Some Angry Words About Guns

December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Welp. Here we go. If you’re reading this, then you’ve wandered into my thoughts on the elementary school shooting today. And guns. I was mindlessly vacuuming and eager to put my 3 year-old and 1 year-old down for their naps when I heard the report. I barely heard the words: “18 children dead” before tears streamed down my face.

Unthinkable. I was shaking at the thought of such a horrible event. I don’t ever cry, but I did today.

I’m still sad. But there’s more. Now, I’m angry.

Actually, I’m furious.

When are we going to take time to address mental health in this country? Men in their twenties keep shooting masses of people, but do we discuss this? The answer is ‘no.’ I’ve not heard anyone discussing the AGE and GENDER of these shooters. It’s males in their twenties if I’m not mistaken. Should we ask ourselves why men of this age are doing this? I’d say 18-25 yr-olds are more prone to outrageous violence. That’s just me.

And did they just lead a perfectly NORMAL life for twenty-odd years and wake up one day and say “Hey, you know I’ve never shot a person. I should probably go do that. Better yet, I’ll shoot some children. FUN.” ? Well.. Did they?

I don’t think they did. They’re sick. They’re deranged. They needed some type of help and I’m thinking there were probably people in their lives that thought they were not quite right. But we, as a society, ignored them. WE did! (I include myself.) Let’s talk about this!

I don’t know how many tweets or posts I’ve read talking about how mad they are at the person who did this. In my opinion, this is misplaced anger. Sure, it’s wrong and unthinkable. But directing anger at them is futile.

Now, I get to the part where I’m QUITE THOROUGHLY FUCKING PISSED. (I feel this violent language conveys most accurately just the NATURE of my WRATH, and yes, I’m raising my voice.)

You know what? I don’t own a gun. I don’t want to own a gun. I don’t want to shoot one. I don’t want to kill. I don’t want to kill an animal or a person or hit a can.  That’s my right. I don’t want guns in my life, but I have to tolerate them because others do. I don’t believe in hunting, and I don’t eat meat. Whatever. I respect other’s rights, though. This is me.

And you know what? You can own a gun if you want.  You can love your gun. You may even sleep with your gun snuggled next to your pillow every night. You might even have a cute nickname for your gun. Maybe it’s Bubbles. I don’t know.

I used to think that was your right.

I do not think this anymore.

I do NOT think it’s your right. Not anymore.

You know why? Because I don’t want Bubbles to kill me. Or more accurately, I don’t want YOU to kill me. Most importantly, I don’t want you to kill my babies –my two completely helpless children that depend on me for everything: to wipe their butts, feed them, make sure they’re warm. To keep them alive.

I believe you should have to prove that you’re not a mentally deranged psychopath in order to own a gun. I think you should take tests and have letters of recommendation, see a counselor– SOMETHING– before you get a weapon that allows you to hurt many people from afar. Prove you are stable. Prove you aren’t insane.

We’re failing as a country.

In not speaking out about guns and gun violence, I’ve failed as a parent. I’m not doing my job, which is protecting my children.

In an ideal world, there would be no guns. I don’t think that’s going to happen. (I mean, they love Bubbles and what else are they going to snuggle at night?)

But people’s “RIGHT” to have guns, screws with my “RIGHT” to leave my house with my kids and not be shot at and/or  killed. So, until some kind of legislation is passed enforcing stricter laws, I will be writing to my state officials to address this issue. I will speak out about this so that maybe by the time my kids go to school, I won’t be terrified that they won’t come home.

These are my thoughts. My prayers are with every person affected by this senseless violence. May God be with us all.

A Christian’s Viewpoint On Being Homosexual

August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I wake up in a world that doesn’t accept who I love.

In this world I still have the same “feelings” I’ve always had. Feelings that have always been toward boys -this boy named Matthew in kindergarten who I’m pretty sure I punched in the arm. Then there was Brett in 2nd grade. He was one of my only blond crushes.

That’s all the same, but in this world I wake up in, all of my feelings are “wrong.” They’re an evil urge inside me that must be ignored or exorcised. I probably go through high school hiding my feelings about who I like and only liking people who don’t like me back (OH WAIT THAT’S HOW HIGH SCHOOL WAS) but fast-forward to when I grow some self-esteem, have a little spiritual awakening and find the man I want to marry. Except I can’t marry him in this world. In this world, I feel like an outcast to the very faith that made me who I am, and if I ever want to have a fully-realized relationship with another human, it has to be with a woman.

