Sunday, June 25, 2017

Well...

The first event of Not Sabbatical was a hit.

We drove down to Bend yesterday and had dinner with C then went to the Paul Simon concert. We stayed the night, had breakfast with C this morning, then came back up to Portland. Traffic wasn't terrible, which is great. It can be a nightmare between here and there. A few years ago we went down the Friday of 4th of July weekend, not thinking about it being the Friday of 4th of July weekend and our right around 3 hour drive took closer to 6. It was insane. But both yesterday and today weren't bad. Now to be fair we did leave right after breakfast this morning just to beat the rush home of everyone that spent the weekend on the rivers and lakes trying to beat the heat.

But anyway...it was a good quick weekend trip and now we are home in time to get some things taken care of before work starts again tomorrow. Brent needs to fly to Seattle so that's a crazy sort of day in and of itself. Last time he had a meeting there his flight was delayed so much they ended up doing the meeting by phone conference AFTER spending a few hours in the airport. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. It's not Crater Lake, but we will get there some day.

The concert was really good. The Bend Amphitheater is a little less fancy than the one in Vancouver, more of a band shell than a concert venue, but it was still fine. Hot as fuck. Oh my god. The one thing it did not have that the amphitheater in Vancouver has is shade. So everyone was just out in the sun. Sweating like crazy. And since we all had to be wanded in the lines were crazy long. Now I went with fancy tickets so we skipped the crazy long line but we saw how long they were and felt really badly for everyone standing in them. (Yes, I know, but I am willing to pay for convenience)

He sounded great. He's 75 and did a two hour set. Amazing. C asked this morning if he did all of the hits (he was being a little facetious since he has no idea what Paul Simon's hits are) and I told him no, but that it would be impossible to do 50 years worth of hits. Fifty years. That's one hell of a long career. And he's still making new music. So no, he didn't play every song I would want him to play, but he played a lot of them. And even the newer things were good.

His band is incredible. And he has a brass section. I'm a sucker for a busy horn section. And we are pretty sure he was high as fuck when he first came out so to be able to sing that purely and remember all of the words while floating along on your own personal cloud. Amazing.

Now the parts that make me shake my head...

Why oh why do you bother to buy concert tickets if you are going to show up late, bitch about the artist, and talk through the songs? By the end of the night Brent had a hand permanently on my leg to keep me from spinning around and suggesting they would be able to hear their conversation more clearly outside of the venue so the man on the stage wouldn't keep interrupting them. It was making me crazy. He would sing they would talk louder. They had to have spent close to $500 for the number of seats they had. Why in the world would you spend that money to talk to each other and annoy everyone around you? Stay home. Throw a garden party with his music on in the background. Enjoy your friends and the music for so much less money and I would have to think so much more enjoyable of an evening. And for fucks sake stop tapping your foot on my chair. Don't make me ask you again.

One of the men was insistent that Paul wasn't playing his guitar. Every few minutes he'd announce to his group, "Do you enjoy air guitar?" then try to show how he would start and stop and so he obviously wasn't playing. Or his fingers weren't moving the right way. It took everything I had to not turn around and explain why he was an idiot. I guess he's never seen a band with more than one guitar player. And my guess is that the talking was making it hard for him to hear the difference when Paul was playing and when he wasn't. But seriously...every few minutes, "Do you enjoy air guitar?" What I would enjoy is you shutting the fuck up. Please. Just to be polite. They did pay enough attention to sing along with one song. That was the only time I thought they should go back to talking. Now I am horrible about singing along. I like to sing along. But I do so very quietly unless it's one of those moments where the artist encourages the crowd to join in . I figure you didn't pay to hear me sing so I will do it softly. And I don't have a terrible voice. *sigh*

After the second encore and the band took their bows and left the stage Paul stayed out there. Just him and a guitar. He closed the evening with a few final thoughts. Anger is addictive. It feeds on itself. And though there might be a lot of things to be angry about right now it's better to make decisions and plans with a clear and calm mind. So we need to keep in mind that someone is trying to make sure we are all staying angry. Someone is profiting off of our collective anger. And we shouldn't give it to them. Then he played Sounds of Silence on his guitar and sang. Just him. No band. One man and a guitar. Pure.

I turned around feeling the weight of his words to look at the people who had been driving me crazy all evening and....

SON OF BITCH they left early so I couldn't even tell the bastard, HOW DID YOU LIKE THAT AIR GUITAR YOU IGNORANT FUCK??




Saturday, June 24, 2017

What were you looking at?

I made the mistake of watching the Philando Castile video this week. The verdict had already come down and I wasn't surprised that they found the officer not guilty. That is the normal verdict after all. But watching the video was a mistake. Not only because I don't watch snuff films, and that's what that was. The man died. I knew going in that the man was going to die. I don't like watching people die. Let alone people be killed. And he was killed. Shot to death. But I shouldn't have watched because it made me angry.

What did they see?

What were they looking at?

You can hear Mr. Castile talking. He's very calm. He's not agitated. He's making the officer aware of his gun. That we in America are so proud to have to right to carry. So many guns out there in these great United States that every time a cop makes a traffic stop they assume the person is armed. I've heard it over and over all my life as to why that makes the job so stressful. What if the person is carrying? What am I going to encounter when I walk up to the car? Well, Mr. Castile told the officer exactly what to expect. He had a gun. He was carrying. When told not to reach for it Mr. Castile said he wasn't. His dying words were that he wasn't reaching for his gun. Dying words.

So when I watched it I posted about it and I had a couple of friends state that there had to be something else the jury saw. Had to be. Because the cop shot Mr. Castile so there had to be a reason. One pointed out how scared the cop sounded. If he was scared then there had to be a reason. Had to be.

This is a problem, in my opinion. And this is why we have officer involved shootings that end up in acquittals even when you can see what happened. When you the normal everyday man on the street watches and thinks, why did you shoot them? What were you looking at?

There had to be a reason.

We are conditioned to believe our police officers. We are questioned and condemned when we don't. I have a friend who is married to a cop who will drop you like a hot potato if you post anything remotely anti-police. I have a few friends who are in law enforcement who both dropped off of social media because they felt there was too much anti-cop posting out there. And it always makes me squint a little at what is shown to be anti-cop.

I'm not anti-cop. I think cops are great. Like I said, I have friends in the law enforcement community. I know the job they do is incredibly dangerous. I know they save lives. I know they help people. I know their family members worry about them coming home at night.

I also know that not all cops are good cops.

And no cop is perfect.

They make mistakes.

And if a mistake is made and someone loses their life? Well that's a mistake that should be punished.

And more often than not it isn't.

Because there had to be something more. There had to be something else. There had to be a reason.

But what are you seeing?

Are you seeing what is there or what you think HAS to be there? What you need to believe was there so you don't have to accept that that cop was wrong. Was human and made a mistake. A serious, deadly mistake.

I do think that the cop who shot Mr. Castile was scared. You could hear it in his voice. He was terrified. But Mr. Castile hadn't done anything to warrant that fear so why was he so scared? That's the part we should have been looking to answer. Not assuming that because he was scared there had to be a reason and because of that reason he was justified to be scared so he was cleared to kill Mr. Castile. What are you seeing there? I'm seeing a man who was scared. Scared of someone calmly telling him that he was armed. Getting his license out as he was instructed. Telling him that he wasn't reaching for his gun. Which makes more sense than telling the cop he had a gun and then going to shoot him. If Mr. Castile's plan was to shoot the cop wouldn't he have had the gun out, in his hand and just shot him when he walked up to the car? Why would he tell him about the gun? What were you seeing?

And I will have people tell me I wasn't on the jury. I don't know what they heard. And they will be right. I wasn't. I don't. But as I stated when I saw the recording, I have no idea what they could have said or shown me that would make me think that was okay.

Because, here is the thing, I assume cops are better than that. I want my cops to be REALLY well trained. I want them to have cool heads when the rest of the world is freaking the fuck out. I want them to be able to maintain rational, calm, cool, collected, mannerisms when every one around them is scared. The cops I know? They can do this. It's part of their training to be able to do it. So when a shooting happens like Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott (sadly just to name a few) my first thought isn't there must be something more, my first thought is that person should not be a cop. There was a huge mistake made somewhere that let them be a cop.

You can be both pro-police and anti-bad police. In fact you should be. I've said it over and over again. Bad cops make it more dangerous for good cops. They erode the public trust. They put their partners in to dangerous situations. They bring everything down. The whole bad apple analogy. One or two bad apples spoils the bunch. You have to get rid of the bad apples. You have to be able to say, there was nothing more. He was wrong. Someone died because he was wrong.

There are times when shootings happen that are necessary. When the officers are truly in danger or other people around them are truly in danger. There are reasons why that happens. I wish that I could read a story about the shooting and know in my heart that it was justified and if it wasn't then there will be punishment. But I don't know that right now. I don't believe that right now. I think we are wrong. We, all of us, when we say, there must have been something more there. Because sometimes there isn't and we are justifying something that is unjustifiable.

He was scared.

If that is all the justification that it takes then we should all be scared.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Best Laid Plans...

Today was supposed to be the first day of sabbatical. Brent's boss had an unexpected health issue and needs surgery and they both can't really be gone at the same time so we pushed it off. But there is still this feeling that today was supposed to be the first day.

The funny thing is that even if it were the first day of sabbatical there wouldn't have been much difference. Maybe an early morning hike before it got hot instead of a trip to the gym. Maybe stopping by work so Brent could turn his computer in for the next two months. But not really anything different.

I had planned on today being a down day. Brent just got back from Germany so I knew he would be jet lagged. I knew there would be laundry that needed done. I just baked in a quiet day at home before we hit the road tomorrow.

