52 Weeks of Sisterhood: At the Music Store

Our local music store is like something out of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I’m dating myself here, but remember that little music shop? Please say I’m not alone here.

Anyway, the music shop on his show had every kind of instrument and our store does, too. Trumpets, clarinets, saxophones, violins, violas, cellos, and guitars of all kinds.

We usually arrive about 10 minutes early for my 11yo’s weekly guitar lesson and so the game is on to see how many instruments both of my girls can try out in the showroom before the lesson begins. They usually check out the bongos or the piano – bypassing the standard little kid instruments like maracas, triangles and cowbells. (which is a shame because everyone knows what you really need is MORE COWBELL).

Today, all the instruments were otherwise occupied so my little musicians gravitated to one of my all-time favorites: the drums. I’ve always had an affinity for drummers. In fact, now that I think of it, I’ve dated three drummers in my little life. Weird.

Anyway.

Let’s just say my girls are not drummers. Well, not yet. Who knows? Maybe one of them will want to take lessons. Until then, I will spare you the video of random banging of snares and share this photo instead.

music store

 

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This post is part of #MicroblogMondays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty Years

Thirty Years

I’m not sure I would have been as brave as Christa Mcauliffe.

When I remember that awful day, I think of the things she chose to bring with her on that space shuttle. I’d forgotten most of the items until today while reading several news stories. But there was one item that I remember hearing about in the days following the tragedy. She carried a little green stuffed frog that her child gave her.

Well that just gets me.

This is one of those days when people say ‘do you remember where you were when …’ And like most people around my age, I remember.

I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I was in biology class and my teacher, Mr. Schott, positioned one of those audio visual carts with the TV on top and the cassette player on the shelf below in the corner of our classroom. He was excited for the launch. I can’t recall his exact connection, but I believe he knew Christa Mcauliffe. Of course it doesn’t matter because I think everyone in New England felt like they knew this teacher from New Hampshire. Someone in our own backyard. A Patriots fan who was stunned when the oversized football players asked for her autograph after a game. The country cheered for a teacher but I think New England was cheering for their local girl.

Mr. Schott tuned the TV on during the few minutes before the launch. I don’t even remember if I’d ever seen a launch before but I remember thinking it looked pretty cool. We saw the same clips everyone else saw. Walking out of the building, waving, smiling, headed to the launch pad.

And then in just over a minute, it was over. We saw the smoke billow out in two separate directions. There was confusing sounds and voices coming from the TV.

Mr. Schott walked swiftly, quietly to the TV. He turned it off. And wheeled it out of the room.

No one said a word.

There was talk of parachutes and rescue crews and maybe they were able to … could they have … might they have …

But no. Everyone knows how it ended.

Years later when I was living in Florida, I always thought it was cool that I could see rocket and shuttle launches from my apartment balcony in Orlando. Sometimes we’d have the launch on the TV and we’d run from the living room to the balcony and watch it live and on TV. But every time I watched a launch, I always held my breath a little. I think everyone that remembers the Challenge disaster probably did the same thing. How can you not? It’s such a BIG deal, you know?

I definitely think all of the astronauts that day were brave. And all that came before and have come after as well. It’s such a phenomenal thing to be on the edge of the unknown.

Thirty years ago, I remember hearing about the little green frog and thinking wow, how sad. But now, as a mom, it just rips me open. I wonder how her kids are today. As adults. Reliving this tragedy every year.

Thirty years.

Hard to believe.

It’s Gone

The green spiral-bound notebook where I jotted work notes, random thoughts, to-do lists, blog post ideas, poems … GONE.

After packing everything we could into the last weekend of Christmas break — including a visit to the National Harbor, the Gaylord Convention Center, and Mount Vernon — my family and I returned home Saturday night to virtually empty cupboards. A shopping list was made and off to the Super Wal-Mart we went.

That was my first mistake.

