It’s Time for a HOCO Post

Welp. The pandemic is over, or at least it would seem as much down at the local high schools, where screaming, unmasked football crowds packed into stadiums are a regular occurrence again. And, HOCO season is here, another opportunity for every teenage girl that exists to prove – once again – that high heels are walkable in for everyone except me.

That’s right, ladies and gents, I’m talking about homecoming. The annual weekend when people are supposed to travel home from wherever they’ve moved on with their lives to, like in those quintessential 90s movies; travel home and go to the ol’ football game and sit in the “alumni section” with the other old fucks that have started to bald and wear fanny packs no longer out of irony, but rather utility. …have drinks at the bar you tried to sneak into with a fake ID decades ago, have an old person’s dance of your own where the quarterback of the football team slops all over you, hairy beer belly bulging out of his shirt that’s missing a button, drunk; all-the-while trying to sell you and your husband Barry insurance… you know, homecoming…

Of course where I live now, in hyper-whitebread suburban California, no one ever leaves, so I’m not certain the Hoco football game part of it all is as big of a deal. The entire town goes to the weekly football games anyway, whether they have children or not. (A little weird, if you ask me.) What the fuck are you “coming home” to if you’ve never left? Here, it is all about the spirit week and the dance. And while my kids homeschool, they still have friends in the community, and we have family… and there’s just a decidedly HOCO vibe about the community during homecoming week that leaves me acutely aware of just what is going on, and how things have changed.

HOCOPROSAL

What the fuck is it with kids these days where everything has to be a charade?

Like you can’t just text a kid and say “hey, you want to go to the dance with me,” or whatever. Now, kids are doing these stupid signs with little poems. One year, my daughter showed me a video on Instagram of a girl she knew getting a “Hocoprosal,” where this kid brought a pizza into class for her and he had used green frosting to sloppily write “will you go to HOCO with me” ON THE PIZZA. I can still taste the vomit boiling into the back of my throat at the thought. Another year, I heard about a kid being given a goldfish, because the theme was something very Back to the Future – like “fish under the sea dance.”

When it comes to the gimmicky use of a living creature that will require care, time, and cost for God knows how long (my understanding is that, years later, the fish is still alive), why not go bigger than a stupid carnival goldfish in a bag? Why not a rabbit? How about a dog? Fuck it, a horse! Hey gurl, I got you this horse will you go to HORSECO with me?

Thoughts and Prayers

There is no less of a meaningless, I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-your-problems, thing to say than “thoughts and prayers,” but this year in particular I have a lot of people to “thoughts and prayers” at.

Thoughts and prayers to our old neighbors who rented their kids a hotel suite to have a party in after the dance. They also supplied the alcohol. Stand up, Grade A parenting right there. Good luck on the bill you get for the room damages, and hope no one got drunk and died driving because of that kind of dumbass enabling behavior.

Thoughts and prayers to the family member whose daughter came home from homecoming having made it official with the kid sporting a decidedly ironic mullet, which he happened to curl for HOCO because – you know – Joe Dirt cleans up real good.

Thoughts and prayers to the parents of the kid who joked in the line behind me at CVS the other day that this may be the year he finally gets his girlfriend pregnant at HOCO.

In the last couple of years, I’ve heard horror stories about janitorial crews finding empty 40s in the bathrooms, and used condoms on the dance floor, to which I have to ask: what the fuck is going on? I mean I get it: kids will be kids, but actually no. No. This is not kids being kids. This is too many thoughts and prayers, and not enough… I don’t even know what…

When I Was a Kid…

I don’t know if it’s that I’m hedging on 40, or that things just really are remarkably different than when I grew up, but when I was a kid absolutely none of this bullshit would have flown.

I’m not even just talking about the truly audacious stuff, either. In my day, we went to the Ken-Tac-Hut and ordered soft tacos and personal pizzas in our fancy clothes, not out for a $50 per person prix fixe meal at a wine bar. We had a party after the dance, sure; but it was at someone’s house, and we had to pay an older brother to buy us a six pack of beer that he drank half of before handing it over. Homecoming was, yes, a thing – with the king and the queen and the football game, and the spirit week with the pajama day and the crazy hair day; but never – not once – did anyone (at least that I am aware of) intend to impregnate another person on the dance floor.

Times change, sure, but this much? I don’t know. Maybe this is more reflective of the Midwestern girl in me, who still brings a sweater everywhere with her lest people see her bare shoulders. Or perhaps it’s unique to the community in which I live now, where no one seems to ever leave, and so how would they ever understand that some of this stuff isn’t normal?

Whatever the case may be, I’m just glad I’m not a kid anymore. Sure, I’m not exactly jumping for joy about turning the page on my 30s, but there is no way I could keep up with the heavy drinking, fast talking, wine bar dining, dry (or not) humping dance- lifestyle that teenagers have today.

And how could I? I can’t even walk in high heels.

Newsletter #4: Recall, Do You Recall?

I saw a great meme this evening that encapsulates exactly the way I feel about life right now. What a goddamned shit show we are in, you know? I’m starting to really wonder how this is going to end for us. If you aren’t as well, you clearly aren’t paying attention.

Around the World

If you didn’t know: California had an astoundingly stupid 9 months that has finally concluded, and that is the special recall election of our governor, Gavin Newsom. I say 9 months, because before the election was put on the calendar, we had months of these bat shit ass crazy GQP fucks gathering signatures. For some reason I am still unclear on, they were allowed extra time by a judge to gather signatures… I guess the judge was pissed about the whole French Laundry dining experience back in early 2020 too… in any event, for 9 months, we were held hostage by these right wing nut jobs.

Yesterday, the recall was resoundingly shot down.

It wasn’t just resoundingly shot down – making Newsom the first governor in California history to beat back a recall, though. He actually outperformed his landslide election in 2018. He outperformed Biden’s 2020 election, making the path for 2022 and beyond a lot -the-fuck- brighter.

There were so many crazy things about this recall election though.

