues that underlie some of the events. We don't care.

    Sound harsh?

    It is.

    It's also the honest truth.

    #sayhername and #blacklivesmatter
    Her name was Sandra Bland. She was pulled over for failing to signal, arrested and dead within days. Her death has been ruled a suicide.

    The video of the traffic stop reveals her to be a person, a citizen who knew her rights. She wasn't unreasonable, she wasn't combative. Around the internet, you see stories of people who've challenged police authority, who've asserted their rights under the law. People who refuse to even roll down their windows and cite sections of the applicable code, list their rights under the law. They are applauded as warriors of the Constitution.

    When a black woman (or man for that matter) is stopped, though, they are supposed to be compliant and cooperative and unquestioning of authority, regardless of whether their rights are being infringed. Sandra's rights were infringed several times on the video alone.

    Often the same people who would vehemently defend their own rights are the same ones demanding unquestioning compliance from others. Anything less than that, and it must be their fault if they are hurt or killed in custody. Right?

    NO. No no no no no.

    Actor Jesse Williams tweeted an epic series of tweets about this issue, and I'd encourage you to read that then take a step back and ask yourself, really ask yourself if you believe that everyone is treated equally in this country.

    The #alllivesmatter response to #blacklivesmatter misses the point entirely, primarily because it works on the assumption that people are treated equally, ignoring the simple reality that people of color are far more likely to end up dead in custody.

    If you haven't seen it already, OITNB's Matt McGorry generated a chain of tweets crushing the logic of those who claim #alllivesmatter isn't offensive.

    Privilege is real, the system is biased, things aren't equal. If that somehow threatens you, good. It should make us all uncomfortable. The only way things can ever change is to deal with the fact that they're really fucked up in the first place.

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    The Things I Can't Explain to People Who Don't Understand

    I read a post this week, a really good one actually, written by a guy who'd lost both of his parents. You can read it here if you're so inclined. It was actually published last year, and it wandered into my newsfeed just now. It was a refreshingly honest take on what life is really like once you find yourself wandering the planet without parents, from the truth about holidays to the fact that no one tells you about the logistics of dealing with the things left behind.

    I found myself nodding along more than a few times as I read his piece, struck by the raw truth in his words, the humor in the stories he shared. I thought back about some of the things I miss the most about my parents, stories not too far removed from the ones he wrote about, and I understood where he was coming from.

    It's rare for me to feel that. At my age, I don't have many friends that have lost both parents. There are a few who've lost a parent or an in-law, but far more of my contemporaries have both of their parents still here. The luckiest ones still have grandparents.

    There are things about being parentless that I don't really think people can understand until they're here, hanging out on this side with us, the orphaned adults of the world, twiddling their thumbs on holidays and not getting phone calls on their birthdays.

    It's weird. Surreal at times.

    Anyhow, the article isn't really what hit me in the gut.

    It was the comments.

    Why did I read the comments? Why does anyone ever read the comments? Why do people insist on leaving comments like the ones I read?


    I need to not read the comments.

    People were pissed that he said his parents were "hella dead". People were mad that he told the stories he told, that he was so brash and direct with his delivery.

    People made all kinds of assumptions about him and his parents and the relationship they had based on the words he'd written, and there weren't even that many words. It was a fairly short piece, certainly not anywhere near long enough to make suppositions about this writer or his family dynamics.

    Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it because I'm also a writer that has been personally attacked and judged for things I've written since the deaths of my parents.


    Isn't that how the internet works though? It has, at least in my experience. When I've had posts go viral, I've had tons of people descend on my blog, read one post as though it exists in a vacuum, make ample assumptions about me, and then attack me personally for the few words they read in a huge sea of the words I've ever written.

    When new bloggers tell me how much they anticipate having something go viral, I caution them to be careful what they wish for. For the love.

    It's the nature of the internet to be this way, though, I think. It happens here, even on my ordinary posts sometimes. People will read one thing and leave me some kind of comment, inferring whatever information they think needs inferred (usually incorrectly), then tell me what they really think of me. It happens on my fan page fairly often, where people fill in the gaps between my words with whatever bias they choose to read, then turn it back on me and try to blame me for the words they've used to fill in the blanks. It has happened even with people who knew me in real life, who should know better, who should know me.

    These comments hurt. The assumptions people make about us hurt. The judgement given over a few paragraphs is just ridiculous at times.

    I've lost friendships over it.

    Ultimately, though, it comes down to something simple, something that applies as much in real life as it does online...don't judge something you haven't lived. 

    Even if you've lost your parents, understand that your experience is inevitably going to be different than someone else's. You are different, your parents were different, your relationships were different, your circumstances were different. Your loss is different, and so is your grief.

