Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Impeachment Groundhog Day

 


It's impeachment Groundhog Day. Except this time with ten republicans on board. Nice to see there's some kind of needle move on decency. Sad there's only ten, but I'll take ten over none.

I don't want to write about politics. But I chose to start writing again before January 20th, when Joe Biden is going to be sworn in as the 46th POTUS, and of course, there's still insanity and lunacy going on in the last days of 45's presidency. I feel like I have to say something. I can't just ignore it and write about pies and cakes.

I don't know why I thought things would calm down in the last days. It must have just been wishful thinking. Now we have to worry about about more violence and insurrection. Insurrection, a word I never even thought we'd have to utter in this lifetime, yet, that's where we are. 

Whether I wanted to or not, I listened to almost the whole House of Representatives debate and vote of whether to impeach 45 for a second time. I was watching something, as I was working, and next thing I know, that was interrupted for the debate. I listed to all the speeches, for better or worse. 

I'll say this. I was doing work, so I couldn't just watch, eyes glued to the TV. Weirdly, at least on ABC, while these politicians were speaking, with masks on, at the bottom, they only posted the name of who was speaking for like a hot second, then, it just said, something like "House speeches for impeachment". So I'd hear some complete lie or lunacy, look up, and have no idea who was speaking. So when I say, "some guy from somewhere", it's not because I'm a moron, it's because, I couldn't tell who was speaking. 

I will say- there was one republican from North Carolina, I think, who made the most honest and noteworthy statement of every single word said. He said something like- What the president did was wrong. I am voting against impeachment because I have to go home and appeal to my base. Democrats, you're going to vote for impeachment because you have to go home and appeal to your base. But we all need to start working together. Or something like that. At least he was telling his truth- he was basically saying- we all do what we have to do to stay in office. He didn't just stand up there and make stuff up like some of these other people. I would have respected any of them more if they just even said- Hey, I'm not here to talk about my personal feelings. I'm a representative. I'm representing the people of XYZ. I know what they want and they don't support impeachment. Therefore I'm voting against impeachment.

I was going to quote Tod from Parenthood, when he goes into that whole thing about needing a license for a car, boat, etc. but any asshole could be a father, and just change it to be an elected politician. Which is all true, but the actual quote is now a little politically incorrect, so I'm leaving it out. You can get the gist of what I mean. My point is, listening to some of these representatives speak, it's clear that you don't even have to be particularly bright to be a representative for your state. You don't even have to be truthful. You can just full on stand up and lie.

That's why, here we are, regular people, wondering during the past four years, where are the parents, or just the adults, or the people smarter than the rest of us average Joe's, expecting something of these elected officials that they just....aren't. They are just regular people. Regular people, some of which who don't even know the definition of current buzzwords or phrases like defund the police. One representative, Old White Man, I can't tell you who, masked up and no name I could see, started yelling about how the democrats in there didn't want to defund the police when they were scared on January 6th. Well, duh. Because defund the police NEVER MEANT GET RID OF THE POLICE. If you're going to rail against something, publicly, shouldn't you know what it means? 

The House voted for impeachment, 232 to 197. It's amazing that it wasn't unanimous. The really amazing thing to me were some of the speeches in the debate. I wish I knew who some of these people were. These are supposed to be the adults in charge and they were just making things up. We heard 45 with our own ears and saw him with our own eyes. Not just the day before or the day of the violence on January 6th. We heard Giuliani, Don Jr, and the rest of his cronies. We saw the tweets. We heard the lies. We heard 45 continue to say he won the election when he didn't. We know he didn't call for help when the domestic terrorists infiltrated the Capitol building. We know he didn't say a word to stop it. We know he still hasn't said a word about the death about fallen police officer Brian Sicnick at the hands of those insurrectionists, who happens to have also been a Trump supporter. He did his job that day, to safeguard the representatives in the Capitol building, no matter his personal politics, and he got killed for it. We know 45 hasn't reached out to the family. 

So for all the reTrumpliclowns in the House indignantly crying hypocrisy or the people on social media crying hypocrisy and conspiracy, I haven't heard a word against him for him not acknowledging the officer's death. I thought this was the party of law and order. Of respecting law enforcement. Most of the republicans in the House yelling about the "whataboutness" of BLM vs the disgrace of January 6th, needing a new "whataboutheremails" don't see any difference in comparing protest over murder and oppression vs the violence perpetrated due to the cult mentality for the purpose of supporting false allegations about a stolen election. They were pledging allegiance to a man over country. I don't know how many times I have to say that. THAT, is a huge problem. It's not the what, it's the WHY. No, violence is never a "good" thing. But you can't compare people protesting years murder and oppression to our PRESIDENT, the highest position in all of the world, inciting violence against our OWN COUNTRY. 

Sure, that's what they were debating. Whether his words were the catalyst for the behavior. They were trying to play semantics, being literal, saying that this was planned by the insurrectionists, before 45's speech. Does it need to be explained that it was a cumulative effect? That all the tweets, all the rallies, all the speeches, all the rhetoric, over the past four years, were just inches on a long wick to a bomb, and the words that day, was the actual detonation. He riled, riled, riled, and then set them free with the last words. Yes, it was planned. But he stoked the flamed and then threw the final logs on the fire. Bin Laden DIDN'T ACTUALLY FLY THE PLANES EITHER. Those standing up for him in the House were just being deliberately obtuse, stupid, and/or pandering to their bases. I think it's actually all three. 

I wish I knew exactly who was speaking every time - at least who I was yelling at on the TV. There was one guy from Florida, I just saw on the news it was Matt Gaetz, who definitely doesn't belong representing anything except a number behind bars. Because if he rises up in politics in any real way, he'll be just as horrifying as 45. Maybe worse because he has that beguiling good head of hair and doesn’t look like he eats chicken by the bucket on a daily basis. He can get votes on the superficial. That guy is unhinged, dangerous, and a straight up history rewriter. I loathe that guy. 

GOP Rep Doug LaMalfa just spewed crazy after crazy. He might have been the one where I looked up because I heard him tout the president as pro-life. Like that's really a thing. I mean, if you're going to use made up stuff about him, pick something that's not totally laughable. It's like calling him a Christian and expecting someone to take you seriously. 

There were so many adamant liars up there. I could only tell that most of them were either old and white or young and white guys. You know, the country club, frat boy bystanders in The Accused kind of look. 

It's embarrassing how many representatives were too afraid to stand up for what is right and vote for impeachment. Or just doubled down to pander to their, or 45's base. They'll have to live with that. We all saw it and we'll all remember.

I just don't know how anyone can still defend his doing NOTHING on and since January 6th. Nevermind doing NOTHING about the coronavirus for months, when every single day, on World News Tonight, it's been the deadliest day yet. I don't CARE if you don't BELIEVE it has been. There are FACTS and what you believe. And all 45 has cared about is himself. It's so bizarre to me to still support the guy who clearly only cares about himself. I GET why the elected politicians are afraid to break with him. They have careers to think about. They have death threats to contend with. But the average person, still having to worry about Covid, the economy a mess, and the threat of violence looming all over the country with no one seeming to take the wheel, has absolutely NO REASON whatsoever to still support him besides brainwashing. 

