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Je suis … fatigué

Police-involved killings of black civilians (more to come on that in a later post), an ambush on police officers and now the attack in Nice, France.

This about sums up my feelings on all the hatred and violence going on in the world. #JeSuisSickOfThisShit

#BlackLivesMatter

This morning I woke up to a happy, healthy son. Well, maybe not so happy. He needed a diaper change and little man does NOT like being wet. But, overall, I have a happy, healthy son. Something I am thankful for every single day. 

I worried every day of my pregnancy that he might not be healthy. Not because I was a high risk pregnancy, or because disease runs in our families, but because there is so much that can go astray. So I worried. And now that he is here and healthy, I am grateful. 

The news over the last two days however has me thankful for something else, though. 

I’m thankful that my happy, healthy son is white*.

I’m thankful for that because it means that I don’t have to worry that he will be walking down the street and end up killed because of his skin color.

And as thankful as I am for that, I am angry.

I’m angry that my black friends and their kids don’t have the luxury of white skin. That they must be fearful everyday that they will be killed because their skin is brown or black. 

I’m angry that this is still happening. Again and again and again and again. That in 2016 this has happened 533** times. And it’s only July. 

I’m angry that white people don’t believe that white privelege exists (newsflash: it totally does). I’m angry that white people try to squash an issue they don’t understand by saying #AllLivesMatter. 

No fucking shit.

But trying to silence #BlackLivesMatter makes you part of the problem. Yes. All lives matter. But right now, at this time in our society, #BlackLivesMatter needs to be heard and spread. 

Because it’s black lives that are being taken at the hands of (predominately) white police officers. 

And over the next several weeks we will hear all about Alton Sterling’s past. His criminal record. We’ll hear about Philando Castile. About any poor choices he ever made in his life. 

The media will dig into every nook and cranny of their lives trying to paint whatever narrative they have already decided on. This is why I didn’t pursue journalism as a career. It’s disheartening. I know the extent of information left out of stories because I’ve done it. I’ve chosen which angle to take. And I don’t like it. 

Because the part of the story we won’t hear about is the officers who killed these men. We are unlikely to hear about their past. Probably won’t hear much about their job performance. Have they been investigated by internal affairs? Had complaints filed against them? We probably won’t know. 

And that makes me angry. And sad. 

I shouldn’t have to be scared for my black friends. Their kids. Their families. I shouldn’t have to worry about if they are going to make it home safely tonight. But I do. 

So, white friends, please, please, please stop with #AllLivesMatter because right now, #BlackLivesMatter is so very important.

#BLM

image gathered by Google search; found on storify.com


*My family is Native American, but our skin color is pretty light. We get the benefit of passing for white.

** In many of these instances the individual killed is white and/or the use of deadly force could be considered warranted as the person killed was armed and/or shot at the officer(s). The number used includes all officer involved shooting deaths as reported and collected by the Washington Post.

We Must Do Better

I don’t have the answer. Some magical solution. I am positive I don’t even have all of the information necessary to form a well-informed, rational and thought out arguement.

But I know that we must do better. We are failing…as a society, as a nation. Failing. 

And rather than have calm, rational, REAL meaningful conversations about gun control, responsible gun ownership and how to end these fucking senseless (and preventable) mass shootings, we are screaming at each other. Again.

Fighting the same fight. YOU CAN’T HAVE MY GUNS! GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE DO! NO GUN HAS EVER DONE HARM ON ITS OWN!

BAN ALL GUNS! GUNS ARE EVIL AND HAVE NO PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY! WE ARE GUN OBSESSED!

I don’t have the answer. But we must do better. Because mothers and fathers just lost their children. Dozens of families are missing pieces of their hearts and souls.

And it’s crucially important that we don’t gloss over that the entire reason these people were slaughtered in a dance club is because they are gay.

BUT BEING GAY IS GROSS! BEING GAY IS A SIN! IT’S IN THE BIBLE!

Like, who fucking cares? If you’re that wonderful of a Christian, you’ll pray for them. Not judge them. You’ll love them anyway. You know, like Jesus did. Because if you are using your religious beliefs, or religion in general, to discriminate against a group of people, to view yourself as better than someone else, then you are doing religion wrong. And that’s not an opinion – that’s a fact.

