A Little Help for our Friends

I was 15 years old, and a Freshman in High School when Hurricane Hugo covered the state of South Carolina.
In the aftermath, if it weren’t for FEMA I don’t know what we would’ve done.
FEMA has helped whenever there was an emergency in this country.
Hurricanes (despite how long it took for Bush to send FEMA after Katrina), Earthquakes, Tornadoes, the Nor’easter that laid waste to New Jersey…FEMA was there.
NOW, we have a situation in Detroit that even the United Nations has called out as deplorable.
We have a city trying to privatize the water company and they’re shutting off anyone whose bill is past due.
This means no water…NONE, for 40% of Detroit.
That means their most vulnerable: the poor, the elderly, little children…NO WATER.
On the 14th I went to Whitehouse.gov to see if anyone had started a petition to send aid to Detroit…NOPE
So I wrote one up. It requires 150 signatures before it’s even posted on the whitehouse.gov website for others to sign.
I figured I have so many activist friends it wouldn’t be a problem and we’d be at 100,000 long before Aug 13th.
…Three days later we’re up to 16 signatures.
SERIOUSLY?
People are standing for hours holding signs outside SeaWorld but can’t sign their name so little kids in Detroit can have water?
At least the Orcas have water.
There are angry, pissed off people blocking buses filled with refugee children bitching that American children need help…
Okay, here’s a petition to help American children.
Or are you happier to bitch about the problem but not actually DO anything to help?
Maybe some people prefer to sit in a committee talking about social justice…it’s cleaner and less sweaty…and sometimes lunch is provided.
Or just throw money at an issue and feel like they’ve contributed.
Or maybe they just like to show up when the media’s present so they can say “hey look at me!”
I don’t understand.
Here are American children in need.
Looking to the adults to help.
There are activists in Detroit being arrested for blocking the shut off trucks.
The eyes of the world are upon us and we’re too busy looking at our shoes to notice.
Come on people, sign the petition.
Let the people of Detroit know that they’re not forgotten…(I even misspelled a word, feel free to bitch at me about it!)
Let’s get these people water. These kids will grow up someday, and maybe you’ll come across one.
Maybe they’ll ask you what you were doing while they were without water, when protective services was threatening to take them away from their family because their house had no running water.
At least you’ll be able to say you signed a petition to get FEMA there.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/send-fema-detroit/735kG3Jh

Can’t Win ‘Em All…

The way Keylime interprets commercials fascinates me.
Have you seen the “Baby Stuffies” commercial?
I’m guessing their target group is younger kids who want to be cool like high schoolers because it features attractive high school students playing around with the stuffed animals.
(How many of us read Seventeen when we were actually 17? I was around 12)
The first time he saw that commercial he was very upset by it.
“That’s a terrible commercial,” he said. “What about if a nerdy kid sees that and buys one thinking they’ll have lots of friends and be cool? They’ll get picked on. That’s not right.”
Keylime considers himself a nerdy kid- btw, so the fact that he’s able to use how he would feel in that situation and make it about someone else is outstanding.
Also, I’m really proud of the fact that he’s able to see the marketing strategy of the commercial.
…now, if he’d get past the idea that some sneakers will make him run faster/jump higher we’ll be all set.

Hero

I was called a hero again…
Simply for speaking my mind.
It’s not that hard, being a US Citizen to speak my truth though admittedly sometimes my voice shakes.
Sometimes I say too much, sometimes I make people think, sometimes I piss them off.
I was invited twice to speak at a social justice group because I was that person’s “hero”.
Twice I showed up, and twice she “forgot” to write me up into the meeting’s agenda.
The first time I raised my hand to speak.
The second time it was pointed out that I was there and that I was someone who could speak on the topic well.
I never went back to that group after that.
Speaking one’s truth isn’t hard, learning to separate yourself just enough to do what needs to be done, or say what needs to be said in the hopes that it will make another think isn’t all that hard.
The difficulty comes when you’re the only one standing on the corner holding a sign.
No media, just you and the public.
It’s fascinating to me the type of people you meet while doing that.
Sometimes you open people’s eyes, sometimes you see just how much the human heart can harden.
I don’t do what I do to be anyone’s hero.
In fact, it makes me very uncomfortable when people call me that.
I don’t want to be admired, I’d rather be joined.
I’d much rather someone come along and hold a sign with me, or speak their truth with me than tell me I’m their hero.

