We Are

{First, and related enough to make sense: Voting for Clorox's Power a Bright Future grant ends in just a few days. You can vote once a day for any school project you like, and help kids learn better, play harder, or create bigger. It's worth the 45 seconds, promise.}

My baby was one year and six days old. I was a work at a 50's diner in Denver, right across the street from Veteran's Hospital and Bonfil's blood bank. It was a totally normal morning, unremarkable in every way. People came for their eggs and hashbrows and hair of the dog, my breasts ached from the remnants of milk my son no longer wanted, but my body didn't want him to be done with. Coffee flowed, some alt-swingesque band played on the stereo speakers hidden between the vintage lunch boxes that hung like garland on the walls, and two young boys shot and killed 12 of their peers and one of their teacher just a few miles away from us. 

We watched the line begin to wrap about the blood center, then around the building, then around the block. We called home to our children, because on April 20th, 1999, none of the parents of those children could reach the school, their children, or anyone - because no one knew how to handle this. 

Ray sat at our counter like he did every day for 25 years, sipped his coffee like he did evvery day for 25 years, and didn't make eye contact with any of us, unlike he had done for 25 years. I asked him if he was okay and he said two words before looking back down at the clouds in his coffee.

"My granddaughter."

She was fine, victim only to the fear and the lockdown the school went under that bright, sunny, perfectly insidious spring day not so far from Littleton, Colorado that we didn't feel it in our ribs, under our nails, far back in our throats. We were Columbine, and we still are. We all, together, wear that awful, horrible shroud that colors our lives in shades of dark, lurking fear of what could be. 

Two days ago I woke up beside the man I am so very lucky to love, wrapped myself up against San Francisco's bitter winter chill, and set out to buy holiday presents with him together, for our children who have always been an odd, unmatched and indefinable family but are at the cusp of become a real, bonifide, Dapper Dan family. We took awkward kissy my space self portraits, tweeted about our happiness, and in between refreshes of our twitter feed while we stood in line for eggs benedict and lemon apple french toast, I heard my friend, one of his and my first friends, say two words.

"My nephew."

She said more words than that, but I didn't hear them. It was 1999 all over again, I was too far away from my own babies, and this time it was 20 children. These children were just beginning school, not ended it. It isn't Columbine but it is in my jaws and my stomach. It, this, it keeps touching my life and I know, I KNOW, that it isn't for one moment about me - I am not burying my baby tomorrow, I didn't in 1999, and I most likely never will - but this has knocked the wind out of me. 

I am frantic to help. I am numb and I am aching and I don't know what to do except to write it out. 

I was Columbine and today I am Noah. We all are. We are Noah, and Newtown, and Birmingham, and each and every one of the children in this country who has died in their school or in their church or one their front porch for no reason whatsoever except that someone decided they should.

VDog asked me to help gather up some poems that her sister in law, and the other mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers could read tomorrow as the services for the children begin. Audre Lorde is tearing at the back of my throat, waiting me to stand on a corner and scream her words, as angry and broken today as they were in 1963 when four black girls died for daring to be black and go to church:

He is forver trapped
who suffers his own waste.
Rain leaching the earth           for lack
of roots to hold it
and children who are murdered
before their lives begin.

Who pays his crops to the sun
when his fields lie parched by drought
will mourn the lost water
waiting another rain.
But who shall disinter these girls
to love the women they were to become
or read the legends written beneath their skin?

We who love them remember their child's laughter
But he whose hate robs him of their gold
has yet to weep at night above their graves.

But I don't think that will help my friend and her family find peace in their mourning. So maybe you could leave a link to a poem you love, one that brings you peace, or speaks of the light every child on earth shines which should never be extinguished. They would like to read poems at the services, and find comfort in them during the dark times that are about to come. 

Other ways to help:

And if you are able, please consider leaving $1 for VDog's nephew's service and burial. A whole lot of $1's can make a massive difference. The family needs time and money to heal. $1 really does help. Thank you.

If you would like to send notes, cards, sympathies, flowers, or any other physical items, Friends Of Maddie is gathering and distributing all items to the family of Noah Pozner. Friends of Maddie is the non-profit set up in loving memory of Madeline Spohr, another angel lost to the world, and to our corner of the blogosphere, all too soon. 

You can pray. If you don't pray, you can think reeeeal hard in their direction. My friend, VDog's friend, our friend Dawn of Kaiser Mommy has posted prayers in Jewish (Noah is Jewish) and in Christian (is that what you call it?) and since I'm an atheist I'll just jump right in and say that it doesn't really matter if you actually pray or not, and it doesn't matter if there is a god listening on the other end. What matters is that we take all the long and stregth and glimmers of hope that we can muster and shove them east. What matters is that our hearts are here to hold theirs, and each others up. Call it what you will. 

