It’s a SPOOOKY Halloween: I’m VOTING REPUBLICAN

tony Headshot-2

No really. It’s going to happen. And it REALLY does not get any more scary than voting GOP.

Here in California’s 25th district we Democrats got the short end of the stick in our new ‘top two’ primary system. Yup, I have two Republicans to choose from and zero…count ‘em…zero Democrats.

There is no write-in. There is no ‘none of the above.’ There is no other choice. 

There is only vote, or don’t vote. (I’m dying to try a Yoda line here…)

And I really can not stand the idea of abstaining. I know many of you Dems think this is the way to go and that’s your choice. However I feel if I don’t use my vote, a more extreme candidate will get into Congress. I need the guy who will do the least amount of damage in two years. I need the guy who might, maybe, kinda, think about listening to me and MY issues and ideas and beliefs. I need the guy who is open to change.

Yes, I still believe in Hope and Change.

The problem? Figuring out which candidate fits this description.

So me being, well, ME, I began a quest in late August to get both candidates to sit down with women Democrats. That was the initial idea. Hey, it’s what I did before Lupus starting taking my organs so I figured I had the street cred. If I can sit down with the President, his senior staff, get his wife to blog, bring conservative bloggers to the White House, get the RNC to have THEIR  Congresswomen blog AND participate in talks with bloggers, arrange meet and greets with elected officials and bloggers…I could do this, right?

Right.

The difference? This wasn’t for ‘work.’ This is for my hometown. My household. My district. MY OBAMACARE. My Reproductive RIGHTS. My wanting to punch in the nose every politician *cough* GOP *cough* responsible for opposing every.single.thing. MY President has attempted to accomplish since day one. Yes, day one and the infamous meeting while Barack Hussein Obama was putting his hand on the Bible and taking the oath of office.

I needed these meetings to happen and I needed it bad. I need to look Tony Strickland and Sen. Steve Knight in the eyes and find out what type of men they really are.

Unfortunately, by about mid-October they still didn’t have much of a desire to meet with me and my merry band of nose punchers. (they know I kid… I didn’t even flick their arms!)

So despite being in the midst of a round of IVIG I dragged my sorry butt to a local debate between the two. I made a point of speaking to them both, reminding them I had been pestering them and their staff (and wives) via FB, email and voicemail- and then launched into my credentials again so they knew they would be in good hands, regardless.

As anyone I’ve worked with will tell you, I’m over the TOP fair to the political types…to the point of driving my bosses nuts. However, look at it from their point of view. In the case of my job, many of these elected officials see only the ‘bad’ in social media and it scares them. They can’t control the message. They certainly can’t control the comments. The Internet can be a rough place. So I always, always allow the elected officials to lead and go with what they and their staff are most comfy with. My pitch to Strickland and Knight was the same- I’d even offered to give them the questions ahead of time (something Knight totally laughed at…bonus points for him…but he still wouldn’t commit) -Anything. Because not only would these two be walking into my blogging world but also (hopefully) into a group of left leaning folk (I ended up with a few men).

Finally, I’m thrilled to say, after meeting me in person at the debate and hearing my resume, the Strickland camp accepted. I tried at the same debate with Knight, but he just wasn’t so sure yet. I can’t blame the guy. I’m just as passionate in person as I am online and I don’t think anyone from his staff was nearby to save him when I cornered, I mean, approached him. But I did follow up with both right after and had Strickland scheduled for an intimate gathering at my home. Still no reply from Knight.

With the day now here, and Knight still not responding, I gathered 8-10 Democrat or left leaning community members who are influencers … people from various backgrounds and sectors that could then take the message back, word of mouth or via their own social media, should they be so moved by the candidate. LGBTQ, Business, Moms… you get the idea.

