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Happy Pride Month!

Holding space for all of my LGBTQ + brothers and sisters this month and always. May we always feel safe wherever we are in the world.

I’m feeling pretty melancholy this year because unlike past years, this year feels almost unbearably heavy.

Some of you reading may not know what life was like “before.”

My great uncle Max had a partner named Charlie. I only remember meeting him a few times when I was a young child, but I distinctly remember him and Charlie. They were so handsome! Max was my mother’s favorite uncle, so she shared her memories with me. For context, my mother is 80, so she came of age in the 50s. Max and Charlie were adults then. In those days, there was no “pride,” just shame, but fortunately for my mother, her parents were progressive for the times. My father’s family was also progressive. So, my brother and I were raised with progressive values. Still, in the 70s, being gay (or bi/trans/queer), wasn’t something to be proud of. It was something you hid unless you were in a safe space. Friends may have suspected you were gay, and slurs were thrown around all.the.time, but at least where I grew up, peers were not threatened or ostracized for being gay.

Around 1983, I began going to gay clubs and had some friends who were out. I never once remember feeling threatened or unsafe in any way. For years, this trend of acceptance continued and it finally seemed that in 2015, a victory had been won and things would continue to improve.

The ever present recent threat of violence and some state governments’ intrusive and disgusting reach into the lives of those who don’t deserve it has gotten to me and I am having to purposely avoid the news so that I don’t get mired in negativity.

A town near me is having a Pride celebration this weekend and it would be a perfect opportunity to show my support for the community. Maybe I’ll head over to Target and pick up some Pride “merch” and wear it boldly this month.

I swallow my fear for my daughter, but she’s a black belt, so there’s that.

What we do for “likes”

I took this picture last night. Immediately afterward, I wanted to post it online. I’ve deactivated my Facebook account and don’t use Instagram much, so I didn’t post it anywhere until now.

Why, I wondered, did I feel compelled to seek affirmation for my photo? It’s really not that special. It’s just that after almost 15 years, I’m conditioned to share things to an online audience.

We humans are affirmation seekers, and it’s not always a bad thing. I try to show appreciation for the blogs I follow so that the writers will know I appreciate the effort.

So, please admire this average photo, but remember that I appreciate every like and comment. 😁

Early 80s alternative music

Late 70s/early 80s music is the soundtrack of my coming of age, so of course, there are some great tunes from that era that I love and that have endured the test of time.

This post is going to feature some of the more obscure songs that hold a special place in my heart. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these songs or some of your own!

Man In the High Castle – TV recommendation

My husband was always a huge Phillip K. Dick fan and I have become a fan as well. I love any book, movie or TV show that is surreal, has elements of suspense and bonus – lots of mind fuckery.

Back in 2015, Amazon Prime adapted the novel and made a TV show. A little late to the game, but we started watching a couple of weeks ago. I had just finished 5 seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and was itching for a new binge-worthy series. It is awesome. If you like dystopian, alt-history sci-fi, you will love this. Here is a brief description: This series, loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, takes a look at what the world might look like had the outcome of World War II turned out differently. In this dystopian scenario, the Axis powers won the war, leading to the United States being divided into three parts, an area controlled by the Japanese, a Nazi-controlled section, and a buffer zone between the two. Despite the oppression, a new hope emerges when films turn up that seem to show a different world. A woman believes the films contain the key to freedom and is determined to find their mysterious guardian.

If you’ve watched this, no spoilers, please, but let me know what you thought.

A new purchase – totally frivolous!

As the caption says, this is my new bike, my Zizzo Forte. I have never had a folding bike before, so it’s been a slight learning curve in folding and unfolding, but so far, it’s been super fun! This was taken the first week I bought it, when the weather was good enough to ride. As an aside, it feels like winter is back here in the eastern U.S. I had a few occasions to ride it, but sadly, it’s been folded up for a few weeks now.

I have a non-folding bike that I really do like; however, every so often, I would be out and about and wished I had my bike. It got to be a hassle to load it up on my trunk rack and made me nervous whenever I did.

I am what the bicycling community would refer to as a casual rider. I don’t aspire to riding century rides (a 100 mile ride!) or getting out on the shoulder of a busy road. I prefer trails and roads that are not busy and enjoying the scenery.

So, here’s to sunny days and long rides on the trail.

Who are chosen as role models?

Unless you live under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard about Dylan Mulvaney and the Bud Light marketing campaign. You may have seen a video of Kid Rock shooting at cans of beer to express his apparent disgust at the beer cans bearing Dylan’s face.

Some of my readers may already know that I am the parent of a transgender woman. She is not out everywhere and that is a wise decision on her part. I’m not overly concerned for her safety, as she is a black belt, but there is always the possibility of a hate crime.

