Sunday, July 31, 2016

Meanwhile, as we're all patting ourselves on the back for being civilized...

Donald Trump is an asshole. We all know that. But this post isn't about Donald Trump. It's about hypocrisy and bigotry on the left.

I have an acquaintance on Facebook who is clearly anti-Trump (as am I). Yesterday, he posted an article about how Mike Pence says there's no place for name-calling in public life. My friend's caption: "Ironic quote of the day." Absolutely!

But less than two hours earlier, my friend had posted this gem:

 Nice, huh? In my friend's version, though, the woman's face wasn't blurred out. Can you say "public shaming"?

And the comments were just lovely, too. Here are two of my favorites:

I didn't think being obese was something you were born to be. Its [sic] a choice to be a pig when it comes to food.

As of this writing, the post has been shared 28 times.

Think I'm missing the point?  Please. The pro-LGBT text is just a pretense to rationalize publishing the photo.

Now, I know I'm not objective, because I've got an eating disorder. I went to treatment and learned how not to binge, but as of this writing, I'm a very round, very, very uncomfortable 233 pounds with a treadmill arriving on Monday. And the reason I've got a treadmill coming is because I'm embarrassed to exercise in public. I know I shouldn't care what people think, but postings like this are hard to tune out.

So yeah, I took it personally. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Donald Trump is cruel, no question. But so are the people who created, posted, and shared this piece of shit.

And honey, cruelty isn't any more acceptable just because it comes from the left.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Not everything in Santa Fe is beautiful.

Santa Fe has a past. It's a past of diversity and beauty and magic. But it's also a past of colonialism and racism. Of course, I knew that when I came here. I even knew that there was a Civil War battle nearby in Glorieta.

But here's something I didn't know: Santa Fe was the site of a Japanese internment camp from 1942 to 1946, where 4,555 men were imprisoned without due process.

Today -- two days after Veterans Day -- I visited the monument at the site, dedicated in 2002. If most of us have forgotten about this despicable piece of history, it was clear from the flowers and origami cranes left behind that the memory is still fresh for some.

I write this in the hours following the infuriating, devastating attacks in Paris. So far, it looks like it was the work of ISIS or Al Qaeda.

Fear, anger, and the desire for revenge are natural. I'm feeling all of those things right now. But I hope that, as a nation, we don't allow those feelings to translate to policy.

The plaque at the Santa Fe camp ends with the following sentence:


Here are some of the photos I took today.

Tonight, I pray for peace, wisdom, and restraint.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lazy-Ass Librarian Tuesday: Moms Try To Guess If It’s A Dog Toy Or Sex Toy

Now I'm mad.

Someone poisoned my dog Forrest. He will probably recover, thanks to good veterinary care, a cool grand in diagnostics, and a near future of frequent blood tests and medication.

The vet said it had to be a large dose to do so much damage, so it didn't just casually blow into my patio. Somebody had to put it there. I live in a gated condo community, so whoever did this apparently belongs here. How comforting.

These are mostly rentals, and we're in the hood. So it's not terribly surprising that various annoying things have landed in my little portal since I moved in. I found the bits of trash, the tail end of a joint, and a couple of weeks ago, a very gross, very used condom. I found those.

Forrest found the rat poison.

Now, I don't know if whoever threw this shit over the fence meant to hurt Forrest in particular. And frankly, I don't care. Forrest still bled internally and went into shock. He still suffered terribly. And he's still not out of danger.

So whoever did this, I really hate the motherfucker


Friday, October 16, 2015

The Jason Debacle of 1999

Halloween! Ghosts and ghouls. Parties. Costumes!

I'm not good with costumes.

When I was a kid, I dressed up as a weeping willow one year, complete with long, long strings of knotted green crepe paper to represent flowing branches. But instead, people thought I was the Creature from the Black  Lagoon. You would think the bird's nest on top of my head would have been a clue. Philistines.

The next time I wore a Halloween costume was at a gay sober dance in 1999. It was my first dance as a single woman, my first dance as an out lesbian, and, in fact, my first dance. What would I wear? What message did I want to send?

Well, I went as the Crash Test Dummy. It looked exactly like this, only without the steering wheel:

As my friend James said afterwards, "Could you have chosen anything less sexual?" Considering I looked like Jason in a hazmat suit, I'd have to answer in the negative.

I haven't worn a costume since.

So anyway, there's this dance on Halloween. Dances are hard for me, even harder than other social events, but I'm determined to go. Life begins where your comfort zone ends, right?.

There's just one problem: The invitation says to come in disguise. Oy.

Not wanting to repeat the Jason Debacle of 1999, I got on eBay and started looking for a costume. What should I wear? What kind of message do I want to send?

At least I have a starting point this time: It has to be sexier than a crash test dummy. That eliminates Mrs. Potato Head. And Elmo. And probably a weeping willow.

I can't wear anything short, or clingy, or braless, because I'm pretty sure I can't lose 60 pounds by October 31. That disposes of 99.2% of the costumes remaining.

And nothing that just plain annoys me. That eliminates Disney characters and anything with antennae.

So what's left? Well, let's see. I'm down to Pirate Wench, Renaissance Wench, or Oktoberfest Wench.

Except... High heels are out of the question, because I'm a complete klutz. Is it possible for wenchiness to co-exist with flats?  

It's starting to look like I'm going as Librarian with Cleavage and Sensible Shoes.

In a disguise. Somehow.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The abortion thing.

Dyed-in-the-wool, old-school feminists aren't supposed to be ambivalent about abortion. But, you see, I am, so I've never taken a position on this important issue.

