Suicide Prevention Week

Monday, September 11, 2017

The number for the suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There are people who care about you. You matter in this world. You won't always feel this way, and there is help available to lead you out of the darkness.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week here in the United States. As most of you know, this is a cause that is extremely personal for me. When we lost our daughter Moe to mental illness and suicide, it changed our world entirely, leaving deep wounds that will probably never heal.



So as we continue to live with our grief, we work to help fund programs that support people who are considering suicide and suicide survivors. The organization we've chosen is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On September 23rd, the Maureen's Marchers team will hit the bricks in their annual "Out of the Darkness Walk," raising money for AFSP programing and grants, in honor of our baby girl, and the light that the world lost in her passing.

If you feel so inclined, the fund raiser may be accessed via the badge below, or the banner on the right sidebar. No family should have to go through what we did, and no parent should have to bury their child for a treatable disease. Thanks for any support you can offer.


The Seventh Annual Maureen "AJ" Ramey Memorial Summer Reading Program Winners

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Seventh Annual Maureen "AJ" Ramey Memorial Summer Reading Program, brought to you by Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men!

This year we had 300 entries into the contest, so the Douglas County Libraries Foundation will receive a $500.00 donation from me and the Smart Man to continue to secure the naming rights on the garden at the Parker Library.


On to the WINNERS!

I used a Random Number Generator to determine the winning numbers:

223: Kathy Hewett, who read The Viscount and the Witch, by Michael J. Sullivan

and

277: The Mechanicky Gal, who read Curtsies and Conspiracies, by Gail Carriger

Please contact me with the e:mail address you want me to use for your Amazon Gift Card.

Congratulations to the winners, and we'll see you again next year!

Fuck Nazis

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fuck Nazis. They have no place in our country, and their opinions are completely unworthy of consideration. Fuck them.

I am stating for the record - I am a white American of Northern European descent. And if I had my way, those vile, racist, morally reprehensible motherfuckers would be shipped to an island and dropped off, cast-away style. They can leverage their "White Culture" civilization building skills to build their White Aryan utopia, away from right-thinking folks.

These cockroaches have no place in my America. NO PLACE. They can either get their minds right or they can be prepared to have their ideas and themselves marginalized, outed, doxed, sneered at, disrespected, and made fun of. I can't believe I even have to say this, but there is no middle ground, no justification, no excuse, no quarter when it comes to Nazis. Because they're NAZIS. ACTUAL, FUCKING NAZIS. My family has served this country in uniform for every generation since the Civil War*, and did not do so this scum could crawl out of the swamp with impunity. I don't give a shit what that miserable fuck in the White House says. NAZIS.

NOT IN MY AMERICA.

________
*My great, great, great, grand-uncle was General William Tecumseh Sherman. Yes, that Sherman. So all you Nazi shits can just kiss my ass. We didn't serve to support the likes of you.

Taking the hit so you won't have to. Because I'm a giver like that.

Monday, August 7, 2017

I recently read (in full) the anti-diversity screed penned by a Google software engineer that has been making the rounds of late. You're welcome.

As most of you know, I am an engineer working in the tech field. I have worked in male-dominated organizations my entire adult life. I came of age in the Pre-Tailhook Navy. For the last ten years, I have been the only woman in my team. This guy's commentary speaks directly to my 34 years of professional experience.

And in all my time working in the middle of this sea change, never have I read a more pseudo-intellectual, MRA inspired poor me-pity party from a dude whose basic complaint is that he feels he shouldn't have to give up his unearned privilege in order to ensure a more egalitarian industry.

Consider his main points:
  • The company exhibits a left-leaning political position in terms of culture. He feels all political positions have equal merit. 
This is a dog whistle. "The Right" is code for "up with unearned privilege!" He's advocating a culture where it's perfectly fine to continue to marginalize under represented groups, because that's the way we've also done it.

With the caveat of freely admitting I don't personally know anything about Google's culture, I will say that with my tribe, we don't dislike or disrespect the conservative or liberal viewpoints per se. We dislike douchey, discriminatory behavior. If you're a conservative and you act like a douche, I'm not going to respect you. Just as I would not respect a liberal who was a douche. YMMV.
  • Women are underrepresented in tech and leadership basically because our Ladybrains are not well suited to these endeavors. I especially love how he slips in language about how women who really do the same quantity/quality of work as their male counterparts are paid equally. Wink, wink.
Bite me, you clueless Neanderthal. There's a reason girls are equally adept in STEM and leadership in a controlled environment. The change happens in Middle School, and the reason doesn't have much to do with testosterone.
  • Women have too many fee-fees to be as effective as men in a professional setting. 
The ridiculousness of this viewpoint is so extreme I can't even. Has this douche considered the idea that the ego driven nonsense most often attributed to men makes them less effective in the workplace? Bueller? Bueller?
  • Dudebro refers again and again to "illegal discrimination." 
Here's the thing, Mr. MRA - "illegal discrimination" can only occur if the person being "discriminated against" is in a protected class. Last time I checked, white dudes were not on that list. Also: "Reverse discrimination" is not a thing. It's an excuse MRAs use to cry about how not everything's about them.
  • Diversity is bad, even though he gives it lip service.
 This entire memo has flavors of "I love diversity, but..." and "I'm not sexist. Some of my best friends are women." Transparent much?
  •  We're all blind to his brilliant, transformative ideas because there's a liberal conspiracy...or something. 
Yeah. A liberal conspiracy. That's why 45 was elected to the highest office in the land, you know. Because liberals are secretly pulling the strings from behind the curtain.

