Posted in Howling Sea Lane, Inside Lane

Falling off Bikes and DACA


Thor and I like riding our bikes. Last night, I skidded out on the downward slope of a gravel incline and went over my handlebars into a metal railing and tried to mop up all the rocks with my leg meat. As quickly as I could, I scrambled up and off the bike path, Thor hurrying to catch up and make sure I wasn’t too badly damaged. It was pretty grim.

I ended up looking like someone had taken a cheese grater to my legs, and forearms, and had to take off a sock to staunch the blood flow from the chunk I took out of my palm, but we rode another quarter mile to the water fountains where I could clean up some before heading back home. We were nearly three miles away from the house at that point, and I was not looking forward to the trek. But, what else do you do? No way out but through.

I told the kid, as blood ran down into a puddle in my shoe, making a squish sound as I pedaled, “If you’re going to bike regularly, eventually something like that is going to happen to you. I’m not going to lie. Right this second, I hurt like fuck, but we can’t stop. We have to keep going. And if you ever fall like that and you don’t have your phone, you can’t stop. You have to keep going no matter how bad it hurts. I want you to keep in mind what you saw me do, how I reacted, and I want you to not be afraid of falling or of getting back up.

You can’t just lie in the road because then you run the risk of someone hurting you worse by accident, and them getting hurt–you have to get up and get out of the way, then get home because otherwise, you can be the start of a bad domino effect.”

I told him about a couple of other falls I’d taken, bad enough that I had to walk my bike back home because both the bike and I were too wrecked to ride, trying to really impress that the important thing is making it back home before you break down.

We rode home, and I went into the bathroom and cried because…oh my god. So painful.

broken-bike

Jeff Sessions just announced the rescission of DACA, and for a lot of people, it’s like going over the handlebars of a swiftly moving bicycle. Teeth are coming out on impact with this one. It’s bad. It hurts like fuck. Let’s take a second to acknowledge that hurt, then let’s act. Let’s get out of the road. Let’s take off a sock and cover up the worst cuts. Let’s find a place to clean off. Then, let’s get back on the road and pedal like crazy toward home. Home being the place where children brought to this country, who have grown up in the US for all intents and purposes as much citizens as my own born-here baby, have assurances of continued safety and a path to legal citizenship.

Our next step is to contact our representatives in Congress and demand that they protect our Dreamers. And once we’ve done that, we can go into the bathroom and cry. Then, we’ve got to rinse and repeat until those children and adult-children are safe from being deported to countries they haven’t seen (for some) since infancy.

I just learned a fancy new way to accomplish this and started my love affair with the deliciously subversive sounding Resistbot.

Text the word “Resist” to 50409 and Resistbot will connect with you and help you contact your representatives. I asked my Senators, as a citizen of the United States and a proud Texan to strive to save DACA through congressional action. I asked them not to let our Dreamers down.

If you are reading this and you are a Dreamer, your bike might be too wrecked to get yourself home. Hop on mine. I’ll pedal. You rest until you feel strong enough to fight again. I know a bunch of people with bikes. We’ll work together for you.

 

 

 

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Posted in Howling Sea Lane

The Why Behind the Howl


I’ve done a lot of talking and typing lately that I don’t normally do.  I’ve gotten into internet scraps and blown pretty hard at some people over issues that mean a lot to me.

When it comes to making decisions, I have two filters.  I have my James 3:17 filter and I have my Thor filter.  The Thor filter was born the day my son was, and I looked at him and thought, “I am going to do my best to make this world a better place for you, starting with me.”

My ultimate litmus test is this:  If this were happening to my son, what would I do?  I work from there.

I believe we all want the best for our children.  Our troubles begin when we think the best for our children has to be at the expense of someone else’s child.  Our troubles end when we look at other children and ask ourselves how we can make the world better for all of them.

I want my son to grow up in a world where people work together to see that everyone has enough.  Where, to paraphrase Louis CK, we are all making sure our neighbor’s bowls are full.