  1. Caitlyn Jenner – formerly Bruce Jenner, who also killed someone with her car on PCH several years ago – was originally the GOP frontrunner. This was a colossal joke, Caitlyn having absolutely no platform, and not doing much actual statewide campaigning (preferring national media like Fox And Friends, instead).
  2. Angelyne – single name – from my own county ran. Again. She ran in the recall against Gray Davis (and lost then too); the one where we got Schwarzenegger. The crazy part about Angelyne is that her day job is “Adult Entertainer.”
  3. A YouTuber from my county ran also. This guy who campaigned with a literal bear, and later an 8 ton ball of trash, made the news quite a bit. And from all over the state, we had an alarming number of Kevins on the ballot.
  4. The real threat was radio personality Larry Elder. This guy is described by Conservatives as “to the right of Trump.” We are talking GQP insanity in this guy. He believes the minimum wage should be $0. Not $5. Not fixed. NOTHING. He’s black and he doesn’t believe in institutional racism. His solution for homelessness is that the homeless pull themselves up by the bootstrap. His plan was to overturn all COVID measures, including masks and vaccines (the very things keeping California as the only state in the country currently seeing a decline in cases from High to Substantial transmission). Most alarming: last week, he said he hoped Roe would be overturned. The night before the election, it was leaked that he had already started developing a website to claim voter fraud… straight from the Trump playbook. You just cannot imagine how bad things would have been if he were elected governor, but he wasn’t so *phew.*

Well anyway, the recall was overwhelmingly defeated. In 41 minutes, making it a $276 million side show that didn’t even last an hour’s worth of election night coverage.

Fundamentally, I think the solution to this is to reform California’s election laws. California could be much further on COVID, the climate, and a lot of other problems that the governor could have been focusing on, had he not needed to be out on the unexpected campaign trail for the last several months.

And anyway, on the end of the day, it’s unconstitutional. Think about it: a minority of the voters for California – a nation-state comprised of 40 million people, 1 in 8 Americans – can gather their signatures to force a recall vote. It doesn’t matter how stupid their cause is, if they get enough signatures the vote goes forward. The options are then No, or Yes… and if Yes, then who? As many people that want to throw their hats in the ring can, and do, so you could have more than 50% vote to recall, but a candidate slides in with in some cases an alarmingly low percentage of the vote. But because they won by ranked choice… they become governor. You could have a candidate win only 10% of the popular vote, and that person still becomes governor.

How. The fuck. Is that right? It ain’t.

Around My World

Remember when I said my new hobby is bullying the mayor? Well…

First of all, it’s not “bullying.” It’s calling out, or arguing with. There’s a difference.

Second of all, it’s well beyond just the mayor. Turns out it’s mayors of neighboring towns, school principals, and local journalists.

The Mayor Next Door

Another thing that happened in California in the last several weeks was a couple of housing bills were passed in the state legislature that would expand- like immensely – affordable housing. If you didn’t know, housing in general and affordable housing at that is at an inflection point in California. These two bills came with hard work and dedication by state legislatures reflecting the will of their constituents. Hands. Down.

But local cities are not so happy about it, the leaders that is, because they in effect lose local control as a result of the language of these bills.

To be fair: the city leaders are the ones that created this crisis, so they don’t very well deserve local control anyway… but that’s a conversation for another day.

What is astounding to me is that they send these letters on behalf of the cities to the governor asking him to just abuse his gubernatorial powers and veto those bills. No plan to fix affordable housing – really – in any sort of substantive or authentic way. Just veto them: WE WANT CONTROL!

The mayor of my neighboring city – who also happens to be running for county supervisor next year, and may end up asking for my vote when post-census redistricting is done – posted her letter on Twitter asking for this gubernatorial veto (as if it was something everyone should be proud of). What was so glaring about it was that she claimed that the “majority of Californians oppose this bill.” That was, at the end of the day, a lie which she could not prove with any sort of factual studies or unbiased polling, as well as without any kind of logical reasoning or explanation behind her claim.

The real egregious part, though, was when she replied to me and said “I don’t usually engage in these things on social media…” Um. Really? You want people to vote for you but you won’t answer their very calm and reasonable questions? You just always think you are right and everyone else is wrong? You seriously just make shit up, can’t back it up with legitimacy, and just expect people to accept it?

Definitely lost my vote with that one.

The High School Principal

As most of you know, my kids homeschool. But I am watching all of the area high schools as my 8th grader decides on what she wants to do for high school… public, charter, private, at home still? Decisions, decisions.

At one of our local high schools last Friday, I happened to see a post on social media about a section of the football stadium by the principal of the high school, himself. Initially what I was actually taken aback by was the unmasked crowd of kids, tightly packed together, standing and screaming. I mean… we are still in the middle of a pandemic, right?

But then I read the caption, and that was when my head really exploded: “Check out these kids in their 9/11 pride!”

Excuse me? What exactly is 9/11 pride?

What exactly about the hijacking of planes and reigning terror on the country, and the world, was there to exhibit pride over? What exactly about September 11th as an anniversary of the day America changed forever are we proud about? How exactly are we to interpret this, on this day that we mourn the loss of thousands of innocent human beings?

September 11th is a day for remembrance and mourning. It’s a day to recommit to democracy, and denounce the terrorism and religious fundamentalism that threatened to destroy our country.

It is not a fucking day for American flag t-shirts, beer cozies, and red-white-and-blue face paint!

Local Journos

I had a little tiff with a local editor of a local paper last week, which turned into a shocking public display of his lack of journalistic integrity, respect for community members, and concern about the misinformation that permeates our society.

Long story short: the paper published a letter to the editor that made several unproven, false, baseless, and dangerous claims about masks. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you are all like “not the fuck this again!” People are still complaining and arguing about masks though, and this particular letter was filled with misinformation.

Now I have had times where the editor of a local paper I wrote a letter to contacted me and asked me to back up a claim, or to warn me they would be putting a disclaimer at the bottom. My daughter had this happen to her just last year too, and most glaring is that it was from the same parent organization this local paper is a part of (same publication, different city).

On this letter full of dangerous and deadly misinformation about masks and kids, though… nothing.