And we are still hitting the road tomorrow. We are seeing Paul Simon in Bend. Which now seems really extravagant. Before it was the kickoff to sabbatical. We were heading to Bend to see the concert then on to Crater Lake for a few days. Now it's just going down to see the show. Funny how the shift in beginning of vacation and weekend concert shifts the way I think of the money in my head. It shouldn't. It's still the same thing. We are going down for a show. But it still does.

We are still going on our Alaskan cruise next month. We had already booked and paid for it before we knew about her health so that did not change. He'll just take vacation time. Right now we are still planning on Hawaii in August but that might shift due to her surgery date. We just have to decide if the savings in the hotel would offset the flight change fee and make the call. I would guess we will change it unless the hotel doesn't have a room where we want it.

The funny thing is that I had really been slacking on getting everything booked and paid for. I had a lot of penciled in plans but only the two bigger trips actually booked. Then we needed to shift and it seemed like a good thing. I still don't have anything booked for Hawaii other than one dinner reservation. This isn't like me as most of you know. I schedule the hell out of our time in Hawaii. Tours, snorkeling, hikes, more tours, more hikes...but I've just been sort of letting it drift. Now it looks like that might have been a good thing.

And I still have to plan a full eight weeks starting in September, as of now. I think that will be locked in soon. Her surgery is scheduled, he needs to get back before Super Computing. (He doesn't get to wear a cape, I KNOW, I was disappointed the first year as well) And I do have a few ideas to line out. Maybe starting with a trip to Hawaii if that shifts. There is a trip to Michigan in there right now for the UofM/Sparty game. I was thinking we might do another one or two.

Overall I'm pretty relaxed about it all.

Which is not like me at all.

I think it's because of the moving of the time frame. It's not seemed like it's really happening just yet. It's the first time we've not had other things we had to do during sabbatical as well so it's just kind of nebulous. And there is the underlying existential crisis part.

Oh that?

Well it's the typical part of me that is pretty sure I shouldn't be the sort of person who can be so chill about shifting an 8 week vacation around without any problems. I mean who can do that? Only people with zero commitments. And although I really am a person with zero commitments and I'm normally really fine with that, it still seems like I shouldn't be.

When Brent's boss first found out she was going to need surgery and it was apparent that it would most likely happen during his planned sabbatical she was trying to decide how far she could push it off. He, of course, was like, no way. That's ridiculous. I will move sabbatical. That's easy enough. And she, of course, couldn't understand how that could possibly be easy. But it is, really. We are empty nesters. I don't work. We had only paid for two weeks of activities that we couldn't get out of or schedule around. Easy. Which is great. Except for the part of me that hears the voices in my head telling me that it's crazy that I don't DO anything.

Ugh.

I mean, I'm fine not DOING anything. I love not DOING anything. I love being flexible to what we need to DO around here. I love being able to sit down and write when I want to. Or take a day and read a book. Or watch a TV show that C wants me to watch. Or take a walk. Or iron shirts. Or deep clean my house. Or any number of other things that I DO. But even knowing all of that I feel a little like I should have a schedule. I should have people that rely on me to BE somewhere at a CERTAIN time. And there should probably be a paycheck involved as well, because reasons...

It's stupid and it's a little stressful.

Thank goodness I've got a big vacation coming...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Just Checking In...

The vibration woke her up. The phone was bumping along on her nightstand like an angry hornet. She didn't look at the caller ID she already knew who it was. It had been a week since he last called so he was due.

"Just checking in..."

That's what he would say.

"Just checking in..."

Because that would make him the good guy. Then he could go on with his day knowing that he was a prince among men. I mean how many guys check in on their exes just to make sure they were okay?

"Just checking in..."

He could then take all of the attention. All of the condolences from their mutual friends. Soak them all in. "I've been checking in on her to make sure she's okay..." And they would all swoon. What a nice guy he was. How wonderful. They weren't even dating anymore and he wanted to make sure she was okay.

"Just checking in..."

The first time he had called she had fallen for it too. Oh my gosh, he cares. It was like cool water over a burn. Her heart had been so raw that seeing his name on her caller ID had been like a life line. Maybe he had realized it was a mistake. Maybe he wanted her back.

"Just checking in..."

Always a week. He'd figured out too often and it was like they were still together. Any longer than a week and he risked her actually moving on. But a week? That was the sweet spot. Let the wound just start to heal and then RIP the bandage off again.

"Just checking in..."

And always first thing in the morning. Waking her up. Taking away the only part of the day that didn't hurt. Getting her when she was most vulnerable. 

"Just checking in..."

The second time she had been so soundly asleep when he called that she had actually forgotten for a second they weren't together anymore. Hearing his voice had been so normal. So natural. Then he pulled the rug out again.

"Just checking in..."

The vibration had stopped. Soon the chime for the voice mail would come. And it would be the same.

"Just checking in ..."

His debt paid. His duty over. Her bleeding started again.

"Just checking in..."

How long would he do this? It had been two months. People were starting to think she had a problem. Why couldn't she move on? He was fine after all, they had just seen him out with friends having coffee, getting a drink, dancing with a new girl...

"Just checking in..."

She had thought about blocking his number. But then she was the crazy vindictive one. "I only wanted to check in and make sure she was okay. I don't understand why she blocked me..." So she left it alone.

"Just checking in..."

The voice mail chime sounded. "You have ONE new message. To listen to messages press ONE. To delete messages press SEVEN...."

"Just checking in..."

"Message Deleted. You have NO new messages. Good bye."

She put the phone down and walked to the bathroom. Looking at her tired face in the mirror she took a deep breath and... smiled. 

"Just checking in..."

She smiled again. Bigger. Then she laughed. And she kept laughing. She forced all of the joy she could manage into that laugh. Then she smiled again. She was going to be okay. She knew she was going to be okay. He didn't have her anymore. Nobody could keep her in check anymore. She had pressed SEVEN.

"Just checking in..."

She called him back later in the day. When she knew he would be busy and couldn't answer. "Yeah, it's me. I missed your call. No need to call back. I was just checking in..."

Then she marked her calendar to remember to leave her phone in the car next week. 




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

OH my....

So this morning I dug through a box of stuff I've kept from mine and Brent's middle school and high school years. I was looking for a sheet of titles from a game of sorts we played in high school. I say of sorts because it wasn't a game as in there was an objective, but it was a game as in we all had titles and there were rules. It was odd, but it was harmless and we all had a good time with it. So anyway...I thought I had kept the list of titles over the years and if I had it would be in that box. I had and it was.

It was in a binder that I have the very few pictures from that time frame, none of them from school, camp and tours only. Cameras just weren't toted around everywhere like they are now. Which is sad. I wish like crazy I had pictures of people from those time frames. Also in that binder were things people had made for me. Sketches that Chad did, notes and letters from Brent, a few Van Halen logos which could have been done by anyone of us. We had VH on EVERYTHING back then. And then a smallish collection of bad poetry and story ideas and starts.

I say smallish because I know that they were weeded out at one point. Things were tossed and things were kept. I have no idea what I used to make the decision because most of the stuff in that binder was dreck. But at some point it was the best of what I had. Or it meant the most to me. One of the things that made me smile was one poem that was fairly long that on other pieces and notes I had the same poem started 4 or 5 times. That first line was in my head for a long time before I turned it in to something else. There was also the start of a song. The only song I've ever tried writing. I can still remember the tune. The problem is I don't write music. I don't know anything about how to write music. So song writing wasn't really a calling for me. But I kept that one attempt.

So much poetry. I wrote a lot of poetry. And I kept a lot of it. I feel like I should print it all here so Skippy understands that the bad poetry I write now is actually outstanding poetry on the sliding scale. I won't, because, oh lord it was bad poetry. Hormones and drama and free verse...not a good combination.

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Writing or just telling stories. I used to make them up on the fly while we were on the bus traveling. You have to remember that there were no smart phones or hand held video games. You listened to your walkman if you had one, and not a lot of us did, you read if you didn't get car sick or you figured out ways to entertain yourself. Telling stories was one of my ways. It would be nice to have some of those back. There was a scary story that had a punch line of e-i-e-i-o that had the bus in suspense and then mad laughter, there was a ghost story about La Llorona that terrified an entire girls dorm up at camp, there were others too. But I don't remember much about them. Usually just a few lines. Or the laughter when the ghost did the e-i-e-i-o bit...

It's good to remember and to touch that writing sometimes. To see not only that I have gotten better, that helps on days when words don't want to come or the crisis of talent hits and I want to delete everything. But also to see that is a part of me. It has been part of me for a long time. Even when I had to let it go due to time and I didn't feel like a writer at all I was still making up stories in games for C and telling stories at work about baby corn and confidence issues. Trust me that one slayed...

I packed everything back up in to the binder then in to the box. It will all go away again until someday when I'm looking for something else out there. And I will look through it all again and cringe at most of it, and think, yeah, there was something here for some of it. And hopefully remember the tune to my one song. And maybe someday someone else will find the early writings of the famous author Denise Mastenbrook and think...


Oh thank fuck she got better!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dead and Almost Gone...

If she had a nail file with her she would file her nails. Not because they needed it, but because it seemed to be the only thing that could capture how truly bored she was. She looked at her hands. Nope. They definitely didn't need it. So much for the old fingernails and hair keep growing after you're dead myth. Though to be perfectly fair her actual physical body was down there in the casket and she was sitting up here in the rafters so maybe her fingernails down there were growing.