The lack of logic, cherry picking, and self-serving whining about how tragic it is that not everything is about him now makes this laughable. And dudebro felt perfectly comfortable sharing this drivel with the company internally. Perfectly safe. Because apparently, this type of mindset is just A-OK in Google's culture.

And that's why Google is, in fact, evil. They give lip service to diversity and equal opportunity to the point where MRAs like this douchey author believe they're being "marginalized," while the company is simultaneously being investigated by the Federal government for egregious application of the gender wage gap. They can't find female or non-white employees to take jobs at Google, because regardless of their efforts, Google still has a reputation where women and non-white associates are paid less, marginalized more, and (obviously) make no impact on the culture.

Evil, indeed.

ETA: Turns out dudebro is one James Damore, and his particulars are so ironic I may sprain something. He's white. He's a Libertarian. He claims a Ph.D he did not earn (from Harvard, no less). And he's been job offered by no less than Julian Assange, ::sproing!::

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing you today to strongly encourage you to support bi-partisan efforts to shore up our nation's healthcare troubles and find a solution that works. 

The items in included in the solution proposed by the Problem Solvers Coalition seem to me to be a good start in making this happen. Permanently funding Cost-Sharing Discounts and allowing states greater flexibility to manage their marketplaces are just two of their ideas, and each solves a particular problem that each party cares about. It's the nature of compromise, and it's something that is sorely lacking in our Republic. 

In my view, EVERY member of Congress should be a "problem solver." Every. Single. One. If an individual's  aim is to be obstructionist, petty, unwilling to compromise, then they are unfit to serve our nation. We elect Congresspeople to find solutions, not to engage in endless partisan bickering. It's past time for Republicans and Democrats to stop this nonsense, ignore the unserious man-baby currently occupying the Oval Office, and make a concerted effort to save the Republic. 

Please - just do your jobs. It's not too much to ask.


Signed, 

Janiece

Keeping love alive

Monday, July 31, 2017

Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of my baby girl, Maureen.

It's been a strange four years. My grief journey has ranged from being unbearable to being grateful for my tribe. It's gone from nearly catatonic with grief to maintaining a stable, healthy life. It's gone from raging against the reality of the world to accepting - albeit with sadness - the new normal that is life-without-Moe. I still cry at triggering events, and I suspect I always will. But my life is stable now, by the grace of my people and my grief work.

One of the things I've learned about this journey is that while I will never look at my daughter's death as anything but tragic, I still have the opportunity to use her loss as an impetus to make the world a better place. For me, that means doing work that supports the things she cared about. It means donating money to causes she was passionate about. It means mentoring other young women as they move into adulthood and helping them discover the person they want to be. This work helps me keep the love and gratitude alive on my bad days, when I miss her more than usual, or I find I want to share something with her and then realize I cannot.

And this year, for the first time, it means I will participate in activism to support Suicide Prevention.I haven't felt up to it until now, and there's still a possibility that I may fall apart during the event. But I want to try, so I'll be participating and fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk.

This will be the fifth year the Maureen's Marchers team is hitting the road in my baby girl's name on the annual Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk. The money raised in this event will go to fighting suicide and supporting AFSP's goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

I can't bring my Moe-Moe back, but I can do what I can to ensure other families never have to walk this grief journey, and experience the devastation that is losing a child to suicide.

If you're a local, please feel free to join our team and come walk with us on September 23rd at Coors Field in honor of our baby girl.

If you wish to donate to the cause, my fundraising page may be found by clicking the icon below. This icon is also pinned to the right sidebar.




Every year on this date I reflect on how very cursed I am to have lost a child, and how very blessed I am to have my people around me when I need them most. Thank you for your support and love on this journey, and for supporting the work of an organization whose mission is to save the lives of people like Moe.

An Open Letter to my Senators

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, 

I am writing today to express my disbelief and disgust with the current plan to revoke the individual and business mandate in the Affordable Care Act. While it isn't working as well as analysts had hoped, removing it will do nothing but increase the number of uninsured Americans, and increase premiums for everyone. 

The numbers from the CBO don't really lie - 16 million Americans will lose their healthcare, and healthcare premiums will increase by 20% for the individual market. How is this "better?" How does this constitute "more Americans being covered?" The completely immoral remarks concerning the free market by the President of the Senate notwithstanding, this plan is clearly bad for Americans. 

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record - how about country before party for a change? How about voting in accordance with your constituents' desires and best interests? How about more bi-partisan work on this issue? 

Please come up with a COMPREHENSIVE plan for health care in this country. I know it's hard, but it's YOUR JOB. Please do it for a change.


Signed, 

Janiece