If you're about to excuse 45 at all, keep repeating to yourself: The POTUS did not thing to stop what happened on January 6th. He did nothing to help during it. He did nothing while insurrectionists chanted to HANG his vice president. Can you imagine this having happened between Obama and Biden??? It took him days to lower flags for a fallen officer. He still refuses to concede. He's not sorry for anything he said against the insurrection and the people who committed it. 

That's it. E asked me during dinner- When Biden takes office, are we still going to have to watch the news every night? We have a lot of General Hospital to watch." 

I hope not, E. I hope not. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

And She Baked Us a Pie

 I follow Busy Philipps on Instagram. I like her. She just moved her family from LA to NYC before the holidays. She posted that she had the best pie in all of the land and she got it from the Little Pie Company in NYC. She described this pie as a sour cream apple pie with a walnut crust. I was sold at sour cream.

 Back in my Hoboken hang out days, I used to go to Frozen Monkey on Washington St and they had mini sour cream apple pies that were amazing. They'd put Tasti d'lite on top of it and it was heaven. Then Frozen Monkey went out of business, no more sour cream apple pies, and my heart was broken.

I've been on a sour cream kick lately. I also bought myself a griddle, if you can believe that. All because of sour cream. Because at some point in middle school, Adrienne O'Reilly had a sleepover, and her mom made us sour cream pancakes in the morning for breakfast. They were the best pancakes I've ever had in my life. I'd never had sour cream pancakes again after that, because, well, Rita was not making pancakes. But I'd thought of these pancakes sporadically over the years. 

I found this recipe for sour cream pancakes and I decided I had to make them. Truth be told, if Covid wasn't a thing, and I could just hang with my friend, I'd be begging Alex to make them for me. But alas, Covid IS a thing, so I knew I had to just suck it up and make them myself if I wanted them. 

Well, of course, it was a ginormous mess. I wasn't prepared with the correct accoutrements. I have a griddle pan, but I don't know, it seems like my stove top is not level. So the butter doesn't spread evenly over the pan, there isn't enough room on the pan, there isn't enough counter space, getting the batter on without it getting everywhere is a thing. It's just, a lot. They tasted great, but I never wanted to do it again. The clean-up also blew.

I decided I needed a real griddle. But what to get. I googled "best griddle 2020". I got this Hamilton Beach 3-n-1 Electric Griddle + Grill. It was relatively inexpensive, the plates turn over from griddle to grill and you can use either side or both. Sounded good to me. 

It came so I wanted to try it out. I also got this pancake batter dispenser thing, which I've already used like three times. It's fantastic. I'm so glad I sprung for the metal one instead of another of the crappy plastic one I already had that broke. I used it to do the pancakes but I also used it for cupcake batter to fill the cupcakes tins, AND I used it for this walnut filling for cookies. 

*Don't ask why the F I'm doing all this baking. F'ing winter Covid in NJ. What else am I supposed to be doing? 

The griddle was much easier to use for the pancakes than the stove. I could make like eight or nine pancakes at a time. It went much faster. The griddle also has degrees on it and in the little manual it tells you what degree to put it on to cook certain things. That is helpful to a kitchen disaster such as myself. 

I put it on my kitchen table, I had all my accoutrements, put on Dr. Phil and was all set. Made the pancakes and put them away for New Years Eve morning so I wouldn't have to make anything then. 

As an aside, it figures, we were just the three of us, because, you know, Covid. And we FORGOT, that Howard Stern calls fans on New Years Eve. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN THE PERFECT ONE TO TRY TO GET A CALL. 

But back to my pie. So Busy Philipps posted this pie and I had to have it. So some time before New Years Eve I saw I could order it online. The first available delivery date was January 6th. I didn't care. That's what I took. It came Wednesday, as expected, and it's perfection. I expected it to be, but once I told my friend Cohen that I ordered from there and she gave them the seal of approval, I knew it was going to be good. As a foodie, Cohen is a tough customer. I am not a foodie, but I am a dessert connoisseur and it would've sucked if the pie sucked. 

 

I'm going to admit, it was expensive AF to have this pie delivered. It would've been $38 to go get the pie in NYC. I don't know if that's normal for a pie. Seems kind of high, but, NYC. I've paid that for a cake, so that didn't throw me. To have it delivered from Goldbelly, it is $69. But, if I drove there and parked, who says I wouldn't be looking at around the same in gas, tolls, and parking? AND, what else do I have right now? We didn't do anything for New Years Eve. If there wasn't Covid, we would've had the Mays here, possibly the Cunninghams, if they weren't doing something else. I would've had to buy food, alcohol, etc. Instead, I bought myself some Hebrew National pigs in a blanket, a shrimp cocktail platter from Costco, and I ORDERED A SIXTY-NINE DOLLAR PIE. Suck it 2020. 

So if you're into pie, or just want to feel a little decadent for a minute when UPS hands you a pie, then this is where you want it from. I highly recommend. Told you I'd get back to frivolous. 

*Again, ignore spelling issues. Blogger stole the spell check or hid it.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Four Years

 


This is the first day I have felt I have been really able to write in four years. I've written. But I haven't WRITTEN. I've written things, often passionately. But I haven't written in the way this blog was meant to be written. 

Obviously, we're meant to evolve and grow. When I first started writing, E was little, my world was different, my priorities and lifestyle were different, so the things I was writing about were just different. Even my audience was different. However, a lot of what I used to write about were life hacks, reviews of products, places and services, and even I'd say, more frivolous things. Fun, but definitely more frivolous. I still plan to do that. Hell, I WANT to be able to be in a head space where I can think about frivolous things. Which is what I'm basically trying to say. I haven't felt like I could write about...the banal life hacks of frozen pb&j when I felt the world was crashing down around me on a daily basis. 

Now, do I think that a new President, Vice President, and an 50/50 Senate is a cure all for all the world's ills? No. Of course not. But do I think we're going to have some relief from the almost neverending feeling that we're living daily in that nightmare of being chased, not being able to get away, but also not being able to wake up from it? You know that nightmare everyone has- being chased but your legs are like lead and you can't get away... Yes. I feel like I can breathe. I feel like I have finally woken up from a four year nightmare. 

I didn't write the day after the 2020 election, even though it appeared the Dems won. I didn't write when it was finally called "for real". I didn't write yesterday when I heard about Warnock and Ossoff winning in Georgia. Because I still, even though I was being TOLD, by every legit news source, and yes, I consider CNN/MSNBC and my man Bill Ritter on ABC Eyewitness News to be legit, that Trump lost, I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop somehow. I've just become so accustomed to the inmates running the asylum so to speak. I've become accustomed to Trump getting away with everything. To his cronies being pardoned. To Trumps lies being perpetuated. To his Republican enablers in the senate stroking his hair for their own agenda and letting our democracy be hammered away at day by day, lie by lie. 

But today I can write. Because today is a new day. Yesterday, January 6th, 2020, was a bittersweet day, burned into our brains forever. It was a day of victory in Georgia, where a black man, and a Jewish man, democrats, for the first time became senators, over their republican incumbents, in a ruby red state. I got to be happy about that for about a half hour before I got texted, "Did you SEE what's going on in DC??" Um, no. I went to the supermarket after alien turtles took over Mitch McConnell's body and he gave the Senate speech of his life. 

