Beam Me Up, Scotty - Lack of Reason Edition

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
A Judge has decreed that a man accused of rape wasn't a 'classic rapist,' but simply 'lost control' when he raped an unconscious woman. This one made me throw up in my mouth a little, as well thinking the Judge should be relieved of his duties immediately. Also: Why do so many people assume that men are just animals, unable to resist the sexy, sexy temptation of (for example) an unconscious woman? I'm amazed we've lasted this long as a species with such an undisciplined, impetuous, immoral contingent among us. ::eyeroll::
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Still think the abolition of the "buffer zone" around abortion clinics isn't a big deal? Check out this testimonial.  And on a similar note, I am so, so tempted to act on this commentary by gay rights advocate Dan Savage.
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There's a reason why the only form of "camping" I'm interested in involves a masseuse and fine dining.
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Presented without comment. 
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Video of the Week: Dr. Danielle Martin schools Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on the topic of universal health care as it relates to Canada and the U.S. And then Bernie Sanders twists the knife while I ROFL.

Attention Cyclists

Monday, July 7, 2014
I live in Parker, Colorado. We have a lot of open space in our community, and much of it has paved trails for residents to enjoy. I've used these trails for years - first to walk Boogie the Giant Schnauzer, then to run or walk on my own, now to walk young Jackson. I share the trail with a variety of other residents - walking, running, or cycling.

And I have a bone to pick with the cyclists.

Cyclists, I don't think that it's too much to ask for you to announce yourself when you're about to pass a pedestrian. A simple "on your left" is sufficient to let me know you're coming upon me and my dog at speed. When you speak, I'm able to shorten Jackson's leash and put her on my right side to ensure she doesn't get in your way as you pass me.

When you don't announce yourself, I often have no idea you're behind me until you actually try to pass. This means that my dog, who is still young and quite reactive, is startled by the speeding object on her left, and acts as most dogs do - she lunges and tries to follow. Even Boogie the Giant Schnauzer engaged in this behavior before he hit old age. A speeding "target," especially for a sight hound, is an invitation to chase.

What I'm afraid of is that you'll try to pass me without speaking and she'll successfully knock into your bike as you pass, resulting in a wipe out. I really don't want the cyclists who use our paths to get hurt, which is why announcing yourself is not only the courteous thing to do, but the safest thing to do. I don't expect people to get out of my way when I walk Jax. The Smart Man and I are training her daily to ensure her manners improve every week. We take our responsibilities as pet owners seriously, and work to ensure our dog doesn't scare anyone or approach them without our permission. When you buzz past on your bike without observing the common courtesy of speaking, then you put all of us in danger, in spite of my family's best efforts.

And may I also remind you - there is a standard right-of-way on trails in Colorado:


Everyone yields to horses. And cyclists yield to pedestrians. So basically, you are supposed to yield to everyone else. Speaking before you pass ensures everyone stays safe.

So don't be surprised if when you fail to announce yourself when passing me and my dog, My reaction is not only to control my dog, but to shout as you pass, "ON YOUR RIGHT." Dipshits.
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ETA: An interesting conversation between pedestrians and cyclists over on Facebook leads me to make the following recommendation: Use a bell. It cannot be mistaken for extraneous conversation, and "most" people are culturally conditioned to associate a bell with a bicycle in this context. There still might be some confusion on which side the cyclist will pass, but applying standard driving rules (pass on the left, slower traffic on the right) will manage some of that. Thanks for the suggestion, Brother Seth!

"Tyrant"

Friday, July 4, 2014
The Smart Man and I have been watching the new FX series Tyrant. We think it's pretty good, full of politics, people behaving badly, and moral ambiguities. However I've been hearing criticisms of the show, mostly surrounding the idea that it's racist, and depicts Middle Eastern cultures negatively. And to that I say: Shut the fuck up.

Seriously?


Are they seriously going to suggest that entitled Middle Eastern men never rape lower status women with impunity?

Are they seriously trying to imply that Middle Eastern Regimes don't have a history of oppressive dictatorships and murdering their citizens?

Are these critics trying to say that members of the LGBT community aren't persecuted in Middle Eastern countries?

Are they seriously trying to say that the events depicted in Tyrant don't happen on a regular basis in that region of the world?

Bitch, please.

It's not like the American entertainment industry lets America off the hook, either. Consider The Wire, or Syriana, or House of Cards, or any number of other shows that expose the seediest parts of American society (can you say "Reality TV," or perhaps "Media coverage of the latest school shooting?").

The Wire showed an important aspect of American urban life, just as Tyrant shows an important aspect of Middle Eastern life in unstable or oppressive regimes. The stories of the former do not imply that every black man in America is a drug dealer, a murderer, a thief or an addict. Just as the stories of the latter don't imply every man in the Middle East is some sort of animal who can't wait to savage women and shoot boys in the street. Get some perspective, people.

Grief, need, and sabotage

Thursday, July 3, 2014
In the last month or two, I've been doing some reading on the subject of grief. How to manage it, how to ask for the help you need when going through it, and how to accept the truth of fundamental loss and come out the other side if not whole, then at least not bitter.

During my reading, I've discovered a few things about myself, my grief related to Moe's death, and how outside influences have affected me.

What I have to be grateful for:


1. When it comes to the Circle of Grief, I've been extremely fortunate. For the most part, everyone in my circles have followed the rule of "comfort in, dump out."

2. The knowledge that grief is not a contest. I have no way of knowing others burdens and how much pain they're in.

3. Not a single person has been obtuse enough to tell me Moe "is in a better place" now or some other rage-inducing  platitude. For this I'm grateful, because if someone had, I'm quite sure I would have lost my shit.

