Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pride Celebration & Flag Raising Ceremony: Hackensack

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


B and I watched 13 Reasons Why last week. It was disturbing, as it should be. We watched it because everyone was talking about it, and I wanted to know why it was such a hot topic. Long story short- it follows the life and suicide of a teen girl, through tapes she made, explaining what every specific person in her orbit did to contribute to her suicide. It was how everyone failed her.

Now, I don't believe that one person can make another person commit suicide. I think they were trying to show how someone who is generally dramatic can take in all these separate events different than the next person, and you don't know what the building blocks are that can push a person to the point of no return. However- they did all fail her in different ways, which contributed to her feelings of isolation, loneliness, despair, depression, etc.

For me, it all comes down to empathy. The show is a little Heathers-like. Heathers for the current generation. Things happen that seem implausible in real life. Like, why is almost everyone an only child? Besides the point, but we found that odd. Anyway, what most of the characters were lacking was a general empathy for another human. Their first instinct, after each one listened to the tapes, except Clay, was to figure out how to get themselves off the hook. Especially when Justin mentioned killing Clay somehow to make it look like suicide. They all wanted Clay stopped, maybe not wanting to take it as far as Justin suggested, but that was their main concern. And they were all sort of surprised that their part really made that much of a difference to Hannah.

Even in the other side stories, it was all about covering their own asses. The girl who knocked down the stop sign that caused the car accident, Hannah being in the room, not stopping Bryce with Jessica. Justin not stopping Bryc or telling Jessica what happened after. No one stepping in during the fight outside between Alex and Montgomery. Even the school counselor! He was the worst with covering up, trying to cover himself! Everyone was just worried about themselves.

I was musing on all of this when the death of Timothy Piazza hit the news. That's the boy who died at Penn State after a fraternity hazing night. Again, just like in 13 Reasons Why, the first instinct was for the brothers of the fraternity to try to cover their own asses. They started trying to delete texts, photos, and whatever off their phones, Tim's phone, and get their stories straight. Of course, in this day and age, nothing is ever fully erased, and that's what really makes them guilty- the cover-up. It wasn't bad enough they had no moral compass whatsoever, to make sure no one got hurt in the first place, but then that they had none to make sure this particular kid was okay. They were like wild animals. Like Lord of the Flies, they just pushed him down, stepped over him, and treated him like he wasn't even a living, breathing human. There was no thought of how to take care of this person. These were supposed to be his "brothers" after such a night. Nevermind brother, had he lived, he should've pulled a Carrie on them after.

While I'm glad the brothers involved are getting rightfully punished, it's really all of us as parents who should be looking to ourselves as to what we are doing wrong. "What, us?", you ask. I have an elementary schooler- not a college kid! I have nothing to do with Penn State! I wasn't even in a fraternity! Oh, yes, we all have culpability as parents. How? Well, what the F are we teaching our kids?

We, as parents now, we are washing our kids childhoods from any pain, adversity, critical thinking skills. We are calling teachers, doing their homework & projects, emailing college professors, calling potential employers, writing resumes, calling bosses, cashing in favors. They can't even have monkey bars anymore- as soon as a kid falls and breaks their arm, the monkey bars are removed. Long gone are my childhood days of doing the monkey bars over a black top surface.

Class gets detention because some kids were disruptive, kid who wasn't talking comes home angry and upset. Generally a good kid, never gotten in trouble. Mom actually gets angry at the teacher. Why? Is it really that upsetting for child to learn that even though someone else made the call that caused the ship to hit the iceberg, sometimes the whole ship goes down? How about learning to cope with life not being fair all the time, and that maybe the bigger picture is that being part of a class is like being part of a team. That you're all responsible for making sure it's the best environment for everyone. Mommy and daddy can't just call every teacher, every year, when something isn't fair. Is it fair? Don't know- wasn't there. Not everything should be fair. I remember my sister and I fighting, my mom didn't want to hear it, who was right or wrong- we both got in trouble. I look at this the same. The teacher is one person. It's probably a class of twenty or more. Teacher may not be able to tell exactly who is disrupting, so she just punishes everyone. Not a new or odd concept.