So, on the flip side of Georgia, we have what most will say is the biggest stain on the country's history. Thugs disguised as self-proclaimed patriots stormed the Capitol Building at the President of the United States urging, to protest his loss of a free and fair presidential election. An extremely large, angry mob of minions, desecrated the very flag they hypocritically bitched over people in peaceful protest just taking a quiet knee to, throwing it off scaffolding, to replace it with their narcissistic deluded king's flag emblazoned with his name. All while they broke windows, taking over the Capitol by force, breaking into offices, rifling through drawers, taking selfies, and putting up a noose on a structure they left on the Capitol grounds. The President sat, in the Oval, doing nothing. After he called for this violence, thus committing treason- however someone wants to excuse it for whatever reason. When he finally did speak, his words to the rioters were that he loved them, they're special, and that they should go home. 

We all know what would happen if this was BLM storming the Capitol. There would've been four hundred dead or four thousand dead, not four. By the way- if you're trying to compare BLM protests where oppressed people were expressing anger over innocent people getting murdered by police with no justice to delusional privileged white people rioting and taking over the Capitol Building, pledging allegiance to a man over country, over not liking the outcome of the election- you're also delusional. So, bye girl, bye. You don't have to read here, and not sure why you are.

I saw some people on social media say things like- "we need to all get along". Or "this is on both sides". One person, who, I once loved, I once respected, I saw was actually THERE, at the Trump rally in DC, posted, with photos, saying it was the largest crowd he ever saw. Posting like it was just a normal Wednesday. Someone he knows posted a somewhat disapproving comment on the photos and the words from him or about him from someone else came up - I'm/he's "not political". Same for those with the kumbayah feelings of we should all just play nice. They want to think they're not political. Or that saying that we all need to be kinder isn't political. Guess what folks, IT IS

How is telling people to be kinder, that it's both sides, political? It's privilege. You can only say you're not political, you don't talk politics, you don't pay attention to politics, when you don't have anything to lose. When it's a choice for you. When politics doesn't determine any outcomes for your life, for your business, or whether it means the difference between life or death. When you're going to be okay no matter who is making laws. When holocaust is just something in history books to you, 

Sure, you can think it's both sides when you're not on one of the sides feeling the pain. When it's not even a thought in your MIND, to have to tell your child before they leave the house, what they can and can't wear, how to show their hands, how to speak, etc so they don't get shot by police. When it's not a discussion to have to explain to your three year old why his preschool has a constant police presence because someone is throwing Molotov cocktails into windows of schools like his just because of your religion. Why you have to explain the games the gov't plays with peoples lives is why you're on a food line. Why you have to explain to your child why they can't get the medical/school/psychological services or why they can't use a bathroom they desperately need because some lawmakers decided it goes against THEIR religious beliefs. I could go on and on. 

If you really want to be non-political, then be non-political and shut it. Just don't say anything then. Don't sit high upon your horse and tell other people to play nice. Just stay in your lane, show whatever lovely version of your life you want people to see, post about your dinner, possessions, and vacations or whatever on social media and go about your business. Let the rest of the people talk the talk and walk the walk. Otherwise, if you're going to put it out there then, expect those who do walk the walk, or know what it's like to be in the crosshairs of any of the grotesque isms and phobias that Trump emboldened over the past four years- racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, or affected by life loss or business loss due to covid, to push back to your kumbayah. Not everyone has to be an activist, but no one cares about your armchair quarterbacking either. Save it. Or have skin thick enough to take the heat. 

If you really want people to learn how to get along, maybe try to figure out where those are pushing back are coming from. At least educate yourself that the whole "can't we all get along" and "it's both sides" rhetoric is rooted in white supremacy speak. It minimizes the role race plays in society. History tells us that this is a nation that empowers white supremacists and, periodically, groups of white people leverage that power to target, harass, discriminate against, and murder minorities, not the other way around. Trump ushered in a new era of white people leveraging their power to target, harass, discriminate against, and murder minorities. Those same people were allowed to breach the Capitol. Don't just double down, insisting you're right when people are trying to explain from their place of hurt.

So, here are my final thoughts on all the current mishegoss. It was a horrible four years. I've had to face really difficult and ugly truths about people I once really cared about. I've spent days angry and lashing out at people I've known forty years and at strangers online. I've felt rage and sadness I've never felt before in my life. 

However,  I'll try to look it at it this way...Maybe we needed it. The orange clown pulled back the curtain on Oz so to speak. He showed us every loophole, every shady way to deal, every technically legal way to be an outlaw in the highest office of the land with the most power. He exposed every danger when a madman is given the keys to the kingdom. So now we have the power to fix things if we so choose. We almost don't have a choice now that it's all out there. We know who has blood on their hands. We also know that elected officials aren't anything special. Just like celebrities, they put their pants on one leg at a time like anyone else and they can be just as dumb or cuckoo as the next guy. They don't even necessarily have to be educated, and even the educated ones can be dumb. We can do better. Now we know that instead of caring about Kim and Kanye, we can care more about how the Electoral Collage works. Or we can care about both. I guarantee most people didn't even know how the Electoral vote finalizing really worked until yesterday. Clearly, our own president didn't, nor a handful of senators and congressmen. 

We can do better. Today is the start to that hope. I'm going to remain optimistic because that's all I can do. At least today. I deserve today and I'm taking it. Four years was enough misery and anger for me. I just feel like I can finally be on the way to reclaiming part of who I used to be again. I can concurrently teach my kid how to be an activist and, continue to loudly stand up for what's right, walking the walk, while still giving life hacks, tell you I found leggings and pie that I love, and throw in some reality tv for good measure now. I even washed my hair. It's a start. 

I'm looking forward to some time with Sleepy Joe vs stomach churning presidential lunacy taking over the daily news cycle.

*Please excuse any grammar or spelling issues. Blogger took away the spell check or they hid it, I don't know. I tried YouTube for help but I can't sit through videos for that. 




Friday, July 24, 2020

Wekeela 2020: They Did It



As you can see I've all but ceased writing. You know why. I don't need to go into it here, right now. I also don't want to taint this entry. But today, I thought was worthy of writing. Today I'm supposed to be in Maine.

Why am I supposed to be in Maine? It's Camp Wekeela Visiting Day! Well, it was supposed to be. If this wasn't Pandemic Summer 2020. However, there is still good news. E, IS, in fact, AT Camp Wekeela. It's just that there is only five weeks of camp versus the normal seven weeks, and to keep their bubble of safety, no one could come in or out. No parents or grandparents, sisters or brothers, aunts, uncles, or cousins this year, could get up at the ass-crack of dawn, to drive to the sprawling Wekeela campus, in the middle-of-nowhere Maine, to wait for like an hour, in a line of cars, to proceed down a winding path through the throngs of kids and staff yelling and screaming as the families come on down like The Price Is Right. #BestShortRideEver

Now, to the average reader, that might not sound that endearing or exciting. All I can say is that I'm glad I got to do it last year as our first year as Camp Wekeela parents. It is SO. MUCH. FUN. Seeing those kids waving, cheering, crying...That moment is priceless.
Obviously from last year

This entry isn't even for me, B or E. It's not a sales pitch. It's a love letter to Lori & Ephram, Jonathan, Gretchen, Rory, and all the countless staff that I don't know their names, who made this summer happen. It's even to the governor of Maine who allowed sleepaway camps to decide whether to open or not. Because that wasn't the case in every state.