She had separated from her body when they pulled out her heart during the autopsy. It was like she had been asleep up until that point. Awake and going about her day then darkness and dreamless sleep then SUUUUCKKK!!! being pulled out of her own chest cavity with her heart. She could see her other internal organs lined up on a work table with notes written by them. Condition, weight, color; it was a very surreal thing to be your first site of the afterlife. Here are your guts. Her heart was placed on the scale as well. Spoiler alert, it did not weigh less than a feather. So maybe this was her punishment. To have to sit through a funeral she had specifically asked not to have.

She couldn't get more than about 10 feet away from her body or she would not have been here. She shouldn't have been here at all. That was not the plan. When the mortician had placed her organs back inside her chest cavity and started to sew her up she had been confused. First off they were all supposed to have been donated, but maybe she had died in such a way that they couldn't have been. She had no memory of the actual dying part of her life. Which seemed like a real rip off. Like watching a movie on your DVR and realizing it ran long so you are missing the last 10 minutes. But okay, anyway, maybe her organs weren't good for donation, but why was he sewing her up just to cremate her? What a waste of time.

Then when he got out the make up kit, she knew. And she went from confused to furious. She had been really clear, very clear, as clear as anyone could ever be that she did not want a funeral. Never. None. Nothing. Donated, cremated, scattered. But no funeral. No grave. No head stone. No ridiculously expensive coffin. No. And while she screamed NO! over and over the mortician calmly reached down and turned up the music in his headphones and kept working. And since she couldn't leave she was forced to watch.

People were starting to file by the casket. Looking at her. She imagined they were thinking pretty much what she was. That she had never looked better. It was true. He had done a really nice job with her makeup. And she wasn't sure who bought that dress for her but it was a lovely color. The casket must have cost a fortune as well. Why in the world would he have done that? She had been so clear. No casket. Thousands of dollars for a heavy box with a silk lining. Even seeing it and seeing that it looked comfortable she couldn't understand why he would do it. She couldn't feel anything. She wasn't in that body anymore.

She looked down at the mourners filling the pews. Her nephew was there. Poor kid. She remembered funerals when she was that age. Boring. At least he had a video game with him. She wondered what he was playing and floated down to look over his shoulder. Oh she had loved this one. You had to pick up items on a walk to use later to build a house. He was about to walk past a crate that had tools hidden inside though. She reached forward automatically to point it out to him forgetting that he wouldn't see her and thuuup she was suddenly looking at the game from a different set of eyes. She pulled back as fast as she could and thuuup she was back looking over his shoulder.

Now this was interesting.

She floated over to where her mother was sitting and leaned in. Thuup. She was sitting in a pew thinking about how angry she was. He was just going to burn her body up and throw it out. No marker. No grave site. Nothing. Just gone. How dare he. Thank goodness she had found out in time...Thuup...

Well that explained that at least. Of course it was her mother. That explained the funeral. That explained the church. That explained the dress. She was a little mad that he disregarded what she had told him she wanted done but she knew better than anyone how hard it was to stop her mother once she was on a roll.

She looked around at the people nearby. Could she just pop in and visit anyone? Or did it have to be someone she was related to? One of her co-workers was viewing the casket so it seemed like a good time to check. She floated over to where he was standing and leaned in to him. Thuuup....She looked down at her own face and thought, Was she always that pretty? He really didn't think so, but maybe because she was such a ballbreaker he hadn't noticed. This might be the first time he had ever seen her with her mouth shut. She/he reached up a hand and wiped away a tear. He was going to miss her hard ass at work. And fuck he was so busy now trying to do both their jobs they better hire someone soon. Hopefully another ballbreaker. Thuup...she pulled back and then shot forward. He had walked away from her body while she was in his head. She had made it all the way to the back of the church while she was riding with him. As soon as she pulled out she snapped back within her range of the body. Now this was interesting as well.

So she could pop in on anyone. If she was in their space she could leave her body. She would hear their thoughts. Hmm...what else could she do?

The minister was walking in at that point looking through his notes for the service. Thuup...she was in and reading along with him. A sermon? Oh no. That wasn't going to happen. His hands grabbed the edges of his index cards and tore them in half while he suddenly thought, "No sermon." Thuup. She turned and looked at his face. He didn't look confused at all. He had no idea that it was her idea not his to ditch the sermon. Nice.

This could be fun. For however long she was stuck here it would sure beat floating over a grassy hillside near the family plot. She heard the intake of breath before she saw him. The rest of the mourners taking in that sympathetic sigh for his pain. For what he had lost. Everyone except her mother. Who watched him with angry eyes. Still not forgiving him for taking her away in the first place. And definitely not now that he wasn't even going to plan a funeral for her. Poor guy. He looked rough.

He didn't come look inside the casket, just took a seat. She knew he did that as his small way to honor her wishes. She floated down to sit next to him. Not noticing their friend Janice slipping in to the pew ahead of her. Thuup...She watched her hand reach out and rest on his leg. Slowly rubbing his thigh. She thought, once the body is buried his guilt will go away. Nobody suspects anything. He'll cash the insurance and we will head to Mexico to finally live the life she was keeping from us. Thuup...

She leaned in to him then. Thuup...Stop touching me. Stop touching me. Why did I ever listen to you? Why did I let you convince me to do this? Then her mind was filled with images of him laying in bed with a very naked and sweaty Janice. Talking about her. What to do about her. How to get rid of her. Thuup...

She floated in front of her husband and best friend for a few more seconds. Turned and looked back at her body laying in an expensive coffin that she never wanted. Remembering the last 10 minutes of her movie. The moment she realized that Janice wasn't helping her out of the water, she was holding her under. She had drowned. Accidental death. That was the note on the table near her lungs. Accidental drowning. The only witnesses were Janice and him. And he let her die. For the money. And a sweaty Janice.

She watched the rest of the funeral proceed trying to sort out her thoughts. Trying to piece together when it had started. How she had missed it. How she could have misjudged him so badly. Regret, so much regret. Then she looked at her mother again. Straightening her skirt, dabbing her eyes with a hand embroidered handkerchief. So much money. So much power. And yet she hadn't been able to stop her daughter from running off with him. The man she had tried to warn her about. He's lazy. Lazy people cannot be trusted. They will look for shortcuts. They are easily mislead. You deserve more than lazy.

If she had only known. Her mother was right. Lazy looks for shortcuts. And a big insurance payoff was a good shortcut.

Too bad for him he married a real ballbreaker.

Looks like she was going to go to Mexico.

She leaned in to Janice...Thuup.....

Monday, June 19, 2017

Quick...

I'm writing this under duress.

It's my own duress.

But it's still duress..

I'm in the middle of a book right now. It's so beautiful. And horrible. And well done. And right now I resent anything that takes me away from finishing it. Like writing this blog. That I promised myself I would do. Everyday. Write.

So under duress I am writing this handful of sentences.

Then I will run to the store for something to have for dinner because all I've had today is breakfast before I started reading and fruit because I can read and eat fruit at the same time. Now I am starving. And I had to pee REALLY BADLY. Because fruit has a lot of water in it. And I resented that as well. But it got me to close the book long enough to take care of these other things I really need to take care of.

The book is Beartown, it's by Fredrik Backman and if I hadn't already read Britt-Marie was Here and A Man Called Ove I would think this book was a fluke. A once in a lifetime novel. But it's not. It's just how good he is. Read everything he writes. Make sure you have time to do it, because you will resent everything that takes you away from it.

Like food.
And going to the bathroom.
And your own writing.

Seriously.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day...

It's Father's Day. Brent is in Germany. C is in Bend, I mean he lives there so that's not a huge shock, but still. I've been on my own since Wednesday and still have until this Thursday to go. The On This Day feature is filled with the 6 year remembrances from when Dad died. I'm on my period. What I'm saying is I'm a little emotional right now.

It isn't surprising to be upset when a parent dies. I mean, that's the expected reaction. But as I've written about before I was surprised about how much my father's death affected (and still affects) me. I left home at 18. My dad worked two jobs for most of my life so he was busy. I worked and went to school for the last few years I was at home so I was busy. I am not a daddy's girl, that's my sister. I have always been extraordinarily independent, and that includes from my parents.

But independent doesn't mean completely separate.

I have horrible nightmares sometimes. My dreams are always super vivid. I think most writers probably have vivid dreams. We pretend during the day so why wouldn't we pretend at night as well? Which normally is fine. I have vivid, odd, technicolor dreams. But when I have nightmares they are also vivid and odd. When I wake up from one it tends to hold on to me. I can feel the tendrils of the bad dreams trying to drag me back to sleep to pick up where we left off. In times like that I reach out and touch Brent and then go back to sleep. Just a reminder of him being there next to me works.

I think that's what happened when my dad died. I can do it myself. I don't need your help. I've got this. All of those things were mantras of my childhood (and some would say still are) but if I ever got in over my head I knew that I could reach out and touch my dad. I could get his help. I could call him to listen to the car make that funny noise, or help unlatch something that I was having a hard time with, or look at a problem and design a tool for me. I didn't have to have him help, but he was there if I did. And even though it had been years since I had needed to reach out and touch dad to get through the day, he was still available. Until he wasn't.

And I hadn't realized until that point that part of me was still taking comfort in the fact that I could always fall back on him if I needed to. But like having a nightmare when Brent is traveling, I had no way to reach him. To reassure myself that I really did have this, but just in case...

Over the years I've figured that out. And figured out that I still do reach out and steady myself with Dad. Or with Mom as well. Even when they aren't around they are so much a part of me that I touch them all the time. And when I really need to "talk" to Dad I hold his ring. My talisman of my father. And it helps me feel a little stronger. Because that's what Dads do. They make you feel a little stronger.

