Friday, February 20, 2015

Dear ISIL

There was a call out recently on the Books of Face, asking for opposing decisions on mil-bloggers' responses to this ISIL threat*. I jokingly responded that I'd offer my view, but it would come with...well, my brand of snark, and I know other, more respectable blogs aren't down with the f-bombs and the threats of cuntpunting. But then I thought...why not offer my opinion on my own damned blog? So here's my opinion: ISIL might be media- and social media-savvy, they are definitely evil, and they can most definitely go fuck themselves so hard, they do that Poltergeist house thing straight into another dimension.


   
This, only with ISIL and their own tiny dicks. (Relevant portion at 2:40)


ISIL is why Muslims can't have nice things. Well, ISIL and what happens when tiny minds generalize an entire religion's adherants based on the actions of a few. But ISIL is the source of this, and I think they're doing it on purpose. I think they're trying to incite an all-out holy war. I think they want Westerners so scared of what they might do--based on a few threats their script kiddies managed to drum up on unclassified computer systems--that our knee jerk reaction is to follow up with a might-as-well-be or actually-is religious war. Their actions are so inhuman, so despicable, so contrary to everything a moral society elevates as good and right, that they are over the top.

They want us to respond. They want us scared.

So this is my message to ISIL:


I'm not scared. Fuck you and your egocentrism. Fuck you and your blatant disregard for life and dignity and freedom. Fuck you and your insipid script kiddies.

You remind me of this story by Clive Barker called "Rawhead Rex." It's about this monster in a forbidden field who rises when the stone holding him captive is moved. So he runs around this town, trying to eat as many people as he can (especially the babies because his personal mantra is apparently Eat All Teh Baybeez), but he's scared shitless of menstruating women. He smells that menstrual blood, and he's fucking out of there like a vagina dentata monster is fast on his heels. Mind, he also kidnaps some women and ties them up in the woods and rapes them so they have his little monster babies (and I bet he eats them, but only if he can get close enough given the immense fear he has of vaginas doing what they were built to do). At the end, he's undone by a mother goddess figurine, a Venus of Willendorf-style stone idol. His fear paralyzes him, and he's trapped under the stone in the field once more.

He and his baby-eating are driven by fear. He's walking man-junk with a tiny peen. So he tortures the town and eats all the things (except for chicks on the rag--one benefit of dealing with menses, at least), but he is a fear-driven beast at heart, and he rages and RAWRs and swings his peen around to make a statement.

But he is pathetic, and he isn't scary. He is a mockery to monsters everywhere (sorry, Mr. Barker, but it's sadly true; love the Yattering, though!), and he makes it easy to point and laugh as he RAWRs around with his peen-head and his peen-body and his powerless T-rex flailing and mindless nomnomnomallthebaybeez murder. He's like Wolverine, only Wolverpeen, with the claws but also the ridiculously singular focus and not even on the hotness radar.

You are also pathetic. You are easy to mock because you are a mockery and not real Muslims. You are powerless and prone to T-rex flailing, and though that flailing is like dangerous and has consequences for the unfortunate people who get in your way, it is infantile. You will be destroyed by your own nature. It might take time, but that just gives you more opportunity to dig your hole in the field deeper.

And in the meantime, I refuse to be scared because you are too pathetic to fear. I will continue to identify myself online--both on this anonymous blog and in my IRL accounts--as a milspouse because fuck you, fuck your walking man-junk flailing, fuck your ignorance, fuck your fear, fuck your posturing, fuck your laughable wannabe-hacker script kiddies, and fuck your disgusting lack of humanity.


PS Fuck you some more.



PPS I'm sculpting a stone vagina dentata just for you. And then I'mma hex it. May all your dicks rot off, you impotent cockwits.




* They are not ISIS. Isis is a fierce and powerful mother goddess who protects and heals. That this acronym uses her name is a fucking travesty, and I refuse to do it. They are ISIL. Evil ISIL.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Science, Bitches.

I'd like to be one of those enlightened people who can gently and positively persuade those who revel in intentional ignorance. But I honestly don't think persuasion is a thing, thanks to conservative politicians wading into matters of science and declaring them moot. The way our society works these days, once Fox or MSNBC has declared something an Issue, a line is drawn, and people cling to their side of the line while lobbing fear-soaked accusations and volatile declarations at each other.

