Thursday, October 29, 2015


     I learned from an early age to be respectful of the police, not just because it was their job to help you, but also because things could go sour quickly with some officers if you didn't.  Now most cops are just trying to do their jobs and go home to their families, and in a lot of places, they're short on resources and training.  I think by now, though that it has become painfully obvious, unless you live under a rock, that depending on where you live, what color you are and your socio-economic status, we're not all getting the same level of service in this country.
     My father was a reserve police officer for a couple years when we lived in California.  I remember him being very proud of his uniform and his gun.  When I look back on that time, he was a prime example of someone who should never have been allowed on the police force in any capacity, but maybe the fact that he was a respected member of the military helped.  Although I was too little to know the truth, I'm guessing that the weekend his drinking led him to beat my mother for hours, holding us hostage in Navy housing until she was able to escape to the neighbors and call the police, was what led to him being excused from the police force.  He was out within 48 hours, after military command spoke to mom about the anger management training he would be encouraged to take and the AA meetings he would attend.  He took the training but didn't continue with the AA meetings, neither helped him anyway.
     Mom used to say that a lot of cops, and many men in positions of power, had "little man syndrome."  They needed to make up for some aspect of their lives where they were deficient by exploiting or seeking greater power over others in their professional lives.  I had a soccer coach who was a great example of this, maybe 5'5'' and a complete dick during practice.  And not in a "this tough talk will help you in your sporting life and you will grow as a human" way, but in a "I will make you suffer, because I am a sadistic fuck with all the power who never got to play soccer professionally due to an injury" way.
     We've seen lots of video taped examples recently of police behavior that was certainly not helpful; students being tossed across schoolrooms, knees in the backs of bikini clad teens, unsanctioned choke holds, etc.  I'm not going to debate these.  I don't need to.  I've already said the rules aren't the same for all of us for some cops.  It's wrong, and it should make you angry.  Today, I read this article and became even more furious:

     Seeing that it was from January, I started looking for updated information and found this from September: 

     Protect and serve.  Protect and serve.  11,341 abandoned rape kits is a systemic decision to place the solving of rape cases in Detroit not on hold, but as unnecessary to solve.

          "Worthy said Detroit's kit-testing initiative has identified 2,616 suspects — including 477 serial rapists — and that 21 convictions have been secured. She said 106 cases are actively being   investigated and 1,350 cases are awaiting investigation ... Worthy said DNA in the rape kits            has been linked to suspects in 35 states, plus the District of Columbia."

     Think about the level of trauma for individuals, families, children that spreads out from this kind of decision, spreads out over our entire nation.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


     I read an article several years ago that referenced a study describing what kills men versus women.  It wasn't so much about diseases as life events, specific to heart attacks, suicide and dropping dead. The evidence suggests that it's big dramatic events - job loss, eviction, family tragedy, etc. - that kill men, and it's the steady accumulation of dozens of smaller shitty events - insert your million examples here - that kill women.
     As I am a woman, I have always been quite amused by this because, I don't want to brag here, but I can point to a bajillion smaller shitty events in my life that should have kicked the stool out from under my feet by now.  So I'm thinking that every time something marvelous has happened, the scale resets.
     Case in point, after a rough couple of weeks with my personal cup of crap filling up, one of my co-workers spent hours last night texting me back and forth about how late she was going to be this morning due to a family emergency.  We brainstormed solutions for three hours, until I had to tell her we'd just have to let it go and deal with it in the morning.  There would be emails, a delay, potential repercussions, extra paperwork ... the list goes on.  When I got to work, miracle of miracles, a very occasional teammate unexpectedly showed up to use an office, and we were saved.  No emails to write, no extra paperwork needed - we were still shorthanded and stressed, but what could have been terrible, wasn't.
     During a ten minute break, I figured out how to eat my yogurt with a lollipop since the spoon in my lunchbox went AWOL, another out of the box blessing (literally, since I found the lollipop in the bottom of a box in the break room).  Then finally home to the greatest babies on the planet, and my final blessing of the night:  

