I’m nobody, but I’ll still tell you what I think about marriage equality.

I’m so baffled by  the people who oppose marriage equality because they say it will destroy the institution of marriage. Where is this traditional marriage-created utopia these people think they live in? Can we stop pretending that marriage has some great history? Tell me again…what is the current divorce rate? Doesn’t marriage actually have a pretty rocky background?

Marriage is like living at Disney World…

Marriage has been used historically to serve business and financial purposes (Hello, Downton Abbey) and so that men could be assured of paternity. Marriage has not typically been something that benefitted women. At various times and in various cultures women have been forced to marry much older men at very young ages, have been treated and traded like property, have been subject to rules that didn’t apply equally to men (death penalty for adultery), and have been denied the right to inherit their husband’s property and money. Women were expected to be virgins when wed, but society allowed men to do whatever they wanted.

We should ban Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian from getting married again if we want to protect marriage. Tiger Woods shouldn’t even be allowed to leave his house. David Petraeus, John Edwards, Bill Clinton…boy, did they respect the institution.

But the Bible says…

Marriages take place for a lot of reasons besides religious beliefs. The church doesn’t even have to be involved in a wedding. That’s optional. Two people can go to a justice of the peace and have a wedding that does not have one ounce of religion in it. Atheists can marry. People beyond the age of child-bearing, or simply medically unable to do so can marry, so there goes the procreation argument. Heck, for a while, in ancient times, the church preferred people not marry as it took their focus off God. Celibacy was ideal as it prevented distraction from God by family. But when the church realized that was a losing battle, they jumped on board the wedding train.

And let’s get real here. The Bible says a lot of things that don’t fly in 2013. Isn’t there something about stoning people? Oh and these? Or these! XI is my favorite!

Who wrote the Bible? God, many will say. Well, okay, but through people, yes? People never have agendas do they?

If marriage is sacred and holy to you, great. But let’s not pretend that’s the only reason why it exists.

But what happens next?

Perverted old members of NAMBLA will demand the right to marry little boys because they were born that way! Ummm…actually, no. That is not a marriage of two consenting adults. That’s child sexual abuse and nowhere near the same thing. People will want to marry goats! Well, if the goat learns how to sign legal documents and can communicate that it is a consenting adult, to the open bar I will go.

Homosexuality is not a traditional, acceptable lifestyle, some say.

Then let’s bar them from being in “traditional” committed monogamous relationships. That’s the solution.

But kids have a right to a mother and father!

Another of my favorite arguments. Because ALL kids have a mother and father now. I forgot that our utopian little world doesn’t have any single parents. I forgot that a parent would NEVER walk away from their responsibility. I forgot that a parent could never die. I forgot that a straight person would never, ever raise a child in anything other than the traditional family unit. Better only one parent, than two of the same sex, though.

What about the children?

Of course, there is the obvious point that if gay couples marry and have children, these children will be all messed up from growing up in such an amoral household. That’s a hard one to argue. Oh, wait, actually it’s not because I spent seven years in a public school classroom. You think sexual orientation has bearing on the ability to parent?  These are just a few of the sad things I’ve seen:

~a student told not to read by a parent because it was a waste of time

~homework blatantly completed by parents

~a parent demand I send home pencils for homework because they didn’t think they should have to buy any

~a student told by a parent that the reason he gets in trouble is because the entire staff is racist (but not because he’s disruptive, throws things, hits, or runs)

~countless parents that never show up to anything, whether it be conferences or events

~a student that wouldn’t attend a musical unless given a solo (via a note written by a parent)

~a female student not permitted to play any sport because she’s a girl

I could go on.

These all occurred in straight households of varying race and socioeconomic status. And they are not indicative of the “typical” families I worked with. But maybe being straight isn’t enough on the list of criteria.

For further examples, please see: Teen Mom, Dance Moms, and Toddlers and Tiaras. (Thanks Jon Stewart)

I’ve had a number of students over the years from same-sex households. Some of those parents volunteered in the room. And all were very involved with their kids. I’m not saying I always saw eye-to-eye with every one of those parents, but I can assure you, that if there was an issue, it was nothing that didn’t occur with a traditional straight family. Damaged children? I assure you not. I’ve taught damaged children. Trust me. One of my top students in my last year had two dads. She made straight As, read like a fiend, and made power points about pet care and animal adoption for fun. Quick! Somebody call DFCS!

