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photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review- "Weapons of Mass Instruction"

"Weapons of Mass Instruction", by John Taylor Gatto isn't a new release, nor a bargain bin book find. I'd been wanting to read it since before we decided to home school Alec (and he's finishing up 6th grade now) but never got the chance.

I love this book. I love it because it validates every reason we're home schooling our son.

Both Ward and I suspected even during our own sentence in school systems (12 years for me, 16 years for Ward) that school wasn't so much about learning, about education, about donning actual thinking caps and expanding our intellectual horizons.

It seemed to both of us that we were being molded, formed, spindled and mutilated into what was CALLED "good upstanding contributing members of society" but felt a whole lot like the end result was intended to be "future Employees of the Month".

It was horrifying.

Ward is a far better person than I am. He went to school, got good grades, went to college and graduated with a shiny degree in Biology.

Me? Ummm...yeah.

When I was in junior high school, our town's schools were overcrowded and they hadn't built a new school yet so we had "split shift" schedules. 7th graders went to school from noon till 5pm and 8th and 9th graders from 7am-noon.

Our high school was a social experiment in "modular scheduling"- instead of Monday-Friday schedules, we had days 1-6. Instead of set class times, each class was 2 mods (40 minutes) or 3 mods (60 minutes). Most classes were on days 1/3/5 or 2/4/6. Before the school year started, they gave us the classes we were REQUIRED to take that year and a list of electives. We had to take X many credits to graduate. Then they let us do our own scheduling.

College-bound friends crammed themselves non-stop (except for the required 1 mod minimum for lunch) in a frenzy of grade point and credit attainment. I saw the scheduling as a different sort of challenge. My crowning achievement was senior year, day 4- I had class from 8:20-9am. And then I was free.

High school was pretty much a social event for me. Not that stupid useless crap like cheerleading and sports- I was on the school paper and a theater geek. When I was actually in the building anyway. Modular scheduling coupled with this being the '70's- before schools were on lockdown with metal detectors the exterior doors were ALL unlocked and people came and went unquestioned. There WERE school cops. We loved the school cops. They had the best weed. Or so I heard...

So it was pretty easy to come and go. I spent alot of time in the "go" mode. I'd walk to the city park down on the river- not a manicured/fountained sort of park, this was a "too swampy to build on so lets donate it to the city" sort of park. It was wild and isolated and I loved it. I'd walk to the art museum that had the glorious old fashioned gardens around it- the same beloved old historic home-turned-into-museum my mom had taken me to since I was 2 years old. During school hours.

I actually worked for the head of the English department who owned a small farm- during harvest season he'd have his teachers ask their students each day "When are you finished today? Wanna make some cash?" and off we'd go- like migrant workers in the back of his pickup to pick watermelons, or tomatoes, or pluck/process chickens. During school hours.

A few times my friends and I hopped the commuter train to Chicago in the early morning and be back home before dinner. We toured the museums, ate great (and cheap) food and generally hung around. Parental permission? Nah- they'd just worry, or worse- want to come with us. (Guess I'll find out if my mom reads my blog now...)

My POINT is that I learned more about nature study by spending quiet hours at the river's edge, more about hard physical labor at the truck farm, and more about getting around a big city sans wheels and more than pocket change than I ever learned sitting at a desk.

Here's something I've always wondered- I've always wondered how many of my classmates who went through the split shift/modular scheduling years ended up in the normal 9-2-5, because I never did. Our block of graduates hadn't graced a conventional classrooom since we were 13 years old, and I felt acutely the lack of training for "show up for 8 hours a day 5 days a week and obey someone you don't really like doing something that's probably a complete sham".

Oh, I worked. I worked full time from the time I was 16. I bussed tables. I worked at the school (teacher's aide- not tethered to a desk and alot of errand running), I worked any number of part time, half time, graveyard shifts to cobble enough money together to pay bills and stay fed. I worked at a Christmas tree lot, at an ice company, the city paper and a bank. I worked at a finance company and as a camp director. I had no pre-conceived notion of what I was "supposed" to do- other than get out and earn a living if I wanted to eat and have somewhere to live other than a cardboard box under the bridge.

In "Weapons of Mass Instruction" John Taylor Gatto takes us through the evolution of the American school system and explains beautifully what I instinctively felt- school has very little to do with education and everything to do with training a workforce to think spending 40+ hours a week at mind-numbing soul-crushing endeavors is how you're supposed to go through life.