Not the Wal-Mart part, although some would question my choice. I mean the part about making a shopping list. I make ridiculous shopping lists. And then I organize that list into categories like: dairy, bread, produce, canned goods, meats, household stuff, etc. I get a charge out of crossing off each item as I find it and then drawing a huge letter X through the entire category when everything has been checked off.

I probably need some help.

Regardless, I made my list. But instead of using a regular piece of paper I chose to use my notebook. I figured it would be easier to have something to lean on versus a single piece of paper. Plus I could clip my pen at the top so it would be one neat little clipboard-y kind of thing. Oh my god I’ve totally overthought this whole thing haven’t I?

Anyway. The notebook I grabbed was my work notebook. I should have known better. But it was right there. And I was lazy.

I remember the exact moment when destiny bit me in the behind. We were in the checkout line and my little one wanted to get out from the grocery cart seat. I lifted her out and moved my notebook with attached pen there in her place. Easy access for me to review all of the giant Xs and my super-productive shopping trip. As I loaded items onto the conveyor belt I bumped the cart and the seat part folded in and the notebook slid down the inside of the cart. I remember seeing it slide down and thinking don’t forget to grab your notebook when you get to the car.

Items paid for. Bags loaded in the cart thanks to my 11 year old. And out to the parking lot.

Car open. Trunk filled with groceries. Cart returned to store entrance, again, courtesy of my 11 year old. Little one buckled in. Car started. Radio on. Off we go.

Home. Driveway. Garage. Unload groceries. Make dinner. Wash dishes. Bubble baths. Stoybooks. Bedtime. A little computer work. Little TV watching with my husband. A sleepwalking four year old at midnight. A nauseous eleven year old at 1am.

I never even noticed it was gone.

Until the next morning. All my notes all my thoughts and plans and words. Gone.

I suddenly wished I was Superman and could fly around the Earth super fast and reverse time. (omg remember that from the Superman movie? So good.) So I did what any good person would do. I cried a little. And then I grabbed my sick 11 year old and dragged her to the Wal-Mart parking lot so we could search their shopping carts in hopes that it might still be there.

Ladies and gentlemen: it is gone.

Probably thrown away.

I’m still having withdrawals. And I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to remember everything in that green notebook. Tomorrow I will return to the scene of the crime to purchase another notebook. Maybe another green one. Maybe red. And possibly a 2016 calendar. But I’m not using a shopping cart. Or a list.

Here’s Why Your Thoughts and Prayers Don’t Mean a Damn Thing

Now before you get all over me, I *do* believe that sending thoughts and prayers is a good thing. It’s just not enough. And it is SO not enough when we continue to have near-daily shootings in this country and all we continue to say is, “Oh my thoughts and prayers to the victims of {insert latest shooting city here}.”

Once again on this blog, I must call bullshit.

Enough with your prayers and good thoughts. Now is the time to get down to brass tacks. It’s time to get to the real reasons why nothing is ever done in this country to combat the senseless gun fanaticism we witness on the news every night: MONEY and POWER.

The NRA has held power in this country for far too long. And thanks in large part to the savvy PR done by its most famous member – Charlton Heston – it gained a following that rivals the most dangerous of cults. (curious side note: Isn’t it interesting that Heston was embraced by the very same demographic that in no uncertain terms told the Dixie Chicks to shut up and sing? Hmm. So it’s OK for a right-wing celebrity to be the public face of the NRA and nosedive in to right-wing politics, but it’s not ok for a left-wing celebrity to state their political beliefs in a public forum?)

Let me also make a few things clear:

I am not anti-gun.

I do not own a gun, nor do I desire to own one.
However, I respect your right as an American citizen to lawfully purchase and operate one.

I am not anti- Second Amendment.

I am pro gun reform. We have a serious gun problem in this country. If you can’t see that then I have no more words for you.

I do believe that guns kill people because THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE DESIGNED TO DO. Don’t give me that bullshit line about how cars kill people too and maybe we should get rid of all cars. Cars can be used as a deadly weapon, sure. But that is not their intention. Unless you can tell me ONE other reason guns exist, your argument is flawed and ridiculous.