The government wanted to get involved in marriage so now they can deal with that decision. There is no reason that two people who want to commit to each other shouldn’t have access to a loved one in the hospital with a medical condition, file a joint tax return, have a family medical plan, and all that other legal mumbo jumbo. Let’s stop putting marriage, as it has been, on a pedestal. Let’s stop reinventing a history where marriage has always equalled a world of Care Bears and Skittle rainbows. Some marriages are great. Some are awful. God forbid we give another group of people the opportunity to give it a shot.

To clarify, I’m not anti-marriage. My parents have been married forty years. I’m happily married. But in my opinion, while surely there have been great marriages throughout history, as an “institution” it has only become a good thing for women in the last few decades. In the past, sometimes the only thing worse for women than being married, was not being married. It was like voting in one of our presidential elections. Choose the lesser of two evils. Marriage has not always defined our culture in a positive way. So let’s try something new.

nph

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Purple and red go together like Bert and Ernie.

“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality” / Toy Sto...
“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality” / Toy Story / SML.20130327.IdealHusbands.Remix (Photo credit: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

IMG_3121Connor does not own a stitch of purple and Chris wasn’t on board with me dying his hair purple to match mine, so I recruited friends and family to wear purple on his behalf yesterday  for Purple Day and epilepsy awareness. Connor has epilepsy due to his brain tubers from TSC. That being said, we have not seen any seizure activity since Feb. 10.We didn’t do too shabby considering we were in stiff competition with the sea of red washing over Facebook due to the Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage. It was bad timing for me as red is definitely my color and I have a ton of it. But since that is a two-day affair, today I got to discover that my still purple hair goes great with a red top. Politics, schmolitics. I’m in it for the fashion. And who knows. Maybe someday, people will figure out that you can’t claim to have Jesus in your heart, and in the same breath, call someone a fag and condemn them to hell.

My mom rocking the layered purple look.
My mom rocking the layered purple look.
Arianna strikes a pose in a very fashionable ensemble.
Arianna strikes a pose in a very fashionable ensemble.
Giovana took her purple to the court house (where she's an interpreter, not a criminal).
Giovana took her purple to the court house (where she’s an interpreter, not a criminal).
Mieka represented in Canada.
Mieka represented in Canada.
Sara claimed she was having a bad face day, but she's never needed an excuse to send me a picture of her chest.
Sara claimed she was having a bad face day, but she’s never before needed an excuse to send me a picture of her chest.
Asma doesn't believe in wearing purple pantsuits to court, but eye shadow is another story (lawyer this time, still not a criminal-officially).
Asma doesn’t believe in wearing purple pantsuits to court, but eye shadow is another story (lawyer this time, still not a criminal-officially).
Sondra and Jareyl rocked some mother/son purple.
Sondra and Jareyl rocked some mother/son purple.
Rachel doesn't do purple clothes, but she does purple flowers.
Rachel doesn’t do purple clothes, but she does purple flowers.
Claudia, Isabella and Arianna made it a family affair.
Claudia, Isabella and Arianna made it a family affair.
Juliette was stopping traffic in her purple...oh my god, my captions are so stupid and yearbooky.
Juliette was stopping traffic in her purple…oh my god, my captions are so stupid and yearbooky.
Yuri only allowed her art students to use purple crayons all day. Right?
Yuri only allowed her art students to use purple crayons all day. Right?
Thomas knows the importance of accessorizing.
Thomas knows the importance of accessorizing.
Sleepy is modeling his human sister's former onesie.
Sleepy is modeling his human sister’s former onesie.
Lili represented in Barcelona, Spain.
Lili represented in Barcelona, Spain.
Danita took her purple to the bank. No really. That's where she works.
Danita took her purple to the bank. No really. That’s where she works.
Ann went to sleep dreaming of purple sheep.
Ann went to sleep dreaming of purple sheep.

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Tomorrow is Purple Day!

Spread the word about Epilepsy awareness!
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Playing with my purple hair spray!

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Please don’t forget to click on Top Mommy Blogs to vote for me!

Connor’s birthday party: You will throw up from cuteness overload. Consider yourself warned.

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I should clarify my title refers purely to Connor, not my decorating skills. But first, the decorations. It was a zoo theme, so I had Connor’s kazillion stuffed animals spread everywhere. I’m actually just realizing how much stuff I forgot to photograph, but that’s okay because I have so many awesome pics of Connor I don’t even care.

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Please note that my initial plan for the aquatic zone of the zoo involved using Connor’s baby bathtub as an actual pond. However, I discovered that none of his ducks have the remotest interest in floating upright, so I felt a pool of water containing what would appear to be a bunch of costumed dead ducks might not achieve the ambience I was aiming for.