According to the author, one huge tool in pigeonholing people at an early age and keeping them there and focused on learning answers and facts without delving into questions and reasons is standardized testing, which tell exactly nothing about intelligence, or life skills, or anything that makes a damn bit of sense in real life. Standardized tests are Big Business for the testers, an excellent way to keep students stressed and feeling unworthy, and the perfect excuse for not letting teachers...teach. Because such a huge chunk of the school year is spent "teaching to the test".

Somehow I knew that, too. When I was a senior in high school, I went to my parents and said "You know, I don't really know what I want to do for a career yet and I don't want to waste money on college till I'm sure- can I have some of my college money to maybe travel for a while?" This (seemingly sensible to me) request was met with unmitigated gales of laughter. "College money? COLLEGE MONEY?? COLLEGE MONEY??? What do you think we've been feeding and clothing you with for 18 years?"

Nevertheless, these same parents told me I HAD to take the SAT's with my friends just in case I decided I wanted to go to college. So they paid for me to sit my SAT and the morning of the test I showed up with my 2 college-bound friends. My friends went into the maws of the testing room. I hesitated at the door. I asked the woman at the door "Do you work here at the college?" She did. "If I decide I want to go to college in 5 years or 10 years or 20 years will it matter if I take the test today?"

She looked nervous.

"No. It won't matter", she said barely under her breath.

Not aware I was 40 years ahead of my time for John Taylor Gatto's Bartleby Project at the end of the book, I thanked her and turned away from the artificially lit arena of false importance and spent the day reading in the sunshine.

Spend all of a beautiful day sweating over which little dots to blacken in response to questions that have no real significance to Life, the Universe and Everything?

"I prefer not to".

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We Ate Dessert First...Just In Case

Yesterday was the end of the world.

Seriously.

Many thousands of people all over the world, by accident or disease, age or despondency all inhaled one last time the sweet mix that is uniquely Earth atmosphere, held it for a brief instant in their lungs, and exhaled their spirit along with whatever stuff our lungs are made to breathe back out.

And here's the freaky part-

The same thing happened the day before yesterday, and every day BEFORE the day before yesterday, and today, and will happen again tomorrow, and every day thereafter.

It's something alot of the "prepping crowd", the "survivalist enthusiasts", the "SHTF Club" don't think about while they're watching the sky for falling zombies clutching a WMD in one hand and a Qur'an in the other-

That every second of every minute of every day it's the end of the world for someone.

In a forum I used to frequent there was a woman who was beside herself with grief- her husband had lost his job, they were out of money, and she had had to break into her stockpile of food to feed her family. The other women's responses ran the gamut from "You should NEVER have touched your stockpile" to "It's OK- just replenish it as soon as you can". I read comment after comment till I couldn't stand any more and posted "Honey- you're stockpiling for an emergency- THIS IS IT! This is the end of YOUR world for right now- do NOT feel guilty- feel PROUD that you had the foresight to work to keep your family safe".

I admit we had a "Party Like There's No Tomorrow" cookout yesterday, but mostly as an excuse to have a cookout with people we love.

I'm not saying we don't need to be prudent and think ahead and hold things aside for rainy days and whatnot, but I think we get distracted by the Big Noisy Crap and can't see the Little Important Details.

I think that while collecting up food/paper goods/personal hygiene sundries to last a few months to a year is prudent, being loathe to use it even though you have no money for food is totally missing the point of the exercise.

I think spending time at a range learning to be a decent shot with your home and personal defense firearm is prudent, being afraid of your own shadow because there are "bad people out there" is disturbing, considering you're now armed. (Give yourself extra asshat points if you make your children so afraid of Danger Stranger they pee themselves if someone says "hi" to them in the grocery store).

I think being so wrapped up in preparing for the apocalyptic end of the world that you can't enjoy your home, your family, your LIFE is horrifyingly sad.

Prepare to keep yourself safe and sheltered and fed come economical or natural disaster- for truly no one on Earth cares for your family like you do.

But never opt to clean toilets when there are cookies to be baked.

Never go to bed angry.

Never let a day go by without saying "I love you".

Read about the End of the World, but plan a cookout and hand the children pointy sticks, smore makin's and the means to start fire.