I put out some waters next the photo of President Obama and I (what???? oh come on I HAD TO) and near one of my boxes of White House M&Ms (I had to do that too, I just had to) made sure the kids were busy with legos and we greeted Tony Strickland, Republican, as he walked in my door.
M&Ms

We kicked things off with the very influential Leah aka @bookieboo who grilled Tony (I get to call him Tony now…which is nice because Newt insisted on MR. GINGRICH and Congressman Buck McKeon – the one retiring that these guys want to replace- prefers Congressman, if he’s even listening…and don’t even get me started on Mr. Speaker…but boy was it much nicer when it was MADAME SPEAKER) on GMO labeling and farmers.

GMO LABELING, ORGANIC FARMING: To the room’s surprise Tony said he would be entirely open to a federal standard for GMO labeling and would seriously look into it- asking very sharp questions about Europe’s standards and other states and what they have done and he thought it made a lot of sense to know what is in our food. Leah then went on to explain how family farms can have a hard time, almost impossible, going from using pesticides to organic, and there is a HUGE demand for organic. So much so that we have to bring it in from other countries. Which sucks, when we could totally corner the market here and supply our own. There is a three year period where, apparently, the family farm soil has to literally just sit and the farm has zero income. Something the majority of family farms these days simply can not handle financially. So she wanted to know if Tony would consider any sort of federal funds or subsidies to help these farmers make the jump to organic farming. Turns out, Tony would consider it- but in a pilot program. Something he thought might be smarter to start with before really committing a ton of money. And again, he would absolutely look into it and thought a pilot program was a good start.

tony Headshot-2

LGBTQ: We then moved on to LGBTQ issues. Now, there was some flack around these parts because the candidates were asked during a forum to raise their hand if they would support ENDA. Everyone but Tony raised their hand. Causing a total uproar. So Tony told us, under no uncertain terms, he has ‘evolved’ just like President Obama on the issue. And the ENDA hand raising thing- he says he hadn’t read the bill, and he had been burned before on that sort of question and didn’t want to commit to something he had not read. He also, very savvily for this Dem crowd, talked about speaking with others who had told him this version of ENDA was very watered down and from what he understood many LGBTQ activists weren’t happy about it (totally true) and wanted STRONGER legislation.

Then we got to the nitty gritty. Marriage. He said he stops short of ‘marriage.’ YET believes in total equality…just not the whole ‘marriage’ word. He wants equals rights, allegedly, but not under the term ‘marriage.’ Now, we all know that many rights come along with that word under the law. Many same-sex couples can not have simply because of that word. However Tony said he wants those couples to have all those rights, he just stops short at the ‘marriage’ word. He admitted to me at the debate this was his own, personal issue and he knows he’s evolving. He said (D) Speaker Perez (gay) teases him that he will get him that last step…so of course I told him I’d be right there too…pushing. We also got into religious exemptions and how that would work. He agreed no one should ever lose their job because of their race, sexual orientation, etc. But he did say where the crux maybe is when someone is hired to say, teach Jewish theology and they have an issue doing the work because of their beliefs. He said that’s where it gets tricky and he could see, in that particular type of case, where the law would need to also help the employer. However the janitor or whomever should be protected- even in religious universities, etc. (Needless to say some in the room still want total clarification on this issue because we got very detailed)

GRIDLOCK: I then had to jump in and ask about the current climate in Washington and gridlock. Because so help me if I see another straight up and down ‘we will vote against anything the President puts out there’ from the GOP I will tear all of my hair out and SEND IT TO TONY along with  photo of my bald head and a bill for my blood pressure meds. Will he be in lockstep with his party? – Tony says no, and his record shows it. And he’s right, he has gone against his party numerous times, notably on green energy and they weren’t very happy with him when he sued Gov. Gray Davis back in the day. He could easily tell us 6-7 instances where he did, in fact, go against his party and said he would not be afraid to do the same in DC.