And the kid being upset? So? Is it that bad for the kid to be upset? I think the lesson is what the kid does with that feeling of being upset. Does the kid retain these feelings and decide to tell the teacher that it wasn't fair HERSELF? Does the kid swallow the feelings and just live with it? Does the kid decide that next time, they tell the disruptive kids to knock it off? There are so many opportunities there to learn coping skills. Mom said- "well, the kid was just upset because they never got in trouble before". Well, I think they ought to know what it feels like by that point in life. Even if it was punishment given somewhat "unfairly".  Now the kid knows what it's like to get punished just by association. Maybe unwarrented in this situation but will be likely thought about when it is warranted. If the kid is so upset, why not tell her to talk to her teacher about it. Tell the teacher that she thinks it was unfair, then let her listen to the teacher's explanation and digest that? That helps her more than emailing the teacher to tell her that you weren't happy with the punishment as a parent.

In E's class, they were doing a project on biographies. From what I understood from him, each kid was supposed to come up with three possibilities of who they wanted to do their report on. Then they'd be paired up with someone who agreed on one of those choices. If they didn't agree, they had to find some common ground to pick something. E had Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and someone else. The kid he was paired with wanted to do it on an author. They ended up with Babe Ruth because they couldn't agree. Baseball was their common ground.

Was E thrilled? No. He was annoyed. Did I care? Well, sort of. E is not a big fan of school in general. Instinctively, I'd like him to be able to be interested in what he's having to work on. Second, he told me that the teacher said Michael Jackson is an inappropriate topic. I was annoyed because I don't think Michael Jackson is inappropriate. He knows how/why MJ died. I wasn't annoyed enough to call the teacher about it. I probably could've because even if she thought it was inappropriate, now I have a kid asking why and what if I hadn't discussed the nitty gritty of MJ's life, that put me in a weird position. The reality is- her classroom, her rules, and I realize that there is always a lesson to be learned. He can't just do what he wants, he needs to work within her parameters of the assignment, and it was up to the partners to work out who to choose as their subject, without mommy running interference. 

Kids are not learning how to fly or cope. If they don't learn how to deal with disappointment, work with their peers, have empathy, show compassion, learn that life isn't always fair or fun, early on, as elementary school kids, they're never going to learn it. They're being taught that appearance is everything (I don't mean physical- I mean keeping up "appearances"), that mommy and daddy clean up messes, and they are always "too young" to have natural consequences.

There is a program tonight in my town about the drug problem in the high school, in the town, in the county- probably addressing all of it. Why should there have to be a program? Well, because we're not even allowed to DISCUSS people's kids in town stealing or being passed out on the lawn of one of the schools. Because "watch what you say, they're someone's children!". Well, guess what? A natural consequence of stealing or passing out on public property is embarrassing your parents. Maybe if more people were talking about it, the kids would be more afraid of doing it. Instead everyone tries to bury it, the unpleasantness, in the name of being "neighborly" and/or not "kicking people when they're down". NO. It should all be discussed. Would I be embarrassed if it was E? Of course! That's why I'm talking to him about it all now. Does that guarantee it won't happen with him? No, of course not. But it's something. He is being taught that we are not his friends. We're his parents, and we're not going to put up with that behavior. If he does something embarrassing like that, then he and we, will all suffer the consequences of his actions.

Bubble-wrapping our kids from failure, independence, making choices, critical thinking, accountability, and looking out for more than just themselves is doing a disservice to us all. Any one of our kids could end up being Timothy Piazza, his parents, or one of the eighteen charged in his death if we don't start allowing our kids to figure some stuff out on their own BEFORE they get to the age where they're supposed to know the difference between right and wrong. We become a nation of a lot of people just worried about themselves.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

LGBTQ Activist Motivation

The other day, I wrote about the car line at school and the lunacy that apparently goes on all over the country on school car lines everywhere. After I wrote that, I got to school and had to tell a dad to turn his car off for idling at least twenty-five minutes. I was behind him eating exhaust with my Greek yogurt. Had I not been behind him, I probably wouldn't have noticed the idling, because that's not my thing. I care about it, I think people are jerks when they're doing it, but it's not my passion.

