Monday, August 5, 2019

Guns In America

A friend of mine lives in the quiet Virginia countryside among her horses and rescue dogs. This weekend her home was broken into by someone high on meth. I thank God she and her boyfriend have a gun and know how to use it. They were able to keep the person at bay until police could arrive. 

I’M VERY GLAD MY FRIEND OWNS A HANDGUN TO PROTECT HERSELF. And I believe in your right to own a gun to protect yourself or to go hunting with if that’s your thing. 

However, I don’t think high capacity firearms capable of mowing down entire crowds of people in mere seconds have a place in civilized society. Do you? I KNOW getting rid of them isn’t the only solution, because people bent on violence will use whatever they can get their hands on, but it’s SOMETHING. It's better than nothing. It will save lives. Like classrooms full of little children. Like food festival goers and people shopping for school supplies in WalMart. 

And before you go popping off with “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” Well NO SHIT Sherlock of course it isn’t just guns all by themselves. Most of us know the problem is way more complicated than that. It’s lack of resources for the mentally ill, it’s the continued legacy of domestic abuse and violence, it’s the spread of ignorant and hateful rhetoric to people that feel marginalized, it’s the glorification of brutality in our culture, it’s lack of accountability and of feeling connected to community for so many. It’s a BUNCH of ugly things we need to pay attention to and begin to untangle and address. It’s complicated and it’s hard work and we need to have the balls and the brains to look at it together. And we need leaders capable of doing something constructive. Soon.

Are we so polarized that this can’t be done? Is it all so black and white now, all so left and right that nothing in between matters? The whack jobs on the extreme left and the assholes on the extreme right seem to have control of the microphones right now and the millions of us somewhere in the wide spectrum of the middle have to sit here while they go at it day after day accomplishing zero but fueling hostility and division among the fringes. Oh and we have a president that sits on his gold plated crapper and tweets incendiary comments and then quietly grins when crowds at his rallies shout "shoot them" and "send them back." THIS SUCKS YALL and I’m tired of it. This shouldn't even be about politics. It’s about our collective health and safety and the kind of society we want to live in. Because tomorrow it could be your kid's school, your shopping center, your movie theatre, your church. Something has to change. Can we at least start with agreeing these types of military-style weapons have to go?

We can’t afford to remain complacent and uninformed. I don’t know what the solution is right now but we’re doomed if we throw up our hands and say nothing can be done. This is America! Land that I love. If there’s a will there’s a way. If we can put a man on the moon, build the Hoover dam, invent the internet and find Osama Bin Laden we can figure this thing out. We deserve better than what is now the norm in our country. Don’t we? 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

How Game of Thrones Ends

Because absolutely nobody asked, here is my prediction for how things go down. 

Both Jon and Dany die in battle. I'm sorry. I get that Dany wanted the crown so badly and worked like seven hells to get it and even though Jon didn't want it, he'd be a good king. But guys, this is Thrones. Valar Morghulis. Go write your own ending if you want.

After Dany is killed, Tyrion climbs on Drogon and somehow manages to roast the majority of the Golden Company and swing over to the bay and torch Euron’s fleet, saving thousands of innocents and making him a hero to the the populace.

Meanwhile, during the chaos of battle, Jaime slips into King's Landing. His plan all along was to go to Cersei not because he loves her, but because he knows she’s lost her damn mind and that he’s the only one who can gain close access to her and take her down. Bronn fends off the Mountain and Qyburn while Jaime strangles Cersei (Don't ask me how he does it with one metal hand. It's PROPHECY OKAY?) The Mad King slayer is now the Mad Queen slayer as well. He contemplates that for two seconds as he looks out Cersei's window towards the North and Brianne. Bronn managed to stab Qyburn to death, but the Mountain has broken past and charges Jaime and shoves him to his death below. Seeing this, Bronn flees for his life.

The Hound and the Mountain battle it out, but in the end it’s Arya who swoops in and executes the Mountain right before he mortally wounds his little brother, pissing off the Hound so badly he vows never to speak again and disappears.

When the dust of war settles, Tyrion is seated on the Iron Throne with Varys as his Hand. Bran reveals to all Tyrion is indeed a Targaryn which explains why his father hated him and he could ride a dragon with ease. Under Tyrion’s rule, Westeros sees huge advances in social justice, wine production and the brothel business for generations to come.

