Thursday, December 22, 2011

Xmas 2011

Family Snowfall Holiday
Create custom new year's invitations at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.
 
 
 

Friday, December 16, 2011

In Memoriam


“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.” 

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank-you, Gracias, Merci, Danke, 谢谢, شكرا , спасибо, , Obrigado, ありがとう, אַ דאַנק

The holiday season begins the time of year where post after post, story after story, is about how “the Atheist” deals with certain religious situations that occur with each tradition. The past weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve been bombarded with every typical, “How the Atheist can cope” story on my news feed; from large news providers like The Huffington Post to personal blogs like The Friendly Atheist.  Reading all of these stories has made me realize and understand what I am really thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2011.
With all the “givens” aside that I am obviously “thankful” for: my husband, my children, our health and our happy home, friends and family, yadda yadda yadda, it has become glaringly apparent that I should emphasize one very special “thank-you”.
So here goes:
                                                                                                             
This Thanksgiving (and hopefully I am able to retroact this to all past Thanksgivings) I am especially thankful to my parents, Diana and Marcello, who always let me and my brother “be”.  I mean this in the sense that we grew up always being encouraged and supported into finding our own way, whether we fucked up royally or soared with achievement.  My parents never constrained us into a specific “you have to do this this way” or “you have to be this person” and I am quite sure that, after the standards ups and downs of “life”, they turned out some really cool kids. Not to brag, but I think my brother and I are some pretty cool cats.
So when I read these articles during the holidays about how an Atheist should “cope” or speak with fellow Atheists who have to hide who they are at the holiday dinner table, I just realize how lucky my brother and I have it.  We’ve never had to hide anything from our folks (which sometimes results in some pretty TMI conversations).  We’ve never been criticized for who we are or what we believe (or don’t believe).  Sure, both mom and dad are Atheists too, which helps a lot in the whole “non-judgmental” department, but I have a feeling if either my brother or I came home one day as evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews, my parents would be ok with it. Sure, they’d be a little confused, but aren’t children supposed to confuse their parents to begin with?
So thank-you, mommy and papinos, for letting us “be”.  I know that I will instill those same sentiments in my children so that they may become whoever they wish to be without fear or repercussions.
Now get over here and stuff your faces.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Tit-for-Tat You Don’t Want to Play

So I guess by now, everyone has heard about the Atheist group in Orange County that put up a billboard that misquoted Thomas Jefferson.  This is the same group that thought it would be “informative” and “eye-opening” to rip out Bible pages off of a pier.  In other words, at least to me, these are the types of Atheists that I tend to say, “I’m not with them”.  I mean, as Atheists, we are constantly  being scrutinized and criticized for being these godless heathens with no possible way of having or understanding morality without a sky daddy and book of rules written by primitive goat herders telling us how to live.  I have often heard the random theist wonder out loud how I am not running around murdering, raping, and pillaging, if I don’t believe there is a god to “punish” me for those actions and that, and this is where it gets scary, if they knew there was no god, they don’t know what would stop them.  Seriously.  The only thing stopping you from being a murderer is the idea that there is an invisible sky fairy keeping you in line?  And I’m the immoral, unethical, baby eater?
Anyhow, I digress. 
So basically, we have this O.C. Atheist group that gets their billboard wrong.  Oh, well, egg on your face, do a better job next time, right?  Wrong.  Apparently, this mistake the group made is somehow supposed to discredit all of Atheism and make us the laughing stock of the world.  Really.  Really?  Honestly, if one more person comes up to me with a smirk on their face saying, “Oh hey, you’re an atheist right, did you hear about that group that got the Jefferson quote wrong” <snicker snicker>. As though now I’m supposed to say something, “You’re right, we’re all buffoons!  How silly of me not to believe that a woman who was a virgin got pregnant by a ghost who then became this guy who got nailed to a cross by his father but then came back to life three days later and then flew up to the sky to be with his dad and the ghost who are really all the same thing and then we have Christmas.”
I mean, do you really want to play tit-for-tat with the whole theist vs. atheist and “making stupid mistakes” thing?
Let’s do a little breakdown here:
 
Theist “whoopsies”:

   
Statistics from A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States (2004)



  • US clerics (priests, deacons, bishops, etc.) accused of abuse from 1950-2002: 4,392.
    About 4% of the 109,694 serving during those 52 years.
  • Individuals making accusations: 10,667.
  • Victims' ages: 5.8% under 7; 16% ages 8-10; 50.9% ages 11-14; 27.3% ages 15-17.
  • Victims' gender: 81% male, 19% female
  • Duration of abuse: Among victims, 38.4% said all incidents occurred within one year; 21.8% said one to two years; 28%, two to four years; 11.8% longer.
  • Victims per priest: 55.7% with one alleged victim; 26.9% with two or three; 13.9% with four to nine; 3.5% with 10 or more (these 149 priests caused 27% of allegations).
  • Abuse locations: 40.9% at priest's residence; 16.3% in church; 42.8% elsewhere.
  • Known cost to dioceses and religious orders: $572,507,094 (does not include the $85 million Boston settlement and other expenses after research was concluded). (Hartford Courant, 2/27/04)
 





I could go on, but this is just a half-hour show……

Atheist “whoopsies”:


Not really much of a comparison no?  And before someone starts with their “Hitler was an atheist” bullshit or “Stalin and Mao were atheists and killed millions of people, so there!” argument, let me just say Number One: No, he wasn’t and Number two, "Atheism itself has never motivated, excused or caused any deaths. Atheism is just the personal statement that one does not believe in god or gods. Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao became a religion. Ideology became a matter of faith in these instances." (quoted from The Athefist)
So, I’ll gladly accept a misquoted billboard by a group of over zealous Atheists any day.  I may not agree with their methods, but faced with the alternative, I think I’m going to be just fine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Caution: Backhand!

Dorian had his 15 month check-up/vaccinations today.  I love the kids’ pediatrician.  He is a kind grandfatherly man who has seen Dante grow up and who is now watching Dorian follow along.  His office also hosts a rotation of Med students circulating monthly through in and out so that every time I go, I am met with another fresh face, who has never seen me or my children before, and who is not sure whether or not they are going to go into the field of pediatrics and is just making the required rounds of the different medical disciplines.  The office also has an RN on staff who takes care of the children when the Doctor is not in and she knows me very well also.

Today, the RN was in the office and there was a young Med student as well.  The student examined Dorian and asked me all the routine questions (yes he eats food, no we don’t beat him), then went to get the head nurse for the “complete” exam (meaning, please check my work to make sure I did ok).  I had a few questions for the RN regarding weaning from nursing and some concerns as to why Dorian wasn’t articulating any actual words.  What she told me isn’t what this blog is about, rather what she prefaced with is.

Before answering my questions, the conversation went a little bit like this:

RN: So you’re concerned about weaning and speech?

Me: Yes, not terribly, but yes.

RN: Look, you’re definitely not a bad mom. Probably one of the best that comes through here, but you baby him too much.

Me: That’s true, ha ha, he should be out getting a job already!

RN: Ha Ha, it’s like I told her (points to the Med student) before she came in to meet you, “Don’t judge her on how she looks, she’s a really good mom”.

Me: Ha Ha …..wait….(needle on the record sound).  What did you just say?