DC POWER: Which lead us to what sort of pull he might have as a Freshman Congressman in DC. Turns out, Tony’s got some pull. He says he’s wanted on several committees already (including the coveted Armed Service committee) and he has friends in DC on both sides of the aisle. In other words, he won’t be your typical Freshman with zero contacts and zero pull. He compared himself to his challenger and said while it’s important to be close to your local elected leaders to take their concerns to DC, the powers in DC really are not going to care what the mayor of Santa Clarita thinks while they vote on federal issues.

EDUCATION: We moved on to education. He said he believes California has failed the kids around here and we must do better. He also agreed that kids will only learn if they feel safe, and talked very personally about bullying and supporting anti-bullying measures. We heard a very touching story about his daughter and how it made him realize how important it was that children LIKE going to school and not FEAR or have worries when trying to learn.

LOCAL YOUTH: This lead to a question about the youth in our area. With the comment being made it seems all they do is ‘heroin and screw up on social media.’ Tony talked about how as a Congressman it was up to locals to support nonprofits and things like the Boys and Girls Club- but said as the Congressman for the area he would be active in making sure these places are supported and committing himself to helping out. He mentioned he helped out with ‘gamers’ (hey, that’s my family) and setting up some gaming spots in our district, along with his various sports projects. The guy is like 6’5” so…lots of basketball people. In fact, one of his goals if elected is to play basketball with the President. He wants this pick up game, bad. From one basketball player to another… I can tell. And I have to admit, a bipartisan pick up game with the President sounds like a good way to break bread. I just really want an invite too. (hint, hint)

GUNS: We then got into the 2nd amendment. This got interesting. Tony said he’s very pro-2nd, as one would expect, but he has been in trouble with local NRA groups for not going far enough. But he doesn’t think you need a tank or grenades. He said he really wants to explore the mental health issue tied to this- because he believes if we can get a hold of that, we can solve a lot of these violence problems. The room then, of course, got very detailed- where does he draw the line on weapons. He wasn’t entirely sure, having been told by experts (he does not own a gun, but supports those who do) that many of these weapons you can simply change out one part and they are legal again. He does know that military style tank and crazy over the top stuff doesn’t need to be in your arsenal. Something local NRA groups are taking exception too.

CONTRACEPTION & ABORTION: And then came some of the biggies.. contraception, abortion… the ones that usually divide a room in two in seconds. Turns out Tony told us he’s fine with ALL forms of contraception- even the ones cited in the Hobby Lobby case and their availability. He says he’s pro-life, and has also evolved on this issue, as he believes in terminating a pregnancy if it occurs by rape, incest, or could endanger the health of the mother. He also agreed with the room when it was stated we can’t imagine anyone making that decision for our daughters but our FAMILY should the worst happen and a rape occurred. Tony said he would want that for HIS daughter, that option, and for it to not be in the hands of the government.

EQUAL PAY: Tony also told the crowd he is FOR equal pay for equal work for women and supports it entirely.

ACA: Because Tony started his campaign on a ‘repeal Obamacare’ effort, I then had to ask the million dollar question…will he vote to repeal Obamacare? Because he has said he would when this primary began, changing his tune and taking it off his website once he began running against Knight and NOT a Democrat. I should mention other things were removed as well and his stances on issues that we discussed like this and others have changed since this campaign started. He acknowledged he’s changed and now wants to ‘fix’ health care in America, not repeal ACA…but said it’s doomed to fail if it’s not fixed. He talked about his work with a health care program for children in CA. He thinks we should all be able to take our health care with us, job to job… wherever…and it be ours, not your employer’s, etc. I said…well that’s what ACA does when you buy through the exchange, I also told him of my family’s savings and how this whole premiums going up thing is crazy because they’ve been going up since well before I had my first child in 2003. Tony said he understood and that what he sees is ACA crashing if it’s not fixed because of the high number of sick people enrolled and the lack of young people enrolled. And we talked about how to get the young enrolled and he discussed how we didn’t need someone appointed to ‘track down’ those not paying and how that system isn’t even in place. I told him well, the IRS is where you get hit so if you file taxes it’s totally in place.. I didn’t really get a response to that one. But he did say he was committed to fixing, along with the President, the bumps that come up.

