Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bullying Gone Viral 2015

Bullying: the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuseintimidate, or aggressively dominate others.

Bullying has been around for as long as human beings have, and in one form or another, we've all dealt with it, known someone who dealt with it, or maybe even engaged in it ourselves at one time.  In our modern day however, bullying has taken on a more insidious form in that bullies like to take it online to social media. For lack of a better term, it's literally invaded the lives of kids and even adults in some cases.

In this case that I read about earlier this week, the story had nearly every single element of old school and modern bullying all rolled into one:

I've chosen to obscure the boy's face.
Dad finds out his kid has been bullying another kid at school, so dad decides to write this sign, have someone take a pic of him and his son together, then dad posts this very PUBLIC pic on his son's Facebook page with this comment:

"This is what happens when dad finfs out you are being a bully at school. My golden rule is you dont start fights or touch anyone unless they lay hands on you first. Feel free to tell kayden how wrong it is to be a bully or share stories to help him understand the effects of these actions on the victoms. DO NOT ATTACK MY SON THIS IS TO BE A POSITIVE ACTION NOT NEGITIVE. *******PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS AS WELL TO HELP STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING OTHER PLACES AS WELL! THANK YOU!"

In the world of social media sharing, it didn't take long for this picture and this story to spread like wildfire and get picked up by numerous mainstream media outlets, bloggers, FB users, etc.  The image has been shared thousands of times from the original source, and God only knows how many thousands more from secondary sources.  

I first saw the article on The Blaze's FB page here, and left a simple comment:

"Publicly shaming your own child is never an appropriate form of punishment."
I had no idea the response would be as it was.  Overwhelmingly, on that page and on every other article I've seen on this, people are responding with such things as "way to go dad!" and praising this father for doing what he's done.  Color me shocked that parents would honestly believe publicly shaming their children online is an acceptable form of punishment or discipline. From the responses I have seen, people who think this is a horrible way to punish your kids seem to be in the extreme minority.

Here's what I think...


Every parent needs to take a pro-active role in their kid's lives.  If they do something awesome, praise them.  If they do something awful, they need to be disciplined.  In this case, from what I've been able to gather (various articles say different things so I honestly don't know the facts), this kid was being mean to another kid at school.  I don't know if it was one time thing, an ongoing thing or any other details. Regardless, if he was engaging in bullying another kid that's serious business and at the very least he should have been made to apologize to the kid, and had some privileges taken away for a time. At the very least.  Anything else after that is certainly up for question especially if it was a one shot deal or an ongoing thing.


On the whole idea of posting this boy's pic, I'm honestly embarrassed for this boy.  Yes, I've posted it here as well (I've blurred the boy's face but the actual image is all over the internet) but sadly the horses are already out of the barn so there it is.  Not only did this father post a humiliating pic of his kid for the world to see, he told the world where the kid goes to school.  Hands down, across the board, in EVERY single online safety article, course, pamphlet, etc., guarding your privacy and that of your children is emphasized.  For the sake of "teaching this boy a lesson" he exposed him and his privacy to the world to see.  Not only that, he posted a humiliating image that will indeed follow this kid around for the rest of his life.  There is the potential now for every future employer or professional contact to pull this pic up.  As it's said, once it's out there, it's out there for good.

I don't know why this dad thought this was a good idea.  I don't know why so many parents agree with it.  I think most of them, if given the time to sit and think this one through, might think twice about such a thing.  Or, maybe not?  Maybe the whole idea of posting something that has the potential to "go viral" in our day and make you famous for a minute, is so enticing that common sense and good parenting just flies right out the window?  Maybe that's it.