When I was very little my brother and sister and I were outside playing and the neighbor kids took something of ours (I want to say it was fireworks, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was now). When Dad found out he went and got it back. But he didn't just do that. He brought those kids back with him and we all had to stand in a circle and talk to each other. They had to return what they had taken and I think we had to apologize for not letting them play with us in the first place. It's a foggy memory on specifics. The lesson I got out of it though was that we all had to stand there and talk it out. All of us. It wasn't a case where we were better or worse, we all had something we had to say to each other to fix the situation and Dad made it happen. Dad was a fixer.

The one thing he couldn't fix though was his death.

There was no way to undo that one. To get him to open the latch I couldn't get to budge. To make a tool for me that was going to get me through that day and the next and the one after that.

Or at least that's what I thought when it first happened.

Now I know he gave me those tools a long time ago. I've got this. I can do this. Even if I need to reach out and touch my talisman. Or tell a story. Or make a dumb joke. I can touch him. I can get that support. He did that over the years. Quietly. While he was incredibly busy. While I wasn't even paying attention. He taught me how to make it on my own.

I hope Brent and I have done the same for C. I think we have. He is living on his own, working, paying his bills, finding friends and things to do that he enjoys. He can still reach out to us when he needs to. And I am really happy that he calls home once a week just to check in. But I hope that he has us with him all the time. I hope he hears our voices giving him the support he needs. I hope that when he feels a little lost he can reach out and put a hand on Brent and know that his father has him. Quietly. Even incredibly busy. While C wasn't even paying attention. I hope he knows.

Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ideas...

I've talked about where ideas come from before. Or I guess more correctly I've talked about the fact that ideas come from everywhere. Something someone is wearing, something they say, a look on their face, a weird cloud shape.

Today was a when ideas come sort of day. I was cleaning today and that's often when I get a flood of ideas for stories. It's because my mind is free to wander during those stretches. It doesn't take a lot of brain power to spritz and wipe. Today a good chunk of the day was spent working on window sills and window blinds. Spray with water, let it soak, wipe it out. Spray again. Use some creative tools to get the grime out of the corners. Wipe again. Get the duster. Back and forth. Back and forth. Super boring...but because it's super boring my mind starts to dig around for something more interesting.

So I've got an idea on a piece for Muse (this is the longer thing I've been working on); I've got the opening scene for a writing prompt Dana sent me a few weeks ago; I've got a little better idea on another longer piece that showed up in my head this week. Not a bad day's work.

Now of course the issue is I need to capture those ideas in a more concrete way so they don't just float away and become, "What was that again?" ideas.

And that is the real writer's challenge. Most of us know where our ideas come from. Many of us even know how to trigger a bunch of them to come. But trying to get them from our heads on to paper in a way that makes sense...that's the challenge.

And the next challenge is deciding if it's any good. That's where I am with Muse right now. I have pieces of things that sort of hang together. I think a lot of the pieces are not bad. What I am not sure about is if it will ever be good. A good solid story. I still don't have a plot. But I'm trying not to get too bogged down with that and just write. Get it out there first and then see what I have. Or don't have. But get it out there.

And that's the hard part. The how of writing. I've got the where and the when, but man that how trips me up a lot of the time. How do I get it out of my head and on to paper without it flitting away. How do I translate the scene that I see (like with the writing prompt) into the right words so you see it too? How do I keep that really fantastic line of dialog in my head long enough to get a note written about it? How?

I told Dana today that there needs to be some sort of machine that translates the visions into writing. You could press a button behind your ear and BOOM off to the computer the story goes. Done and done.


Maybe I should write a story about that....

Friday, June 16, 2017

Short post....

Short post today.

I have some other writing that I am working on. I have FIVE!! books that came in from the library I am trying to finish. Two of them are due in 3 days so you see how that is going.

I have a list of chores I want to get through while Brent is traveling. I took painting off the list because I forgot to have him help me move some things and add that to no screens to keep the windows open it seemed like a good chore to put aside. BUT I still have a good long list to get through.

Today is always a melancholy day anyway so I'm puttering through that.

I have a bunch of things on the DVR I really want to watch that for some reason never seem to get watched. Plus about 80 episodes of Steven Universe and Lemony Snicket and The Handmaidens Tale and...

Well I am a little scattered is what I am trying to say.

But today I am going to wallow in the melancholy and read for the rest of the day.

So this is a short post.

That totally counts.

It does.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Safe Spaces...

I was going to write this yesterday but that was before we had two mass shootings in one day and it seemed inappropriate. Then I reconsidered and felt that it was probably more appropriate.

You all know that I've joked that I need a trigger warning for the phrase safe space. And it does make me crazy. Trigger warnings and safe spaces. Not that I think they are always a bad thing, but I think they are an abused thing.

I've talked about friends giving me trigger warning for movies. It might contain vomiting (I have a sympathetic gag reflex), it might contain hand injuries (I have multiple scars on my hands from injuries and it literally makes my skin crawl and my stomach churn to see one happen), it might have any other number of things I have issue with seeing comfortably. And so I go in to (or don't depending on the warning) knowing what is going to happen and being prepared. But what I don't do is stand outside the theater and tell everyone else what they are about to see and that they shouldn't watch it because it makes me uncomfortable.

The same thing with safe spaces. But with safe spaces my general feeling is that they don't exist. Not really. We try to communicate with people that this is a safe space. Which can mean that you can say anything you want without judgment OR it can mean that certain things are never said here OR it can mean that we don't talk about issues OR it can mean we are free to talk about all of the issues. The problem is your safe space and my safe space can be totally different things. And the no judgement part? Please. I guarantee you if you have a no judgement zone safe space set up and someone broaches one of your trigger warning areas you are judging them.

And it REALLY bugs me that so many colleges have embraced these things. College should be the furthest thing from a trigger warning safe space area. It should be a challenge zone where you either can defend your ideas or you need to explain why you are still holding on to them in light of new facts. Critical thinking; not safe spaces. Logic; not trigger warnings. Learning to live your life with other people who have different ideas than you do. Learning how to hear things that you disagree with without writing off the person as ignorant. Unless they really are. But if you cannot argue the opposite point without shutting down the discussion you don't get to make that claim.

I've talked about my parents raising me to question everything not realizing that the first thing I would question was their religion and the second their politics. Or if they thought I would question those things they didn't expect me to come up with the answers I did. But I did. It didn't stop them from loving me or me them. It didn't even stop us from having a few passionate discussions about those differences. We believe different things. There are things I am positive my family is wrong about. And things my family is positive I am wrong about. But we still can sit down to a meal and have an eye rolled filled conversation that ends with everyone hugging. My mother is a lot of things, but she is not stupid and I would imagine she would say something similar about me. To write off her ideas as dumb would be disrespectful at best and ignorant on my part at worst. There are things that she believes that I think are idiotic. But I never think she is. There is a difference. The idea is repellent, not the person.

We lose that a lot of the time. Especially in politics. We are tribal about our politics now and we feel the need to make the other side less than. And I get it. I have a very hard time not getting angry when discussing the social issues I believe in. And I lost my cool more than once last year dealing with people who didn't understand that in a system like ours if one candidate is clearly the lesser of two evils you vote for less evil. You might think you are going to sleep well casting your third party vote but please believe if you aren't voting for less evil you are campaigning for more. That's why it's a fucking expression in the first place. And I tried, I really did, and I still try to understand that other point of view. But it's difficult. I know very good people who made what I believe to be a very bad choice. But again, that's what I believe. And I know they believe something else. So they aren't banned from my life as I try to create a safe space trigger free zone. Even if I roll my eyes or shake my damn head or ask if they are being willfully obtuse or rant to Brent about them while I try to construct a more coherent argument than, "are you fucking high?"

Because there are no safe spaces. There are no judgement free zones. I know they are judging me right back. My third party not voting for evil is the best choicers were indignant that I could choose someone they saw as clearly flawed instead of someone better. But no one was perfect. There never is anyone perfect. And I didn't think their champion was the answer anymore than they thought mine was. So they rolled their eyes, and shook their damn heads and asked me if I was being willfully obtuse and probably thought I was fucking high. But they are still around. Because they understand that my world might not be a trigger warning free safe space zone but it's a place where I expect you to argue AND still hug it out, bitch.

I've called Brent the closest thing to a safe space I have. I came in to our marriage really angry. And he stayed. I was mean as a snake at times. And he stayed. Though he is always clear I was never mean to him. He listens to more ranting and venting than anyone should ever have to. He listens to my arguments about a subject that I'm still forming and sometimes gets to hear me blow out the steam and come to a different conclusion once I explore all the "but maybes." But it's not really a safe space. Not really. The men in Brent's family have heart attacks. Massive ones. His father died at 58. My father had his first heart attack in his mid 50s. Brent is 48. We are in the zone. I feel it lurking at times. He had a scan done when his dad has his heart attack and he's waiting right now for a new cardiologist recommendation (his old one retired) so we can keep on top of his heart health. But we're not safe. No matter how much I insist we are both living to 100.

My father (as I mentioned) had heart disease. My mother has cancer. My grandmother had Alzheimer's, these are the monsters under my bed. My DNA isn't a safe space either.

Yesterday a group of people in San Francisco went to work and didn't come home because a co-worker killed them. Yesterday a group of people in D.C. were playing baseball with colleagues and a man opened fire. Yesterday a lot of people went to bed and woke to a massive inferno raging through their homes. Yesterday more than that happened that wasn't major enough to make the local news. We don't have safe spaces. Not really.

