family

Disability Day of Mourning

candlelight candles
Photo by Irina Anastasiu on Pexels.com

Every year on the first day of March, the disability community remembers those with disabilities who were murdered by family members or caregivers. In many cases, the murder is a filicide – a parent murdering their child. The reason to separate out the murder of those with disabilities is because of how the murders are reported, discussed, and excused.

When I shared information about a vigil last year, one response stuck out: Do we really need this? How often does it happen that we need to actually have this day?

In 2001, Andrea, a mother, murdered her five children. She drowned them, one after the other, because she thought they would go to hell when they got older. By drowning them, she was saving them, guaranteeing that they would go to heaven. She was convicted of murder, even after having expert witnesses testify that she was suffering from mental illness, including postnatal depression and apparent psychosis. Yates was sentenced to life in prison.

In this case, the sympathy goes to the children. They were innocent. They were babies. They were murdered by their own mother. She thought she was saving them, keeping them safe, making sure they had a good future. The public was outraged. How dare she think that she could decide what their futures would be like? Who cared if she was mentally ill? This crime was unthinkable – unforgivable!

Fast forward.

In 2016, a mother, Bonnie, murdered her daughter, Courtney. The mother drugged and killed her daughter. The mother said that she was worried, and that her daughter would only be safe and happy in heaven. The mother was sentenced to four years in prison.

Four years.

The outrage was for the mother.

The state’s attorney said “this case was a tragedy for everyone involved and given the tragic extenuating circumstances, we felt that a term of probation rather than imprisonment was the appropriate sentence.”

The state’s attorney.

The state didn’t want her to go to prison.

The state felt all she  deserved for murdering her daughter – for drugging and killing her daughter – was probation.

What were these “tragic extenuating circumstances”?

Courtney, the daughter murdered by her mother, had cerebral palsy and severe cognitive defects. She was 28 years old and required nearly constant medical care. She had been adopted by Bonnie when she was five years old. Bonnie adopted Courtney with the full knowledge of her medical needs.

Bonnie, instead of being thought of as a murderer who needed to go to jail for life, was instead praised. Her mother, father, sister, and friends discussed her great, boundless love for her daughter. They viewed her action as justified – as a mother trying to do right by her daughter, helping her daughter go to heaven.

In both cases, mothers were trying to save children they loved. In both cases, mothers committed murder.

In one case, the mother was viewed as evil. She had to be punished. It didn’t matter that she thought that she was savings her children and sending them to heaven. What she did was horrific and wrong.

In one case, the mother was viewed as a good woman. She needed sympathy. It was important that she thought that she was saving her child and sending her to heaven. What she did was kind and compassionate.

That is only one example out of many. The disability day of mourning website has lists of people with disabilities who were murdered by family members. They list them by age, by geographical location, and by year. The list they have is not complete, of course. They can only list cases that made it into the news, cases where the murderer is known, cases where the face that the victim was disabled appears in the news.

The disability day of mourning is meant to be a time to think about how we respond to these events. We are outraged when someone kills their child, unless we think that, somehow, the child caused undue stress on the parent. We find it a kindness that the parent was concerned about the child’s life, the child’s future. We praise the mother who murdered her disabled daughter because she wanted her to go to heaven; we condemn the mother who murdered her non-disabled children because she wanted them to go to heaven.

This is what I say when someone says to me: Do we really need this? How often does it happen that we need to actually have this day?

Yes, we need it. It happens more often than you think.

Sources:
Mom sentenced to jail for killing disabled adopted daughter
https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/18/health/mom-jail-killing-disabled-daughter/index.html

Yates: I’m Saving My Kids From Hell
https://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130284&page=1

 

really really funny stuff · Uncategorized

My Encounter with Gregor Samsa

a picture of a cockroad with the words "not a cockroach" above itI’m the one who let the dogs out.

Actually, I let the dogs out what seems like three dozen times a day, but it’s probably a lot more than that. It’s normally an incident-free type thing: open the back door, let the dogs into the backyard, and close the door.

