#worldkindnessday Walking The Talk

Since today is World Kindness Day, I’ll share some of the wisdom I’ve gained. I grew up in an abusive home where kindness was rare and bitterness prevailed. My days were spent surrounded by unhappy people who passed that unhappiness onto anyone who happened to be near. I can’t count the times I listened to my own flesh and blood excuse their terrible behavior on the fact that it had and was also happening to them. 

The old, “if i have to go through it, so do you” thing. I didn’t understand it then and as I’ve gotten older, I understand it even less. Being hurt is not a rite of passage. Life does not have to be a contest of who can endure the most. 

I’ve seen this thinking translate into other aspects of life as well. One of those is the way people discipline their children. The whole “I was spanked and I turned out fine so it must work” nonsense. It never ceases to amaze me when otherwise progressive and intelligent people spout this crap at me. People who base every other belief they hold in life off evidence and sound research fall into this trap and I just don’t get it. The studies are there. The proof is there. We know it doesn’t work. What’s left to justify? 

This applies to pretty much everything. Societies cognitive dissonance has disastrous results. We see homeless people and assume they are homeless by choice. They “didn’t work hard enough” or they “don’t want to work” ect… This is a commonly held belief even in the face of cold hard facts. Facts like the minimum wage being an unlivable wage. We KNOW for a FACT that it’s not enough money to pay rent. Yet, we refuse to raise the minimum wage. We expect people to make something work that just won’t. It’s madness.

We KNOW that our healthcare system is broken and people die due to lack of coverage or access to care. We KNOW this. The proof is in our faces at every turn. 

We know that our education system has failed. Especially here in Oklahoma. We KNOW that it’s not being properly funded. We know Standardized Testing does tremendous harm. We know that rigid adherence to a “sit down, shut up and memorize” method to teaching is a failed model. We know all of these things and yet it’s defended and the cycle continues to destroy unabated. 

Think of how far we could be as a species right now if our approach to everything was kindness. If we extended our empathy passed ourselves or our immediate family. If we actually cared about others well being and success and actively worked to help everyone reach their full potential. 

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Just stop and think about what our society could achieve. Think of a world where no one goes hungry. Think of a world where no one has to sleep on the concrete under an overpass. Think of a world where each and everyone of us was cherished. 

This isn’t impossible. It doesn’t have to be hypothetical. All it takes to realize this reality is to be kind to everyone. 

Let us be the craftsman of this world. Let us stigmatize cruelty and selfishness. Let us think beyond ourselves and break this violent cycle of trial by fire.

Let every single one of us look at the hurt we’ve felt and pledge that we will not be the cause of that in another. 

Let us not live a life of endurance. Let us live a life of experiences and fulfillment. 

Let us not just survive, but actually live.

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The “Alt-Left”

It’s funny that the whole “Alt – Left” thing is even a thing. I mean, it’s like a Twilight Zone episode.

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Imagine, if you will, a group of people who care about others so much they don’t want people to starve or be homeless or tortured and imprisoned for who they love. Imagine a world where those carers dare to claim that all people should have healthcare regardless of if they have money!

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I mean, how are we at a place as a species where that’s demonized? How are we at a place where we think it’s totes fine to deport a child immediately after she’s had surgery even though she’s been here since she was a toddler? How are we at a place where we value each other so little that we dehumanize anyone who was born on another piece of the planet than you?

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Sometimes I feel like I was born at the wrong time or maybe in the wrong country. I don’t know which. Something is definitely amiss though. I’m so far left I don’t even think we should have borders. I literally don’t get why people are so territorial. I mean, it blows my mind that people deny other people the basic necessities of life if they don’t have money. Your life’s worth is directly connected to money. It blows my mind that anyone anywhere is absolutely alright with this. 

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I’m so far left I think that if we just have to use a monetary system (which I’m not really convinced is the right path) everyone should have a basic income. I also think that any education should be free and available to anyone. I honestly believe that people should work at what they have a passion and aptitude for and not just to make the most money. 

I really think that government policies should be solely based on evidence. 

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If you’re wondering what got me on this rant it was of course the comment section on Facebook. I guess I like to torture myself or something but I did a real stupid thing and I clicked on the comments on a post that a local Fox News station had about that little girl who is being deported after her surgery. One guy compared this sweet little girl to rats. It made me cry to read that. My husband just shook his head and told me I shouldn’t read those since I get so upset every time I do. 