RN: Oh nothing, I just warned her (points to Med student) not to worry and that you are a great mom!

Me: Worry?  About what?

RN:  Well, you know, how you look.

Me: So my looks would make me a bad mom?  What part? My hair? My tattoos?  My fat?

RN: Well you know how some people are, ha ha.

Me: Ha Ha, now about the weaning?

I know, I know, in rare form, I decided NOT to pursue the matter and just let it go.  She did, in fact, say I was a great mom (probably one of the best), but it was prefaced with a warning to a complete stranger that I might not “fit the part” of this great mom role I play so well.  Because of course, everyone knows that being a great mother is synonymous with your appearance.  Just ask these “normal” looking moms:

 

Susan Smith: Strapped her 3 year old and 14 month old into their car seats, then let the car roll into a creek, drowning them because her boyfriend (who she was having an affair with) didn’t want children.  She filed a false carjacking report, claiming a “black man” kidnapped her children.

Marybeth Tinning:  From January 3, 1972, the day her first daughter died, until December 20, 1985, when the last was found dead in her home, all nine of Marybeth Tinning's children died “mysteriously”.  She later confessed to “smothering” them.

Diane Downs: In May 1983, Diane she sped into an emergency room dropoff with her three small children, aged 8, 7, and 3, inside her blood-soaked car, shot at close range. She tried to blame it on a carjacker.

Patricia Blackmon: beat her 28-month old adopted daughter to death so severely that a clear imprint of the sole of her shoe was embedded in the child’s chest. Blackmon claimed the child had “fallen out of bed”.

Debra Milke: Conspired with her husband and his roommate to kill her 4 year old son.  Told him they were going to see Santa Claus.

Darlie Routier: brutally stabbed her 7 year old boys to death, then claimed an “intruder” did it.

 

So, I guess what I am saying is that if you see a mom who looks like me, chubby with pink hair covered in tattoos, you may want to think twice about ASSuming I am a bad mother.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I’m Not Racist: Part Trois

If you’ve been reading my blog for the FIVE YEARS I have been writing it, you are familiar with my favorite phrase “I’m not racist….but….”.  I’ve blogged in the past about this favorite phrase of mine, in particular about my “not racist” neighbor: the bottle bleach blonde pushing 60, trying to look twenty, whose shorts are so short the world is her gynecologist.  If you want to refresh your memory (or if you are new to my blog and want to check out my past awesomeness), read these two entries before reading this one:

I’m Not Racist: Part I

I’m Not Racist: Part 2

Ok done?  So you know sort of what I am dealing with here?  Ok then, Here we go.

The phone rang this afternoon as I was sitting down with Dante to do his homework after school.  On the other end was Blondie, the woman next door in the aforementioned blogs.  In her “I’m trying to sound six years old” baby voice she asks me if I know anything about computers and could she come over so I could fix “something terrible” that has happened to hers.  I tried to explain to her that I wasn’t super computer savvy and that I was in “homework time with Dante” but she started TO CRY and said she only needed two minutes and this *thing* on her computer was so horrible that she needed it off right away.  What am I going to do?  Say no to a six year old?

So she comes over with her Mac Air laptop and I’m instantly confused because I’m a Dell PC girl.  I know, I know, all the “intellectuals” have Macs, but that proof was just negated the minute Blondie walked into my house with one.

So I ask her what is wrong with her computer and she tells me that it’s something on Facebook.  Something so tragic and horrible that her “reputation as a hairdresser” is at stake and I “need to help” her because it is “devastating”.  I ask her if it is a naked picture of her (barf) or a picture of her doing something dirty (double barf) or just a picture that shouldn’t be on her business site and she STARTS TO CRY again in her mewling six year old baby girl talk and starts telling me that her niece put something on there as a joke and now everyone can see it and it’s devastating and horrible and it’s disgusting and on and on and on and on.

So I tell her to calm down, log into her Facebook, and that I would do my best to get rid of it.

She logs into her Facebook, repeating over and over and over again how “horrible” and “embarrassing” and “truly not me or my lifestyle” this *thing* is on her page that I am seriously preparing myself for a picture of Blondie spread-eagle on a Camaro or deep-throating her husband.  She tells me to click on her workplace link, a hair salon in Louisiana with a similar name to hers, which is “so wrong” and “not the right place”, and “oh my god, you’ll see what I mean now!” and this is what comes up:

overtheedge

That’s it.

I’m not kidding. That’s it.

Seriously.  THAT IS IT.

That is the picture that has this woman in hysterics over her reputation.  That is the picture that she has deemed as “horrible”, “disgusting” and “devastating”.

That.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!

So I look at her and I say, “I’m sorry, I realize that it’s not your shop and the wrong name and location, linked to you, but what is so terrible about that picture?”

And then I get the famous phrase, “No, no, no, Alessia, I’m not racist…..but I just don’t do BLACK HAIR”  (and trust me she said the words “black hair” as though I was saying “Rick Perry” or “spiders” or “George Lucas fucked with the original Star Wars again”.)

This woman was so devastated by this picture that she had to run right over to my house so I could delete it (she couldn’t figure out how to change her workplace in the profile editor) but not before spending twenty minutes “preparing” me for the absolute “horror” I was about to witness.

But she’s not racist.

face palm

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Namaste, bitches!




I recently joined the YMCA in my 'hood and after a few trial of "low impact" aerobics classes, I realized I was too out of shape, too fat, too old, and too uncoordinated to keep up with the Mitzys, Bitsys, Boopsies, and Chickies, in those "look at me I'm so cute in my workout pants dancing to Britney" classes.  So, on a whim, I decided to check out Yoga, because I had heard that it was perfect for people who needed to train their bodies back into excercise and because it only had one star next to them in the brochure, indicating that I wasn't going to have my ass kicked in 2 minutes.

Now for those of you who know be, either in the "real world" or the "twitterverse", know that I can be easily labeled as a "Cranky Atheist", "Unforgiving Skeptic" or plain ol' "Bitch".  When it comes to magic, superstition, being "one with mother earth", healing chakras, or "the healing power" of basically anything, I will give you the biggest eye roll this side of the solar system.  To put it plainly, I live in the real world.  I don't have a "spirit" or a "soul".  My "chi" does not need to be centered and my "aura" is basically telling you to shut the fuck up. In other words, "Spirituality" does not apply to me in any way shape or form.  I'm the Ebenezer Scrooge of Spirituality, except instead of saying, "bah humbug" I'm usually just calling bullshit on you and accusing you of being a hippie who smoked too much pot.

Suffice it to say, I was a bit apprehensive about going to my first yoga class, but I tried to "open my mind" (and not laugh) and in I went.  That was three weeks ago and since then, I have upped my yoga-ness to 3 times a week (with Pilates thrown in between).  I have even purchased my very own yoga mat, complete with peace dove, bamboo, and heart decoration on it.  And it's NOT BLACK.  It's purple.  My body is not thinner, but I have lost inches everywhere and I am night and day on how I move.  And, if I can even say this without revoking my "Cranky Atheist" card....

I feel "connected" to my "spirit" when I am doing the practice. 