Health. Disaster. Crazy people. These things mean that our world is not safe. It never has been and it never will be.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that because it's not safe; that because there are real dangers out there we should be scared all of the time. We shouldn't. But if you are trying to demand that people only say what you think they should say, and only think what you think they should think you aren't making the world a safer place. You are making it a place not worth living in. The challenge of ideas is where you grow. The acceptance of people in to your life is where the good is. If you only spend time with people who see things the way you do you will only see what you've always seen.

A few years ago I was stung by a bee. Weird complications to that sting almost killed me. Because of that I had a phobia of flying insects. Bees especially. I had massive panic attacks. But I love flowers. So I wanted it to stop. I stood by the flowering bushes and watched the bees flying. I told myself over and over that it wasn't a big deal. That I had even been stung before and had been fine. That if I wanted to live a life without panic attacks at flying bugs I was going to have to fix this irrational fear. And eventually I did. I didn't do it by insisting that no bugs enter my area. I didn't do it by stopping my obsession with close up flower pictures. I did it by challenging my fear. And rediscovering that for the most part, bees don't want anything to do with me either.

That's what I want the safe spaces and trigger warnings to be. See what bugs you (so to speak) and deal with it. Learn about it. Question it. See why it bothers you. Find people who disagree with you and talk with them. You don't have to agree with them. You don't even have to like them. You absolutely don't have to change your mind. But you should be willing to open it.

There are no safe spaces.

Not really.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Make a Note...

Make a note of how you felt this morning when you heard the news that a gunman had opened fire on a group of Congressmen out practicing for a baseball game.

Make a note of that feeling in the pit of your stomach that it has come to this for him.

Make a note of how sickening it is that anyone would think killing a group of representatives was the right choice.

Make a note of how you probably thought of Gabby Giffords and how much worse it could have been.

Make a note of all of those things and then remember. Remember that feeling the next time someone argues for their 2nd Amendment rights so they can take arms against the government. Remember how you felt today. Or when Gabby Giffords was shot. THAT is what taking arms against the government means.

The government is not some nebulous THING in Washington. The Government is people. Living, breathing, working, people. With families. And lives. Real people.

Make a note.

Don't forget.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Yesterday's Day...

Looking at my On this Day list for yesterday in Facebook and this is what I had...

7 years ago today it was C's graduation from high school.

6 years ago today we were in Tennessee discovering that we really didn't want to move and work in a "company" town.

3 years ago today I got the blood results back from the vet and sat in the parking lot of the dentist's office and sobbed.

2 years ago today we saw a house that we sort of liked but thought it was a little over priced. That house is probably another 100K today. It's a crazy market out here.

1 year ago today I was in shock from the Pulse massacre. I still sort of am.

The On this Day feature is often a kick in the stomach.

I know it is around this time of year anyway. We are coming up on the anniversary of Dad's death. When we had to put George down in the same time frame a few years later it seemed extra cruel. Now we've added the Pulse massacre to the list.

The extremely personal, the beloved pet, the multitudes that I can't wrap my head around. There is a lot of death.

But there is also celebration. C's high school graduation was a lot of fun. They walked in to bagpipes for goodness sake! And a friend of his sang at commencement and her voice was so pure it gave me chills.

And there is knowing what you don't want. We did not want to move to Tennessee and have Brent work for Eastman. The idea of Eastman road and Eastman fields and Eastman this and Eastman that sort of gave us both the creeps. But it was good to go see. And nice for him to be courted. And good to have opportunities, even if you don't take them.

And there is the knowledge that even though that house is worth even more now, it was still over priced for what we want to do with our money. Where we live is not perfect. It never will be. But it's super affordable. And because it's super affordable we have the freedom to do a lot of other things.

Looking back gives us a chance to remember the good and bad so we don't get too precious with how much better things used to be, or how much worse. It gives us an opportunity to evaluate where we are today. Is it where we wanted to be? And if it's not is that because we changed our minds or because we stopped working toward that goal? Do you need the reminder to get back to work?

I like the On this Day feature. Even when it's a kick in the stomach. I really like it when it's a kick in the ass. And I like thinking about what I will see in a few years when I look back again. Will it be something big or something little? Will my vaguebook post about a hockey game make me laugh or shake my head because that call was totally blown and EVERYONE should know it. Will I see friends commenting that I miss now? Or ones that I know I will talk to soon?

I'm a fan of my own personal history, not just because I'm fascinating, though you totally know that I am...but because without seeing where I've been I'm not sure I would really SEE where I'm going.

And I am still going places.

Just check my feed to see where.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bah...

Today has been a day loaded with false starts and stutter steps.

I started out with a line in my head that would work with another line I wrote down yesterday morning as soon as I woke up. I chose not to write it down this time because I was guessing it was around 4 AM and I really wanted to get more sleep. So I tried really hard to lodge it in my brain and went back to bed. When the alarm went off two hours later my first thought was to write down that line. Which was now missing. Well dang it.

Then getting ready to go in to the gym I started a status update and ended up copying it over to notes because I decided it would make a better blog. I could expand on it and fill it out and it would be pretty good, I thought. But when I sat down for the expanding I couldn't remember a single add in I had before my work out.

Then I got two different short story starts. I wrote down the quick note on them because I was in the middle of something else when they came. Sat down to turn first one then the other in to more than just a start and got nothing. Just a paragraph for each of them.

While I was showering I was running ideas in my head about the longer piece I've been working on. I have a few scenarios I want to go back to. I also have another scene that is there. My issue is I am starting to think I have two different stories that are trying to become one. I'm doing my best to ignore that and just get it all written out and then figure it out. But a BIG part of me thinks if this is supposed to be a long piece it really should have a plot. Which is answered by the other part of me that is pretty sure that's why I only write shorter pieces. I am well known for losing the plot...

So today has been a lot of hours put to writing with not a lot of hours of writing to show for it. Frustrating but it happens.

The good news is I have a lot of ideas just waiting to be fleshed out.

Hopefully starting tomorrow...


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Well...

...we did not win the power ball last night. Just in case you were wondering. I bought two whole tickets as well. And nothing. AND I bought another ticket on Wednesday so $6 WHOLE dollars toward the endeavor, actually $7 WHOLE dollars because the lottery machine doesn't make change so I had to buy a $1 scratcher as well which ALSO wasn't a winner. So $7 WHOLE dollars spent and ZERO dollars won. What a rip off...

Which I knew going in. And I will know next time I decide to play. But play again I will. Because what if...what if we did win a few hundred million dollars. How cool would that be? I posted a status awhile ago on what sort of rich I wanted to be, it was mostly sports and music tickets with travel rich. Good seats. REALLY good seats. And travel without a second of thought on if we could afford it, what the trade offs would be needed to make to take the trip. That kind of rich.

Brent would like to be professional sports team owner rich. Hockey or football. But owning a team. That's his big dream sort of rich. My rich costs a little less than his does but both are levels of rich that a lottery win would help achieve.

So I will play again. Because I like that dream. That what if it happened feeling. And really I think right now we are the not poor kind of poor that can afford the $7 WHOLE dollars a few times a year. Though I am still the not poor kind of poor that pulled out the $5 bill and not the $10 when I bought tickets yesterday. I mean, adding an additional $5 to the $2 I spent Wednesday was okay but adding $10? Now that would just be crazy...

But we didn't win. So I'm back to counting my dollars. To making the decisions on what trade offs we make to take what trips. To cringing a little at the cost of hotel rooms in Ann Arbor on foot ball weekends. But also the kind of not poor that makes the reservations anyway and still has tickets to the game and to the musicals and to the concerts. Just okay tickets while keeping my really low mortgage instead of front row or 50 yard line while owning the super cool condo downtown. Travel on vacation or sabbatical instead of off season for the sport of the team Brent owns.

Maybe next time.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Always looking...

Last night I had a dream about this big town festival that was happening. We didn't live in the town, we were there visiting for the festival. It was one of those things that everyone should see. While we were walking around looking at what was all tied to the festival all I could think was "this is going to be a blog." I don't remember much about the festival itself, just that I felt like it was pretty solidly a sign of what was wrong with our current civilization. So you know, not my scene.

But it did make me a little amused this morning when I woke up and realized even in my dreams I am planning on my next blog.

Now, I can tell you where the pieces for the dream came from.
1. Sabbatical. With shifting sabbatical by a few months my loosely woven trips and concerts that made a relaxed yet still doing things sabbatical all fall apart. The two big trips and the concerts won't move. We will still do them as planned. But that leaves me with another two months to plan. And we've been talking about how to fill that time. What are the things we really need to see. So that was the town festival part.

2. The downfall of civilization. Well...let's see...I think you can figure that one out. I really do think we need some sort of shift or tilt to get us all back to the center. I was reading a friend's status yesterday and one of her more passionately conservative friends went off on a full on foaming at the mouth rant about the Comey hearings. It was amazing to me to see what he got out of it. Really relates to yesterday's blog, but he watched (assuming he watched, though from what he was posting it really looked like he was led afterward to what he believed was said) a totally different hearing than I did. He's takeaway is that Hillary should be locked up, Comey committed treason, Trump is a great man who does great things, believe me. It was a look in to an alternate universe.

3. The blog. I'm doing the blog everyday thing right now and just like I predicted it SEEMED like a really great idea when I was manic. Now that the mania has faded I'm looking at 20 more days of June and no ideas on how to fill them. So at least I know that I will regret the things I decide to do, I just should probably stop the committing to doing them part when I realize that. Though as Brent said today regarding something else, "Don't ever decide not to do something on the CHANCE that it might not work out."  So committing while manic makes that easy. Everything looks like it will work out fine if you are manic.