I then, dead seriously, told him if he was one of those 45th or 50-whatever votes to repeal Obamacare by the House he’d have to answer to me, because so help me if I see that I would lose my every loving mind. The room giggled but anyone who knows me and I could tell Tony & his staffer knew -I was NOT joking. And you really do not want a pissed off Erin in your office and you can’t hide in DC because I will show up there too, just ask the White House.

BIPARTISANSHIP: Which leads me to our conclusion and him promising Democrats and the left a seat at the table and a voice if he’s elected. In fact, he encouraged it and seemed to be counting on us to teach him more about the LGBTQ community, which he admittedly didn’t even know what it stood for. He wants to learn. He told us we are not always going to agree, and he may not go along with what we want (he is a republican, after all) but we are invited to lobby him to see our point of view or scream at him  until we’re blue in the face over a vote he may have cast. He said he has a track record of being bipartisan and finding common ground and will work hard to make sure he represents the entire district, not just the Republicans- and everyone in the room was welcomed to be part of that process should he make it to DC.

Hands were then shook, cards exchanged, the kids even popped in but suddenly they were all too shy to ask questions even though my 11-year old REALLY wanted to grill him on equality.

Now I remain sitting on pins and needles to hear from the other man in this race, State Senator Steve Knight. Should that happen at any point I will do the same and blog the entire event or his written or spoken answers to the same questions asked of Tony Strickland. And it will be posted in the same manner.

Regardless I will be making up my own mind very soon and writing a post on that specifically, and why I think one Republican deserves my vote over the other. Should the Knight answers come in AFTER my endorsement, I will STILL post them for all to see. Since I could go either way, and many others could go either way, I will post what I get no matter what. In the meantime you can visit Sen. Knight’s website and Tony Strickland’s for more details.

Now to celebrate Halloween with all the gore and upset stomach from too much candy and the added bonus of election signs on all my neighbor’s lawns. We live in scary, scary times, as I cast a ballot for a Republican. 

 

Crossposted on MOMOcrats.com and BlogHer.com

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble… oh Yes TROUBLE

We hit a bit of a milestone today.

I had a car filled with 8-year old girls singing their hearts out to Taylor Swift, with my daughter leading the pack.

I couldn’t exactly catch the ear piercing chorus, but this will give you an idea:

…and she couldn’t have been happier.

Giggles, singing about boys being Trouble, begging me to stay in the car just a few more minutes after we had parked because the new Selena Gomez song had come on and ‘Mom, we just have to sing this one too…’

…and I pretended to look at my phone all while grinning and crying on the inside at my baby girl growing up right before my eyes. Unafraid to share her fun in front of her Mom and even thanking me later for being so ‘cool.’

Is this really happening? Is she really old enough to be signing with her friends at the top of her lungs about boys?

…and to top it off as we picked up her older brother at his classroom door he clearly had an admirer there walking him out.

This cool mom isn’t ready for any of this.

Trouble indeed.

Miss Teen PWN

I am, by nature, a worrier.

So imagine what I did when this came in the mail:

Miss teen Hala?

Do I show her?

I know when I got the really horrible, everyone got one, scams in the mail about modeling or pay-to-see-your-name in some book of smart kids, it was the sort of thing that boosted my tween or teen self-confidence.

Of course there was no way in hell we’d ever let her do it. So there was no harm in showing her, right?

But then again, we always said we’d support her in whatever she wanted to do so…

…no. No. NO. NO.

Also…

NO.

Pageants are for girls who are either desperate for money and can only get it because they are pretty or … or… I have no idea. I mean these things are judged on looks, right?

At least that’s what Sandra Bullock taught me. Well, her and Donald Trump.  Walk walk … show them how pretty you are…walk more… show them how pretty you are in different clothes. Walk more. Then answer some crazy question about current events and smile pretty for the boys.