Yesterday, I also posted that I had shirts made on CafePress in their online marketplace. They're the shape of NJ (and now a few other states) in the colors of the gay pride rainbow flag. I didn't start out making a whole online store. I wanted a shirt for ME. I literally could not FIND a shirt in one of these t-shirt sites with this particular NJ flag. There were others - "distressed", with a heart, but not with JUST the simple rainbow flag. I had to have a guy in Bangladesh on Fiverr make me one to use for the shirt. I'd made one from a similar NJ pride flag I'd found on a site, but I wasn't in love with it. I showed that shirt to people and they loved the idea. So, now, I have a whole online store.

I posted about the "store" on Facebook. My friend private messaged me, applauding my commitment to LGBTQ rights but has always wondered what my motivation is for this particular cause. I thought about how twice people I grew up with assumed I was either gay or my kid was gay or transgender because of my level of support. It took me like a minute to think of what I wanted to say, and this is basically what I came up with:

It's a few things. One of the big ones is that I still can't even watch the news. It's overwhelming and gives me extreme anxiety. I used to watch the news like times a day. I haven't watched the news since the inauguration. I catch things and I read articles that I want but i can't ingest all the rest. Every time I catch something, I feel like we're being Punk'd. I had to pick one basket to put my eggs in. 

There was much more that I said to my friend, and I even typed it out and elaborated here. I just feel like it's almost redundant at this point. I saved what I wrote and I made eventually put it out there, but the bottom line is- I need to feel like I am actually making a difference. Getting a guy to stop idling is nice, but that's not the difference I'm interested in. I can't do something on a national level, but I'd like to help people who need help. This is the cause that makes the least sense to me as an issue for those "against". To me, it's just about being human. People just being allowed to be who they are, live and let live, hurts no one. That there are actively people trying to make law to make people's lives less than, less equal, less quality, just because of their own personal feelings, is angering to me on a level I find hard to articulate. It's also based on a hypocrisy I find unsettling and really dangerous.

In my small action groups, focused on a main issue, that's where I feel I can actually make a difference. I can't watch the news and just see bans on groups of people, the appointment of unqualified people taking over positions that will ruin public education, the environment, send us to war, etc. because there is nothing I can really DO about any of those things. I can make calls and send emails- which is great, and I'm doing. But I need a stronger local focus where I can really feel the difference. Like, for instance, in both Glen Rock AND Ridgewood this week, two groups I'm in were able to mobilize people, made numerous appeals to the town councils, and finally got the unanimous votes to be able to fly the gay pride rainbow flag for the month of June in both towns. That's finally a small win, but a win nonetheless, in this whole mishegoss that's been since January 20th. Even in the meeting in Glen Rock for the vote for the flag, it FELT nicer. It FELT like we did something special to bring the community together instead of continuing to let it be torn apart. It's nice to feel part of something positive.

If you want a shirt, I have NJ Pride ones up, Proud Ally, Proud Ally Glen Rock, Proud Ally Ridgewood, and some other states and different combinations. This was the easiest way to give everyone access without having to be involved with orders and money. I'm hoping a bunch of us will have them for the ceremonies in Glen Rock & Ridgewood when the flags are raised.  

*I can add states, and wording, but the process isn't quick. If you want something specific added, just let me know and I can try to get it up there. Just really check each listing to make sure it's what you want before ordering. I did my best, but I'd never done it before and it was tedious and time consuming. I know there were some tech mistakes but I think they're all fixed now. 