4. One of the immediate effects of Moe's death was that I no longer give a shit about old disappointments or angers. When every day contains a "grief challenge," I just don't have the energy or the inclination to give someone else free rent in my head. So I have moved from "free rent" to "whatever."

Things I've learned:


1. When people insinuate that my grief management is not progressing on the schedule they'd prefer, I am utterly, completely justified in saying "fuck off." No one gets to tell me when and how my grief should be managed. I have no obligation whatsoever to "get over it" because my grief makes someone else feel uncomfortable. Unsupportive people can feel free to remove themselves from the situation, i.e., my life.

2. The ways in which I choose to manage my grief may make some people uncomfortable. And that's okay.

3. I still have obligations to the people I care about. But it's okay to put myself and my emotional health first for a while. I've found that most people are giving me the space and grace I need, which touches me more than I can say. Others...have not. And that teaches me something, as well.  

4. Prior to my daughter's death, she was really, really suffering. She had been contemplating suicide for months, but didn't want to go through with it because it "would make Mom and Poppa and Linda cry." She held out as long as she could, until she couldn't.

What I'm still working on:


1. My brain and my moods are still a mess. I'm under my doctor's care, but most days the most I can manage effectively is doing a decent job at work. The rest is hit and miss at best. I know this is annoying to those around me, and I'm sorry for that. But I can't help it, and I'm doing the best I can.

2. I'm still not really ready to go through Moe's things. We're going to be moving Moe's furniture Saturday, and the Smart Man had to call the Smart Friend to come help, as I am unsure I can accomplish even that much. And the reason is that I just don't want to. The prospect of dealing with her things just fills me with dread and despair. The sabotage comes in when my bitchy inside voice says I should be able to do this work by now. But I'm not, and that's the truth.

3. I'm having a hard time caring one jot about the latest political shenanigans, both foreign and domestic. It might be fair to say part of this is politics fatigue, but I think the fact of the matter is that I simply don't have the emotional energy to care much about the latest iterations of who's behaving badly.

It's a journey, no doubt. I'm approaching the last "first" since Moe's death (the first anniversary of her suicide), and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading it. But the longer I move forward, the better off I'm going to be.

Move forward, Janiece, towards the light. 

Link Me Up, Scotty

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Ashanti Branch, an educator in California, has embarked on a program to give boys a bigger emotional toolbox, and I think it's fabulous. Newsflash, machismo jerkwads: Boys are human. Just like girls. And they need the ability to manage their emotional health without fear of being called names and shamed for their "sensitivity."
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Brother Eric has a post up about the recent SCOTUS decision to put "corporate" people ahead of "female" people.From the conclusion: "All of which is a long way of saying there's no point in complaining about this bullshit, because what you're smelling is the fecund stench of inevitability piling up around your shoes." I wish, oh how I wish that I didn't agree with him so whole-heartedly.
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What I wish other people knew about grief. The money quote: "Time lessens the sting; but for the griever, it’s almost a prison sentence without parole. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to get up each morning and hope something gives you a glimmer that gets you through the day."
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Admiral Michelle Howard, USN, was promoted yesterday to the rank of a 4-star admiral. She's the fist woman in history to achieve this rank, and she's not some personnel wonk, either. She's the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second highest rank in the Navy. There are only a few internal barriers left to women in service in this country, and it makes my heart sing to see them battered down, one by one. Congratulations, Admiral.
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 Video of the Week: The story of the late Dr. Robert McNair, who went from having the police called because he wouldn't leave a segregated library to a NASA astronaut.


Things that are None of my Business, a Non-Comprehensive List

Saturday, June 28, 2014
1. What other people think of me.

2. Other people's opinions about my decisions.

3. Why other people make the choices they do.

4. Other people's medical status and their decisions about their care, unless it's a matter of Public Health.

5. How much other people weigh, and what they choose to eat.

6. Other people's belief system (or lack thereof).

7. Whether or not other people choose to have children or not, and why.

8. Why other people choose the relationships they do.

9. How much money other people make, and how they choose to spend it.

10. Who other people choose to have an intimate relationship with. 

ETA:

11. How people choose to dress.

12. How people choose to spend their time. 

In Support of Mental Health

Thursday, June 26, 2014
The Smart Man and I have lived here in the Big Yellow House for twelve years. We bought it when the Smart Twins moved in with us in 2002, and it remained my son's home until he left for boot camp four years ago. Moe spent a portion of that time living with her father, but moved back in with us as a college student, and stayed until shortly before her death last year.

I've always loved our house. I spend a ton of time here, since I work from home full time. I've watched my kids grow into fine adults in these rooms, and enjoyed raising two dogs here. It was the Smart Man and my first home together.

Since Moe died, though, one aspect of my grief has been my continued residence here. I have trouble going into her childhood bedroom. I have the nice china her father bought me years ago in boxes in the basement, waiting for her to claim it. The paint she used to paint her room when she moved back in with us is still in the garage. Everything about this house reminds me of my loss, and not in a good, "let's remember the good times" kind of way.

We never intended to stay in this house, even before Moe's death. It has no bedroom on the main floor, and only a 1/2 bath. It has three stories which I'm sure will become problematic as we approach our decrepitude. It's a home designed for raising kids. We thought we'd sell and make a "retirement home" selection once the Smart Man's family moved out here, but for the sake of our mental health, I think we're going to move sooner than we anticipated.

That means getting this house ready for sale. It means selecting a new community for our retirement home. And it means moving our shit (hopefully for the last time). We absolutely HATE moving. Only the grief of losing our daughter would force us to move more quickly than we planned.

But I think it's the right thing to do. Wish us luck.