I want my son to grow up in a world where you are free to love any consenting adult, who would like to love you back.  I want my son to grow up in a world where you can be any color, or gender, and be the leader of our nation–without people calling you by racial epithets, or genitalia slang.

I want my son to grow up feeling free to worship as he chooses, knowing that if the next guy prays differently, he is no more, or less good, moral, or human than my son.  I want my son to grow up with an open mind, an open heart, and a solid understanding of when to close both of those functions against bigotry, racism, and unkindness.  I want him to stand tall with compassion and empathy, and carry a big stick of intolerance for cruelty.

The world is a scary place, full of anger, and hatred, and abuse.  It is full of people willing to oppress, degrade, and dehumanize others for power and financial gain.  I want my son to stand against that.

So, I have to stand against that, not just agree to disagree with it.

I don’t have any power, or prestige going for me.  All I have is my voice and my ability to type really fast.  But that’s why I post about religion and politics.  I’m trying to stand against a tide, hoping my toehold will make my son’s footprint deeper, so he can raise the next generation to do even better for humanity.  It’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got, and shame on me if I don’t use it.

Posted in Explaining the Strange Behavior, Howling Sea Lane

Gods, gods, and godly. And Joan Collins.


Little reminder that all royalties from December sales of TIARA TROUBLE are going to help out senior citizens through The Senior Source.  Click the link to your left to buy your copy, or send it as a gift.  You can even send the eBook as a gift!  

And now on to my random thoughts:

I rewatched both Thor and Thor 2 last night, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the first one.  The first Thor is a great superhero movie.  It’s lighthearted and comical, with great bursts of dialog and real chemistry between the stars.  The second Thor is pretty terrible, made redeemable only by Loki and Frigga.  I love that scene with Frigga fighting Malekith.  You go, Renee Russo!

Thor hit all the right notes, thanks to Joss Whedon and Kenneth Branagh.  Thor 2?  Outside of the scenes between Hiddleston and Russo, the chemistry was gone among the actors–the sparkle was gone.  Remember when Chris Hemsworth strutted into frame in the big reveal of Thor in the first movie?  He WAS Thor.

Hemsworth was charming and charismatic, and seemed really happy to be there.  He and Natalie Portman were believably enamored of one another–which had everything to do with the dialog.  She was mostly believably scientific and adorkable–again with the dialog.  Anthony Hopkins didn’t seem embarrassed.  Josh Dallas was gorgeous–what happened with him?  And whose idea was it to replace him with Chuck?  Y’all, do not put Chuck in a blond wig.  All the wigs were better in Thor–in Thor 2?  No.  I’ve seen a better wig on The Blacklist.

Thor 2 ruined the Jane Foster character, who was fiery, driven, and wicked smaht in the first movie, and relegated to cowering and running around in the second.  Bah.

Thor was a fantastic romp.  Thor 2 had no heart–or only the small, black one that belongs to Loki.  I’d still watch a 3rd.

Ducks:

I loved Dynasty.  The hair.  The drama.  The shoulder pads.  The slap fights.  The hats.  The turbans.  Were there people on that show other than Joan Collins?  There was definitely Steven Carrington, who was one of network television’s first openly gay main characters.  He was cute.  His Steve Coleman incarnation was cuter–I want Steve Coleman to be a SHIELD agent, btw.

I do not love Duck Dynasty.  While my mother was recuperating at my house, I ended up squinting my way through a Duck Dynasty marathon.  I did not understand the appeal.  It did not compute.  Then my mother said the magic words, “I like them because they are Christians.”

It didn’t matter that they were jaw-droppingly inane, and borderline inappropriate (this from the episode where tw0 grown men were grilling a 14 year old girl about how far she was going to let her first date get with her.)  They were Christians!  The magic bandaid that makes everything better.  Slap a cross on your bumper and you’re good to go!

You know who else were Christians?

David Duke (“We [Whites] desire to live in our own neighborhoods, go to our own schools, work in our own cities and towns, and ultimately live as one extended family in our own nation. We shall end the racial genocide of integration.”) 