Now it's time.

You may as well know, I had an abortion when I was nineteen. My fiancee and I were about to go to college, me on a prestigious scholarship.

We were very much in love. I got birth control, but I wasn't very careful, and that's how it happened. Now I had to make an impossible choice.

And oh, boy, everyone had an opinion. My fiancee pressured me to have an abortion. My dad also insisted on an abortion. My stepfather said just the opposite. Funny how all the strong opinions came from men. Funny how this has only just occurred to me.

There was only one person who asked what I wanted, and that was my mother. She told me she would support whatever decision I made. I'm forever grateful to her for that. It was a breath of fresh air -- one last, deep breath before I suffocated.

In the end I had the abortion because my fiancee wanted me to, and I didn't want to lose him. At the clinic, the women were kind and conscientious. When they asked if I was really sure, I told them I was. How could they know I was lying? I cried before, and I cried after. The next day we moved ourselves to college, lugging boxes up the dormitory stairs.

How I longed for my fiancee to say "Let's have a baby! Let's make a family!" Instead he said, "We have to erase this mistake." I remember calling abortion clinics. Asking my dad for money. Making sure I converted to Judaism before the abortion, because the child follows the mother's religion. It makes no sense now, but it seemed important at the time.

Did it turn out all right? It did, in the long run, but it came at a high price: many years of guilt, grief, and dread that I might never get pregnant again. It wasn't until we finally had our daughter that I could even consider forgiving myself. The fact is, I made the best decision I knew how to make at the time, and finally, after many years, I have no regrets.

Let me be very clear: The lesson here isn't that abortion is wrong. The lesson is that it was wrong for me.

I wanted something good to come out of the darkness. So that first semester, in speech class, I gave a speech about birth control. I described each type, complete with props. I explained the pros and cons of each kind, and how to use them. And I explained why I was giving this speech. Not easy for a shy introvert.

Among my visual aids were condoms I got from the student health center, and I was mortified when they turned out to be hot pink. On the day of my speech, I gulped, tore open a condom in front of the class, and proceeded to demonstrate the proper way to put one on. I went well over my time limit, forfeiting a better grade because, goddamn it, this was really important. Who knows if it helped anybody. I'm not even sure it helped me.

This isn't the story you're supposed to tell if you're pro-choice, but it's the only one I've got.  Inherent in the concept of choice is the freedom to make the wrong one.

I can imagine only one thing that would be worse than the choice I made, and that's being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

I want every young woman to have the right to choose her best path. And so, despite my experience, I am pro-choice.

I am ambivalent about abortion because I believe that a fetus becomes sentient before birth. It's not a person, but it is sentient, and at some point is capable of feeling pain. A fetus may not be person, but it's not just a blob of jelly either. It deserves some level of respect and compassion.

But never, ever more respect and compassion than we give the mother when the time comes for her to make that terrible choice.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Total lunar eclipse, 2015

The moon came back. I knew it would, but seeing that sliver of white on the other side felt both grand and comforting. I started watching at 8pm, shortly before the last light disappeared into the Earth's shadow. I watched for about an hour and a half, until I saw, unmistakably, light bulging from the side, as if it was bursting out of a vessel too small to contain it. By that time, the darkness wasn't a shadow anymore.  There was, clearly, a non-earthly object passing in front of the moon.

An eclipse goes much more slowly than a sunset -- that was a bit of a surprise. I don't think I've ever had the patience to watch an eclipse for so long. But then, I've never had such a good seat for the event.

To be honest, I was ready to go back inside much sooner than I did. But as I watched the moon from behind the coyote fence that surrounds my patio, listening to dishes clinking in a neighbor's sink, I thought about those who watched from this spot 1,200 years ago. It must have been an extraordinary experience. What would they have felt, sitting, watching for hours in silence? Did they know the moon would reappear? Surely some didn't. I felt compelled to wait it out with the Anasazi, to see the thing through, and so I stayed until the moon burst out once again.

Wish I'd taken this.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

On guilt

I wasn't supposed to have the money, but there it was, thanks to my brother. My father was not pleased at my brother's act of sedition, and he made sure I knew it, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it. I bought the cheapest, most reliable, paid-for car I could find, and the money was gone. But before I thanked my brother, he had a stroke. Now he has to re-learn how to speak. I have thanked him, but much is yet unsaid. 

And then there is the apartment. It's on the low end of average, but it's not cheap. With a condo still to sell in Atlanta, it's going to be a squeeze. Still, it's safe and pleasant, and they're willing to take me, my 50-pound dog, and my shitty credit with only a hundred-dollar deposit. There's a cheaper place to rent, but the landlady has already proved to be a liar, and she wants a fortune up front. Just how do you tell the difference between wants and needs?

I'm looking at my hands as I type, dismayed by the fat, aging fingers in front of me. The rest of me is even worse. I can't look, and I can't look away. I wonder if my kid is embarrassed by our photos together. Of course she must be, and I want to hide.

And yet, speaking of embarrassment, this is an embarrassment of riches. A dream job in a city of artists and dreamers. If I had done every single thing in my life right, I would be lucky to be exactly where I am now. But I've gotten much of it so terribly wrong. The guy down the street is working his ass off, making ten bucks an hour and trying to raise two sons. I just bought a new car.

Yet failing to enjoy all of this, well, it just seems like that would be even worse than failing to earn it.

So I get in my car, put her in gear, and turn up the radio. I've named her, and I say her name. I tell myself there's still time to earn these gifts.