So this post has absolutely nothing to do with pregnancy, babies, or anything that I normally post about here on this blog.

This post has to do with ignorance, discrimination, and hate.

I’m on maternity leave (I lied, there’s a mention of something baby-related) which means I have to surf through hours of bad daytime television to find something to watch now that Ellen has moved to the afternoons here. So in my desperation, I landed on The Tyra Show. I have watched Tyra before, and instantly felt dumber for it. I vowed I wouldn’t watch it again, but the subject matter today caught my attention.

Recently, The Advocate put out an issue that claimed that “Gay was the new black” in the ways of civil rights and discrimination.
Before I begin this part of my post, I do have to say that I’m not ever sure which term to use when talking about race. I know that some people prefer “black”, while others prefer “African-American”. I usually use the term “black”, just because I know a lot of black people who have a problem with “African-American”.. Because they’re not from Africa, nor are their parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents. I’m also loathe to use the term “people of color”, because that too is just odd to me. Caucasian is technically a color, too, so why use the term “people of color” when we ALL have a color to our skin? I apologize in advance if the term offends anyone.
With the inauguration of our first black President, people have considered that to be a gigantic milestone in American history – something that many blacks never, ever thought they’d see in their lifetime. And they’re right. It was monumental, world-changing.. It was huge. Obviously discrimination against blacks is not “over” – it will never be over, unfortunately. Discrimination runs rampant in our world and I fear a degree of it always will.
Obviously, the civil rights movements in the 60s changed a lot of things. Interracial marriages are allowed where they were not in years past, same with voting.. Blacks are no longer sent to separate bathrooms and water fountains in public. So, I suppose what the Advocate means is that now that the civil rights movements for blacks have come so very far, they are now focusing on the rights of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

So the argument on Tyra’s show was if “gay was the new black”. They had three gay rights advocates, and three anti-gay advocates as sort of a “panel” on the show. The GLBT advocates were saying how unconstitutional it was to deny gays the right to marry, which I agree with. Completely. They brought up the legalization of gay marriage in California, and then the over-turning of that right known as Proposition 8. Think about it. The government gave gays and lesbians the right to legally sanction their unions with their partners; to join in marriage not only in the eyes of themselves and their friends and family but finally in a legally binding sense. I remember when I heard California passed that law, I was floored. I honestly never truly thought I’d see gay marriage legalized in my lifetime. Can you imagine what it’s like so be so in love with someone and have the desire to join with that person, share a last name with them and declare your love publicly and have that love recognized as something valid and legal….. Only to have that right ripped away from you? It’s not fair.

On the opposite side, the anti-gay rights advocates were hollering how “marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman” and talking about how the bible condemned gays, and all about God’s word says this, and God’s word says that. Two of the women on the panel actually said that gay cannot be “the new black”, because “gay people make a choice to be gay. Black people do not make a choice to be black.”

And here is where my big, fat problem comes in. When people say this… It enrages me. GLBT rights are something very near to my heart and they have been since I was young. I cannot fathom why people think being gay is a choice. Why in the hell would someone wake up one morning and think, “Boy, I think I’m going to live my life so that people see me walking down the street and want to beat me, hate me, and call me “faggot” or “dyke.” THAT sure does sound like fun!” Why would anyone in their right minds choose to live a life where they could be beat to death JUST because they happen to love someone of the same gender? It makes me sick. One of the GLBT advocates asked one of the other women, “So you made the choice to be straight if I made the choice to be gay, right?” and the woman said, “I didn’t have to make a choice, I’m a woman, I’m SUPPOSED to be straight.”

I consider myself a tolerant person, and I truly believe that everyone has the right to their own beliefs and morals. However, when your beliefs and morals cause someone else to lose their civil rights AS A HUMAN BEING, there is something WRONG with that. If you choose to believe that homosexuality is a sin.. I don’t understand it nor do I believe in that, but if you live your life in a way that is kind and courteous to all human beings I can’t truly begrudge you of your beliefs. But when you see a gay person and tell them they’re going to burn in hell, or that they shouldn’t have the right to live the same life as you, there’s something wrong with that.

Another thing that the “I’m supposed to be straight” woman said was in response to one of the GLBT advocates saying that “gay was the new black” and was comparing the fact that gay marriage is illegal in the constitution to the days when interracial marriage and owning slaves were also in the constitution. The “I’m supposed to be straight” woman (who was black) balked at that, declaring, “You can’t compare gay rights to slavery. Gays aren’t hung from trees just because they’re gay!”