This Little Light of Mine

You’ll often see on Fundie Christian pages, or posted by Fundie Christians on FB questions about atheism/non belief such as “without God why be good?” and others of that ilk…
What they don’t seem to understand is that that particular question says more about them than any atheist or non-believer.
In essence what they’re saying is “I need to be kept in line by the promise of reward/punishment. If I didn’t have that I’d go nuts and do everything I want to do but don’t.”
Having been brought up Catholic to Fundie to Hypocritical-Christian-in-name-only-but-hey-I’m-forgiven, I feel like I’ve got an interesting perspective on things.
I’ve seen and experienced the inner workings and was taught the lingo.
We were Catholic til I was 8.
My first school was a private Baptist school, then a Catholic one for second and third grade.
When my brother’s leukemia relapsed and my parents joined Amway we became Fundie.
I went to Fundie school where I was taught to look over my shoulder for demons, received Jesus into my heart for the first time (in my life I’ve probably asked him to live there no less than 20 times because I was never confident he was actually there), and began waking up every night in a cold sweat having panic attacks about the impending Armaggedon.
I failed math in 4th grade so I got to spend a second fun-filled year with Mrs. Ball.
I never told my parents about what she taught us, because I knew there was no way they’d be able to save me from the violence of what was going to happen to us poor Christians (this was 1984/85).
As a matter of fact, I stayed with Mrs. Ball and her family a couple times while my brother was in the hospital and my dad was on duty (he was in the Navy)…
and it was there I noticed something strange.
Mrs. Ball would rail against he evils of TV and rock music like the best fire and brimstone preacher at school, and yet at home both her teenage boys listened to rock music.
They watched movies that were rated PG(!), and wore blue jeans!
See the thing is Fundies, and indeed all Christians have a safety net, and it’s one that frankly has annoyed me whole life-even when I WAS a Fundie.
Ask Jesus in your heart, ask God for forgiveness…all done, all better.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve murdered people, it doesn’t matter if you’ve hurt children.
The people you victimized don’t even have to forgive you, if you ask God for forgiveness, you’re forgiven…you don’t have to mean it five minutes after you asked, just so long as you did it at the time.
Then, if you’re a murderer, or you’ve hurt somebody, you can sit there smug as a bug because it doesn’t matter if your victims forgive you.
God did, and you get to go to heaven. If your victim committed suicide because of what you did, they DON’T get to go to heaven.
Now, isn’t that nice?
The thing about being a non-believer and/or atheist is that you don’t have a safety net.
You don’t murder people because-get this…
IT’S WRONG.
Oddly simple concept.
You don’t abuse children for the same reason- IT’S WRONG.
It’s interesting to me that the older I get the easier it is to embrace logic over fear, and the incredible peace that comes from being as non-religious as possible.
I haven’t woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat in years, I don’t fear the wrath of a deity.
I never understood the idea of a God who would allow good, decent people to go to hell simply because they didn’t believe in him.
I know there are many Christians who are also bothered by that concept, but shrug it off and terrorize all their friends and neighbors with the concept of hell so that they won’t be without them in heaven.
When my daughter was a baby we had her baptized in Ex-Asshole’s Grandma’s church (I loved his Grandma), Southern Methodist.
My very Catholic Aunt B called me up verrrrry upset telling me that E MUST be christened in the Catholic church. That if god-forbid something happened and she died as an infant and wasn’t christened that she’d be damned to hell…
Terrified, I did it as soon as I left Asshole.
Can you imagine?
What happened to all the babies who died before their parents had the chance to christen them?
Can you imagine being a parent and living with that kind of guilt?
And yet…when Boo and Keylime came along no one said anything.
And yet…my boys are pretty decent people.
Boo has noticed the hypocritical behavior of the Christians/Believers he’s gone to school with.
The ones who hate and make fun of kids who are different.
But hey, they’re saved right?
They’ll go to heaven.
Meanwhile, he and Keylime will do their best to be  decent people because it’s the RIGHT thing to do.
…and if God would send us to hell for that…
then I promise, he’s no God I’d want to spend eternity with anyways.

Sappy Mom Stuff

Yesterday we went up to Laguna Beach so Boo could attend a five hour ($15) Life Drawing Workshop at the Laguna College of Art and Design.
It’s a pretty nice school, and after we dropped him off we located the dorms, visited the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and went to the beach.
LCAD is his #2 choice for Art School, and has two Disney Animators on staff in their Animation Department.
I think his chances of getting accepted there are actually pretty good.
I’d never been to the beach at Laguna Beach before, and even on a Saturday it wasn’t too crowded, we were right near the tide pools so we got to explore a little.
Saw lots of crabs, minnows and sea anemones.
Met a 74 year old guy from England who was a local, he was looking for sea glass and coins with a stick (he hates the idea of metal detectors)
Super nice guy, and would you believe it(?) 33 years sober.
I love when random things like that happen.
Like water seeks it’s own element.
Had a pretty awesome day all around.
Keylime did some boogie boarding and got to play with sand crabs.
Moose got to point out some places he’d been as an OC kid, and Boo did some really amazing work.
I love when the profs look at his work thinking he’s 17/18, then you tell them he’s 15 and they’re like “oh, wow!”
I always feel a little like there’s something stuck in my throat on the way back home up the 5.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before…
But after this one, I’ve only got two more summers before we’ll be driving home without Boo.
I’m so thrilled and excited for him, and this is what all this work is for…
But at the same time, it gets me a little choked up.
He’s already so “done” with high school, for him it’s just something to get through before life begins…
I admit, I envy him that attitude.
I had it to a small degree, but then got all caught up in the high school drama.
These days it’s so much easier to figure out about college with the help of the internet.
When I was in high school with neither parent having gone to college and no motivation outside of “you’re going to college”, it was easier to see “college” almost as a foreign entity.
As “FOUR MORE YEARS???? Blech!”
To a degree I envy the kids growing up today…
a little motivation and the internet…the world is your oyster.

