Getting Better

So, this past month has been crazy busy. Just last weekend two of my favorite people got married. No, I'm not talking about Kate and Will. Two of my dearest, Patt and Jaileigh, tied the knot with humor, grace, and delicious desserts. Other than the coughing fits, I went to be quite blissed out that night. I saw the single most powerful force in the world at work: human connection. Joy. Laughter. Love. I'm not saying this to gush, I'm saying something I truly believe - being able to connect to someone else, to empathize, to share tears and laughter, to talk, to unabashedly be with one another ...these are powerful things.
I'm glad that I have a coffee mug and some pictures to go with the memories of Saturday night's festivities because over the course of these past days, I've seen a lot of ugly things spreading about the internet.
Rage is a strong drink. There are several brands on the shelf, some more potent, more distilled than others. Thing is, though, that no one is a happy drunk when imbibing rage. Rage makes us all ugly. Just look what it does to your face. It twists it about, scrunches you up. If you're crying, you get all red and puffy. Rage is never a pretty thing. Sometimes, though, it is necessary. And it's natural. It's part of being human. Cut deeply enough and you'll get rage from someone: anger, passionate vitriol, sadness all mixed into one cocktail.
For more than 10 years, Americans have put a particular name to some heinous crimes committed against ourselves and against others in the world. We've put a specific face at the bullseye of our dartboard, blaming him and him alone for the horror of one Tuesday. We were hurt that day, as a country, when 3000 innocent people died. When first-responders were buried in rubble. When we watched live footage of people jumping to their deaths. Since that day, more people have died to find those responsible, to try to undo what was done, to make sure it never happens again. I have friends who have served. All have come home, so far, and goddammit, Matt Tydings is coming home, too when all is said and done. Some of my friends missed years of their children's lives. Some left a piece of their soul over in the desert. All of them sacrificed something to bring justice to the world.
That man we've named as the architect, the man cursed by so many is now dead.
There is relief in that statement. There is hope that my friend Matt and his brothers in the service can come home and stay here, hold their families and live with joy. There is hope that now, 10 years after the event itself, we can rebuild rather than tear apart the Middle East in an angry man-hunt. I would be lying if I said that a part of me didn't take a bit of wrathful glee in knowing that this hateful fucker has finally (FINALLY) been brought to justice.


...I'm seeing something that scares me more than conspiracy theories or zombie scenarios. I'm seeing good people go the way of the mob. I'm seeing my Facebook and Twitter feeds flooded vile sentiments like, Pics or it didn't happen. Why did we give him a proper Muslim burial at sea? He didn't give that respect to his victims, why should we give it to him?
First of you know what happens when someone is shot in the face with a high powered firearm? It's not fucking pretty. It's gruesome. What you're asking to see isn't some special effects make-up, computer imaging or a scene from last week's episode of CSI. It's real. It's the honest, ugly truth about what happens when physics meets flesh and bone. I've never seen such a thing and I am thankful that I haven't. I'd like to keep it that way. What good would it do for you--Joe Schmoe who works in a cubicle farm in the middle of Indiana with a wife and two dogs--to see the postmortem photos of a jackass genocidal fuckhead? You want proof he's dead? Fine, grab a scuba mask and head for the Arabian Peninsula. Otherwise, I'm wondering if all you want to see is some blood and guts. You want that? Take the place of any man or woman in the military and you'll get a similar view.
And why give him the respect he couldn't give his victims? I'll tell you why. Because we're better than him. Because we aren't the monsters we're fighting. He may not have respected others' religions, cultures, lives...but we--the same people who boast that Superman fights for the American way, the same people who believe we are the voice of reason on this planet--we say that we believe everyone has a right to choose how to live. We say that people can worship as they will and that we will honor that. Sure, our hypocritical nature is showing in that we don't give that same respect to our neighbors, but we'll give it to our Most Wanted felon...but if we forget for one second that this poster boy for terrorism was a man with a mother, a father, children...if we forget that Osama bin Laden was a human being, we join him in his ideology.
Come on, guys. We're better than this. The bickering over who got the job done, Bush or Obama? Navy SEALS got the job done, let's just go with that, okay? The conspiracies that he's actually still alive and this was done to boost Obama's numbers and provide an excuse to interrupt the latest episode of Celebrity Apprentice...the lists of how Obama screwed this up, too...the dancing in the streets singing "Ding Dong the Dick is Dead"...the bloodthirsty throngs wanting to see photographic proof (which would then, at the very least, be scrutinized as photoshopped)...just stop. Please?
Let's not spend a moment longer glorifying that bastard with airtime. Take his picture down and erase his name. Let him serve as a lesson of what NOT to be because he embodies what is sick and twisted in humanity, not as a lesson of what happens when you "mess with Texas". Let's move on, heal and take care of our wounded...the men and women who have been working so hard for these past 10 years. Let's take care of each other and the challenges we have at home. I dare you to do better. WE need you to be better.
Seeing the news these past few days is enough to drive anyone to drink. It's hard to find something pure and good to hang onto. Thankfully, I have that coffee mug to remind me of some of the simplest, most powerful joys. I have a husband, daughter, and friends who laugh often. I have enough around me to remind me that humanity is greater than the lowest common denominator. There's more to life and the world than some dead terrorist.


