Epic Shit-Disturbers and Standing (Or Sitting) For What You Believe In

Epic Shit-Disturbers and Standing (Or Sitting) For What You Believe In

There are lots of feathers ruffled lately about standing and sitting.

Why aren’t we equally outraged over the injustices that these peaceful and Constitutionally protected acts are protesting? Why aren’t more people angry about unarmed black people unfairly profiled, targeted and killed by some rogue officers on a seemingly Klan-induced power trip?

No, it’s not all police officers, but why aren’t we working to hold the bad ones accountable rather than just giving them paid administrative leave, light sentences, or worse – no sentence at all. It’s disgusting, outrageous and inhumane. But sure, let’s get our panties in a knot over Kaepernick not standing, shall we?

And why is there no equivalent outrage over domestic abuse and criminal activities – all of which continue to plague the NFL? Video evidence shows Ray Rice KNOCKING HIS WIFE UNCONSCIOUS. But you know what? His penalty was just a wee bit more harsh than the one given to my beloved Tom Brady for allegedly deflating a football. Is the hatred for the best team in the NFL the Patriots so all-encompassing that we’re willing to raise a supposedly deflated football to the same level of criminal behavior as domestic abuse? Seriously. How effed up is that? And yet, we don’t blink because money and advertising revenue and merchandise sales and football.

The irony in all of this is that forcing someone to stand is distinctly unpatriotic and so obviously THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the freedoms our veterans fought for.

For real. There’s a movement on social media with the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick. They don’t all agree with his act, but they support and defend his right to do so because otherwise what the hell are they fighting for?

I don’t want to live in a country that says I must stand during the National Anthem.

Mostly because I believe that country is called North Korea.

I want to live in a country where my patriotism is not defined, determined, or affirmed by whether I sit or stand when a song is played.

There’s patriotism and then there’s pageantry.

One is personal and reverent. One is just showing off. And if you don’t know this about me already, I don’t like show-offs.

I am an American, but I’m not always proud of the way many in our country (leaders and citizens) behave.

I enjoy watching fourth of July fireworks, parades, and celebrations, but if I choose to stay inside and watch reruns of the Golden Girls all day on the fourth of July, am I suddenly less of an American?

I salute the flag, but I don’t have one hanging in my front yard? Am I not American enough?

I vote in every single election – local, state, national – but if you don’t, does that make you any less of an American?

(actually, in my eyes, the answer is yes, yes it does. For the love of God there’s no reason to not vote. None. It’s your DUTY AS AN AMERICAN! Not registered? I got you: www.vote.org.)

Just because someone wears a flag pin doesn’t mean they always have the best interests of the country at heart. I submit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as Exhibit A.

Just because someone stands during the National Anthem doesn’t mean they’re any more patriotic than someone who sits.

Patriotism is still patriotism without all the pageantry attached to it.

Dissent is a form of patriotism as well. Any intelligent American knows this is true. May I call your attention to the epic shit-disturbers from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to civil rights to women’s rights to gay rights?

The bottom line is I will teach my girls to stand during the National Anthem.

But I will also teach them that patriotism means standing up (or sitting down) for what you believe in, especially when there are injustices, policies, or actions that harm our citizens and contradict our nation’s purported values. Kaerpernick (or anyone else) standing or sitting during the National Anthem doesn’t offend me at all. In fact, I think taking a stand is a very brave and noble thing to do.

What is incredibly sad is that this isn’t the first time someone has taken a stand for these very same issues.
The fact that this is still an issue after decades and decades of protests and calls for change is perhaps the saddest thing of all.

Ready, Steady, GO

Ready, Steady, GO

My littlest one started kindergarten last week and I am so very proud of her. If you had asked me a few days before she started if I was sad, like a few of my mom friends, I would have said (emphatically) no!

Well.

I guess I am a little sad. It’s a bittersweet feeling. This is my last first day of kindergarten and I guess I’m just trying to savor every little moment.

But I’m also really excited for her. She’s going to grow in so many ways. She’s kind and friendly and outgoing and although she gets a little bit nervous, I know she’s just going to thrive.