Tyrion names Sansa Queen of the North where she rules with a firmness and justice much like her father except has no problem lying or telling other peoples secrets to get the job done. She is faithfully protected by Brienne and remains close friends and in regular touch with Tyrion. One chilly fall day, Ghost returns with a mate by his side and a pack of puppies trailing behind them. He gets a long overdue “good boy" and curls up in front of Sansa’s fireplace never to leave Winterfell again.

As promised, Bronn is given lordship of beautiful Highgarden in the verdant lands of The Reach. He dies within a month of complications from an untreated pox on his man parts. Bran then takes an interest in Highgarden and creates elaborate plans for cultivating "herbs" in its fertile and temperate climate. Henceforth, he can be found in a haze of smoke living in the past in the Reach's famous weirwood. Which has not only one, but three weirwood trees bruh! Look it up.

Gendry spends a long and lonely few months forging steel at Storm's End until Arya rides into town unannounced and accepts his old offer of marriage, but with one stipulation - she refuses to wear a wedding dress. Their joyful wedding is a festive three day banger and shifts the people’s morale from grief over the war to hope for the future. The Hound, who never RSVP'd, shows up at the reception with his hair and beard freshly groomed, delivers the best toast in all of Westeros wedding history, and disappears again. Gendry and Arya go on to raise five sons who she teaches to become expert swordsmen, except for the one who prefers to embroider and eat lemon cakes. He is sent to Aunt Sansa's because she's the only one who gets him.

Sam and Gilly make their home at the Citadel where Sam becomes Head Maester and also establishes the kingdom's first hospital. Gilly revolutionizes the library’s organizational system and eventually opens it to the public. Their sons Sam and Jon and daughter Eddwina grow up to become respected educators and open colleges throughout the seven kingdoms, spreading history, science and medical knowledge to the masses. 

Davos quietly takes to the seas again and is never heard from until one day a ship loaded with riches floats into King's Landing's bay with a message for Tyrion that it belonged to Ser Davos Seaworth and the entirety has been willed to the orphanages of Westeros.

Drogon is given all the goats he can possibly eat and a nice grassy meadow at King’s Landing. Despondent, he flies away the next night for Dragonstone, where he spends the rest of his days either perched atop the empty castle or sleeping on the deserted beaches below. He never breathes fire again.

One night somewhere north of the abandoned Wall, well after the Wildlings have settled back in, the faint voice of Ygritte whispers “you know nothing Jon Snow." Far off in the snowy distance…one icy blue eye opens.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Stages Of Parenting Boys On Ski Trips

Stage One: Sweet Misery
Activities include: 
-At least 30 minutes of wriggly prep including wrestling on onesies, thermals, socks, snowsuits, hats, gloves, boots and helmets and then removal of half that due to a stinky.
-packing up of diapers, binkies, Goldfish, sippy cups and woobies, followed by hauling uphill of the all the aforementioned plus one’s own skis, boots, etc. up to the slopes.
-approximately 20-30 minutes of straight up adorableness on the bunny slope 
-hot chocolate and cookie break while watching in awe as the big kids come down the mountain
-snowman building and snow angel making
-sweaty haul back to the room where either a hat or a mitten or a beloved woobie is discovered lost forever out in the snow. 
-Tears, baths, nuggets for dinner, fall into bed.

Gamut of parental emotions: Excitement, frustration, exhaustion, frustration, serious doubt at one’s fitness to raise children, delight at how cute they are in snowsuits, discovery of unconditional love, excitement, exhaustion and more exhaustion.

Stress Level: 11 out of 10

Stage Two: Snowboarding Younguns
Activities include: 
-boarding le$$ons 
-trying to keep up once they’re coached up and officially faster than their parents
-breaks for blue Gatorade, candy bars and sugar diabetus
-hot tub shenanigans followed by jumping half naked into a pile of snow 
-missing your sweet babies in snowsuits who have somehow been replaced by two cocky, hilarious neon and cammo-clad mini Shaun Whites.

Gamut of parental emotions: Shock and awe, resignation that you are no longer cool, exhaustion.

Stress Level: 6 out of 10

Stage Three: Teens a.k.a. Meet You For Lunch 
Activities include: 
-shelling out cash 
-watching them lose it reading ski run names like Organ Grinder and Beaver Run
-texting where to meet up for lunch
-shelling out more cash
-yelling that you are not a maid would you please throw away all those water bottles and pick your wet ski clothes up off the floor and give me back my phone charger
-amusement at their comical recounting of the day’s gnarly wipeouts and shweet victories

Parental emotion: Relief that you don’t have to keep up anymore.

Stress Level: 5 out of 10, but only at night when they go into town.