Around the House

So, this blog has gotten rather writer-centric lately, so I thought I'd take a post to just talk about things that are actually going on in my life.For starters, it's Pi day. Woot! Well, my 5 year old doesn't exactly know this, but this afternoon she asked to bake a cake. I told her no, we don't have the things to make a cake. She then saw a can of apple pie filling and said, "Let's make pie!" We had a crust in the freezer, it's Pi day... why the hell not. So there's an apple pie in the oven. My first attempt at a crumb topping, too. We'll see how that goes. Speaking of the kiddo... she lost her first tooth last month and the second isn't far behind. School's great. Montessori was definitely the right choice for her. She's on Spring Break right now after spending most of last week at home with a wicked cough. So, to say she's getting bored with Mom is a bit of an understatement.

In other news, most of the country changed for Daylight Savings Time. I live in Arizona where we scoff at this tradition. However, my husband's work schedule has to change to match up with his callers' new schedule. He's getting up earlier, but also getting home earlier, so that's a silver lining.

OH! Yesterday, we went into Bookman's with trade credit burning a hole in our collective purse. The kiddo got 7 new Magic School Bus books to go on her already sagging shelves, he hubbins got a video game or two and I got 5 new (to me) Charlaine Harris books. I now have most of the Sookie Stackhouse books, muahahahahah. Yes, I think these books are crack. I heart them. And since I won't have any NEW HARRY DRESDEN *glares at Jim Butcher* until July, I've got to entertain myself somehow.

It's a busy little world here in my home. This weekend Sean and I will celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. (Even though we've been together for more than 6 years and have a child together, we waited for a bit to actually make it legal.) How are we celebrating? Well, funny you should ask. As a matter of fact, we're going to a wedding. Some dear friends of ours are tying the knot on Sunday and our daughter is one of the flower girls. Some people may want dinner or some extravagant date.... me? I can't think of a better way to celebrate the day we made this commitment than to witness good friends (one of whom signed our wedding certificate because she was there the day Sean and I became Sean and I back in 2005!)  do the same. And there's going to be yummy food and all of our friends. What more could a girl want?

So yeah... wedding anniversary this weekend... birthday coming up in a couple of weeks. I keep telling myself that 31 is the new 21 but, who are we kidding. I've got silver (SILVER!) in my hair and a bad back... I'm not 21 anymore. Next month another couple is getting married and with that ceremony comes a wave of out of town guests. I'm thrilled to be hosting my longtime friend Bri when I'm not the one trying to wrangle nuptials into being. (It's been a year, dammit, I miss him!) My alma mater, ISU is going to the NCAA tournament. GO TREES! Book is still on submission, getting feedback from betas on the novella, writing flash... yeah... this is my life right now.