I kinda feel like I have to read those comments sometimes though. It’s like I have to call these people out. I know it doesn’t really do any good but I do it anyway. At least I’ve done something.

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The Prey Of Men

Hi world, it’s me again. That crazy Mom who yells at old ladies in Target or Wal-Mart or fill in the blank store. Yep, it’s me. I’m the Mom who yells at weird guys whose eyes linger just a bit too long on my children or on me. Did I embarrass you when I called you out? Too mother fucking bad. Did I draw attention to your scumbag ass? GOOD. 

Stop looking at me like I’ve betrayed you when I loudly ask you why you’re following me in the store. Stop following me around in the store. I mean, you asked for it.

I rarely go anywhere with my children unless my husband is with me. Hell, I rarely go anywhere at all without my husband with me. Once, I thought his presence would deter the weirdos. He’s a big guy. I am a small woman. It’s a sad miserable world I live in where I have to fear for my life and my children’s when I leave my home. You’re probably thinking that I’m being paranoid….

Let me tell you a story.

A week ago my husband and I took the kids to Target in Tulsa. We weren’t in a “bad” part of Tulsa. We took the kids to pick out a toy as a potty training reward. While in the store a man in his 60’s starts following us. My 6ft 3 inch husband doesn’t notice at first. I notice. The kids want out of the basket to look at the toys. I agree and tell my husband to guard one side and I the other. Creepo comes into the aisle we are in. He picks up a few toys and puts them back down. His eyes dart from the shelf to my almost two year old daughter with her white blonde hair held back in a pink flowered barrette. I move in front of her and block his view. I stare at him. He stares at me. He smiles and tells me what a beautiful daughter I have. Tells me we’ll be beating the boys off with a stick. My husband notices the Creepo and picks up our daughter and son to put them back in the basket. The Creepo walks past me in the ailse and as he passes the basket his eyes linger on my daughter. I ask him to not stare at my child. He laughs and walks away. 

Later, as we make our way to the other side of the store to get dog food I keep seeing the man. He passes by us over and over again. This time he is on his phone. While my husband reaches down to put the dog food bag under the cart I see the man lift his phone to take a picture of my daughter and son. I block his shot with my body and loudly tell him not to take pictures of my kids. He hightails it out of there. I alert a Target Employee of what’s going on.

While we are checking out I see the man again. He is with an older woman around his age. They are standing at the front of the store. When we walk out his eyes are on my kids. I seethe in anger. My husband is furious. I see the employee I alerted talking to another employee. I point at the man and mouth wtf. Employee shrugs and looks away. We get to our car and leave. 

That night, my son tells me he didn’t like the weird man in Target. My 4 year old son tells me he won’t let the weird man take his sister. My 4 year old son tells me he’s glad Daddy was there and is so strong. My 4 year old son tells me he thinks the weird man could of beaten me up but not Daddy. My 4 year old son’s joy in his new toy in overshadowed by the fear some creepy man in Target put in him. I comfort my child. 

Later, I lock myself in my bathroom and cry. I caught my husband wiping his eyes as he watched our kids playing with their new toys.

That is one story of many that I have. My oldest child is only 4 and this has been happening for years. My daughter is not even 2 years old and she is the prey of men. 

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I’m Going To Talk About Inequality – Die Mad About It

I’ve spent the better part of my life being belittled for having the audacity to have actual feelings and….get this…showing them. I know, how dare I inconvenience the world with my empathy. How dare I think it’s ok to cry at a sad part in a book in public. I mean, what if someones kid sees me. I might ruin someones $5 coffee for god sakes. I MIGHT BREAK THROUGH THEIR EVERYTHING IS FINE FACADE IF I DARE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HOMELESS PERSON ASKING FOR CHANGE OUTSIDE THE STARBUCKS. How could I be so insensitive?

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I know you’re all sick of hearing about inequality and how some people can’t afford food or a house to live. I mean, do we really have to talk about it so much? It’s only children going hungry. If they really wanted food they’d go get a damn job. They would work hard for what they want just like the rest of us…..wait…oh yeah, you went to a posh private school and had college paid for by your folks. So, other than that you earned…oh yeah, don’t forget that down payment your folks gave you for your first house. Oh, and the car they gave you and and and the phone bill they still foot or the insurance they still pay. Let us not forget the healthcare your folks have had covered since you were but a bright spot on an ultrasound. 