But all those together made for an odd dream.

And now a slapped together blog.

So it worked.

Today we are heading down town to a Geek Craft Fair. The pictures for the event had a Wonder Woman piece that I am hoping to pick up. And if I'm lucky there will be a great idea for a blog for tomorrow there as well. Always looking. Even when I'm awake.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Who Do You Believe?

It is just going to come down to "who do you believe?" That's generally the bottom line for everything though, right? Who or what do you believe and how firmly entrenched are you in that belief?

I watched and listened to the open session testimony of James Comey yesterday. Depending on who you watched afterward Trump is either FULLY VINDICATED! or IN BIG TROUBLE MISTER! I think it's the same as it was before. He's shady as fuck and it won't matter because Republicans hold the majority in both houses of Congress so...you know...reasons...

Those reasons actually make me crazy. As well as the fact that I can right now on my Facebook feed read an Op-Ed about why Comey's testimony showed clear obstruction and also how it showed there was no obstruction at all. How Trump is clearly vindicated because Comey did tell him that he wasn't personally under investigation and how Comey told him he wasn't currently under investigation which clearly means that he assumed he would be at some point in the future.

Add that to the usual level of frustration when each Senator had to ask the same questions as the last one because they needed the news clip for their re-election campaign. Which then led to missed opportunities on behalf of the Democrats and another round of "but her emails" from the Republicans. Though it was through that round of "but her emails" that one of the most interesting points came up, for me, which was of course not followed up on because they weren't actually listening to learn but whatever...

So anyway, here was my takeaway question for Mr. Comey, (I'm using quotes because I'm pretending to be Senator Mastenbrook from the Great State of Paying the Fuck Attention not quotes because I'm going to pull the exact words Comey had said earlier)

"You stated earlier that you considered calling for a special counsel in the Clinton email investigation after President Clinton met privately with Loretta Lynch and also because she urged you to use to word "matter" instead of "investigation" that's correct?"

"Yes."

"And you followed that up with saying the reason you chose not to was because the FBI had already completed their investigation and found there to be no criminality. Correct?"

"Yes."

"And that by bringing in a special counsel there would be the appearance of criminality and even though they would also find no case there it would take another year to 18 months to release that information?"

"Yes. That's what I said."

"You also stated that the reason you released your memos to your friend to send to the press was your hope that they would trigger a special counsel?"

"Yes."

"Can you answer why you are not concerned with the appearance of a criminal investigation in to Mr. Trump?"

"I'm afraid I cannot answer that in open session...."

THAT'S WHAT I WANT PEOPLE TO DO! Listen to what is being asked. Listen to what he is saying. Listen to what he isn't saying. Then ASK FUCKING FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS! It makes me crazy. Not crazy like McCain and whatever the fuck he was trying to do, but crazy nonetheless.

My personal opinion of Comey is that he is a boy scout. It was reaffirmed yesterday. I did not like the way he handled the conclusion of the Clinton investigation, with his little "careless" press conference. I thought it was inappropriate. But I think it's his very boy scout nature that led him to do it. I think he saw something shady in what happened but not illegal. He didn't trust HRC's reasoning for using the personal servers, he did not like the queasy feeling Lynch gave him by asking him to use to word "matter", he thought President Clinton getting on that plane was flat out wrong. But nothing he had showed any sort of criminal offense. So being a boy scout he wanted to get the opinion out there that it wasn't illegal but that didn't make it right. He found no reason to "lock her up" but he also didn't like what was there. Boy scout.

I don't think he should have done it. But I'm no boy scout. I'm a pragmatist and I believe that HRC would have been hands down and heads up a better choice than the Twitterer in Chief. Which brings us back to the boy scout.

After he was fired he would have gone away fairly quietly, I believe, except Trump couldn't just fire him and move along. He had to demean him as well. That's Trump's way. So he tried to say he wasn't good at his job, that people who worked for him didn't like him, that they also weren't doing a good job. And well, that didn't sit well with the boy scout. And when Trump tweeted about tapes the boy scout thought, "TAPES!" Or "Oh lordy, I hope there are tapes." And then put out his side of the story as bait. Which worked. Now we have a special counsel.

Now a day after the testimony Trump is trying to play both sides of the transcript. We are supposed to believe anything that Comey said that shows Trump in a good light and disregard anything that shows him in a bad one. But it doesn't work that way. Comey is a boy scout. He does not give a fuck about your good lights or your bad.

I don't like the way he handled the Clinton investigation. I thought the press conference was out of bounds. I thought the announcement two weeks before the election on re-opening the case was outrageous considering he had done a thorough investigation and found nothing just a few months earlier. Considering they were already looking in to the Trump campaign and Russia and he said nothing. All of that together makes me not care for Comey. BUT I see why he does what he does. He spoke out in the press conference because he believed that though not criminal Clinton was wrong. He spoke out again because he believed that re-opening a closed case was information that was necessary to reveal. He did not speak out about Trump/Russia because it was still early in the investigation and he did not feel there was enough information to be released.

I see why he does what he does. Because he's a boy scout.

Now ask yourself, what is Trump? Would you describe him the same way?

Who do you believe?


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Types...

"This is a really good picture of your mom, I don't think I've ever seen it before."

Pete laughed, "Well that's because it's not my mom, it's my step-mom."

"Seriously? She looks just like your mom!"

"Yep. She does."

"I guess your dad has a type."

"As my mother said it was her only younger."

"Oh ouch!"

"Yeah, to be fair to my mother though she had no idea I heard her say that. She was on the phone with my aunt and would have died if she knew I had overheard her. She never said anything negative about my dad or Julie in front of us kids. She was really good about that."

"That's amazing. My mother bashed my father and my father bashed my mother constantly. I always felt like I was betraying the other one by even hearing it."

"Yeah, they had an agreement. She stuck to it more than he did, but they both did their best."

Cara picked up the picture again, "It's uncanny."

"Yep. There are times they are really alike personality wise as well. Which was a little surprising at first, but then not really. There are some areas where they are really different which made more sense to me. I mean after all Mom and Dad didn't stay together so it would make sense he'd want something different, but not too different because Mom is pretty amazing."

"How do they get along?"

"Dad and Julie? Well they are still married so I guess well enough."

"No, I mean your mother and step-mother. Mine hated each other. My step-mother was sure that my mother was trying to steal money from my dad and my mother was sure my step-mother was the evil step-mother from the stories. Now that could have been our fault because we didn't like her, but still."

Pete laughed again, "They actually got along really well. Here is where I will say again that my mother is amazing. Dad and Julie were married within 6 months of my parent's divorce being finalized. As my aunt used to say, the timing was a little too cute. My aunt did not agree with not saying anything bad about my father, though she was careful how much she said when my mother was around. But we figured it out once we were older anyway. There is no way Julie wasn't on the scene before my parents split. And my mother was still really kind to her."

"That's a little weird right?"

"A little. I asked her about it a few years ago; how she dealt with it. She said that Julie was a symptom of a diseased marriage not the disease. She couldn't fault Julie for falling for my dad, after all at one point she had as well. She said she wished that she and dad had had the courage to end their marriage ahead of time so that there wouldn't have been any questions from other people but it hadn't worked out that way.

I asked her about her feelings for Julie and she said that honestly at times she was a little jealous of her, but not because of my dad, because of the custody arrangement. She said it was hard to spend holidays away from us and so sometimes she would be a little jealous that Julie was getting us on that day. And that she imagined Dad felt exactly the same way when it was her turn to have us on a holiday."

"Does Julie realize she looks like your mother?"

"I would think she would have to. She doesn't really say anything though. But there are times when she is out with my sister and people comment on how much her daughter looks like her, and Gabby looks just like mom so..."

"That must be kind of weird for her."

"Maybe. Probably. As long as he never calls her by the wrong name it's probably okay."

"What about your mom? Does she have as strong of a type?"

"Ha! No. She's dated a few guys since she and Dad split and they have all been really different than Dad and really different from each other as well. I think variety is her type."

"But she never remarried?"

"She said she doesn't have an urge to get married. She did it once doesn't need to do it again. That's usually when she breaks it off with whoever she is dating. When they decide that she was kidding and really does want to get married. They start asking and she shows them politely to the door.

And it's probably good that she doesn't. At least for the working system we all have. Dad is not as gracious with her boyfriends as Mom is about Julie. He cannot stand any of them."

"Do you think he's jealous?"

"Oh yeah. Totally. But I don't think he realizes it any more than he realizes that Julie is pretty much a younger version of Mom. Just oblivious. Though I think Julie notices and isn't thrilled. That's about the only time I've seen them fight is when he's being a jerk about someone Mom is dating. It's amusing. Not that he and Julie are fighting, but that he's so oblivious."


"It sounds like you all have good relationships though, for the most part?"

"Yeah, I mean, I love Julie. She's been a really great step-mother, my dad can be a little challenging at times and I think she's been good for him. The one area she is different from my mother is patience, especially with him. My mom doesn't suffer fools gladly and when Dad was acting the fool she would let him have it. Julie is a little more gentle. Dad likes to feel like he's in charge, and is the man of the house. My mother is not good at playing the little woman role, but Julie is a little quieter and softer and doesn't seem bothered by Dad's bluster. I think we all ended up doing well because Mom and Dad decided to put Gabby and I first as far as emotions about each other and because Julie was so nurturing that she couldn't help but be a great step-mom. And then when Cole was born we all fell in love with him, even Mom, so that took care of any lingering animosity."

"Having a brother that much younger than you just must be weird though right?"