Okay, bloggy time is over. Time to go play tic-tac-toe with a very insistent kidlet.


In the Rearview

So I've been thinking about this A LOT lately with the wedding getting closer and all the reflection I've been doing. I've been thinking about the worst thing someone has ever said to me.

Now, I know you're probably thinking it was that time that I was in the crapeteria with Jesse and Straight Arrow and Carrie walked by wearing the same outfit I was wearing. Straight Arrow looked right at me and said, "oh, jamie, that's how your outfit is SUPPOSED to look".


That is NOT in fact the worst thing someone has said to me. Nor is it any of the hilarious one-liners that can be pulled from my dating experiences.

No, the worst thing someone has ever said to me is a toss up between two things.

Thing The First: "You should know better than anyone that connection like that doesn't happen over night. These people you think you've connected with? They just want something. Everyone wants something from everyone else. That's all there is."  - OZ * Thing The Second: "Oh, Jamie, you're never going to get married."  - Sunshine *

*names changed to protect the guilty from themselves.

Now, each of these has A TON of context that is missing, and that context is what makes the decision difficult. Both of these things were said to me at a very transitional part of my life. I had decided to move from Indiana to Arizona based on one weekend in Phoenix with my Bee People. I had never met them before, had only spoken with 2 of them online/phone ...but within one weekend, I felt at peace and at home. So, after hearing that my audition for the Blue Man Group didn't pan out (no problem) I decided that it was time to hit the trail to the desert.

THING THE FIRST was said to me the week before I moved along with some other choice vittles. "You're just running away. Your problems will still be there." All sorts of sanctimonious blatherings about how he was right and I was wrong, just a kid, blah blah blah.

What really made those things hard to hear was the source. He was someone I respected, someone I thought understood me. Before that conversation I thought that of anyone he would be able to grok why I had to get the fuck out of Terre Haute, Indiana and get on with living life. Sadly, he proved to be stuck in the rut of age, caught up in all the trappings of living a life he wasn't pleased with. Thanks to that conversation, I saw that OZ was just a sad old man behind the curtain.

THING THE SECOND ... wow... Okay, so this requires a little backstory for you to get the full impact of the experience.

Sunshine and I had grown up together. We met in junior high and had at least one class with one another all the way up through our last years of college. From the time I met her she was really preoccupied with the whole idea that women's lives follow the path of "get married- have babies - live happily ever after- the end". I think Sunshine's engagements numbered 5 (counting the guy she married).

So, one day, we're sitting around having a talk... Sunshine and three of our male friends (two of whom are gay)... and after a lovely conversation where gays/bisexuals were repeatedly referred to as "those people" (bad form when there 75% of those involved in said conversation are "those people")... Sunshine asked me why I was moving to Phoenix. Did I really expect to find greener grass? Why Phoenix? (She was convinced I was moving for a man.)  So I explained, "I just need to be there. It feels right."

"But what if it's not?" she said. "What if what you're looking for isn't there, either?" "Then I keep looking for it," I said. (Simple enough, I think.) "Are you serious? You can just pick up and let the wind blow you where it will!" "Why not?" "Because! That kind of rootless existence is no way to live!" "I'm okay with rootless if I eventually find home." She just looked at me. And the look was pure pity, brow furrowed, eyes sparkling pity. "Oh, Jamie," she said, "you're never going to get married."

And it was as if that was the worst thing in the world she could fathom. "Maybe I won't," I said. "I'm okay with that, too. My point A and point Z don't equal yours, Sunshine."

Now, with the 20-20 hindsight of 5 1/2 years gone by since those conversations, I can stick out my tongue and say that I was right. My home is here and these people wanted nothing more than me. My life has flourished here.

And I'm getting married in less than 2 months. NYAH!


