Sunday, January 18, 2015

Disappointed by Humans...Again

Our town has been hit in recent weeks with an unusual number of daytime (and nighttime) home burglaries. About a week ago, a house two blocks away was hit at about 10 a.m. They took the usual: laptop, jewelry, cash, blank checks, etc. In other words, they took the easy-to-grab items and off they vanished. Neighbors were home. No one heard a thing.

At the same time, there have been so-called magazine solicitors all over the town. They're the types that are brought in by the van-load and then go door-to-door, aggressively and sometimes quite rudely telling a sob story of woe and turning their lives around. They run the gamut from well dressed to skanky. They are hard-core salespeople who don't like to take the first "no" or the second "no" or ever the third "no" for an answer.

And then there's the pair of men tooling around town in a gold Lexus and going to gas stations and convenience stores, harassing people they come in contact with, shaking down patrons for cash and creeping some folks out.

My town is about two-thirds Caucasian. More than two in ten are Hispanic. Just under 3% are Black.

The Lexus drivers are Black.

The magazine solicitors are Black.

The burglars? No one knows.

But just because people don't know doesn't mean they don't suspect that the burglars are Black. In fact, there's a firm belief that it's not merely a coincidence that the magazine solicitors come to town, going door-to-door, like Santa Claus, finding out not who's naughty or nice but, rather, who's home and who isn't. Factor in the scumbags in the Lexus, and many folks around here know the burglars are Black.

I belong to a couple of Facebook groups. One is called "TOWN Moms Club" and the other is called "TOWN in the Know." Lots of posts about the three big happenings going on.

Last night, when a solicitor came to one woman's door, she posted about her encounter with him and then posted a photo of him, smiling. (Yeah, lots of folks are taking pictures of the solicitors and posting them or keeping them for their records in case their house gets hit.)

When another person posted a comment, "That's just my baby daddy," I was enraged. I contacted the group's administrator about the comment. And I also wrote, "I think there is an incredibly inappropriate comment in this thread. I'd suggest it be deleted."

That's when another dipshit started posting about liberal "retards" and sayings about being "politically correct."

Yeah, I was pissed. But the first dipshit deleted her comment. And when she did, I posted an innocuous comment about "The comment has been deleted. Thanks."

And then the second dipshit deleted her comments. But then the two dipshits started going back and forth about free speech or whatever. So I removed myself from the "TOWN in the Know" group because, honestly, any group that exists which has such fucked-up people as a part of it isn't a group I want to be in.

A woman in the other group, that "TOWN Moms Club," happens to be married to a Black man. (She is White.) She posted about being at a gas station with her husband and seeing another woman -- no surprise, also White -- writing down the license plate of their minivan. When the wife came back to her husband and vehicle, the other woman -- Gladys Kravitz -- did a double-take and a feeble wave or some kind of acknowledgement that the town was in no immediate danger.

Am I sure the burglars aren't part of the magazine solicitors? Nope. Truth be told, I lean toward believing they are. But the absolute racist rantings by people who have no qualms of posting using their own names in a local Facebook group scares me far more than magazine solicitors. The worst part? These women are raising children. [SHUDDER]

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

When I got on the computer yesterday morning, the story was the first one I saw. I truly felt sick to my stomach. The feeling never left. I sat transfixed at my computer the entire day, watching The Guardian's live feed and looking at Twitter, clicking links to carry me to Charlie Hebdo covers from years past to the video of the policeman on the ground holding his hand up to comic images of defiance and sorrow from artists to photos of seas of people NOT AFRAID and JE SUIS CHARLIE.

I was saddened and enraged. I am still saddened and enraged. I'm not naive. I've never been naive. The awareness that madmen will take their madness from their desert enclaves and bring it to us was awakened even before September 11, 2001. It's a reality that's reinforced again and again. Facing that reality never gets easier. It was made even more difficult yesterday.

Some opinions and ideas offend me. I'm sure some offend you as well. I will defend your right to offend me again and again. I am one of those people. I was disgusted by Skokie. I was disgusted by Piss Christ. I am repeatedly disgusted by films and literature that depict the most vile acts and use incendiary words to provoke. I am disgusted by USA Today giving a platform to that fucker Anjem Choudary.

Offend away, folks. I will leave the web page or change the channel or not watch or read. But I will not prevent you from offending me.

And I will be saddened beyond words when people take your lives in the name of a fictional being because you offended them. And I will not know how to do anything about it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

That Kid? He's All Right.

Without a peep out of me. Without a whisper of an idea. I had nothing to do with it.

But Eldest? He needed letters of recommendations from teachers to include with his Common App. And one of the deadlines was absolutely ludicrous. But his current and former teachers rose to the occasion. Even when the system crashed for them. They persevered.  And they submitted those letters in time.