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The cake by Claudia Arizabaleta:

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Lego candles. Oh yeah.IMG_3052

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And the outfit. Oh yes. The outfit. Do you know what I am?

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I’m a lemur. Mom almost bought me a panda costume, but then she saw the lemur. Lemur=random. Lemur=you dressed your kid as a what? So here I am.


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But frankly, life as a lemur is hot and sweaty, so I did have to rock a second outfit for part of the party. But Mommy is proud because I learned that one must suffer to look good.

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Give me cake!

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Then I blew out some candles and took my first taste of cake. It was alright, but I don’t know why my mother is so obsessed with it. It’s no bottle of milk. But she did just sneak off to the kitchen to get more, so I guess it will grow on me.

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I partied way hard.

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So did Grandpa.

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I prefer the Spam that you eat…

Spam in general is really annoying, but since WordPress has a pretty good filter in place, I don’t have problems with spam comments ending up on my posts. Every once in a while I do skim through the spam folder just to see if anything legit has been stopped. That has yet to happen, but I’m always amused by what I see. I really don’t know much about how the spammers do their thing, but I always wonder how if you have this technological know how, why can’t you find a way to put together a proper sentence? The most common tactic I see is for them to string together some confusing, vague compliment complete with links to some shady page selling “designer” purses. It’s good for an ego boost if you ignore the fact that it’s automatically generated nonsense.

Some examples:

963640 885954This is an outstanding write-up and I completely comprehend where your coming from within the third section. Perfect read, I�ll regularly follow the other reads. 388621

I’m writing to make the public know what a fantastic experience my girl found checking your webblog. The particular realized several issues, most notably what it is as an example to possess an awesome teaching mindset to have others without problems know precisely selected impossible issues. You really did more than her desires. I appreciate you for producing such effective, trusted, educational and as well as fun guidance on this area to Janet.

What i don’t realize is in fact how you are no longer actually a lot more smartly-favored than you may be right now. You’re very intelligent.

You understand thus considerably in terms
of this topic, produced me for my part consider it from so many various angles.

Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested until it is one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always deal with it up!

You made some decent points there. I looked online for the problem and found most people will go together with together with your web site.

 

But today I came across a new tactic (or at least, new to me). Insulting me. This one cracked me up, probably because, for a moment, I thought it might be a real comment :

The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to read, but I in fact thought youd have something intriguing to say. All I hear is really a bunch of whining about some thing which you could fix should you werent too busy searching for attention.

Well, guess who I won’t be buying any Christian Louboutins from…

 

A second trip to Boston leaves me with lingering questions…

namely, Where was Cliff parking the mail truck when he went to Cheers? Having gone there on this trip, I’m not sure I buy that he was hanging out in a place that is so expensive to park.

At any rate, when I last left you I had gotten food poisoning in D.C. The next morning, Friday, I felt much better. No stomach pain, still off, but better. Once again I had cured myself in a day. And we wouldn’t even have to cancel the next day’s trip to Boston. Oh, oops. Fooled again, but went to Boston anyway. When I get to travel I can power through. Had we been at home, I’d have milked the bejesus out of the situation. But I lived. And lost a couple pounds.

This trip we extended for pleasure. We flew in Saturday, but weren’t needed by the study until Sunday night. We spent Saturday afternoon checking out Boston University since it was only a few blocks from our hotel. There was some sort of regional track meet going on and runners were there from several schools. In fact, some were staying in our hotel. Yeah, you know what’s coming. I officially crossed into “old.” I am no longer the one keeping people awake. I am now the one calling the front desk at 3 a.m. to report “those durn kids that just won’t keep it down.”

Sunday we went to check out Boston Common and the surrounding area. I was disappointed that all the water was drained and ruined my photo op. We came upon the cemetery where Paul Revere is buried. Too bad I’m not teaching anymore. Since for some reason the state of Georgia thinks he warrants six weeks worth of social studies unit (I’m not saying he isn’t history-worthy, just not six weeks worth), I could have used this photo when struggling for material, perhaps made up a story about digging him up at midnight and running through the streets screaming, “The zombies are coming!”

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Most importantly, we went to Cheers so I could have a beer. I went to Boston when I was 16 and couldn’t drink. It felt so wrong to go to Cheers and not have a beer, so I finally fulfilled that ridiculous dream, in spite of my funky stomach.