So of course, I showed her and told her what it was all about doing my best to leave my snark behind to genuinely be able to gauge what SHE thought of all this and what SHE thought of a ‘pageant’ … did any of the girls at school do this sort of thing? I mean, we live in a ‘burb of LA, there are many child actors around and at the school and many have headshots and can turn on the cute in order to get a gig. Surely with the popularity of Honey Boo-Boo and Toddlers and Tiaras, there could be a few in her grade, right?

So I showed her and explained and waited for a reaction…

My 7-year old was disturbed by the letter. Grinning and flattered, but disturbed.

Why would they want me for a teen thing? I’m not a teen? And why would I want to do that on a Sunday- that’s when I go horseback riding at the ranch.

Case closed. Whew.

Or so I thought…

What I hadn’t counted on was her brother chiming in. I don’t know why I hadn’t counted on it…he’s always right there with us and NO ONE and I mean NO ONE cares more about his sister than big brother.

Hala, listen to me…I really don’t want you to be famous like that…ok? I’m serious.

Ok Jack, I won’t.

No, really. I mean it. That’s not how you should be famous. You are too smart.

I know I am Jack!

I know you are too.

Suddenly I was the fly on the wall witnessing one of the most touching and amazing exchanging in sibling history.

I wouldn’t do that anyway, ok?

I didn’t say you would. I’m just making sure.

Can you move over now? Because you’re in the way of the game and I can’t see my guy and he’s about to PWN you.

MOM! She just totally blew up my whole new rover I built!

Pauses a beat.

That was kind of cool.

…and all was right with the world.

This morning before school as they begged to skip breakfast in favor of more iPad time

The Chicken Came Before the Egg

I’ve been spending many days and nights around here researching ways to get this body of mine back into tip-top shape…and I’ve come to only one answer in defeating Lupus:

Chickens. 

Somewhere in Santa Monica, at a nice desk near the ocean, my husband just laid his sweet head down on his keyboard and is wondering when the sweet relief of death will come save him from this life of marriage to this crazy lady.

Now hear me out just a minute or three here. Or go read something else, I don’t really care.

I want the best possible food to go into the bodies of the people who live in this house. Heck, even those of you that just visit. Eggs are a great source of protein- which the doctor says I need A LOT of. The doctor also wants to see almost NO processed food, no chemicals, no dyes, no … well, nothing.

Now, shopping organic and finding recipes and all that fun grocery love is all well and good. But it sure is missing that certain…JAZZ HANDS quality. The one that makes me want to leap out of bed (and mark these words- I WILL LEAP OUT OF BED SOMEDAY) and get a great and healthy breakfast going for the family and myself. You know, after I have already worked out during sunrise and walked the dog and packed lunches and sat quietly with my tea and book, awaiting the husband and children to come downstairs from their slumber.

Yes, THAT Is how I plan on starting my life over once my body cooperates. Early morning exercise! Nothing but fresh, home cooked food! Total organization!

And where does it all start? The chicken, or the egg?

THE CHICKEN OF COURSE!

Which means I want a chicken coop and chickens. But I’d like the magical kind that get along with my dog as though they are best friends and have zero nasty stink …oh, and clean up after themselves.

See…I already have the cute ranch hand:

Howdy

So really I would just like cute, fluffy, egg producers in my yard that cause zero issues and require zero care. OH…and the home owner’s association won’t mind or notice.

My daughter would be so so so happy if we got chickens. My son will freak out initially but only for about two minutes. Then he will freak out about all the other animals around who might hurt the chickens and then we’ll have to fortify the chicken coop with military grade fencing. But THEN it will be ok.

The point is. I want fresh eggs. I want fresh air. I want clean water. I want food that does not come out of a box. I want the chemicals OUT of the systems of my family (and your family’s systems too) and I want us all to live like we were meant to live: naturally.

