Tag Archives: politics

2017: Year in review

I have heartily and often called 2017 a dumpster fire for obvious reasons. This year started out with a lot of fear, tears, and rage and continued to be a rollercoaster of mostly negative emotions. It has been a challenging year for all of us, I’d imagine, but I want to make sure to recognize and acknowledge the good. I have to acknowledge the good to be the best mom I can to my boys who deserve a present and sane Mama. After all, my kids were 4 and 7 this year and a lot happened! So here goes.

January

  • Women’s March: I know, I know, I’m starting with a politically related event. I have to as it gave me so much hope and strength to see the number of attendees, the diversity, to march with my boys and explain why we were there. It was also the first time we have been recognized as a family by a stranger at a non-gay event. That was pretty awesome ❤
  • NC Chinese Lantern Festival: This was our first visit to the Festival, which was really REALLY cool! There were Asian-themed light displays (lanterns, Chinese soldiers, foo dogs, etc.) as well as holiday related displays. Our whole family enjoyed it and planned to go the following year (see December, below).

February

  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens: This was our first time visiting the gardens and it was beautiful. We need to get back here in the warmer months to see things blooming!
  • HKonJ march: This is a yearly march organized by the NC chapter of the NAACP. Again, recharged the spirit and made me want to continue to RESIST. I went to this one sans family and met a long-time blogger friend Sarah! No brainer great memory.
  • Hedwig play: DW and I are ridiculously obsessed with Hedwig and were SO excited this was coming to our neck of the woods. It was great seeing it in play form (we’d only seen the movie about 500 times prior). LOVE Hedwig!
  • Snow: We get snow 2 or 3 times in the winter and it is always an experience our family loves – especially because we hail from Southern California. It’s pretty, you get snow/ice days off school/work, and it’s fun to play in when there’s enough of it. I also enjoy putting out birdseed and watching the show ❤

March

  • More snow!

April

May

  • Artsplosure: Katena: This is a huge inflatable structure designed to be “lit up” by the sun filtering in through the thin colored plastic walls. We went to another one of these back in LA when the MM was a baby and loved it. Fun for kids and adults. A friend and his two boys joined us and we had a great time running around, taking pictures.
  • X show at the Cat’s Cradle: Los Angeles legends X came through and it was incredible. These folks are getting up there in age, but still manage to rock it and sound great. The nostalgia and LA feels were high.

June

  • Boating: A co-worker and her wife (no, we are not the only gays in NC) live on a lake and bought a new boat. They kindly invited our family over for a ride and some swimming in the lake and in their pool. It was great fun and the first time either boy has been lake swimming. They were both fans.
  • Monkey begins reading for pleasure: On a whim, I picked up a copy of the first Capt. Under.pants book at Tar.get and handed it to Monkey in the car. When we got home, he laid down on his belly on the couch and read for over an hour! This was probably my most favorite thing that happened in 2017. The birth of a reader. He has been into it ever since and has read tons of books. My heart, you guys. MY HEART!
  • Car Seat Headrest show at the Cat’s Cradle: We like them, we saw them, it was good. Seeing bands is a passion of ours, so I added all of them to the list to remind myself that we continued doing things we love as a couple.
  • Durham Bulls game: Love our Bulls! Planned to see one game per month over the summer, but only made it to two. Cool ballpark, beers, food – SO FUN!
  • Sold condo: After a couple of years of pain renting out our SoCal condo, we decided we were over it. It sold quickly for more than double what we paid for it 14 years ago (!!!). We socked most of the profits away to put down on our current house once we exit the dumpster fire. Sorry to be a downer, but we want access to money in case we need to make a quick exit from the US. We did use some of it…
  • Bought new cars: We bought a black 2017 Toy.ota High.lander, which we are in love with. Also replaced our ancient Hon.da CRV (purchased in 2001!) with a silver 2014 Hon.da CRV. So, no car payments, no paying interest, and in solid vehicles for years to come seemed like a good way to spend some of our profits.

July

  • Family beach trip (Edisto, SC): This was a VERY mixed bag, but I’m counting it in the win column because the kids had a fantastic time with their cousins. We had a little bday celebration for my nephew on the first night there, which was also a lot of fun.