    And if your parents are still alive, please don't judge those of us who've already lost ours...because you really just can't possibly understand.

    Let people feel whatever they feel.

    If there is ever a time when you feel compelled to judge someone for their feelings or the expression of them, take a step back and think about whether you'd want someone who only knows a minuscule bit of your story judging you for the same thing.

    Let writers write whatever they feel compelled to write about their lives. Even if it doesn't resonate with you, I can promise that there is someone else out there staring at a computer screen nodding along with what they've said.

    I can also promise you that it's impossible to know much about someone from one post, from one article. I also promise you that for every piece of a story written, there are volumes left untold.


    I loved my parents. I had a really fucked up relationship with my Mom, but I loved her and I miss her and I mourn her loss. Some people can't understand that, and that's fine. It's not my job to make them understand.

    I'd try to explain it, but if you don't get it yet, you might someday.

    And when you do, we'll be here, those of who arrived already, in this weird parentless place where the holidays are quiet and the phone doesn't ring.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2015

    The Magic of This Day

    Twenty three years ago, beneath a sky filled with fireworks, I fell in love with the man who would someday become my husband. He was just a boy, and I was just a girl.

    As we sat beneath the sky that night, the air filled with twinkling lights, two naive teenagers went from being merely interested in one another to something beyond that. Little did they know that this holiday would be one tied to so many moments of significance in their lives in the years that would follow.

    We'd have a few more years before everything changed and college began, but even after it did, we'd always find our way back to one another, spend that night staring up at the sky together again.

    For so many intervening years, it was one introduction after another to the lights in the sky as more children were added to our family. Juggling and wrangling, covering ears and whispering reassurances. We'd still stare up at that sky together, but it wasn't just us anymore.

    Ten years ago on that very day, we packed up everything that we owned and drove away from all that we knew towards an uncertain future together far away. As we pulled into Las Vegas to stop for the night, the sky filled with fireworks.

    Then the year came when everything changed again and the joy dimmed. The glowing embers in the sky were no longer annual reminders of what they once were, they became reminders of other things, of things that no one wanted to remember. Of things we wanted to push away and forget.

    We tried as best we could to recapture some of the magic of this day, knowing that things would never be the same. And they wouldn't. They couldn't. We wouldn't want them to anyway.

    The magic seemed to be gone forever, another casualty in the fight of our lives.

    Until this year.

    This year, the sky we sat beneath was one far away from home. The older children no longer needed cradling and reassurance, instead they needed space to run and play. They needed to be set free.

    In between us this time beneath the sky, another child. A new one. One that neither of us had ever truly believed would exist, one that was never part of the plan. Then again, our plans always seemed to implode most magnificently, much like the glitter in the air does on this day.

    This child who brings so much joy, he brought us one more chance to do it all again.

    One last chance to introduce someone to the magic of this day, to find it again for ourselves.

    As the sky darkened and the show began, this new child crawled up into my lap, rubbed his face into my shoulder and nuzzled up against me. Though he'd long since struggled to nurse with the presence of any distraction, though I'd been dealing with mastitis for days prior and nursing was excruciating, this night was different.

    This night was special.

    He eagerly nursed as his bright eyes stared up at the twinkling lights in the sky. He made his introductions with the magic of this day on his own terms, reached up a hand towards the air and waved at the sky, as tears I didn't bother trying to fight back fell from my eyes.

    I didn't need to watch for myself, instead I watched him seeing it all for the first time.

    Knowing that the magic was back in a way I never anticipated, I exhaled.

    I reached beside me for the hand of the man that I love, the one I fell in love with on this day all those years ago, and I fell in love with this holiday all over again.

    Wednesday, July 8, 2015

    Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the day late, quick and dirty edition

    Haaaaaaaay. I was gone last week and I didn't take my computer with me and something amazing happened. Ready for it?

    At no point in the last week did I start twitching in the corner as a result of being without my computer.

    I think I'm at a point where I'm over the whole social media thing and an occasional break is required for my sanity. I'm back now, and there's some catching up to do.

    I still may write a post about the marriage equality decision from a legal standpoint if there are people interested. I meant to do it before we left, but just didn't get a chance. If you'd like me to pick apart the opinions, talk about the basis of the decision, the constitutional issues and the potential ramifications of the decision, holler.

    Since I was gone for a bit, there are a lot of things to cover, so I'm just going to do this post quick and dirty style (or as close to that as I can get these days). And it's a day late, so there's that.

    Way to be Florida, Florida. South Carolina's state Senate took a historic (and shockingly lopsided) vote to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol this week. The House is more divided, however.  Even when it requires a lot of kicking and screaming, progress is still progress. Progress usually is a case of two steps forward, one step back though, and Marion County in Florida took that step back when county commissioners voted unanimously to fly the flag over the county building again.