Shirt Shop-

Glen Rock Flag Raising:

sample of what's in my online "shop"

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lunacy on the School Car Line

(Photo of a random school line)

We're going to talk about #firstworldproblems today. Today's problem: Car line. I've seen blog posts go around the internet about the school car line all over the country. Sometimes I'd read, but more often not, because my kid was too young. Now, that I've been dealing with the car line for almost three school years now, I have to say, it's absolute madness. Complete lunacy. I think I can tell you everything I need to know about a person by their behavior on the car line.

Not every school has a car line. Ours does because it's a small school, in a residential area, with no parking lot. There are few rules, but to keep things moving and safe, there are a couple.

The main rule is to pull up to the end of the sidewalk. Meaning the school is on it's own block, with one or two other homes before it. In the front of the school, you're supposed to pull up to the corner where the school block ends and the cross street is to the next block. Different grades line up in the morning at different areas of the school. That's not really anyone else's problem but the kid who may have to walk an extra few feet to their area, but they can manage. Nope. Certain parents think that they should just give valet service to wherever their kid lines up. No problem that there is a LINE OF CARS WAITING BEHIND YOU.

Same with rain. It's raining? Precious can't walk a few feet because he might melt. Sure, just full stop and TALK to your kid as there is a LINE OF CARS WAITING BEHIND YOU.

Now, if we all waited to get to the actual end before letting our kids out, we'd be on that line forever. So once there is a full line, as long as you're in front of the school somewhere, and not in front of the house next to the school, I think it's acceptable to let your kid out. If you can basically punt them out the door. If you're going to take forever, then it's best you wait to be the first care, and pull up to the end WHERE THERE ARE SIGNS THAT SAY- PULL UP TO HERE!

I don't know- I tell E to unbuckle as soon as we reach the house next to the school. I either pull up all the way to the end if I'm the first or second car, or I tell him to quickly hop out and then chuck his bag at him out my driver's side window.

Then there's the one that sits at the end, where people are waiting to move, after the kid's gotten out, and just texts. I don't know what's that important to text about while you're holding up a whole line of people, unless you're an on-call trauma surgeon, but please, go ahead and get that text out.

Those are the drop off rules- pull up, drop kid, go. Nope. Never easy. Someone always needs to be the snowflake.

Then, there's the chaos that's pick up. Pick up is a whole other animal.

There are now signs that explicitly say, "NO IDLING". I make sure that if it's cold for my thirty minute wait in the car (another story), I bundle up. Hat, gloves, whatever I need. Make no mistake, while I'm bundled listening to Stern, I can hear the hum of the car in front or in back of me, just idling away. "But Precious #2 or #2 & #3 or #2, #3, & #4 are in the car with me! They'll freeze!". I sympathize. The sign says no idling. Sorry about your Precious litter possibly getting cold. There are rules. Give them blankets. They'll live. It's like when I tell E- "I'M cold! Put on a jacket". Most likely they're all bundled beyond what they really need anyway. There's a car that idles every single day for like fifteen minutes and it drives my friend crazy. It reminds me of Brody in Mallrats going, "That kid is on the escalator AGAIN!". My friend doesn't really drink but this idling person could drive her to drink. Idling isn't really my hill to die on, but it's ON THE SIGN. So my issue is lack of reading comprehension, AND thinking the rules don't apply to you.

There is NO reason to idle. If it's too cold for you to sit there- you have options! Wear more clothes! If it's too hot- same thing just opposite. Less clothes. Don't feel the need to get as close to the school, wait a little and be on the back of the line. Park and walk. There are numerous other options! 

Then there are the people who are on the pick up line and GET OUT OF THEIR CAR to retrieve their child(ren). This isn't "preferred" or "VIP" parking in front of the school. It's line that's supposed to move more like a conveyor belt or assembly line. Grab and go, grab and go. Not, "well, I have a kindergarten kid. He/she needs help". NO. Then park, and walk. PARK AND WALK! I'm literally watching someone PARK on the line, then get out, greet their kid at the front school door, and walk the kid back to their car. Just look in my car- I'm screaming and cursing them out with the windows closed.