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When we had free time, we also checked out Chinatown, and we went to dinner at Ann Davison’s house, one of my former co-workers who moved to Boston last summer. This is the view about a block from her house:

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Back to the TSC study, which is the reason why we were up there–Sunday night (at 10:30!) we had to take him for an MRI. Since it’s for the study, it’s not sedated; it’s a sleep MRI. All my MRI knowledge comes from watching House. Remember those scenes? A person is in the tube and the doctors talk to him while he lays inside. Everyone shares deep thoughts, the doctors discover secrets about one another, and House has an unrelated epiphany and runs out. Turns out that television does not portray things very realistically. I wasn’t worried about getting him to sleep. That was a piece of cake. The problem was that since we had to stay in there with him, we were given ear plugs. Paranoid much? 45 minutes of whirring is gonna destroy my hearing? Please. Chris maybe. Took him three days to get his hearing back after I dragged him to Lady Gaga.

It turns out that an MRI doesn’t whir. It’s more of a cringe-inducing series of mechanical groans that reminded me of Ripley trying to blow up the spaceship in Aliens. So he woke up. We stopped, put him back to sleep and started again. He woke up. We stopped, put him back to sleep and started again. He woke up. We stopped, put him back to…well, you get the idea. Eventually we called it quits and decided we would be opting out of this portion of the study. I want to help, but you’ve got to be kidding me. One of the techs even crawled in there with him at one point to calm him.

We also had two days of testing, some of which were the same as what he did on his first trip. It was really great to watch because he has improved so much since last time. Plus, the last time he had two seizures, so he wasn’t to into it. We still haven’t seen a seizure since February 10! He was engaged, cooperative, and the difference was awesome. The only problem he really seemed to be having with the testing was that sometimes he was too busy flirting with the ladies administering it to do it. I looked forward to hearing how the scores would show how much better he was. Finally, the big reveal! And the scores show….regression! Regression? WTF. How is that possible? Here is why. The Mullen Scale is bullshit. Last time we were there, due to the seizures he got sleepy and some had to be completed by parent report. They no longer do that, which is understandable as I see how it could inflate scores. So this time, it had to be done in front of them. Yet, he can do more! How did he regress? Last time he could barely sit, and this time he sat the whole time! Well, the way they score it is that there are a series of things he must do to be scored on. If he doesn’t perform one item, they stop. So when they got to the item where he is supposed to lay on his stomach and reach for an item, he insisted on just rolling over every time because he hates being on his stomach. Therefore, he didn’t get credit for that, nor did he get credit for the following item. SITTING. I don’t know what items came after that, but he didn’t get a chance at those either. So he was rated at a 4-month level in motor skills. He is delayed, but he is NOT at a four-month level. So clearly this test isn’t going to be particularly helpful for our personal purposes. I’m happy to have him in the study and I like the ladies in charge, but the Mullen and I are not friends.

Connor’s physical therapist about flipped when I shared this with her. The Battelle test she uses on him requires three fails in a row in an area before you move on to a different section, not one. So while I had already dismissed the Mullen as a load of crap, her agreement made me feel even better. Some kids have splinter skills. Meaning they may lack a skill that should have come at an earlier age, but they have developed other skills that are more advanced. Connor is such a case. He can sit fully independently, maintain a standing position for at least a minute holding the couch, and as of his most recently PT session, he can also maintain a crawling position for a minute (we just gotta get him moving).

We also took the opportunity to have him seen in the Boston TSC clinic. Dr. Sahin looked him over and we did the Woods lamp test for the first time. Skin involvement is common in TSC, but Connor doesn’t have anything particularly noticeable. He did have some small raised white spots on his legs I suspected were TSC related, as well as a tiny white spot without pigment, but nothing I would have thought much of were it not for the TSC diagnosis. Dr. Sahin confirmed the little white bumps were tiny little shagreen patches, and the lamp revealed some other de-pigmented spots not visible to the naked eye. Nothing that really phased us. Perhaps there is a benefit to the possibility of him inheriting my pasty skin rather than Chris’s ability to tan. His white spots will be less noticeable. He also looked over the MRI that was done right before Connor’s surgery. He said he was too young for it to be a great MRI, but he did point out some tubers, and the SEN’s Connor has were very, very small. SEN’s are the brain growths that have the potential to grow and become SEGAs  which can be very serious, needing surgery or the drug Afinitor, so it was good to hear his are particularly small. His social area of the brain also looked good. Connor will have his annual clinical MRI with them next time we go in August. We should be able to tell a lot more about what areas are affected then.

Chilling in the Boston suite.
Chilling in the Boston suite.

We cut our trip short by a day due to the storm that was supposed to hit. Naturally, that meant the storm ended up being downgraded. You’re welcome, Boston.

Random thought for the day: I think Connor should have been the e-Trade baby.