But when you're talking about science and fact, there is no opinion. No, that's wrong. Here's some science: vaccines do what they are intended to do--they protect a society from dangerous outbreaks of preventable diseases. Here's an opinion in that scientific fact: if you don't vaccinate your children or yourself because of religious for philosophical or whatever reason (not because you physically or financially can't), fuck you. You're as good as someone who willfully, intentionally, drinks a bottle of vodka and then hops in the car for a joyride.

Now a quick note: I never consistently got a flu vaccine because I was never in the recommended demographic, and then I never needed it because everyone around me would fall to its feet and I did not (my one superpower--I don't catch the flu). Then my grandmother developed Guillain-Barre, a disease my cousin had when I was a baby and that left both of them unable to walk and in severe pain, and now I refuse the flu shot (it's been traced to onset of GB). I can't have it. I also can't have smallpox because I have a history of eczema. My mother had severe eczema as a child, came too close to a child who'd been vaccinated against smallpox, and nearly had her arm amputated from the resulting reaction. I almost got the smallpox vax in Bahrain, but they weeded me out for reasons of eczema--an issue severe enough that my husband couldn't get the vaccine, either, in case it transferred to me. So obviously I understand some can't have certain or all vaccines. I get that. Those are the people who rely on the rest of us for herd immunity. Right?

Now ask me why I have an inhaler. Glad you asked. Let me tell you a story.

In 1989, I was a high school freshman in Texas. I'd gotten the MMR twice. The second time was because my mother was told the first vaccination might not have "taken." I don't know if that's because it was a wonky batch or if they did a serum titer on me and found I didn't have immunity. Point is, I'd had MMR twice and was bebopping along nicely, only coming down with the usual kid illnesses.

And then there was an outbreak of measles. It spread through the city and was big news--big enough that my mother got nervous about my first failed vaccination. So she took my sister and me back for another vaccination, just in case. I might have already been exposed to measles at that point, though--two weeks later, I was sick.

Oh my gods, I was sick. I really can't remember much from the days and days I spent at home in bed, mostly sleeping, sometimes moaning. I do remember the day it settled in my chest, though. I woke from a nap feeling for the first time in my life like someone had dropped a gigantic weight on my chest. I felt like I was getting oxygen, and I wasn't really coughing, but holy cow, my chest was so tight, I didn't feel like I was really breathing. I called my mom at work and told her I wasn't okay. I think she came home. I don't know. Like I said, it all kind of runs together.

I think I ended up on antibiotics and expectorants and stuff, and after a couple of weeks, I finally came out of the dark cave of my room and saw sunlight (that didn't hurt to see) for the first time in what felt like forever. I went back to school. Things went back to normal.

A few weeks later, my chest was hurting again. It hurt bad a lot of the time, but it was always a little tight and funky. We went to the doc, got cough medicine, and went home. Didn't help. Went back, got a referral to other docs. I ended up going to an allergist to see if I had asthma, and I even ended up at a cardiologist to figure out what was going on. We went through several visits where I was diagnosed with asthma and then costocondritis (inflammation of the cartilege between the ribs).

When the therapy for costocondritis didn't work, the cardiologist informed me he'd only ever misdiagnosed that one time, and it turned out to be bone cancer. So I went through a ton of x-rays and scans to see if I was a 15yo (I'd had a birthday at this point) girl with one foot in the cancer grave. The scans came back negative. A week later. That was the worst week ever.

We went to Alabama, where my mom's family lives, for a visit, and while we were there, I saw the pediatrician my aunt worked for. He started simple--blood test and x-rays--and found the issue. I apparently had a sneaky case of walking pneumonia. I'd probably had it since the measles, and the round of antibiotics I'd had didn't completely take care of it. I had a very long round of antibiotics and a very long relationship with yogurt, and then I was able to breathe without pain. It was glorious.

It didn't last. About two months later, it came back. More antibiotics. More rejoicing.

And then it came back. This went on, every few months, until I was in college. My lungs were that damaged from the measles.