But back to Lori & Ephram. They are the owners/directors of Wekeela and the backbone of this amazing camp community. The people who had to take on the responsibility of hundreds of lives this summer. They are the people who had to ultimately decide if this was going to be too much responsibility for them in the face of this unknown virus pretty killing hundreds of thousands of people.

I'm lucky enough to have been in constant contact with them throughout the winter and I know how difficult this all was- to go back and forth about what to do, what they were going to be allowed to do, how scary it was, but one thing never wavered. They felt that the kids NEEDED camp. After being cooped up at home for months, quarantined with just parents, out of school, away from friends and normal lives, they wanted the kids to be able to return to whatever semblance of normalcy they could. If Wekeela could provide that in some way, they were on board and ready to go. I can picture myself on the phone with Lori in April, pacing, discussing this, and her adamantly saying- "These kids NEED camp" with a resoluteness that I knew if there was a way, they were doing it.

And I can say, now that we are in week three, all in the clear, with everyone at camp having been tested numerous times, and all testing negative: They. Did. It. They did it. For everyone who didn't believe it could happen, said all camps should be closed, that there would be an outbreak- they did it.

I can say with 100% certainty, there has never been a more moving, more awesome video sent from camp, than this:



I could, and have, watched that video like twenty-five times. And I only cried like, the first, five.

People ask if we miss him. That's a hard one to answer. And not in a jokey, "oh, we're having so much fun without him!" way, we say- "We don't even want him to come home". And we mean it. Because, why? Come home to what? The shitshow of people arguing still what to do about school? For him to eventually hear by the time he gets home that they decided to make school all virtual? For him to have to mask back up after he's been living his best life, maskless, in Maine, at camp, with friends, doing kid stuff? No thanks. I wish they could keep him up there indefinitely. This is the safest he could possibly be. Camp was able to create a totally safe bubble. Why the hell would I want him to come home? So I could worry every time he leaves the house, every time he comes in contact with someone?

I don't know what this school year is going to bring. I don't know if we're going to be sitting here next July in the same shitshow boat. What I do know is that Lori & Ephram and their staff should be kicking back and patting themselves on the back for a job very well done. And while I said this wasn't a sales pitch, I have to think that parents looking for a sleepaway camp or even parents who weren't looking for one before, would look at what they did and think about Wekeela for next summer. Because Lori & Ephram actually figured out how to get kids to Maine, even from the "hot spots" around the country, safely, and keep the whole community safe. That was no easy feat. It took a lot of work, faith in them, faith in the parents to tell the truth about their kids health prior to travel to camp, and then trust in everyone to do what they needed to do to ensure a healthy environment for all.

As a parent, I couldn't be more thankful to have been able to send E this summer. To me, this was probably the most important summer to be able to send him. We live in NJ. That means he spent the majority of the months leading to camp indoors, basement dwelling, just by nature of our weather here. I could not have him in the basement for one more day. He's eleven. He probably won't fully appreciate this gift until later in life when he looks back on this crazy time. But he will, look back, and think about how lucky he was to have been allowed a precious five weeks of normalcy in the middle of Pandemic Year 2020.

Thank you Caflun family. You are all my heroes. Without your dedication to making camp happen, this summer would have sucked. You are the reason these kids will have a bright spot in this dumpster fire of a year. I also heard E has a lead in the play, Spelling Bee, that you're doing this summer. I think I told you that E was Aladdin in his school play that never came to fruition this school year (they were a month a way from final performance when school closed), so this is another nice moment for him. (Psst...I hope it's being recorded, thanks in advance). This entry is a virtual hug to you and the D-K house is forever grateful. I'm sad to have not seen you in Maine, but hopeful for next summer. B was just happy not to have had to take that drive, but disappointed not to see you all.


Below: E back in his happy place, singing The Judge by 21 Pilots at Camp Wekeela campfire. Nothing he looks forward to more all year than campfire. That's how he judges songs, by the way- "this sounds like it would be a good campfire song..." 


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Time Time Time

Time is a weird thing. B says that E and I thrive in chaos. It's kind of true. I remember when I was single, living in my apartment in Hackensack, working from home. I could easily live the life of a vampire. Going to bed later and later, blurring the lines of night and morning. Getting up sometime around The View. Finding it very easy to take to the bed with a bowl of Kraft Mac & Cheese, the Lifetime channel and some Newport Lights for hours on end.

Later on, after getting married, changing careers, owning a business, having a kid, my mom passing away, and life just being thrown at me like playing Asteroids, chaos ensuing around every corner, I found myself getting more done before most people get up for the day. It's been that way for so long that I didn't think I knew how be any other way.

It's not like life just stopped one day. This whole Coronavirus thing crept up like a weird boogyman vapor. I do watch the news. I just don't watch the national news. I stopped that not long after the 2016 election. Don't worry, this actually isn't going to be one of my political rants. I'm just saying, I'm not like the rest of you fighting over CNN/MSNBC vs FOX. I don't watch any of them. I watch my beloved Bill Ritter on the six and eleven o'clock ABC Eyewitness (NY) news. Local with some rest of the world thrown in. And, as my friends know, I mostly just listen, to have my other friend Bill, in the background like we're hanging out. I know what's going on, but I'm no longer a news junkie like I had been in the past. I know "enough".

I heard of Coronavirus but I wasn't paying that much attention. I HAVE SHIT TO DO. I was monumentally busy. I work daily in my store. I have my side business. I am E's Uber driver. I didn't think the virus was a joke, but hell if I thought a virus was going to take over the world. That's what movies and network dramas use for plot lines. What General Hospital uses to kill off a major character during Sweeps Week!

Coincidentally, I hadn't had to go to the city for auditions for E in awhile, yet the first two weeks of March I had to be in NYC for three auditions in Times Square at Nickelodeon for E. THREE TIMES. F me, right? Funny enough (not funny), it seems I'd never taken E to Times Square, in the hundreds of times we'd been to NYC and he was walking around there like a freaking tourist, wanting to look at and touch everything. I practically had to put him on a leash. It was March 9th when I even wrote on Facebook- "I'm in Times Square with a bazillion people, none of which are giving any f*cks about the Coronavirus!" because I thought people were overreacting.

Boy was I wrong. We also weren't getting accurate information, of course. I still never thought school would close. I definitely didn't think my business would be closed as non-essential. I didn't think my husband would have to put himself and by extension, me and E, in danger on the daily, doing grocery shopping and delivery for people who can't or don't want to their their homes to do it themselves.

I tried to look at the bright side at first. I'm not a depressive or negative person. I thought, okay, I'll do stuff. I'll organize. I'll do projects I've been putting off....

Instead, I feel like I'm back to being in that apartment in Hackensack, where I also felt stuck with my feet in quicksand or cement, with a pit in my stomach, wondering what would become of me. Except now I have a husband, a house, a kid, a car lease, a mortgage, a business, and a million other responsibilities. I just can't seem to get much completed. I start things and don't finish. I think about starting things and don't. I'm lucky if I get anything actually accomplished.

