Summer Fun (just pass the bottle)

It’s August, and that means summer vacation time. We took our yearly trek up to northern Michigan last week. My husband and I get into a “discourse” before every long car trip. By long, I mean anything longer than the distance of our short driveway. He offered to drive. I suggested (read-strongly refused to let him) that I do so instead as he could probably use the rest.

Here’s the reason. My husband suffers from what I like to call “Driving Induced Narcolepsy.” It doesn’t matter if he is the driver or the passenger. He will fall asleep in a matter of seconds once the car motor is started. Now, I’m usually a very liberal girl….but on this occasion, well, I’m very decidedly PRO LIFE. I’m driving. My husband can be driving, and nodding off, and driving…and nodding off….the kids, frantic in the back seat….my daughter, texting me frantic messages to wake her dad the (blank) up… next the kids start recording farewell messages to their classmates…to be played on what would have been their graduation days…. my husband, still driving and nodding…..irritated if I suggest he pull the F*** OVER NOW!!

Anyway, this will go on…and then suddenly, some dude in a car will try to pass on the right. My husband will shoot to consciousness like a rocket, his foot instantly pressing on the gas. Seriously???? It’s the man rule: Thou shalt not let another car pass in front of you. It’s unbelievable. Now it’s on and my husband has gone all Nascar on me. Except he hates Nascar. Except for this instance. Jesus.

And I’m thinking how the (blank) tough do you really think you look (asshole) driving the six-year-old Explorer, with dents on the side, three kids in the back, adorned with bumper stickers??? And how far do you think we are going to get when we are surrounded by ORANGE BARRELS AS IT IS SUMMER IN MICHIGAN????

Day three of the vacation I staggered up to the food kiosk at the beach to order food. My youngest son had thrown me into the lake. Michiganders like to refer to the temperature of the Great Lakes as “refreshing.” Bullshit. I’m from Michigan and I am here to tell you that even on a ninety degree day the water was bloody damn cold. I hadn’t brought a brush with me to the beach…because why would I… As the guy at the lunch place leaned into the window to take my order I caught sight of my shadow. My hair had dried into a pattern that can only be described as “Medusa like.” The guy asked me what I wanted. I think I may have spoken in a voice normally reserved for serial killers in movies when I replied: Vodka. But only the good stuff–like Grey Goose. And no mixer. Just the damn bottle. And a bunch of limes.

The guy looked at me and said huh. He then proceeded to tell me all about the local variety of vodka made up in Traverse City…and then we had quite the conversation about the different types of vodka. I think he would have given me a free drink/bottle had he any vodka on him. I think he sensed my desperation. Maybe the hair was a give away. Hard to tell, really…

The drive home only took a short six hours. It is normally a three and a half hour jaunt, but it’s Michigan and summer, which means road construction. Which means some asshat decided to close one lane of the main highway pretty much all the way home…

You know, when you’re stuck in a car for that long, you start to think about things, like teleporting, and flying cars, and running away and assuming a new identity. And why the hell can’t they make a more comfortable car seat. Seriously.

We’re home now and I’m happy to report I’m not an alcoholic. I am counting down the days until school begins again…

Peace people

 

 

 

 

Coin Toss

He has a name. Arnaldo Eliud Rios Soto is the name of the autistic young man who wandered away from the group home last week in Miami–and the world watched his African-American behavioral therapist get shot attempting to help him.

Ok, technically, the shooting is NOT on the video. What we see is the African-American therapist laying on the ground with his hands in the air, while Rios sits cross-legged next to him. They are in the middle of the street. Rios is holding a toy truck. Charles Kinsey, the therapist, can be heard yelling that he is a behavioral therapist and that Rios is his patient.

It didn’t F******* matter. The SWAT team member shot Kinsey in the leg. He had a report that Rios was suicidal and had a gun. He was actually aiming for Rios. (Because it makes sense to kill a man that might be suicidal instead of actually helping him…No, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s bullshit.)

I have been sick to my stomach for days over this.

Two of my children are African. One of my four children, my twenty year old son, is autistic. Imagine the scenario someday where my two boys are together and my autistic son becomes agitated–possibly aggressive. My African son is with him. What if a bystander calls the police?

A couple of years ago I stopped by my local police department to inquire as to their autism training and intervention plans. The officer I talked to was, well, a total jerk. He took one look at my arms, bruised from a previous bad day with my son. It happens. The officer was ready to press charges and wanted me to sign a form IMMEDIATELY.

WHAT. THE. F***.