But. I don’t want to live with a lady. Women are great and I’m glad I’m a woman, but I don’t want to live with a woman or sleep with a woman. I don’t want to raise children with a woman. Women don’t do it for me.

I like men. But in this world, I’m out-of-luck. What do the people of faith expect me to do? Be alone? Fake my way through a marriage to someone I’m not attracted to? Hope I’ll magically have different feelings one day?

Lucky for me, that world doesn’t exist, but I imagine it whenever I think about any of my LGBT friends. I love a man and society-at-large is fully supportive of my feelings. I’m glad that I was born feeling a way that was acceptable. But I can imagine that if I wasn’t, I would want to be able to love another person in a way that feels natural to me.

 

For this reason, as well as the way I read the Bible through the guidance of my relationship with a loving creator, I fully support the LGBT community and feel that they deserve the same rights as I enjoy. 

The Non-Dancer’s Lament

June 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

There are two types of people in this world: those that sing out loud at concerts, and those that scoff at those who sing out loud at concerts. I would call the former ‘exhibitionists,’ but maybe it’s because I fall in the latter. I always wondered if this was why dancing seemed pretty dumb to me, but now I think not. I had a dancing epiphany this weekend that I’d like to share.

I was out with my sister-in-law at a small Oklahoma bar. Everyone was two-stepping and I was undergoing some type of culture shock, because the place I grew up in harbored these weird cowboys that I had somehow managed to avoid. Did everyone else know of this? I did not.

My friends were trying to encourage me to two-step, and even though it appeared as though matching the steps to the beat of the song was negotiable, I didn’t opt to undergo this extreme form of torture.

However, after my brother’s band was finished, the bar put on dance music. Some sort of hip-hop in which I was to understand there were predetermined “steps.” My sis-in-law and friend knew these steps and were quite excited to demonstrate this knowledge with a swarm of other females.

Luckily, I was tipsy. This is always a better situation to be in if one is being enticed to move one’s body absurdly to monotonous music one does not enjoy. The problem, which is a great dancing paradox of mine, is that by the time I can be induced to dance, I’m in no condition to “learn” even a few dance steps- might as well throw in some quantum physics while you’re at it. It’s a bad deal.

But I watched for a minute (and drained the contents of my adult beverage) and felt a little more confident. But I wasn’t drunk enough for “Ironic Dancing” which is really my forte (and happens to be a family trait.)

And as I stood in the line of females, my sister-in-law moving elegantly in a very sprite-like manner and my best friend bopping around like a carefree dancing queen, I felt like an impostor.

You see, my heart’s not in The Dance. Never has been. Maybe this is similar to how the Grinch’s heart reacts to Christmas, my heart shrinking with each repetitive movement. And it’s not like I couldn’t fake it, or put a little more enthusiasm in it. I could. I just don’t have a Dancer’s Heart. I truly want to stand by and make sarcastic asides and admire the technique and mock the sprite-like manner of the others. That’s where my heart is.

A week later, we went to a different country western bar (admittedly this is not my scene) to hear my brother’s band again. I truly enjoyed some spastic cowboy’s drunken two-stepping, and when the in-between part came again, I was amazed to see a semi-dorky wallflower in a red vest  who I’d seen sitting to the side earlier (I think with her parents) tear out of her seat and burn up the dance floor. She set fire to it, in fact. (I almost called 911)

This Red Vest Girl seemed to embody everything that was opposite to myself in regards to The Dance. She was mesmerizing. My dad thought she was over-the-top and was truly afraid she was going to throw something out of joint, but I thought she’d plugged into some other dimension of existence. It was like she occupied some rip in the fabric of time and inhabited a space known solely as THE DANCE.

Which got me thinking, were all these people born this way? Is the Dancer’s Heart something that has to be coaxed and nurtured, or is it something that just IS? My 1 year-old does this kind of crazed River Dance thing whenever she hears music, and that was never fostered. It’s something that derived from pure instinct. My son, husband and I are not dancers. My 3 year-old will perform his dance entitled “Weenie” only if you promise to laugh. And that’s exactly where I derive pleasure. If I can get a laugh from the ridiculous movements of my person, then I will do that (and alcohol always helps.)

So, in conclusion, I will not apologize for my lack of a Dancer’s Heart. It’s not my fault! Maybe there will come a day when it will awaken or something. But until then, I will watch from the side, admiring the Red Vest Girls of this world and critiquing their form.