August

  • Paperhand puppet show, Of Wings and Feet: This is a local group that makes the puppets, which are incredibly, and puts on various shows. I didn’t realize that this particular show highlighted resistance. It was poignant, funny, and inspiring. The boys and I even went on-stage at the end to act as protestors. Loved it.
  • Superchunk/Ex Hex/Waxahatchee @ NCMA: This was a Merge Records showcase at the NC Museum of Art’s open air theater. All three bands were really fun, but Superchunk was the highlight. We’ve loved them for many years and think it’s SO cool to see them here (they are from Chapel Hill) and get to go to shows at the Cat’s Cradle (epic indie rock club in Carborro, which is next to Chapel Hill). The museum is very close to home, so that was a plus as well.
  • The eclipse: This? WAS SO FREAKING COOL! I didn’t have much in the way of expectations, and I was blown away. I immediately regretted our decision not to travel to Columbia (which is where my parents live), where they had 100% totality. We had 93% totality and it was amazing.
  • Durham Bulls game: Go Bulls!

September

  • Helium show (Hopscotch Festival, downtown Raleigh): We were HUGE Helium fans in the 90s and count ourselves fortunate that this revival came through our town. Mary Timony (singer/songwriter/guitarist) did not disappoint. First show we’ve seen at the Red.Hat Amphitheater.
  • Monkey goes tree climbing: We have an arboretum near home that I follow on FB. They published this event to climb trees that looked really cool, so I got Monkey a spot. It exceeded our expectations and we can’t wait for it to come again. I’m totally climbing next time. You get a little instruction on how to use the equipment and there is an instructor there to help while you climb. You climb up huge old oak trees – 40-50 feet in the air!
  • Carolina Tiger Rescue: Who knew we had a tiger rescue within 30 minutes of home???? We had a great time wandering the grounds looking at bobcats, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, lions, and tigers. Really great facility that cares for these animals who need somewhere to go. Will definitely be back.

October

  • Guided by Voices show at Motor.co: First time at this super cool venue, across the street from Fullsteam Brewery, which we checked out as well. GbV is one of our favorite groups from back in the 90s (they are still touring and making records, God bless ’em), and this is our second opportunity to see them in NC. Fun ass show, per usual.

November

  • Cults show at Cat’s Cradle: Show was okay, but a night out at the Cat’s Cradle is always a good time.
  • Hosted Thanksgiving: This was my first time hosting Thanksgiving and it went very well. I made a turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a squash casserole, and biscuits. MiL brought pumpkin pie and apple pie. A friend brought a roasted veggie casserole. Meal was delicious and we had the house cleaned up and appropriately spiffed up for the holiday. I call it a success.

December

  • Hilton Head/Savannah trip: My parents have a time share on Hilton Head and we try to join when they go. This year, it was my mom and us (my dad was still in Houston, serving his time with FEMA). We typically do a day trip to Savannah as it’s only ~45 minutes away. This year we finally made it to the famed Bonaventure cemetery. We have a family plot there, where my great great grandfather and grandmother are buried. It’s a beautiful place with a ton of history. The boys were being out of control, so my mom offered to drive them around a bit so we could look in peace. We walked through the oldest area of the cemetery, took pictures, and then headed out to play at Forsyth Park.
  • NC Chinese Lantern Festival: See January, above.
  • Finalized DW adoption of the MM: We started this process early in 2017. After problem after problem after setback after setback, it was finally official in December. Thanks to my special friend SB for making it happen! So now both boys have been legally adopted by their Mommy. Suck it, 45.
  • Tig Notaro show: A close friend here in Raleigh is a HUGE Tig fan and bought a bunch of Tiggets to her show (that is her phrase – lololol). DW isn’t a fan, but I really like her as does my mom, so we went and it was great. I typically like my comedy more on the edgy side, but I got a bunch of laughs and a night out with the girls.
  • Christmas: Nothing out of the ordinary this year, but we love the holidays, so it’s always special. The MM’s “big” gift? Hulk riding a car. Monkey’s big gift? Nin.tindo Switch, with games and accessories from multiple family members.