I had come there for help. I wanted to know that if I needed assistance with my son, I could count on them showing up and not shooting him; not tasering him; not hurting him in any way. Instead, I realized that this fellow had no idea about cognitive delays, mental health, and autism.

Last week’s shooting was my worst nightmare come true. I understand that not all police officers are incompetent, racist asshats. I do. But shooting Kinsey was completely UNNECESSARY. The thought that the officer actually meant to shoot Rios sickens me.

So again, I pose the question: What if my two sons are in public. Which one are the police going to aim for? The thought sickens me. Both are innocent. Both were born with a set of genes that determined their individual destinies. One: tall, caucasian, cognitively impaired, autistic. One: shorter, strong, African, bright.

Black Lives Do Matter. Deal with it.

Autism exists. Learn about it and deal with it.

Try and show compassion and kindness towards each other.

Peace people.

 

Birds of Pray (or,Why tofurky is starting to look a little better..but only a little.)

I had a flashback memory today. I feel the need to share with you.

I’m going to start in advance by apologizing to any of you that keep kosher. My hat is off to you as I know how much work is involved.

I am married to a Jewish man and while we don’t eat pork or shellfish, (author’s note-my husband never does–I can’t claim the same–don’t judge me..)I don’t keep a kosher kitchen. I was raised without any formal religious training, so marrying a conservative Jew was, well interesting at first.

We worked it out and that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, today I was prepping chicken for tonight’s dinner. I had purchased a cut up kosher chicken as I hadn’t gotten to the market I normally go to for the all natural stuff I usually buy. As I cleaned the chicken I was irritated by the amount of feathers I had to pull off.

And then I remembered.

Many years ago, I bought a kosher turkey for Thanksgiving. Why, I’m not exactly sure…I can’t remember if I had forgotten to order the all natural I usually do, or if the market had run out of the normal…it’s a bit foggy. Anyway, I brought it home and Thanksgiving morning pulled off the wrapper, ready to clean it and throw it in the oven.

WTF.

It was literally covered in feathers. I mean, covered. I had never seen anything like it. You could have plucked one out, stuck it in a hat and called it macaroni. The thing looked ready to take flight, even in its headless state.

I started to panic. I had never dealt with anything like this before. Because I was in a rush and having an anxiety attack, it didn’t occur to me to actually Google how to deal with this. So, I grabbed pliers and began to pluck. And pluck. And pluck.

Turkeys have a lot of damn feathers.

A lot of cursing was heard that Thanksgiving.

I was thankful it finally made it to the oven. I was thankful we didn’t keep a kosher kitchen. I was thankful I didn’t have to kill and pluck my own birds and again pondered becoming a vegetarian. I was thankful for the large quantity of wine I drank when I finally sat down that day.

I have decided that kosher birds are assholes.

Peace people.

 

 

Waiting for (African) Superman (or, How To Blow Your Child’s Mind In One Easy Step…)

I don’t think anything gives a parent more pleasure than driving their children crazy. At least for me anyway.

This weekend I drove my youngest son to the brink of madness. And it was AWESOME.

It started with a conversation about Superman. Earlier I had read an online article about how Superman’s skin should actually be dark as he derives his energy from the sun. The argument then went on to state that Superman should actually have brown or black skin. Now, one would think that my son, the AFRICAN, would embrace this idea.

Not so much.

Quite frankly, the thought of that blew his mind.

We argued back and forth for quite some time. He yelled that changing Superman would alter all the comics for the last seventy years. I yelled that they had changed Green Lantern to a darker toned person… my son grew angrier and said that Green Lantern was NOT a major superhero… I said to tell that to Green Lantern… I accused HIM of being a superhero racist…He told me I was IMPOSSIBLE…and that if I wanted to change superheroes so much, what about BATMAN?? COULD BATMAN BE BLACK???

I replied probably not because Batman was rich and had a butler (and then I cracked up…waiting for his wrath…)

This drove him blind with fury and he accused ME of being a racist…

For the record, neither one of us is racist. Just to be clear.

And shortly after this heated exchange my husband drove my son to the comic book store to buy the new Black Panther comic (which I looked through quickly just to make sure it wasn’t pornographic, only to have my son inform me that it wasn’t and tell me the name of the graphic novel that was. Good to know that he knows these things. Sigh…)

If you have children, go have a debate with them. Make them stand their ground. Drive them a little bit crazy. It will make them critical thinkers and maybe develop a sense of humor. It will also be a bit fun for you…

Later that night we all watched the “Captain America”movie, blanket pulled up, arms all over each other.

Family.

Peace people.

 

 

 

Driving For Direction (or, Pandas Gone Bad..)