A few years after my last bout of pneumonia, I was married and living in San Diego. And all of a sudden, I had trouble breathing again. I told the good folks at Balboa (The Pride of Navy Medicine!) my medical history, and they did fun things like running blood gas tests, and lo, they decided I had asthma. So I got an inhaler. I didn't really need it much--mostly when allergies kicked up. But I just didn't have very good lung capacity anymore, either. That has persisted. It came back worse than ever after our stint in the moldy Monterey house, and even though I've recovered from that nonsense, I do now need a preventive (on top of a rescue) inhaler.

Here's the kicker: I was lucky. My measles diagnosis was "attenuated." That means mild. The doc believed that third vaccine helped reduce the severity of my case. Let me say this again.

My measles was MILD.

And this is its legacy: a mom who does BJJ but has to take frequent breaks during rolls to catch her breath, and whose lips turn blue even with the inhaler, if she has too much weight on her chest during a roll. A woman who wants desperately to completely C25K but ends up curled in a ball, struggling to breathe, in the second and third week. A milspouse who has to be so very careful about where they go, how bad the allergies or molds might be, because she's so susceptible to bad reactions now. And a woman with a love of the sciences who is absofuckinglutely OUTRAGED that there are selfish, self-centered, egocentric, morally reprehensible people who could be putting her own children--who might also have an issue with developing immunity to measles--in danger of having the same long-term health problems.

And, sleeping baby Jesus, the little babies. The immune-suppressed children who can't be vaccinated. I don't even fucking like kids, and I can recognize that carelessly--or, I think it could be argued, purposely--exposing them to the risks of these horrible preventable diseases is about the most evil thing you can do.

So I wish I had it in me to calmly show the fuckwits and thundercunts what their "philosophical" stance is doing to our society and what that says about the ethics of their philosophy. I wish I had it in me to constructively relay what horrible, evil people this makes them. But I don't have it in me. I lost that ability when I lost lung function and was told I was 15 and probably had bone cancer. I lost it when I lost access to one antibiotic because it's no longer effective for me.

My field of fucks to give about pulling them gently up to reason and sanity went fallow long, long ago. The only thing we can do is make sure everyone who deliberately contributes to the continued outbreaks of preventable diseases is charged with crimes. And those crimes should be equivalent to walking up to a child and purposely maiming them, disfiguring them, or murdering them. Maybe if the punishment for being a dickbeast were commensurate with the crime they were committing, reason would insert itself in their feeble brains.

And these politicians who are wading into the anti-vaxxer pool (careful, thar be mumps in that water), if they decide to start pushing legislation around "choice" in vaccines, should be sued. Sue the fucking frilly thongs off that guy.

Because science, bitches.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

An Open Letter to Congress

Dear Members of Congress,

I would specifically appeal to my senators and congressman here, but my congressman has banned me from his Facebook page for accusing the lot of you of acting like a bunch of pre-teens fighting over glitter nail polish and 7 jeans during a looming shutdown (therefore, I know he throws away my emails and letters), one senator is the typical I-am-deaf-to-your-reasoning-because-I-have-opinions-and-they-are-already-purchased-by-a-company-paying-me-all-teh-monies, and the other senator hasn't had a chance to blow me off yet because he's brand spanking new.

So for all the good it will do us, I will appeal to the lot of you and hope someone is listening and actually gives a good goddamn.

First, who is this "us" I speak of? Military spouses. We are a silent minority, toiling in the background, and expected--even in this more enlightened age--to stay quiet and docile and not make a fuss. More of us feel empowered with technology to speak our minds, but we're still largely ignored. We matter even less than service members do.

But here's the thing: we do matter. We are the wizards behind the curtain, the ones who make things happen while the service members are busy with the tasks you and the Commander in Chief pass down. We are the gear the military would have issued our service members if the government had wanted our men and women in uniform to have spouses, the ones who are given lip service for all we do and endure but understanding all the while that our struggles don't matter. We are the uncounted, the ignored, the ever-present and ever-struggling, and it's about damned time we were heard.

I have been a milspouse for twenty years now, and in that time, I have never heard of or seen a politician or military commander acknowledge the price we pay--our careers pay--to keep our families as whole as the military will allow. This misstep isn't just nonsensical. It's insulting because the struggle isn't new, we have not kept our challenges quiet, and yet we are still ignored.