I realize that part of it is being in mourning for all E is losing out on. People love to compare tragedy and think they're either making you feel better by saying they, or someone, has it worse. Or trying to snap you out of it by trying to get you to see that other people have it "worse". But we have to be allowed to grieve and mourn our own losses.

I have one kid. I get one chance to live these milestones. He gets one chance. We are ALLOWED TO BE SAD. He's in fifth grade. He's not an academic. Sure, he gets good grades, but he doesn't LIKE academics. He doesn't get excited about learning. He's there for any scraps of fun he can find in it. Socializing. Extra curriculars. This is his last year at his little warm hug of an elementary school before middle school. The fifth graders are the big cheeses, finally getting their special activities. He waited all this time and now all that fun stuff is circling the drain.

He was to be the lead, Aladdin, in the school play. We just got the email yesterday that the play is officially cancelled. I knew deep down that it would be, but there was still a little SHRED of hope. Yesterday, the shred was finally set on fire, ashes buried. That one stung, hard. He had worked so hard. He'd been saying, "hey, I still have to practice my lines..." We'd been putting it off, knowing this day would come, but now it's real and it hurts. We're allowed to mourn that. Just because he's not a senior losing prom or graduation doesn't make it any less shitty for him. We're only up to fifth grade disappointments. That's not his our our fault. It's just what "is".

Of course my heart breaks for everyone losing out. Laura Benanti, the broadway and tv actress, did a beautiful and amazing thing, having kids across the world perform everything they won't get to perform on Twitter for her because of this nightmare. She said to tag her and hashtag #sunshinesongs. I had E do it with one of his Aladdin songs back in his first few days of school being closed because I just knew where this was all going.

One day, like two weeks ago, on the treadmill, I just had a breakdown of sorts. I was watching something on tv- I don't even remember what now, but I just completely lost my mind. I just started sobbing uncontrollably for the unfairness of it all. This was even before people were dying here. Before Bergen County and NYC were the epicenter of death. Before I actually knew people that passed away.

Yes, there are people I knew who have died of this disease. Not people I was close to, but people I knew. And my heart also breaks for their families and friends. I had a crazy scene over here where I tried to be just the vessel as to which to connect the right people as to how someone sick with it would be able to get the right hard-to-get medication. I thought it worked, only to find out that it didn't or didn't get there in time- I don't know- and the person passed away. At first I was thinking, what if I had heard sooner, what if, what if....But there are too many unknowns and it's all just too much to bear.

Again though- we all have to be able to mourn the big and small of this horrible, awful situation. The loss of school, the loss of human interaction, the loss of human life, the loss of milestones, the loss of celebrations, the loss of mourning new lives and proper burials & memorials. The loss of proms, graduations, plays, recitals, competitions, sports, once-in-a-lifetime events. There are things that all mean something to someone and no one's thing means more or less than someone else's.

Remember that line from Ally McBeal that always sticks with me...When Georgia says to Ally- "Why are your problems always so much more important than everyone else's?" and Ally pauses, cocks her head, thinks for a second, and says, "Because they're mine".

I, personally, have found that I have to take this thing day by day. I find that I get really irritated and pissed when I'm talking to people or reading from people that this is going to last for a very long time, blah blah, months, it's going to on for....making it sound practically like a life sentence. Doom and gloom for an undetermined way-too-long amount of time. I CAN'T LIVE THAT WAY. I'm not saying they're wrong. I'm not saying they're right. I'm saying- I. CAN'T. LIVE. LIKE. THAT.

It's like dessert. I eat dinner as a means to dessert. I need to know there's dessert coming. If there's no cake, life isn't worth living. Well, what good is it knowing the projection if this thing sucks giant donkey balls? No, I don't need to live in a Fantasy. However, I don't feel that the average person actually knows much of anything. I'm don't trust that our government knows much of anything. So I definitely don't trust that Joe Schmo down the street knows what's up. I need hope. I need positivity. So stop telling me life as we know it is over. Or you're going to be over- to me. Just don't say anything then, if that's what you think. Keep your negativity to yourself.

I'm going to believe things are going to get better, sooner, rather than later, and I'm going to take it one day at a time. You want to be in my boat or the EverythingIsShitWeAreAllGoingToDie boat? You pick.

PS- I'm using this picture of cake for a few reasons- one, I mentioned dessert. Two, I really miss Caked Up Cafe during this quarantine. Three, maybe I'll try to make a layer cake during this, but I doubt it. Because I can't seem to get anything done.



Friday, March 13, 2020

Can You Spare a Square?


via GIPHY

Things are rapidly changing hour by hour it seems. One minute, I'm all CoronaThis and now we're at no toilet paper to be found and not being able to spare a square. Today I'm all CoronaWhatTheFuck.

I get it. It's a big deal. I get that no one wants to hear that it will only affect those who are already in vulnerable health because most people are probably close to someone or many people who are already in vulnerable health. Hearing that doesn't lessen any panic because even if means YOU personally won't die, it still means that a loved one can. Awesome.

I admit, I wasn't freaking out prior. I wasn't freaking out about catching it. I wasn't freaking out about giving it. I'm still not. B, E, and me- none of us have any reason to think we've been exposed. *knock on wood* We live and work in a small town. We don't go to any house of worship. E goes to a small elementary school with only around fifty kids in his grade. Let's say there's maybe 250-275 kids in his whole school. Now school is closed indefinitely. He's barely been at swim, it's been over a week now, and there he's been immersed in chlorine. His other extracurricular activities are singular like guitar and piano lessons. I hadn't even been at work myself because I had a sinus infection which has come and gone. So I wasn't even really in contact with the general public much.

However, as the idea of school closures started being discussed, and more breaking news was coming in....I started feeling more and more of a tightness in my chest. I'd be fine. Then I'd go on Facebook and scroll through my feed to people's fears. I'd see questions asking what to do about attending this gathering or that one. I'd hop on one of my message boards to see questions about what if this, what if that. I started feeling like a rubber band stretched and stretched. I'd get off the internet, breathe, and try to do, think about other things...

I got on the treadmill yesterday morning around nine-fifteen. I turned on the TV, as I normally do, and it was the perfect storm. I turned it onto Kelly & Ryan or something and immediately there was a Breaking News alert. Then I picked up my phone and saw a friend's post with a photo from the local supermarket. I couldn't tell what I was looking at. I wasn't sure if it was a joke, or serious. Then I realized it was line like it was a Depression Era bread line. I started hyperventilating. I then somehow ended up in the live stream our school HSA (like the PTA) meeting. I don't know what happened, I could barely hear what they were saying because the treadmill was loud, but I caught something about how "the spring social is our big fundraiser and fingers crossed...." and I just lost it. I was hysterically crying and hyperventilating and I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown.

It was a Seinfeld moment for me. "What is this salty discharge??" I'm not a crier! Unless it's for the American Idol kids or homeless people or stories like that. But I'm not typically a worrier. I'm not a depressive person. I usually try to see the positive and I'm a hustler. I always had to kind of fly by the seat of my pants. My life has never really been "comfortable" or "easy" so I've always sort of felt like I've had to be "on my toes". Scrappy. So to just crumble like a cheap suit was humbling and surprising to say the least. I just couldn't stop sobbing. I guess it just needed to come out.