One time, a dad decided he didn't feel like waiting at the end of the line OR parking and walking, so he decided he'd just cut me off to park in front of me, IN FRONT OF THE PERSON'S DRIVEWAY who lives next to the school. People purposely leave that area open, because I don't even think it's legal to park in front of someone's driveway, for any length of time. It just also happens to be a douchey thing to do I actually got out of my car to say, WTF??!, after screaming at him to myself IN the car.  I knocked on his window and he told me to "calm down- I'll move if she needs to get out of her driveway". I don't know him, but if I ever see this guy, I'll be staring at him with WTF-face for as long as I live here. Special snowflake doesn't begin to describe that behavior....

I'm thinking that if people just followed the shortest, easiest list of rules, ever, for dropping off and picking up, there wouldn't be a need for a line or idling committee, or worry about safety, and we could all just go on with our day.

Drop & go. Then pick & go. Do not get out of your car, Do not stop wherever you want to let your kid out. Don't text at the front of the line because you feel people can just go around you. Don't idle. Do not pass go and do not collect $200 dollars....

It's a dog eat dog world on the car line. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Be the Change

I really don't like starting an entry, then having to stop, coming back, and continuing, but damn, these days, I don't have a choice. Something more messed up is happening daily, so I have to keep adding. It's fine- because it gives me more ammunition to support my thoughts, but the breaks in concentration are killing me. I'm still having a very hard time writing here, trying to keep a balance between the superficial, fun stuff people want to read, and how I'm walking around, daily, feeling about humanity these days.

I don't feel superficial. I care that my hair doesn't resemble the powdered wig of George Washington, but that care is really at a minimum. It's more of an afterthought. I write about it though because this didn't start out as a political blog. I don't want it to be. It's just where I was taken by the events of the world now. When I started this blog, I was a relatively new mom and I was immersed in that new mom world. My struggle was in the balance between being a mom and being my own person outside of that. Now, I feel like I'm busier, but being a mom is more manageable for the moment. Eight years old, a boy, one child, isn't that challenging. At least not for me. It's the world around us that's challenging me- as a human, a writer, a suburbanite, a cultural (non-religious) Jew, a woman, a forty-something looking down the barrel of aging.

I'm the last person who should be trying to help anyone else manage their anger. I often feel like I'm one of the angriest people walking around. I'm going to try though. I've sort of found my own niche of contributing to the betterment of society without feeling just so overwhelmed with everything going on in the world, the country, in my county and town, and everywhere. I'm still angry about ignorance, actively trying to take people's rights away, the hypocrisy of Congress, hate crimes, and all the other atrocities but I've realized, we all have to make what's going on at least manageable on a day to day basis, or there is just no way to live.

I'm in all these "Action" Facebook groups, but I don't read the posts often. It's just too much and I can't get bogged down in fighting with people online. I'm just too easily incited. I can't just sit on my hands. Then, I find myself at two o'clock in the morning, my stomach burning, not sleeping, and cursing people out with my typing and my brain. Then I'm still yelling at people in the shower in the morning. It's a good thing no one is home when I'm in the shower. It's not productive. I'm not making Sebastian Douchebag from Bumblefuck (you know who you are) any more tolerant or enlightened. I'm just giving myself high blood pressure. Really, I've said it before, just fighting online and sharing articles is just Slacktivism. I had to make a decision to really walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I decided to talk to people OUTSIDE the computer and join some in-person groups.

A friend strongly suggested I'd be perfect for a local LGBTQ rights committee that she's on, and that's a subcommittee of a larger group who got together after the Women's March on January 21, 2017. The purpose of this sub-committee is to help with whatever we can do to further rights and equality in our town and county. There is a lot to be done. What's crazy is that I was about to type what we're working on, but I'm actually afraid. I'm afraid because I don't want those opposed to have an opening to try to block any progression. How scary is that? I'm not being paranoid either. Some Statler & Waldorf types found out there's a group pushing to fly the gay PRIDE rainbow flag on town property for the month of June (known as PRIDE month, when all the gay pride parades are all over the world).