But seriously, what makes these two things the Worst Things Anyone Has Ever Said To Me is the underlying conditioning that lies beneath, the sentiment itself. Both are so negative! One of them reeks of distrust and bitterness while the other is perfumed with this fairy tale bullshit we've been told we want out of life. One of them expects the worst out of fellow human beings while the other believes that the worst thing that can befall a woman is spinsterhood.

Both of them are so sad.

Both of them are not how I want to live.


Just thinking.

The Mouth of Madness

So, as some of you know, I'm getting married this year. Saturday, March 20 to be exact. When Sean and I got engaged in May of '09 it was one of those "it's about freaking time!" things as we've been together for 5 years, have a child...etc. And, at the initial "we're engaged!" phase, we did some broad discussing about wedding stuff. Then in June, we really started getting into planning. We nailed down our bakery for the cake, we got a florist and a venue. (We're getting married at the Phoenix Zoo and it's going to rock!) Then, we went into a radio silence of sorts. No planning or talking about the wedding until like... you know, last month. Then, this week happened.

Sunday we purchased our invitations. I made a spreadsheet for guest list tracking, started compiling addresses and got on the phone to talk to caterers. We've paid off the cake and are ready to pay off the florist. I've made hair and facial appointments for the bridal party. I've sent around an email to the bridal party, our friend who is doing pictures, our friend who is performing the ceremony and family members with the loose itinerary...

...and I feel like I'm forgetting something. I mean, we've been trying to figure out what to do about decorations/favors for months, and that's still there, but I feel like I'm missing something major. I know I'm not. We don't need a DJ/Band as we're having our super-talented guests bring instruments and having a fireside hoolie. No need for limos, programs or any of that. I've got my dress and 90% of my accessories covered. My bridal party is rocktastic... Sean has to figure out what he and his menfolk are wearing.

I dunno.

Maybe I'll feel better when we get the invitations out and book the caterer.


In other news, 2010 was kicked off with a fantastic weekend. New Year's Eve I broke the 2 year slump as far as fire-spinning is concerned. It was fabulous. Pictures/video forthcoming. Just had a great night amongst friends. Friday, did dinner with friends and then went out to kareoke with some others. That was a blast. Closed the night with an epic version of No Rain. Saturday gaming with... you guessed it... friends. Sunday, got some housework done, watched some football. Then yesterday, more work. More wedding planning.

Good times.

For 2010 I resolve the following:

-To turn 30 -To get married -To enjoy every damn moment I can.

not necessarily in that order.


Peace out, homies.

It's a Great Day

So, for those play the home game, I live in Phoenix, Arizona. You may have noticed that it's dry here for most of the year. Today the sun can't break through the dark grey clouds and it's raining off and on. Now, I grew up in the Midwest and this was the norm for three months of the year. *sigh* I've missed this kind of weather in my time here as a desert rat. This morning, the doorbell rang and the UPS guy gave me a wedding dress. MY Wedding Dress :-D I'm all giggly/girly/squeeful about this because wow, it's my wedding dress!!! It's here. It fits wonderfully and it's gorgeous! I literally pranced around in front of the mirror and said "I'm a princess!". Those who don't know me may not think much of this, but let me stress that I do not prance and I am most assuredly not the princess type. The wedding is 3.5 months away. Still need to figure out what we're doing about a caterer, finalize the guest list and get invitations out. I know, I'm slacking, but I'm not the kinda bride that would prefer to just have my groom show up and say 'I do'. I want his input. That takes time. *shrugs*

But so far, so good.

Now, I didn't think today could get any better than rain and a wedding dress (not rain on the wedding day, though... and that's not ironic).... BUT! I was perusing my Twitter feed and I saw that Adam Savage--Mythbuster, awesome guy and object of my strange affections--is going to be in Phoenix.


Adam Savage .... a man for whom I have a most unholy crush... will be in Phoenix today.

Seriously, as far as Mondays go, this one is top notch.

The rain is coming down again. Playdate later with friends.

Yeah. My life is good.