Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Poet Amanda Gorman reads 'The Hill We Climb'

It's a good day

 I've been trying to find the word that best sums up how I feel today.  It's been challenging. 

Happy isn't right. We still have so many challenges and I'm not really happy.  400k+ Americans dead, the recent insurrection still on our minds, the continued separation from loved ones and blocking of things that I love to do.  Happy isn't right. 

Excited?  No...not really.  I mean, Democrats now control both the Executive and Legislative branches.  Despite popular belief, I am not a Democrat.  I am not at all excited about one party rule.  I suspect a lot of annoyance over the supposed mandate pushing through policies I don't like.  

Pride?  Maybe, but no.  While I am glad that voters chose America over Trump, 74 million still voted for Trump regardless of the shit of the last 4 years.  74 million Americans still selfishly picked a divider that agreed with them over a genuinely good man because he wants everyone to have health care and believes in racial justice. 

Relief...that's what it is.  It's relief.  

I am working really hard to NOT keep complaining about you-know-who.  He's no longer President.  No more obsessed tweeting.  No more worry about which dictators have the leader of the free world on a leash.  No more wondering who else will die or be orphaned because of one man's power trip. 

I tried to look ahead in 2016 when Trump was elected.  I said it is what it is and now it's time to be Americans and do what we do.  A couple weeks later, he tried to ban Muslims from entering the country.   

So, that's all the reflecting on him I want to do.  Now it's time to look forward. 

I am not na├»ve.  I know that half of the country voted for someone else and does not want a Biden presidency.  I've said it before, any other year, I would not have voted for Biden.  I voted for Biden for one reason.  He is not Trump.  I've been asked if that means I would have voted for Bernie.  I am not 100% sure, but probably.  I voted for an end to this division and an end to the permission that has been granted to people to be assholes and to think only about themselves.  Out of many, one.  Not, Out of many, mine.  

But, I would like to think that the majority of that half of the country still recognizes what America is.  America is a place where all are welcomed, regardless of background, regardless of race or religion or heritage. It's a place where disagreement is acceptable and peaceful.  It's all the things President Biden said in his speech this morning.  We can disagree without violence.  Without hatred.  

Here's the thing, though.  Disagreement is fine.  Debate is fine.  What is NOT fine is bullshit.  You can disagree with tax policy or immigration reform.  You can't continue to claim this election was rigged.  You can't continue to promote false evidence, exaggerated or often made up "evidence."  Because these are lies.  And these lies will destroy our Republic.  There has been NO factual evidence that supports the claim that there was widespread fraud in the election.  So, if this is your bag, then we have nothing to talk about.  Because you are wrong, the evidence proves that you are wrong, and experts have proven you are wrong, the courts have declared that you are wrong and our new President has been sworn in. So, either accept it or shut up.  We're going to have another election in 2 years.  Another Presidential election in 4 years.  And, the country is tired of angry white mobs trying to spread the lie that our Republic is broken because your Dear Leader didn't win.  

And, let's just acknowledge Vice President Harris.  After 240 years, we finally have a woman VP.  And, let's be real...chances are EXCELLENT that she will be President.  Politics aside, this makes me happy.  I was really frustrated when Hillary Clinton was running.  Because I did NOT want her to be the one to break that glass ceiling.  America has been ready for a woman to be President for a while now.  But, please not her.  Alas, it wasn't her.  Kamala Harris, on the other hand...very happy for her.  Republicans still have time to get their own woman on the ticket in 4 years.  But, all have a LOT of reconciliation to do before people like me trust you again. 

I'll wrap up with this paragraph from our new President.  It sums up my feelings pretty perfectly.  I thought the speech was pretty perfect, honestly.  Unity.  That was the theme.  

The answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don't look like look like you or worship the way you do, or don't get their news from the same sources you do. We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we're willing to stand in the other person's shoes, as my mom would say, just for a moment, stand in their shoes. Because here's the thing about life. There's no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days, when you need a hand. There are other days when we're called to lend a hand. That's how it has to be. That's what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. 

Let's get back on track! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

For anyone that needs to hear this...Parenting is FREAKING hard!

Ok, it's time to get real, folks.  

Do you have that friend or that family member that clearly lives the perfect life on Facebook and Instagram?  I'm sure you do.  The one with multiple kids.  Their toddlers are always working on some kind of STEM project.  Art is an every day thing.  Bonding is easy, along with breastfeeding, bedtime, naptime, every time.  Everyone is smiling and happy and #Blessed. know that friend.  Maybe you have more than 1.  

I am here to tell you...your friend is a big fat lying liar!  

