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Archive for the 'Holidaze' Category

The Smile That Rights The Wrongs of the World

Monday, November 27th, 2006

The holiday was bearable, and that's all there is to say about that.

No matter what did or what could have happened, none of it would have made a difference to me because of that smile right there. How can anyone be sad when they see that?

This was Sweetpea's very first Thanksgiving, and I think she enjoyed herself. We all certainly enjoyed her. Watching her grow up these past almost-seven months has been a joy.

Every time I see her I notice new things - her little personality starting to show itself, how she crooks one eyebrow like her grandmother, how her facial expressions are so very...well, expressive.

She never ceases to amaze me.

I've experienced many kinds of love in my lifetime. I love my family more than words, I love my friends with all of my heart, I love the wonderful men that have shared my life with me for a time in so many special ways, and I love my godchildren to absolute pieces...but there is something different about the love you feel for a child of your blood. Sweetpea is my brother's child, she is my niece, she shares my surname, she is *family* - and there really aren't words for how my heart aches for her when I'm away from her or how much I truly love that little girl every single day.

She means so much to me; to all of us. When everything in the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, there she is - making all of us smile, laugh, and remember the importance of love and family.

I love you, my Sweetpea.

Private: Same Sex Marriage = Masturbation

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Haven't you ever wanted to crawl inside the minds of the ultraconservatives? The ones who think the end of the world must be nigh if homosexuals have the chance to join in holy matrimony? The ones who cry the loudest and take it as a personal affront that the government would even allow others to a differing moral code?

The Washington Post article, "For Foes of Same-Sex Marriage, It's the Thought That Counts", gives you a few such glimpses; it isn't pretty.

Thought the best part of the entire article, hands-down, is the small snippet about Sandra Rodrigues, a Utah woman who proudly admits to spending the family's "vacation money" to come picket and shout her thoughts in front of the Russell Senate Office Building for the past week.

Sandra displays a sign - one she likely had her children carefully color in - that reads: Stop Same Sex Marriage: It Endorses Masturbation.

You first thought is that she's one of the nutjobs from Westboro Baptist Church. Who else goes around wielding such blatanly ignorant and absurd signs? But, no, you soon, sadly, realize that Mrs. Rodrigues is simply a small-minded, all-American, ultra-conservative hypocrite - a minority, to be sure, but a forceful and frightening group all the same.

Does she really believe the silliness she's Sharpied onto her posterboard? Is there some deeper meaning that those of us slightly higher on the evolutionary scale aren't getting?

Indeed, there is:

"If same-sex marriage is endorsed," she explained, "then you're going to have children think it's just another option to have pleasure."

Thank you for clarifying that, Sandra, dear. In other words, gay people marrying cheapens the whole "matrimony" deal? If those silly gay people can get "married", then straight children will just lose all sense of what the "institution of marriage" is all about, is that it?

In other words - your words - gay people aren't capable of love. By your reasoning, gay people only want to get married for a lark - maybe for the sex, since we all know they're sex-fiends of the highest order, right? Or maybe they don't even really care about getting married. Most like, they all decided to push the marriage issue just to piss you conservatives off. Of course, it's all part of the "gay agenda"; they're all in kahoots. I mean, everyone knows they're all out to secretly turn everyone in the world gay, isn't that it, Mrs. Rodrigues?

Did it ever cross your mind that gay people may want to join together - spiritually, religiously and legally - with someone they are in love with; someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with? Could it not be as simple as wanting to be able to experience that act and receive the same benefits as every other American while doing it? Isn't that the entire concept of "freedom for all"?

The problem with people like Sandra is that they see homosexuals as something different from themselves. Homosexuals are, to them, "freaks", alien creatures who can't possibly feel the way they do or be interested in a monogamous, loving relationship as they might. As long as they see "gays" as something other than human - something other than American - they will never change.

People such as this will continue to spread their bigotry - not realizing the hypocrisy of the stance they take. Shunning a group of people who are different, in the name of a God that supposedly has LOVE FOR ALL. Denying others the same rights they practice in a country that supposedly stands for FREEDOM FOR ALL.

A Magical Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Mom and Amber have been after me to record the crazy goings-on of our Mother's Day weekend trip out to Natchez, MS. Lots of strange things happened - some mundane and some haunting - but all of them interesting.