Between the breathing and the names of each pose, it's hard not to feel the thousands of years of  history in these ancient motions.  It's hard not to secretly be proud of yourself as you do a complete backbend with your hands behind your head FLAT on the mat.  It's hard not to channel the strength of the Buddha while balancing in a perfect "tree" position.  It's amazing to go from Child's Pose, to Plank, to Downward Dog and feel the sweat dripping off my face as my arms start to shake from exhaustion.  At the end of the practice, my abs are screaming, my arms are noodles, and my legs feel like jello.  But I am so proud of myself that as we end the practice in the Savasana (Corpse Pose), I really do allow the pose to affect me and .....dare I say it.....my spirit.

So what the hell is happening here?  Is this "Cranky Atheist" becoming "Spiritual"?  Do I need to check "Buddhist" on forms now when asking me about my religion, instead of the big black, upper case NONE/ATHEIST that I normally scrawl?  Could it be that in "opening up" my body during yoga classes, I'm kind of opening up to the idea that maybe I am connected to this pale blue dot that's spinning aimlessly in space?

Now before any of my more religious readers start planning a "Come to Jesus" party for me, let me tell you that this in no way makes me believe in a higher power or god or creator or anything superstitious.  If anything, Yoga has enhanced my belief that human beings are amazing products of evolution and that we are simply connected to our planet in such a way that we are connected to eachother.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson, my astrophysicist, atheist, secret boyfriend, said it best when he said, "We are all connected; To each other, biologically To the earth, chemically To the rest of the universe atomically."

Who knew that I would have a "spiritual" experience?  In a Yoga class.  At the local Y.

So what am I if I am not the "Cranky Atheist"? Can I be a Buddhist Atheist? If atheism is the absence of belief in gods, then many Buddhists are, indeed, atheists. Buddhism is not about either believing or not believing in a god or gods. Rather, the historical Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. I guess then that I am becoming enlightened. Not to a higher power, but rather the power that is within me to push myself and feel better about myself. 

So, Namaste, bitches!  With a side of "Ohm" as well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Does This Sound Kosher to You?

I received my Kindergarten son's weekly school newsletter today and this was one of the subjects of note:

This program, called STRIVE (Schools/Students Taking Responsibility for Important Values of Excellence), is not just an occasional emphasis on character but a comprehensive and systemic character education program that will be part of the daily activities of our school including grade level curriculum.

Our children are exposed to many influences within our society, and we know that children develop character
by what they see, by what they hear and by what they are repeatedly led to do.
STRIVE will provide our school additional ways to partner with parents and stem the tide of children learning their moral values too heavily from our media saturated culture and other negative influences. STRIVE will help develop our students ethically, academically, and socially and provide enriched learning experiences for your student. We anticipate measurable positive results in the areas of:

• Academic performance

• Promotion rates

• Student attendance

• Student behavior

• Enhanced school climate




Um, ok.  What the hell is all that?  "Stem the tide of children learning their moral values too heavily from the media".  WTF?  What "moral values" are they "stemming the tide" from?  Better yet, what media?  Because, we're the family that doesn't censor sex and "teh gayz" from our children.  They have seen movies with people kissing, and with boobs, and with "teh gay peeplz".  We don't think there is anything wrong with "exposing our children" to people who love eachother.  Granted, they're not watching XXX porn (and neither am I frankly), but if two people are making out on TV, gay or straight, we're not the parents who are screaming "COVER YOUR EYES!" to the kids.

On the flip side though, we ARE the parents that won't let our children watch "realistic violence".  When all the boys and girls are at the movies watching Iron Man, our children are wondering who the hell he is.  Now mind you, Dante (the five year old) watches movies like Clash of the Titans (the original, not the remake), Tron (again, original not "legacy" bullshit) and Transformers.  You may say, "but hey, those movies are violent too" but there is a difference.  In the first few scenes of Iron Man, Tony Stark is in Afghanistan with a bunch of US soldiers on a Humvee.  They get hit by an IUD and people go flying and blood is everywhere.  The next scene is Tony Stark with guns pointed to his head and a gigantic hole in his chest. (spoiler alert) When he escapes the underground compound, he shoots people and blood flies everywhere.  In Transformers and its subsequent movies, giant CGI robots kick eachother's asses.  In other words, NOT REAL.  Same with video games.  The kids watch us play games where we blow up aliens, robots, dragons, giant spiders (aaaaaaaccckkkk!), worms, zombies, etc. but they are forbidden to watch, play, or even look at the realistic war games like Call of Duty, Black Ops, Killzone, etc. that depict humans killing humans in actual historical REAL events.

So I guess we're "weird" like that.

Anyhow, back to this S.T.R.I.V.E. program.  While I have yet to get a list of the "points" they strive each child to attain, I do know that some are Co-Operation, Self-Respect, Independence, and Community.  Ok, ok, I can live with that.  But what the hell is Patriotism and Justice?  I already have "issues" with my son being indoctrinated into kowtowing to the American Flag every morning (or any flag, mind you) but now it's a requirement in being an "ethical" person?  And Justice?  What the hell is that at 5 years old?  Is he interning with Nancy Grace or learning shapes?

And not to continue my rant, but everytime I hear the words "moral values" in the same sentence, I get the feeling that I'm going to find a right-wing conservative on the other side preaching from the pulpit about "morals and values" that don't jive with mine.  I'm sorry, but it's mine and Randy's responsibility to instill morals and values and ethics into our kids, not some weird school program that is giving me the creeps.  And who or where are these "moral values" coming from?  Who runs S.T.R.I.V.E.?  What if it's a spider-lover who thinks everyone should keep spiders as pets and kiss them?  What if it's someone who has posters of Sarah Palin all over their house and has a "I *heart* Sarah" tattoo on their left butt cheek?  In the same respect what if its this crazy person with a clown fetish who wants everyone to worship clowns?  See what I mean?  WHOSE "morals and values" are they planning to instill on my kiddo?  They should only be mine and my husband's.

I don't want to jump to any conclusions or be "that parent" that is always asking questions, but I would really like to know more about what this S.T.R.I.V.E. is.  Website searches have turned up nothing and I really don't want it to end up the way it did when I joined the Publix Toddler Club and then discovered it was run by uber-Christian parenting group "MOPS" and dropped my membership like a bad habit.  I guess I will have to wait and see.......or drill the principal for more information.

Thoughts?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Year Ten


Scattered thoughts on the tenth anniversary:

  • How can people say "god bless America" today?  I asked a believer how they can rationalize that statement and they told me that "he" works in mysterious ways. Somehow, and as much as I try to be respectful, I have to, deep down inside, call bullshit on that.  How can one justify such atrocities by labeling it with the benign "mysterious ways" excuse.  "Mysterious ways", at least to me, involve a man in a black cape pulling a rabbit out of a hat, or making a woman disappear in a "magic" box, not the complete annihilation of 3000 innocent people, some of them meeting their end in the most horrific and prolonged ways imaginable.
  • And why is god blessing us today?  Why not wonder where the fuck he was in 2001 on this day.  Was he out to lunch?  Was he having a business meeting with Lucifer?  Was he simply hedging his bets on Al Qaeda and radical Islam?  After all, Mohammed Atta and company committed these acts FOR GOD.  The same god Christians worship, the same god Jews worship, the same god not-crazy Muslims pray to five times a day.  Sure, he's Allah in the Qu'ran, but guess what?  Same god. So how can people "thank god" or "god bless" anything when he's the very same god that didn't snatch those planes out of the sky on that Tuesday and say, "No, no, children. Play nice."
  • If the acts of 9/11/01 don't make anyone realize that there is no god, then I don't know what else could.  Oh, wait, how about the Holocaust, Dharfur, Somalia, Andre Brevik, Rwanda, Bosnia, Palestine, AIDS, children born with cancer, children dying of starvation, people that shoot up IHOP restaurants for no reason, Michelle Bachmann, amputees (if there is a god, why won't he heal them?), war, famine, stillborn babies (bullshit that "god needed an angel in heaven"), rape, murder, pedophiles (priests, especially), and all those wonderful other things that this supposed benevolent, omniscient, omnipotent being "allows" to happen because of his "mysterious ways".
  • And before you accuse me of being an Atheist because of all the bad things listed above, I will stop you there.  Sure, the horrific things that humans do to eachother are one of the reasons why I cannot logically believe in a god, but the wonders of the Universe and of our planet trump the idiocies of humanity.  How egotistical of us wee humans to think that the sun rises and sets for us.  That it was somehow "created" for our benefit.  We are a speck of a planet, on a speck of an arm of a galaxy that is a speck in the corner of an endless universe of which we are just learning about.  Our visible Universe, as detected by the Hubble telescope, shows millions, if not billions, of other galaxies, with other star systems, and presumably other planets that contain life.  We are here for a minute in the grand spectrum of things and then we are gone.  Yet people perpetuate this Bronze Age notion that we were "created" in a god's image and have this huge purpose.  We don't.  And that's ok. 

  • As I said on my Facebook page, today should be a day where we remember what happened, but focus our energies on making this world a better place for our children.  How do we do that?  Well, for me, it means to stop fundamentalism in all aspects.  The United States is on the verge, if not already, of becoming a theocracy.  We are, in no way, a Christian nation as clearly outlined in both the Constitution and the Treaty of Tripoli, yet zealots and fundamentalists continue to push the notion that we are.  We must insist on a complete separation of church and state in both public lives and government.  The Michelle Bachmans, the Rick Perrys, the Mitt Romneys, the Falwells, the Robertsons, all must be removed from positions of influence. We must focus on teaching our children that EVERYONE is entitled to rights in this country: the right to love, the right to marry, the right to be a parent.  No one should be singled out or condemned simply because an ancient book, written by primitive goat herders says so.   
  • Evolution is Science. Creationism is Myth.  One of them belongs in a Science class, the other in a Theology/World Relgions class. Not doing so is a disservice to the education of our children, or do we want all of them to sound like idiots?

  • Let us not forget that horrific tragedies that befell sacred American soil (cough, cough, cough, sarcasm, cough) ten years ago are par for the course in not-so-lucky countries all over the world.  Children and raped and sold into slavery on a daily basis in certain African countries.  People are hacked to death with machetes for being gay, not following the same religion (oh, look religion and violence again!), going against the status quo, and other stupid reasons.  Buildings are detonated, families are destroyed, sons and daughters are lost every day in other countries and nobody blinks an eye.  Yet, when it comes knocking on our front door step, America all of a sudden, comes together and listens. 
  • Well, America, you should be listening every day, to every person in every country who is victim or witness to their horrors.  We're not better than them, we're not special, and now, we're just like every other war torn country.  We're being taken over by theocrats who want to rule from the pulpit, who believe violence is the only way to conquer "the enemy", who believe "the enemy" is someone who isn't like them, and who wish to marginalize and demonize anyone and anything that threatens their "morality" and "values". 
  • Sorry, but my godless Atheist morals and values never told me to hate gays and lesbians. 
  • In conclusion, if I can get to one, today absolutely sucks.  And I dread the day when I will have to explain to my children why I just burst out crying for no reason on Sept. 11.  Or why the TV stays off or on cartoons all day.  Or why I hide the newspaper.  Or why, in my hope chest, there is a box with pictures in it of two towers.  Were that we were all children and didn't know about the cruelty of man.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nail. Head. Hit It.


With Dante now attending a public charter school, hubby and I were faced with the fact that he was going to have to learn and recite the (stupid) Pledge of Allegiance everyday.  We waffled with the notion of teaching it to him beforehand without the whole "under god" phrase since it was not part of the original pledge and since Dante only knows the word "god" as being a word that we don't yell or use because it may "hurt people's feelings".

Before you start yelling at me that I've taught my son that "god" is a bad word, STFU and hear me out.  We taught him that phrases like "oh my god" should be replaced with "oh my gosh" because for some people the word "god" is important and we don't want to be rude.  We also taught him the difference between, "Look at that amazing painting of Jesus Christ" and "Jesus Christ, that painting just fell on me". Big difference.

Anyway, we waffled with teaching Dante the pledge beforehand without the 1950s Cold War era addendum but decided against it, believing that this would be a form of indoctrination that we, as Atheist parents, are completely against when it comes to religion and the like.  Let him learn and say the Pledge, whatever. It's not going to turn him into an evangelist sidewalk bible thumper.  Hell, I played the "virgin" Mary in a Xmas pageant when I was a kid and I turned out ok.  I also recited the pledge throughout my elementary years and was not scarred from it.  (Incidentally, I now do not say or stand for the pledge because I understand it to be a load of bullshit and I don't "pledge allegiance" to any flag or country. My allegiance is with my family, so stuff it. But, as an adult, that is my choice and my right.)

So the other day, Dante came home from school and with a solemn look on his face he said to me, "Mommy, I learned the Pledge of Unlegion today and I said the "under god" part".  I told him, "That's great! You can say it if you want to and if you don't want to you don't have to. Just do what you want!"  And I asked him to recite it for me:

I Pledge Unlegion to flags of the United States of America
And to restructive of witches stands
One Nation ....(then he whispered) Under God
With Limiting and Just Dance for All.

I clapped and said, "Great Dante! Now do you know what all of that means?"

And he calmly replied, "I have no idea, Mommy".

Exactly.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cry Me Another River

I could sit here and totally lie and say that Nights Three and Four were pieces of cake, but I can't.  I know those of you out there who think I am a cruel mother, abusing her child with this "cry it out" process are smugly patting yourselves on the back, saying "I told you so", but I still think the process works and I am going to continue.  So stuff it. And I mean that lovingly.

Night Three was not too bad. I started putting him down for naps during the day, fully awake, in preparation for what was to come in the evening. He hollered a bit each nap-time, but was asleep within 20 minutes.  I thought that he was getting it, so when night rolled around, Randy, Dante, and I were semi-prepared for it to go smoothly.  Not quite.  Dorian was angry!  Boy was he angry!  He was so angry that I think he developed new sounds just to express how angry he was!  But it didn't last long, fortunately.  Randy only had to go in once for the water/cold cloth/I love you ritual and then it was over. Dorian, was snoring, snuggled in between Elmo and Tigger.  Overnight, he woke up at 1 to nurse and another at 5 (par for the course) and didn't get up for the day until about 7am, all smiles and giggles and "ma ma ma ma ma ma" when he saw me. 

Then.....last night....Night Four.... it all went to caca.

You know when you're sick and have to take antibiotics and the doctor always says, "It's going to get worse before it gets better"?  Well, that was last night. Times ten.  Again, during the day I put Dorian down for naps fully awake.  He would schmickle (i.e. fuss) for about ten minutes and then fall asleep.  All good!  So since it was the fourth night and he had been napping this way as well, I thought....well, we all thought, it was going to be smooth sailing when it came to bedtime.