I took my two sons and a visiting friend on a short vacation down to North Carolina to visit my oldest daughter last week. I wanted to see her, I wanted to see some sunshine, and I needed to clear my head.

A ten-hour drive, each direction, will give you some time to think.

I needed to figure out where I am going with my life, my career…was it worth putting the effort into comedy or should I quit now before I get too invested… I was feeling stressed from trying to do it all, from trying to break into formed social groups, from watching the hatred being spewed out on political television… I needed a break.

I drove from Michigan, through the farm lands of Ohio, then through the gentle mountains of West Virginia. We stopped for lunch somewhere there… at some small roadside “town.” We flipped a coin over the two restaurant choices and walked into the winner.

As we pushed open the doors and entered, we found ourselves facing the largest display of the Ten Commandments I had ever seen. Ever. I mean, I have seen smaller billboards on the highway. They were displayed on a table, filled with all sorts of religious artifacts… I wasn’t sure if I had stumbled into a makeshift altar and a sacrifice was about to take place, or a spontaneous Baptism–all I knew was that it freaked me the hell out and before I could stop myself I burst out loudly “HOLY SHIT!!!”

In my defense, at least I said holy. Just saying.

My youngest son’s eyes were as big as saucers… he started to dart them back and forth…clearly out of his comfort zone as well… he whispered to me that he was concerned for his safety… I assured him that we were fine…although I wasn’t entirely convinced myself..

We ate our crappy lunches and beat it. Lesson learned.

Later I was nearly pushed off the road by a semi truck that failed to see me…I drove onto the shoulder and somehow managed to speed up and zip in front of him without rear ending the semi in front of me…this still in the mountains…all very exciting…as my Mighty Explorer is well-known as being a performance automobile (insert sarcasm here..).

The best part of the trip (besides spending time with my children) was going to the science center in Charlotte. There we innocently bought tickets to the IMAX panda movie–a documentary about preserving the pandas in China.

HOLY SHIT.

It began innocently enough. Panda preserve, female panda, needs to get pregnant to keep the panda population going. Ok, so far so good… They put her in a pen and brought out this young male panda, who is a bit rough, so she rejects him, so they brought out (and I quote) “an older, more experienced male.” At this point I’m giggling. No shit. The panda lady was like “Get that asshole young kid away from me with his cheap ass beer– I want the older guy with the stable job and the fine wine and a fully stocked liquor cabinet–with the GOOD STUFF–and a good retirement plan. AND that knows what the hell to do in bed.”

Jesus, even PANDAS know this shit.

So the female panda gets pregnant and has twins but she normally only takes care of one. This means that every two weeks some poor worker has to go in and take the panda baby from her and switch it with the other baby that they are caring for in the panda nursery. Except she can get a little testy about this and apparently pandas can kill you with one swipe. I wish you could have seen how fast this guy ran. I mean, Olympic fast. No kidding.

Fast forward–now one of the panda babies is grown up enough to make it and they want to get him ready to go out into the real world. To do this (wait-I have to laugh here…) to do this (laughing again…) a couple of guys put on these really shitty panda costumes, so the panda WON’T KNOW that they are humans coming in to hang out with him. Ummm..

At first I was like WHOA!!! Did this movie just take a wrong turn??? Is this some kind of sick furry sexual film?? WHAT THE HELL???

The costumes were so very bad. I mean, this is CHINA for godssakes. One would think they could find a better costume there for their beloved pandas!!! And, the panda dudes were walking upright! Like Yogi Bear! Or the Country Bear Jamboree! I mean, WTF people!! Even pandas aren’t that stupid!

The best part was that one of the panda guy’s had to smear panda feces and urine all over himself to help convince the real panda that he was legit. I kept thinking that the other guy probably had a double-headed coin for that coin toss…gee guy, sorry, you lost again, bummer but you have to smear that crap all over you again…wow…

The final test was getting the baby panda ready to handle predators. The two panda dudes, walking upright, carried a stuffed cat. This was to be the terrifying jaguar to teach the panda to fear for its life. They smeared the urine and feces all over it and hid behind some bushes…waiting…ummm….

The panda walked by (walking on all four legs, just to be clear…) looked at the stuffed cat (and probably thought “who the hell put a stuffed cat in the middle of this forest? Assholes…”) Just then the panda dudes hit this tape recorder circa 1979 and this loud YOWL was heard. The real panda was like, “HOLY SHIT what the HELL was THAT!!!” and promptly ran up a tree (because he thought “JUDAS PRIEST when did stuffed cats learn to make noises??!!”)

Apparently this was a big success and it was decided that the real panda could now be pushed out of the nest and into the real forest to deal with real predators.