Two weeks ago was the last full week with no summer camp, no vacation and no plans before school starts. We had a “meet your bus driver” day, which we completely effed up. We overslept. I’d heard my husband’s alarm go off at 6 but promptly fell right back asleep.

My 12 year old’s bus comes at 6:55. She wanted to be out there to meet her bus driver and find out what bus number she had. We woke at 6:45am. Omg.

She quickly went to her assigned bus stop. I followed behind as soon as I could  get myself together (translation: put a bra on and grab my eyeglasses. #sexy). I leashed up the dog and headed out the door leaving my 5 year old still sleeping.

After she met her driver we went home and woke my 5 year old for breakfast. At 8:10 a.m. at the same bus stop, the three of us walked out to meet little one’s bus. She is SO EXCITED TO RIDE THE BUS. Ever since she saw her big sister get on a school bus four years ago, she’s been dying for her turn. 

When the bus pulled up on its trial run of the neighborhood, she ran right up the steps and greeted the driver with a big smile. She walked the aisle of the bus to check things out and then she stopped for a quick picture with the bus driver. The driver asked her name, her age, and if she was ready for kindergarten. My girl, with a smile that went from ear to ear said with her signature lisp, “Yeth!”

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Later that day, we played a card game she created. It’s based on the game “War” but the cards are hot pink and instead of numbers, there are symbols which she created. I wasn’t privy to the hierarchy of the cards so I just let her call the shots. She told me that just like in War we flip our cards at the same time.

Every time she flipped a card she looked at me with those big greenish blueish eyes and said, “Ready? … Steady ….GO!”

I love how she said it with such conviction.

I know shes ready. I’m just not sure I am.

She’s going to do amazing things I just know it.

Here’s both my girls on their first day of school last week. Ready, Steady, Go 🙂

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Sleepless … Always 

The first time I saw, “Sleepless In Seattle” was at the Pleasure Island AMC theatres at Disney World when it first came out in 1993. I was 23 years old and, although I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, I had my share of romantic hopes and dreams.

I saw the movie with a bunch of girlfriends and then watched An Affair To Remember a few weeks later with a girlfriend so we could be all caught up on the Cary Grant / Deborah Kerr thing. Is it Kerr or Carr? 🙂

There is nothing about this movie that I don’t love. Nothing.

Meg Ryan’s clothes – simple, understated, muted tones. Her hair – long, wavy, wispy, and perfect in every scene. Her singing in the car – PERFECT. #horsehorseshorses

Tom Hanks’ curly hair – adorable. The way you can see his whole face and body posture change … soften … as he comforts his son, who just told him he thinks he’s forgetting his deceased mother – makes me tear up every time.

The soundtrack is fantastic and timeless. 

And Nora Ephron was a complete and total genius director. 

This is without question my favorite movie of all time. Every line and every song is just imprinted on my little heart.

So what’s your favorite movie? What movie do you always have to watch when it pops up on your tv? 

Book Review: “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Review: “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

“A body doesn’t like being bought & sold like a basket of eggs even if the person who cracks the shells is kind.” – Isabel, “Chains”

“Chains” is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The setting is the northern states during the Revolutionary War. A young slave girl, Isabel, believes she and her sister Ruby will reap the promise of freedom when their owner dies. But instead, the two are sold to an evil couple whose loyalties lie with the British. The couple treat the girls horrendously, but of course, there is no such thing as “good slavery.”

Isabel meets a young boy, Curazon, who is involved in the fight for freedom from the British. He encourages her to spy on her owners. She’s reluctant at first, fearing the repercussions of being caught. But soon, she comes to realize that may be the only way to secure freedom for her and her sister. And that’s when the real danger begins as she attempts to break the physical and emotional chains and win her freedom.

I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t think much about slavery occurring in America other than around Civil War times. This book takes place a full century before the Civil War and is written with such precision that I could feel the starchiness of Isabel’s dress; the pinching of her too-small shoes; and the crack of the whip as it seared her unsuspecting cheek. I could smell the staleness of death in Lady Seymour’s room; the rosemary twigs at Christmas carefully positioned throughout the house to mask the foul odors of dirty soldiers; and the wretched conditions of Curazon’s prison cell with the grimy scent of death and decay all around him.