We are going to get through this. We are going to find a way to make sure this is the last time this happens. We are not going to be complacent anymore, and we are going to keep our schools and churches safe for our children.

We are.

We must. 

Why America is Cooler Than Canada, A Continuing Series

My Thirteen. See the others here.

13. Netflix

12. HBO

11. Carters Baby Clothes

10. Emeril's Creole Seasoning

9. Mr. Goodbar

8. MARLBORO'S

7. The imperial system of measurement. The metric system is the only arbitrary unit of measurement. The Cubit? Your forearm. The foot? YOUR FOOT. The meter? The distance from the North Pole to the Equator, divided ten million times. Leave it to Napoleon to make it as obscurely difficult as freaking possible to measure something.

6. One National language. Incidentally, French is the ONLY class my *ahem* former honor role gifted and talented dork of a kid pulled an A in last semester.

5. Prostitution is illegal. Because, I mean, if you're going to be all naughty, and apparently you are, you might as well get to experience a fully naughty moment. It's more exciting if you don't have permission. Or so I hear. Around. And stuff. Moving on...

4. Pasta. P-ah-sta. Not P-aaaa-sta. Pahsta. It's just the way things should be. I'll give them colour and humour and even eh? is growing on me, but I am putting my damn foot DOWN on pasta.

3. iPhones. TARGET.

2. Health care. There, I said it. I feel dirty and traitorous, and I think the little liberal in me just shot herself in the right temple. But, seriously guys, you get what you pay for. Now, having done my 'broke as a joke single waitress mother with absolutely no insurance and three kids, one of which was a baby and one has a chronic, life-threatening illness' (oh, it's just asthma. Relax.) stint, I certainly lovelovelove and appreciate being able to walk into any doctor, any day, and not worry that maybe I have only $3.29 in the bank. I love that my three 3 ER trips so far combined have cost me $3,000 less than the one trip I had in Denver with the baby. That one cost me, guess...$3,000. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE GOOD, QUALITY HEALTH CARE. But.....Not everyone should have to have government issued and regulated health care, and have that only. Do they not realize how many tax dollars they could save by giving this (admittedly sufficient) health care only to those who needed it, even if they left the margin of Needed It very, very wide? Given the choice, I would opt out and go private. There, I just saved Canada $12K. (I am SO not talking about prescriptions in here. You guys in the states are getting so freaking screwed, you have no idea. Even those of you who think you know, you don't. It's almost laughable.)

I have had very adequate health care here. I went to the doctor last week, told him I had a sinus infection, he wrote me an Amox scrip, told me not to fill it until I tried saline rinses for a week, and sent me on my merry way. Even when I was asking a doctor to please for the love of god up my dosage of meds before I jumped off a cliff, I was in and out in 5 minutes. You want antibiotics? Here you go! You want antidepressants? No problem. Next time, I'm going for Valium. Maybe they just don't fuck around here, but I get the distinct impression that the medical system as a whole is trying as hard as it can to do as much as it can as fast as it can. This just doesn't bode well in the "whole body care" department for me. I guess my point is that here, it is GOOD, but it's not exactly thorough. And it's really inefficiently run. But that's another chapter.

1. Freedom of motherfucking Speech, motherfuckers. David wrote about this yesterday, and it is the catalyst for this whole tirade of mine. Apparently, in Canada, stupid asshats can sue people for having differing political views and airing them out in a paid for, self hosted website. Oh My God, the Conservatives are TYPING! Someone STOP THEM!
Richard Warman has brought almost half these cases single-handledly, getting websites he doesn

Auld Lang Syne

I grew up in a house full of music, and most of my memories of childhood have a soundtrack. A strange soundtrack. Maybe we'll talk about that someday.

Today, we're going to talk about one guy. That one guy shaped a whole lot of my views on music. His voice gets me right *here* no matter how old I get or how outdated he gets. That guy died on Sunday.

Longer was one of the first songs I learned to play on the piano. The Leader of the Band has been and always will be the song I listen to when I just really need my dad. Same Old Lang Syne is my very favorite of his songs, and only for its' simplicity and realness. That shit could happen to anyone. Someone put it on a mixtape for me once, and now that song forever has a home in my heart, too.

Yes, I am completely aware of the fact that I am way too young to love Dan Fogelberg, but I love Dan Fogelberg. It's one of those things I will never fess up to loving in public, but I really, really do when I'm all by myself.

There's no point to this, really. He died, and I find myself a little sad about that.

Good

Arizona passed a new law today. It's a big enough deal there that my sister in law called to tell me about it.

Beginning Wednesday, new penalties include mandatory ignition-interlock devices
for first-time offenders, increased fines and a minimum of 45 days in jail for
super extreme DUI convictions.

Good.

Period.