The End.

I have to say that thru the entire movie, my asshole family was snorting and giggling and laughing. Nobody else in the theater was. Sigh. We just could not take this seriously. (Ok, my autistic son was not laughing. So one of us was well-behaved.)

Which brings me back to the beginning of this blog. I was thinking of walking away from comedy. I really was.

But after this trip all I could think about was how I could make this into a new bit. Or how I need to write a television series. Or how I need to write some new sketches for the sketch comedy group I joined.

And to clone myself so I can be a mom and do it all.  That would help too.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marching On…

I survived February. It wasn’t easy. It was gray here in Michigan…cold…and it has been a year since I stop working as a nurse. It hit me hard. All of it.

To combat all that I performed in comedy shows and started a fundraising effort. Fight darkness with light.

Some of you may be aware of the situation in Flint, Michigan. The toxins in the water there, especially lead, are dangerously high. I was born in Flint and lived in the area for the first eleven years of my life. As the mother of a special needs child, I can tell you I would have done anything to have prevented the pain it was clear he was in early in his life. The parents in Flint fought to be heard for at least a year and were ignored. The lead exposure to their children has most certainly done damage. The effects are already showing and will continue to be seen for years.

I contacted a local well known comedian about the idea for a comedy fundraiser. We started Comics For Flint. Through this comedians and venues can raise donations to be used for the various charities in the city of Flint to help those affected. We are having a large comedy show in two weeks–we are not personally performing–we have well known comedians in the area donating time and a comedy club has donated their room.

I am very proud of this effort. It has helped to get me through the depression of February.

Now it is March. The sun is beginning to return. I have the shoots of tulips poking up. I am turning my face to the future. I am fighting back with kindness.

And humor. Laughter helps.

So go laugh. Today.

Peace people.

A Silly Quiz (or, How does your child REALLY feel about you…)

Today I read one of those lists that you are supposed to ask your children to learn what they think of you. Normally I ignore them, but I’m spending a wintery Michigan day with the boys and thought, oh what the hell. I called my twelve year old over and proceeded to quiz him. Here are the results….

  1. What is something mom always says to you?
    READ!
  2. What makes mom happy?
    The beach or SNL (Saturday Night Live, just in case that wasn’t clear…)
  3. What makes mom sad?
    Snow (so very, very true…)
  4. How does your mom make you laugh?
    By telling jokes that I can relate to
  5. What was your mom like as a child?
    A punk/talked back/smart (ok, so guilty as charged…)
  6. How old is your mom?
    49 (and I just vomited a little bit writing that…)
  7. How tall is your mom?
    5’10” (insert me laughing now…as that is about 4″ taller than I am…)
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    Go to the gym, comedy, or to the beach
  9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
    Errands
  10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    Comedy
  11. What is your mom really good at?
    Being a nurse, awareness of everything going on around, reading
  12. What is your mom not very good at?
    Swimming (sigh, very true…)
  13. What does your mom do for a job?
    Comedy (now if I could only get paid for this….)
  14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
    Salad with prosciutto on top
  15. What makes you proud of your mom?
    That I am the only one that graduated from college in my family (I must insert here that my parents did go to junior college and obtained associate degrees)
  16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
    Will Ferrell (hahahahaha!!!!)
  17. What do you and your mom do together?
    Watch “Heroes” and play Star Wars by fighting with light sabers
  18. How are you and your mom the same?
    We both love to argue and are very competitive (ok, this is true. Uno can become a blood bath…as can Nerf archery–we shoot each other–or any other event…)
  19. How are you and your mom different?
    I couldn’t care less about sports (this is true…although when he plays soccer, I am fixated on that field…)
  20. How do you know your mom loves you?
    Because I cook for him and I went to Africa to get him (choking up a bit here..)
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
    He is loyal and doesn’t lie and is smart
  22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
    Key West or anyplace warm (I’m sensing a theme here…)

I had fun asking him all of these questions. I loved that he thinks that I am always aware of everything…that’s going to help me as his teen years loom in the near future. It also may have helped that I discovered his Nintendo DS hidden under his mattress today…that he took without asking from my room so he could stay up at night and play. Busted.

I should also add in that when I first asked him how we were alike he started to answer physical features… like our toes, and widow’s peaks…which I found just so dang sweet as he is adopted and yet he was still finding physical similarities. Again, tearful here.

Take the time to ask your children questions. Get to know them. Look under their mattresses. Look into their eyes and their hearts.

They will look back.

And if we are very lucky, they will continue to do so…their entire lives.

Peace people.