Smoke and Mirrors!  That's all it is!!!  Because parenting is mother effing hard!!!

Imagine that, for the next 18 years, you would have to run a marathon every single day. 

That would be easier than being a parent. 

Imagine that you had to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19 in less than a year. 

Easier than being a parent. 

Imagine kicking off a space program and getting to the moon within 9 years. 

HA!  Try raising children! 

Seriously, folks.  Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back.  Ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Have I forgotten to feed my child for more than 24 hours?  
  2. Has my child fallen into the Grand Canyon? 
  3. Has my child opened fire on any human beings? 
  4. Is my child named Chad? 
  5. Is my child actively trying to undermine American Democracy? 
  6. Has my child ever passed up the opportunity to eat bacon? 
  7. Does my child think cheerleading is a sport? 
  8. Does my child say "I could care less?"
  9. Does my child enjoy movies staring Ashton Kutcher? 
  10. Have I ever left my child with a stranger for more than 4 hours? 
If you have answered no to all of these questions, you are doing just fine.  

Even if you have occasionally felt like putting your fist in a wall, that's ok!  Kids will create those feeling in their parents.  Maybe try to not actually put your fist through said wall...but, the feelings are understandable. 

Even if you feel like you just want to hop on an airplane and fly to a secluded place in Alaska where you don't have to look at or hear a single member of your family!  That's ok, too. might even be a good idea.  But, it doesn't make you a bad parent.  

Even if your darling child wakes you at 4 in the morning and you just want to look into his beautiful eyes and say, "DAMMIT IT'S SATURDAY AND I HAVEN'T GOTTEN 8 HOURS OF SLEEP IN 4 YEARS AND WILL YOU JUST GO AWAY!!!"  This is also completely normal. 

Parenting is hard in a regular year.  When playgrounds and movie theatres and zoos and parks and grandma's house are all open.  Take those away, throw in a nice little dose of "pandemic" and it makes an already overly trying experience all the more impossible.  

So, you know what.  You're doing just fine.  And, if you're not...if you're struggling, that's nothing to be ashamed of.  Because we all are.  Even Little Miss Perfect Life on Instagram.  Know your limits.  Know when to ask for help.  Know when to step away and let your husband or wife take over for a bit.  And if he/she is struggling, then it might be your turn to step up for a bit.  

Or, if you can, phone a friend!  Hand those little angels off for a bit.  Make sure it's someone in your Covid bubble because, you know, pandemic and all.  But, this is one area where Hillary was right.  It takes a village.  Lean on your village.  

You got this!  I got this!  We all got this!!!  And we're doing just fine! 


Monday, November 30, 2020

Things that make me smile - Haitian West Point Grad

 So...I saw this article float by by LinkedIn page.  Did a quick search to determine that it was legit and found the below story on the Washington Post.  Give it a read.  It's very heartwarming.  And, something that reminds us of the good in our country.  Something needed during 2020.  

tl;dr: From a Haitian slum, Alix Idrache first encountered American Soldiers when they were assisting Haiti after a devastating earthquake when he was a child.  He knew then that he would become an American Soldier.  And, he did.  Recently graduating with honors from West Point.  Now he is off to flight school where he will learn to fly Chinook Helicopters.  

Friday, November 27, 2020

What I am Thankful for - 2020 edition

 Wow...this year has really been different.  Makes one take a step back and think of all the things we have taken for granted.  Every year at Thanksgiving, I try to reflect on the things that I am grateful for.  This year, that list looks a bit different. 

Let's just get my family and friends out of the way as a given.  I am always thankful that I have been blessed with amazing people in my life.  

But, I want to reflect on more this year. 

This year I am grateful for the following:

  • Healthcare workers.  Recently, I heard someone say, "Did you know doctors and nurses can quit?"  I mean, I knew that, sure.  But, I didn't really think about it.  They can quit.  But, they haven't.  They are going to work every day, in full PPE, taking care of people at risk to their own health and the health of their families.  These people are the heros of 2020.  Thank you for doing what you do.  
  • Desmond's teachers.  Last year, nobody really knew what they were doing.  We were all winging it, hoping that things would be back to normal in the fall.  They weren't.  But, Our Lady of Guadalupe Middle School stepped the Eff up!  I can not overstate how active they have been.  Remote teaching is challening, I am sure.  But, they are doing it!  And, not by simply sending a list of assignments.  Desmond is "in school" from 8:30 - 3 every day.  Granted, it's via the internet, but his teachers are right there, on screen, teaching class and answering questions.  I went into the year wondering if it's worth it to pay the $800 a month for remote learning we could offer Des for free through public school.  The answer is 1000% yes!  This is levels above.  Desmond will be absoultey be ready for 7th grade. 
  • Owen's teachers.  The Mount is another story altogether.  Because they are part of an assisted living facility, they haven't had to close.  And, while many kids have been pulled out by their parents, nothing has been made easier for the staff.  They have to wear masks ALL DAY.  They have to communicate with parents via email and phone instead of in person.  And, they still have to deal with all the gooiness that is a toddler and their 20 toddler friends.  And, Marie, the Director.  Bless that woman!  She gets hollared at every day by parents that don't think they're doing enough.  They are doing their best, and their best is pretty damn great. 
  • Delivery workers!  Mail men and women, UPS drivers, Amazon delivery, etc.  Your companies (Amazon in particular) are profiting off of this pandemic while you are the ones putting yourselves in harms way.  By doing so, you are keeping us all socially distanced.  It seems like such a mundane thing.  But, we would be screwed without you.  Grocery stores would be packed, even more restaraunts would be forced to close, and Christmas would be cancelled!  Thank you for bringing us everything we need. 
  • Scientists.  The geniuses bringing us a vaccine with unheard of haste!  It's been less than a year and the state of Washington is talking about delivering vaccines to the most at risk people and front line workers by Christmas!  Thank you for the sleepless nights and all the time away from your families!  Thank you for also pushing ahead dispite the insults being lobbed at many of you from the most powerful person on Earth.  You are selfless and we are grateful 
  • Everyone that follows the rules.  Mask wearers, social distancers and those that stayed home for Thanksgiving.  Even with a vaccine, this virus is going to hang on for a LOOONG time if people can't start following the rules.  To those that wear their mask in public, thank you!  To those that stay 6 feet (or more) away from me and my loved ones, thank you!  To those that thought of our country instead of themselves and opted for a meal at home instead of a meal at Grandma's, thank you.  This all sucks.  But, American's have been known for coming together and sacrificing for the greater good...until 2016.  But, for those that care for others, thank you for what you do. 
I feel like the end is near.  We're in a really shitty time at the moment.  But, part of me feels like this is a last ditch effort by the darkness that has been consuming us the last few years.  Covid is spiking, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  How far away is the light?  I think it's closer than we realize. 

Life remains beautiful.  Hard.  But, still beautiful.  I am grateful to get to live it.  

Thank you for reading!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

(disclaimer - photo is from 2019 as I am not allowed to reveal the 2020 photos, yet)

Friday, November 20, 2020

One year to prepare for life with a teenager!

 So, last week, my big little dude turned 12. 

Twelve. Years. Old. 

I don't think it's a surprise to learn that I kinda like this kid.  He's going to be taller than his bonus mom by this time next year.  

12 is an interesting age.  It's a conflict.  One second, I am completely impressed with his maturity in one thing or another.  For example, I don't remember what we were watching, but something I was watching made me say, "Wow!  That guy has some cajones!"  

Desmond: "Dad...what are cajones?"

Me: *internal monologue* "Dammit...why is he always listening?"

Me: " means balls." 

Desmond: "Dad...why can't you just say he's brave?" 

Me: "Don't you talk back to me Captain Woke face!"  *oh, sorry...that was also internal monologue*

Me:  "You're right...thank you for correcting me."

Then, 5 minutes later, I'll find him raging, fighting back tears because the dog ate his Lego minifig.  One of about 600 of his Lego Minifigs.  

He recently became a certified Scuba Diver!!!!

But, roller coasters are too scary. 

He's getting straight As!

But, still manages to forget to turn in completed homework.  

There is no doubt that he is my kid.  He shares many of my traits (laziness, ADD, a desire to play video games when we should be working). But, I remain proud of him.  He is doing very well in school, despite the challenges of remote learning.  He achieved Orange Belt in martial arts and he remains active in the sport.  He regularly texts his grandma (he's better at it than I am).  And, he is wonderful with his little brother who ADORES him.  

I feel like we are at a pivotal moment in his life.  Like this is the last we will see of little Desi.  He's going to continue to grow and mature.  He's got his pals that he loves to spend time with.  In spite of the lockdowns, he still chats up these buddies up regularly.  It won't be long before he's driving and staying out late and *GASP* dating.  

He's a good kid.  We're lucky to have him.  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Is it time for the GOP to die?

So...I have continued to follow all this post election nonsense.  You know, the nonsense of a lame duck president refusing to acknowledge his obvious (and fair) defeat.  

It's been hard.  I mean, the guy I wanted to win WON!  It's been 16 years since the person I voted for for President actually won the election.  I should be thrilled, right???

Well, here's the thing.  

I was really hoping that, once it was clear who the winner was (and, let's be real's clear. If you're one of those that actually thinks there was some kind of fraud that is putting Biden in office, I really encourage you to read a book sometime.  And not one written by Mark Levin), that the GOP would start to back up their last 4 years of garbage.  The last 4 years of bending over to the bully that beat them.  

But, nope.  That is not happening.  In fact, many of them are doubling down. 

Remember how much we loved Rudy in 2012?  He was "America's Mayor!"  He could have gone down in history as the greatest and most loved Mayor ever.  Sure, he had faults.  Sure, there were reasons to criticize.  But, he led us through 9/11.  I remember him appearing on Saturday Night Live as he was leaving the mayor's office.  Tina Fey was there, almost crying, asking him to stay.  That's how bi-partisan the love for Rudy was. 

Now...Rudy Giuliani is a mess.  Perhaps I should cut him some slack.  Word is, he is making $20k a day to peddle conspiracy theories and take up taxpayer time and money on a lost (and dangerous) cause.  But, that's not something "America's Mayor" would do.  That's something an asshole would do. 

And Lindsey Graham.  I used to have so much respect for this guy.  He and my man Johnny Mac were tight!  Together, they were mavericks!  Bucking their party when the party was being stupid (campaign finance and immigration to name a few).  Now...he's just another Trump toady.  Not only did he chip in money to help Trump fight this completely fair and free election, but now he is potentially facing an ethics investigation for trying to persuade Georgia's Secretary of State to toss out legally cast votes.  This former acolyte of the greatest statesman of my generation is purposely trying to disenfranchise voters. 

And then there is Michigan. The home of my ancestors!  Where the Wayne County canvassing board is intentionally made up of 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats to ensure it's bi-partisan.  Where the 2 Republican board members voted to NOT certify the counties votes.  AFTER suggesting they would certify the votes of all the cities EXCEPT Detroit.  Did you know that Detroit has the largest percentage of black voters in America?  Oh, well now you do.  And two white Republican canvassers are trying to eliminate their vote because the amount of votes cast doesn't match the voter roles.

(Side note...this happens everywhere. Imagine for a second a group of volunteers, often elderly, juggling voter after voter during a pandemic, restricted to a certain amount of time while the eyes of the world are on them.  Is it really surprising that these don't match?  Another reason to support mail in voting.  But, not a reason to disenfranchise an entire city.)

(Side side note...the canvassers quickly changed their vote after EXTREME public push back only to come back this morning, after a phone call from our lame duck president, to "recuse" their vote.  Good news is they're out of luck). 

Anyway, this all continues to depress me.  The dumbification of America continues.  Somewhere, at some point, Americans got stupid.  It's not just the right.  There are a TON of dummies on the left.  Dummies that boycott JK Rowling for having an opinion.  Dummies that want to cancel Chris Pratt because something he liked on Twitter MIGHT imply that he voted for Trump.  Dummies that think it's actually a good idea to shut down our police departments. 

But, here's the thing about the current GOP.  They have given in to their dummies.  You can cry all you want about how liberal the Democrat party is.  But, they elected Biden.  They didn't elect Bernie or Warren.  And, as much as you want to cry about how Kamala is the most liberal senator based on her less than 1 term in a Republican Senate, it's simply not the case.  What is the case is that Republicans, the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike, and Reagan are ok with undermining our democracy.  They are ok with casting doubt on our election systems.  Decades of gerrymandering haven't worked, so now they're trying the courts.  And THANK GOD our courts are throwing them out.  Checks and Balances ARE working.  At least for now. 

I stopped calling myself a Republican when Trump won the nomination in 2016.  I said that I refuse to be part of a party that promotes a person like this as it's leader.  It's not who I am, it's not what I stand for and I won't be part of it.  I've been holding out hope that they would swing back.  Swing back to the party that nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Before the Tea Party had claws.  Before InfoWars and QAnon.  

I was having socially distanced beers with a buddy last week.  He asked, "When did things change?  When did people just start accepting things because someone said so?"  I don't know the answer.  When did bile from a reality TV star become more important than science?  When did the ego of a thrice married womanizer become more important than our electoral process?  When did we start accepting the word of a serial liar?  For real.  I don't know.  I try to have intelligent conversations with people I think are intelligent only to find they have swallowed every last drop of what has been fed to them.  Without question.  

Well, keep sucking, GOP.  It might be time for you to go and just enjoy your cult while the big kids figure out how to fix our country.