My Keylime

When Boo was around a year old people started asking Moose and I when we were going to have another baby.
I was 3 when my brother was born, and all I remember was being pissed.
Not only was it a boy (I specifically remember asking for a SISTER), but it was a blonde haired, blue eyed boy-SUPER special in my family of dark-haired, dark-eyed people.
I packed a suitcase and asked my parents to call a taxi so that I could go live with my Aunt Barbera-who had 3 daughters.
…remembering that and looking at Boo I told Moose that we weren’t going to have another baby until Boo specifically asked for a sibling.
Aaaaaaaaaaand, he’d have to be okay with a brother or sister.
When Boo was three he started asking, by four he was no longer gender specific.
Over the next two years I had two miscarriages.
I wasn’t very far along, but it made me sad nonetheless.
Then Moose relapsed and my world turned upside down.
In the midst of everything I lit a candle for positive energy and recited the prayer on it:
“I am a conduit for universal energy, allowing me to do good and righteous things. May this pure and positive force guide my every thought and action.”
…Two weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test.
I’d like to say that everything turned around after that, but it didn’t.
Moose drank and used for three years.
Keylime was two when he finally stopped.
There WERE happy times in the midst of chaos, and finding the prayer again and looking back on the past nine years gives me an understanding of why some things happened the way they did as well as a direction to pursue from here on out.
There have been times when Keylime in the midst of a meltdown has screamed that he wishes he were dead, that he wishes Boo had never asked for a sibling, and why did I have to have him?
My darling boy…who, when he knows I’m stressed out will come up and give me an “unstressed out hug”, or will tell Moose and I “can you guys not fight right now?” (most of the time we’re not fighting just being snippy).
He truly is a pure and positive force, we just need to work on helping him realize how precious and amazing he is.
One day I hope to be worthy of him.
Asperger’s, meltdowns, growling and all…I got exactly what I prayed for.
Happy Ninth Birthday My Precious Boy!

Wise Fool

He can’t tell a joke to save his life…I’ve been known to say “stop sweetheart, Keylime’s the funny one.”
But I gotta say, I don’t know what I did to deserve such an amazing kid.
As a toddler, he never got into too much trouble because some things just never occurred to him to do.
My happiest pregnancy was with Boo, I got nauseous a couple times, but never threw up.
Got gnarly headaches and was fired from my job when I was 5 months along, but it ended up working out.
My job would’ve just paid for daycare anyways, so I got to be a stay-at-home-mom.
He’s dealt with being bullied, being the only non ADHD/ADD (I wondered from time to time…but he eventually calmed down) kid among several friends, dealing with Moose’s relapse from ages 6-10, having his parents almost split up, having a psycho grandma who tried to have him taken away, dealing with an emotionally abused cousin who stayed with us in the midst of Moose’s relapse, being accepted and then rejected by his sister, and gaining an Aspy Brother.
He had a couple emo years around 12-13, but in the end he communicated his problems and we were able to work through them.
He’s about to end his sophomore year of high school.
I had a teacher who would always go on and on about how “sophomore means wise fool”.
But I don’t see any of that in Boo.
He’s typical in that he likes to sleep, he lags on his work occasionally, there’s occasional bouts of low self-esteem, he’ll mouth off and/or antagonize his brother, and he cusses like anything.
But there’s a drive to him, a self-awareness that I wish I had at 15.
Having seen Moose’s relapse there’s no romance to drugs and alcohol for him.
He sees the kids that he remembers from kindergarten drinking and doing drugs and it breaks his heart.
He’s got talent for miles but isn’t conceited about it.
If anything, he needs to be reminded that in his Community College Art classes that he’s 15 years old keeping up with people between the ages of 18-35.
He writes amazing short stories and drawings to go with them.
Any drawing task I set to him he accomplishes.
He takes seriously the advice he’s received from Pixar and Disney Animators that he’s been lucky enough to meet, and the advice from his professors at the CC.
He takes his DeMolay responsibilities seriously, and even though public speaking is his hard for him, he does it to the very best of his ability.
He understands that we don’t always have the money for him to do things or get the latest “what’s it”, and his tastes stay pretty realistic.
I think it helps that he goes to such a small charter school, but he’s said on more than one occasion that “high school is just something to get through”.
He likes the girls much better at the CC but won’t ask any of them out because he’s 15, and the one he particularly likes is 19.
He thinks he’s too young for her.
He’s looking forward to college.
The other day I was going through grad requirements/his schedule for the next two years.
He’s going to be doing everything but art classes here at home, and he’s going to be taking 2 art classes each semester…and that’s just to have the portfolio he needs to get into the school he wants.
I showed it to Moose, and Moose’s face fell.
It hit him that we’ve only got two more years with this brilliant kid before he goes off to college.
He’ll turn 18 right before he starts his Freshman year, and then he’s out of the house.
We’re excited for him, terrified for him, and absolutely amazed by him.
When he was born I considered him my second chance.
I got to be the mom to him that I wanted to be to E.