We set out late Saturday afternoon, planning to find a room, get some grub and head out to the Trace early the next morning. We were in Amber's lime green Volkswagen bug, which, sadly, is falling apart. Still, it's roomy, the a/c works, it has a sunroof and a killer sound system and it moved, so no one was complaining. We were halfway to Mississippi when Amber noticed something odd in the back seat where she was sitting.

"Who fixed this?!" she said. "Mom, when did you put this back on?"

I turned around and she was pointing to some plastic piece attached to the back of the driver's side, secure where it should be.

"I didn't," Mom said. "When would I have had time? It takes a lot of work to get that thing back on."

I shrugged at them both. "So maybe someone did it a few days ago and you didn't realize." I couldn't quite fathom the reason for their puzzlement; it didn't seem like a very big deal.

"No, Shan," my sister said, "You don't understand. It was broken off when we picked you up a few hours ago. When we got to your house, it was off. And you can't just put it back on, it takes a bit of work."

Neither of us three had fixed it, and there'd been no one else home or around when they picked me up. I grinned, "It's a sign," I said. "We're going to have a good, haunting time, I think, and someone's just letting us know we're being watched out for."

None of realized how true that would turn out to be.

There was still a good bit of daylight when we arrived in Natchez, so we decided to make our way out to the Trace for just a minute and look around. The very first stop we made, right off of the highway, is where we found the Brandon children cemetery. We also drove down to the Emerald Mound, just to tick that off our list. It was quite something to stand in a place where civilizations thrived as far back as the 1300s.

We drove back to Natchez and around the quaint downtown area, and started stopping and asking for available rooms. As luck would have it, there was a classic car convention going on and everything was booked up; Natchez isn't a very large place.

Darkness was falling and we'd been putting off going to the one place a helpful Ramada worker had told us would have available rooms: The Excellent Inn. Something about it just didn't sound very "excellent". We stopped at the Tourist Information Center and Amber grabbed a booklet. She began calling local places, on her cell phone, she found ads for as we drove around.

"Oh my god," she said, hanging up her cell with a push of a button; a look of disgust on her face. "There are rooms at the Excellent Inn, but I don't want to go there! The guy who answered the phone sounded really scary." There was no need to worry, it seemed, because we couldn't find the place anyway.

We then passed a Passport Suites that didn't look too full up. Mom and Amber went to check and, sure enough, there were rooms available. As I waited for them in the car, I noticed a LED-light sign flashing over the front desk that read "Welcome to Executive Suites". Odd, I thought, perhaps they hadn't yet changed the sign out front.

By time they got back to the car, Amb was visibly upset. "Mom!" she exclaimed, giggling despite herself at the absurdity of the situation. "Did you look at the receipt you signed? At the top it said The Excellent Inn! We're at the Excellent Inn!"

We wondered, if something happened, how we'd tell people where to find us. "We're at the Passport-Executive-Excellent Inn & Suites!"

When we got to the room, the phone had a tag on it that read "Prentiss Suites". Hungry, and not wanting to spend more time than we had to in the Passport-Executive-Excellent-Prentiss Inn & Suites, we found a local Ruby Tuesday's and had a bland dinner. It honestly wasn't very pleasant - the food wasn't good and I haven't been in a place that greasy since the last time I ate a truck stop restaurant; everything was coated in a thick sheen of grease.

The next morning, we headed out - glad to be leaving the multi-named hotel where dubious characters had partied around us late into the night. We had a very early breakfast at the local Shonney's, and then headed on over to Wal-Mart for supplies.

We were going to try and do rubbings of the headstones, and bought paper and charcoal (it ended up not working out as we'd planned). As we walked in, I had an idea. "Let's buy a dozen roses," I said. "For the children's graves. I bet no one's put flowers on their graves in years." Not hard to believe, since they all died over 150 years ago. We all thought it was a good idea.

We picked out a set of beautiful roses; soft peach in color. It was overcast outside, threatening rain, as we piled back into the Bug. Leaving the Wal-Mart parking lot, out of nowhere, two doves flew at the car. Mom slammed on her brakes, narrowly avoiding both of them, who lifted up and off at just the right moment to avoid slamming into our car. It was odd, but we didn't realize just how odd until Amber said, "Those were doves!"