I’m also sort of fan-girling around the author, Laurie Halse Anderson. She’s an alumna of OCC and was one of the very first Alumni Faces Honorees selected by my former work place. I adore her writing and, although I don’t read the “Young Adult” genre often, I am carefully making my way through her brilliant collection.

Thrilled to know the story of Isabel and Curazon continues. I’ve just started the second book and can’t wait to see what happens.

Deep Greens and Blues

Deep Greens and Blues

When I moved to Orlando permanently in the fall of 1991, I was 21 and sharing an apartment with other Disney cast members. The previous summer, I did the college program and when I returned home that September, I made the decision to move to Florida permanently within the year. I lived in Disney housing for a short while and then eventually found an apartment with some friends.

Deep greens and blues Hyundai Excel
Not my car, but wicked close.

My transportation was an old, red Hyundai Excel that barely got me from place to place (omg remember those? They were the first Hyundais, I believe). Of course, it had a standard tape deck and in the compartment between the driver and the passenger seats were the only cassette tapes I owned: Wilson Phillips’ debut album, “Wilson Phillips” – favorite song is Hold On. Elton John’s “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” – favorite song is the title song. And, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits. I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favorite James Taylor song, but among my top three are: Fire and Rain, Up On the Roof, and Sweet Baby James. I played these three tapes until they wore out. And I knew every song by heart.

Music is powerful stuff. These three albums take me right back to the years between 1988 and 1991. I was still trying to figure everything out then and I guess this music, these artists, and their songs, sort of helped me along.

512sJmysGxLWilson Phillips’ song “Hold On” always makes me smile. No doubt because of the final scene in the movie Bridesmaids 🙂 but also because I remember turning the volume up and singing at the top of my lungs with my sunroof open (note: I felt particularly luxurious to have a sunroof!). I was making pitiful money at Disney and was lucky my car didn’t cause me more trouble than it did, because I couldn’t afford much. But Disney is where I wanted to work and Orlando is where I wanted to be and I could feel good things were coming. So, I just held on, like the girls in Wilson Phillips told me to do.

Elton John was another story altogether.

Back home, in late 1988 and all of 1989, I worked at the Disney Store at the Burlington Mall. Every night after we closed the huge glass doors at the entrance, the cashiers counted their money and the rest of us restocked, replenished, and cleaned everything. It took at least an hour, sometimes longer.

To help keep us awake, our manager brought in music. One of the tapes was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. We played that album over and over again every night for an entire month. I liked Elton John, but after that experience, I became a fan and decided I had to have a copy for my very own. Bennie and the Jets brings me right back to my 18 and 19-year old self rearranging the huge Plush Mountain of stuffed animals at the back of the Disney store.

And finally, there’s James Taylor. No finer, smoother voice in American music, right? I realize this particular Greatest Hits album (volume 1) came out when I was really young, but it’s still amazing. A quick Google search told me it’s his biggest selling album of his career. No surprise there. This is one album I can honestly say I know by heart. I played this tape constantly in my car to and from work and when one day the tape broke (omg) I ran out and bought a new one the exact same day at a rather seedy record shop on Orange Blossom Trail. (Don’t let the name fool you. Parts of OBT are icky.)

The first time I really listened to the lyrics of Sweet Baby James I immediately thought of my son. His eyes are a mix of deep greens and blues, as the lyrics go.

My eyes don’t have any blue in them; they’re more of a green/brown mix to create a hazel. The green intensifies depending on what I wear and what kind of makeup I might have on my eyes at the time.

My two girls both have green eyes, too. Just like my son. But it’s cool to me that all three of them have different hues. My older daughter has more of the hazel green like me. My younger daughter goes back and forth between a green and an aquamarine blue. I was curious about where my son’s eyes fall in the mix, so I texted him today asking if he would precisely describe the color of his eyes. (Not a strange request at all, right?)

He returned my text quickly and said his eyes are more of a blue/gray/green, but they change often depending on a number of external and internal factors.

I love that the four of us – my son, my daughters and me – all share this common bond.

So I take back what I said earlier. I guess I can pick my favorite James Taylor song.

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