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Turns out you didn’t gain your rank in life off your own merit. Have the balls to admit it and the rest of us won’t have to keep shoving your face in it. MMMMkay.

Check out this link to see how your privilege gives you a head start in the race of life.

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“Teach Us All” – You Should Watch It.

I’m pretty sure that most of us in the US have heard at least something about the segregation issues we have with our public school systems. I remember my step-father telling me about it when I was a kid. My mother in law was in school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas when they desegregated. She told me of the outright violence those poor kids suffered. She told me of her silence and of the silence of her friends. I remember feeling pretty damn superior to her at that moment because I just knew in my heart of hearts that I would not of been silent. Oh to be young, stupid and naive. I would love to think that I would of stood up for those kids. I would love to think that today things are different and my generation is getting it right. Truth is, while I would now stand up and support their right to an equal education….I don’t know if that would be true of myself as a child. I’m almost thirty years old and while I believe that millennials are doing better….we haven’t got it fixed. Our public school systems are as broke as ever and I applaud shows like this for bringing attention to an issue that desperately needs repaired. Our kids really are the future and we need to be innovative in our education efforts. “Teach Us All” goes deep into education inequality and should be a required watch for politicians and parents alike. I encourage you to watch it and raise your voice for change.

Age Appropriate Censoring Is Not The Same As Banning.

As a parent, I’m faced with the question of what to censor and what not to censor pretty much every single day. From songs to books to movies I have to evaluate pretty much everything. This is the way of the world and while it’s a pain in the butt sometimes, it’s part of being a parent. I consider myself pretty liberal in most ways but I am not going to give my small kids free range to watch or read or listen to anything. Censoring things until my kids are the appropriate age to understand what they are seeing isn’t the same thing as banning it. I’m not saying that they will never get to choose for themselves. I’m not saying that I will go to war with my kids over music or movies with moral superiority. I am saying that at four and two, my kids aren’t mature enough to decide what they see or hear. 

I’m not trying to put them in a bubble and keep them ignorant of the perils of humanity. However, I am trying to make sure that when they are faced with a serious topic, they are of a mind to understand it and make whatever peace they need to with it. 

I recently saw a post in a mom’s group on Facebook that asked for some advice on censoring. The child was seven and had been watching the Netflix series “Shameless”. I’ve watching quite a bit of these episodes and in no way think it’s at all appropriate for a seven year old. However, the Mother in question was asking what to do now that her child had already seen some of it. Should she ban the child from watching further? How should she broach the subject of what the child had already seen? I gave my advice there and I’ll give it here since it’s pretty universal.

What the child has already seen can’t be unseen so ignoring a subject isn’t going to help anyone. I would start with asking the child if they have any questions about what they saw. That way you don’t bust into topics that aren’t a worry but still address what the child is curious or conflicted about. Also, child settings should be put into place on any equipment the child has access to. Keeping an eye on your child isn’t invading their privacy. It’s taking care to make sure your child is introduced to subjects at the right time.

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Banning something out right is a whole different matter. Intentionally withholding information due to religious bias isn’t alright. It’s not your right to force your kid into believing as you do. They don’t belong to you. They are not your canvas to paint as you see fit. They deserve the right to disseminate the information in their own way and make their own conclusions. Banning them from reading freaking Harry Potter isn’t going to win you any points. It just makes you an asshole who is afraid that your world view won’t hold up under some scrutiny. 

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I can’t think of much that I would outright ban in my home. My kid wants to read about the holocaust when they’re older? Sure, lets look at the information. My kid wants to study Satanism? Sure, lets check it out and see what’s going on. Kid wants to go to a Church or Mosque? Why not. Lets go on an adventure. Interested in bondage sex? Polyamory? At the right age, I’m here to talk about what’s on your mind. These are opportunities for me to talk about consent or religion or the horrors humanity has wrought. These are opportunities for me to be the parent who turns out an educated and confident human. A human who doesn’t get rapey at the sight of a scantily glad person. A human who doesn’t distrust and hate another because they have a different skin color or speak a different language. 