George Wallace (“In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth [white people], I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. )

 Cecil Price (“Well, boys, you’ve done a good job [murdering Civil Rights workers.] You’ve struck a blow for the white man. Mississippi can be proud of you. You’ve let those agitating outsiders know where this state stands. Go home now and forget it.”)

Good, southern boys out to protect what the good lord and the good book says is so.  By whatever means necessary.  Looking at color, or religion, or sexual orientation rather than seeing human beings because it is easier to lynch a man than try to understand him.  Good old southern boys, two of whom were elected to public office–just in case you doubt their popularity.

I don’t give a rat’s tail what some hairy hillbilly thinks.  (I care less what a reality TV star thinks–you don’t get to be on a reality TV show because you are well adjusted.  No one is going to watch Bob go to work, work hard, and come home to help his wife do the dishes).  What I care about is that there are human beings on the receiving end of this Heehaw’s flapping beard hole.

If you’re going to hide behind God’s skirts, then I highly suggest you use the language of Jesus when you get brave enough to poke your head out from behind the big guy’s backside.

I highly suggest you take your example from Jesus, not Paul, or Peter, or Moses, or any other imperfect man.  Model your behavior after the Son of God, not the Sons of Thunder.  If you aspire to be a godly man or woman, my recommendation is that you save your judgment for The Church, like Jesus did.  And you offer your love, compassion, kindness, and MEEKNESS to the world.  Like Jesus did.

Jesus wasn’t throwing over the tables and going postal on the temple prostitutes, or losing his temper with the tax collectors.  He saved his ire for those who said they knew better, and still did just as bad, or worse.

If you want to love people, then keep your mouth shut about them and let your lifestyle be the example to follow.  If you want to shun, shame, or hurt people, just keep jacking your jaws.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Counting Blessings, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Friends of Mine, Howling Sea Lane, Inside Lane, Lancient History, Religion, Women

What I Would Tell a Daughter About Selfies


Since I’m getting emails and PMs about the girl side of things, I’ll address the girl side of things here.

So, I used to teach Sunday School for 6th Grade girls.  When I took on the responsibility, I thought I was going to be–I don’t know what I thought I was going to be teaching, but it was NOT sex.  I started reading through the lesson book, and halfway through BLAMMO sex/pregnancy/abortion.  Uh…

I worried about a few things:

  1. I would accidentally warp these children.
  2. I would say something that would make concerned parents take up pitchforks against me.
  3. That the church hadn’t thoroughly vetted my thoughts on sex/pregnancy/abortion before handing their 12 year old girls over to me.
  4. What if one of the girls had been bad-touched, or was already sexually active and I said something that made her feel like a monster?

I worried most about the pitchforks.

At the time, I was single, had never been married, had no children of my own, and  hadn’t been all the way around the block, so-to-speak.  I had been bad-touched and was sensitive to that, and I had ducked down some of the block’s back alleys.  I knew enough to be dangerous.

I knew enough to know that anything I said, could and would affect these girls for a long time, and I didn’t want to hurt any of them, and I didn’t want my words haunting them in regard to choices they might make in the future.  We all do stupid things sooner or later.  I wanted my words to be building blocks for them, not stumbling blocks.

So…I didn’t talk specifically about sex/pregnancy/abortion.  I talked about choices, redemption and the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Because here’s how I feel:  My job as an adult guiding children (or now, as a parent) is to help them learn to navigate rough waters by teaching them to reason, think, and adjust course.  My job isn’t to give them marching orders (as a parent, my job is definitely giving marching orders along with instruction on the how and why.)

So, first I wanted those girls to know that they had autonomy, and they got to choose their futures.  I wanted them to understand that good choices led to better futures, and good choices were things like eating well (I tried to touch on eating disorders because you never know), getting good exercise (because healthy bodies help promote healthy minds), doing your homework and reading for pleasure (because intelligent, educated women have a better chance to make good choices), working toward a goals in small increments (a good test, a good report card, honor roll, head of the class, etc.), and having a hobby or something fun to do, just for the love of it (because well-rounded women have their own interests.)  And, I told them to make good friends because good friends are the best things in life, and good friends will keep you out of trouble.  I have excellent friends, by the way.