We were wrong.

It was like we were back on Night One. No, let's say it was akin to negative Night One.  Yet, it wasn't the going to sleep part that was horrible, rather it was the staying asleep that we had a rough time with.  After his usual 20 minutes of fussing, Dorian was out cold.  Randy and I had a pleasant evening watching MasterChef, Dante wasn't disturbed by hollering, and by 10 pm, I was headed to bed (lol, I know, I'm a wild woman).  And then it began.  At 11:40, Dorian awoke. So I nursed him, thinking that he was just up early for his nightly first feeding.  Back in his crib by 12:15 am, I headed back to bed.  No sooner had I fallen asleep, he was up again.  I sent Randy in to take care of him since I wasn't going to nurse again, and since he is extremely attached to me, I try to be invisible during the process so he doesn't get more upset.  He fussed this time for about 10 minutes and we thought we were done for the night.  Nope. 2 am, 2:55 am, 3:30 am, and 4:30 am  he was up.  And all those times Randy laid him down, kissed him and went through the ritual.  I nursed him for the 4:30 waking and was back in bed by 5.  He's still sleeping now, but as I write this I can hear him stirring on the monitor.

Let's see what tonight brings. In the meantime, I'm going to my local Barnes and Noble and picking up this book, ASAP:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cry Me A River

In the spirit of achieving milestones with our children, Randy and I decided this past Saturday night that it was high time to "Ferberize" Dorian.  No, not Febreeze him (although the way the kid fills up a diaper, one would think that a good dose of Febreeze would freshen him up), but rather the "Ferber Method" of sleep training, better known as "cry it out".  Frankly, at 13 months and 22 pounds, it was getting extremely tedious (and heavy) to walk him to sleep every night.  "Walking" involved Randy, pacing up and down the living room, for upwards of two hours getting Dorian to go to sleep.  In the "old days" when he was a little tiny baby, I could nurse him to sleep and that would be the end of it, but now that he's a big boy, he's still nursing, but not conking out from it.  Dante had already weaned himself from the breast by this point, but Dorian is showing no signs of wanting to stop nursing and I'm not going to stop until he's ready (barring of course, that he is 35 years old and walking down the aisle, a la "Little Britain" style). What can I say? Dorian is a boob man.


I know that the C.I.O. method is a "Mommy War" topic, along with circumcision (our boys are snipped), breast vs. formula (I nurse but don't think formula is poison), religious indoctrination (guess which side we're on), spanking (never, no way, no how, nope, nada), and many others that escape me this early in the morning, but it works for us. Dante was C.I.O'd when he was about this age and he is not emotionally damaged or scarred from it.  Incidentally, you can read about our adventures with Dante's Ferber process HERE, HERE, and finally HERE. Gosh, he was so little. *sigh*

Anyway, Saturday night, Dante spent the night at Nonna and Nonno's and Randy and I decided that it was time to sleep train Dorian.  Having done this once before, you would think that I was prepared for the screaming and crying and guilt (and I'm not talking about the baby), but I wasn't, and it was a rough night for me.  Randy had to keep me from running into the room to swoop up Dorian, as any mother's instincts would dictate when hearing her child in distress, but I was strong and brave (and stuffing my face with ice cream......yes we all have our soothers) and I stuck it out.

Night one was horrible to say the least. Dorian literally howled for hours.  And I'm not talking regular "baby howl", no, Dorian was pissed! You could hear the anger in his voice wondering why the hell he wasn't being paraded all over the house.  Randy went in every 15-20 minutes with a cold cloth, wiped his face, gave him some water, told him he loved him, and would walk out.  I was not allowed in there, due to the aforementioned swooping, so I don't know all the details, but considering I was glued to the baby monitor with my ice cream and Kleenex, I have a good idea of the happenings that went down.  Finally, at about three am, Dorian threw in the towel and laid himself to sleep.  In the morning, he woke up giggling and smiling and clapping his hands to our "good morning" song, showing no signs of trauma, emotional scarring, and/or resentment towards his horrible parents for not letting him rule the household.

I was apprehensive about Night Two and ready for the fight.  Dante was home so Randy and I warned him that he was going to hear the baby scream and yell a lot and to not be upset. "Mommy and Daddy", we explained, "are not hurting Dorian. We are just trying to teach him to go to bed by himself like a big boy."  The stage was set, Elmo was prepped in the bed, storytime was over, the boys said "night night" to each other,  Dante was in bed, and I finished nursing. We were all prepared for "Howlfest 2011, round two".

But it didn't happen.  It didn't effing happen!  I put Dorian in his crib, stuck Elmo in his arms, turned on the music soother, kissed him goodnight and walked out of the room. He fussed (not cried) for about 10-15 minutes, maybe less, and then it was silent. Randy and I were shocked.  We peeked in on him and he was out cold, butt up in the air, snoring away.  Seriously, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would not believe it.  Now here's the kicker. This was at 8pm.  He woke up at 1am for a feeding and was back to sleep by 1:15, and just now at 5 for another. He was awake this time after nursing as I put him back in the crib, repeating the steps from bedtime last night.  After walking out of the room, he hollered for about 5 minutes and then.....silence.  I checked in on him, and there he was, fast alseep.

Could it be that he's"getting it"?  Is this a fluke? One can only hope.  It would certainly be awesome.  Let's see what Night Three brings.

TO BE CONTINUED.......






Monday, July 25, 2011

Back in Black



Back in black
I hit the sack
I've been too long I'm glad to be back
Yes, I'm let loose
From the noose
That's kept me hanging about
I've been looking at the sky
'Cause it's gettin' me high
Forget the hearse 'cause I never die
I got nine lives
Cat's eyes
Abusin' every one of them and running wild

CHORUS:
'Cause I'm back
Yes, I'm back
Well, I'm back
Yes, I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
(Well) I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black

Back in the back
Of a Cadillac
Number one with a bullet, I'm a power pack
Yes, I'm in a bang
With a gang
They've got to catch me if they want me to hang
Cause I'm back on the track
And I'm beatin' the flak
Nobody's gonna get me on another rap
Don't look at me now
I'm just makin' my play
Don't try to push your luck, just get out of my way

CHORUS

Well, I'm back, Yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, Yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
Well I'm back in black
Yes I'm back in black

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset





My children celebrated birthdays this week. Dante turned 5 and Dorian turned 1.  If you go back and look at the first couple of blogs I ever posted on Musings from the Crypt, you will see that I was pregnant with Dante and the time and still not technically a mom.  I can honestly say that my children are my entire life and no one who doesn't have children will ever understand what that means.  Not to worry, I'm not one of those crazy people who doesn't think a woman is fulfilled if she doesn't have kids (I know they aren't for everyone), but I have to kvell when I look at my guys.

So here is to my boys.  Happy Birthday to both of them.  May they be surly and ornery teenagers but strong, intelligent, kind, and caring men.