Eleven year-old twins, Agnes and Sarah Brandon, died about eleven months apart in 1862. Atop the headstone of the first one that perished, Agnes, are two beautiful doves. Atop the second headstone, of her sister, Sarah, are two dead doves. It was chilling, haunting and heartbreaking to see. So it gave us all goosebumps to realize, moments after we'd purchased roses for their graves, two doves flew out of no where and nearly slammed into our car.

After copying down all of the information on the graves in the cemetery so that I could research them, we headed out. A terrible storm picked up as we reached Port Gibson; raining so hard we almost had to pull over. Moments later, as we turned into Port Gibson, we realized the storm had been even worse than we'd experienced. The roads were covered in leaves - as if someone had shredded grass over them - and trees and limbs were down. Though we were right next to Port Gibson, we never experienced the brunt of the storm. Someone was, indeed, looking out for us.

It became the running theme of the day. There's a lot of hills and bluffs in Mississippi, so there aren't many connecting roads. If you're on a road, you're on it for 30 minutes to an hour because you have to drive around huge bluffs just to get anywhere. There was a lot of endless driving and just when we didn't know where we were or were sure we were lost, we'd all of a sudden end up right where we wanted to be! It was how we found The Windsor Ruins and the ghost town of Rodney.

Was it a magical trip?  It certainly was.  We felt it from the start.  I think we'll have to do it again next year.

Mother’s Day

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

This Mother's Day, my Mom, sister and I are taking a "girls only" road trip up the Natchez Trace. We'll be leaving later today and returning sometime tomorrow. I can't wait - the plans are for finding ruins and old cemeteries and hunting down ghosts.

Don't forget to let your Mom know how much you love her tommorrow! Even if she isn't around, just say it aloud; she'll hear you.

It’s Easter

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

I'm currently reading - and thoroughly enjoying - "Lamb" by Christopher Moore. It's fast making its way onto my "favorite books of all time" list. And that, folks, is about as close as I'll come to celebrating Easter.

Though I will be doing the family-get-together part; not because it's Easter but because it's a holiday and my family likes getting together (we sincerely enjoy one anothers' company; imagine that). It's also the last big family shebang that won't be marred with the screaming cries of and incessant "look at me, entertain me" of a child.

Not that I mind - I'm damn excited about my little Sweetpea's debut on Earth. She'll be joining the family any time now and I'm delighted. It'll be fun, but it will also be different. The family hasn't had any new blood - children, that is - since my only cousin on this side was born - twenty-three years ago. So saying it will be a big change in the family, and our get-togethers, is a bit of an understatement.

It'll be good for us - new life being breathed into us old, childless farts won't be a bad thing. It's what family is all about. My only true regret about little Sweetpea is that my grandmother, matriarch extraordinaire that she was, isn't around to see her first great-grandchild - or to give my Mom advice on being a first-time grandmother. She'll be around; I have no doubts about that - but, you know, it isn't the same.

Happy Easter, or whatever-holiday-is-your-personal-equivalent (or even simply, your family get-together) to each and all.

Death Surrounds Us

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Happy friggin' holidays.

Sorry if I'm not in the holiday-spirit, but life kind of...sucks.

My grandfather's cat, Charlie, was hit by a car last night. This would be terrible, no matter what. But the problem is that this is the third cat (or, gods, has it been more?) he's lost in a little under two years - cats that he was very close to. My sister and my grandfather are in a lot of pain right now, and there's nothing I can do. And I don't feel very Christmasey.

I come into work only to find out a co-worker's 40-something year old son was killed in a car accident last night. The man had two small children of his own (8 and 13). I feel for the family, and those little girls - all of whom this time of year will is ruined for the rest of their lives. And I don't feel very Christmasey.

We're supposed to get off early at work today, and I have lots to still do - mail things, buy presents, blah blah blah. But my boss took off so I have to stay. I figured, oh well, it'll be nice and quiet - a laid back day, right? But I haven't stopped since I came in and I can't seem to get caught up. And I don't feel very Christmasey.

Bah humbug and bugger it all.

That’s Right, I Said “Holiday Tree”

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Why beat a dead horse, right?

Because sometimes you just want to hit something!

Okay, to revisit the Christmas tree stupidity for just a moment, I would like to point out that the "Christmas tree" has about as much to do with "the birth of Jesus" as Santa Claus does.

Ok?

So all you screaming that calling it a "Holiday Tree" is ruining Christmas for the Christians, blow it out your freakin' ass!

Thank you.