Hug the stuffin' out of everyone in your family and every true friend- because sooner or later but always and without doubt

Everyone leaves. By death or circumstance, everyone leaves.

Every second of every minute of every day it's the end of the world for someone.

Mama Dixon's End of the World Good Luck With That BBQ Blackeyed Peas

3 cups dried blackeyed peas
5 slices bacon, cooked crispy and diced (hold back 3 tbsp. bacon grease)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp Magic Dust*

Place peas in a saucepan- cover with water and soak overnight.
Rinse, drain and cover with water- bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook till tender but not bursting.
While the peas are cooking, mix together everything on the list from "ketchup" down and saute the onion and garlic in the saved bacon grease.
Drain the peas, keeping back 2 cups of the cooking water.
Place peas, saved water, onion, garlic, bacon and sauce mix in a baking dish and bake at 350 for an hour or till bubbly.
Serve immediately or keep warm in a crock pot.

*Magic dust (like Seasoned Salt, but about a gabazillion times better)

1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp mustard powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
2 tbsp pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 tbsp cayenne

(courtesy of PeaceLove&Barbecue)











Monday, May 16, 2011

Thus Concludes Our Depressing Backward Glance

Sitting at my desk, looking out at the full moon rising over the creek, this place is so much a part of us now it's difficult to believe we've only been here shy of five months. Actually it's constantly surprising to find ourselves here at all.

Full moon, full circle, full plates, full hearts.

The following post seems so very far in our past that I can't hardly conjure the feel of it. I remember the weariness, the worry- those are my constant companions always. But the feeling of Home we had at the old house is gone- remembered fondly always- but gone.

Our boy is taller and stronger and infinitely more mature. He runs wild, free, and mostly clothed over his new domain with reckless abandon.

Ward is healing- every day better than the one before- and each one a blessing. When I allow a sliver of a thought regarding how close I came to losing him I truly, seriously, really can't stand it.

Joe's been north and back a few times but now instead of missing one place when he's in another, he's content to visit there and come Home to here. He's put down roots and put up a cabin of his own.

We've lost beloved pets and gained some new characters.

And we finally finally at long last built Home.

Here's what I wish. I wish I could reach backwards and envelop all of us- wounded and weary and worried last year- take us all in a huge all-encompassing bear hug, pat our collective heads and murmur "Shhh...it's going to be OK- I promise you".

I can't do that. But I can tell my family every day that it's OK- that we're OK.

I can take last year's memories and drop them gently in a little box in my head marked "Toxic and Fragile", and set them aside.

Full moon, full circle, full plates, full hearts...

May 16, 2010
Just An Ordinary Day- How Extraordinary
We got back into town a week ago yesterday, after over a month's forced interment in the Houston Medical District.

During that time, everything revolved around time spent at the hospital. Every minute, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, was ab-normal to our family. There were no daily farm chores, no big meals to be prepared- with just a kitchenette in the hotel room, there was no baking, roasting, broiling. The cleaning and linen laundry was done by the staff, our laundry was done in the hotel laundry room- no outside clothesline.

Most of our time was spent inside- the hospital, the hotel, the grocery store- and the times we made to spend outdoors were not fulfilling- there are no stars to be seen at night there, nor quiet to be had even surrounded by trees in a park.

The sounds, the smells, the oppressive closeness of millions of other people crammed into the cement jungle weighed heavily on us and we yearned for our little town of 756 people, the countless stars at night, open windows and the music of nature lulling us to sleep.

The first week we were home was devoted to catch-up, and acquainting ourselves with some new, although temporary realities.

"We'll have the home health people come give you a hand" seemed benign and helpful. What they don't tell you is that there is a nurse, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a nutritionist- all with their own schedules that we must fit in between doctors' appointments and lab work.

I had a bi-monthly board meeting to prepare for and attend, and there were some pretty hefty changes at work that I had to institute, along with all the stuff that got way-sided while I was gone.

So this morning I got up at 7am and did what I most longed to do.

Not sleep in. Not put my feet up to read a book or watch a movie. Not go shopping or take a long bubble bath.

I did the morning chores, and delighted in the easy routine and the simple yet genuine pleasure of the animals at breakfast time.

I made a big brunch for my boys- pork chops, gravy, scrambled cheesy eggs and biscuits with lots of fresh ground coffee (cocoa for Alec), and delighted in the easy routine and the simple yet genuine pleasure of the boys at breakfast time.