Sunrise, Sunset

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Death visits the Atheist

   Last Friday, my husband Randy's father died. It wasn't sudden, but it also wasn't entirely expected, seeing as the doctor had given a "6 months" prognosis of the cancer that was devastating his body.  It is always sad and difficult when someone dies, but I think that most people don't realize how much more sad and difficult this process is when you are an Atheist.  While his overly religious family members have their beliefs that "paw paw" is now strumming guitars in heaven with Jesus and all the other family members who have "gone home" in the past, my husband is faced with the reality that his father is dead and whose ashes now inhabit a lovely urn.  There are no cherubs singing psalms, he's not halo'ed and wing'ed, and he's not swapping stories with his Confederate (yes, Confederate) ancestors about the fact that a Black president was elected in the year 2008. Randy, Sr. has passed from this mortal coil, and in the words of the truly immortal Carl Sagan, he has become "star stuff" once again and is gone.  His "eternal life" is now memorialized on Facebook, as hundreds of people have stopped by my husband's page and left "prayers" for him and reassured him that they will "meet again in heaven".

To which my husband (and I)says, "Bullshit".

So where is the comfort for the nonbeliever?  Well, it's within ourselves and with eachother.  At least I think so.  But I think that the comfort should also lie in being respected by those around you.  People know we are an Atheist family, yet continue to mention God and Jesus and heaven as though those would be soothing things for my husband to hear.  They're not.  You may as well be saying, "So sorry for your loss Randy, know that your dad is in Lilliput with Mother Goose and Santa now".  Where is the respect for HIS belief?  At the funeral and following reception (is that what it is called?) Randy was subjected to the Southern Baptist style of death: songs, Jesus, God, preacher, more songs, more Jesus, more God, more preacher, wife wailing over the coffin, coffin, more Jesus, God, God, God, God, heaven, Jesus, amen.  Did he snicker?  Did he snort or roll his eyes or guffaw at the ridiculousness of it all?  Did he scream, "This is CRAP!" in the middle of the sermon? Of course not, because he is respectful of the beliefs of his family.  He would never think to impose his ideas about what was going on to people who didn't believe like he did.

Yet, the reverse isn't true if you are an Atheist.  People refuse to respect and/or understand the notion that God and Jesus are irrelevant to you. We received a sympathy card that was, in essence, a call to Jesus.  It's content was less about how sorry the sender was for Randy's loss, but rather how it's time now for us to rely on God to protect us and turn to "him" for comfort and on and on and on and on. It's almost offensive.  No wait, it is offensive.  This person knows we are Atheists. Knows full well that we don't believe in any God.  Why not some encouraging words that don't involve religion?  Why not just say, "I'm so sorry for your loss, Randy.  I hope you find comfort in your family and know that we are thinking of you".  No, instead we get a whole condemnation of how something is inherently wrong with us and we need to find God in order to fix it.  "Only God can heal you now" or some shit like that.  It's disrespectful, plain and simple.  Would I send a Jesus card to a Jewish person?  Would I send a card with a picture of Mohammed on it to a Muslim?  Would I send an Atheist card to a Christian? (<----I've considered sending a thank you note to the sender in this fashion, but that would be childish. Funny, but childish. You know, "Thanks for the sympathy card. There is no god you sad deluded old person, now grow up". Or something like that).

The point is, that we as Atheists (and I suspect many non-Christians as well) have been forced to be respectful of theists even when that respect is not returned.  We're forced into submitting to their ritual of grief and grieving, death and dying, yet no one has offered to listen to another voice.  Everytime Randy tried to talk to one of his relatives about his dad's death, he was drowned in religious mumbo jumbo which neither soothed or comforted him. And while we both know that these words given were not meant to be malicious or offensive, but rather as a reassurance, it has to be said that if you don't believe in this stuff, those words mean nothing. They may make the speaker feel better, but if the person on the receiving end is an Atheist, you may as well be talking to a wall.  Your intent will be noted, but your words will offer no comfort or solace.

So now, Randy is healing and me and the kids are doing our best to help him; without fairy tales or promises of floating up in the sky or imaginary sky fairies playing guitars, but with love and support and the reality that life, though finite, is worth every single second.

"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides." -Carl Sagan, 1996

Friday, June 10, 2011

Come Together for a Good Cause

Recently, a friend and fellow atheist parent, Mark Andriesse, was diagnosed with Leukemia. As a core member of Florida Atheist and Secular Humanist (FLASH) Parents, Mark and his wife Angela, along with their two girls, have been a driving force behind the group's success. This is Angela's statement regarding Mark and his health:

I don't know if you have all heard but Mark, my husband, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) last month. I will not write too many details because I have to go to work soon and I need to keep myself together. Suffice it to say--he will hopefully be starting chemotherapy within the next few days and will be in the hospital for the next four weeks. The kids will be going to NY on June 23rd and not returning from August 1st. I will stay here to take care of Mark. I don't think they will let anyone but family visit him in the hospital--he will mostly liking receiving treatments at Coral Springs Medical center. We are all very shocked by this news and I am struggling but have Mark and the girls to take care of. At least it's summer vacation so we can use all our time and energy getting Mark into remission.

As a parent of two children myself, as a wife, and as a daughter of a cancer survivor, I could not simply just leave my "facebook words of support" and be done with it. Mark and his family are in for a long, tough road ahead and I think we all should chip in and help. I am appealing to the Atheist community, especially, since we are always accused of being "sinful" and "immoral" without "god" in our lives, but I am also appealing to all the human beings out there who know that we are one human family and that by helping eachother, even if that other person is a stranger, we are, in essence, making this world a better place for ourselves and for our children especially.

So please, please help:




To learn more about FLASH and FLASH parents, please click HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remember When? Hardcore Edition



I've become a party, unwillingly and unwittingly mind you, to a very odd trend.  It's the "remember when" trend that pops up when you friend old boyfriends and/or flings on Facebook or other social media sites.  While I think that it's fun and cute to reminisce with my fourth grade bf about how we kissed and roller skated to Wham!'s "Careless Whisper" back in 1984, I was not aware that this game of "remember when" would turn into some weird cyber porn fantasy for those ex-boyfriends and/or flings that wanted to get dirty talk for free.

Now mind you, I'm no prude.  As stated above, I have mentioned plural forms both of the terms ex-boyfriend and fling, which means that there are at least more than two other people I have slept with other than my current husband.  I can assure you that the number is less than 100.  Probably closer to 98.  Maybe 98.5 if I count the dude that didn't get off.  KIDDING!  Not really.  No Kidding.  My mother is probably reading this so, yes I am kidding. No I am not. WHATEVER!

Regardless, I am married with children now. I am pushing 37, overweight, overtired, underpaid, and overstressed. I'm not the cute little freaky goth girl these guys still think of me as.  I'm not that girl anymore.  I mean, I am, but now I'm the fat, old, and motherly version of her.   

My first inappropriate "remember when" came a little over a year ago when a dude that I knew from high school decided to ask me if I still had "nice tits".  Ok, mind you, I was a nerd in high school.  Nobody liked me except other nerds.  I was not allowed to date therefore I have no idea how this kid could remember my boobs.  Ok, I had big boobs, but when you are not popular and have big boobs, you get made fun of, not asked out.  Anyhow, this d-bag would send me private messages asking me about my boobs.  At first I told him off politely, "Dude, you're pushing 40 and single.  Get out your credit cards and go to boobs.com if you're desperate for bodacious ta-tas".  Then he started publicly commenting on pictures of me and my son asking me to "move dat camera down so I can see the titties", to which I promptly unfriended him and blocked him.    