These men knew about the PRIDE flag proposal by the EARLY morning after it was presented to the town council. They are already planning to make sure that every legality is followed in flag etiquette. Make no mistake - this has way less to do about other-flags-flying-with-the-American-flag legalities and more a way to delay us being able to fly our flag this June. They said something to the effect of, "It's just not necessary. We don't have issues with that here". One, I wasn't aware we needed issues to fly a flag that symbolizes equality for all. Two, how is it that we DON'T have issues when the town just had and lost a lawsuit over a well liked and respected police officer from our police force being fired for being gay? Lastly, we don't have "Blue Lives Matter" issues specifically in our town, yet, while a gaffe on the part of Bergen County legally, we still painted the line in solidarity and unity with our police force. Don't tell me then that there is no "need " for the PRIDE flag to be flown. Besides, who doesn't like rainbows?

I went sort of off-course there, but what I was saying before the flag thing, is that I was able to find a smaller group, with attainable goals, in which to make myself feel like I'm being useful. Like I'm able to make some kind of difference. As a spin off of the LGBTQ rights committee, I was asked by another friend in that group to come to meetings and/or offer support to a group that's a little larger and broader, with members of my town and our neighboring town. The focus is a sensitive and inclusive approach to combating bias of racial, sexual, religious, ethnicity, gender, etc. in our communities. Supporting victims, developing education, raising awareness, are all under their mission umbrella as well.

I went to the last monthly meeting and there was a large focus on getting some kind of broader, more standardized educational programs about and during Black History Month. Just like with Statler & Waldorf, people tend to feel like if there aren't that many of a certain minority in their eye line, the need for proactive education is not necessary. It's really sad. I saw the level of ignorance on this topic in our own town Facebook group just last week. The school district superintendent brought in Debby Irving, the social justice educator and author of Waking Up White, to do a teacher in-service workshop during the day and a program for all in the evening.

Imagine there being push back for this? Oh, there was! Right away, a vocal townie, known for his conservative viewpoints, asked over and over, like a toddler, how much this program was costing. Then he and another one or two needed to throw in that they feel the money could've been better spent on assemblies about drugs. Because it's drugs that are the only or most important issue facing today's local youth. There were only a handful of other residents who vocally agreed or agreed in silence by liking the first guy's comments. The whole exchange just proved just how big the bubble is that we're living in, here in affluent, white suburbia, just outside New York City. If it's bad here, I can only imagine what it's like in other parts of the country.

At this meeting, a disgusting Anti-Semitic act that happened recently in a local middle school was also discussed. What happened, what the best course of action would be for the parents of the victim, the best repercussions for the offenders, etc were talked about. The thing was, the act itself was shocking to some who've never experienced Anti-Semitics, but there were many of us there, while horrified at the act, weren't surprised in the least.

We all have stories like this- some more or less awful, but experienced some form of Anti-Semitism nonetheless. I was listening to Howard Stern the other day and he was talking about someone calling him or someone a Sheini. He never heard that. It's a derogatory term for a Jewish person. It was in that moment that I remembered guys I knew calling another guy I knew that word as a nickname, a term of endearment. I didn't know what it meant then, but I did later on. If I remember correctly, the kid didn't seem to have a problem with it. But where did it even come from? Someone's parents? And why did they think it was okay to call him that? Why did he accept it? Did he feel he had to? I'll never know the answer. I do know it was wrong, all the way around. The things I see on social media lead me to believe they'd still think it was okay. The fact is, no one was calling anyone else wop, guinea, mick, etc, at least not as their actual name. Sheini was okay as an actual name though. Like, it rolled so easily off the tongue, it was one step away from being his name on the back of a sporting jersey.

I'm glad I was at the meeting though or I wouldn't have even known this happened. I was sitting there though, thinking about how many people in our area who have no idea any of this is going on. Then I wondered if they'd even care because it seems like so many people are only caring what affects them directly.