Stage Four: The Payoff Years
Activities Include: 
-downloading their playlist “Shred Gnar Pow 2019” on your Spotify 
-gratefully sitting back and letting them read trail maps and lead the way down the mountain
-collectively losing it over ski run names like Devil’s Crotch and Clamhopper   
-enjoying apres ski beverages together
-playing card games they’ve learned in college
-laughing at all the old stories from the ski trips you’ve taken together over the years.

Gamut of parental emotions: Amazement that they actually want to hang out with you, sheer bliss flying down the mountain together, warm fuzzies watching them genuinely enjoy each others company, gratitude for their sweetness and patience, pride that you haven’t messed them up too badly over the years, desperate hope that you can all do it again next winter.

Stress Level: Zero

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Please Do Not Feed the Fears

I dream a lot. And like many people, I've had a recurring dream since I was young. Okay, it's not normal. Quite a humdinger of a nightmare really. I'm alone, afraid and trapped in a house of multiple rooms, confusing stairways and hallways. Something sinister is lurking out of sight, enjoying my powerlessness, mocking my struggle. The last time I had this dream was a few years ago. Once again, I had been stuck in the house for a long time and was frustrated and exhausted. Stairways led to solid walls and small doors led to smaller doors. I knew that something horrible was hidden deep in the house. Something that had to do with me. I didn't want to find the horrible thing, I just wanted out. Usually about this time I woke up. But not this time, not yet. Words are going to fail miserably here, but here you go... I rounded a corner and found myself face to face with what felt like pure evil. A malevolent being, about eight feet tall, with wings (not kidding) bore down on me. I froze in terror. For about one second. Because something in me finally snapped. I exploded in rage, lashing out at the top of my lungs, "LEEAAAVE MEEEE AAALONEE!!"

It felt incredible, purifying. What happened next was unexpected.

Bizarrely, the thing's head bowed as it turned quietly away, disappearing like smoke. I swear I detected a hint of hurt feelings. It was as if my outburst, my sudden change from fear to righteous anger, drained it's power.  I wanted to laugh with relief and wonder. My fear gave it life. Without that, it was nothing. I woke up in a twist of sweaty pajamas and the sound of my own yelling still ringing in my ears. That was the last time I had the dream.

The subconscious is a powerful thing. It's very subtle, but since then I have felt less frozen, less guilty. Definitely bolder. Once again, I can't find the right words. I don't know how to describe it. It's as though something in the chambers of my heart that was rusty and stuck was given oil, like the tim man, and finally settled into place.

To anoint with oil is a sacred form of blessing. I now look at that nightmare as a blessing. A gift from God. I will carry it with me always.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Statue of Liberty - You're Fired

At a rally in February 2015, Donald Trump was asked by an audience member if he could "look at Syrian children aged five, eight, ten, in the face and tell them they can't go to school here." Without hesitation, he said "I can look in their faces and say 'You can't come. I'll look them in the face." Friday, he made good on that promise.

Pause for a moment and look at this boy's face. There but for the grace of God go my boys. Or yours. I am all for keeping out those who seek to do us harm, but keeping out those WHO ARE FLEEING ACTUAL TERRORISM?? This man, our president, has no qualms casually turning his back on the most vulnerable and desperate of the world who have been through our already quite extensive vetting system? I'm floored. Note that Syria has produced exactly zero immigrants/refugees that have done us harm. Saudi Arabia - where Trump has business interests and where we rely on oil - has. But they were not part of his ban. Syrian refugees are afraid of exactly the same thing we are - Islamist terrorism! They are doing exactly what you or I would do were we in their shoes. Our president just slammed the door in their face.

This is not what America is about. This is not what we stand for. We are SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS. Aren't we? Please tell me we still are.

I GET that our schools are over crowded. I GET that we have our own homeless, our elderly, our veterans, our own poor and sick to take care of. But what kind of people have we become if we let fear rule our actions? If we turn our backs on those who have suffered horrible atrocities, those who were simply unfortunate enough to be born into different circumstances than us? We have a legal obligation as a country - the 1951 Refugee Convention - to accept refugees. I believe we have a moral obligation as well.