Back to Dylan and Budweiser. I am not sure sure who thought that this would be a good marketing strategy, given the current political/social climate in this country. As a matter of fact, there have been a few firings over it.

Representation matters and I applaud the efforts made by television, film, and in the corporate world. However…I don’t think Dylan Mulvaney was a wise decision to represent the majority of transgendered people. This snippet from a recent article by Elizabeth Scalia has a few good points:

As predisposed to trans-acceptance as I am, something about Dylan Mulvaney sets my teeth on edge.

Maybe it’s the fact that the 365 Days of Girlhood began with a lot of creepy “little girl” outfits that — as a woman who survived child sexual abuse — I found stomach-turning. I find myself thinking of Dylan as an energetic performance artist whose shtick I cannot buy.

Possibly that’s because “buying” has become so synonymous with Mulvaney’s persona and the manic materialism is off-putting? Perhaps. Watching a recent video in which Mulvaney tore through a Kate Spade shop like a loud, Midwestern tornado looking for the “perfect” (and costly) spring handbag, I was put off by the tone deaf, over-the-top mindlessness of “buying pretty things” in a time of economic hardship for many.

But I was also annoyed by the idea that this is how women live — that we are empty-headed hyenas hyperventilating over purses; that we take bubble baths while wearing pearls and sipping light beer; that we skip about like 5-year-olds, exercise like Rockettes and babble in surprise about how March Madness is actually about sports.

Camp is a big part of drag and has been since Milton Berle and Flip Wilson broke that ground in the mainstream, so long ago. Nevertheless, I get why some women think of Mulvaney as a kind of giddy minstrel offering up the most harmful of female stereotypes for public consumption. Moreover, the presentment of an adult female body that looks like a child’s — or an adolescent male’s — both roils the gut and does nothing to help women who are trying to move past Madison Avenue messaging that they can never be good enough without this handbag, or that body. It is good and important for us to listen to and hear our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. But women who are offended by this need to be heard as well.

There are millions of transgendered people living quiet lives. You may not even know they are trans. I suppose I understand why Bud Light chose Dylan as the face of their marketing campaign. I just wish they had chosen someone else. Laverne Cox might have been a good choice. Even Chaz Bono, perhaps.

This has not helped the acceptance of trans people, it has hurt it and this opinion is shared by many other transgendered people. I cannot wait for Dylan’s 5 minutes of fame to be over for good.

What’s happening in some parts of the U.S. (TW: anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric)

This is absolutely sickening. All of it.

What do your favorite childhood books say about you?

For the sake of this post, I’m talking about elementary/primary school.

Here are mine:

Mitch and Amy both think being twins is fun, but that doesn’t stop them from squabbling. Amy is good at reading. Mitch is a math whiz. Amy likes to play pretend. Mitch would rather skateboard. They never want to watch the same television show. And they always try to get the better of each other.

Then the school bully starts picking on Mitch — and on Amy, too. Now the twins have something rotten in common: Alan Hibbler. This twosome must set aside their squabbles and band together to defeat a bully!

When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort – she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because he was a miser and would have money.

Claudia was a good organizer and Jamie had some ideas, too; so the two took up residence at the museum right on schedule. But once the fun of settling in was over, Claudia had two unexpected problems: She felt just the same, and she wanted to feel different; and she found a statue at the Museum so beautiful she could not go home until she had discovered its maker, a question that baffled the experts, too.

The former owner of the statue was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Without her – well, without her, Claudia might never have found a way to go home.

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. This edition contains newly color illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E. B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books.

These are my top 3. Of course, there were other Beverly Cleary books I also loved, such as Beezus and Ramona and Henry Huggins. All of a Kind Family was also great. The one thing that stands out to me is that most of these books all feature brother and sister duos. Not surprisingly, I may have gravitated to this because of my own close relationship with my brother, who is a year younger than I. All of a Kind Family is about sisters and that fascinated me.

All of these kids were spunky characters, unafraid to break out of their usual lives and all had strong convictions to stand up for what they believed in.

What about you? I’d love to hear about your favorite childhood stories and what they meant (or even still, mean) to you.


A life without anxiety

I’m not talking about “regular” anxiety, I’m talking about the crippling, life-limiting, keep you awake at night, anxiety that has been a part of your life since you can remember. The anxiety that made that call to your mother at work because you thought you were having a heart attack as a 10 year old. The anxiety that interfered with the happiness of your own wedding and made you shake and sweat as your family and friends watched. The anxiety that limits your travel, isolates you, undermines you. The underlying, stuffed down anxiety that rears its head as panic.

For the first time in my life, I am taking medication to help. I know not to get my hopes up, but I can only imagine a life without my constant companion. I am not going to give up the quest to live without it.

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