Many of us are welcomed into the military life with a swat on the butt and a "Welcome to the [service], Mrs/Mr X," and are expected to put our needs aside to support the important career in the family: that of the service member. Yes, they have important jobs. Yes, there are legal ramifications if they don't follow orders. And they're gone so frequently and for potentially long stretches, and we want to be a family, so we follow them around the world in hopes that we can make the times together really matter.

We didn't come into this life without goals and aspirations. Many of us stepped into this new role of milspouse with at least the first steps toward a particular career, and many of us have had to abandon those aspirations because they're not compatible with this life.

We didn't all come into this life thinking we'd have to completely change course or even endure long stretches of unemployment on our resumes, and yet that's what's happened.

We didn't step into our roles thinking, "Well, I guess I'd better find some kind of volunteer position to fill this resume gap. And I guess I'd better find a way to shave off some of our expenses so we can survive the next few years without my paycheck." We didn't think we'd have to sacrifice our financial goals to be with the men or women we love.

We might have known what we were getting into when we married into the military, or when the military joined our marriages, but you can't really know what sacrifices are required or how soul-sucking those sacrifices can be until you've lived it.

And the thing is, this particular sacrifice--this giving up our career goals, our economic safety nets, our own retirements--is pointless. Technology today is not what it was when I embarked on this Navy adventure twenty years ago. Today, we have email, Skype, webinars, VoIP, secure networks, high speed internet. We have tools that mean our physical presence is unnecessary. We can still attend meetings, even when they're happening five time zones away. We can still pop in on a team member to discuss an issue, brainstorm new ideas, confab on a project, or just chat and build camaraderie...we just won't physically be in their cubicle.

We milspouses are adaptable creatures. Semper Gumby is our motto, and so is Get Out of My Way For I Have Shit to Do. We are flexible. We are adventurous. We are strong and proud and motivated. We have dreams and goals, and most of us have to shelve those until our spouses leave the service, or else we have to agree to spend the bulk of our marriages living apart...and what kind of marriage is that? Those milspouses, the ones who pursue their own dreams far from their spouses--they are sacrificing just as much as those of us who follow our spouses. The problem is that we're damned if we do and damned if we don't--the sacrifice rests squarely on us. Give up on being with the person who inspires us to be our best selves, or give up on what lights a fire in us? Civilian spouses are not required to make this Solomon decision*.

But dear Congress, don't believe for a second that this doesn't affect the service members and their ability to do their jobs. Especially as you chip away at the benefits your military personnel have earned through egregious toil in the last decade-plus, they are feeling the financial pinch when their spouses have to leave a job during a PCS and can't find anything (even minimum wage) at the next duty station because their resume looks like a typical milspouse's, and who wants to hire someone who's only going to be here two years, anyway?

Don't believe for a second service members' morale isn't affected when their spouses are completely unfulfilled by the administrative assistant job they scored only because they hid their MBA degree on their resume.

Don't believe for a second that there isn't a tiny sliver of toxic resentment chipping away at some of these marriages, affecting the service member's ability to stay focused at work.

Don't believe this problem of underemployed and unemployed milspouses isn't a major issue for you, the ones who send the service members off to war.

We spouses get a lot of lip service, and in those few cases where we see a tiny ray of hope in the form of not-lip service (MyCAA, anyone?), it is yanked away from us. And if it returns (MyCAA, anyone?), it is restricted and restrictive, limiting spouses to pre-approved "careers" that, while great jobs, don't actually offer any upward mobility. Medical transcriptionists don't often climb the ladder to CEO, do they? An associate degree opens a door, but where does it lead?

A milspouse should have the opportunity and ability to take a job--whether for fun or extra money or as the next rung on the career ladder--any job, anywhere. Some jobs are impossible to make portable (you can't telework a sous chef position), but so many jobs are.

Again: So many jobs are or can be made portable. Because technology!

Government sparks so many jobs. Proven need sparks even more. Lip service will no longer cut it. Listen to us. Hear our voices. Spark a change.

Incentivize milspouse employment. Incentivize jobs that are portable, that offer upward mobility, and that are as flexible as milspouses are.

Incentivize employing milspouses and ensure companies can't discriminate against milspouses with lower pay or by passing us over just because we are milspouses (this does happen--all the time).

We should not be forced to sacrifice our dreams, our goals, our careers--or our families--because our spouses are serving this great country.