     And with this gesture, the scales are much closer to even.  Remember that best friend from high school that I mentioned a while back, the one person (aside from my mother) who was always on my side - these are from her.  I don't have enough time here to tell you how awesome she was and is to this day.  She taught me how to french braid my own hair, crocheted me afghans, wrote endless notes/letters/stories with me, told bawdy jokes with me, bemoaned all the boys that wouldn't look at me twice, drove hours to see me act in college.  She loved me and cared for me, and I hope with all my heart that I was able to give her even a tenth of the joy she brought me.  We lost contact with each other 20 years ago due to distance, life and my issues.  It's not something to be proud of, but thankfully, Scarlet was right and tomorrow is another day and another chance - and another blessing.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


     I have a temper.  Oh, I hide it almost all of the time, and unless you've seen me let my guard down, you'd never know it.  I'd like to believe I got it from my father, but truth be told, after their divorce was finalized and he was thankfully gone from our lives, my mother's ire was quick.  She tended to express herself in biting commentary, which wasn't fun to be involved in, but did teach you how to think fast.  My father's temper can really best be described as explosive rage.  You learned how to hide and make yourself small, so as not to get the brunt of it.
     Throughout my life, I've often been worried that if I let my anger out, I might turn out to be like him.  There have been glimpses to what I could be.  I remember being in the back seat of the car when I was eight or nine when he was driving us somewhere. He was going on and on about how horrible Mom was, how ugly, how stupid, how this, how that.  And we had to sit there and take it, like she did.  His boots were in the back seat at my feet - big, heavy cowboy boots.  I remember looking at those boots and thinking about bashing his skull in.  I realized that a rock would do a better job.  Then I thought that we would drive off the road, and it might hurt Mom since she was in the front, and the moment passed.
     Later in life, when my brother would drive me out of my mind, as little brothers sometimes do, I worried about how I might hurt him if we started smacking each other.  We were entirely too rough with each other when we argued, which I know was related to the violence we were frequently witness to.  I would take my rage and shove it down inside me, because the thought of potentially hurting him made me sick to my stomach.  I've done that for decades, smush it down tighter and tighter.  You know that part in the Avengers movie where they're in a bind and Captain America suggests to Bruce Banner that it might be a good time for him to get angry (thereby turning into the Hulk for the 10 people reading this who don't know the connection).  And Dr. Banner says, "That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry."  It might be dampened as so much in my life is by my mother's death seven years ago, but that may be my secret, too.
     I share this insight with you, to tell you this.  Someone I love with all my heart has recently been betrayed.  I'm so sad and worried about what the next few months will hold for them, the tremendous changes to their life and their routines.  We will help and love and comfort, because that's all we can do.
     Mixed in with my sadness is tremendous anger.  I can feel the heat rising up the sides of my neck and resting in my cheeks.  There's only so much intense cleaning that a person can do to work this rage out to an even keel.  I tell the children that I'm trying to find my creamy nougat zen center, but it's difficult.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


     When I kick around Facebook, I really enjoy reading people's thoughts and articles, clicking/liking on the babies - all the babies, and generally reveling in learning about my peeps.  I liked a picture tonight and was inadvertently entered into a fun little status game for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  My initial thought was "oh boy," I don't usually participate in these things, and if one of my friends "likes" what I say then the cycle will continue and I'll feel skeevy about it.  Then my brain said, well if the whole point is to further awareness, then why don't you keep the spirit of the intent.
     I don't have a history of breast cancer on my side of the family, other kinds of cancers, yes.  The disease is also very raw in my mind, as several family members on my husbands side are struggling currently.  I spoke about one of them recently three posts ago.  On my side of the family, breast cysts are common though, so I was raised with an awareness of the necessity of self exams so cysts could be caught early before something else developed.  You have to be taught to become familiar and comfortable with your body, to not ignore the clues you receive.
     Please share any or all of these sites with the people you love:
(they'll even send you a monthly email reminder, so you won't forget)
(for all the men in your life - The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 2350 new cases of diagnosed breast cancer in men in the US this year, with 440 men dying from it.)