I cleaned the guinea pigs and shuffled some around- separating out weanling babies and pregnant mommas- reflecting on almost 30 years of raising these endearing little critters.

I baked up a storm- 2 batches of triple fudge kickass brownies- one for us and one for a friend of ours who just had surgery on Wednesday, and an apple pie for the friend who ratted out which hospital the first friend would be at so I could surprise him and keep him company all day.

Cleaning the house is something that's not normally on my Favorite Things To Do list, but after being gone so long it's cathartic- possibly a form of "marking my territory" to go through the house room by room- making sure those few things that really bother me when they're undone get done correctly- in a way only a Mom knows how to do.

For dinner I made spaghetti sauce with italian sausages and mushrooms, and homemade garlic bread- heavy on the Parmesan cheese.

All the cooking took just about every pot and mixing bowl I own, and it was good- the fact that we don't own a dishwasher not a burden, since washing by hand lets me remember where I got each mixing bowl, and appreciate the heavy smoothness of my grandmother's rolling pin.

And all day long I tended to the new puppy we got Friday- taking her outside where she demonstrated her obvious brilliance by pottying like a good doggie each and every time. While a new puppy might seem outwardly like the very LAST thing our family needs at this particular juncture, Fizzgig is a welcome diversion for Alec, for Ward, and for me- she's as sweet as she is smart, and has snuggled her way into our hearts in less than three days.

So I sat down here at 10pm- fifteen hours after rising this morning- the only times I've sat down otherwise all day were to pee, and here I am.

I'm stiff, I'm exhausted, but after a week of being here, I finally feel like I'm home.
Posted by lunamother at 8:18 PM

Friday, May 13, 2011

Perky Breasts Are Over-Rated

And I'm not just saying that in a fit of sour grapes since mine are over half a century old and gravity is not their friend.

Honestly, I don't remember my breasts ever BEING perky. When of that vintage I didn't do a whole lot of thinking about them at all except as sorta getting in the way. Not that they were formidable obstacles- when I was young and before children they were nondescript 32A's, blossoming to 34B's after giving birth. I'm really not sure where they are now (in relation to official size, I KNOW they're still attached to me, ya big goofballs).

The whole "bra thing" has been lost on me. I flat cannot get into the entire idea of 'em (pun intended). When I was young, I really didn't need one. Once I was old and felt it was socially demanded of me, I couldn't find one that fit or didn't make me feel like I was being smothercated or held across my mid-section in the jaws of some invisible dinosaur.

So for 99% of my life, I've dealt with it the way any normal sane person does- I've ignored it. I've gotten by with sports bras and fitted cami's and otherwise alternative forms of "ways to keep you from jiggling too much and to keep yer nipples from showing thru yer t-shirt".

Has this lack of "support" caused my boobs to sink lower/faster that the average gal's? I don't know. I know they point downwards when unencumbered, but so does most of my half-century+ anatomy.

Here's what else I know.

I know that even though I never nursed a baby (I'm in a tiny percent of women who produce enough milk to feed entire communities but the make-up of said milk doesn't have the nutrition to sustain a hamster. I naturally make ultra skim milk, something babies do NOT need. TMI?)that my 3 babies nestled, snuggled, were rocked to sleep right there.

I know that my 3 children cried themselves to sleep when sick, or hurt, or otherwise jostled by Life using them as pillows- pillows they could hear the beating of my heart through- assurance that they have roots and continuity, safety and security.

I know that when Ward was crazy with delirium caused by the hospital staff, when he didn't know who I was and was seeing UFO's outside the window and bugs on the wall and worms on the pages of his book, when he had to be restrained to the bed so he wouldn't hurt himself or others- I KNOW that the one thing that calmed him and let him rest for even a few hours was when I crawled into bed with him (against the wishes of the staff because he WAS so belligerent and aggressive)and snuggled up against him like we do every night at home. He stopped twitching and fighting. His arm (IV and restraint and all) came around me and he cupped my breast in his hand. He sighed deeply and fell asleep.

"The Girls" may not be perky, they may not stop traffic, but I wouldn't trade them for all the silicone in the world.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I've Been Thinking...

Those are the three little words my family most fears.

The FOUR most feared words are "I've got an idea".

But right now I'm not in the Idea Mode, just the Thinking Mode.