I was sitting alone on my couch, and I actually yelled at the television. I’m sorry, gays aren’t what? They’re not beaten, raped, and tortured just because they’re gay? This woman has obviously never heard of Matthew Shepard, who was beaten, tormented, tied to a fence and left to die just because he was gay.
She obviously has never heard of Barry Winchell, who was beaten in the head with a baseball bat
while he was sleeping (and later died due to massive head injuries) just because he entered a relationship with a transgendered person.
Then, of course, there is Angie Zapata who was beaten to death – first with fists, and then with a fire extinguisher – by a man whom had just found out that she was transgendered. Her murderer said things like he had made sure he had “killed it” before leaving in her car and that “gay things must die”.

How can a person hear these stories and not feel sorrow? These people, and countless others have lost their lives just because they are different than “the norm”. It makes me angry. It makes me so angry that there are people out there that think that just because a person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender that they don’t have the same rights as heterosexual people. I have a family member who is a part of the GLBT community. Stories like this turn my blood cold in the realization that people hate this member of my family so much, they would like to kill him.

Why can we not live in a world without hate? Without discrimination? Why can’t we just give everyone the same rights and have that be the end of it? I know that sounds idealistic and naive.. But seriously, why? Who am I, who are you, who is anyone to judge how someone lives their life? Love is love, people. Gay, straight, in-between, love is just that: love. How can the love that someone feels for another human being be wrong? Love is the one thing that exists in this world that is pure and good; you cannot spin love into an evil or ugly thing.

This post turned out to be longer than I thought. I just really cannot express strongly enough how disgusting I find it to be that in the year 2010, people are still discriminated against because of who they are. I hope one day to live in a world where discrimination against people of the GLBT community is a thing of the past. I want my daughter to be amazed that I lived in a world where gay people were denied the right to marry – just as I cannot fathom living in a world where blacks and whites were segregated and not allowed to marry one another.

One day, hopefully, love will overcome hate.

Ho Ho Ho! No, I’m not calling you names. It’s a Christmas Survey!

I snagged this Christmas survey from my friend Melissa at Baby Wanted.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? – Wrapping paper, though I am terrible at wrapping.
2. Real tree or artificial? – Though I love the smell of a real Christmas tree, I opt for the conveniently fake pre-lit ones.
3. When do you put up the tree? – When we have one (we didn’t last year because we weren’t going to be home for Christmas, and won’t this year because we’re broke and somehow managed to lose our Christmas tree from two years ago. I know, how the hell does one lose a Christmas tree? Beats the hell outta me, kids) we put it up the day after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? – Josh likes to take it down the day after Christmas. I prefer to leave it up until New Year’s Day.
5. Do you like eggnog? – Vomit. …So, that means no.
6. What about Fruitcake? – I have never in my life tried fruitcake. It honestly looks like something that someone cooked, ate, threw up, cooked again, threw up once more, molded into a cake shape and cooked again.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? – I loved Littlest Pet Shop toys, Barbies, and other dolls when I was young. When I got older, I liked board games and video games, creative stuff like “do it yourself pottery kits”, etc and once I got even older, money and giftcards.
8. Do you have a nativity scene? – Nope.
9. Hardest person to buy for? – My dad
10. Easiest person to buy for? – My hubby – he makes me a list. LOL.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? – I plead the fifth.
12. Mail or email Christmas cards? – Mail, when I find the time to actually do it.
13. Favorite Christmas movie? – Christmas Vacation. Hands down. I cannot get into the holiday spirit without watching this movie, which I usually do either on Thanksgiving or the day after.
14. When do you start shopping for Christmas? – If we have the money for Christmas gifts, we like to start sometime in November.
15. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? – Not that I can remember.
16. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? – Everything in sight.
17. Clear lights or colored on the tree? – Colored
18. Favorite Christmas song? – It’s a tie between Happy XMas (War is Over) by John Lennon, and Star of Wonder by the Roches.
19. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? – We almost always go to Chicago to see my family for Christmas.
20. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers? – DasherDancerPrancerVixenComitCupidDonnerBlitzenRudolph. So, essentially, yes.
21. Angel on the tree top or a star? – Star.
22. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? – One gift on Christmas Eve, everything else on Christmas.
23. What is the one present you want most this year? – For Nellie to remain growing big, healthy, and strong.. If she wants to make her debut into this world early, she must wait until after December 27th (that’s when we reach 37 weeks).
24. Most annoying thing about this time of year? – People EVERYWHERE. Can’t go anywhere near a mall without going nuts.
25. What I love most about Christmas? – Everything. The lights, the music, the feeling of togetherness, family.


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My Thoughts on Twilight

It’s FRIDAY! Hooray! I love Fridays so much. More than is natural, I think. I have an obscene love for Fridays.