When you ban a book or a movie or a song, what you’re really doing is taking away your kids ability to have empathy for another. You’re taking away the chance that they will see another person as another person and not buy into some nonsensical stereotype. You’re taking away the chance to build self esteem in your kid and you’re taking away a chance for them to find who they are in the safety of a parent relationship. 

So, think about it before you swing that ban hammer. The consequences could be more than you bargained for.

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Remembering 9-11

 Years ago, when the Twin Towers were hit with those planes, I was still a kid sitting in my middle school French class. I remember the day with absolute clarity for many reasons. 

The first thing I remember is the computer teacher from across the hall running into our classroom and yelling that one of the twin towers had been hit by a plane in New York. My French teacher paled and dashed to the tiny TV in the corner of our classroom and turned it on. We sat captivated as we watched the smoke billow. My Teacher turned the volume all the way up on the TV. With our classroom door open we could hear other teachers doing the same. It was an echo of panicked reporters down the hallway. 

We watched as the second tower was hit. The classroom erupted in anger. Teachers and kids alike demanded retribution. Cries of war and revenge echoed down the hallways. I sat in the sea of angry faces and thought not of war but the costs of war. From reading, I had a decent idea of what happened in wartime. I was reading at a college level in middle school. I tore through every single book I could get my hands on. I sat in the midst of all that hate and thought of the people in those buildings. I thought of the people that were in those planes. I thought of how each person must feel while faced with their death. I thought of the horror of choosing to burn or jump. I watched as people did jump and I imagined the feel of their last seconds. The sight of the ground as they fell closer to it.  About the time people were jumping from the buildings my teacher turned off the TV. When she turned around I was the only one not yelling. I was the only one not balling my eyes out. I had silent tears down my face as she looked at me. She and I locked eyes. I could see the anger in hers. I could see that she agreed with the others that war was needed. I stared at her until she looked away. 

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A few hours later the school closed early and parents came to pick up their children. My father refused to leave work so I walked to my siblings elementary school and we all walked the 3 miles home. No one noticed that we didn’t leave with our parents. I think everyone was in shock.

That evening I got a call from one of the few friends I had at school. She was shouting about how we were going to blow them to smithereens. She told me how her dad (who was in the Army) was going to kill every single one of those sorry bastards and make them regret ever messing with the US. I listened to her for awhile and when there was a lull in her tirade I asked her if she thought killing all those people and destroying their homes would stop this from happening again. She said it would. She said people don’t attack what they fear. I asked her why she thought they attacked us. She said her father thought it was because we weren’t Muslim. I scoffed. I asked her if she thought in some way that our country was responsible for this attack. If others had had enough of our bombs and were taking a stand. She screamed at me that the USA is the best country in the world. That we give people freedom. I hung up. I lost one of my only friends because I dared to admit fault on both sides. I still lose friends over it. I have been advocating for peace my whole life in a sea of violent people.

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From reading, I’ve learned to see everything in ripples. Every action has a reaction and I think deeply on everything. My heart aches for the people who lost their lives that day. My heart aches for the people who lost everything and everyone to our bombs of retribution. You can’t bomb a populace into respecting you. Fear will never breed the loyalty you want it to.

America has a nasty habit of invading other countries and I know full well that we aren’t there to give them freedom. We don’t even have that ourselves. As much as it’s claimed, we don’t. 

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You want to know why ISIS and the rest of the extremist groups exist? Ignorance and desperation. If you steal a person’s ability to critical think they become violent and primitive. Without the ability to understand the world and it’s complexities humankind becomes tribal and small thinking. Religious fervor takes over as people attempt to find a greater meaning to their suffering.

Today, as we all remember the horror of watching those people burn alive or jump to their death I want everyone to remember that hate breeds hate. Division and anger solve nothing and create only more horror. We are all human. We all bleed red and might does not always equal right.

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I want you to open your eyes and see the division around us. The extremist groups we harbor right here in our very own US of A.  I want you to see the huge gap of opportunities for the poor and the desperation of a mother who must choose to pay an atrocious amount for rent or feed her children. I want you to think long and hard of the humiliation laid on those who seek government assistance to feed their kids. I want you to see people die of treatable illnesses because of our healthcare inequality. I want you to ask yourself if you think we really are the greatest nation in the world. Because, that’s one hell of a title to live up to and if you ask me, we are most definitely not living up to it in the slightest.