Seriously, we must all do better. Tolerance is not enough. We must speak out about the injustices and inequalities that they gay community faces every single day. Just because you don’t see it, or don’t believe it happens doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Because I assure you it is.

And just because you disagree doesn’t make you right.

You don’t have to agree with me. You can believe that everyone absolutely needs to have the ability to own an AK whatever, but that doesn’t mean you’re right. If I disagree with you, it doesn’t make me right, either.

But we MUST do better. Everyone’s lives literally depend on it.

Bully: Just Don’t Be One

December 8th, 2001.  It started out as such an ordinary day.  Hanging out with the boyfriend.  Shopping.  Lunch.  The typical things that college freshman do.

It ended as a day forever etched in my mind.  And all because people can’t use nice words.  Because we are all too self important to take the feelings of others into consideration.

When I arrived home for the evening, I was informed that at the age of 15, my sister’s best friend ended her own life because the pain of being bullied was just too much to bear any longer.  She was a sophomore in high school.  She was beautiful.  She was funny.  She was a daughter.  A sister.  An aunt.  A granddaughter.  A friend.

But kids, they are so cruel.  They teased her.  Called her names.  Tried to fight her.  Did fight her.  Punched her.

She just couldn’t take anymore.

Suicide is never final.  For the family and friends left behind it’s a pain that doesn’t end.  There are so many questions with so few answers.  The lives of these people are forever changed.

If anything ‘positve’ can come from such a tragic event my hope is that it’s this:

Be mindful of the words you use towards others for their impact is far greater than you could ever imagine.  Kindness is always the answer. I believe that so strongly I tattooed the phrase ‘kindness can change the world’ on my wrist.  I look at that phrase every single minute of every single day.  It is a constant reminder that I possess the power to impact others.

I hope I wield that power well.

Peace be with you Emily.  You are gone, but not forgotten, Lady.  I hope you found the peace you were seeking and that as you look down upon your family and friends you see how loved you are.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye….(UPDATED)

Last week was truly the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for our family.  When I say ‘our family’ I’m not referring to our vast and extensive extended family, but rather the family unit that Brett and I consist of.  We are a family of three; Brett, myself and Bogey, our dog.  Bogey is absolutely our family.  He is our fur-kid.  And he is beyond spoiled.  We (read I) go paparazzi nuts with the camera, in fact I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to pictures of Bogey.

Recently, Bogey’s health had taken a turn south, so we did what any parents would do, we rushed him to the ER.  When we got to the hospital, Bogey was weak, dehydrated and his color was off, he looked pale.  We were freaking out.  We didn’t know what was wrong.  I have to say, Blue Pearl in Overland Park, KS is the nicest, most compassionate place I’ve ever been.  They were so incredible helping us through a very tough couple of nights.  After two nights at the hospital, Bogey came home!  Diagnosis? Bleeding ulcers.  Bummer.  But, they were totally treatable, and he would be okay.  Hooray!  Medicine and a bland diet for a week and he seemed to be alright.

But, while we were at the ER the first night, the doctor came in and told us that Bogey had a perianal tumor (which is what they originally thought the problem was).  After lots of tests, they decided that wasn’t the cause of his emergency visit, but that we should still take him to his regular doctor and have that tumor looked at.

We scheduled an appointment and had some samples of the tumor sent off for a cytology report, which came back inconclusive.  Meaning, it might not be cancer, but it might be cancer.  But, it needed to come out.  So, we scheduled the surgery.

Bogey had surgery at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7th.  He was scared, but okay.  I was there with him, and told him how great he was doing.  He didn’t even squirm, which was great because that meant no full anesthesia!  Local anesthesia is all he needed, which, given his age (15!) was a great thing.  Tumor was removed and he was stitched up and, after a couple of hours at the doctor for post-op observation, we were on our way home.  His tumor was sent off to get biopsied and we’re just awaiting results to find out if it was cancerous or not, so we can start forming a treatment plan for our Dude.