And I've been thinking about our friend Juli.

Juli is an amazingly beautiful woman in about a thousand ways and on at least that many levels, but I was reading her blog this morning and once again was struck by just how serene this woman is- fundamentally absolutely and shining-like-starlight serene.

She's overcome more shit than a body and lifetime should ever be dealt yet remains loving and kind, optimistic and thankful.

I push my way through life like a banty rooster with rabies, stopping every so often to give something my FULL jumping up and down with spittle gathering at the corners of my mouth fury and then moving on to the next thing, the next foe, the next obstacle. Lemme tell ya. It's exhausting.

And I know I've made verbal and written commitments to be a kinder, gentler version of myself (recently, too- no need to remind me), but now I've got something I can mentally paste to the backs of my eyelids so I can see it during that brief moment when my eyes are closed in concentration and concentrating the madness before the explosion sends verbal shrapnel deep into the feelers of all those around me- WWJD

What Would Juli Do?

Oh, don't worry your pretty heads that I'm gonna get all soft and squishy- I'm gonna have to direct all that venom at SOMEONE and luckily there's plenty of targets around who deserve it.

But not the people I love- be they human or otherwise.

I'd be remiss if I didn't share with ya'll- Juli makes awesome teas and sundries and art that calms the mind and makes the soul smile.

Check her out-

http://wildmooncottage.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hard To Top Last Mother's Day

Last Mother's Day I didn't want flowers or dinner out or jewelry or even a card- I wanted one thing- to come home. To come home with my husband and my son and just be...home.

The Thursday before Mother's Day they discharged Ward- five weeks after a "one week, tops" stay in the hospital that included some very good things, but mostly some spectacularly horrifying things. He was completely worn down physically and mentally. Hell, we all were. Much as we wanted to escape Houston, I decided to stay 2 extra nights in the hotel...just in case. You see, the doctors had strongly advised against taking Ward home- they advised placing him in a nursing home "at least for a while".

He had reached a point in his "recovery" where being hospitalized was not warranted anymore, but he was still quite fragile in all ways.

I couldn't fathom how putting an already weakened and confused man into a completely new and foreign environment would possibly be helpful, so I insisted on bringing him home. It was still scary since he could barely walk, and had huge lapses in memory leftover from his weeks spent in drug-induced delirium and that little coma he had been in.

So we brought him from the hospital to the hotel Thursday afternoon and I wrote this to my friends-

Hey- guess who's right here next to me? In bed. At the hotel.

Ward. Ward Dixon.

What the hell am I doing on the computer? See ya'll tomorrow.


The next day-

*Day One of our Liberation*

Ward requested three things only-

1) to go to the bookstore, even for just a few minutes
2) COFFEE on-demand, all day long
3) never being out of our sight or reach

Check, check, and check.

using the walker to steady him, we also got him a lovely, if short shower- he's a New Man


And later that night, this-

Friday, May 7, 2010
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

When I was a child, I was taken by my mother to Sunday School and church. Every single Sunday. I grew up in the church and believed what I was taught- even turning into a Sunday School teacher myself for a while.

I believed in the Bible. I believed that God was personal, and real, and cared about me and my family as individuals- like Santa Claus he kept an eye on us all and took notes on our progress, our lives, our daily travails.

As I grew older, though, things didn't add up anymore. I had questions.

The questions were readily answered by Those Who Knew Better Than Me, and I believed the answers. Until I had a minute to think about them. Then they generally didn't make a damn bit of sense. Sometimes even less sense than the questions themselves.

Q: Why do newborn babies die? They haven't done anything wrong. Do they just get a minute on earth then an eternity in heaven?
A: It's all a part of God's Plan. Even so short, their lives touch those around them and teach those left behind important lessons.

Q:What about all those people who never get to hear about the story of Jesus? Do they still go to Hell even though it's not their fault they don't know?
A: Yes. Unfortunately they go to Hell. That's why it's so important that we send missionaries everywhere as soon as we can.

Q: Diseases like cancer- alot of those people are good people who never did anything wrong- why should they suffer like they do?
A: No one is without sin. Life is full of opportunities to make ourselves right with the Lord.

Q: So, if Forgiveness and Redemption are given to anyone who truly regrets sinning and accepts Jesus as Savior- any old mass murderer can go to Heaven?
A: Yes. If a person truly accepts the Word- Heaven is theirs.