One of the most repulsive things I have heard since the election is that my husband and I will be better off financially with Trump in office. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I refuse to sell my soul to the devil in such a way. I would gladly pay more taxes and give whatever I could potentially gain with this creature in office to those who need it so much more. This life here on Earth is but a blip in time for me. For all of us. My life here will end, I'll shed this body and the trappings of the life I had, but I know for certain my soul will endure. I've tried to stay positive about this president and wait and see what happens. But this has shaken me. I can't imagine the thought of coming face to face with God and having to explain how I stood by and said or did nothing while my country, no longer a beacon of hope to the world, turned away the suffering. I will not bury my head and sit quietly. We have a president who is perpetuating fear and division. So I'll resist. Annoying and uncomfortable as it may be to some, I will speak up and go on record as saying No, this is wrong.

YALL, when Dick Cheney, Lindsay Graham, Michael Moore and the Pope all agree that banning immigrants is wrong, well, strange times we are living in. If we stand by and allow this ban to happen, may God forgive us for being so horribly selfish and cowardly.

Pope Francis washing the feet of Muslim and Hindu migrants to Rome.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dear Winter, Go to Hell. xoxo, Me.

It's 23 degrees and windy as eff outside. I'm standing at my kitchen window clutching my third cup of tea for warmth. There's a package of chicken breasts on the counter put out to thaw this morning. Eight hours ago. They're still frozen. I just heard a bumpety-thump and skid in the driveway. An arctic blast has blown the trashcan over and about twenty feet away.  I look to see if it's blocking anyones ability to drive up. It is not. Who am I kidding, I wasn't going out to move it for nothing. Peering out the window and contemplating my fourth cup of tea, I hear a tiny shrill whistle right next to my ear. I look down and realize wind is hissing through the little slits of an electric outlet. Winter hates me. Good. I hate it too.

I wouldn't make a very good pioneer woman. I've read Little House on the Prairie and Cold Mountain. I saw The Revenant. I turn into a champion, Grade A, all-conference complainer in the winter. Not proud of it, but I just can't deal. Not when my hands are blue, my shoulders perma-hunched and my nose runs like a mountain stream. Things like getting out of a warm bed are monumental feats of inner strength. From the minute Christmas is over, I go into an irritated funk of pouting. I'm a preschooler, basically -loudly sighing, throwing a tantrum or two, pretty much seeking sympathy. Expressing my utter misery isn't optional. My sanity depends on it. I'm incapable of suffering quietly. So yeah, I wouldn't last long on the prairie. The townsfolk would shoot me dead and have a party around the bonfire celebrating the blessed silence. Ding dong the witch is dead. Fine by me, at least it's warm in hell.

Nope. Not gonna.
Satan's mouthpiece

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Faith the Size of A Mustard Seed

I will admit I have been mad at God this week. Maybe one day I will have the kind of rock solid faith that doesn't budge in the face of evil and injustice, to have my first thought be to pray, resting in peaceful assurance that everything is in God's hands. But I don't. Instead I get upset, toddler style. Internally, I rant, rave, jump up and down, cry, kick and scream at the unfairness of it all. I am not proud of this. I truly hope to grow out of this and become a wise and steadfast old woman one day. For now, I appreciate his patience. Here's the thing, when I have exhausted all that emotion and finally collapse at his feet, He wraps his arms around me and I know He understands exactly how I feel. My brothers and sisters are hurting. He feels it seven billion more times than I do. They are His children.

I'd love to say that after my outburst, God and I have a great talk and He explains all about giving us free will and why there is evil in the world and I'm okay with it and go skipping on my merry way. Tra la la la la. If only. Jesus didn't sugar coat it. He told us "You will have suffering in this world." (note: you will not you might) It's not paradise, this life. Now we see through the glass darkly but then we will see face to face. Right now our perspective is limited, but it won't always be. I have so many questions that I hope will be answered one day. For now, I will be grateful to be alive on this crazy and beautiful planet.

So when I fall at God's feet and surrender my anguish, what happens is this - a bit of a paradox - I feel both small AND powerful. I feel small because, well, He's God. I am reminded of my place in the vast universe. There is comfort in that. I also feel powerful. Why? God has given me, and you, a job in our time here on Earth. Love others. There is immense power in that. Maybe right now I can't comfort a Parisian man who has lost his wife or a Syrian child who has lost her home, but I can love everyone I come in contact with, friend or stranger, right where I am. Every day. And I can chose not to get sucked into the fear. Because as hokey as it sounds, our energy and our attitude is contagious. So I will keep my eyes open and my mind alert in our dangerous and complicated world. But I will not be paranoid. I will not live in fear. I will not become skeptical and bitter and negative. I will choose faith, love and yes, joy in the face of terror and sadness. It feels good, this small rebellion in my heart, to deny the terrorists what they want. Why? Because I can.