Next, I wanted those girls to know that if they slipped up somewhere, it wasn’t the end of the world.  Get a bad grade?  Study harder/ask for help/do better next time.  Hurt someone’s feelings?  Apologize/learn from your mistake/don’t do it again.  Eat a whole cake by yourself?  Oof/see above.

And I told them that when they were focused on proper nutrition, their health, their studies, their hobbies, their goals, and their friendships, everything else would fall into place.  When they were well-rounded people, they would attract the right kinds of attention.  Predators are afraid of self-confident girls.  Losers don’t try to smack around Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton.  No one crosses Wonder Woman–and no one ever tries to butt grab her, no matter how hot her pants are.

Then, I told them that wanting to have sex, or having sex didn’t make you a bad person.  (Pitchforks!)  I told them that purposefully hurting other people was what made a bad person.  I read them the definition of the Proverbs 31 Woman, and asked them, first, if she seemed pretty awesome.  She’s got her own house, runs a staff, dabbles in real estate, has a garden, has a fabulous wardrobe, people respect and like her… Sounds pretty good to me.  I asked them if that was a woman who seemed focused on her looks, her hair, her boyfriend, or her popularity, and I asked them to consider what it would take to have your own home/business/amazing closet.

We talked about the choices you need to make to be a spectacular, independent woman, and we talked about what might set you off course.  I told them that is why they should wait to have sex.  Because they had dreams, and plans, and goals, and wanted houses, and cars, and jobs, and careers, and having a baby before you were ready would mean putting all that on hold, or putting it aside all together.  And, I told them that an STI can really slow you down, or kill you, too.

I wanted them to understand I wasn’t trying to protect their chastity.  I was trying to teach them how to protect their ability to make choices.  Having sex too soon can rob you of your autonomy, and rob you of choices. (Then I quit teaching Sunday School because I was mentally exhausted.  I went and taught Adult Singles, thinking that because I was one, it would be easier.  Ha!)

That’s what I would tell my own daughter, repeatedly.  And when the hormones kicked in and she couldn’t hear me through the throbbing in her loins, there would be that little voice in the back of her head saying, “Guh!  I know Harry Styles is so hot!  But I don’t want to be just his back-up singer.  I want my own band!  And he can fall in love with me because I am so awesome and independent, not just because I’m fawning all over him.”

I know that because that’s what kept me off the tour buses I got invited onto.

I didn’t need AIDs or a baby.

So, when it came down to selfies, I would ask my daughter why she wanted to take them, and if they helped her further her goals/dreams/aspirations.  If they didn’t, I’d ask her what she thought they did do.  We’d talk about it, and if she didn’t come the right conclusions, I’d take away her access to cameras and stuff some cotton in my ears to muffle the wailing.  Because I’d still be the parent and you don’t let a kid drive on the wrong side of the street just because it seems like a good idea to them.

 

 

Posted in A Day in the Life, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Howling Sea Lane, Women

Sarcasm, Slut Shaming, and Teenage Girls


I read a little article this morning and it made me very sad for girls.  You know, it’s hard enough to navigate junior high and high school, navigate puberty, sex, and sexuality among your peers.  It’s even worse when you have grown women sneering at you from the vantage of 30+ years of experience in relationships.  Do you remember 13?  13 was a beast, y’all.

This mother was addressing little girls who post provocative selfies on Facebook, noting that while her little girl notices the background of their frilly bedrooms, her teenaged sons notice that they aren’t wearing bras.  Clearly, I am paraphrasing, but this mother asks these girls to please put themselves away so that her boys (and other boys) don’t get the wrong idea about them–she strongly, and facetiously suggests that the girls want the boys to think about their brains, not their bodies, and tells them that once a boy has seen a girl body, that’s all he’ll ever see*.

The tone is full of sarcasm and shame, and the message is clear: You are responsible for my son’s attitudes toward women**.

Can we agree on something?  Your daughter’s picture of herself in a bra isn’t going to brain damage my son, or turn him into a raging sex maniac***.  If he hasn’t already been brain damaged by walking through the mall with me, your 15-year-old’s selfie isn’t going to break what Adriana Lima and the other VIctoria’s Secret Angels have left untouched.