    I feel a bit like Indiana Jones these days and find myself randomly blurting out "IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM".

    Let's totally not do something that works, Colorado. Oh, my state. You're so progressive in some ways, so not progressive in other ways. In 2009, a private grant created the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, which provided long term birth control methods such as IUDs for free or reduced cost to over 30,000 teens and young women across the state. Guess what? The teen birth rate dropped pretty significantly. Like 40%. Abortions dropped 35%.

    The grant funding ran out and the state was faced with deciding whether to put money into a program that saved taxpayers $80 million in Medicaid costs because of pregnancies that didn't happen and babies that weren't born.

    The state won't be funding the program. The reason? Heavy objection from Colorado Family Action, a religiously based organization that opposed the program on several fronts. They argue that IUDs are abortifacients which they aren't, that the state shouldn't be paying for teens to have sex and that the state shouldn't insert themselves between parents and teenagers.

    Right. Because refusing to fund a program that totally works, that saves a ton of money, that actually decreases abortions, is a bad thing. Head:wall.

    Marriage equality is great and all...but...It's not just about marriage. Discrimination is still legal in many states, and marriage is just a piece of the issue. To have true equality, we need to pass sweeping comprehensive anti-discrimination laws. For that matter, marriage equality isn't really marriage equality even now because it only pertains to two people. Knowing many people who are in polyamorous relationships who would absolutely love the opportunity to marry all their partners legally, I can't help but think that we should just get out of the business of defining marriage at all for consenting adults.

    (here come the pitchforks...)

    Marriage is hard work, and that's okay. Oh, Huffington Post. You annoy me. Sites that used to operate primarily as news sites seem to be pushing opinion pieces more, and one today chapped my ass. It was a response to something Ben Affleck said about marriage being hard a while back in light of his impending divorce from Jennifer Garner. Anyhow, the piece claimed that everyone is wrong, that Ben is wrong, that the experts are wrong, that marriage isn't or shouldn't be hard. 

    Uh huh.

    I'd like to congratulate the writer on their charmed life, and tell them to stop insisting that their view of the world is the only correct one. Maybe their marriage has been all sunshine and rainbows, maybe everything has been a piece of cake, maybe they've never fought or had conflict or thought about walking away. Maybe. And for that, I say congratulations. Seriously. You're lucky.

    Don't for one second believe that your experience is something that should be imposed upon other marriages though, and that anyone who does have to work at it (i.e. almost all of us married folk) are doing it wrong.

    For the love.

    Fireworks are dangerous. Also, water is wet. So when a drunk guy puts a firework mortar on his head and lights it, blowing himself up in the process, it's maybe time to have a conversation about how drunk people shouldn't be lighting fireworks and how drunk people shouldn't make bad life choices. Yes, fireworks are dangerous. We know that, thank you Captain Obvious.

    Apparently, though, the mother of the guy who blew himself up wants more restrictions put on fireworks, because somehow the fact that he was drunk and lit the fuse himself isn't to blame. Head:wall. Again.

    Donald Trump is an ass. Also, water is wet. The guy isn't going to win, we know that much. He will blow a ton of his own money and prove to the world what an ass he is though, even if it takes insulting wives of other candidates with racist statements. Also, the fact that he's surged to second in the GOP polls after making a ton of racist statements...well...that's just really disturbing.

    Maybe we could believe the women? Hmm. About 40 women come forward saying that Bill Cosby raped them and people question them, doubt them, refuse to believe them. Cosby's own words point to drugging women for sex and suddenly we believe it happened?

    What in the actual fuck? Maybe we could believe the victims without requiring confirmation from the rapist? Maybe when he admitted to drugging women TEN YEARS AGO, he could have been arrested and charged?

    This. This is what rape culture looks like.

    While we're at it, let's talk double standards...In the past 48 hours or so, Justin Bieber and John Legend's asses have become newsworthy because of their appearance on Instagram. Oh, Instagram...the place where photos of women are pulled for showing a nipple, breastfeeding, menstrual blood. Men's butts, apparently, though are totes fine, and not only are they fine, the internet has responded with a magnificent double standard. All kinds of comments about how hot they are, how sexy they are and so on and so forth.

    A woman posts a picture of her ass, she's a slut, shamed all over the internet. O.o
    A woman posts a picture of her nipple, it's removed, she's shamed. O.o
    A woman posts a picture of nursing, it's removed for being indecent and disgusting. O.o

    A man posts a picture of his ass, the internet gets the vapors and starts fanning itself.

    Head:wall. Aaaaagain.

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