A former elected official posted something out there on social media about how disappointed she was that there was no fact check note on the bottom, as is customary; and I backed her up: the letter, itself, was not only shockingly wrong, but dangerous.

Instead of admit a wrongdoing though, this guy from the newspaper fires back and tells me, in a nut shell: tough shit. There are two sides to every story, you all have different beliefs. Shocked, and bewildered, I simply said: but these are facts we are talking about, to which he said there was evidence “on both sides” we have available to us.

No. We do not. Sometimes we do, but in this and many other instances, facts are facts. Alternative facts do not exist. They just don’t.

There is a fine line between allowing for free speech, and amplifying misinformation. I believe journalists can allow the one, while making sure that reality is still reflected in the subtitles. Now almost a week later, I am still shaken to think that in my own community, even journalism operates under the guise that we can live in alternative universes where in one up is up, and in the other up is down.

STFU Fridays

Today, I commented on a post by our county about business grants, and someone replied to me the following:

“You are a vile and disgusting human being. We dodged a bullet when you lost the election last year.”

Ah, the joys of having run for city council and not either immediately moving away, or dying, upon defeat.

I wish I could say that this is abnormal and – dare I say – a little strange for the people that live around here. But no. Since I even announced my run for city council over a year ago, now, I have heard just about everything that could be said to, at, or about me. I’ve also had people throw McDonald’s cups at my front door, had people follow my children to the local public tennis courts and then post about it on their public Facebook pages, and right after the election was told that if I thought the harassment before November was bad, “just wait.”

(And to be fair, I was warned by several former city council candidates that this would happen. It’s just… how things are here…)

Here are just a few of my favorites that I’ve received over comment, email, and text since losing the election:

“You lazy slut you don’t belong in this city.”

“My pet hamster is more qualified to be on the city council than you are, and he’s been dead for 12 years.”

“Die and get fucked, in that order.”

“By saying a white woman was unqualified to be mayor, you showed yourself to be a racist and I want you to know I have let everyone know so that you never hold a position in this town ever again.”

“Kamala is a cunt and you sound about as cunty as her.”

“You don’t belong here you commie, leave while you know what’s good for you.”

To these people, who cannot seem to get over the election even though it was almost a year ago and – again – I LOST… shut the fuck up. Honestly. I am getting so tired of this. Beyond feeling threatened, and not really welcome in my own home community anymore; now I am constantly being forced to relive that failed experience by way of these mean comments that, well… what is the point of them? Why email me out of no where to tell me your dead hamster is more qualified than I am? Probably right, I don’t know. Why text me after months of not communicating with me, after no campaigning has been done, and I’ve moved on and just gone about my life, to call me a racist?

Something about this ain’t right, and frankly I don’t give a fuck what it is. Shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up with the nastiness and the meanness and the rudeness. Shut the fuck up talking about my kids! They’re CHILDREN! And anyway… I. Lost. I fucking lost! Handily, too! You all got what you wanted! I don’t really go anywhere, don’t spend money in the city, don’t go out to eat around here anymore… we live our lives largely elsewhere. I don’t attend city council meetings. I’m certainly never running for office again (at least not around here)…

What more can I do to get ya’ll to shut the fuck up?!

I know. Nothing. Because that’s the thing: I violated the code of this community, which is that I asked questions, I talked about change, and I dared to suggest that everything is not perfect. And even though I don’t go to events and keep my finger on the pulse of local politics much anymore, I still do those things. Why? Because my kids have lives here, believe it or not, and I want them to grow up to a place they are happy and proud to continue to live in. And no matter how many threats or mean words are hurled my way, I won’t stop standing up for those people that did vote for me, and those that couldn’t, which means I’ll have to continue to thicken my skin until these worthless, local-yocal inbreeds finally shut the fuck up.

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For more election and recall talk, from last night’s recall… check out this podcast I was on as the results came in astoundingly fast:

Newsletter #3: We Need To Talk About Accountability

Another week, another shit show.

Around the World

Well, this isn’t exactly around the world, but it’s certainly national news: Texas effectively overturned Roe versus Wade. I feel as though we live in this fucked up, dystopian reality, only there are only some of us that get it.

Between climate change and the disasters literally flowing (or, in some cases, burning) from that; COVID and its ever-evolving descent into state of nature society, and now these bat shit ass crazy laws that keep getting passed around the United States, I can’t help but feel as though we’re on the brink. Of what? I’m not sure. I just know that this feels eerily familiar to Handmaid’s Tale, and moreover my worst nightmares.

As for myself, here in California, I’m relatively safe – for a variety of reasons. One is that I’m married and already have three kids, so ain’t nobody gettin’ pregnant around here (if you know what I’m saying). But also… I’m in California. Not Texas.

The only thing itching at the back of my neck, though, is the possibility that on September 14th, the governor will be recalled and replaced by Larry Elder. Larry Elder is like if Greg Abbott and Donald Trump had a baby – which of course would be stoned to death, because the Republicans hate gay butt stuff. Larry Elder is so bad, though, he wants the minimum wage to be $0. Can you imagine that? He’d also make damn sure to use every legal tool in his box to bring on exactly the same thing here as has just happened in Texas.

So I don’t know. Scary times I guess around the world. I’m just ready for the day when the news is boring again.

Around My World

Welp, I told you guys that I was going to talk shit about the locals, so don’t say I haven’t warned you.

For those of you unfamiliar: I live just North of Los Angeles, in a coastal, suburban community full of right wing nut bags, and Democrats who would be Republican if it were more socially acceptable to do so in California. They get away with it by registering as “No Party Preference,” or some other obscure political party no one knows about, but is an option as an official ballot designation. Or, they register as Democrats, then support all these crazy, local, right wing cronies, because they’re good friends, and they vote “because he seems like a nice man.” (Side note: cronyism is so endemic in this community, we have a local chain of bars named after it.) As issues voters, they typically blast hard line Democrats for being too much. They ALL hate AOC (not saying I particularly like her either). Their brand is Conservative with just the slightest hint of a purplish-blue streak, once in a while. My county went around 60% to Biden, which many of them say is evidence that we are irrefutably a blue county… yeah, sure. A county that votes 40% for Trump, and for whom 5% of all registered voters signed on to the recall petition for the Democratic governor is not, and will never be, Blue anything. In the Presidential elections we vote for the lesser of two evils, who happens to typically be a Democrat. But overwhelming in down ballot elections, state and local initiatives, and in public policy running the gamut of issues, we are as deep red as a bad period.

