Sunday, June 11, 2017

Silence Isn't Golden


            Anniversaries are supposed to be happy times, celebrations of the good things in our lives. And yet, it seems that more and more, they have come to mark the bad. They've become a time to mark violence and remember those that we've lost--not just those we've known personally, but the many innocent who were taken well before their time. Last year we reeled after the devastating news that came out of Orlando, Florida and my introvert husband said it's time to quit being silent allies, and he bought a pride flag that we fly at the end of our driveway. He bought us both a pair of rainbow sunglasses. I wear rainbow anything I can get my hands on. I know they're small gestures, but being vocal is something new for him. (Me, I've always been a bit mouthy-- I used to write letters-to-the-editor about DOMA back in the '80s when that was the closest thing we had to social media.) 
I've become more active on FB with my posts. I've expanded my social media circle with Twitter and Tumblr. I'm simply more open than I used to be. I'm even talking with a friend about joining PFLAG. The local chapter is 45 miles away and the gatherings are in the evening, which is a problem for me since night blindness has hit me hard the last couple of years, but now that I know she's active (and I'll have a ride!), I think it's time.
And I write novels. Nothing published yet, but I'm ever hopeful. I often write stories with same-sex couples, but my stories aren't about them being gay (or bi, or whatever label they fit under) but about the relationship between two people who just happen to be gay. My goal is for people who would normally not read a "gay romance" to pick it up. I have this theory that the more we normalize people of the same-sex being together, the more people will quit being "shocked" by it. 
Looking back, that's what happened with interracial couples. It took awhile, and there are still people with a smirk or squinted eyes, but for the most part, they are the exception. So I write-- for my daughter, for my cousin who died of Aids in 1990 on the other side of the country far away from his family, for my friends who shouldn't have to put up with asshats giving them the side-eye because of who they love. Like my husband says, everyone deserves to have someone to love that loves them back. Who cares what's under their clothes?
I read this article last year, just after the Pulse shooting, that caught my attention with the question "how do we teach tolerance in an age of fear?" I’d been talking with a young co-worker a few days prior and she'd made the comment that the country became more prejudice after President Obama came into office. She blamed him for that. (And yes, before you ask, she comes from a religious, Repub family.) I told her that wasn't true, it was always there. To be honest, the comment gob smacked me and I didn't continue the discussion, because in my shock, I didn't know what to say. 
But  then I read this article, Rich in Color by David Wright, and I think I understand it a little better now. Mr. Wright was writing about color and race, although he did expand that a couple of times to include LGBT persons. For years, we have taught 'tolerance'. But tolerance isn't acceptance. It isn't equality. It's the cover over the bigotry. And thankfully, the cover is slipping. 
David Wright wrote: 
We are most definitely living in an age of fear.
But it’s the other part of the question that strikes me, the notion of “tolerance.” The word is tossed around as this lofty goal to aspire to. Teaching a person to be tolerant of someone different from them is treated like this demanding thing, but it seems like such a low bar. To “tolerate,” according to, is “to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance,” “to endure without repugnance,” “to put up with…”
Really? Is that the best we can–or should–aim for?
Why not seek out this difference–and not just in the name of “political correctness” or as a gesture of politeness (though that’s plenty important, too), but for our own betterment. The more we know others, and know about them, only makes our own lives bigger, richer, more meaningful.
Tolerance. On the outside, it seems like a good thing. We tolerate each other, we live in peace and harmony, all’s right with the world. Except, it doesn’t. I was hearing a year ago, as the Presidential campaigning was in full swing, that it was refreshing to hear someone that was upfront, someone who wasn’t a politician, someone who didn’t hide behind “Politically Correct”. I even heard this from fellow Democrats. (As far as I know, they all realized the error of their ways prior to the election…but that’s another rant for another time.)
But see, I believe that being “PC” is important. I think it’s about empathy, and thinking about how words affect other people. It’s about seeing past ourselves and accepting “Others”, not just tolerating them. I’ve grown up in a small, mostly white, highly religious town where it seems everyone looks for the differences and refuses to find the similarities.
Therefore, it’s my pledge for Pride month to never back down. What I and my husband do are small things, but we both realized last year that we can’t be silent anymore.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Happy Fieldmice Day!