I wasn't sobbing out of fear of getting sick. I was sobbing for the uncertainty. The fear of the unknown. Of society shutting down. Of the lack of leadership in this country. I posted on Facebook recently- "WHERE ARE THE PARENTS??" Meaning, it feels like when you're a kid and you think your parents know everything, only to get to that point where you realize your parents are just people who know the same nothing you know. I knew our current leader in the White House is a clown, but it's like- shit just got real. Fast. Not only did it get real where people are dying of this whole weird virus, but what are we going to do about money? How long is this going to last? Is this the apocalypse?

I was sobbing because we own a small business and that's how we live. That's how we pay our bills. What if people can't shop or the domino effect of their lay-off causes them not to want to spend money? Unknown. It's not like we can get unemployment. Just like anyone with a small business. Then they keep interviewing small business owners in quarantined areas saying how awful this is for them. They need people to be able to come in.

Someone I know was like- "well, you're supposed to have savings" when asking what to do about a tenant asking to be late on rental they have. Even if people have savings, no one knows when this is supposed to end. How long are you supposed to be able to sustain yourselves? Unknown. Too much up in the air. I don't know anyone prepared for "Pandemic Savings".

I was sobbing for the unfairness of it all for our kids. The goals they've worked so hard for that had to be cancelled like bar/bat mitzvah readings and celebrations. E is the lead in his school play of Aladdin and we have no idea what the fate of the play is going to be. All the dance, gymnastics, and cheer recitals and competitions that are cancelled or just up in the air. The sports seasons cut short or on hold that could determine futures in college or careers. We push our kids to work so hard so they can get to their goals. We drive them to their practices, run lines, go to meets, expend time/money/gas/energy and now their goals are just cut for now. It's HARD. Sure, are these first world problems compared to death? Yeah. But they're still hardcore huge disappointments we're allowed to grieve and our feelings of sadness are valid.

I was sobbing because I have some kind of OCD or whatever where routines keep me sane. My routines don't bother anyone, or impede my life. Well, maybe they bother my friends Alex and Mike because it causes them to eat dinner at AARP time on Saturday evenings, but they're used to it by now. But the thought of all my routines being messed up just threw me into a tailspin of panic that I couldn't deal with it in that moment.

I'd stopped into an unfamiliar grocery store the night before because I just happened to pass by. I didn't know the layout and I had to leave because I couldn't find anything. It stressed me out more than not having the items, so I just left with a few things. In my crazed mental state yesterday morning, I just knew I HAD to get to MY Shop Rite. RIGHT THEN. So I hopped off the treadmill and called B, who was insisting on coming home. I guess he could tell by the insanity in my voice that was not the way this was going down, when I said, "DO NOT COME HOME". I jumped in my car and drove to Shop Rite in Paramus, where I know the layout like the back of my hand.

I got all my staples. I did not get toilet paper. As an aside, besides the toilet paper craze being ridiculous, I do not need toilet paper. We get the cheap kind of Scott toilet paper on Amazon Subscribe & Save because that's what he likes. He says it never stuffs a bowl. I'm not arguing over TP. We got like thirty-two rolls then. B starts using it and tells me it's defective. That it's only one ply and it shouldn't be. That it feels too thin and you can't wipe your butt properly with that.

Well. I don't investigate One-ply TP-gate. Anyone that knows me, knows, you wind me up, doesn't take much, I call Amazon and just start yelling. I have Diamond in me. That's just what we do. Ask E about my road rage. I'm screaming, asking the customer service guy if he's ever wiped his ass with one ply of TP. Yadda yadda, another thirty two rolls show up. We were in the middle of our basement renovation after our flood. Where was I supposed to put all this TP?? I started shoving it in the built-ins down there, behind the bar, wherever. Then, of course, I promptly forgot about it. Until a few weeks ago when I opened the built-ins to try to put something else in there. So I can spare a few squares. 

 So I got my basics. I didn't hoard. I didn't even buy any cleaning supplies. I wouldn't know what to do with them anyway. I got milk. Stuff to bake if I felt so inclined. Stuff to make like twenty-four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And most important- Two packages, which is four loaves, of The Cheesecake Factory brown bread. Because, what else do you need? I felt like I could breathe after that. Not so much because of the items I'd bought, but because I also needed that time away from the TV and the internet. I realized that's what's giving me the anxiety. The overload of the media. The overload from my own well meaning friends.

I understand we need to take it serious. This entry is more a stream of consciousness than anything else. I have no words of wisdom to impart. Information comes in to us in bits and pieces, all day long. No one seems to know what to do. I don't.

Some are saying to stay home away from everyone. Some are saying just don't go into larger crowds. I just think we have to use our common sense and try not shut down society as best we can. I'm not a doctor or a health professional. All I can do is try to keep my little group of three clean and healthy, not infect anyone else, and watch our mental health. I'll keep telling people to stop hoarding toilet paper because we don't have a shortage. We aren't going to shit ourselves into oblivion. I'm trying to keep of some kind of balance of normal life and following whatever it is we're told to do by whomever seems like the best authority. While still trying to keep a sense of humor. No one thinks this is funny. This is all some scary unprecedented shit with no leadership to keep us calm. So don't fault those of us who use humor to deflect from fear as foolish or uncaring. We're just trying to cope the best we can.

Hopefully E will be able to use this time to really become a rockstar. He'll have more than enough time to practice.


Monday, March 9, 2020

CoronaTHIS



You know what the Coronavirus is for? People with time on their hands. You know who it's not for? People who are f'ing busy. That's really the long and short of it.

You know what else I realized? I realized that if you watch TV or hang in online groups, everything seems much more dire than if you're just out living life. I watch a LOT of TV and hang in A LOT of online groups. I feel like I am seeing A LOT of hysteria right now. But only there. And on the airwaves in general.

Most people know I'm a HUGE Stern fan. Like, obsessively listen, even listening to the same episodes over, just having it on, even if I've heard it already, because their voices are comforting to me. Howard has been talking about the virus non-stop. He can't help himself. I can't imagine being that paranoid. I hear it on there, then I go about my business and forget about it.

Yesterday, Sunday, I was ALL OVER THE PLACE. I was in Rockland County, NY first. I went to Caked Up Cafe, to get myself my weekly cupcakes. If a measles outbreak wasn't going to keep me away, neither is a little Covid-19. For those who don't know, Rockland was the scene of a huge measles outbreak like a year or so ago. I think even specifically the town, New City, that Caked Up is in, was one of the outbreak towns. No matter. I'm getting my cake.

Then I went from Rockland to Waldwick NJ, where I went to Rite Aid, then Giant Farmer's Market. Nothing seemed amiss in either of those places. Bustling, as usual, for a Saturday. From Waldwick to Shop Rite in Wyckoff, which was a typical shitshow for a weekend supermarket run. Back to Glen Rock to the gas station, a bagel store, and CVS. All busy, busy, as usual, all while people were out and about, doing their thing.