"What? Eighteen years isn't the typical age gap between brothers? It's different, but better I think. There was no jealousy between us. And Gabby and I loved babysitting for him when he was first born so there wasn't even resentment that we had to take care of the baby instead of go out with our friends. It was like a treat to get to watch him."

Pete took the picture from Cara's hand and put it back on the shelf.

"Well? Now that you know more about my weird blended family are you sure you still want to move in with me?"

"Hmm...let me think for a second. Your parent's are divorced but still nice to each other. You love your step-mother and have nothing but nice things to say about her. Your little brother is the cutest kid in my kindergarten class, don't tell anyone I play favorites, your sister has great taste in shoes and happens to be my size. I would be crazy not to."

"And? What about me?"

Gabby stepped back and sized him up with a look then nodded. "You'll do."



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

No Pictures Please...

"Why do guys do that? Eeeww..." Janine passed her phone over to Evelyn.

"No! Eeeewww! I don't want to see that!" Evelyn put the phone screen-side down knowing exactly what Janine was going to show her.

"See what?" Greg sat down at the table with a round of drinks for everyone.

Evelyn passed him Janine's phone, "You asked..."

"Oh Holy Shit! Why are you showing me that?"

"Because you asked."

"No! I didn't ask to see that! I asked what you didn't want to see. That's not the same as saying show me some dude's dick!"

Janine took her phone back and deleted the photo, "Now you know how I felt when I opened my messages." She tapped a few instructions into her phone, "And blocked."

Evelyn started to laugh, "Cock blocked! Literally."

"There are guys who actually do that? Just send an unsolicited dick pic? I always thought it was some sort of joke." Greg still had an odd expression frozen on his face.

"It is some sort of joke, but they still do it. It's the worst. It's why I stopped using those online dating apps. More dicks than you could shake a stick at." Evelyn said.

"Was that what it was from? Online dating?" Greg was curious now.

"Actually, no. This was a friend request on Facebook. I guess he thought that would encourage me?"

Evelyn shook her head. "It's just so weird. I mean even a dick pic from someone whose dick you are seeing socially is weird. Disconnected from sex, it's not sexy."

"Even during sexting?" Greg asked.

"You sext?" Now it was Janine's turn to be curious.

"Well I have. But now I'm thinking it wasn't such a good idea."

"Don't get me wrong, if you are both in to it and feeling it, it can be very sexy, in the moment. But as soon as you are, let's say, more composed, it's weird. It's like when texts get leaked to the press or letters or whatever. If it's not your sexy talk it's weird. Sex is weird if you are not the one having sex anyway, let alone via sexting or Skype or whatever."

"OH my god! Do you remember Prince Charles and Camilla?" Janine started laughing. She and Evelyn had been kids when those letters had been leaked to the public and they had spent hours laughing about them.

"I want to be your tampon..." Evelyn started laughing.

"What? I want to be your tampon?" Greg's face went right back to the horrified expression.

"Yeah, see? To them I am sure it was very sexy. To everyone else? Eeeww..."

"Do you think he sent her a picture of his dick?" Evelyn was off and running, "I mean he would have had to sit for a royal portrait so it would have been a little fancier. An oil painting of his dick maybe."

"Stop! Oh no! Just stop!"

"The Royal Wee Wee."

The girls were doubled over laughing. Greg just shook his head. "Are you two done?"

"Yeah, give me a second." Evelyn sniffed a bit, "Okay, yeah. I'm done."

"Now, back to the picture. Do you get these a lot?"

"Not a lot. Sometimes. Usually if I've posted on something public. There are some weirdos out there that get off sending you a shot like that. I report them, block them, and delete them."

"You report them? To who?"

"Facebook. Sending me a picture of your dick is just as bad as flashing me on the street. I mean, if they did it to me they do it to everyone. Imagine some 13 year old girl opening her email to that? It's not okay. Not even a little bit. At least for me I can be horrified but not put off of men for the rest of my life."

"How about you, Evelyn, do you get them too?"

"I have. I don't get a lot though. I have my privacy settings really high so you can't just send me a message without being a friend of mine. Now. Because I got a few dick pics early on and just wasn't down for the surprise erection."

"Surprise erection...sounds like middle school." Greg shook his head while the girls laughed again. "So you are anti-sexting then, Evelyn?"

"No, not necessarily, I'm just saying it's a bit ridiculous once you've cooled off. Even with someone who you are sleeping with regularly. You can find them irresistible and do some phone play things and then look back the next day when the wine and the hormones have faded and think...oh no...why?"

Janine looked around the bar, "Okay, I have the BEST story, but you cannot ever repeat it! Swear?"

Evelyn and Greg both leaned in closer to her, "Swear!"

"So do you remember that woman Graciella who worked for my company a few years ago?"

"Umm, tall red head with the green eyes that looked like emeralds? I might have noticed her." Greg smiled.

"Yeah, her. Okay so she was dating one of the salesmen, Austin I think his name was...anyway he was always travelling and she was always travelling so they only saw each other like once a month. But they 'kept in touch' pretty consistently, if you are following."

"Well since we are talking about sexting, I think we are following." Evelyn said.

"Okay, so anyway...one Friday she gets in to the office, she always got in early ahead of everyone else if she was in town. She kept to an East Coast time zone all the time, even when she was out on the West Coast with us. So anyway, she gets in starts up a computer and punches in her voice mail puts it on speaker phone so she can hear her messages while she starts the coffee. Then over the speaker she hears Austin, he's left her a message. He's in Australia on a trip and feeling a little frisky but knows she would be asleep so he didn't call her and wake her up. He thought it would be fun to leave her a message of him, ummm, thinking about her."

"Oh no!"

"Oh yes. I mean oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. Which would have been weird on it's own right? But...as Graciella was standing in the kitchen hearing it she was staring at the coffee pot which was not empty, but already had half of a brewed pot. That's when she realized that our boss had come in early to take a conference call with China."

"OH NO!"

"Yep. She raced back to the desk and stopped it and deleted it and he never said a word, but he had to have heard it, it wasn't that big of a space and she had the volume up so she could hear her messages in the kitchen. Can you even imagine?"

Evelyn started laughing so hard she was gasping for air, "I totally can! Oh my god! What did Austin say?"

"I don't know if she ever told him. They broke up a few months later and he changed companies, so maybe? I mean I would, for sure, leave a company after something like that!"

Greg shook his head, "Dick pics and orgasmic voice mails. Your lives are much more exciting than mine."

"Hey! It wasn't my voice mail! I just heard about it during Graciella's drunken good bye party."

"Oh I love a round of drunken true confessions when people are leaving the company. BEST."

"Again, your lives are much more exciting than mine. We usually all get them a card and maybe a good bye cake."

"Next time bring beer. It's more entertaining. Just, no pictures!"

They all laughed again, "No pictures!"

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Placeholder...

I was going to write a fiction piece today but my head got sidetracked. I will probably write the piece tomorrow because it's still buzzing around in there but other things are battling for space and they aren't compatible things. So instead I'll write a quick thing about those things and leave the other thing for tomorrow's thing...thing...thing...thing...

Talking online with a friend today about how nice it is to discover new things about our kids after reading her daughter's blog. I've written before about all of the things I thought C would be and none of them were what he ended up being. I've also talked about how great it was when he first started having ideas that were obviously his. Not parroted from us or from teachers at school or even from friends but from listening to the world around him and coming up with his own unique take. When you raise a thinker you know you've done a good job.

One of the things my friend said about her daughter was that she marched to the beat of her own drummer. I, of course, think this a really good thing. Not just because I have my own personal percussion section in my head, but because if you march to someone else's drum beat you will only march to places they want you to go. It's the ones that hear their own music that venture off the path and discover new things. Cami is listening to a totally different band right now. If you want to check out her blog it's right here.

Then the other thing that took over my head was the death of a friend's mother. She's young so her mother couldn't have been too old. It doesn't sound like it was expected. My friend is understandably devastated. Brent and I have talked about this a lot. Is it better to be prepared and expecting it or to be surprised by it? His father died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. My father also died from a heart attack but he had been ill for years. Jack was only 58 and my father was in his 80s. Neither one was easy. Just hard in different ways. Losing a parent, even as an adult, is really difficult.

These things made me think of how we view ourselves through the lenses of  our children and our parents. Both sides shaped who we are today. Both made profound differences in our worlds and how we view them. Just one was the foundation we built from and the other was what was built on the foundation we provided. Layer after layer of people forming us, shaping us, surprising us, defining us. I rebelled. I worked hard to not give C a reason to rebel. To break off? To be his own person? Sure, absolutely. But to reject what I tried to teach him? No. I didn't want that. Just as I'm sure my parents weren't happy with my rejection either. But they had a group of us, so one black sheep isn't too bad of a record really.

We are closing in on the anniversary of Dad's death and it's always a time for reflection for me. I think of him, naturally, but I also think of how I want to be remembered. What is important? What lasts? What have I taught C that will stay with him even after I've gone? And is it what I hoped it would be?

My dad taught me to tell a story. And if you can, make it funny. I wonder if he would have thought that was the most important thing he could have taught me? I mean, don't get me wrong, he also instilled a really strong work ethic. When I worked. But my mother also instilled a really strong sense of don't work forever in me. So I got both of them. When I do work I really need to be the best, but I don't have to work to feel complete. So would he have been disappointed that I choose not to work now? As most of you know my dad was religious. Elder in the church and the whole bit. And as you all know I am not. So I think he was probably disappointed in that. But then I wonder how much. Because one of the things I discovered about my dad after he died was that he was baptized on the day my parents got married. It was important to my mother that he be of the same religion. And my mother was the most important thing in the world to my father. So I wonder how much he was upset that I wasn't religious vs. upset that I let Mom down.