This morning was not incident-free.

When I opened the back door, a bug that looked very much like a cockroach but moved so fast I couldn’t be sure came running into the house.

I screamed. Holy mother of fuck, what the fuck is that?

The bug was probably just about as freaked out as I was.

It had been sitting on the back stoop, minding his own business, when suddenly this huge thing (the door) came flying at it and two massive animals (each weighing under 10 pounds, but massive compared to him) jumped over it.

I ran to grab a heavy book – a college English textbook, which honestly isn’t good for much else – and by the time I got back, the bug that could have been a roach was hiding under the edge of the dog’s chewy toy.

Clever, right? It was a smart little bug, which made me question its roach status, and I had yet to get a clear look at it.

I kicked the chew toy away and tossed the book where the roach *should* have been, but instead the little bastard was too fast and ran under the black ottoman.

Totally smart.

Totally annoying.

I pushed the ottoman around, still holding the book, and it came out and hide under the big plush green hippo there.

Clearly, this was not a roach. Or if it was a roach, it was the most brilliant roach I had ever crossed paths with.

I decided to reason with it.

I put the book down.

“Just go outside,” I told it. “You’ll be okay, I’ll be okay, and you’ll get out of this alive.”

Maybe it heard me and understood me. Maybe not.

But when I came back with a broom and opened the back door, it managed to get under the sweeping part of the broom and made it out the door.

Alive.

It righted itself on the concrete of the back porch, and stared at me.

Was it a cockroach? Was it more than that?

I don’t know.

I got distracted because the dog wanted to come back in, and by the time I looked back at where it had been, it was gone.

Political Rants · Uncategorized

No, I don’t have to love you.

Love your neighbor who doesn't: look like you, think like you, love like you, speak like you, pray like you, vote like you. Love your neighbor. No exceptions.Today I saw a sign being shared that was originally from an Episcopal church. People commented on it about how great it was, how it was all about love, and how this is what Jesus meant.

I call bullshit.

A massive, steaming pile of fresh, fly-attracting bullshit.

A field full of massive, steaming piles of fresh, fly-attracting bullshit.

Because, no.

I don’t love you.

I don’t have to love you.

Love is like respect.

You try to love and respect people when you meet them.

You try to assume the best in them.

You try to believe that the love and respect will be reciprocated, that there is a level of parity that is reached, and that there will be a mutual response.

When that doesn’t happen – when that person makes it clear that they want to oppress you, deny you your rights, imprison you, and, yes, even kill you simply because of who you are at your fundamental core…

Then, no.

I do not have to love that person.

You do not have to love that person.

Loving that person is allowing them to continue with their messages of hatred.

Loving that person is being complicit in their hate and anger and behavior.

Loving that person is agreeing that it is okay to discriminate

They do not desire your love.

They do not respect your love.

They will use your love against you.

Do not love that person.

really really funny stuff · Uncategorized

Dear Lizard – Don’t fight it

lizard on rock
This is not a picture of the actual lizard. I was too worried I would fail and he would die, so I didn’t take a picture of him because I didn’t want a reminder of him and his demise… Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

I’m terrified of spiders. Not shocking news, especially for anyone who reads this blog or knows me in real life.

What I’m not terrified of is lizards.

I love lizards.

I love them so, so, so much.

I love them so much that whenever I find their little desiccated corpses which means that one of them was brutally kitty-murdered, I’m super sad as I toss it into the trash. (Which doesn’t sound like I’m that sad, but, honestly, what else can you do with a little lizard corpse?)

So when the blinds in the living rooms shifted, I almost freaked out and ran away. Then I spotted a green tail sticking out. A second later, a green head popped out.

A lizard!

A lizard in the house…with the murdering kitties. And, to be fair, puppies. The puppies don’t catch them as often, but I do know that a certain puppy quite enjoys the hunt and is happy when she manages a kill.

I had to rescue it before it began kitty – or puppy – chow.