Another "remember when" came a few months later on when I reconnected with a fling.  This guy had a pregnant wife and he began messaging me almost immediately after I hit the "Accept" button on his request.  Silly me that I would think people grow up.  His messages consisted of a play-by-play of his memories of "that night".  Seriously.  "That night" was SIXTEEN YEARS ago.  I was barely twenty years old.  I can't even remember what I had for dinner ten minutes ago and this dude expected me to reminisce on what position we "did it" in sixteen years ago?  Really?  REALLY?  Oh, and by the way, I wonder if his pregnant wife knew he was talking to another woman like this.  Needless to say, *poof* went the "unfriend" button on that one as well.

Look, maybe I was this amazing little sex kitten when I was in my twenties. I will freely admit that I had some awesome times with some awesome people and I regret NONE of it.  I had some of the greatest friends, crazy times, and memories that I will cherish for a long time, but I'm not interested in rehashing every drunken sexcapade or every dirty tryst or each and every wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am with you.  The fact of the matter is, I kinda love my husband.  I think it would be extremely disrespectful to him if I were to have sex chats with old boyfriends/flings.  I think it would be extremely disrespectful to myself.  I am so much more than a screw, sixteen years ago. And most of all, I think it would be extremely disrespectful to the wife/girlfriend of the other party.  As a woman, how could I disrespect a sister like that?

Let me stress, though, that not all of my ex-boyfriends/flings that I am friends with on certain social networking sites are like this.  One of the guys, who I will always have love in my heart for (and yes, my husband knows that and knows why), is a husband and father of two children, and he and I have great conversations about where we are in life now, our families, and such.  It is possible to actually speak to an ex without having to ask them about their genitals and how they are using them since you last saw them.

Seriously, and I mean this with love and respect, to those of you who I have not "unfriended" yet, but may if you continue.  Stop it.  We had fun. It was a long time ago and now we have other fun with the people we are with and who we adore.  At least I do. I will be your friend, your confidant, and even your "person to tell gross things to", but if you want to talk dirty or talk about your sexual fantasies or reminisce how I touched you "there", get out your credit card, and call a phone sex line.  I'm not interested.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April huh?

Apparently I went through the whole month of April without being outraged enough to blog about something. I blame lack of sleep.  I promise to return in full snark soon.

Until then....I leave you with this:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy 'A' Week 2011

In the spirit of this year's 'A' week, I opened up a dialogue on a mom's forum I belong to.  Despite a few posters here and there, it is going pretty well.

Here is the link:   Celebrate 'A' Week and Learn Something New!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Too Late To Apologize


Dear Stranger,

        I apologize for being so abrupt with you this morning. You see, I was not prepared for you to come up to my open car door, in my driveway, at eight in the morning, as I am bucking my children into their car seats, demanding that I take you to the train station.  I guess I should have assumed that because I politely said, "good morning" to you as you strolled down the sidewalk, that that was a clear indication that we were now best friends and I would drive you places.
       I apologize, also, for saying "no", to you......three times before you got the picture and decided to walk away. Instead of treating you with respect and like a human being, despite the fact that you were on my property, invading my space, and making this mama bear a teensy bit uncomfortable around her children, I should have just screamed "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME OR I CALL THE COPS", instead of my simple, "no", three times.
      I also feel the need to apologize because you are black.  According to your screaming rant as I drove away, your blackness is the reason that this "cracker bitch" did not give you a ride.  Absolutely.  Because had you been a white stranger, randomly walking down the street at eight in the morning who walked up to my car, on my property, with my small children strapped in their seats, demanding I take you to the train station, I, of course, would have said, "Sure, jump in! As long as you aren't black, its fine with me!"
     And finally, I must apologize that we live in a society where I have to be wary of strangers, white or black, who ask me for rides. I apologize because I would have had no problem giving you a ride if we lived in a different world. Where good samaritans aren't harmed by evil people, where women don't have to feel like targets, and where our children never get abducted or abused or hurt. I would like to live in that world and give you a ride to the train station.
      So, Mr. Stranger, please accept my apologies and be thankful that it was a prefect day for a morning walk.

Sincerely,
The Cracker Bitch

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shaved Beaver

I know, I know, don't cry. But Justin Bieber went from looking like this:



to this:


Nevermind that the UK's Daily Telegraph reports that The Beebs donated his locks to charity, the BIG STORY here is that Justin lost 80,000 fans because of it.

Really.

I'm not kidding.

Anyone else think he looks like Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry"?

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Bad Man and His Flag

I am the organizer of a very successful book club here in South Florida. We have been going strong for almost three years and have an incredible group of members. For next month, we are reading the graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman. It is the story of the author's father in Poland before, during, and after World War II. If you're not an idiot, obviously you know that this book is about the Holocaust and even though it is in a "comic book" format, the horror and sadness witnesses by the father are as vivid as if they were photographs.

I have the book on my bedside table and this morning Dante saw it.

"What's this book about Mommy?" he asked me. To him, it seemed like one of his books; cartoon character mice on the cover (Spiegelman depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as cats) with a Hitler-esque cat silhouette emblazoned by the backdrop of a swastika. I didn't realize how difficult a question he had just asked me. I tried to brush it off with, "Oh that's just a grown up book", but I've got a smart kiddo and he noticed that the mice "looked scared" and the "daddy mouse" was holding a gun. Brushing it off wasn't working with him so I knew I had to explain something to him.

Now obviously, I was not going to sit my 4.5 year old in front of the History Channel's "The Holocaust" or look up images on the internet of Auschwitz and the like, but I knew that I had to explain to him why the mouse had a gun and why they were scared. So I did the best I could and came up with this:

"Dante, a long time ago there was a very bad man who had a flag with that symbol on it. And this very bad man had a lot of other bad guys who would do what he told them to do. The bad man did not like people who were different than he was. He thought he was better than them. So he told all of his bad guy friends to hurt the people he didn't like and he would scare them by waving his flag with the symbol on it. When people saw that flag or the bad man and his friends, they were very scared because they knew they were either going to be hurt or die. But not everyone who saw the bad man and his flag died, so after the bad man was defeated by good guys, they decided to tell their story so that people would remember the bad man and his flag and would never let it happen again. This is the story of one good guy who escaped from the bad man and when you are a grown up, I will let you read it."

Whew! He seemed to have been appeased by that but it really made me sad. It made me sad to know that this innocence to the horrors of world and of man's inhumanity to man will be lost one day. It made me sad that one day, the story of the bad man and his flag will evolve into gruesome images of bodies, millions of bodies, among them children and mothers. It made me sad that as benign as the phrase, "the bad man and his flag" sounds, the reality is so devastating that it will change a person forever.

Would that I could never let my kids know about these things.

I wish, but that's not fair.

So for now, Dante is as protected as he can be from the story of the bad man and his flag, but my heart breaks for those people who weren't protected so long ago, and for the innocence my children will lose when learning about them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear Justin Bieber: Shut Up.

Apparently, "the Beebs" has alot to say about abortion, sex, health care and other things grown ups talk about when it is past his bedtime. Here are some of my favorite quotes.

"I really don't believe in abortion," he says. "It's like killing a baby?"