Q: If God can do anything, why does he let babies die, good people get cancer, and people kill other people in the first place?
A: Free Will- we must endure what comes and go to God of our own free will.

We watch South Park. Yes, it's a cartoon filled with profanity-spewing little children and Kenny always dies at the end of every show by some horrible means.

The writers also generally nail every social issue square on the head- from Gay Rights, to people with disabilities, to Saving the Rainforest, to the meltdown of our Financial Institutions, to any and all religions.

In one show, the parents of Stan are standing at his hospital bedside- comforting him while he endures the physical and emotional insult of having a bleeding hemorrhoid. He asks why alot of very bad people seem to do ok, nay fabulously in life, while people like himself- a pretty good little boy- suffer.

They tell him the story of Job. Sort of a dare-fest between God and Satan. And Job loses. Loses his health, his home, his family. But he never loses faith in God, who is pleased because He doesn't have to pay up to Satan. Stan rightly observes

"That's the worst story I've ever heard".

And decides then and there that there is no God.

I've just witnessed my husband endure trials that make what Job went through look like a day at the circus. For over a month- every time he started to get well BANG- slapped back down by the Fickle Finger of Fate. Over and over and over again.

And much as I love our friends who love us and pray for us and who say "God is so Good- to God go the glory" every time Ward's made progress, I beg to differ.

I know, and am sorry, that they had nothing but prayers of encouragement when he got smacked down by one major surgery, then a week of medically-induced delirium, then another major surgery, then heart failure, then pneumonia- weeks of never-ending issues that were obviously NOT the Glory of God At Work. There were almost palpable pauses of disbelief on their parts- as they grasped for something good to say, some comfort they could offer up to me from God as I watched my husband slip away violently time after time.

I believe there is a Higher Power. I believe there are consequences for how we act in this life and that how we live now will affect our next live(s).

But I believe that Ward is still here- very weak but still kickin', partly because of the medical staff at the hospital, partly because his wife sat at his bedside and told him he was NOT allowed to die and he's as frightened of me as all the hospital staff learned to be, but mainly he's here because he has tremendous will, and phenomenal courage.

Yes. God, or Mother Goddess (which I prefer) or the Higher Power may have gifted his soul with those attributes, but HE used them- HE fought back with more strength than anyone thought he had.

Mother Goddess gave his soul the gifts- he struggled damn hard to use them- to stay longer with me, and his son-

To Ward goes the glory- the admiration and the love.

He is more my hero now than he was before- something I told him the other day in the hospital- still fuzzy and trying to reconcile the loss of over a month of time from his consciousness and the loss of all his strength and muscle and about 30 pounds from his body, depressed and frustrated with them both- and our son looked at us and said "Wow. That's saying ALOT".

Because he has always been, and is even moreso now- My Knight In Shining Armor.


The following morning- Saturday, we packed up, got in the car, and went home.

In time for Mother's day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will They REALLY Appreciate Hearing From Me?

Hard to believe, I know, but I've never written a letter to an elected official...till today. But in the words of Popeye (who I really don't like, by the way) "I've taken all I can stands and I can't stands no more".

I've signed petitions, given (small) donations where I feel they'll be wisely spent, but after yet another "sign the petition and WRITE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL" email today hard on the heels of the passing of a bill in Congress that will force a woman to PROVE rape (like rape isn't degrading enough) the words formed deep somewhere in the region of my bowels, percolated their way up through what's left of my reproductive organs, gathered heat from my heart and push from my lungs and exploded en masse out of my fingertips.

What spattered all across my monitor is the following, and I'm actually pretty proud of it. I sent it to Louie Gohmert, Leo Berman, and Rick Perry- all "my" elected officials and every one a white male WAY-right Republican.

I highly recommend this type of political-overload cleansing, and would be tickled lavender if anyone thought enough of my efforts to use some or all of it in their own missives to their elected officials.

Mr. Gohmert,

As a Texan, and one of your constituents, I must tell you that you do NOT speak for me and my family exactly 100% of the time.

We vote, we pay taxes, and we are proud Americans.

Just in case you missed the memo- there is already a "no funding" policy for federal usage of monies given to Planned Parenthood for abortions. None. Please stop wasting MY taxpayer money frightening people with lies to push your personal bible-thumping agenda.