So I saw this crazy ass thing on the news this morning. As I am sure you are already aware, New Moon came out at midnight last night. I’m actually sort of afraid to say “New Moon” out loud for fear that I will be assaulted by shrieks and screams by teenaged girls (or grown up women) who materialize out of nowhere just from hearing the words strung together. I know many, many women who are fans of the series. I myself have read the books. I have seen Twilight (pirated copy, I never would have paid money to see that sad excuse for a film) and will only be seeing New Moon (*cringes*) if I am given a copy to watch.

I was watching the news this morning, and the local channel had footage from the movie theatre from last night’s midnight showing. THERE WERE SCREAMING TEENAGERS EVERYWHERE. I mean LINES AND LINES OF THEM. I don’t think I was even aware of the fact that many teenaged girls EXISTED in this city. And they were all sitting around, squealing and shrieking. You would have thought that Edward freaking Cullen WAS ACTUALLY THERE by the sounds of them.

Then they interviewed this one woman, who looked approximately my age (25). She said that up until earlier that day, she had been in the hospital.



I’m sorry, WHAT?! I was under the impression that this was opening night of the film; not, “IF YOU DON’T SEE THIS MOVIE AT MIDNIGHT IT’S GOING TO VANISH FOREVER”.

I mean honestly, SHE CHECKED HERSELF OUT FROM THE HOSPITAL WHEN SHE HAD PNEUMONIA. Pneumonia KILLS PEOPLE! Is watching Robert Pattinson skulk around on screen for two hours worth RISKING YOUR LIFE? Are you going to explode into a pile of goo if you don’t see Kristen Stewart and her hair (and her horrible, HORRIBLE acting) whining and crying over Edward and Jacob PRECISELY AT MIDNIGHT?

I apologize if I offend anyone who enjoys the Twilight saga. As I said, I’ve read the books. All of them. And while I was reading them, I enjoyed them. But the more I got to thinking about them the less I liked them. My experience with Twilight is something I equate with eating a double quarter pounder with cheese from McDonald’s. You pick up the burger, and you know it’s bad for you. You just know that you shouldn’t eat that cheesburger but you’re going to anyway. While you’re eating it, you’re in heaven. It’s food bliss; the taste erupts in your mouth and is just full of deliciousness.

About halfway through the burger, you start to realize that it’s not as great as that first bite but you can’t stop eating it now. So you continue. You munch and slurp and chomp on that burger until it’s gone, and immediately upon finishing it you feel a sense of regret not only because you just consumed approximately a day’s worth of calories, but because it is sitting in your stomach; a greasy pit of meat and cheese. You start to feel worse as the minutes roll by. That once-tasty treat begins to form an undigestible, fast-food lump in your intestines and you feel sick and unhappy. The more the food sits in your belly, the more you wish you’d never eaten it.

That is what reading Twilight (and the following books) was like for me. While I was reading them, I devoured them hungrily. Not because the writing was good (because it was probably one of the worst-written things I’ve ever read) and not because the characters were particularly compelling (I’d like to push Bella Swan down a flight of stairs) but because it was so bad, it was good. It wasn’t until I got to Breaking Dawn and all of the various WTF plot twists in it that the books started to turn sour for me. Breaking Dawn was like that last bite of big, fat greasy burger that started making me feel sick. After reading all four books, I realized that I actually kind of hated the entire series. There is almost nothing positive I can find to say about it. Except that I kind of liked Jacob. And think that Bella’s a moron for choosing Edward.

But all sarcasm and snark aside, I think that the relationship between Bella and Edward is a really unhealthy one. I think it teaches young girls who read the series that being codependent, helpless and needy is an OK trait to have when trying to land yourself a boyfriend/husband. Bella literally cannot function without Edward (as is displayed in New Moon). She practically goes catatonic without him. That’s not love. Edward is ridiculously overly protective of Bella; to the point where it’s borderline abusive and controlling. Bella is clumsy, accident-prone, and completely idiotic. She is such a horrible role model for young women. Shouldn’t we be teaching the young ladies in the world that you can be strong, independent and stand on your own two feet WITHOUT the aid of your sparkly, immortal boyfriend?

Okay, my Twilight rant is over. Again, I apologize if you read the series and like it. This is just my opinion, so please don’t take too much offense to it. I’m not personally attacking anyone who likes the series. I myself enjoyed it while reading it. I just didn’t happen to like the aftertaste it left in my mouth once the books were consumed. I will leave you with one more piece of snark, which makes me snicker uncontrollably.

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My Wake Up Call

This morning as I was lying in bed, my brain slowly ascending from the fog of sleep I realized that my husband and daughter were playing games with one another.

