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. 

Yeah...you 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.  Heck...it 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: "Uh...well...it 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 here...it'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. 







Thursday, November 5, 2020

Statesman

I can't stop watching the news.  Nothing has happened in 24 hours, but I can't pull myself away.  

Things are looking good for Biden.  It's not done, but it's looking positive that we will boot President Asshole into the trash bin of our history along with Joe McCarthy, Jefferson Davis and Benedict Arnold.  

Latest reports are that, should Biden declare victory (which he won't until he is clearly the victor, unlike Trump who has already claimed victory), Trump will not concede.  He'll fight.  Because, that's what he does.  Because he's a dick. 

Hearing this, I was reminded of the greatest public servant of my lifetime.  My Senator, one of my heroes, the man I so badly wanted to be President: John McCain.  

John McCain would have been an amazing president.  Possibly one of the best the country has ever seen.  He valued life, unborn and immigrant alike.  He listened to the other side, he didn't just brush them off.  He was always, ALWAYS country before party.  But, he ran against Barack Obama.  

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those idiots that thinks Obama was the worst president ever.  I didn't agree with him on much.  I never voted for him.  But, he was a good man.  McCain would have been a better president.  But, the time was right for Obama.  There was not a single person alive that could have beaten Obama.  McCain really should have won the nomination in 2000.  Oh well. 

Anyway, my point.  I was reflecting on the campaign of 2008.  And, I recalled John McCain's concession speech.  Possibly the most gracious in my life time.  Certainly, the most gracious that I remember.  Granted, I am biased.  But, I think it's hard to argue that this was a lesson in class.  It is such a shame that our current leader knows nothing of class. 

Here is the speech, for your viewing pleasure.  



My choice has been confirmed!

It's 2 days past election day.  It's no secret to my friends and family and the 2 readers of my blog that I am NOT a Trump fan.  Haven't been since day 1.  I was one of those that knew, KNEW, with every fiber of my being that the Republicans wouldn't be stupid enough to give him the nomination. 

Well, Republicans were stupid enough. 

Then, I knew that AMERICA, wouldn't be stupid enough to elect him president.  I mean, I knew how deeply the hatred of Hillary ran.  But, certainly we could put that hatred aside knowing that we would be electing a dangerous narcissist.  Remember how much grief we gave Hillary for NOT leaving her cheating, womanizing husband???  HAHAHA!  Of course we're not going to elect this serial adulterer!  A man accused of abusing multiple women.  HAHAHA!!  Of course we're not THAT dumb!!!

We're that dumb. 

Now, here we are...4 years later.  Everything I worried about has come true.  Our allies laugh at us.  Our enemies have been emboldened.  Chaos rules the streets.  Oh, but don't worry...the chaos is only those black people complaining about cops.  Don't worry about those thugs.  If they would just stop committing crimes, they wouldn't get shot. ALL LIVES MATTER!

Oh...and, spending is at record highs, too. 

And now, the election has come and gone!  And the winner is....WE DON'T KNOW!!!

We don't know because, still, almost half of the country is ok with this guy.  Over half the country doesn't care about 530+ children orphaned by the United States.  Over half of the country thinks 235k and rising deaths of Covid-19 is an acceptable number.  Over half of the country doesn't mind the constant lies, the hypocrisy or the fact that he's been undermining our American elections system for months.  

But, Americans aren't dumb enough to fall for that, right?  They know that there has been no evidence of widespread vote tampering, right?  That any fraud or error from mail in voting has actually been less than fraud or error from in person voting?  They know because they read, right?  

Yeeah, no...they don't.  Votes are still being counted in most states.  5 states have yet to be called by the news, much less be certified by the respective states.  Yes, our Dear Leader has declared victory.  And, his mob has agreed.  They are trying to storm polling places.  They are taking videos of their lemming friends INSISTING that their vote was tampered with.  And, people are eating it up.  

This, my friends, is what Fascism looks like.

The good news is, the data is trending in a direction that should kick this ass to the curb.  But, we know that won't be the end of it.  He's already suing. And, he's not suing to contest results.  He's suing to STOP COUNTING.  Let's flash back to 2000.  The counts all happened, then the recounts.  THAT'S when the lawsuits happened.  After counting.  This is unprecedented.  He is literally suing to disenfranchise voters. This is disgustingly unAmerican.  

I want this to be over.  




Oh...and I deleted my Facebook page.  More on that later. 

  

Monday, August 3, 2020

School or no school

So...Covid sucks.  Let's just get that out of the way. 

It's August.  School starts for my kids just after Labor Day.  So, we have about a month left.  Last we heard from OLG is that they plan to be in school IN PERSON.  I love this idea!  And, I am terrified of this idea!  

The whole open schools or not arguement...this is the bloody Kobayashi Maru.  It's freakin' Sophie's Choice.  It's Trump vs Clinton.

In other words...it's a no-win situation. 

Kim and I are pretty realistic about this whole Covid thing.  We follow the rules.  When we were told to stay home, we stayed home.  When we were told we could go out but we should wear masks, we listened...we went out and we wore masks.  We're in a place where we like that things are opening up, but we really wish people would stop being stupid and selfish.  So much of this can be controlled if people would think less about themselves and start considering those around them.  Why do we feel this way?  Because the doctors and scientists have told us to and I accept that they are much smarter than me.  

Back to schools.  

When they first started saying they would open the schools, it looked like things were improving.  But, then summer hit.  And people went to the beach or to rallys or protests or parties.  IE: people were dumb.  And, Covid went back up.  So, schools are now talking about sticking to virual learning. 

Virtual Learning is absolutely NOT as good for most kids as in person learning.  Certainly not for my kid.  It's hard to keep him on task, he tends to distract me from the work I need to do, and I am a horrible teacher as I don't know how to do this stupid hippie math they teach, now.  I absulutely do NOT want to do what we did the last trimester of last year.  

So, send them to school, right???   Right????

Well, no...not necessarily.  

Because we are still in a pandemic. 

The average age of a teacher in the US is 42.  The median is 41.  This means that 50% of teachers are over 40.  Many are teaching in to their 60s.  And...kids are germ factories.  These little bastards are carrying every germ known to man and many that aren't.  They don't show symptoms like adults.  That doesn't mean they don't wipe their boogers on their hand and then wipe that hand on something that someone else will touch.  That doesn't mean they won't cough and send their spit flying 100 feet towards the teachers desk.   

I feel pretty confident that, at some point, I am going to catch Covid-19 (actually...want to know a secret?  I actually think I already had it.  In the very early days.  But, it was before we knew it was a thing in the US, so we weren't testing).  It's out.  It's coming.  But, I am being pretty safe and taking precautions to ensure I don't pass it on.  I am a loyal mask wearer.  I wash my hands.  I don't shake hands or hug (This is actually great for me because I don't like touching people).  But...if Desmond gets it and is sitting at school with 25 classmates talking about Fortnite and forgetting to distance...what if one of them catches it and takes it home to their family?  What if one of his friends gives it to Grandpa?  What if one of the teachers gets infected?  That would be absolutely tragic. 

Desmond is a smart kid...I think he can handle the mask and the social distancing.  But, he's also going into 6th grade.  How the heck do you get a Kindergarter to wear a mask all day????  Don't worry, I will answer that for you.  YOU DON'T!  Masks will be slingshots, projectiles, napkins.  They'll be everything but a protective shield to keep germs from spreading.  

See...no win.  

What's the solution?  I have know f**king clue.  I'm a recruiter.  I hire software engineers.  This is why I look to the professionals and I choose to trust.  I trust the doctors and scientists to tell us what they know and offer suggestions.  And, I trust my kids' principals and teachers to have the best interests of the kids and staff at heart.  If that means we have to go all virtual, then (MOTHER EFFING SON OF A BERCHING ASS BUTT STUPID FACE) we will do all virtual.  If it means all in person, great...we will be ready with masks and sanitiser and anything needed to keep people as safe as possible.  If it's a hybrid, ok...we'll figure that out too.  None of this is normal. All of this is new.  And, we're all in in together.  

2020 sucks balls.  Sign me up for that vaccine trial! 

Maybe if we all have Principals like Dr. Lee here, we'll be good to go!  


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Black Lives Matter

There's a ton going on at the moment. I have a couple posts that have been sitting in draft. The one about quarantine. The one about my wife losing her job, recently. But, I haven't posted them yet because, each time I write one, something else happens and makes the previous thing seem so minor.

So, I am going to take this spot in my blog to talk about Black Lives Matter and everything happening in our world after the murder of George Floyd. Now, this is my blog, so I am going to be upfront about it, like I normally am. And, like I normally am, I am probably going to wallow somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. The place where neither side thinks I am taking the right stand. Oh well...such is the life of a true Centerist, I guess.

I'll start with George. Did you watch the video? If you didn't, you need to. It's hard. But, especially for those that are talking about how "he was on drugs" or "he shouldn't have been breaking the law," go watch the video. Because, you know what...I don't give a shit about anything else. He did not deserve to die. Full stop right there. He did not deserve to die. He was unarmed and he was cooperating. He was handcuffed behind his back while being held to the ground on his stomach. The man was restrained. There is no way to argue this point...George Floyd was murdered. Did you watch the video, yet? Did you watch the part where he calls for his mother? Maybe your heart wasn't touched when he begged for water or told the cop he couldn't breathe. But, then, as he's dying, he cries for his mother. If you are a parent and that doesn't move you, I question your humanity. No, really.

Now, before I get into the protests, let's pause for a moment. George was the catalyst. For everyone talking about how he's not a hero or how you don't "support" George Floyd. Let's not forget the other murders that have happened in the last few months. Breonna Taylor was shot by police while sleeping in her own apartment. Turns out they served a warrant on the wrong home. Let's also remember Ahmaud Arbery, shot by 3 rednecks while going for a jog.

And now, people are protesting. I am going to split this part up into 2 seconds. I'll start with the protests, then I will talk about the riots. Because...they are most definitely 2 different things.

The protests.

Protesting is not my bag. I don't really like crowds, so I don't typically go to protests. But, let's get one thing clear...the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. It's right up there with Speech and Religion and it comes BEFORE the beloved 2nd Amendment Republicans are always crying about. And yet, for the last 2 weeks, we have seen peaceful protests broken up by police in riot gear, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets and arresting people for simply being there. This isn't a media narrative, folks. Watch the videos from people on the ground. Jump onto YouTube or Reddit. This stuff is raw and real. Crowds are chanting, yelling, waving signs...doing nothing violent. Then...BAM...flash grenade. BAM...tear gas. Now, we're hearing calls for "Defund the Police!" I'll get to that in a second. But, it's easy to understand when we see what is being done to Americans practicing their Constitutional rights.

Now...the riots.

Riots suck. And, the riots are being led by fringe groups, not the protesters. And, I know this is hard for a lot of people to hear, but most of the riots are being started by white people. Whether it's Antifa or White Supremacists doesn't really matter. What it comes down to is that they are not being started by the same people that are leading these protests.  Then, we all jump on our social media pages to tell protesters they are doing it wrong.

Let me quickly touch on Defund the Police. This is a horrible motto. I get it. In no way to I support Defunding the Police. In the last couple of days, I have learned that Defund the Police doesn't actually mean abolish police departments (although, granted...nutjobs like AOC say it does). Defund the Police is about reallocating funds. So, instead of buying a new tank for the PD, maybe invest in mental health or community organization. Instead of 100 more AR-15s, maybe hire some more social workers to check in on our lower income, more at risk communities. Defund the Police is the wrong term and they need to stop using it. Because, DEFUND means...well, Defund. It doesn't mean, Keep Funding, but spread the money around differently. So, I am not onboard with Defunding the Police. But, I will keep listening to this conversation. Because, I don't think the PD needs another armored vehicle.

Here's where I have been impacted personally in all this. I have always said, "It's not people like me that are the problem." I've tried my best to take a step back and really examine where I fit in all this. Granted, I would not consider myself racist and I suspect (hope?) my friends wouldn't, either. But, I have come to acknowledge White Privilege. I hate this phrase. Even today. But, 4 weeks ago I hated it because my ancestors never had slaves. I have never stood in the way of a black person reaching their goals. Yes...I've told some black jokes here and there, but only the tasteful ones! After all, as I learned from Avenue Q, "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist."

But, today, I hate it for a different reason.  Because I had a come to Jesus moment and realized it's real.  Maybe I haven't directly affected the life of a person of color in a racist way. Maybe. But, I have come to acknowledge that I have not had to face the same hurdles as my neighbors of color. I've been pulled over 4 times in my lifetime. I heard the story of a friend who was pulled over 15 times in one year. I have never been in the back of a police car. Recently, a friend shared a story of how her black son was put in one when he was 10 for throwing rocks across the street from his house. A 10 year old boy put in the back of a police car without his parents around. I don't get watched by security in the store.  I can walk down the street in a hoodie at night.  My parents and their parents and their parents chose their lives and the lives of their children.  Can the same be said for my black friends?  How far back do they have to go to find an ancestor who was kidnapped?

I watched the video of Philando Castile's girlfriend and 4 year old daughter in the back of a police car after Philando was shot by police. The girlfriend is crying and screaming and her daughter, 4 years old, says to her, "Momma, please stop cussing and screaming...I don't want you to get shooted." 4...Fucking...Years old. Seriously...I am tearing up as I remember this.

Look...I am not anti-cop. Not even a little bit. There seems to be this notion that support of BLM makes one anti-cop. I'm not. You have to be a truly special person to be a police officer. You put your life on the line every day. You don't know what might come from a traffic stop or a domestic violence call or anything on any given day. However, it also takes a special person to know that killing people should almost NEVER been an option. We're training our cops to learn how to live with the taking of a life. We're training them on how to do this long before they have to pull their gun on someone. We're sending them into unknown circumstances, putting an enormous amount of stress on them, and then given them no resources to cope with this stress. Is it really surprising that 40% of police families experience domestic violence? Going back to the poorly labeled "Defund the Police," maybe it is time to spend less money on guns and more money on a precinct shrink that all officers are required to visit on a monthly (or more) basis.  And, if there are cops that are saying, "I don't need a shrink!" well...maybe these are the cops that should consider a different profession.  Because, I feel like anyone that is legally allowed to pull their gun on another human being should be mentally competent to do so.  Perhaps, instead of 100k more new cops, we train the ones we have to be excellent humans, excellent de-escalators and make sure they are VERY well supported.  As well as held accountable.

If you've gotten this far in my post, you're committed!  So, I would like to offer up a challenge to those of you (you know who you are) who still prefer to post about the white guy that died in a similar manner to George Floyd (what about him???) or about black on black crime or "All Lives Matter" or some other "What about us," stuff.  Here's my challenge.  Learn about our shared history.  Truly learn about it.  You don't have to read "White Fragility."  I'm not reading it.  Not because I don't think there's probably a lot of great info in there.  But, because I suck at reading non-fiction.  But, there are so many other things you can do.  Watch 13th on Netflix.  It's eye opening.  Learn about our American heritage outside of "Abe Lincoln freed the slaves."  Because there is so so much more.  Heck, even this episode of "Last Week Tonight" is enlightening.  Especially the woman at the end.  Don't write her off as just another "angry black woman."  Her last line took my breath away.  And, I mean literally.  Because, when you truly think about how we, as a nation, have treated our citizens of color...my dear God, we deserve what's happening.  I'm not pointing to you or you or you.  I am pointing to us...The United States of America.  Land of the Free...ish. 

I'll leave with a couple final thoughts that I had, recently.  Did you know that, only a month ago, a woman named Irene Triplett died.  She was the last person still collecting a Civil War pension check from the US Government.  The Civil War happened a million years ago...or did it?  It's much closer to us than we realize.  Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in 1968, within our parents' lifetimes.  Rodney King was beaten in 1991, in our life time.

Oh, and only a few weeks ago, a black man was killed while taking a jog.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Conversation Pieces - Penises

Ok...this post is a little PG-13.  So, if you are offended by the word PENIS...stop reading now.


The scene: Early Evening.  I am in the shower.  The bathroom door is a sliding barn door.  It does not lock.  Owen barges in...a common occurrence.

Owen: "Daddy has penis!

Me:  "Yup...I do.  Now, get out."

Owen:  "I have penis, too!"

Me: "Yup...we both have penises.  We are both boys.  Now, leave."

Owen:  "I have little penis."

Me:  "...."

Owen: "Daddy has *in a deep voice* BIG PENIS!"

Me: "Yup.  Agreed.  Go tell your mom."



via GIPHY

Friday, January 3, 2020

2019 highlights!

Life, as always, was very blessed in 2019.  Here are some highlights!!

January
Nothing really happened in January.  So, here's a picture of Owen with his Moses stick. 

February
Kimmy and I took kidless vacation.  A 10! day cruise of the Caribbean. I hope we can do it again sometime.  I love this woman!  



March
Desmond's 4th Grade Volleyball team finished the season UNDEFEATED! 





And, I got to finally see my Zags play in the NCAA tournament!  They won the first game but lost the second.  Oh, well...there's always THIS YEAR!


April

Owen befriended the neighborhood squirrels.





We visited the parental units and said goodbye to a Lake Havasu landmark.





May

I joined a Beach Volleyball team!  We got our asses kicked by 20somethings.  But, we had a great time!  And, I didn't die! 


Kimmy got to meet Laura, one of my 13 favorite cousins!!!


Lots of visitors this month as we had 3 grandparents here at once!


June

Desmond's school choir got to sing the National Anthem at a Mariners Game. 


Which meant Owen got to attend his very first pro ball game!


July

Desmond completed one of his biggest Lego sets...an award from Dad and Bonus Mom for finishing the year with Straight As



He also performed as one of the Sailors in a summer production of Mary Poppins. 



In the meantime, Owen found his own performance style. 


August

Kim and I split up to tackle 2 sets of Grandparents.  Kim and Owen went to visit G&G Romine. 



And Desmond and I went to went to Lake Havasu to visit G&G Pankow where I proceeded to take zero pictures of the Grandparents, apparently. 




AND...Desmond and I got to schmooz with Weird Al!

We wrapped up the month by taking the boys and Desmond's BFF to Great Wolf Lodge.


September

I left my job at Google and started a new role at Alaska Airlines.  But, we had to hit the Google arcade one last time. 


(Desmond is still unhappy with my decision)

The boys started the new school year!

Kim finally partook in my Seahawks season tickets!


We made a bunch of new friends while drinking and raising money for Providence Mt. Saint Vincent. 

(That guy waving...his name is Kevin!  Actually, it isn't.  But, that's what I called him all night.)

And...Desmond and I climbed the Space Needle for the 2nd time raising $1300 for Fred Hutch!


October

Check out our super cute family photos!






November

Kimmy took me to my favorite sushi place for my birthday (it's becoming a tradition)

And she ate squid. :-) 


Owen got promoted to "Big Boy Bed!"


Desmond and the 5th Graders at OLG got to host Grandma and many others at the Over 65 luncheon. 

And Desmond learned to do Improv!



December

Owen started soccer at Lil Kickers with his school buddy, Scarlett


We got this crazy dog! 



Desmond and I took a big boys trip to Disneyland. 



And Desmond FINALLY went down Splash Mountain!!!


(I told him there would be a camera so he had to make a great face.  After I saw the picture, I asked, "Was that face your fake pose or was that real terror?"  He said, "Maybe a little of both.")

And...we did Christmas in our matching jammies. 




All in all, a good year!  Sure, the Mariners are still terrible, the Game of Thrones finale was a huge letdown and Jennifer Lawrence has still not returned any of my phone calls.  But, damn...I love this little family of mine.  

Peace be with you!  Let's go nail 2020!!!