I find that the people that tout voter registration statistics and trends on the national level have only a thin grasp of reality as to what really goes in to making a particular geographic area tick. To really understand whether it’s Conservative or Liberal, you have to look at who is running the local appointments, elected seats, and what kind of public policy you have. Our county is – overwhelmingly – Conservative on this level. When I ran for city council last year, my opponent was described by many as “the local version of Donald Trump.” One of my biggest supporters once told me: “he is the most manipulative, psychopathic, and right-wing people I have ever met.” And it was true.

Conservative isn’t just how they vote, it’s how they live. There’s a reason a lot of people call us the Florida of California, and the problem is that now – because of COVID – it’s killing people. And the most glaring part about it, is that in the most conservative of places… there is zero accountability for it.

A few weeks ago, one of the local high schools caught a football player coming to school and practice with a known COVID positive case. The kid was unvaccinated, and had tested positive; the parents knew, and they sent him to school. That week, the team was grounded from playing (obviously), but by the next Saturday they had all gotten back on the field to win the game for the week. Here’s the crazy part about it: the day before the winning game – exactly one week after the team was placed on quarantine because of the kid that had come to school knowing he was positive – the same high school’s softball coach DIED OF COVID 19.

They dedicated their win – their win that was just a week after they found out a player had been coming to school knowingly carrying and possibly spreading COVID 19 – to the man.

I have yet to hear about any accountability, or even what local public health citations or consequences there are for doing something like knowingly breaking one’s COVID isolation. The spoiler, I’m sure, is that there are none.

A week later, another local high school was featured in the local paper for the acts of their heroic football coach. You’re probably all saying to yourselves: well surely this can’t be about COVID too, can it? It can, and it is. The paper did a feature article about how the coach was quarantining for a COVID contact… but was still coming to the team practices, parking just down the street, and coaching via drone. He could have been carrying COVID 19. His car could have broken down on the way home or whatever, and he could have spread to an unsuspecting, vulnerable tow truck driver. Talk about what’s wrong with this? Nope. We venerated him in the paper.

This is the problem with hyper-local communities with conservative values, and conflicting ideologies. They live under this veil of not really taking a side on things, and then do nothing when it comes to actually addressing issues that are at hand. Rather than hold people accountable, they look at the positives: oh sure, the kid maybe killed people by coming to school knowing he had COVID, but isn’t it nice that the team won and dedicated the game to the dead softball coach? Very special.

STFU Fridays

Well anyway, on a lighter note: today I started decorating for Halloween. I know what you’re all thinking: it’s only the beginning of September! Well my response to you is: shut the fuck up.

Who gives a fuck what other people do when it bears absolutely no impact on you or your life in any way? Why are we in this weird place where everyone seems to think they can send their kids to school with a deadly virus and possibly kill people, but that others are not within their rights to put an artificial pumpkin in their rose garden before October? If you don’t like the spider webs on my front porch, and the Halloween tree in my bay window, shut your trap, and move along.

Shut the fuck up with your kill joy negativity that is only there if it suits your suburban narrative. I don’t need your approval to put up my “the witch is in” sign, and I don’t give a fuck if you are judging me for already putting a candy bowl out with an animatronic zombie hand on my kitchen counter.

I’ve got news for you motherfuckers: I’ve had my “oh my gourd” sign on my front porch since August.

I don’t give a shit if it’s 89 degrees and sunny out this weekend, I am going to start using my skull mugs and skeleton bone silverware.

Here’s the thing: life fucking sucks right now. For everybody. If your life doesn’t suck, you live in some fantasy land where nothing is wrong and the shittyness of the world doesn’t bother you one bit until it affects you personally, and for that I feel sorry for you. You must be quite lonely in your glass house that will surely shatter to pieces one day, and likely soon.

If putting up Halloween decorations in September, or – fuck it – Christmas decorations back in July, makes you feel better about the shittyness that is the world and humanity right now, well cheers-the-fuck to you.

I am tired of the pandemic. I am tired of shitty people making it worse. I am exhausted beyond belief with the political news cycle, the chaotic state of our world, and the fact that every single fucking thing is a million times more difficult to do now because we live in this dystopian hellscape.

This is why I am just done. I’m done giving a single shit what people think of me. What people think of my plans. What people think of my parenting, and what people think of my potty mouth. Done.

To the people judging me for putting up my Halloween decorations early, or to the people judging you if you’ve done the same: judge me when you are perfect. And until then, shut the fuck up.

See ya’ll next week!

Let’s Just All Simmer The Frick Down

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There’s been a refreshing and, simultaneously, not-so-refreshing trend this last week or two on the Internet, and that is that people have stopped talking about the demise of American society  and values as we knew them pre-Trump, and moved back to the ol’ getting offended at everything on the Internet.

I say it’s refreshing because – you know – it’s a break from this Trumpian shit show that none of us seem to be able to do a single thing about.

I say not-so-refreshing because we should still be standing up for ourselves within our American government and politics and, well, people getting offended by everything on the Internet is obnoxious.

Case #1 – Legging-Gate

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If you didn’t know, earlier this week some people were heading out on a flight through United Airlines, free of charge by way of an employee friend and family benefit. To be clear: their tickets were free. *Free under the explicit condition that they follow the dress code and behave appropriately on the flight. Three of them (the kids) showed up wearing leggings (a violation of the dress code) and they were not allowed to board without changing into proper attire.

Completely understanding that they were breaking the rules, I hear the kids threw on dresses over the offending leggings, and just went about their business – being appreciative of their free tickets, I assume. Except some nosy nelly standing in line went crazy, snapped photos, went viral, and the world lost their fricken minds.