I was lying on my side, and Josh’s hand was on my belly. I felt him tickling/pushing gently on my skin and then he would put his hand down flat. In a few moments, I would feel Nellie kick, push, and thump from within. Josh would giggle, and do it again. Once more, Nellie would kick in response. At one point, I felt her move on either side. I lay awake but with my eyes closed for about 5 minutes, enjoying feeling their playtime together…. just the two of them. She kicked really hard at one point and it startled me and I opened my eyes.

Quite possibly the sweetest wake up call I’ve ever received. These are the moments that I cherish.

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Queen of Harmony

I think I’m breaking the rules of Wordless Wednesday by posting this. I don’t really understand if there are rules to WW. But screw it, I’m posting this anyway.

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to me than being a pressure cooker for a human being right now. It may not seem like it, as it is practically the only thing I blog about anymore. I guess that’s because it’s the biggest thing going on in my life right now; something that’s with me every day!

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while or know me in real life, you know that I love music. I love a lot of different kinds of music; not all of which are very popular. My favorite band of all time is the Beatles. I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was 12 years old; when the Beatles Anthology aired on television. I fell in love with the band. My mother was an authentic Beatlemaniac, screaming and crying during concerts and all. I know ridiculous trivia facts about the band and the members that make it up, I know all the words to all the songs and have seen their movies more times than I can count. Another favorite band of mine is Nickel Creek, who are much less known than the Beatles. They are a…. Well, kind of a bluegrass/folk band, I guess you could say. I found a video of my favorite song of theirs, Helena, on YouTube. It’s not an official music video so if you’d like to hear their music, click on the link and try and ignore the weird cartoon drawings that make up the drawing. Helena

Another love of mine is musical theatre. I adore musicals. I have loved almost every single musical I’ve ever seen with the exception of two. I don’t care for Rent, and I don’t care for the Sound of Music. My favorite is Jesus Christ Superstar which technically isn’t a musical at all, but a rock opera. My favorite “musical” is West Side Story. I own several musicals and will build my collection through my life.

I also have a passion for performing music, which not many people know unless they know me well. I love to sing, and always have. I have a particular affinity toward choral music, and being in musical theatre. Ever since moving south from my hometown of Chicago, I have looked for an outlet for this. We have a Theatre Center here, but they do more comedy and dramatic plays than musicals. I searched high and low for a choral program without success….

Until September of last year.

Last year, I was at karaoke with my husband and two out of town friends who were visiting us. I sang a few songs when I was approached by a few women who said they were members of a chorus and thought I sounded good, and asked if I’d like to check out their chorus. Of course I didn’t hesitate to say yes, and they told me that what they did wasn’t for everyone. Their chorus sang nothing but a capella four-part barbershop harmony.

Well, my heart damn near fell out of my chest. WOMEN doing BARBERSHOP? I was raised on barbershop harmony. I love barbershop quartets. My husband even SURPRISED ME with a barbershop quartet on our wedding day. I was so excited that these women deemed me worthy enough to check out their rehearsals, I visited the very next Tuesday.

I passed my audition with the Sweet Adelines one year ago today. Ever since, the musical void that had been in my life has been filled. All of a sudden, I instantly had 30 musical friends who all loved to sing a capella harmony with me. My chorus has been a huge part of my life since then.

The Sweet Adelines do barbershop a little differently. When someone thinks of barbershop, they often think of

Our organization is more like

We definitely do things with style, flair, and panache. When we compete, our hair is big, our makeup is loud and our costumes are glittery.

I have sung several different types of music in my life, and I have never had as much fun as I do singing barbershop. Ever since I joined last year, I have been dying to be part of a quartet. Almost instantly, I hit it off with the two other youngest members of the chorus – Stephanie and Christina. Fortunately for us, all three of us sing a different part. Steph sings lead, which is the melody. Christina sings tenor, which is the highest harmony part and I sing baritone, which is all the other leftover parts that make no sense. The only thing we’ve been lacking for the past year… Is a bass. Well, we finally have one and we are now officially forming a quartet. We don’t have a set name yet, but we all love to sing together and have our first song set that we want to learn. We’ll be learning some material and auditioning for the chorus soon… I can’t freaking wait.

So, anyway, that’s a little bit of insight into who I am aside from being a first time mommy-to-be. Being a Sweet Adeline is something I’m intensely proud of. I didn’t just waltz into the chorus and said, “I’m here! Put me in, coach!” I had to audition to get in. Performing with the chorus is a thrill like no other. Even if we’re just out singing at a nursing home and not on a stage, it’s a rush that I can’t resist!

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