A Visitor’s Guide To Ada

May 1, 2012 § 6 Comments

I was recently at a conference with my sister-in-law Hannah. We met a woman who, upon hearing we came from Ada, Oklahoma, asked us about the “sights.” She had been “eager” to see Ada. Here’s how that conversation went:

“So, what should I do if I’m ever in Ada?”

Two blank stares.

“Well, there’s Wintersmith Lake…which is actually a pond where I come from- but it’s pretty,” Hannah says. She’s a New Hampshirite originally.

I still stare into space.

“There’s a petrified tree!” Hannah’s still trying to salvage the conversation. Surely two people who’ve lived in this town can give her something to see in the dang thing.

“Oh, really? What petrified it?” The woman laughs at that. (Probably the fact that it was in Ada, I thought quietly.)

So now I’ve had more time. I’ve given it some thought. Here’s what I would say should the situation ever come up again (which I doubt):

You should totally come to Ada! It’s the drive-thru capital of the WORLD. We take our drive-thrus very seriously in Ada. If you’re a gas station without a drive-thru, you may as well stick a fork in yourself. My friend and I even filmed a documentary over this phenomenon in high school. (You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t want to answer why they don’t have a drive-thru.) There’s even a small convenience store drive-thru now. Because getting out of a car is for suckers.

Did I mention Wintersmith Lake? Yes, it may look more like a pond. Yes, the ducks may look like something you drew in first grade with multiple disturbing appendages. (They’ve been doing some in-breeding I think.) But there’s a sidewalk circling it, and it is exactly a mile. Don’t you appreciate the accuracy of this pond? It’s like the pond planned it. The perfectionist in me admires that. Please ignore the odd monkey cages that briefly housed two chimpanzees in the early 1980s (which every Ada High Schooler has peed on at some point).There’s also a petting zoo that may or may not have a peacock and a couple of donkeys.

And the petrified tree.

Now wasn’t that better? You’re intrigued, I bet. You want to see if there are really ducks in that pond with multiple bills and wings coming out of  unusual places. You’ve been thinking how nice it would be to pull up to a gas station window and order a soda from the convenience of your car window.

However.

Here are some things to look out for on your trip. Every place has an element of danger so I’m going to prepare you for Ada’s darker side.

CRAZY CORNER- I don’t know who designed this heinous disaster of modern traffickery (definitely a word). I don’t know and I don’t care. It is asinine. It is, in fact, a five-way stop smack-dab in the middle of town. You tell me how that makes sense. Oh, did I not mention railroad tracks run directly through it? Did I leave that out?

Also, you should just be aware that if you’re a business that is not Polo’s or a national chain, you will not stay in business. Also, if you’re Starbucks you should just RUN. Ada doesn’t like things that are too “alternative.” It’s like a friend of mine said “Ada folks don’t trust the unfamiliar.” That’s why Targets don’t exist in Ada.

Which brings me to the next point: make close friends with Wal-mart because the two of you are about to get very intimate. Wal-mart is about to be the big spoon, if you will. Unless you want to starve, or have something terrible happen like run out of ANYTHING, then you will be visiting the lovely Supercenter. So get used to it.

Now, in all fairness to Ada, I love it. I really do. I am a frequent sojourner to this small Anywhere, Oklahoma town.

My reasons do not involve one-mile ponds or strange animals. They revolve around people. First off, there’s my Meme, who uses words like ‘yonder’ and calls people ‘shoog’ (short for sugar). Do you think they have Memes in Kansas City? No. I bet you could search this whole place and not find a soul that refers to a day of the week as ‘Chewsday.’ And where else would I go to have my 83 year-old grandpa teach me guitar chords? Or my best friend from high school pull out that embarrassing picture of me FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME? (I swear she gets it out as soon as she senses I’m within a 10 mile radius) In Ada I can jog a block over and have coffee with my sister-in-law then stop in to my brother’s computer shop and hear the story about how he got his black eye in boarding school. Maybe the mailman will pop in who also happens to be the funny senior guy I asked to the Morp in 10th grade and I’ll remember how he picked me up in his old Buick that smelled like a dead taco. Do you think this happens in Kansas City? Trust me, it doesn’t.

Oh, and my two parasites (I mean children) get dumped at (I mean spend time with) their grandparents (aka the people who cater to their every whim). That has a little something to do with why I visit so often.

That’s what I’d really say about why I’d want to visit Ada. But if you’ve never been, you should totally stop in for a drive-thru candy-bar and a look at the petrified tree.