Thursday night was a rough night for everyone.  Bogey hated his Elizabethan collar, which everyone knows as ‘the cone of shame.’ He freaked out and started running in to things trying to rip the collar off.  I hated seeing him panic, so I took it off of him.  Then he started throwing up, which, if I had just recovered from bleeding ulcers, and then had surgery and then freaked out, would probably throw up, too.  Brett stayed up with him until about 3:30 a.m.  That’s when Bogey finally decided to lay down and go to sleep.  On Friday, he seemed okay.  Great!  Our Dude just hated his collar and basically threw the equivalent of a screaming, kicking, crying-until-you-throw-up tantrum.  He didn’t really eat much Friday, so I made him some chicken (I told you, he’s spoiled).  He chowed it down and everything seemed good.  Friday night, more vomiting.  But, not as bad as Thursday night.  So, maybe the food upset his stomach.  He probably ate too fast.  But, his breathing seemed off, and his behavior was off too.  But he did just have surgery 24 hours ago and now has stitches in his hiney….

Saturday, he was walking around the basement in the morning.  We gave him head pats, and rubbed his ears.  Like the concerned fur-mom I am, I still thought his breathing didn’t sound right, but he seemed alright, just tired (which is understandable since he’d spent two nights throwing up).  We decided to leave him downstairs (with his favorite red blanket) to get some rest and went  to check on him every hour to see if he wanted to go outside.  He was laying at the foot of the stairs, and would look up at us when we came down, but wasn’t interested in going outside.  So, we would rub his head and belly, and give him kisses and tell him how much we loved him.

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9th, Bogey was no longer breathing.  It was heartbreaking.  I got Brett and told him that Bogey wasn’t breathing anymore and we sat there and hugged our Dude and cried together.  My heart broke more.  Brett’s Mom came down and cried with us, too.  And his sister came down, cried with us, and we all said a prayer to St. Francis asking him to watch our Boy until we got home.

As much as losing our Dude sucks (and it is the big time suck) I learned a lot over the last few days and weeks.  I learned that Brett and I are an amazing team, even in super sucky, super awful situations.  We connect to form a strength that is stronger than either of us individually.  I learned there are awesome people who care about our Dude as much as we do.  I learned about Blue Pearl Emergency Pet Services and their incredible staff.  And I learned that we have the most quality people in our lives.  Our families and friends are truly some of the best people on Earth and we are so incredibly blessed to have them.

Having to say goodbye to Bogey sucked.  It still sucks.  Every time I walk downstairs I expect to see his fluffy little face look up from his bed.  I expect to see his red blanket laying on his bed.  I look at the clock and realize that Bogey probably needs to go to the bathroom.  I still look around for him.  And while the emptiness sucks and has left a hole in my heart, I find a small amount of joy knowing that our Boy isn’t hurting anymore.  That whatever pain he was feeling, he’s free from it.  He’s running, and jumping, and chasing squirrels and snoozing in the sunshine.  I find comfort in knowing that St. Francis welcomed our Boy with open and loving arms, and I’m sure he gave him his favorite snack, Cheese-Its, when he got there.

With all that knowledge, I find peace with the emptiness.

The last three weeks of Bogey’s life were not the best, I’m sure.  He spent too many hours at doctor’s offices. But, he also spent a lot of time at the playground, laying in sunshine, lounging next to us, giving us hugs and kisses, and bringing us smiles and joy.  So, I’m grateful for that.

Bogey lived a really long, great life.  In dog years he was 15, which makes him 105 in human years.  105!  What a great life.  He had lots of adventures, and even got to spend a few years of his life as a Texas dog (which automatically makes him one of the coolest dogs in Heaven). He spent his final days at home, with his family.  Surrounded by love and laughter. What a life.

So, this part is for our Dude: Rest in peace, Bogey.  We love you forever and we’ll see you when we get home.  Until then, listen to St. Francis, don’t just eat your vitamins, you cannot have all his french fries, you do NOT eat Raisinets (even though you think you do), I’ll pretend I don’t know you’re eating way too many Cheese-Its, and because you are one spoiled kiddo, I won’t even yell at you if you’re laying on our bed when we get home (just please don’t have muddy feet). Love Forever, Mom and Dad.