And let’s agree on something else:  Your daughter isn’t responsible for my son’s thoughts.  Your daughter isn’t responsible for my son’s sexuality.  Your daughter isn’t responsible for how my son thinks about, talks about, or treats women.

I am.

I am, and his father is.

We, his parents, are responsible for teaching him about respect.  We are responsible for teaching him to respect your daughter, whether she’s waving her nalgas in his face, or wearing a burka.  We are responsible for teaching him that no matter how a girl is dressed, posed, or primped, she is a human being, and she is to be treated like a person, not a collection of parts.  We are responsible.  I hold us responsible, not your daughter.

Not the media.

Not Hugh Hefner.

Not Pat Robertson.

Not Anna Wintour.

Not Miley Cyrus.

Not Facebook.

Certainly not the Discovery Channel.

I am responsible for talking to my son about what it means to look at a beautiful girl and see a person, not a chew toy.

I am responsible for talking to my son about how just because something is offered, doesn’t mean he needs to dip his wick into it.

I am responsible for making sure my son understands the difference between mutually respectful sexual relationships, and being a douchebag.

I am responsible for making sure my son knows to treat your daughter with compassion, empathy, and consideration.

I am responsible for making sure my son understands that even when a girl is showing him her breasts, she might be trying to show him her heart–and it is my job to make sure he understands how to know the difference and how to handle it.

I have a lot of work to do because sex and sexuality are complex.  I’ve been married for nearly 10 years, in a committed, monogamous relationship for nearly 12, have been interacting romantically since I was 15-years-old, and I am still figuring it out.  I still don’t know everything.  I’m still surprised by things.  Why would I expect a teenage girl to know what I know?  Why would I scorn a child who is trying to figure it out?  Why would I condescend to someone who not only has to go through puberty, but also has to go through puberty with the internet sitting right there?

More, why would I expect a child to understand all the nuances of provocative behavior?  There is a vast gulf between what it means in the head of a child who is showing you her bra, and a grown woman doing the same thing.  There is a collection of experience, education, and learned understanding that happens when I flash you–a kiddo doesn’t have that.  She might think she knows what it means to titillate, but she can’t possibly begin to know.  She’s just playing house. She’s just modeling behavior she’s been told is appropriate as she walks through the mall.

Why would I try to make her ashamed?

I wouldn’t.

Because I’m too busy raising my son.

When she comes over to my house, I am going to treat your daughter with respect.  If she’s got her bits out on Facebook, I might ask you if you’re aware because that’s what concerned parents and Chris Hansen do.  I’m going to make you aware so that you can protect your daughter from predators, but I’m not going to call out your daughter in front of the world to embarrass her into putting on a one-piece.  I won’t bully your child.

I’m going to make you one more promise, and I want you to hold me to it:  I’m not going to call any of your daughters little tramps or question their morality because I’m going to remember that puberty turns girls into little sex maniacs, too.  Boys aren’t the only ones whose brains go on holiday between 13 and 23.  I might question your parenting if Little Miss shows up at my door in a tube top and hot pants, but I am going to remember back to when I was Little Miss.

Let’s be good to our kids, and to each other’s kids.  And let’s be good to each other.

 

*This attitude irritates the bejeezus out of me.  It suggests that boys are too stupid to separate BOOBIES from anything else.  While there are certainly a bunch of morons who can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s an intellect issue, not a gender issue.  Plenty of women out there who can’t get past that hot chick’s glorious hips to see that she got her job through hard work.

**Meanwhile, after calling out girls for posing in towels, she has posted several pictures of her sons in various states of undress, flexing on the beach.  Because if you post beautiful, half-naked pictures of your toned, tanned, attractive children for public consumption on the world wide web it is okay.  That’s art.  But if you post beautiful, half-naked pictures of yourself on your own private Facebook page, that is not okay.  That’s dirty.  Or, am I misunderstanding?

***Puberty will do that whether, or not he ever sees a nipple.  Trust.