- notice that he ended that phrase with a question. No Justin, it's not 'like killing a baby'. It's terminating a fetus. 'Killing a baby' is what would happen if someone were to shoot you in the face.

When asked how he feels about the procedure when it comes to victims of rape, Bieber responded, "Um. Well, I think that's really sad, but everything happens for a reason.

-everything happens for a reason. Really. Rape is somehow in "god's plan"? So I guess that if one night, a group of lunatics decide to ambush you, rape and sodomize you, that you would just shrug your shoulders and say, "Oh well! Everything happens for a reason!".

Fuckwit.

I reiterate.

Dear Justin Beiber,

Shut Up.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard......



....well not all the boys. Just one in particular.















I love to nurse. I really do. Sure it puts a toll on your boobs and you end up tripping over your nipples, and they get sore and engorged and you sometimes feel like Bessie the Milking Cow, but 99.9999999% of the rest of the time you feel like Mother Earth and suddenly have urges to go buy a pair of Birkenstocks, shop at Whole Foods, and invest in the Joan Baez collection. Ok, maybe not that extreme for me, but I did, for a moment, consider the notion that Patchouli didn't smell "like death and dirty hippie" so much.

Thankfully, I came to my senses, but I still felt like an empowered woman, feeding my young with the incredible power millions of years of evolution have given me.

I find it so strange that people find breastfeeding "offensive" and want women to cover themselves in a Burka or run to the nearest dirty bathroom to do it. The LAST thing breastfeeding is, is a sexual act. Seriously, from the moment my children were born, my boobs went from being "Sexy Fun Bags You Can Play With" to "Don't Touch Them, These Are Food For the Baby". There is nothing sexual about them right now. I can't even imagine my husband touching them in that way. It makes my skin crawl to think about it. No, they are outlets for my child to eat right now. Get away from them with your man-hands and dirty thoughts!

Breastfeeding is so not sexual that I have no problem nursing wherever, whenever, and in front of whoever I am around. Both my dad and my brother (the poor guy) have been witness to me whipping one out and feeding my child. Did they care? Maybe my brother did for a second, but that's because he is young and has a new fiancee and they don't have any kids, but he soon got over it. Why? Because I'm feeding another human being. Not running around in pasties (which would be dragging on the floor) going "Look at my tits!"

People often say that women who nurse should cover up because of "modesty" and "respect" for the people around them. I say, why? Now mind you, I'm not taking my whole breast out, letting it flop around for a bit while I position the baby onto it. I have a very slick way of 1-2-3 getting nipple, baby, and latching done without anyone being the wiser. I don't use a blanket, I don't run to the nearest bathroom, and I don't cower in a corner. You probably wouldn't even realize I was nursing unless you came and shoved your face in my boobs (which would garner you a punch in the mouth). And even if I did "show" my breast before I nursed my child, is it really a terrible thing?


Men walk around with their boobs hanging out all the time.






















And this is "offensive"?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rants, Raves, and The Gays

Apologies in advance if some of the things I discuss in today's blog are a little out of date, but it is virtually impossible to sit down and blog with a very demanding and attached six-month old and and equally demanding four-and-a-half year old. As I write this, the baby which was soundly sleeping is now awake and gurgling in the next room, so on top of the previous apologies, I must add another if my blog seems rushed or disjointed.

Ok so, I have written notes with some talking points on them which may make it seem scattered, so sue me.

First things first, it's obvious that the big story in the news has been the shooting in Tucson. Of course, you have seen the previous posts by the Conservatard referencing my comments on the tragedy on another website. Now while I generally agree that the crazed maniac who committed this act is indeed a crazed maniac, I have to think that the rhetoric by such geniuses of the political world did not help the situation. I find it highly coincidental and suspect that the main target of the attack was a politician who had been "targeted" and singled out by this rhetoric. If Jared Loughner was simply crazed maniac in general then he could have gone and shot anyone, anytime, anywhere. The fact that he carefully planned and chose his intended victim, makes me believe that on top of the whole crazed maniac, he was a crazed maniac with a plan. But this is old news and I've already screamed about it, and been screamed at about it, and all this screaming isn't going to bring back the people who died or the fact that it's still very easy for your everyday psycho to get a gun and shoot up a supermarket in this country.

Yes, the world is a shitty place sometimes and horrible things happen to good people, and sometimes birds fall out of the sky for no apparent reason but the brains behind Generals International, namely Cindy Jacobs, knows the reason why and wants to tell us all: It's The Gays. The Gays are the reason why birds are falling from the sky in Arkansas. It's all The Gays fault with their "gayness" and wanting be treated equally and get married and have children and fight in the military and have their Barbra Streisand and their Project Runway and their Village People! IT'S TEH GAYZ!!!!!



You know, if there was anyone more deserving of a slap in the face with a high school science textbook, it would be this woman. I mean, seriously, how do these people get up in the morning and function? They're idiots. Yes, you're right Cindy! "God" is making birds fall out of the sky because a vast portion of society believes they are deserving of the same human rights that everyone else has! Absolutely. Makes perfect sense. This "god", who is notorious for sending rains that drown all of Earth's population (except for an incestuous man and his family and a handful of non-gay animals), is going to make a bunch of birds die. In one state. In one county. Because of "teh gayz". This "god" who supposedly sent a devastating earthquake to Haiti because they "made a deal with the devil" some two hundred years ago. This "god" who turns his head when young girls and children as young as 18 months old are being gang raped in violent African countries. This "god" who rained fire and brimstione on Sodom and Gomorrah. No. He kills birdies. He kills little bitty birdies to get his point across. Really? Really??????? My eyes just fell out my head they are rolling so hard.

And FYI, the birds "fell out of the sky" because they were stupid. They were killed by blunt force trauma to the head and breast when they became spooked by fireworks and flew into buildings. It had nothing to do with a supernatural entity being upset over "teh gayz".

Next. Anyone catch Ricky Gervais' sign off at the Golden Globes?



I love Ricky and I love how most people don't understand that statement. The religious will be quick to jump on the phrase as Gervais' admittance that he does indeed believe in god and therefore is thanking him, while in fact, the statement itself is riddled with irony. Something lost on the hardcore holy rollers I've noticed. The statement itself implies that the more one studies about the concept, teachings, books, history, etc. about "god" (whichever one you choose), the inevitable conclusion you will reach is that there isn't one/aren't any. In essence, the more you know about god, the less you are likely to believe in one.

Next. I want to hang out with Olivia from Jerseylicious.

Next. It is 2011 and I will be 37 years old in June. I am extremely excited that for one year of my existence on this pale blue dot, I will be able to accurately quote Monty Python and have it be relevant.



Now all I have to do is change my name to "Dennis" and I'll be all set.

Finally (for now, at least), the inevitable "Baby and Big Brother Update" that no one really cares about except me and my immediate family, and possibly some "baby and big brother" fetishist out there in the interwebz.

All is well here. Baby Dorian is six months old, babbling away like he's trying to recite Shakespeare, completely attached to me (I can't leave the room to go to the bathroom without him screaming), and in complete awe of his big brother. Big Brother Dante is loving his Montessori school, obsessed with Transformers (namely Bumblebee and Optimus Prime), ornery, stubborn, and smarter than he should be, and completely in awe of his little brother.



Life is good. I blame it on The Gays.