Well, naturally within reason. I still need some take-out here and there and a good mani/pedi.

I’m not saying let’s start a commune in my very tiny backyard or anything (although that’s another idea I have for when this whole chicken thing doesn’t pan out) I’m just saying I think half of the reason my body is not fighting as hard as I want it to fight against this disease is a lifetime of food-flavored food being shoveled into my system. No really…FOOD-FLAVORED FOOD instead of fruits and veggies and meat that has no FAKE ingredients hidden inside.

We’re trying things out over here. It’s not easy. We like our junk food and we like our packaged food – but we are working on buying the cans of veggies with organic stuff inside and totally LESS sodium and with NONE of the things on the label we can’t pronounce. Or that Count Waffles CAN pronounce but he heard it on ‘How the Universe Works.’

Back to the chickens.

Who wants to buy me a chicken coop, chickens, and then come take care of them for me? I just want to pet them and eat their eggs.

Also…if the HOA asks, we got a TENT and that noise is simply our silly dog Nicky doing his new IMPRESSION of a chicken. We’re training him to be a Hollywood dog.

Totally plausible. We live in LA.

Hi, I’m Erin, And I’m One of THOSE Sports Moms

I had a feeling it was in there. Ready to bubble up to the surface.

The yelling.

The coaching from the sidelines.

The yelling.

The ‘reminders’ of what the real coach wants…you know, things like ‘keep your hands up! And ‘get back on defense!’

Did I mention the yelling?

Then, somewhere during game 1, I realized I was yelling too much but I couldn’t stop.

I vowed I would try harder the next game. I really did. I even promised my MOTHER I would stop yelling so much. And she heard the video I took of the first game. She knows.

Except. Um… Well:

My baby girl scored her first basket. And ANOTHER shortly after that one!

To be fair, I wasn’t quiet before the baskets. In fact, I’m pretty certain other parents were talking about me.

But…BUT…I am never negative. Never. I cheer on the other team too. I just… um… give a bit of direction?

I don’t know what to do short of duct tape over my mouth for the next game. I really don’t.

I played basketball for too long and I want to help her out too much to just SHUT UP. But then again, shutting up is probably what WILL help her most. Maybe.

What? Someone has to tell her to shoot!

HELP ME.

It’s Ok to Viciously Attack Women Online, so Long as They Are Liberal

Oh wait, I’m sorry…they call us ‘leftists’ now.

Longtime Republican and actress Stacey Dash tweeted her support for Gov. Mitt Romney this week and was, as is sadly typical of the internet, viciously attacked for her comments. She was called every name in the book from a ‘house negro’ to an ‘Uncle Tom’ and had her fair share of equally disgusting sexist barbs tossed her way as well. Things even went so far as a death threat (of sorts), something I am all too familiar with in my own online life.

Typically women’s groups rallied to her defense. Now, when I say women’s groups I mean ‘traditionally liberal, feminist’ women’s groups. Because that is what they do. Some would even say that is their ENTIRE PURPOSE- to point out sexism and racism and horrible, vile attacks on women so they can be exposed and, hopefully, STOPPED.

Even Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student also attacked for her political views, tweeted her support for Dash.

Now I’m going to write some things that are certainly not going to win me any popularity points with the Right…but I no longer care. I’m disgusted at their behavior and disgusted at their bandwagon care for women.

Yes, I said ‘bandwagon care for women.’ 

You see, the internet exploded with conservatives voicing their support for Dash…and rightfully so. The internet exploded with liberals ALSO voicing their support for Dash…and rightfully so. What never happens, ever, is when a liberal woman is attacked does the internet explode with both sides showing their support for the liberal woman.

As far as the Right is concerned, liberal women get what they deserve. Be it attacks of the most vile nature, be it relentless sexist, racist, homophobic slurs. Be it death threats against these women or their children.

Liberal women, as evidenced by the lack of support from the Right, are not worth defending and apparently should be left for dead.