The problem with the lizards we have around are that they are fast, and they don’t like to be captured. If you foolishly try to grab them, they drop their tail and make a break for it while you have that completely natural reaction of “oh my god, there’s a part of a lizard in my hand!”

This time, though, I had a cunning plan.

Waiting to get put back up above the cabinets was a Halloween candy container that had a lid.

I could totally catch this lizard and save him.

The only problem was that he didn’t want me to.

I don’t think that it was because he enjoyed hiding the slats of the blinds – although, since I’m not a lizard, perhaps that’s actually some sort of spa-like experience for them, and he thought I was ruining his perfectly enjoyable afternoon.

I made a few ill-advised attempts to get him to jump into the container.

Hint: lizards do jump, but not into clear containers.

Instead, he jumped down to the window ledge or jumped back up into the blinds.

I knew I only had a few more chances before he would drop to the floor, hide under some furniture, and become kibble for one of the animals in the house.

“Get in the bucket! It will save you!” I told him.

“You’ll die! You’ll die!” Which, if he understood English, he might have taken as a threat.

I don’t think I suddenly convinced him with my yelling. I think he probably just ran out of options since I had been forcing him downward until the container was between him and the floor.

He jumped into the container.

“I have saved you, lizard!” I yelled at him as I rested the lid on top. I didn’t want to push it down – if he had been too close, I might have killed him, which would have made the entire ten minutes I’d spent on saving him into a wasted ten minutes instead of ten minutes that made me a hero.

I brought him outside onto the back porch, which meant the dogs wanted to come along, too. To try to keep him saved, I put the container down on a chair, above the dogs’ easy reach, and opened it.

He looked up at me.

“You’re free!”

He looked up at me.

“Get out of the bucket!”

He looked up at me.

“Let me rescue you!”

He still hadn’t gotten out of the bucket. I began to suspect that perhaps we had bonded, and now he didn’t want to leave me. I couldn’t blame him. I mean, who would want to leave me, especially after I saved their life?

But I knew it was best for him to rejoin nature.

I grabbed the bucket and tried to slide him out.

I guess lizards have super amazing pads on their feet because he didn’t slide. He stuck to the plastic side of the container. He didn’t budge.

“Don’t make me hurt you!” I said.

“Don’t fight it!”

Uh-oh.

Even as I slid the lizard to his outdoor fate, I couldn’t help but think of a particular episode of “Better Off Ted.” I couldn’t make the lizard watch it – he wouldn’t understand it, plus, having been forced from the container, he’d made a break for it, and I’d already lost him.

So here it is – for you – part of “The Great Repression”

Uncategorized

Mosquitos: A Treatise on Why We Should Murder Them All and Let God Sort Them Out

I hate mosquitos.

 I know, I know – I’m in Texas. What do I expect?

Not this.

Image from: ABC13 - https://abc13.com/weather/quarter-size-mosquitoes-plague-area-amid-heavy-rainfall-/4235028/

I’m used to mosquito swarms during summer, even the end of summer, especially when it’s been especially wet and rainy, like it is right now. But this is not the normal level of swarms.

They swarm the front door, turning it from its usual not-so-clean white to a mottled grey with moving bits.

They swarm into the car the minute I open the door to get in. (And then I’m in the situation of not crashing the car trying to swat at a bug, which, of course, I would never ever do, but, for argument’s sake, let’s say I did, and let’s say that I believe the wasp in the car died when I hit the telephone pole, so it was sort of an even trade: the front end of the VW for a vicious little bastard of a wasp.)

They swarm me the minute I sit on the back porch. I wind up not being able to do anything, including just sitting there and watching the dogs run around or listening to nothing, because I spend every second swatting them away, and I still get covered in bites.

There is a bit of joy in the situation, though. There’s nothing like the feeling when you get revenge on one for landing on you. But by then, it’s probably already bitten you, so that revenge is tempered by the fact that there’s often a little splot of blood when you kill it. The blood that splots out might be yours (gross! Bloodsucking bastard!), or, even worse, someone else they bit before they bit you (extra gross! You bastard whore of a mosquito!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hate mosquitos. I hate them very, very, very, very, very much. But not as much as I hate Trump. So there’s that.