Then I look at the things that I most want C to get from me. I want him to view the world as a happy experience. Sometimes that's really hard to do, but man, if there was one thing I could give him it would be the ability to find joy in every day. To be truly happy. I want him to work hard enough to be as successful as fulfills him. I hope he finds someone to share his life with that is nice to him. But it's not that important to me that he finds a partner, if he is happy solo then that's what matters. But if he finds he wants to have a wife then I just want her to be nice to him. I know too many people whose spouses are not kind to them and it's a miserable existence. But what have I truly taught him? Probably how to be a smart ass and shout at the TV.

We don't get to choose what we teach our kids. Just like our parents didn't get to choose what they taught us. Not really. We can model behavior, we can try, we can lead and hope they follow, but they are going to find their own drummers and their own paths. Just like we did.

And we will miss them as the leave to find their own lives And we will miss our parents when they leave this life all together. And the beat goes on...


Monday, June 5, 2017

Can't Think of a Catchy Title...

"I would disagree with that. I think you are a genuinely nice person, with a very low tolerance for bullshit." Brent Saturday night.

I don't remember what we were talking about exactly but right before that I had said something about not being a nice person and that was Brent's response.

Fast forward to Sunday as we were watching Meet the Press and I was yelling at the TV over and over again, "YOU KNOW THAT'S WRONG! YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT'S WRONG! YOU ARE THE FUCKING HEAD OF THE EPA I CANNOT POSSIBLY KNOW MORE THAN YOU!" And I thought, Brent has a very high tolerance for my low tolerance.

Because trust me when I tell you, you all get a watered down version of me. Even if you read my blog, and follow my status updates, you aren't getting the full force of what happens when I think someone is full of shit. Brent sees it. C sees it. They argue or agree appropriately but they get the full brunt of it. Well them and the TV, of course.

What happens here and on Facebook and even in conversations with people who don't have to love me because they married me or I gave birth to them is that I polish. I back space. I weigh. I consider if you can handle what I'm about to say. And most of the time that makes for a better more open discussion than me yelling at you that you are so fucking full of shit it's amazing that Cousin Eddie isn't emptying you into the street drain...

(deep breath)

But it's still filtered. Usually. Sometimes the filter falls off. A few years ago I was having an online conversation with a conservative friend of mine who wrote something that made me realize they were a birther. And that was my response, "Oh you are a birther." Which made them ask what I meant by that and for some reason I filter free told them. "It means that no matter what from now on I will know that you are a birther. That no matter how well reasoned my argument is, no matter what facts you are presented with, no matter how ridiculous your stance is you will hold it because facts and logic don't mean anything to you." He responded that he now knew that I was judgmental and he was surprised that I didn't call him racist. Which I said, "Well that's pretty much implied in the birther argument so I didn't have to call you racist, you called it yourself."

He didn't defriend me that day, it took him about 3 which I assumed was the amount of time he stewed on the fact that I called him an ignorant racist before he couldn't stand it anymore. I didn't defriend him right away because I called him an ignorant racist and at that point expected the trash to take itself out. Which it did.

The good thing about low tolerance for bullshit is that it gives me lots of blog posts. Ranty ones, but posts. The bad thing about low tolerance for bullshit is that it gets in the way of fiction writing when my head is full of "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" moments. The good thing is that it keeps me honest. I even recognize my own bullshit most of the time.

When you start to give someone a pass because you agree with them that you would never give someone you disagree with the same pass? That's bullshit and it's actually fairly rare for me, I do get people who want to say I do it more than I really do. But I show them where it's different. Where the examples they are trying to use as the same aren't the same at all. The differences are important. It's not that I'm being a hypocrite it's that you aren't using good examples. Be smarter. (And then I wait for them to unfriend me because I did just call them stupid.)


But honestly, be smarter. I get it, I read about more issues than most people do just because I have more time to do so. If I see something quoted that rings false to me I do a little research. I discount partisan sites from both sides when doing that research, by the way. So if you want me to see your brilliant proof and it's the same article posted on 5 different conservative blogs with absolutely nothing else out there, it's bullshit. The same thing if it's a liberal ideology and you can't show my anyplace that it's talked about that isn't a propaganda machine. Bullshit is bullshit. No matter how much you want it to be true.

I've railed for years about this, but do some fact checking before you post something. Question the things that REALLY ring true to you as much as you do the things that REALLY ring false. Use past experience to judge current posts. For instance if the source has proven to be dishonest multiple times in the past you probably shouldn't be surprised if they are lying now. (See Trump's Twitter)

Yeah, he lies. You know he lies. He lies a lot. By bald faced lies or just manipulating the truth lies. He misrepresented what the Mayor of London said just to try and make a political point of some sort. I'm not sure what the point was he was trying to make because all I got out of it was him looking like an asshole and being embarrassed that this is who we have representing us...but you know...some point was being made. And it's horrific that he lies. Because we have people in this country who believe him just because he's the president. Not that they believed that other guy when he was president because you know...reasons...but now they want us all to believe Trump because he's president.

And to that I say, bullshit.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stories...

Brent and I went out early today to walk through the Japanese Gardens and since we were over there we walked through the Rose Gardens as well. While we were there we saw someone doing a photo shoot. She was wearing a Belle gown and posing with the roses. As you all know as far as the "good guys" go Belle is my favorite. She's the one I identify with the most. For the good guys...

So part of me was thrilled to see a Belle with the roses. Then she started complaining to her photographer about things. Dresses she needed to borrow for other shoots, the fact that it wasn't as sunny as she would have liked, that it was a little uncomfortable...I tsked and told Brent, "she's not Belle." Later they were finished about the same time as we were and we ended up walking behind them on the way out. She had an ornate Peter Pan tattoo on her back. Oh...that explains it. You aren't Belle, you're Tinker Bell. Gotcha. Brent and I had a discussion on the many failings of Tinker Bell, I say discussion but it's really Brent listening patiently while I rant about how awful Tink is. Then we discussed how Maleficent could totally take her and went on with the day.

Then later when we were driving home from coffee I told him I needed to figure out what to write about for today. I could write about the London attack last night and our president's dumbfounding response, but it's a lovely day and we are doing lovely things and I really don't want to give him any head space. Brent suggested I write about what I wrote about yesterday, and well, I already did. Then he said, "Write about how much you are enjoying American Gods" and I thought about it and yes! That's it!

So back to the scene in the garden. Why did it bug me so much that the woman in the Belle dress was whining and bitching and didn't even have a fucking book with her? Well...because for that woman Belle is a dress up character, for me Belle is a story. A full on story. She represents things to me that haven't ever even been depicted exactly. Just the feel and form and shape of her. Her story is important to me. Beauty and the Beast MEANS something to me.

Same thing with Maleficent. She represents something to me that is much bigger than her role in Sleeping Beauty really should signify. She is important to me. Her story has become part of my story. Belle and Maleficent, anyone who knows me well knows that those are my two Disney characters for myself. If you really know me you know why I sobbed at Toy Story 3 and why Up! will always make me melancholy and filled with heartbreaking joy at the same time. The stories are important to me.

American Gods is another one. It was my third Gaiman book. Good Omens was first. It was recommended after I told someone how much I loved Lamb. After Good Omens I actually read Anansi Boys first, even though it's a continuation of the American Gods universe but it was in the sale stack by the register and I thought, oh this is the guy that wrote Good Omens with Pratchett, let's see. And away I went. Gaiman is important to me. His stories mean something to me. American Gods and Anansi Boys on a totally different level though. Being agnostic, being raised evangelical, leaning toward atheist but never being able to completely take that step, religions fascinate me. The stories. They are so important people live their lives by the rules of the author. People are horrific and wonderful and giving and selfish and all of it justified by their stories. I love that. And at times I hate it as well. But as a writer it feeds a piece of my soul. Someone created these stories and they were good enough that they delivered belief. Deep belief. Behavior changing belief. And for some of you I am treading on blasphemy right now, but that's the way I view them all. They are all stories. Parables if it makes you feel better. And American Gods explores what happens to the gods when the belief fades. Where do they go? What do they do?

Later today we will go see Wonder Woman. I posted last week that I've been calling it by the full title, Wonder Woman, Please be Good, Please be Good, Please be Good. And it's not really a joke. That's what I've been chanting ever since it was announced. Her brief cameo in BvS gave me hope. She was the best part of that movie. It's important to me that her story is told well. It doesn't have to follow any of the old story lines from when I was a kid, it doesn't have to hold true to what I think of as Diana's back story. It doesn't have to do any of that, it just has to be good. She needs to be strong. She needs to be independent. She needs to be courageous. She needs to kick ass. Please. Just please be good. Because her story is important to me. She is important to a lot of little girls masquerading as grown women. I am incapable of putting on cuff bracelets without pretending to block bullets. I can hear the theme song from the 70s show in my head and will always be disappointed I cannot change clothes just by spinning fast. All of those things mean something to me, but what they really mean is that SHE was. SHE was there. A hero who I could aspire to be. For a geek girl there aren't as many options. But SHE was always there. And there are legit arguments over who would win in a fight between her and Superman. My money is on her. Demi God vs. Alien? I'm betting on the Demi God.

The stories of life are our lives. The things we find that we identify with. The tales we tell ourselves to help us lead better lives. Whether it's a religion, or a fable, or just a "let me tell you this real quick" thing. The stories are important.

Our stories are important.

Keep living your best story.

Keep sharing your best tales.

And keep loving the stories that shape you.

No matter the cuffs...pew...pew...pew...