I was there originally about the PRIDE flag being allowed to be flown for the month of June in two towns, and anything else LGBTQ related. Being there though, it felt good that there was a decent amount of people there- all people who are about action vs slacktion. I felt like I'm part of something bigger. I'm a part of groups on the right side of history. I'm teaching my son that I may not be home to hear about Ninjago and Spinjitzu but I'm out trying to leave him a better, more inclusive world than we're living in right now. I'm trying to channel all my anger and energies into positive so that when I have to look people in the face that I KNOW don't give a shit, or just don't think about anything more than what's going on in their own lives, I can do it without screaming obscenities and hurling insults.

The other night I had a craving for Rita's Water Ice. On the way there, I passed a street that I just happened to look down. About two houses in, one of the houses was flying their own rainbow PRIDE flag. When I got to Rita's, while I was on line waiting, I ordered my own flag. It came by Monday and I asked B to put it up for me when he got home.

Why does the flying the flag mean anything? What is it doing? Well, it shows that in MY house, we support equality. We support all kinds of people. It's not just about LGBTQ rights. It's about the lack of Black History Month education & out, loud and proud Anti-Semitism. It's about people feeling it's okay to openly say or even think that they liked our town, county and/or country, white and "the way it was", ie, Christian. It's about seeing it written or hearing that anyone that opposes Santa on Borough property is obnoxious and ruining Christmas. It's about those just repeating "All Lives Matter" when they don't really hear or understand what "Black Lives Matter" is about. It's male politicians saying rape is God's will (An Oklahoma politician did actually say this- there's video). It's fat cat politicians trying to pry health insurance out of people's hands while keeping the highest level of care for themselves. To me, the flag represents all marginalized people. Well, except the ones that only feel marginalized because they aren't feeling enough support for their hate and discrimination.

Flying the flag isn't changing law or policy. Flying the flag reminds me every day when I leave my house or come back home that there are people that need help fighting for what should be basic human rights. It reminds me that I can't just run on my treadmill and watch Real Housewives. I'm reminded that I'm part of a society with a lot of people that are at-risk. At risk of losing rights, health care, and/or their lives. I'm reminded that at any time, if we don't stand up for others, no one will be left to stand up for us.

The flag obviously means something because in the one town, at the town council meeting, as ten or more people got up to explain why it's important to them for it to be flown, they were all met with blank faces and silence. Then, a NO. Why? The usual bullshit answer- "What are we opening the door to? What if the KKK wants to fly a flag or be supported?" (paraphrasing) Biggest cop-out answer going. I'm pretty sure you can reject the KKK's request IF that was to happen. WHO would be asking for that? We haven't gotten a yes in our town either (although the mayor is for it, for the record). Still waiting.

At some point, you have to decide to BE action. B and I are watching that 13 Reasons Why series on Netflix now, and the most annoying thing about Clay, one of the main characters, is that he just had no balls. He just stood by while all this bullying, fighting, and crappy behavior was going on around him. No, no. NO. That's not what you do. You don't just leave things as is, and accept it. You don't just think about what you think affects you and your family. You show you're not going to take it and you get out and actually do something.

Update: I actually wrote this yesterday, now as the voting was going on for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I was trying to distract myself because the greed, corruption, lack of compassion and understanding of the people- It's literally too much to bear on a daily basis for me. It didn't change the real reason I was writing though- I was writing, in hopes, that maybe someone, anyone, will read this, and decide to take some kind of action to better society.

I'm disgusted by what went down. I'm disgusted that there are people I know who sit atop their high horse, thinking people should just "be" healthy. Should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and "do better". THen they wouldn't need free healthcare. The people I know who think and say these things are people who claim to have grown up in the school of hard knocks but really grew up in a sleepy WHITE suburban town with the option to play sports, take extra curriculars, and have opportunities they obviously took for granted.