Thank you everyone who said a prayer, had us in their thoughts, sent good vibes, asked how Bogey was, sent us messages, gave us hugs or sat and cried with us.  You are the best people.  We are so, so grateful.  The love and support our family has been given over the last three weeks has been amazing, and has truly helped us make it through this big pile of suck. So once again, THANK YOU!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein the 14th

As a matter of fact, I would LOVE some Cheese-Its!

Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein, Protector of the Universe.

I’m BatDog.

Yeah. I pop my collar. And?

My two boys, watching the X-Files.

I hear everything. I’m BatDog.

Sun Snoozin’

Just Mom & Bogs

Dear Lord, please open your gates
and call St. Francis
to come escort this beloved companion
across the Rainbow Bridge.

Assign him to a place of honor,
for he has been a faithful servant
and has always done his best to please me.

Bless the hands that send him to you,
for they are doing so in love and compassion,
freeing him from pain and suffering.

Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
Help me remember the details of his life
with the love he has shown me.
And grant me the courage to honor him
by sharing those memories with others.

Let him remember me as well
and let him know that I will always love him.
And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise,
please allow him to accompany those
who will bring me home.

Thank you, Lord,
for the gift of his companionship
and for the time we’ve had together.

And thank you, Lord,
for granting me the strength
to give him to you now.

Amen.

*******(UPDATE: I called Bogey’s doctor on Monday to let him know what happened and to ask him to call us with the results of the biopsy anyway.  I received a phone call a few minutes later and learned that the tumor was NOT cancerous.  So I guess that’s good news, though it doesn’t ease our pain or sadness.)*******

A Decade Later

Where were you when…

That’s the question today, isn’t it?

I remember with vivid detail that day. For starters, it was beautiful. Sunny, blue sky. I was a freshman at the University of Central Oklahoma. I was driving to my first class of the day – Music Theory.

I remember wishing my radio in the car worked because the 25 minute drive was sort of boring and I usually listened to NPR. I’m a geek, what can I say.

When I arrived at class, the room was unusually empty. I walked back into the hallway to check for a missed announcement about class being cancelled. One of my class mates saw me and said “we’re in here.” She was talking about the room next door – it had a tv. She told me an airplane had hit one of the towers in New York.

As we stood in that room, watching history unfold before our eyes, we all gasped in collective shock and horror as we saw a second plane crash into the other tower. I remember tears starting to form in my eyes.

My classes were cancelled and all I could do was cry. I felt numb. I kept thinking “why would someone do such a thing?” “WHO would do such a terrible thing?”

Now, a decade later, I think the question should be “where are we NOW….

Are we safer as a nation? More united as a whole? Are we less? The same?

My hope, for our nation, is that we never forget that hatred lives. But I hope we remember, too, that love, peace and kindness DO triumph. That goodness prevails over evil. That lightness drives out darkness.

I hope ordinary citizens continue to be heroes for their families, friends and neighbors. That the lives lost and the sacrifices made live on in each of us.

That we continue to heal. We pause to remember, look back. But that as we do so, we remember to continue to look forward. Toward the future. Toward hope. Peace. Love. Kindness.

So, where were YOU when…. And where are you NOW?

09.11.2001/09.11.2011 never forgotten.

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Victory?

Victory: [vik-tuh-ree; vik-tree]; noun: a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.

I sit here writing with mixed emotions; trying to find the right mix of words that will so eloquently express my feelings.  But it’s hard to find those words – words that celebrate death.  Even the death of a such a  cruel and unarguably evil person.

In the words of Clarence Darrow “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

That’s sort of in line with how I feel; but not quite.  Death is a sad ordeal.  And while I’m not sad about his death, I am sad so many others have had to meet their deaths too soon because of him.

I really can’t help but feel a sense of overwhelming relief for the future safety of our wonderful planet.  I just can’t help but feel that our world is truly a much better place.

I understand why people were celebrating in the streets; it’s a sense of RELIEF!  FINALLY!  The man who gave the order to murder thousands of precious lives is gone.  He can never give that order again.

Again, I feel a sense of relief.  I feel a little bit safer.  And while I’m not so naive to believe that his death brings some sort of finality this whole thing – I know that things will get worse before they begin to get better- but, I know that things will get better!  Things will be safer.

My brother will be a little bit safer while he’s gone.  You’ll  be safer.

So, I say yes, this is indeed a victory.