#SaveSyriasChildren

Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. This video is in tribute and to raise awareness about Syria, but it could be about so many issues. For those of us who truly believe that “It Takes a Village,” it matters.

Think about all the things that have happened in your life — good and bad — in the last two and some years. Now imagine you had happened to be in a geographic location that was, quite literally, a war zone. I wrote about one teenager in Syria who lost his life over two years ago. Now it’s been three years on. And it’s still going on. Just because it isn’t happening to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

How you can help through Save the Children. I’ve long been a supporter of Save the Children; they do good work.

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Hooking up with yeah write’s moonshine grid because I’m cool like that.

Posted in Activism, Parenthood, People are Good | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Re-Rejected and it Feels…okay

LTYM-logoApparently, the Listen to Your Mother auditions are all hush-hush. I didn’t hear a whispered semi-reference to auditioning for the North Jersey show anywhere on Twitter or Facebook or through text. No one was talking! Except for me. Also, if you were lucky enough to go to your audition with me, people found out. Because I tweeted out that you were auditioning AS IT WAS HAPPENING.

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Posted in Excellent Local People, People do silly things | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Boobs are Cooler than Guns. And Getting Old is not a Crime.

Today, at a kiddie birthday party, a friend and I watched groups of kids playing arcade games — one of which was a hunting game fully equipped with two colorful rifles and the other of which was a pinball game with sexy ladies depicted playing billiards. I said to this friend, “I’m glad my kids chose boobs over guns.” And I am. Boobs are so much cooler than guns.

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Posted in Beating Back the Aging Process (ha!), People are Good, random observation | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Glad I Saw It: From Whence Empathy Comes

#TBT

It’s Eighth Grade, y’all!

Oh dear. I was trying so hard — and hating every moment of it.

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Posted in Glad I Saw It, Parenthood, People are Good, People do silly things, random observation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Raising Voices: SYG, FB, and a Tourniquet for that Gunshot

Facebook and GunsAfter I wrote a post about my mortifying turn escaping being shot in the head as an accomplice to egging innocent people, several people wrote to me and asked why I had stopped writing the “Raising Voices” posts. Long story short: I’m lazy. And, honestly, I forget that most people don’t have the same SQUIRREL! reaction to stories involving gun violence as I do, so I figure everyone else has paid attention to what I have. Obviously, that’s not true. Just as I don’t follow everything about fracking or GMOs or even Common Core (all topics I care deeply about), others have competing interests as well.

So here is an annotated collection of relatively recent news stories:

Stand Your Ground: With the Jordan Davis murder trial over, a lot has been said about why the 1st degree charges ended in mistrial but the attempted murder charges were upheld. I have my theory based on the testimony I watched, but I’ll save those for now. The actual Stand Your Ground defense wasn’t used in the Davis trial (nor was it used in the Trayvon Martin trial), but it affected the outcome just the same. Most clearly, it affected the jury instructions. You can see it here: Jury Instructions (Florida). Oh, and while it gets the most attention, Florida is just one of 26 states with versions of these “Shoot First” laws.

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Glad I Saw It: Winter Rain

I can’t begin to tell you how hopeful this dreary, grey, cold rain has made me today. I don’t even mind that a corner of my basement has sprung a leak in response.

Please rain, please help melt away the snow and ice before the next snow arrives!

You know what else helps the winter melt away? Visiting the moonshine grid at yeah write! Check it out!

Posted in Glad I Saw It, Suburban Life | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

TipsyLit Fiction: Joker’s No So Wild

The Joker's WildYou know, it’s funny. I never understand why “vanilla” is considered boring. Vanilla has layers of flavor that dance and swoon and swirl where more showy flavors stick and lodge and need to be pried from taste buds. But whatever, who cares what other people think, right?

It’s the people who think they’re so wild that can’t take a joke anyway. Especially these guys, I guess. They’ve always called me “vanilla” and teased me about wearing prairie skirts and not going to happy hours with them. And then I make one little joke, and suddenly it’s all “Human Resources needs to speak with you” and “What the hell is wrong with you?” and whatever.

I mean, I guess I shouldn’t have said it. But it sounded funny and quirky and flirty in my head. I’m not used to getting dressed up and wearing make-up and feeling the weight of dangly earrings skim my shoulders. But I wouldn’t have said it without the gin & tonic. I’m sure I wouldn’t have said it.

The other secretaries – we’re now called Administrative Assistants – convinced me to “make an effort” which I guess means lipstick, not lip balm. And it means borrowing a too tight dress and pumps (the high heels didn’t work out) from Louise. Her daughter is spending another year in Tanzania with the Peace Corps, and the dress was supposed to fit. The zipper closed after three tries, so I guess it wasn’t so tight. Making an effort also means pushing glittery earrings through holes that I thought had closed. Seeing the dot of red on my thumb after working the metal through my ear lobe surprised me, just for a second.

When I passed myself, reflected in the hotel lobby mirror, I felt a quick leap of sympathy for the woman who had tried too hard. Then I realized it was me. Or I was she. Or whatever the correct phrase is. But before I could return to the coat check and make my escape, I was found by Louise and her bunch. They guided me forcefully into the ballroom. And that’s when the gin & tonic found me.

Anyway, yes, I went to the three times postponed office Christmas Party — they now call them Holiday Parties — in a tight dress and with coral lipstick on my lips and probably on my teeth. I felt stupid and clownish and awkward and dumb. So when my boss handed me the gin & tonic and said, “Cheers! Nice to see you here!” I drank it. Then I peeled the lime slice’s meat off the rind with my teeth. It was good. Tangy.