Timothy Robenhorst (center)
Maybe instead of showing off his savvy parenting skills for the world to see, dad (oh, and this is dad, by the way, the one being praised for being such a great role model for his son, wearing a tee with a swastika on it and says the symbol represents his beliefs) could have mentioned to his son the recent story in the news about the little girl named Desiree Andrews with Down Syndrome who was bullied at middle school basketball game and had some pretty awesome classmates stand up for her? Desiree and the boys who stood up for her, as well as the kid in the humiliating pic posted by dad, are all roughly the same age, all in middle school, and so maybe dad showing his son what compassion, kindness, and real friendship looks like in kids of the same age, could have had a more positive impact on his son?

Maybe instead of jumping on the whole public shaming bandwagon that seems to be so popular these days, dad could have jumped on this golden, private, man-to-man teaching moment and had a heart to heart talk with his kid about what it might feel like for him, if he were born with disabilities or a physical disfigurement and other kids teased him or mocked him and made him feel like an outsider?  Maybe dad could have told him a real man, a real friend is one with honor and integrity and good character and instead of running others down, he comes to their defense if others are being abusive or hurtful to them?

As soon as I read this article, my 30+ years of parenting kicked in and I thought of so many different, very effective ways dad could have handled this issue with his son, without the public ever knowing about it.

Some of the comments on the original article I replied to assumed I had never been bullied as a kid so I had no idea what it feels like, and therefore don't understand why it's a good thing this dad did what he did.  Quite the contrary.  I was in fact bullied as a kid all the time.  I was born with a droopy, twitchy eyelid that (as a child, it's not so noticeable anymore) would twitch quite obviously whenever I'd eat or say certain words.  Almost like a marionette where you pull the strings and make it dance, my jaw muscles and eyelid muscles are attached in the same way.  So nearly every day at lunch I'd hear "watch when she eats, it's so funny".  Oh I'm sure it was a regular stand-up act for all.  It made me feel like a freak and I'd always eat with my head down facing my desk so no one could see my eyelid twitch when I'd eat.  Thankfully I did gain friends over the years who would stand up for me and eventually I got sick of it myself and started standing up for myself but yes, I do know what it's like to be bullied.  It's because I was bullied and publicly shamed as a kid that I would never even consider for a moment, to use that same tactic on a kid to teach them a lesson.  Especially when there are so many better ways.

After commenting on this at The Blaze the other day, I was going to leave it there.  I tried, but I really couldn't.  I suggested to a friend Andrew Lawton, the host of London Ontario's am980's afternoon talk radio show, that he should do a segment on this story as I believe it's a timely news item that affects so many people. He did a segment on it today and just like at The Blaze, it seems the majority of people responding were all in favor of the dad's actions in this story.

Like I said there... it honestly makes me sad that so many parents think it's perfectly acceptable to post humiliating pics of the own kids, online.  God help us all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Let's Talk About Sex (Ed)

So, I've read the Revised Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum (more commonly referred to as the new Ontario Sex Education curriculum) for students in grades 1-8 and I have some thoughts.

First, I should say I've read only parts of it and only the parts that I know have changed, and only the parts that actually pertain to sex education. I have honestly not read all 244 pages but I have read the sections that are of interest to me as a mother and grandmother of school aged kids/grand kids in Ontario schools.

Second, I have to say, it's not all bad. There's actually a lot of good stuff in there about the importance of consent and the importance of abstinence as a positive choice and why it should be respected.

That being said, I'm old school and still believe what ought to be taught is basic human/reproductive anatomy, how STDs (or STIs as they're now being called) are transmitted, prevented, treated, etc., and then the rest of it... left for parents to decide when the child is old enough to have those kinds of conversations.

From all I've heard and read, big deal for most parents is the Who and the What. The government (the Who) has decided our children are all ready, all at the same age, to learn the same things (the What). As every parent knows, this is baloney. Not all 6 year old kids (or 9 or 12 year olds either) will understand the same things, the same way. 