All jokes and arguments about the moral fortitude of dress codes aside, those free tickets have always come at a cost: a simple dress code and appropriate behavior, which, I will repeat, the flyers were aware of. Which they – in fact – had no problem with when reminded.

But not the Internet! The Internet had to lose its ever-loving collective mind over it, and instantly a new viral story, a variety of memes, and 200-comment-length debates were born.

Of course I engaged in one of those debates, because I am me. I was accused of being opposed to progress. Of being a robot. and a whole host of other things by someone who is at least ten years older than me, and yet is most known for posting photos of herself in her super hero underpants on Instagram.

The bottom lines to Legging-Gate are:

  1. Rules are rules. Get over it, unless you want to ruin that benefit for everyone; and,
  2. If you want to change the rules, showing up and being all “screw you I do what I want” is not the way to do it; finally,
  3. THE PEOPLE GUILTY OF SHOWING UP IN LEGGINGS FOR THEIR ENTIRELY FREE UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT DID NOT EVEN CARE.

Case #2 – The Prom Dress Good Girls

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I don’t know all the facts of this case, but it’s another dress code thing that I think has been blown way out of proportion.

So prom season is coming, and some high school in somewhere – I don’t know – posted examples of what was acceptable attire and what was not acceptable attire. The acceptable said “good girl” over it, and I don’t know what the tone or connotation of that was, but it pissed people off.

Then it raised the whole dress code for young women thing, which I am in the minority (it seems) on these days, in that I believe dress codes are a good thing. I think they teach kids to respect authority (which will be important when they have jobs with dress codes they absolutely must follow as adults). They teach them how to dress for certain occasions. I also don’t always think that dress codes are about calling a girl/woman slutty or inappropriate or something to be ashamed of, but rather for their protection. And while I know that the real issue is teaching boys/young men the appropriate way to act, we just aren’t at that stage of the game yet. I wish we were, but we aren’t and thinking that pretending like we are will stop young men from acting poorly is irresponsible thinking.

Beyond that, I live in a town where the local high school has virtually no dress code that I am aware of. I have seen girls walking to the school in booty shorts and bikini tops – no jokes, and boys walking to the school with their pants around their ankles. Moreover, our old babysitter knew several kids her graduating year (just a couple years ago) that were suspended for having sex on the dance floor during homecoming. Let that sink in for a minute. In light of those incidences, alone, I’m all for dress codes for prom. And sex ed classes prior to prom. And open conversations with our kids about appropriate and inappropriate behavior. But dress codes too.

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Side note: the school has since apologized for the dress code signs and good girl comment, so  everyone seriously does need to calm down on this one. It’s over.

Case #3 – Kid With SPD Gets Rough TSA Pat-Down, Handles It Like A Champ, Mom Records It To Go Viral On Social Media, World Explodes With Anger

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Did you guys hear about this kid with sensory processing disorder who triggered a red flag with the TSA and had to get a pat down? Instead of – oh I don’t know – standing there and helping him through it, Mom instead demanded the presence of two police officers, and broke out her video camera, posting it on social media instantly with the caption “we were treated like dogs.”

I presume she was opening her GoFundMe account for mental anguish  immediately afterwards.

Of course if a kid got through with a bomb – a tactic often used by terrorists – the world would have wondered why the kid hadn’t been treated more doggedly.

Now even though the kid handled it like a champ, and there were police present so obviously no misconduct took place, the comment sections of the Internet went wild with people calling it molestation, calling for the firing of the TSA agent, and – my personal favorite – “no one could see what happened behind that TSA agent’s fat ass, he likely groped your son, sue the government NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Okay.

Case #4 – Daddy-Daughter Dances

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I guess it’s Daddy-Daughter Dance season. News to me, but I’ve seen all kinds of posts by friends and family taking their kids to them. (I think we may be too introverted of a family.)

This raised a whole issue, though, about eliminating gender-specific-themed events with kids altogether. Which I totally get – as a child that grew up in a single family home, my mother having left us when I was only 10, I was constantly left out of mother-daughter events because …well… I didn’t have a full time mother.

The issue was raised because a single mother apparently tried to take her daughter to a daddy-daughter dance and was turned away. Now, I get that the situation was a little weird – the woman dressed up as a man, she even colored on a beard. That’s just strange, even though she was clearly just trying to make a sad situation cool. Except it turned out to be completely uncool when she was turned away simply because she wasn’t actually a man.

Because. She. Was. Not. A Man.

And this was not the first time this kind of a thing has happened.

So some articles go around the Internet about eliminating gender-specific events in schools once and for all, and – big surprise – a debate breaks out. Is there anything on the Internet that doesn’t result in debate anymore?

The bottom line is that irrespective of the sanctity of your husband taking his daughter to some stupid dance every spring, or your son having a special mother-son school breakfast, this is 2017. It’s time to recognize that not everyone is living the same life as you, and sometimes those events hurt people’s feelings, especially the kids’. Go on dates with your kids on your own time.

Case #5 – Another Wardrobe Malfunction

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Had enough of debates inspired by clothing yet? I sure as shit thought I had, and then I saw an article calling for an end to poking fun at dumb dads.

I guess it was inspired by a onesie that has instructions for a dumb dad printed on the face of it. For one, it was cute. For two, dumb dads do actually exist. For three, I want to know where I can get one for my husband, because really Nick – it isn’t funny anymore that you can’t figure out where the baby’s arm goes.

Boy did the trolls come out for that one, though – writing multi-paragraph dissertations in the comments section about patriarchy and sexism and reverse sexism and dads are perfectly capable of dressing their kids in fact they are more capable than moms and JESUS FUCKING CHRIST CAN PEOPLE SERIOUSLY NOT TAKE A JOKE ANYMORE?

I am going to say something quite shocking right now (apparently): there really does exist a subculture of male parents that could otherwise be described as dumb dads.  They are given chance after chance after chance to be just as qualified of a parent at the little things as mom is, but no matter what they do, they always fuck it up. That’s just reality, really of the human condition because – newsflash – we are not all perfect at everything. Dumb dads are actually capable of being really good parents and at the same time too stupid about little things like putting on a onesie or throwing a pony tale in their daughter’s hair.