And you know what that lad of mine did? He went out and bought the teachers gifts. All on his own. No encouragement from me.

If that doesn’t make him college-worthy, I’m not entirely sure what does.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


When the two oldest were just little kids, I managed to finagle working four days a week. On that fifth day, I was home, and there was the most amazing noise. BAM! Jolted us, even though, of course, we were wide awake and watching "Blue's Clues" in the living room.

I bolted to the front door, leaving demon dog to fend for himself. Oh, I guess I left the two little ones to fend for themselves as well. Bad parent. BAD parent!

A tree had fallen on a house just one house down from us. It was early. Pete had already gone to work. I want to say it was 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. Who cares, now, right?

The tree fell on their bed. For whatever reason, the man had awoken and wandered to the kitchen, where his spouse was. BAM!

They survived, of course. Otherwise, how would I know all this? Oh, and they re-built a monstrosity among all of the gorgeous Eichlers on our street.

As they warn of a big-ass storm coming our way, I look at trees in the back and wonder, "Who will a tree take out?" Not me, of course, because I'm not going to be able to sleep in the next 18 hours.

It's another situation where I realize it's easier to believe in a Higher Power to pray to rather than...nothing. So if this is my last post, okay, that's that. But let this be a warning to you: mind the trees. They are evil.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dear Dad

I thought about you a lot yesterday. You would have been 84 had you not died at 56. The older I get, the less I remember about you. And, yet, there you are. Glimpses in the mirror. (Shit, yeah, I still have mostly dark, dark hair, closing in on the age you were when you died.) And, yes, I still have that "Hoyt sweat" damaging all of my clothes. (Really, what removes sweat stains? I need to know because Le Daughter is equally cursed and I am the laundress of the house.)

I wish you were here. I wish you got to embarrass the hell out of my kids with your singing. I wish you got to see, firsthand, that I did, actually, go on and have children. Late in life, for sure, but I had them. One. Then two. Then, oh, shit, a third.

Mostly, though, I wish I believed in an afterlife so I would get to see you again. Alas and alack, no, I don't. So you're gone from here. And I will be gone from here soon enough. And eventually all who knew you will be gone. And no one will remember.

But, for now, I remember. And I miss you. And I wish I could remember you more than I do.

The kids are all right, Dad. We manage. We muddle -- or muggle -- through. And on your birthday and at many more times than I'd likely admit, we channel you. Now, let's all stand up and sing, "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay, I'll take your pants away. And while you're standing there, I'll take your underwear."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank a Vet

One Memorial Day a number of years ago, I wrote a post about my memories of being at Hickam Air Force Base when POWs first landed on American soil after years of North Vietnamese captivity. I don't believe I have ever witnessed more solemn and joyous occasions as those returns. I was 12. That was more than 40 years ago.

It is Veterans Day today. And, as we have for the last several years, we will go down to the Marin Civic Center to attend the ceremony honoring veterans of all kinds. Eldest will be part of the ceremony as part of his JROTC unit. At 18, in a different era, he would have been a prime candidate for going off to war. Newly minted men his age are serving now in similar dangerous situations.

It was an honor to take a couple of hours of my life years ago to greet the returning POWs. It is an honor to take a couple of hours out of my life today to honor all who have served.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Love Letter

I think I might miss the sloppy hugs and kisses most of all. I even miss the nights of blasting Springsteen and holding the kid for hours on end, dancing in the dark, so that he would just stop crying. Just stop.

Just stop growing up is what I might say now. But I really don't mean it. Someone wrote in a blog post not that long ago about looking at her kids and seeing all of the ages and stages when she looks at them. She said it much better, of course, but I nodded knowingly.

I see him lining up his Chevron cars. I see him wearing his homemade Superman costume (underoos with the underwear worn over blue sweatpants, the Superman T-shirt and a black checkered towel as his cape). I see him as Santa Claus in the first grade play. I see him playing the guitar for the class on the last day of 3rd grade. I see him clad in a toga for a 7th grade presentation. I see him nearly lost on the first days of high school until we found the JROTC and the JROTC found him.

And I see him while we were sitting on his bed last week as I pontificated about the mid-term elections, his first. I see him nod knowingly when I impart his dad's and my philosophy on voting: no new taxes and no incumbents. I see him roll his eyes because, really, his mother is just so.

Just so.

He is 18 today and, if I may be so bold as to use a cliche, time flies. It flies and its winds whip up all that you've ever known about a person. If you're lucky, as I am today, you feel the breeze of 4 months and 3 years and 8 years and 15 and now 18.

Happy birthday, Eldest. My life is infinitely better for having had the great privilege of being your mother.


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