Not to mention that Friday, morning, at like nine-thirty, on my way to a doctor's appointment, NOT for Coronavirus, I stopped at Michael's, the big box craft store, for a gift card. It's on the way to my doctor's office, on the same side of nightmare of a highway. I didn't want to have to turn around, then turn around again like Big Ben, Parliament (National Lampoon's European Vacation) and I thought I'd be in and out. NOPE.

People were there in droves, all jaunty, not trying to hoard hand sanitizer. They were loading up on faux bunnies, topiaries, wreathes, and whatever hideous spring and Easter decor they could get their hands on. There was no Corona-mania in site. I can't even say they were trying to amass crafts, for stuff to do, in case of quarantine. In front of me, I had a lady with a cart full of faux wreaths, bunnies, and topiaries. The next lady had some cork boards. And another one had some plain t-shirts with her faux flowers. Why do I know so much about what was in their carts? BECAUSE I WAS BEHIND THEM ALL AND I HAD TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE! No one had any sense of urgency. They were all just moseying around, without a Corona-care in the world.

That's why I'm totally convinced that without the TV and internet, people don't give a flying fig what is going on. We'd probably all be better off if we didn't hear or read anything and just washed our damned hands.

Every time I open Facebook and scroll, in every group I'm in, We Live In Bergen County, Bergen County Moms, etc etc etc, there's a new post about what is being hoarded, people asking what they should hoard, price gouging, how many cases, where the cases are, and so on. All that does is add fuel to the fire.

It's gorgeous out today in NJ. And I suspect in NYC as well. E has a meeting in NYC this afternoon. What I'm hoping, is that all this Corona is going to lighten the traffic load for me today. That will be my bonus today. We've been skipping the dirty water dog and/or the cart pretzel for awhile now and opting for baked goods instead. We'll take in the sunshine, breathe in some air, hoping for some that's more fresh than Covid-19 filled and take our chances. And wash our hands when we get home.

No one is saying to lick the subway pole. Or make out with sick people. Just use common sense. I know that is in REALLY short supply these days, and is asking a lot, but please. PLEASE. For the good of the world at large...try. 

Enjoy the day people, enjoy the day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What are YOU doing?



*Forgive any spelling errors. I don't know what happened but they seemed to have removed spellcheck or something*

I have The Talk on in the background at work. They're talking about the Quaden Bayles, little boy from Australia with Dwarfism who had been being bullied. His mom videotaped him saying he wanted to die. The video had gone viral recently. Marie Osmond mentioned a friend who lost her child to suicide recently, who found all these notes stuffed under her kid's bed that had words like- "kill yourself", "die loser", etc.

Then they talked about bullying and how it needs to stop.

All these news outlets have talked about this one bullied kid that went viral and how celebrities have come out in support of him and people donated all this money to him. That's great. But that's ONE kid. Do you know how many more kids are being bullied on a daily basis? I'm happy this kid is now has hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to Disney in a GoFundMe account but what is being taught in every household in America to stop this kind of behavior??

A lot of the bullying happens online. Okay- how do we remedy that one? Well, at least in elementary to or through middle school, we don't NEED TO GIVE KIDS SMARTPHONES. There are so many other options to be able to get in touch with or GPS your kids if need be.

E doesn't have any smartphone, which I've discussed in Facebook groups and message boards ad nauseum, because I don't think kids- tweens, teens, etc need smart phones. My personal feeling. Nothing good is coming of it, because parents are just handing them over like loaded guns, with no supervision. They're just letting them have social media accounts before they know how to handle them. We just gave E an iPod Touch so he can use Garage Band. That thing is locked down to where he could barely look up Sesame Street and the whole thing shuts down after an hour. At first, the security was so strong, I locked myself out of it.

B and I have a music Instagram account for E, for professional purposes. He only sees it if we show it to him or ask him to write something for it that WE post. He never even looks at it unless there's a comment we choose to show him. B listened to all these podcasts that said if E is going to try out for shows like America's Got Talent (which he did), they say he needs to have all these social media accounts in place first. But that doesn't mean we have to let him on them! He doesn't rule us- we rule him! That's the beauty of parenting! WE rule!

Parents aren't checking. They're not. Unless you know you're going to be checking, just don't go there. You know how many parents I know who told me when they were giving their kid a smartphone that they were TOTALLY GOING TO BE CHECKING, putting parental controls on, blah blah blah....yet, when it came time, did a WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING? Yep. Most of 'em. Because you get complacent. They're like, eh, my kid isn't really going to do anything. UNTIL THEY DO.

So, okay, *I* don't believe they NEED it but you do and you're the parent. Fine. If you're going to insist they need it you just want to give them a smart phone, make sure you're reading all their texts, looking at all their stuff. No, they don't get privacy. There is no such thing. It's YOURS. You pay for it, it's YOURS. Say it with me.... It's YOUR responsibility to be checking. It's up to you to have the conversations. Check in once a day, once a week, once a month- whatever it is- and talk about their behavior online. I guarantee if you're REALLY checking, you may not see things that are shocking or awful from/by your own kid, but bet your behind you see it from or by one of their friends!

A lot of the time, these are the same people who just handed their kid a smartphone with no restrictions are the ones who have side eyed me for years for letting/making E watch the news and know what's going in the world. Or let him listen to Howard Stern. Or hear me say a curse word. Or think it's weird and hysterical that he and I watch General Hospital. Well, guess what? General Hospital over the years has been the springboard to some awesomely deep conversation. Especially in terms of how to treat people.

With or without General Hospital though, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HOW TO TREAT PEOPLE. I don't know what in the actual hell is being talked about in a lot of homes, but I really don't think common courtesy is a typical topic. I've seen the stuff adults I grew up with have written, publicly, on social media, like using old school homophobic slurs, not even used to describe an actual homosexual person, or act, but using it the way one would've used it in the 80's - just as a derogatory term. As in- "X, that f'ing ******". So if people my age are still throwing out that terminology as a "nasty insult" to someone, I can only imagine that they're not stopping to have conversations with their kids about how to treat their peers with kindness and respect. I could be wrong I guess, but I feel like that assumption is correct. By the way, my heart almost stopped when I saw that the other day. THE OTHER DAY. WHO USES THAT F WORD TO DESCRIBE SOMEONE IN 2020?!

Plus, I see it with kids in general. Just incidents of kids not being good friends. One telling another they're not going to be invited to their birthday party- when they're old enough to know that's a hurtful thing to say. Or leaving a friend somewhere to see if there's someone "better" to play with. Even early boy/girl drama of finding out a friend likes a boy and trying to be that boy's girlfriend on purpose. No, of course you can't control who likes whom, and all this is just a right of passage, but JEEZ LOUISE, is anyone's mom talking to their girl about being a girl's girl?? Even Rita talked to me about that stuff. Or told me stories where I inferred who was the a-hole in the situations she told me about. It's never too early to talk about that! Even E learned about that on on GH between with the Lulu/Dante/Brook Lyn triangle.

Are parents claiming they're too busy to have these conversations? Do they think their kids are too young to talk about what it means to be a good person? A good friend? It ISN'T true that all we need to know we learned in Kindergarten. Because now, in Kindergarten, they're too busy being stuffed with academics. So we have to do our JOBS as PARENTS and teach our OWN children how to act like human beings and treat people nicely.