My husband is one of them. While he’s a great parent in certain ways, he just can’t in others. On more than one occasion he’s asked me for help getting the kids dressed, and today – ironically about ten minutes after I read that article – he put the baby’s diaper on (AGAIN) in such a way that it fell off and I was peed all over.

Being peed on sucks and it’s nice as a mom to be able to vent to the Internet about that. Except you can’t because then you are questioning the parental capabilities of all fathers (seriously, WHY?).

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Honestly, the issue isn’t about sexism or patriarchy, but rather the inability to admit that we aren’t perfect at everything. More appealing than a man so effeminate and insecure in himself that he has to get defensive every time a woman questions his parenting abilities is – without a doubt – a man that owns his inadequacies and buys the onesie with instructions himself. Because it’s funny.

I assume this is only the beginning, you guys. Trump has been in office for a couple months now. America needs to get back to the important work of being offended by everything, believing everything we read on the Internet at face-value, and refusing to ever admit that we are ever in the wrong about anything. Ever.

I think we all just need to simmer the frick down, but then we would have to pay attention to what is going on around us again. So continue on, people of the Interwebs. Continue on.

 

 

So I almost vomited in the parking lot of my high school today…

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We were driving around today, killing time and enjoying the seat warmers in our rental car, when all of a sudden I realized that we were in my hometown.

The town I grew up in.

Blast from the past, right? ERR. Wrong. Blast of puke from my mouth.

Let me back track. Saturday we embarked on a cross-country trek to the Chicagoland area, for the Thanksgiving holiday and to visit family and friends. Also to pork down enough good food to last us until our next time out here (hopefully that one will be permanent, though that’s another story…).

And I guess we came out to embark on some nostalgia. Like usual.

So I grew up in a town now referred to as Homer Glen. I say “now referred to” because at the time it was just called Homer Township, which was an unincorporated area just outside the city of Lockport. If you know anything about the famous Joliet prison, Lockport is just across the bridge from that. And Homer Township just up the street from there. Now it’s a town, called Homer Glen. Apparently Homer alone (named after the founders HORSE) wasn’t good enough for them. Whatever.

Because I lived in a township, I was bussed over to Lockport for high school. They still don’t have a Homer High or anything like that, though that will likely come one day as the area grows. Or not. Who knows.

So I went to Lockport Township High School. All four years.

Let me just pause there and say: if you came to this blog post by Googling “Lockport Township High School blows big fat monkey balls, no wait monkey balls are too good for LTHS that’s how bad LTHS is…” … well, I agree with you. My experience there was – shall we say – lacking. But really, whose high school experience is actually all that great in the end? There’s always something horrible about it, even if you’re the captain of the football team (or whatever the position is everyone envies).

Moving along.

We were driving around and enjoying the seat warmers and I realized we were in our hometown, and I asked my father just what we were doing. He said hitting up some nostalgia, a blast from the past. Then I started to gag (because if my husband were here, I would be saved from this blast from the past nonsense, but alas my husband doesn’t get in until tomorrow night). Anyway, I started to gag because there is absolutely nothing more nauseating than sitting in the car with my father when he starts on one of these nostalgia tours. At first it’s cute. Five hours later you’re car sick and very seriously annoyed.

He drove past our old house, which is cool to see. Though it isn’t our house anymore so really who cares?

We drove past my grade school.

My father regaled stories about shooting a 75 on this golf course, and eating dinner at that diner that still exists.

Then we started towards Lockport and I really started to feel nauseous because going to Lockport means one thing and one thing only:

A visit to good ol’ LTHS.

We started down the road towards the high school and my father said enthusiastically “does anyone want to visit LTHS?!” I thought he was kidding. I prayed he was kidding. I bargained my soul to the devil to make a visit to LTHS not happen.

A visit to LTHS – for me – is not all cutesy like in the movies. We don’t go in and wander through the halls, remembering my first kiss. Seeing trophies I won in the trophy case. Recognizing a teacher and chatting about how wonderful my life is.

Nope. A visit to LTHS would be taking a look at the woods where my boyfriend and I used to make out and smoke cigarettes. It would be remembering all the times my dad thought I was too dumb to pass a class, so put me in a remedial one in spite of my test scores. It would be being recognized by no one but the security cop that caught me with weed in my locker freshman year. Which doesn’t matter anyway, because my life is nothing to brag much about now anyway. I pretty much do all the same shit I did in high school, that being contribute very little and wear lounge clothes every single day. Wait, in high school I actually had a paying job, which is more than I can say for myself now.

As we pulled in I couldn’t take it anymore and very seriously thought I was going to vomit. My dad kept stopping the car, saying “take a picture here!” and going on and on about all the stories from my time in high school. Or from him covering football games there when he worked for the paper. And on and on he went until finally I just screamed for us to leave before I vomited all over the car and my precious seat warmer.

School was in. I am sure people heard. The lunch ladies were leaving for the day, and may have given me dirty looks as I sat screaming in the car.

I have no shame, though. A girl can only handle so much.

Do you go on nostalgia tours every time you go home, faithful blog followers? Or are you like me: preferring to keep your past blasted back as far back as is humanly possible?

4 Ways Our 30s Are Still Very Much Like High School

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Are you in your 30s? I am. I mean I’m really 28. Again. But according to my driver’s license I am officially a 30-something. Screw you, DMV.

In any event, I am still really good friends with a lot of my friends from high school. And as the years have gone on, people I knew only marginally while wandering the halls of those four miserable years have become better friends now as well. This summer I’m throwing a baby shower for one of these people while I’m in the Midwest, and as I combined her and her boyfriend’s guest lists today to send out a save the date, I realized that her shower could also be known as “high school reunion 2013.” In some respects, at least.

That’s the great thing about these big life events – they give us an opportunity to catch up with the people that are so much a part of who we are. And they give us time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, blaa blaabity blaa. For me, it’s made me relive all of my high school memories – the good, the bad, the pot-induced; and more than anything, come to a startling epiphany amidst it all: that our 30s are still very much like high school.