And for your viewing pleasure – the In-Laws from 1979! Peter Falk’s description of tsetse flies is what I think of when I see our current mosquito swarms…

family · Uncategorized

I Stole Your Parking Spot

action adult couple fashion
What is happening in this photo? I have no idea. But it was free. And it involved a parking lot. Good luck figuring it out. Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Yes, you. The mom with the stroller. Or maybe the soon-to-be-mom with the bun-in-the-oven look going on.

Wait, who the hell called it a bun in the oven? What kinds of buns do you have that get so big that they distort the oven itself and then burst free? I don’t think I ever want to eat at your house.

Anyway, yes, you! The one who either has children in strollers, a fetus that is currently acting as a parasite and destroying your body in ways that it will never recover from, or both.

I stole your parking spot.

First off, though, let’s be fair: it’s kind of weird that the library made *that* it’s go-to rallying cry that got two marked spots right up front by the door.

I mean, I know that there are a billion kid events, especially over the summer, but don’t pop ‘em out if you can’t bundle them up and drag them screaming into the library.

Please note: I didn’t specify if they were screaming out of joy or misery. I think that’s pretty dependent on the event, the kid, and a whole bunch of other kid factors, including whether or not they were able to share the dog’s food in the morning.

Second, if you’re going to put them there, then why right there? I mean, they’re next to the accessible spots. Do you honestly believe that anyone with a disability wants to deal with your screaming kids?

Again, no blame for why they’re screaming. Just saying that it’s a distinct possibility that they will be screaming.

Third, first come first serve, bitches. If I’m there, and if that spot is open, I have every right to it. There is no fine. There is no real reservation. Just a “please kindly listen to the sign,” which, being from New Jersey, I have absolutely no respect for.

Fourth, well, my fourth reason is my real reason.

There was a single accessible spot left, but there were two mother spots.

We have an accessible tag in the car for my son – he has disabilities, and while they are not physical, they do affect our ability to function in a parking lot at times. Like lately, with all the weather we’ve had moving in, the skies are filled with seagulls. And for reasons I don’t understand, the parking lots and skies are also filled with grackles. Big ass, bitchy ass, annoying ass grackles. They sit on cars, swoop down low, and even hide in the bushes.

And that’s the problem.

Simon is pretty much straight out terrified of them. If you’ve read my blogs over at Not So Simple Simon, you’ll see that he cannot handle birds when they are in quantity or when they seemingly threaten him.

So, back to the point: there were two mother spots, and one accessible spot.

I took the mother spot.

Come at me, bro. Just not with your screaming kids.  

Uncategorized

Kickboxing Cult

action adult athletes battle
Photo by Coco Championship on Pexels.com

I’ve decided to try kickboxing.

No, I haven’t suffered a blow to the head. But give me time, I probably will when I start.

The thing is, I think I may have inadvertently joined a cult. I say that based on my first phone call to them.

I got their special “Think Pink!” deal where, for $9.95, I receive three classes and a pair of pink boxing gloves.

The first class is an orientation class. Apparently, as a newbie, I won’t do the full warm-up, and I’ll get someone to work with me to learn the moves. Which is cool.

But they were way too excited about it.

“We’re like family here!”

“Oh, that’s your friend who recommended us! We love here! She’s only been coming for a few weeks but everyone loves her!”

“We’re like family here!”

“You can find us right by this Mexican restaurant! But don’t eat there because it’s too good, and you’ll want to keep eating there, and then you won’t lose weight!”

“We’re like family here!”

“Class starts at 7:30! But this is your orientation, so be there promptly at 7!”

“We’re like family here!”

“You only do 45 minutes of the hours because we need time to talk to you about signing up!”

“We’re like family here!”

I’m three days out from my first class, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I may do great. I may pass out. I may throw up.

But I’m not going to join a cult. Unless it’s a really, really reasonably priced one.