I think, I’m very sure, it must have been the gin & tonic that was to blame, on account of my father’s side of the family. I was trying to be social, and my head was warm. So when I saw some of the traders and guys from accounting, the ones who always say they want me to go to happy hours, I joined in the conversation. I laughed at stories I didn’t really hear, and I smiled when they jabbed elbows into each other’s ribs as they raised their eyebrows and smirked. They liked my dress. They asked if I had plans later.

I don’t know why I told them that stuff. Like I said, it sounded clever and cute and harmless in my head. What’d they call it? Raunchy? Raucous? Something with an R. Whatever. I mean, I don’t know why it’s such a big deal. I don’t know even the way to say it in French, and how come they’re suddenly so uptight? How come they can tease and joke, but they can’t take a silly comment about…well, you know.

Two weeks seems mean, don’t you think? Two weeks of pay for 14 years at a company seems like it’s not fair. I mean, I’m pretty sure it was the gin & tonic my boss gave me. I’d never talk like that otherwise. Two weeks then? Okay. Whatever.

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Trying out fiction for a bit. Feel free to leave constructive criticism. I’m definitely out of practice!

Posted in Fiction, yeah write | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

The Night I Didn’t Get Shot (prank edition)

Adrian Broadway

Adrian Broadway, 15 years old.

I didn’t have the ego available to me to say no, so I sat in the truck. Swept along by a desire to seem cool enough to be brought home to meet the friends, I sat in the truck.  Nervous to upset the facade of seeming nice enough to meet the parents, I sat in the truck. Mortified, ashamed, disgusted at myself and the people around me, I sat in the truck.

I didn’t throw any eggs that night. I didn’t hand any eggs to the eighteen year olds surrounding me. I didn’t laugh when one young woman, dressed for a dinner out and holding hands with a young man in a suit jacket, was hit on the side of her head, yolk running down her face. I didn’t cheer when one of my boyfriend’s buddies hit the local cafe’s front door in the middle of the waffle logo. And yet, I was there. I sat in the truck.

I sat in the passenger side of the cab of a pick-up truck carrying five guys throwing eggs at unsuspecting targets for over two hours. I was embarrassed about my companions, ashamed at my doormat behavior, angry with my boyfriend, guilty of being an accessory to vandalism and assault. But I didn’t get shot.

I thought about that long ago and faded night while my stomach turned over, slowly, with no threat of rebellion, as I read about the murder of Adrian Broadway in Arkansas. She was in a car with six friends, ages 14 to 18, and apparently took part in egging a home. The resident of the home came out and shot at the car as they were leaving, killing 15-year-old Adrian with a gunshot to the head, and wounding another teenager.

I thought about that night as my neck tensed, reading about how Adrian and her friends were egging someone’s house who had played a prank on them months earlier. Pranks. Toilet papering a tree. Dumping trash on a car. Ding-dong-ditch. Egging a door. Stupid stuff. Teenage stuff.

Except that Adrian Broadway received a death sentence for being involved in stupid teenage stuff. And I doubt that many of us has never been involved in stupid teenage stuff.

When firearms are the first choice in conflict instead of a last resort, bad things happen. Not stupid teenage stuff – bad things, dead and maimed and traumatized humans bad things. Killing people should not be the fall back — is that so unreasonable? Our lives, our children’s lives, are worth more than wounded pride or resentment about teenage behavior.

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I’ve written about similar tragedies here, here, here, and here. And sadly, I’m confident there will be more. I’ve been relatively quiet on this blog about the infuriating Jordan Davis murder, mainly because his mother, Lucy McBath, is a spokesperson with Moms Demand Action. Her words and actions have raised awareness in a way I certainly could not. This story, coming on the heels of the mistrial for Jordan Davis’ killer, emphasizes that we must ALL stand up and declare: #Enough.

Posted in Activism, People are Good, People do silly things | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Adopt this Core Motivation: Recognize Beauty

Ellen-Page2This morning I saw a few tweets from news stations of “Juno star Ellen Page comes out as gay” and so on. And I thought, “Hmm. She hadn’t yet?” And then I thought about how odd it was that an actor saying that she loves women is still news. Today. Now. And I didn’t think more about it.

It was a tweet from a local actor that got me to actually listen to her announcement.

And what the news agencies got wrong and Patrick Wilson got right is that Ellen Page didn’t “come out” — although clearly she wanted to make a formal announcement — she made a speech at the “Time to THRIVE” Conference, part of the Human Rights Campaign. This speech brings sincere and abiding concern and attention to problems that our society faces in so many ways, and it included the announcement that she is Gay. Still, her focus was on LGBT youth, those who work to end despair and isolation caused by prejudice and bullying, and the impossible, crushing standards held up by society. It was a beautifully crafted and delivered speech.

“I am inspired to be in this room because every single one of you is here for the same reason. You are here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just five minutes to recognize each other’s beauty instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard.”

I don’t mean to undercut Ellen Page’s announcement that she is Gay, or as the HRC says, her decision to live authentically. We can hear in her voice that she was nervous and relieved and happy to make this part of her private life officially public. But it’s a wider issue that she brings out so beautifully. We can all affect positive change — in classrooms, with our children, on the streets, at work, in our families, even on the silver screen. There is a lot of ugly out there that hurts and cuts and brings down; we owe it to ourselves and our children to both find and be the beautiful.

Take eight and a half minutes to listen to (or read) Ellen Page. And then go out and look for beauty. That’s not hard.

 

It’s a long weekend for some. Celebrate your freedom to read what you wish by checking out the moonshine grid at yeah write.

Posted in Activism, Parenthood, People are Good | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Modern Day Valentine

I tolerate youMy husband and I are romantics of the most realistic and modern sort. His public Valentine wish: “Happy day commemorating the beating, stoning, and beheading of some 3rd-century Roman dude!” And I ReTweeted it.

Posted in People do silly things | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments