Monday, August 14, 2017

Charlottesville and the racists we know--Microblog Mondays

Like everyone else I'm horrified by what went on in Charlottesville this weekend.

Note, I'm not saying I'm shocked. Racism is as endemic to this country as corn--and just as prolific. I'm reading my friends lists and everyone is shocked--shocked that this is what America looks like now. They're blaming Trump.

Now look, I'm for blaming Trump for anything but people aren't getting this. Trump is now in the Oval Office because of people like this. He didn't create it--he took advantage of it. People are surprised that Trump didn't denounce them harder. It always bewilders me when people are jolted by the fact that a racist was elected to the presidency. Did people really think that when Trump walked into the White House he'd suddenly become a decent human being? Did people think that he would suddenly be an adult? This is a man who has to get two scoops of ice cream while everyone else gets one. He's not going to change.

But other people can. The people you interact with every day--they have changed since you met them. Maybe they've changed for better or for worse but likely they are not the same people you met at the beginning.

Take my in-laws for example. They are majorly homophobic. They think that gays and lesbians are against God and the bible. Don't even get them started on transexuals which they just don't understand--and they admit that. Their church has splintered because of the gay and lesbian issue and my in-laws proudly attend the "non-welcoming" one.

This has understandably led to friction. But I wasn't going to cut off contact with my in-laws. I certainly wasn't going to stop associating with my LBGTQ friends to make my inlaws more comfortable. I kept throwing people together. All of a sudden my mother in law would ask me. "That friend of yours--is she gay?" I said "Yes." and went on with whatever. I kept telling them funny stories about my friends. All of them. Little by little the phobia went away. Little by little they realized that gay marriage didn't hurt their marriage. Little by little they realized they were wrong.

I see a lot of people on my Facebook feed saying "if you think such and such is right, then just de-friend me."  Unlike the hate--I see this on both sides. I'm not de-friending anyone. I will engage when I feel it is called for. I will discuss.

I don't feel that I am helping my friends who are being hurt most by the current situation by closing off my friends who have different views. We won't learn from each other that way. We have to start listening to others before the screaming starts.

I close with my favorite quote from The American President.  It is still so true.

You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free."

Monday, August 7, 2017

Considering the Game--of Thrones --Microblog Monday

This is not a spoiler filled thing on last night's Game of Thrones episode.

However if you haven't watched Season Seven- Episode 3 "The Queen's Justice" there are spoilers. You're warned.

Cersei Lannister is a bitch. Actually that's too nice. She's is a harpy. Actually that's too nice but you get the idea.

Do not f**k with Cersei Lannister because she will kill you in horrible ways. This is truth. Plain and simple.

On the episode in question, Cersei now has custody of the woman who callously murdered her daughter. In her revenge, Cersei gives the daughter of the woman poison--forcing her mother to watch as her daughter dies.

Horrible. Horrible. Horrible.

And yet.

I have a daughter.
I love her more than my own life.
I would give that life for hers without a moment's hesitation or thought.

If someone killed her and I had that someone in my custody--all bets are off. I have a good imagination and I would put it to horrific use to make sure that the person or people responsible suffered as much as I was.

D thinks I don't have it in me. He was amazed that I could think this about myself. Maybe he's right. Maybe my inherent fairness would allow me to give up justice. I also have a problem about making an innocent suffer for the sins of the mother. I give kudos to Lena Headey's amazing acting. She made me feel sorry for Cersei as well as horrified.

And I thought of the people who have lost children to the unspeakable. The parents who sent a child to school and wound up picking them up at the morgue due to the ease of which we have access to guns. That they get up every morning is amazing to me. I think we owe it to the memories of their children to make the world a little safer.

Now let's talk about dragons.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Comforting After Loss - Microblog Monday

I'm in California. Visiting my Aunt. It's so weird not to say "my aunt and uncle," but I lost my Uncle a few weeks ago.

It was a hard visit. The look in her eye was lost. They were married for 73 years and now he's not there. They had no children. If they were bitter--they never ever showed it. During the times of IF hell, they were my rocks. They refused to accept that life without children had no meaning. They also said that their nieces and nephews were more devoted to them than some of their friends children--and we were. We are. All of us offered to have Aunt Vivian come and stay with us, but since we are east coasters and my Aunt thinks of 85 degrees as comfortably cool she said no.

It is the third time I have had to comfort after such a loss. The first was my grandfather, when I was 15. My grandparents missed their 65th anniversary by 8 months.

The second was my father, after my mom passed. They missed their 65th anniversary by 1 month and 19 days.

People don't know what to do or say.
They don't.

People kept calling the loss "a blessing." My aunt, who never swears--I mean she thinks "hell" is bad language told someone that calling this a blessing was "bullshit." I stared at her for about two minutes totally speechless. I was stunned to learn she knew the word--much less could use it in a sentence.

I took Lotus to see her and help comfort. It was disquieting for everyone, but eventually I think this will be good for Lotus. She's going to need to do this--and she rose to the challenge. She drew a picture of her self with a heart and her name. My aunt said it was beautiful.

None of us get through life untouched by loss. Lotus had one early on. It helps to help others.

Now to address my own grief at some point. Probably I'll do what I normally do. Hold it in for a while and then totally lose it. Ah, something to look forward to.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Thirteen - Thirteen that I'm doing right

I tend to get down on myself for how I parent.
I'm like most women, thinking that I am constantly f**king this parenting deal up.
This weekend friends came to visit us. Friends with kids adopted from foster care. I was able to see what I was doing right and what I haven't been doing right. I decided to make this list about what I am doing right since I am so often thinking about what I am doing wrong.

What I am doing right is right for myself, D, and Lotus. I do not presume that what has worked for us would work for anything else. Also this is right now when Lotus is five--when she turns six she might throw all of this out.

1)  Consistency
If I say, "Lotus if you do that thing one more time--Plan B is what will happen." Plan B is what will happen and Lotus knows this. Is this 100%? No. Is it better than 90%? Yes. I watched our friends threaten their two year old with everything under the sun and he would just smile and continue on his merry way.

2) Time In
I can't take too much credit for this. Two of the adoptive parenting books talked about it and when I put Lotus in Time Out she wigged. Not just the crying but a total freak out. When I put her in time in--which mean I held her close and immobile as a toddler, she'd fight but after the two minutes she'd calm down and let me in.

3) Listening to what she isn't saying
"Some of the kids were bad at school."
"Really? What did they do?"
I know by her tone whether she is talking about herself or whether she is really talking about the other kids and I react accordingly.

4) What happened at school stays there.
I hope I will be able to continue this when she starts Kindergarten but for now, if she misbehaved at school (rare though that was) whatever punishment was met out at school was sufficient. I want her to feel comfortable telling me about things that happen when I am not there. If I punish her for her misdeeds--that the teachers have already addressed--she won't talk to me.

5) Intervening when she can't.
When she came home and asked what was wrong with her eyes, I thought she might need glasses. Then she told me that a kid at school had been making fun of her eyes. When I took her to school the next day I was mama bear.

6) Intervening when she won't.
A teacher started to call Lotus a little pet name "Little Lotus" and she didn't like it. She told me she wanted it to stop. I told the teacher, and it stopped. I didn't ask her why. It didn't matter. She didn't like it and that was it.

7) "Stop"
A friend told us that we used this like a safe word for our preschooler. I don't like the sexual connotations of that. We are teaching Lotus that when she says stop, people will stop. If they don't, we will intervene and make it stop. When the friends were here, we heard Lotus' stop loud and clear and ran to intervene when she said it a second time.

8) Answering questions honestly.
From the funny and easy, "What's an asshole? Why do so many of them drive?"
To the heartbreaking, "Did China Mommy leave me to be found because I was bad." I answer them with as much honesty as I can. Lotus' memory is incredible and I don't want to be caught in a lie--even a small one.

9) Daddy is co-parent, not the enforcer.

10) Accompanying her to the bathroom when she "wants company."
Also self explanatory.

11) No Tech Table
One of our most hard and fast rules. No phone or tv or screen when we eat at the table as a family. Sometimes we have to take a call (illness), but we explain that is an exception.

12) Co-sleeping.
I credit our amazing pediatrician for this. When we brought her home she slept between us. As she grew older I was worried that we would be told to stop this. Our pediatrician, born in Taiwan, said that she and most of the kids she knew in kindergarten (the equivalent) slept in a family bed.
"I slept in my parents bed until I was 7 years old." She told me. "How my siblings happened--one who is 4 years younger than I  and the other who is 6 years younger than I--that's not something I like to think about." It put me at ease.
Now it is about 50/50 whether she will spend all night in her bed or climb between us at night but it works for us. Your milage may vary.

13) Reading
Our house is full of books and about a third of them are hers. We read all the time.

What are you doing right?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Microblog Monday - Allowing the asshole to come out.

So, a few days ago my Facebook feeds were covered with John Barrowman in a TARDIS dress.

This is not a bad sight to see, as I am a fan of John Barrowman and seeing him is a good thing.

He also said somethings that were taken as anti-trans and that is not a good thing.

To be honest, I don't know the whole story.

To be honest, I don't care.

I think that we need to take a breath and realize that the worst meaning of the sentence that someone typed in a fit of twitterpation is not exactly the worst thing that it could possibly mean. Not everyone hates everyone.

We have a president who fires off tweet storms so he can feel important. Many of these tweets should be ignored.

Why don't we just try to ignore some of the stuff that annoy us?

Hear me out. People are getting crazy about the little things and ignoring the big things.

John Barroman wore a dress to be in solidarity of a television show that is about a fiction character who will soon be played by a female actor.

This is worth analyzing every bit of every word he is saying?

If he said something that is offensive, yes, it is bothersome.
But it isn't the end of the world. If you know him personally--tell him that it bothered you. If you don't--move on with your life. Also, allow him the space to be an asshole--everyone is an asshole sometimes. Maybe this was just his turn.

We're really getting too distracted by the little shit and facing the big one.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Microblog Monday - What's been happening

So here is some of the stuff that's been happening.

1) We went on the first full family road trip vacation with my little family of three, my father, and my siblings and their families that we have done since my siblings and I were in the back seat of the station wagon.
"He touched me!!!"
"Stop hitting yourself!"

It was fun.
It was "interesting."

My sibs and I have different travel styles. Mine is somewhere between plan everything--even your bathroom trips and let's just wander and see what comes. It was...interesting.

2) My uncle passed away.
Since I wrote about how he was dying in January--I have to say that this has been incredible that he held out for so long. He was 96. How could I expect him to live more.

I know this. And I am grieving. Grieving for my aunt who is alone. Grieving because I'll never hear a piece of classical music and not think of him. It hurts.

3) D and I are getting better.

I wouldn't classify us as fixed, but we are touching each other. We are talking and not yelling. We are sending Lotus out to watch TV and talking out our differences instead of yelling or freezing each other out. There is ground to recover but I am smiling more. I am reaching out to touch him more.

And more to come.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday Thirteen --Lessons Learned from My Uncle, The teacher.

On Monday my Uncle passed away.

He was 96 years old.

He had been married to my aunt for 73 of those years.

No one needs to tell me that he lived a good life. No one needs to tell me that it was time for him to go. But hearing the loss in my aunt's voice is horrible. Feeling the loss of knowing I won't be able to pick up the phone and hear his voice is also horrible. I'm trying to concentrate on the years I had him. On what he taught me. So here is my Thursday 13.

1) Laugh when you get annoyed.
Watching my aunt and uncle pack was funny as hell. She'd pack everything and he'd stand at the door of their bedroom and laugh at her. Then she'd yell at him in french. Then they would laugh and laugh.

2) There's no cure like travel.
Go away from your base for a while. A Staycation means work--it really does.

3) Music can solve any problem

4) If your emotional state is still bad, you need to listen to more music.

5) Education can solve the world's problems. We should have continuing education for adults--especially civil education.

6) Listening is better with everything. Music, people, problems

7) Don't ask, how can you help--find something and do it.

8) Hand written cards are in fashion. They will always be in fashion.

9) If you dress up for dinner you are honoring your dinner companions

10) Love takes time and work.

11) Once you've reached your 70th anniversary, you can sit silently and hold hands and everyone will just think you are cute.

12) You're not smarter at 95 than you were at 45--you've just seen a lot more and know to keep your mouth shut until asked.

13) Slip from one world into the next holding your beloved's hand.

On Monday night, my uncle passed away. My Aunt was holding his hand.