And I must mention our fantastic karate family as playing a big part in making 2017 less of a suckfest. We absolutely love our dojo and our shihan, who is such a strong, caring, liberal woman who I’m proud to call a friend. It’s a wonderful community and we feel lucky to be a part of it. Monkey loves it and continues to thrive and improve. The MM, on the other hand, is the king of NO and decided he was done, much to our chagrin. Hoping that when he gets a little older he has a change of heart.

Not a bad year, right? It was fun to remember the good times and not focus on our national nightmare for a bit. I need to do more of that in 2018.

In closing, RESIST, my friends!

resist

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turn that red state purple – edited

EDITED to add <male co-worker’s> response and my response to that below.

By now, I’m sure all of you are aware of the awful discriminatory piece of garbage the NC govt. pushed through recently (HB2). The company that I work for is open and inclusive and values transparency. To that end, there are many (MANY) email lists on which all things are hashed out and then hashed out again and again and again. You get the point.

In such an environment, you can imagine the internal threads on HB2. There have been several, with the vast majority of people speaking out against the new law and promoting rallies and marches against it (#WeAreNotThis). That said, there are some who support the law and jump in with both feet to defend bigotry and discrimination. I’ve jumped into the fray on a few occasions, when the tone of an email just does not allow me to sit silently. Following is the worst of the worst from yesterday. Text in italics is from the original email.

Hi, <male co-worker I do not know>. I took a stab at going through your email point by point in as factual a manner as possible. I may have failed there on a few points as this is an issue that I am very passionate about. I hope that it helps to illuminate the issues I had with your original statement.

Person A believes that HB2 is good and it protects the rights and security of some people.
Fallacy: Transgender folks have been using the bathrooms for the gender they identify with for years and years and years. Criminal activity perpetrated in public restrooms by transgender people has been nil.

Person B believes that HB2 is bad because it is discriminatory towards some people (transgender folks)
Fallacy: HB2 is bad for many many many people. Have you actually read it? It allows discrimination against just about everyone – black people, pregnant people, people who are encountering harrassment in the workplace. The transgender part of this bill is a trojan horse – government drumming up and then preying on peoples’ fears to push through a bill with many other dangerous provisions. And look! Right before election time. Hmmmm….

Person Z is any transgender person (I am excluding the LGB part of LGBT because I honestly don’t see how this law actually applies to them, perhaps I am not familiar with this lifestyle enough be 100% accurate on this, if I am not, my apologies)
The use of “lifestyle” here is problematic as it implies being LGBT is a choice. Also, btw, my personal beliefs are that even if it were a choice, it does not affect you or me or anyone outside of that person’s sphere. I believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity whether they are like me or not.

Statement: Person B believes that it is discriminatory for person A to believe that HB2 is good and act upon it because it infringes on the perceived rights of Person Z
This is not a belief, it is a fact. HB2 takes away a right that transgender people had (to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity).

If Person B holds that Person A is being discriminatory by imposing their beliefs on someone else:
Imagine replacing “transgender” with “blacks” or “women” or “Muslims.” Discriminatory, correct?

    then Person B cannot impose on Person A their beliefs because that would be discriminating against Person A’s beliefs
No one is imposing anything. Again, transgender people were already using the restrooms that align with their gender identities, without issue.

or
   Person B cannot hold that Person A is discriminatory because by holding this belief they are not holding to the same logic they are holding person A to in the first place.
I am not sure what you mean here, but see above re: beliefs.

Therefore: If person B believes that Person A cannot impose their beliefs on Person Z, then Person B cannot impose their beliefs on Person A.
See above re: beliefs.

Therefore: Person A is free to believe that HB2 is good and that it protects the security of some people
Fallacy: The Charlotte ordinance was created to protect the security of transgender folks. It is these people whose security is now jeopardized. Again, trans people have been using the restroom alongside you and me and everyone else for decades. It has not been a problem, but it will be a problem now for transgender people.

Therefore: Person B, by their own logic, can believe that HB2 is bad but CANNOT impose this belief on Person A unless they agree that it is ok for Person A to impose their beliefs on Person Z.
See above re: belief.