#1 People Are Still Loud

In high school, everyone was loud. People yelled down the halls. Girls screamed at their boyfriends in that oh-so-pathetic “help me” way when they needed their lockers opened or their bags carried. And don’t get me started on the ridiculous cheers and chants we were all required to do at our mandatory school spirit rallies. (How in the hell can anyone mandate spirit?)

I always thought that when we got out of high school, shit would quiet down. But it didn’t. College was just as loud, only without the lockers. The workaday world was loud too, only a different type – people yelling at you, phones ringing, and so on. And now our 30s. Our 30s are filled with the permeable screams of children running a muck and the arguments about money/time/priorities/and so on we get into with our spouses.

The noise level has not changed.

#2 Nachos and Pizza Still Sound Tasty

That’s another thing I thought would change when we got out of high school. Everyone ate crap at my high school – nachos, pizza, and the always-daring pizza dipped into nacho cheese (puke, I never did that). I don’t want to hear anything about obesity either, because if you are my age you know that we come from a time when kids still actually did things besides sit on their computers.

But I still – for some reason – thought that when we got out of high school those things wouldn’t be appetizing. Suddenly I would be transformed into an adult. I would crave baby arugula and spinach salad with roasted pine nuts, organic heirloom tomatoes and just a hint of basalmic vinegarette. I would look at imitation chicken and squeal with delight. Soda would instantly be disgusting.

It’s quite the contrary, though. Nachos and pizza still sound tasty to me over baby arugula any day. And let me tell you something about balsalmic vinegarette: it tastes like licking the inside of my husband’s asshole. The only reason we say those things are tasty in our 30s is to make us feel better about the fact that we can’t eat nachos and pizza and pizza dipped in nacho cheese all the time without gaining weight anymore.

#3 Clearasil Remains In The Medicine Cabinet

When exactly do breakouts stop? I’m just wondering, because in my 30s I expected to stop getting a huge zit on my forehead before date night. And yet it happens. All the time.

#4 Everyone’s Still All Judge-y

Yesterday I posted about that “Dear Mom On the iPhone” thing that was going around Facebook, which made me think a lot about how judgmental we are in our 30s.

In high school, I could not wait to get out because it meant life would cease to be about worrying constantly what others thought. Anyone that says they weren’t self-conscious in high school is a total jerk, and a liar to boot. There were cliques in high school. We were all trying to find our places in the world, and define ourselves beyond what our parents told us to be. And bullies were everywhere. We didn’t have anti-bully campaigns to protect us, either.

It’s all the same in our 30s, though. Sometimes we’re judging each other for the same things – weight, height, boob size. Other times it’s a little different, like about our parenting style, our lifestyle choices, and whether or not our weddings/bridal showers/baby showers/homes/living situations are ghetto.

Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely ways in which things have changed. For one, it’s no longer a scandal when someone announces they are pregnant. That lasted for a little bit into our 20s and then it became the norm. Now it’s almost scandalous for people to not be having babies. Princess temper tantrums don’t go over too well anymore either, unless you are a bridezilla.

But above and beyond all that change is the sense that nothing ever really will. Maybe it’s because we still feel young – we still feel like teenagers, trying to craft an existence of our own in a world that is terribly confusing and ever-changing. Or perhaps the real truth is that high school was our grand entrance into the real world. That it didn’t happen anytime after high school, but rather while we were there. What a terrifying thought that is.

Has the Blogosphere Become High School All Over Again?

Short answer: YES. Long answer:

I wrote a blog about six months ago called “Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?” In it I argued against the notion that bloggers are cliquey. I had seen some bloggers complaining about how they couldn’t seem to “break in” to the mom blog, and other blog community, cliques, and for this they felt a great injustice. In the post, I started by saying:

In high school, I hated the cliques. Now when I think of them I think of Mean Girls with Linsay-the-trainwreck-Lohan. When you have cliques, you have backstabbing. You have cheating. You have a load of gossip. You have more drama than a daytime soap opera. And you have people being excluded for no reason other than that they aren’t “cool” enough, by whatever standards of “cool” the clique collectively determines. I have a hard time believing that bloggers have become Mean Girls.

Either I was terribly wrong, or things have changed. A lot. Today – over six months after writing that blog – I believe more than ever that bloggers are the new Mean Girls. In fact, I know exactly who could be slated as the main characters (although I’ll keep that opinion to myself).

Let’s examine how my opinions have changed.

#1 Good versus Bad Content

In my post six months ago, I argued that maybe it isn’t really you or your blog, per se; just that you were not one of the more popular blogs because you had an absence of good blog content. And this is perhaps the most compelling reason in my mind now for proof that the blogosphere has become high school all over again: there is more bad content out there than my mom’s supply of edible panties.

It’s just like in high school. The meanest and ugliest girls were always the most popular. The douchiest guys with the worst acne were co-captains of the football team.

Sure, when you give access to a portal of information sharing to anyone and everyone, you’re going to have gads of bad content. But I’m not just talking about your run-of-the-mill crap that never gets around. I’m referring to the truly bad content that gets thousands (dare I suggest millions?) of hits. That everyone knows about. The bad content that people “like” and comment and share and find witty, in spite of its over all dryness, lack of whit, lack of insight, and glaring grammatical errors.

Here’s the deal: if you are going to call yourself a writer, be one. Only post what’s good. Get the opinion of others (and by that I mean objective others, not your BFFs) before you just assume that anything coming out of you is the next best thing to bars of gold. If you think you’re a writer, prove it with good spelling and appropriate grammar, and nipping your verbosity problem in the bud once and for all. Make sure everything you write about has something to do with your overall point. And for God’s sakes, make sure your blog post makes at least one ounce of sense.

Otherwise, you’re just another pimply captain of the football team, or mean girl wandering the halls of high school. You may be popular, but in the end your blog is nothing but garbage.

#2 Lying versus Honesty

I think that when I wrote that post last year, I was terribly idealistic as to the nature of the blog community. I suggested that your blog may not be that popular because you are dishonest. I really believed that truth prevailed in the world of the blogosphere – as if it is not merely a microcosm of the world at large, where the only people who truly prevail are those whose words uttered are rarely truth.