The Right is silent when the same types of attacks are launched at liberal women. And when NOT silent, they join in on these attacks.

Yet when a Right leaning woman is attacked, all hell breaks loose and suddenly they are all feminists. Staunch Republicans are shocked and beside themselves that this sort of vile behavior happens online. They rally support for the victim and blame every liberal for the attack.

Now, we all know there are lunatics online. We all know there are trolls. And make NO mistake- the people attacking Dash are lunatics and trolls. They are NOT surrogates of the campaign. They are NOT pundits. They are NOT television hosts, radio hosts, or even prominent bloggers. They are NOT elected officials. They are lunatics and TROLLS.

That does not make the attacks any less vile or sick. 

But let’s compare that to attacks on liberal woman. Attacks that HAVE come from surrogates of campaigns, pundits, television hosts, radio hosts, prominent bloggers, elected officials and yes, lunatics and trolls.

I am exhausted by all of this. I am exhausted that I can work 24/7 to combat sexism online against women of ALL political parties and have bi-partisan support when a Republican woman is attacked, yet have ONLY progressive support when a liberal woman is attacked.

I am exhausted that when I tell the story of getting death threats online, of my children being threatened…their blood threatened to be splattered across their school playground…I am told by a right-wing Fox News pundit to go play my violin. Yet that SAME right-wing Fox News pundit is now championing the defense of Dash and the vile attacks against her.

Tell me, if my daughter acts like a good little lady, all GOP’d out and nice…will she then be defended if attacked?

Her tea cup is bigger than her head #allhailhala

But if she goes ‘leftist’ like her mother, will she be ignored and will the Right pile on?

This is not a political game. This is not how we score political points…off the backs of women who are risking their lives and the lives of their children to speak out and speak up. Women who believe so fiercely in making the world a better place that, like Dash and like myself, we stand up to those attacking and keep speaking out and speaking up.

All while the Right uses it only as an opportunity. Because that is clearly the ONLY thing they are about-opportunities. They do not truly care about women or children. They care about winning and scoring points. As evidence by what they do when faced with one of their own under attack and someone who’s not one of their own under similar attacks.

They are nothing more than opportunistic vultures doing what politicians have done since the beginning of time: whore their own for power, no matter what the cost. Sacrificing the women and children first and showing, time and time again, they really do not care about them at all…only using them as a means to the end.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will be fighting for those women. Yes, even the ones on the Right. Because we actually walk the walk and BELIEVE in equality and BELIEVE all women should be defended when attacked, not just the ones who declare their vote for Romney.

We also believe in our President, with two daughters of his own, who has a record on women’s issues that shows he too walks the walk.

So let the lip service to Romney, Dash, and their fake concern for women on the Right continue. The rest of us will be here…still…doing the real work behind the scenes. Again. And again. And again.

CONVENT

I know we joke about it from time to time at our house, but recent events are actually making me consider sending my seven-year old to a convent.

Stop laughing.

Somewhere in Florida my mom is cackling.

As if it weren’t bad enough that my darling daughter was embarrassed to have me take her and pick her up from a friend’s birthday party this past weekend, she also has decided I know NOTHING about fashion, and she knows everything.

I hear this ‘knows everything’ thing gets worse with time, by the way.

You see she actually needed jeans for horseback riding and new boots. So we began the hunt long ago, with me picking out what I thought were some really cute and damn cool boots.

Apparently whatever I think is cute and damn cool is just the opposite.

So she picked out her own, with me zipping my mouth shut tight. Ok, maybe I didn’t zip that tight. I TOLD her the pointy ones would pinch her toes. She didn’t care.

I told her how dusty and dirty the black pair would get while riding on the ranch and wouldn’t  brown make more sense?

…bad move Mom. You know what that wins you? That wins you a daughter who orders EVERYTHING in black.

#allhailhala wants to ride today cc: @aaronvest

Like I said…CONVENT. Anyone know a good one?