Do right by us for once, Congress. We've earned it.

Semper Gumby,
Snarky

*Nearly all, anyway. There are civilian families forced into this position.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Who's Your Hero?

Lots of kids who are asked this question will shoot back a few different kinds of answers:

  • my parent
  • my friend, who's dealing with something major
  • a sportsing person
  • someone in a field I'd like to go into some day
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
A hero is not an official designation. It's not an official military award. It's not even specific to the military. Anyone can be a hero: it's their actions in general and their attitude that define heroism. 

My sprogs are my heroes*. I won't call them CHAMPS because that's a fucking stupid name. But I sure as fuck won't call them BRATS because that's also a stupid fucking name. They're just brats, and they are heroic for overcoming all that they have. That isn't stolen valor. Stolen valor is lying about your service. Big. Fucking. Difference.

Huge.

Everyone can be a hero. But if someone's attitude is pissy and pretentious and self-serving and entitled, then they really don't deserve that designation. So by all means, they should refuse the label. But should they continue to flail and screech about STOOOOOLEN VAAAAALOR, and I will continue to mock them.

It is Just. A Fucking. Label. Everybody calm your tits and quit looking for excuses to be outraged martyrs.

Oh, and I'm delighted at the shaming that's being done by some: If you lower yourselves enough to use free babysitting services from people who are trying to co-opt our [please to insert wiggledy fingers here] "heritage" and [please to insert wiggledy fingers here] "culture", then it doesn't matter how at the end of your fucking rope you are or how long you've been fighting the culture of suck-it-up aka [please to insert wiggledy fingers here] "proud milspouse culture" to get through this fucking deployment; you are a terrible parent.

My gods. That's a lovely sentiment to pass along to milspouses who are struggling. Fucking. Lovely. And just like a spoiled fucking brat not to consider the strain mil-brats put on mil-spouses but instead throw themselves on the floor and have a destructive and self-serving tantrum about imagined insults and faked abuses. *deep ujayii breathing*

I have half a mind to turn off comments. Judging by the other post comments, (gods help me) if they find this post and decide to bring their "arguments" here, I will drown in the stoopid again. But no. I will leave it open so everyone can see how crazy these people are.



* Also, Neil deGrasse Tyson is my hero, for reasons of obviousness. 
So was Judith Resnick, also for reasons. 
These days, I kinda find Susan Elizabeth Phillips heroic because of her skillz with the wordz. Same for Stephen King. 


Jesus Crispy Christ on a Cracker. I swore I was going to let all these insane fuckers yell each other deaf and move along, but I cannot abide the awe-inspiring levels of judgment, entitlement, and even stupidity. Jesus, even the ones who can present intelligent arguments have to pull out the martyr complex, but I suppose the whole argument falls apart if there isn't a veneer of "stop! thief! yer steelin' mah culture! yer steelin' mah pa's valor!" 

Also, I doubt the creds of anyone claiming to be a military brat if they're shocked by my language. I learned these words during my time as a midshipman, so Bitch. Please. Oh, wait. I mean STOOOOOOLEN BRAT TIIIIIIITLE!

Joyful Yule! Ish.

One of the biggest challenges I've faced as a milspouse is the ability to maintain my spiritual path. I work better with a group to inspire, motivate, and teach me, as well as giving me an opportunity to share and teach what I've learned.

So holidays are hard. Each solar and lunar holy day ends up hitting me, and I'm caught off guard, unsure of how to celebrate when it's just me, and I have all this other shit going on. What's the point of going all out if the only one who benefits is me? So at most, I'll bake something or I'll light a candle or I'll sit outside and enjoy the sun/moon. That's all well and good, but it just doesn't fill me like ritual does.

Christians have it easy in the US. There are so many churches, and chances are good you can find one of your denomination--or very close to it--no matter where you're stationed. Worse comes to worst, you can hit up a chaplain's services. But when you're Pagan, and especially when you're not specifically Gardnerian/Alexandrian Wiccan, it's not so easy to fall into a group. I got exceptionally lucky finding my path in San Diego with a coven that was exactly what I needed to make my first steps, and then again in Boulder with a coven that pushed me well past the limitations I thought I had. I had to start another group a few years later because there wasn't anything already running in the area, but there was a need. And since then...nothing. My one foray back into the fold happened in San Diego, but that fell apart fast.