Did we have single parents in town? Sure. Did some of these people's parents receive some kind of government assistance? I believe so. Without which they probably wouldn't have been able to change things for themselves later on. I don't want to hear their sob stories about having to get reduced price or free lunch as their reasoning why everyone else should be able to change their own situations. Living where I grew up was still privilege- where it had to be 95% white, where it's assumed you're going to graduate high school, where there wasn't gang activity, no one was dodging bullets, and where kids didn't routinely need to make the choice of staying in school or quitting to support their family.

You don't have to effect change in a some huge gesture. It doesn't have to be in a big way. You don't have to march. You don't have to go to rallies. You don't even have to fly a rainbow flag on your house, as lovely as that would be. Sit home and make calls or texts to your assemblymen, congressmen, and senators. Use a pre-written script you find in an action group. Just because you didn't come up with it yourself doesn't mean it's any less of an action to call. Don't like the phone? Email. Write snail mail. There is always something you can do.

I'm not asking anymore. I'm begging you. Be the change you want to see in the world.

This is a video I think everyone should see- we NEED positive change. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Magic of YouTube

I know I'm late to the game but I just need to talk about YouTube for a minute. I knew you could get all kinds of tutorials from there. I have this weird thing though- I don't ever have the sound on my laptop or phone. I live in chaos. No, I thrive in chaos and noise. I could nap through my son's entire hour long guitar lesson. Electric guitar. In the next room with the door open. I have to really NEED to hear something to put the sound on either device.

We needed a new toilet seat for years. It's just not something you think about or remember. It's not like Home Depot is ever on my list. How do you choose a toilet seat anyway? I did go to Home Depot AND Lowes and was struck by all my toilet seat choices. They have one with a nightlight. Like we all haven't peed in the dark just fine until they came up with that one.

I don't wait for B to do things like change toilet seats. I had him put the flag up on Monday because when it comes to putting holes in the house, that's his forte. I don't have or know the tools needed for that. Nor do I want to hear it about making holes. It was also way too involved for me at dusk. The toilet seat didn't seem like it could be too difficult. YET, IT WAS.

Where the thingies are supposed to come out, in the back, that hold the seat on, were not coming off. I had no instructions on how to get this ten year old thing off, only how to get the new one on. The only thing I could think to do was try YouTube. And I'll be damned, there was a guy going through how to change this particular seat. Of COURSE, the guy said that this particular brand made ridiculously difficult to get off thingies, when every other brand in existence is simple. It turned out I did actually need B, and his tools. I wouldn't have known if I didn't watch on YouTube.

A few months later, I went to use the blender to make my meatloaf. Why I need the blender to make meatloaf is another story. When I turned it on, it was making a louder than normal sound. I took the glass part off and the coupler that moves the blade was completely destroyed. Someone mistakenly put the pieces back together in the wrong order and dead coupler. Well, I went on eBay, was able to get a coupler for my eleven year old blender for $7.99 with a tool that's supposed to help get the old one off. When I came in the mail, there were no directions and it wasn't something I could figure out on my own. I went to YouTube. It didn't work as easily as the guy on the video made it seem. Watching the video at least gave the pointers of how to get the thing off.

Tonight, we needed to cut the cat's nails. I had taken her to the vet to have it done once, but that is a giant pain. It's not easy to get her in the carrier. Then they do it, then I have to pay like thirteen dollars for it. I just thought we could do it ourselves. We tried twice. It wasn't easy- Kitty-High-Five squirms and doesn't like it. *understatement of the year* The last time, we got all but one nail and B gave up. This time, we started but she freaked and I only got two. B decided to check YouTube. We watched someone roll their cat in a towel and it looked so easy. So, we rolled Kitty in a towel and it WORKED. She just went limp. Like it was no BFD. *what the hell* I clipped, it took like thirty seconds and it was done.

YouTube saved the day. No more clickity-clacking on the floor, or who knows whatever she secretly messes up in between clippings.

You won't catch me getting make-up tips from teen influensters or anything (Sorry Christine, not happening), but you should know that you can find just about anything you need to know how to do on there. In case you're also late to the party.

Here's the cat video if, you too, need to cut your cat's nails and are afraid.