Love one another my friends. Care for those who are down no matter their skin color. No matter their differences. Let us learn and grow together to make a world that’s a great place for everyone. Let us be fair. Let us seek justice that is not unjust to those who have no say in their fate. 

It’s time we evolved beyond hate and violence. 

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Streaming Services – I’m not paying for 20 of them!

Has everyone heard the rumor that Disney, among others, are planning to yank their content from Netflix and fire up their very own streaming services? I don’t know about you but this has me 17 kinds of angry. 

If you’re asking me why this makes me so angry ( I know you probably aren’t but this is called AlliesOpinions so buckle up buttercup) I’d be happy to tell you. 

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Listen up, I’m not paying for 18,000 streaming services. Actually, it’s not even that I outright refuse (which I do) it’s that with stagnant wages and the ever increasing prices on basic necessities….I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THEM. That’s right, it’s just not there. 

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You know what I am going to pay for? Netflix. You know why? BECAUSE THEY WERE HERE FIRST AND THEY HAVE A FAIR PRICE.

Trust me when I tell you that I REALLY wanted to see the HULU series about the Handmaid’s Tale. You know what I did? I used that free subscription and then I canceled that baby. BECAUSE I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR A SHIT TON OF STREAMING SERVICES. I’m just downright not going to do it.

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If everyone who makes a series or a movie or a crap load of movies thinks they are going to convince people to pay for 18,000 different subscriptions, they are greatly mistaken. Hell, most people don’t even have satellite anymore. They don’t need it. As soon as my stupid contract is up, I won’t have it either. I don’t enjoy having a measly 20 channels that actually show interesting stuff but have near constant commercials. Want me to keep buying your satellite service? Cut the commercials down by a lot. Cut the bazillion of  “As Seen On TV” channels selling stupid crap I can buy at damn near any thrift store. I’m over it. We’re all over it. No one likes you. No one wants to buy your stupid crap.

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I know you’re thinking that people will want to see your movies so bad that they will just give in and pay for it. Nope. That’s assuming that the money is there to do that with. Which it isn’t. I’m not the only broke lady either. There’s millions of us and none of us have the time or money for this nonsense. 

I’ll keep my Netflix. I’ll sign up for your stupid free subscription and then I’ll cancel the heck out of every single one of your stupid services before you can get a dime out of me. Seems the only power the little people like me have is with our dollar. You won’t be getting mine. 

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Samuel L. Catson & Making Friends

 

First of all, I haven’t properly introduced my feline friend Samuel (Sammy) L. Catson.

Sammy Cat

We got Sammy a few months ago from a neighbor whose cat had kittens. He looks very much like a cat we had when my son was first born so we were ecstatic to give him a home. Our other cat ran away after we moved and it was devastating to all of us. Since he is chipped there’s a good chance he may one day find his way home but it’s been over a year and we haven’t found him. My son has been begging me for another cat so the hubs and I finally relented. We were really holding out for our lost fella to come home. We really loved him. Happy for us that we took in Sammy because he’s very much like our other cat and we adore him. He’s a bit frisky and likes to chase anyone and anything. Our elderly black lab Buddy’s tail is a little worse for wear but Sammy has helped my overweight Chihuahua lose some flab so it evens out.

Our other cat tower was in bad shape so when I saw that Aldi’s had some on sale I sent the hubs to grab one post haste. 

Cat Tower

It’s quite a bit smaller than our other one but as Sammy isn’t fully grown yet it does the job. Mason’s birthday is fast approaching and I just don’t have the extra funds to upgrade just yet but when I do you best believe it’s going to be a monstrously giant and fun towerplex for Mr. Catson. Our pets are family and we do out best to treat them as such.

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Is that too much? Nahhhh

 In other news, Mason finally found some kids to play with for once. He’s been pretty down about not having anyone to play with and it hurts this mommies heart everytime he tells me he wants a friend. I’ve scheduled playdates as often as I can but in the mess of life people often bail on us and poor Mason gets so upset thanks a lot for making my kid cry assholes. The hubs and I try to remedy this by taking the kids to the libraries play area as well as to our local Aquarium. We have a membership so it doesn’t break the bank to go. Sadly, it’s not often that a kid takes Mason up on his offer to play those judgey little shits. Mason is high energy and quickly overwhelms other kids. He doesn’t mean to but he really can’t help it. He’s just a rambunctious guy.