The Mom Nagging Machine

There was a time when ‘back to school’ meant nothing more than a new backpack and some crayons.

Today my daughter and I looked, and bought, some ‘undershirts’ as opposed to ‘training bras’ because she has reached that age where she needs to wear something under her sundresses and under her white t-shirts.

Her brother, blushing, rolled his eyes and turned around to try to ‘unsee’ the girl things we needed to accomplish while at the store. Being the pain I am, I explained to him this was a great learning experience about women and he needed to understand that his sister was growing up and she couldn’t be flashing the top half of her body to strangers.

Which always turns into silly time

After doing his best to squirm and avert his eyes from the display of training bras and bras for tweens, he actually agreed…

Well, boys look at those things. Yes Mom, I know, girls look too…you’re right, she needs to make sure she’s covered.

Hmmm…wait, Did he just call breasts ‘those things?’ And was this the message I wanted to send? That the women of the family had to cover themselves in order to be proper?

I stopped myself as we looked at undershirts and talked to them both as they again rolled their eyes and leaned against the cart.

It’s not that we want her to cover herself. We know being naked isn’t a big deal. And she’s beautiful. It’s just that in our society there are some people who will try to look at her inappropriately, just like we talk about private areas and who can see them and touch them…

Oh man, now I’m getting way off track. This is hard.

…and we’re just making sure her privates are covered as she wears certain things, that’s all.

This parenting stuff is ridiculous. I’m flunking this. Please God let this moment go away forever because right now it seems like nothing I say is right, or coming out right…or what I’m trying to convey. I’m just trying to buy her a few more undershirts, THAT IS ALL.

Then I glance up at the display in front of us. I hadn’t really studied it until now. Bras, training bras, what look like sports bras, undershirts. And then…what I swear to God are PADDED BRAS FOR LITTLE GIRLS.

My daughter is handing this like a champ.

Mom I already have that white one at home, so how about these pink and purple fun ones that are like half undershirts… and let’s go.

Sold.

My son can’t get out of there quick enough and leads us to semi-safety where we have to then pick out underwear. This seems like nothing compared to bra-hell.

But I can’t keep my mind from going back to what I am pretty sure I just saw. Padded bras.

The Judy Blume years of my life come rushing back.

I was never in need of KLeenex. I developed well before any of the other girls and I had plenty to go around. A blessing and a curse for a young girl. The boys ogled and feared me. The girls hated me. All because I had big boobs.

My daughter isn’t built anything like I was at that age. But with any hope she’ll be able to talk to me about body image issues she may come across and we can giggle over the difference of being one of the girls who could give herself a black eye in gym class or one of the girls who was flat as a pancake.

I want, so badly, to ask the kids if they saw the bras hanging there. What they thought about them. But I know the agony this will cause my son, who is working through his prepubescent feelings. And I know it will only cause my daughter to think about it MORE, and her body MORE…which I don’t really want her to do just yet.

Not because she shouldn’t explore what’s going on with her body, or question why she needs to cover her nipples or any of those things…but because there is so so so much time in a woman’s life to worry about what we look like. To think about our breasts, our noses, our asses. If I bring up the padded bras, that just gets her thinking about it all. And I really don’t want her going down that road. Especially when I seem so ill prepared to discuss and help her young mind through all the bullshit.

Sigh. I just wanted to buy some crayons. A pack or two of pencils.

Instead I feel like I had this perfect opportunity in front of me to teach both of my kids about respect, beauty, and body image…and I stumbled and stammered and wished one of my son’s inventions had become a reality.

He has this idea for a hook up between our brains, so I can automatically give him all my knowledge and he doesn’t have to listen to me explain or make guesses when I can’t seem to phrase things in a way he can grasp.

I think the idea actually came out of Mom Nagging, but whatever. I’d take it right now.

I’d even wear a padded bra on my head ala Weird Science. Although, there is no way my very embarrassed son would.

We might have to give that invention a few more years.