I am against open carry. Why? Because we live in a society of idiots. Crazed, angry, gun-toting, fear-mongering, fear-filled idiots. People are shooting (and often killing) other people for road rage, stolen purses, talking in a movie theater, working at a Waffle House, being a U.S. Senator, and for no reason at all other than being an elementary school teacher or student at Sandy Hook. Don’t tell me that if teachers had been armed there would have been less carnage. Don’t go there. Don’t Do It.

So the reason all your prayers and good wishes to the poor people in San Bernardino are useless and empty is because they are a default response. Another shooting? More prayers and good wishes. It’s like saying Bless You when someone sneezes. Do we really mean it or are we just used to saying it?

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy offered a startling tweet yesterday aimed at the hypocrisy in Washington. He says it far better than I ever could. And of course his perspective on this is closer than mine, sadly. He is the State Senator for the Sandy Hook district. His tweet is simple but direct:

Here’s a link to the full article about Senator Murphy’s tweet. Note the stark contrast between what many Republican Presidential hopefuls tweeted and what the Democratic Presidential hopefuls tweeted.

Back to the NRA for a second. Yesterday, a journalist tweeted the NRA contributions politicians (mostly Republican) accepted during recent campaigns. The amounts are astonishing. Money truly does talk. Curious? Check out this dude’s Twitter feed. Mind-blowing.

So. Your thoughts and prayers are lovely. Needed, in fact. But they aren’t effective. They aren’t action-oriented. Until there is major change in the form of dismantling the powerful influence and corruption of the NRA along with major gun reform, we will continue to see more and more mass shootings.

So what can you do? You can sign this petition demanding Congress end its 20-year ban on gun violence research.

You can find out the voting records of your state and local representatives and then let them know whether you support or disagree with their positions.

Educate yourself. That’s my goal every day. Learn more, know more, think more so I can do better, vote better (and smarter), and teach my kids better.

And finally, you can VOTE. For the love of God, vote. I am a registered Democrat, but I take pride in knowing I educate myself on the candidates and their positions on issues that matter the most to me. Not registered? GO REGISTER. It’s quick and it’s easy. And then go vote. Not just in the national elections, but in the smaller, local elections. This is where real change happens.

I am leaning very much into the idea of becoming a single issue voter and you know what? This is the issue.

I’d Rather Have My Purse Stolen

How can there be so much ugly in the world? I’m trying to be positive. Really, I am. But it’s so incredibly infuriating to listen to the news (and who can avoid it, really?) about the latest shooting. We have become a vigilante society and it frightens me.

This latest story makes me sick to my stomach.

It’s a story about a woman in Texas who witnessed a purse snatching. She wasn’t even the victim here, but she sure took matters into her own hands. Apparently the alleged robber tried to get away and someone tackled him. He got up and started to run. It’s worth noting that he had dropped the purse in question. Then this woman pulled her weapon and shot him.

No regard for the other people and the high probability of her hitting any of them with a bullet.

No regard for the fact that this was none of her business.

No regard for anything but GUNS GUNS GUNS.

I am not anti-gun. But I am anti-vigilante. I believe in the right to defend yourself and your home. And I’m perfectly fine with hunters and individuals having guns with the proper credentials and training.

But what kind of world do we live in where people wholeheartedly embrace open carry? I’m sorry but I just can’t get behind it. I don’t buy into the notion that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

I don’t want to live in a military state where someone who is legally carrying a firearm might get the slightest bit agitated at me or someone near me and decide to unleash their anger and frustration in an explosion of bullets.

I’d rather have my purse stolen than live in a society that condones this kind of Yosemite Sam-like mentality.

Fear is at the root of all of this. Fear of the other guy. Fear of refugees. Fear of different color skin. Fear of those that wear turbans or burqas. Fear of those that have different traditions and customs. Fear of those that don’t say Merry Christmas. I’m so sick of it. All of it.

I don’t have a solution. What I’m sitting with now is sheer and utter desperation.

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