And about that. It sickened me to learn of the little Lufkin shindig attended by you, Leo and our Gov. Rick where ya'll chanted "NO SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE"

While we count many Christians among our friends and family, I respectfully submit to you the First Amendment. Unless my document is different from yours, it says that there is to be NO STATE RELIGION- that bit about "under God" in the pledge? In God We Trust on the money? Ten commandments pasted up in all the government buildings?

All added after the fact. Our founding fathers would have considered all those things a slap in the face of all the work they did to be sure this country stands not only on freedom OF religion, but freedom FROM religion.

Your zealous display of gleefully stomping on the First Amendment, along with the other elected officials at the Lufkin event, would've been considered by those noble men to be not only impeachable, but treasonous.

I am a woman who believes that women should not be treated as property- I am disgusted at your consistent efforts to simultaneously force women under the thumb of government while stripping away any safety net in place for the aftermath of those morally bankrupt laws hidden behind the cloak of Righteousness.

I am an Over 50 year old human who believes that in the greatest nation in the world access to quality health care is a RIGHT, not something to be earned, and have lived with the spectre of cancer in my beloved husband for almost a decade- with insurance, without insurance, and with Medicare. That we've had to go begging for help at times, something that is unheard of in all other first world, second world and most of the globe's third world countries is shameful.

I am a mother who home schools, partly because Texas is dismally behind the rest of the US and light years behind the rest of the planet in quality of education (light years is science- you'll have to look it up). My best friend is a public school principal, and I have friends who are teachers- it's not the people in the system at fault, it's the system itself. The current trend of our state school board and that pompous ignoramus David Barton is assuring future generations of Texans be ignorant and laughably behind...everyone.

I am a heterosexual who believes in the sanctity of marriage and family. I find the assumption that there is but one definition of both words narrow-minded and hateful. People who love and respect one another enough to desire legal marriage and family standing should be encouraged and honored, not vilified- for there is little enough love and respect in the world as it is.

I am an American who believes that the greatest terrorist threat comes from within our nation- from ANYONE who declares a Holy War on the tenets our nation was founded on- be they Muslim, or be they Christian.

I am a Texan.

And I'm sick and tired of having to apologize for you, and Leo, and Rick.

Sincerely,

Sheri Dixon


Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition- there's an armed and pissed off liberal hippiechick mama in the East Texas woods...

Monday, May 2, 2011

If I Could Say One Thing Before the Party Gets Started...

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.


And that, in a nutshell, is what I'm feeling about the death of Osama BinLaden.

I'm half Sicilian, so I believe that there are, in fact, some people who just need killing but I also believe that to REJOICE in their deaths- no matter how deserved- is more than misguided, it's evil.

I have a friend, a dear friend whose son was gunned down execution-style exactly 5 years ago today. Although they know who the killer is, he walks free until they have "enough rope to hang him with" because without hard and fast evidence there's a chance that he'd be acquitted in a jury trial.

Frustrating? Oh, yeah.

Maddening? Absolutely.

Even as 'merely' her friend it makes me crazy that this is taking so long to bring to an end, a closure, some goddamn justice.

But lets just say...

Lets just say they get the evidence. It goes to trial and he gets the death penalty (because here in Texas we still do that).

There are no appeals and no calls from the governor and my friend witnesses the death of her son's killer.

I've known her nigh on 20 years and can say with some assurance that there would not be a smile on her face, no joy, no satisfaction.

I can say with some assurance that she'd be weeping. From the still-fresh wound of the loss of her son, at the brand new wound of the loss of someone else's son (no matter how badly he turned out, he's still someones' son).

Because even with Justice Served, her baby is still gone forever. The death of someone else's baby will not bring him back. Ever.

So, should Osama BinLaden not have been assassinated? No, he clearly needed to be dead.

But we do not honor OUR dead, OUR loved ones, by rejoicing in the death of another- no matter who he was.

We honor our dead by a moment of silence, a deep sigh of resignation, and by wasting not one minute- not one second- on bloodthirsty relish.

The people who lost their lives both in the attack on our soil and overseas in our armed services are lost forever, and the death of even the admitted author of the attack does not change that one iota.

We honor those we have loved and lost by striving every day to live lives of honor, and truth, and justice yes- but also of compassion and peace.

Ironically, it's those last two that sometimes take the most strength and resolve.

Take us home, Martin-

"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."
— Martin Luther King Jr.
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