In high school, everyone creates themselves and others through a series of lies. That’s how the gossip train starts as well. In real life, we’re all supposed to transcend beyond all this lying bullshit and to achieve our successes off honesty.

How infrequently that happens – in life, as well as the blogosphere.

I know a lot of big gun bloggers that lie through their teeth, so much so that there is probably little truth to anything they say. It’s one thing to be anonymous or to change characteristics of people for safety and fairness and such. It’s another thing to fake celebrity endorsements. To claim site statistics that the public record on Alexa shows are clearly false. To say you write for all these different sites, when in fact those sites wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot poll.

To call yourself a writer.

Not to get too uppity about this, but there is actually a criteria for calling yourself a writer. Any old blogger is not a writer. For one, a writer of fiction and Fox News has the liberty to lie. The rest do not. For two, a writer writes good content with attention to rules of writing – as mentioned in point #1. (And to those you unaware, yes: there are rules of writing.) Without some attention to these things, some honesty and brevity, a blogger cannot call him or herself a writer any more than I can call myself the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa.

Well they can, but it would be a lie.

#3 Gossip and Exclusion

What I’ve learned more than anything over the last six months since writing “Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?” is that the blogosphere (at least the parenting blog blogosphere) is loaded with gossip and exclusion. Really great blogs are excluded all the time – and I can’t really put my finger on why. There is a lot of “you pat my back, I’ll then turn that back on you and pretend we don’t know each other” as well. I see it all the time, and is another thing I spoke to the contrary six months ago.

And the gossip is worse than high school. In high school the gossip hurt – don’t get me wrong, it did. People said I stuffed my bra when my boobs grew overnight. That hurt, but it went away eventually. I got over it. One time a friend of mine was dating another friend and a gossip train started that she was cheating on him. That caused some drama in our circle of friends; yet, perhaps more mature than some of the adults I know in the blogging community, as a group we talked about it and it all worked out.

Not in the blog community, though. Here the gossip runs rampant. There is no end to it. There are no resolutions. So and so is doing this to screw everyone else. This writer is stealing content. That writer is not giving us proper credit. God it’s awful, and everywhere – email, Twitter, and the ever-ominous Facebook updates that are meant to be vague, but cause such a ruckus you start to wonder what the point is of any of this.

Courtesy of FriendFace Town ... for more of their satire on all the weirdness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friendface-Town/484841884903320

Courtesy of FriendFace Town … for more of their satire on all the weirdness on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friendface-Town/484841884903320

Here’s the thing about blogging: it’s a double-edged sword. Everyone can do it. But then again, everyone (with a computer and an opinion) can do it. There is a lot of bad stuff out there. There is a lot of good stuff out there too. There are popular blogs, sure; but there are no cool people. As a fellow blogger, or just a reader who likes information other than what the mass media puts out there, take a step back from your old-favorites and take a look around. Falling for the bad content and the lies, and narrowing yourself to a small group for no reason other than you don’t know any better, makes you nothing more than a bleating sheep. For every bit of crap you fall for, day in and day out, there is a world of awesome out there, just waiting to be discovered.

To the high school girl in the apartment next door, crying with the window open …

… have some self respect!

I wasn’t planning on blogging about anything other than the ongoing saga of my Trailer Trash Mom‘s Mother’s Day Mayhem until after Sunday, and boy do I have a few doozies for you crazy faithful blog followers. But none of them were enough for me to interrupt our regular programming of my TTM … until this girl started crying with the window open like a little bitch.

Have some self respect, home girl!

I get that your boyfriend dumped your ass. I get that you thought you had never felt this way about anyone before in your life. I get that he cheated on you with your friend under the bleachers of the gymnasium between 5th and 6th period. I get it all!! But for God’s sakes – sobbing like someone died is just going too far.

There would be no problem with this at all had I not had a hard time today and wished to just go the fuck to sleep. After getting some sort of food poisoning last night, I continued to feel like crap for the majority of the day which I now attribute less to tainted food and more to the stress caused by my mom. Then our new TV broke. Then my blender crapped out. Then I had to spend all day continuing on with this Mother’s Day meal preparation because in the end I knew that it was best for me to set a good example and be the bigger person, then after Sunday I will (without a doubt) walk away and never look back.

So when I went to bed and was kept awake by this incessant sobbing, I first became annoyed; and second turned into the nosey neighbor that I always turn into.

Of course I’m one of those people that leans against the window and tries to get a real clear shot to hear what all the nonsense is about – why I heard her say that he caused her so much pain by cheating on her between periods under the bleachers and shit. Why wouldn’t I be one of those people? I’m apparently not the only one, either, because while standing there a man walked outside to get something from his car, saw me listening, looked over towards my neighbor’s window where the pathetic sobbing was coming from, and then stood there for about 5 minutes himself listening to the mayhem.

My husband felt bad for her and said I shouldn’t even blog about it. But that’s because he’s not a woman. From experience, I can say with utmost authority that life is full of people out to hurt you. The world will always be unfair. Each relationship that goes down like this will always have been with someone you “never felt like this before” with. There will always be someone that will cheat on you between 5th and 6th period under the bleachers, with your best friend no less. You’ll be lucky if it’s your best friend – usually it’s your sister or someone with a venereal disease.

So, to the high school girl in the apartment next door, crying with the window open – I know all-too-well how much it hurts to have someone treat you like this, but this ‘aint the end of the world, home girl. It’s time to have some self-respect and start enjoying young love while you can still feel it. Before you know it you won’t feel anything, probably because you’ll be so jaded and misanthropic about the cold, cruel world like I am. Then you’ll miss these days that you are wasting sobbing by the back window, keeping self-respecting nosey-bodies like me awake.

The rest of the excitement and scandal and terribly bizarre things I witnessed over the past few days will have to wait. I need to get back to my Trailer Trash Mom. And it’s late. The crying has stopped. Either she passed out from hyperventilation, or her boyfriend called her and apologized. Or maybe her parents shut the window. In any event, I can go to bed now. My TTM and her trailer trash weekend await.