The thing about being Pagan is that your path is personalized. You're the absolute final say in your path, the direction you'll move, and even the microsteps of magic working (much like prayer, only more active) and shadow work and training. You determine what's right for you, though if you're half-assing it, chances are good your teacher will call you on it and probably refuse to grant a degree or whatever advancement acknowledges your growth.

You can't just walk into the corner church, see if it blows your skirt up, and keep going. The work you do is personal and revealing, and not just anyone can join a group this intimate, so there's the additional limitation of making sure you gel with each other and that you each have something for the other.

So each PCS means another search for local folk of your spiritual tribe, and if you luck out and find the Pagans who activate your Velcro, it's a coup...and it'll only last a couple or three years. Then you're off to the next great search. And on and on.

I really despise this fact. I hate that, the longer it takes us to retire (we're able to now, hollah!), the longer it'll take me to find or set up a new group and get things rolling again. I hate that my need for group practice limits my spiritual growth. I hate that the best I can do is set up daily practice goals with friends online. I hate that the only training I can do is online and costs many, many pennies...and I don't contribute anything besides my pennies.

But this Sunday is the Solstice, and that means the Oak King is going to kick the Holly King's ass and bring the wutwut via the strengthening sun. It means colder days are coming, but so is the light. It means challenge before the first seedlings burst through the soil to bring new life.

So I will have to take this lesson of the solstice--of stark times ahead and great reward in the future--as part of my path. I can't do anything about the vast wasteland of neopagans here, but I can continue planting my seeds and celebrating each step closer to warmth and light and growth in my future.

Joyous Yule, my peeps. May the birth of the Sun and the blessings of the gods bring you great fortune and growth and joy in the year ahead.

Holy Mother, in whom we live, move, and have our being,
From you all things emerge, and unto you all things return.
Open us our hearts this blessed day.
Touch our bodies and our minds.
Walk with us through the gates of power,
In shadow and starlight,
In fire meeting earth,
In the wind on the ocean,
And the sweet kiss of life.
Blessed be our journey.
--T. Thorn Coyle (with Victor Anderson)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

EFMP WTF

One of my sprogs has been "in the system" since he was wee. California has a First Five Years program, where littles can get services they might qualify for once they hit Kindergarten but...aren't in Kindergarten yet. My sprog was referred there because of some small issues, mostly speech-related. But as we tested and as I read, the more I wondered if he weren't just a wee bit autistic.

We were told time and again--once by Stanford, where they used a language-based exam to test his IQ and told us he would never be able to care for himself--that our brilliant but speech-delayed and socially incapable child had no issues aside from his speech. Finally, in August of this year (he's 10 now), he was assessed by a developmental pediatrician and told he's most definitely on the spectrum. Hallelujer--this qualified him for services nobody would give us before.

So now he's in speech again, as well as occupational therapy. But they also put him in ABA therapy, which I'd never heard of. Since this diagnosis, I've learned that ABA is the holy grail for ASD kids and adults.

As referrals came in for these services, we also got news that our sprog was a level 4 EFM.

Um. What?

That was kinda shocking. The boy has overcome so much without therapy that his teachers were surprised by the services (though not, it seems, by the diagnosis). He's capable of getting himself ready for school, and if I were a bad mom, he'd be able to charge on with his day without me. He feeds himself, bathes himself, does his homework and chores with very little prompting (homework, always; chores...need prompting), knows the rules and refuses to break them, etc. He's very high functioning and wicked bright, and he's certainly not so bad off that I need respite care or that he will fall into a pit of doom without these services. They're a fucking relief to have because his life will be so much easier with them...but level 4?

I sure as shit hope there aren't limits on anything surrounding these EFMP levels. I hope nobody else's kid ends up missing out because mine was given such a major designation. It's already affected us - the 9-month and greater waiting list for services where we're headed meant we had to have permission to go forward with these orders. If we get some paperwork fast, we can get him on those waiting lists now and be able to breeze right in when we get there. No big deal, right? Except level 4. Apparently it's a big deal.

I guess this is one more WTF about the military I will never comprehend. I'm glad the program is there, but I'm not sure about the consistency of the designations. I don't have very high hopes on that front...