I'm not just talking the talk either. I'm not saying I'm the most awesome parent in all of the land, better than anyone else. I'm not going to give you a list of all my F-ups. I mean, I'm a Leo, so of course, I don't really believe I F up all that often. But seriously, it's not a competition. I'm not saying I should get the big piece of chicken. What I can totally say is that I *am* having these conversations. I think many people are forgetting to have these conversations. Or they're focusing on other priorities- academics, sports, classes, activities. They're "too busy".

When E leaves the house, we used to say, "Yelp Reviews". What that means is that every time he leaves he's representing our family and we want good reviews coming back to us. Behave. Be kind. Be helpful. Be respectful. Be NICE. Not difficult concepts. And we get those reviews. Moms that I don't know, finding me on Facebook, to tell me E played with their preschooler or Kindergarten kid on the playground, making their day. We tell him every time so he knows he's doing the right thing and that behavior is positively reinforced. So nature or nurture, he's a NICE person. 

E's not perfect. Obviously no one is perfect. No kid is perfect. But, I know for a fact that he's a nice person. We've talked about what it means to be a nice person. How to show sympathy and how to have empathy. How to look for kids who might be sad or lonely. To notice if someone might not have anyone to sit with or play with. To take the initiative to introduce himself to people who are new or shy.

And if we got a report, or more than one, that he was a dick, he'd be in major trouble. I wouldn't be saying- "Not my kid!" He's been told that too. He's also been told that while we always want him to do well in school, be a reader, get good grades, I'll always care more that I find out or hear that teachers, parents, and peers think he's a good person. I told him this yesterday on the way to swim practice.

None of this is brain surgery. I'm watching Dr. Phil right now. This episode is about a fourteen year old who bullies his parents - physically, verbally, and mentally because he's addicted to video games. He's decided to stop showering and going to school because he's on the couch all day on screens. He's fourteen. How did he get to that point? Well, clearly, no one was having any conversations on how to act prior to this intervention. Clearly, they have other things going on as well. Dad calls mom a fat bitch sometimes when he's angry. This is an extreme case or it wouldn't be on TV. But the simple fact is that there probably weren't a lot of conversations going on with this kid about the appropriate way to speak to anyone prior to ending up on Dr. Phil.

By the way, E loves some Dr Phil. Another way to springboard some great conversations. He was watching the above mentioned episode with me.

We NEED to be having conversations with our kids. Not JUST about grades. Not JUST about sports. Not JUST about sex. Not JUST about drugs. But JUST about being nice, good, kind people. How to check to see if a friend seems sad. Not to be a social climber- meaning, not to ditch one friend for someone who seems cooler. Not to leave your friend somewhere- a party, a sports event, a dance, etc to meet up with other people or because they want to stay and you don't. That they need to work it out together, and one of them is going to be annoyed, but they don't leave each other. You come together, you leave together. Pay attention when your friend talks. Look each other in the eye. Don't let anyone talk crap about your friends to you. Stand up for people who seem to need it- who can't stand up for themselves. If you hear someone being a dick, say something. So on and so forth.

THEY DON'T JUST KNOW THIS STUFF WITHOUT BEING TAUGHT OR TOLD.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Unknowing who you know

I used to want to know everyone. Ever since I was a kid, I felt like I was meant for more than small town living, only knowing the people in my immediate surroundings. Don't get me wrong, I never wanted to move to the big city, fifteen miles away, that was close enough. It wasn't specifically about suburban surroundings that made me yearn for more, I just think I always inherently KNEW that life is about who you know. 

Maybe because I wasn't a scholar and I didn't really know while I was growing up what I wanted to do as a career. I was never that kid on a specific track toward any one profession. I always worked though, as a teen, always outside of my town. Why? To meet people. My friends and I already hung out in the mall a few towns away all the time, so why not monetize that? I worked in the mall. Probably, if I have to be honest, to meet boys, not just any old people. Whoever I was trying to know then, I think I just knew, even subconsciously, that the more people you meet, the more chance you have for something good or exciting to happen.

I was told I had to go to college, which was fine, because I didn't even really know what that meant, aside from what I'd seen in movies. I was happy to be going though, realizing I'd just meet more people.

I just liked meeting people. There's an unknown when you strike up a conversation in a store, on the beach, on line at the bank. I met some guy today at Starbucks. I have a whole foam/no foam issue, which deserves it's own entry, but while I was dealing with that, a guy struck up a conversation. I probably seem approachable because I'm approached more often then not. Now that I'm 45, with grays on dry shampooed hair, an endless supply of bootcut leggings and no make-up on, I don't think it's my supermodel looks. I just seem amenable to chatting. And I AM. Effortlessly.

When I found social media- Friendster, MySpace, to Facebook, it was like a goldmine of people. I could go back down memory lane, I could friend the people I met on line at the bank, and I could realize I do like people I didn't think I liked. Well, some of them. Then there's the other end of the spectrum. People I had been so happy to reconnect with, that I have awesome memories with as a child, that have so disappointed me with who they turned out to be as adults. 

I'm pretty sure I'm ready to unknow a lot of the people I already know.

I don't think I'd ever be able to go as far as to say that I'm closed like a border wall and not wanting to know new people. That's just not who I am. But I definitely have to be more careful as to who I associate with.

Does that sound dramatic? I don't think so. I'm basing this thought process on being a parent. My kid just turned eleven. He's an old eleven in the way that he's very socially aware and conscious. Whether by nature or nurture, he's a very kind, compassionate, deep person with a strong sense of how people should be treated. He knows the value and definition of being a good friend and tries his hardest to be a person that people want in their lives.

Because being a good person, a friend to all, and an understand soul is so important to us, I can't give people passes who spread ignorance and hate. I can't make excuses for people because of a shared personal history. On old memories. Really, hindsight is 20/20 and when I think back, I can remember certain events that were foreshadowing to these currently held beliefs, I just didn't know it at the time.

It's not about thinking "differently". I have close friends that think somewhat differently on different topics. It's about venom and vitriol. Taking that difference in thinking and actively working against groups of people that deserve peace and love like anyone else. It's when thinking differently turns into trying to pass laws that hurt other people. It's when thinking differently means refusal to any proper research from any credible sources and just regurgitating what's been put out there by other ignorant people.

Yes, in theory, you should be able to have discussions and thoughtful debate with those with differing opinions. There are just some topics I don't feel I would feel like a hypocrite giving people a pass for behavior that is the opposite of what I teach my son is loving, accepting and on the right side of history.
 




Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Who You Are

This is a blatant ask of you kind readers. So if you don't want to be asked, please look away. I'm not asking for money or anything like that.

But let me tell you- it's HARD....

To get Instagram followers! For E. I want them to be authentic- I mean, we could pay for followers. But we don't want to do that. And I'm old and don't even know how one goes about doing that. I want people who really want to hear/see/ what E is doing with his music. Or, you just want to do me a favor, which is authentic too.

Below is his recent performance of a new song, "Who You Are".

He needs followers on Instagram so if you could help him out, we'd appreciate it!
https://www.instagram.com/ethankulemusic/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ethankulemusic/

This is his YouTube channel that you can also subscribe to:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn1gA88oAFD3la974eWYspQ