Remember- Person Z made a choice to change something about themselves in a biological manner. No one made them do this.
Just to illustrate a point, when did you make the choice to be straight? Did you worry about telling your family that you were straight? Did you lose sleep and contemplate suicide because you were afraid people you love (and people you don’t know) might reject you or even try to physically harm you because you are straight? Do you frequently have to defend the rights of straight people? Your statement implies that transgender people should live a lie. What for? The comfort of others (notice I said COMFORT, not SAFETY)? What about their comfort?

Person Z is expecting everyone to accommodate them for their preference based on a choice they made. Why does it make it ok for someone to require everyone around them (e.g. a whole city) to change because they made a personal decision to change?
No one has been asked to change anything except for transgender folks, who have now been placed in harms way as women who present as men are now expected to use the womens room, and men who present as women are now expected to use the mens room. Not to mention, who is going to enforce this rule? It is sheer silliness.

By this reasoning, I should be able to expect cities of people to change the way of their life to best suit my personal preferences.
Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you. I’d imagine there is very little that you feel strongly should change to “best suit” your “personal preferences,” except perhaps that LGBT folks stay in the closet for your comfort. You see how wrong that is, right? Let me take it a step further. Why do LGBT people pay taxes if they are not extended the same rights as every other citizen? Do you see how that is discriminatory?

I’d also like for you to imagine a transgender <company name> employee reading their pro-HB2 co-workers thoughts (there are some, btw). How do you think they feel working for an inclusive company like <company name> but watching their co-workers support trampling on their rights and discussing their sexuality as a “choice” or “lifestyle?” It’s heartbreaking.

CO-WORKER’S RESPONSE

Hi <glamcookie>,

I used this to prove a point. If someone cannot talk about ideas without attacking a person, then there is very little reason for someone to want to listen to what you are so passionate about in the first place. I used syllogisms and statements made by people that I have heard say things concerning this matter. All I did was create the reasoning and rationale behind those statements to connect the points. It amazes me how you are personally attacking me and yet you do not know me. The reason for me posting this is because people should be able to talk about hard subjects without being attacked. Isn’t that the whole “<company name> way”? Talk about things, disagree about things, and let the best ideas prevail?

You took it upon yourself to assume many things and rather than asking questions, you blasted away. Truth be told, the reason I was wanting to talk to people about this logic is because I do not know where I personally stand. I know what I have heard but I think it is always best to talk to people who deal with these things before making my own conclusions. Though, you make it very difficult to want to listen or talk to you about this when you say sexist comments like, “Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you”. That shows me an awful lot of what you think about me without you knowing the first thing about me. You have stereotyped me and placed me in a bucket in your own mind for no reason. Not only is that sexist, that is directed against my sexuality personally. According to your logic, that is the very thing you are fighting for in the first place. Interesting how you are attacking me on a personal level about the same thing you are so passionate about for yourself and other people. I think I have a good understanding of where you stand on me as a person and your scope of wanting to talk to people about this issue. Thank you for your time but I do not need any more of it.

AND ME AGAIN

I’m assuming you took offense to this passage:

“Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you. I’d imagine there is very little that you feel strongly should change to “best suit” your “personal preferences,” except perhaps that LGBT folks stay in the closet for your comfort. You see how wrong that is, right? Let me take it a step further. Why do LGBT people pay taxes if they are not extended the same rights as every other citizen? Do you see how that is discriminatory?”

I’m sorry for assuming your position on LGBT folks – I was offended and insulted by your original statements and I took this stance based on that feeling. That is the only area where I can see a glimmer of a “personal attack.”

In terms of being sexist, I was merely stating a fact. This society privileges white men above all others. I have privilege as well being a white female. The conclusions that I came to were based on statements in your original post. I have also been offended initially when confronted with my own privilege. Then I learned to stop, listen to the other person’s point of view and reflect. I’ve learned a lot by taking what others from different backgrounds than mine have told me – even when they’ve told me in anger. I hope that you are able to do this as well.

I am allowed to be offended and insulted and not obligated to put that aside to make a nice statement to those that would deny me and my fellow citizens rights. Yes, I am angry. I will not calm down about an issue like human rights to make anyone else comfortable. That is not my role in the world.

I wish you well and sincerely hope that with time, my words might have an impact on your view.

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