Thankfully, this weekend was different. We took Mason to one of our local parks and he found some kids close to his age (almost 4) to run around with. I was thankful he found some buddies but was quickly reminded why we don’t often go to the public parks. The kids he was playing with weren’t there for 30 minutes when their mom rounded them up to leave thanks for that jerkhole. Mason was crushed and I put a curse on that evil mom  tried to cheer him up by offering to help him go down the big kid slide. When we got up to the top of this tower thing I cursed whoever decided to install those ladders ….just why where the entrance to the slide is Mason and I saw that it was blocked off by a pallet that was zip tied to the structural poles of the tower (real classy). I looked over the pallet and saw that toward the bottom of the slide the plastic was melted and misshapen. Probably vandalized by some asshole hooligans. I sold my soul to the devil  gently convinced him to go down another and went to examine the damage of the other slide. It looked very much like someone had taken a blow torch and melted it (I’m not scared you’re scared). The park we go to is a newer one but isn’t being taken care of and is quickly falling into disrepair. This is why we usually go to the park in our neighborhood since it’s taken care of by our HOA. Oklahoma is quick to take our middle class taxes (not rich people of course) but that money isn’t going into the community. Let us gather with our pitchforks and robinhood those rich bastards. Someone should have a protest.

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      Sunday I took Mason to the library to play and get new books. He found a friend for a bit but the kid was way more laid back than Mason so while they had fun I could see Mason getting antsy. He has a hard time sitting still for long and this kid was happy to sit and just play with the lego’s.

After we left Mason told me he liked the kid but reeeaaallllyyyy needed to run so I raced him to our car. I gave that little sucker my best and lost haaarrdd let him beat me and his big grin was worth my bright red face and lack of oxygen. The stuff we do for our kids.

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Trying to keep up with my kids may be the death of me is keeping me young. Someone get me a hot chocolate and tell me when it’s Christmas. 

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Nasty Comments & Crazy People

 

       I would say that this must be the week of the crazies but honestly I seem to draw a fair amount of them most of the time. Usually the nasty comments are mostly on Twitter but it seems they’ve migrated to my blog. Damn it Yay! 

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Wondering why you haven’t seen them? BAN HAMMERED those bastards I don’t approve nasty comments. If you just disagree with me on a book or a subject I won’t censor your comment but if it’s advocating violence or you cussing me out….yeah, I’m probably not going to let it post. 

           I got one the other day on my post about Oklahoma Turnpikes from forever ago (way to creep my page weirdo) that called me a bitch and told me if I didn’t like how things worked I should start ‘slaughtering politicians’…… Uhm…. holy shit this guy has lost his fucking mind Wow that guy is unhinged. I do not now or ever suggest that anyone “slaughters” anyone else….ever. He went from 0 to ape shit immediately.  Calm the heck down bro! Take a chill pill ( do people still say that?). I’d rather just vote out politicians whose policies I don’t agree with. Killing them is a bit harsh…I mean…if I killed every person I didn’t agree with….there wouldn’t be many people left. Plus, I’m a lover not a fighter. Peace is an actual solution people. Oh, and as of now, I’m still legally allowed to complain when politicians do stuff I don’t like. So, I think I’ll raise my voice and not a weapon because murder is a big fucking deal and I’m not about to take someone’s life over the dollar or so I have to pay to drive on a road. I mean, get perspective. 

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As if that wasn’t crazy enough, I’ve received about 20 emails from some guy pervert  asking me to review his graphic erotic novel……NO means NO fella. Just….read my damn review policy and these types of crazy situations won’t happen. When I said no he got his panties in a bunch upset and said it’s my fault his book can’t get any reviews…..dude, I’m not responsible for what other reviewers are telling you. 

To top all of that off, when I was mowing my backyard yesterday a rabid probably rabies infested tiny mouse ran up my BARE LEG till he got to the edge of my shorts and ran back down and away. So, I’m probably going to die thankful he didn’t decide inside my shorts looked like a path he wanted to take. 

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Oh, and I found a dead mole on my doorstep this morning. So, yeah. Good times.