Young Adult- Review

April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

I truly DUG this movie. Charlize Theron is a master. It was honest in its portrayal of  a former popular girl who can’t seem to grow up.

The premise is awful and perfect at the same time: this prom queen from a small town goes back after a semi-successful career to steal her old high-school sweetheart, prompted by a birth announcement. We watch her perspective of the town  and the people slowly unravel, and just when you think she can’t get any worse- she stoops even lower.

 

What makes the movie is the dark humor, the Patton Oswalt character and her pathetic-ness. I would also like to say how much I enjoyed the conclusion. Ohmygosh, the last scene of the movie was spot on- it walked a very fine line but managed to hit it just right.  That last scene was deeply satisfying and seemed to underline everything great about this movie- a perfect cocktail of humor, sadness, and honesty.

 

 

Under the Never Sky – A Review

April 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

This book was such a nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting much from the beginning, but it really picked up! The boy and girl characters grew on me as the story progressed, and by the end I was sad to leave them.  I can’t wait for the next book.

This story is set in the future, it’s light sci-fi. Which was good news for me. Basically, it’s about a girl who’s cast out of her pod and forced to live in the outside world among the “savages” left behind. She buddies up with a guy who’s trying to rescue his nephew who was kidnapped by her people. There are cannibals and aether storms, and it’s an exciting, fast-paced story.

The supernatural and apocalyptic components in this book were excellent. I really bought in to this world. A great read for any fan of YA Supernatural/Sci-fi/Apocalyptic fiction.

My Review of The Hunger Games Movie

March 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

So I was semiexcited when I heard they were making the movies. I will admit to being a bit snobby about it though.

Actually my response was ‘how are they going to pull it off? It’s written in 1st person!’ And it’s true. As soon as Katniss volunteers for the games, it’s all about mind games.

But I got over it, apparently, because as it got closer to the release, a funny thing started to happen. I started to lose my CRAP, managing to hold it together enough to miss the midnight showing. (HELLO, I have small children) But only until 9:30 am the next morning.  My husband was also excited, so it must be good marketing too. He had no idea what it was even about and was like “let’s go!”  So you get it. There was some little-girl-giddiness and high expectations. And it didn’t disappoint.

First off, I think the movie did a lot of things right… but not everything. This is inevitable when you make a book into a movie. It can’t ever be THE BOOK. I thought everything leading up to the games was flawless, though. Especially the characters. My initial criticism of Katniss was that in the book she’s supposed to be scrawny- physically speaking, but I quickly shut myself up because I liked the idea of her being a healthy-looking girl. And Jennifer Lawrence did a marvelous job capturing her spirit. Obviously Katniss was my fave, but Rue, Peeta, and Haymitch were also played very well.

Something that I was able to do, seeing the movie with my ignorant husband (well, ignorant over The Hunger Games) was see if he “got” stuff. I even quizzed him after the movie (because I’m ridiculous) to see if he realized what was going on in some scenes. He did okay.

The actual games were tricky. One thing I didn’t like was seeing all the behind-the-scenes details of the game-keepers. Part of what made the games creepy in the books was not “seeing” the puppetteers. For me, seeing people in a control room with the futuristic gadgetry just made it like a “wizard behind the curtain” effect: not as sinister or scary as just imagining it. This is an example of showing too much. Apparently the director didn’t agree with me. (Shocking!)

But let’s put visual/ superficial things aside- I think they did get the book’s message across. I was sad not to see the dandelion moment. (!) Even though you feel terrible “rooting” for a winner, you can’t help but do it. Someone tweeted about the irony of us sitting and watching The Hunger Games movie like the people in the Capitol…  I felt that way a bit. But, in the end I think that the Peeta-Katniss complexity was lost along the way.

And that- the problem between Peeta and Katniss- was due to losing her inner dialogue, I think. There’s really no way to achieve the same thing without it being too sappy. I wondered if there would be any voice-over, but that’s SUPER cheesy. What else? Talk to herself? Scroll her thoughts along the bottom of the screen? I DON’T KNOW.

Overall, I thought the movie was excellent. A worthy interpretation! However, I’m expecting a call from the director to consult me on the next one. I think I have some good ideas. (NOT.) If you haven’t read the books, what are you waiting for? My husband keeps asking me about the next books and I’m keeping my lips sealed. I hope it inspires many new readers (including him).

 

 

 

 

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