For many parents it's simply inappropriate that there will be people other than them (or their family doctor) having these kinds of conversations with their children. It's one thing for a child to be taught basic reproductive anatomy and medical facts, but it's an entirely different ballgame for someone to teach your child about a variety of sexual acts and sexual lifestyles (and then prompt conversations about them) with the purpose of teaching they all fall within the umbrella of normal, common and acceptable. For a lot of people in our society they are all normal and acceptable, but for a lot of other people, this kind of teaching infringes into personal, religious, or cultural territory. It intentionally blurs the lines between what is reproductive fact, and what is personal opinion, and then lumps them both into the same category.

Imagine the outrage and uproar we'd all be hearing if the only common, acceptable and normal sexual lifestyle that was taught in this revised curriculum, was intimacy between a husband and a wife. Obviously this is what Christians believe and what the Bible teaches, but the point is, that's a personal opinion held by Christians. It is not the opinion of others in a variety of sexual lifestyles and when you're teaching one over the other that's where things get muddled.  This is exactly why so many are saying this new curriculum is more about pushing a social agenda and social engineering than teaching the facts.  The exact same thing would be said if it were only teaching about Christian marriage.

One of the things I've read about and heard about is the concern by many parents that there is so much information in this revised curriculum being introduced at such young ages, it feels very much like child grooming to them. I know many would roll their eyes at this suggestion but here's the basic definition of child grooming:

Child grooming (for the purpose of sexual exploitation and abuse by an adult) involves planned, emotional and psychological manipulation in the form of positive reinforcement using activities and conversations over a period of time, that are typically legal and deemed socially acceptable. This is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the child. A trusting relationship with the family means the child's parents are less likely to believe potential accusations as well as enabling direct access to the child.
To establish this kind of trusting relationship, child groomers might do several things. For example, they might take an undue interest in someone child, to be the child’s "special" friend to gain the child’s confidence. They may insert themselves into the child's life as someone who can be trusted, someone the child can talk to, and tell private things to. They may simply talk about sexual topics or acts with the goal of making it easy for the child to accept such acts, thus normalizing the behavior. They might talk about subjects normally discussed between adults, or at least people of the same age. Topics might include marital problems, (romantic or sexual) relationship dynamics and family/sibling conflicts. They may try to gain the child’s parents’ trust and confidence by befriending them, with the goal of easy access to the child. They will be a source of positive emotional reinforcement to the child with frequent, personal compliments that mention how pretty or handsome the child is, or how smart, talented or "grown up" the child appears to be. They may also consistently affirm for the child that other adults in their life may not understand them or understand their need to talk about sexual subjects. These are just some of the methods a child groomer might use to gain a child's trust and affection to allow them to become closer to the child.
A groomer will use several methods to desensitize a child to sexual topics and sexual acts, in an effort to get the child to become less inhibited about future physical and sexual contact. It is a behavior that is characteristic of pedophilia. 

If you've read the pdf, read the types of subjects being introduced at different ages and the suggested Teacher prompts and expected student responses based on what they've learned, it's understandable why some parents are rather uncomfortable with teachers having these kinds of conversations with their children. While I'm not about to jump on The Sky is Falling bandwagon or even suggest for a moment that everyone who had a hand in this revised curriculum is a pedophile (although there is the issue with Benjamin Levin and we can't pretend that didn't happen - and I can bet no one realized at the time there was a pedophile in charge of a revised sex ed curriculum for public school aged children), I do have to admit it feels a little groom-y to me as well.

If you have school aged kids in Ontario, I would strongly recommend that you do read this revised curriculum. As I've said, it's NOT all bad as it pertains to sexual health and development. However, depending on your personal, cultural or religious views, there will definitely be things there that you will strongly disagree with and should be aware of because your kids are going to be taught these things.

More important however, than reading this new curriculum is that you talk to your kids and that you teach your kids at home what matters most. If they have a solid foundation from the beginning, when they come across things like this in school or in life, they'll be better equipped to process it, think about it, talk about it, and decide for themselves how they see it, rather than just accept it as fact or truth.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pro-Vax, Anti-Vax and making the informed choice

With all the talk in the media recently about vaccinations and whether we should or should not, it got me to thinking about all the conversations I've had over the last 18 years with people about this very subject.  It's never been an easy conversation to have. With anyone, either pro or con. Partly because people in general tend to be very legalistic about this subject as well as rather judgmental, insulting and dismissive if you don't agree. I know for sure I have fallen at times into all these camps myself, and that's not something I'm proud of.