We aren't big on holidays at my house. We do a Thanksgiving meal because food, and we do Christmas because we like it. But really, that's it. We aren't religious, so we don't do any other religion-based observances. We basically skip birthdays and Mother's Day and Father's Day. So, a few years ago, I decided to declare May 21 as my holiday-- a day to reflect and celebrate.

[read more here]

Monday, May 15, 2017

Thank Goodness For YouTube

I have almost no musical ability. I took piano for a few years and played clarinet in band, but I was never good at either one. And I can sing about 3 notes. My brother got all of that. He taught himself guitar, had a rather successful high school garage band, and wins karaoke contests even now.

But I was devoted to music. I had a huge cassette collection with the brief-case style carrier that went with me everywhere. I was a champion at recording songs on the radio- it takes patience, like fishing, to catch that sought after song and hit the right combination of buttons at just the precise moment!

And then I listened over and over, trying to figure out the words, writing them down. Life before Goggle! Kids today don't know the hours of frustration fun they're missing!

I still have all those tapes, scattered in boxes here and there, although I doubt they play. Every now and again, I pull one out and give it a try. There is still that occasional gem--but most just squeal and get tossed in the trash. I hope the shelf-life on CDs is longer!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

After The Rain

Oh, my, did it ever rain. I heard that 11 inches was the average for the area, with more possibly coming during the middle of the week. But in the meantime, everything is very green and the flowers are blooming. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Some Random Shit...

...because I've had a bit of a random week.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Happy April 25th!

Life's been busy and my 'Net surfing has been minimal because of it. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad. I'm behind on the sites I usually like to follow, but I'm missing lots of 45 things that I simply don't want to see! So I guess it's a bit of both!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Week in Tweets and Memes

Running a day late this week because of stuff. And because of stuff, I'm keeping it a bit lighter. 1) Because I'm doing the CampNaNo writer's challenge this month and it's taking way from my internet cruising time, and 2) because I lost a friend and his service was yesterday, which has been hard because I hadn't seen him in a long time, but thought there was time. So, I'm behind (on everything) and in desperate need of lighter fare!

(Okay, yeah, the Pepsi one isn't so light, but I had to sneak at least one in...)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

History Recorded in Tweets and Memes

And this week's "Something to make us feel good".

Saturday, March 25, 2017

History Recorded in Tweets and Memes

There seemed to be a theme this week! I was out of town for part of the week-- gone to visit my niece who has cancer and is starting her treatments Monday-- and it seems appropriate that everything I saw when I got home was about health care. (And my brother is still a Republican. But I love him, regardless.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Difference A Week Can Make

 Last Monday I took a picture of my neighbor's flowers as I walked to work. And this morning they're covered in snow. The sad thing is, our little pigeon left her nest long enough for snow to gather there, and when we looked, we found out the eggs had hatched and the chicks had died. And to make it even sadder, she came back and she's sitting on them again. As soon as she leaves, we're rebuilding the feeder and putting a back on it and turning it into a bird house. Then maybe she'll come back and we'll get a happy ending!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

History Recorded in Tweets and Memes

Because I'm a hippy:

And here's one just for the fun of it!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Killing Me Softly With His Song

I kind of developed a thing for anime and manga a couple of years ago, and I stumbled onto Killing Stalking in mid-February while I was home battling the flu. It's a Korean manwha and I'm completely hooked. It's totally disturbing! It's about a young man who breaks into the home of the man he's obsessed with and has been stalking, only to find he's a serial killer. And he gets caught. Things get bazaar. I know! Right? I like to read the comments fans leave. Some call it a romance (which it definitely is not!) while others talk about the psychology of the piece (which is where my interest lies). The thing is, I'm reading a translation, and I've found that different sites have slightly different takes. I haven't gone back to compare some of the translations, but the one I've been reading has the lyrics to "Killing Me Softly With His Song" throughout the comic. I would love to know if the author really has incorporated that into her story or if it was creative license by the translator.

I would also love to get the song out of my head. I think it's going to be stuck there for awhile!

Welcome Spring!

These are from my yard. In Central Illinois. Today. March 5. But climate change isn't a real thing.