Brief history of where I've stood on this issue:

Kids 1, 2 and 3 were all vaccinated (or got their Puppy Shots as their pediatrician used to call them). With each kid, and with each shot, I was given an Informed Consent form to read and sign first.  I read every word, for every shot and always signed it.  None of them ever had any problems with any of the shots except for the occasional swelling in the area of the injection.

Kid 4 began to receive all her shots the same as the others, then at just over a year old, we noticed a change in her immediately after a vaccination. I'll spare all the details but suffice it to say the changes were noticeable enough I called the doctor's office and they assured me they were definitely not related to the shot. Over the next year the changes in her became more pronounced, and after months of internet research and reading the experiences of other parents just like us we stumbled across the study that has since been debunked but at the time, was making a LOT of noise in the medical community.  Unfortunately, like so many other parents, we believed that study.  It was the only thing that made sense, at the time. At times I suppose we were what you'd call "anti-vaxxers" but really, we were more "we're just not sure-vaxxers" due to so much conflicting information available.

That was then.  This is now:

Since that time we have obviously come to understand that a.) the changes in Kid 4 were changes that would have happened regardless.  This is simply the way God made her.  She has a "moderate developmental disability" which is a long way for saying, she's just a bit slower than most kids her same age. While she has been in the specialized education program at school for the last 5+ years, she is very high-functioning. She cooks, (and makes the best omelet I've ever had), spends too much time on her tablet on Netflix and texting her friends, sleeps in until noon on Saturdays and is even doing co-op placement/job training at school.  In many ways, she's just like any other teenager.  Although she does have limitations that will always be there.  We believe now it was simply a coincidence that we began to notice these changes in her at the same time she had a Puppy Shot.  Like the doctor's office said at the time "those symptoms are not connected to this vaccination".

At the time however, we opted out of having Kids 5, 6 and 7 vaccinated, and didn't finish Kid 4's childhood vaccination schedule.


Now we believe, that was a mistake we made based on a.) false info floating around out there and b.) wanting to protect our kids from whatever possible side effects could potentially occur.  Simply stated, we were wrong.  After much discussion over the last year or so, we have made the decision that we will be getting ALL of them vaccinated (and we have talked about it with them as well and they all agree they want to be vaccinated), in the same way children coming to Canada from other cultures that do not vaccinate, get caught up.  It's a much different process than Puppy Shots but it's still just as effective.

I read this really well written article today and for parents who might still be on the fence, I think it will help.  Or, at least give some very important food for thought and information to pray about as you come to this decision for yourself, and your children.

Friday, January 23, 2015

So, Let's Review

I don't know about anyone else, but one of the great things about online shopping for me is being able to read reviews from others who have purchased the same exact product I'm considering purchasing.  Good, bad and middle-of-the-road I read them all and usually make a decision based on what I've read.

So, a couple of years ago when enabled product reviewing on my OWN designs, I was a little nervous.  What if people hated them?  What if they left awful reviews??  Well, to be honest, sometimes it's kind of hard to please people but overall, the reviews that have come in over the years have been pretty fantastic.  In fact, checking new reviews are one of the first things I do each day to get a feel for how folks are enjoying the products (or what I might be able to fix, edit or otherwise tweak, to make it even better).  Here are some of my favorite reviews that have come in:

Without a doubt, this is my favorite review of all time :)  The person who left the review is a fellow zazzle designer (see Jerry's work here) and he was kind of enough to leave this fun review.

I'm SO looking forward to this recipe binder saving the earth!

Just the title of this review caught my attention :)

lol, frame it!

w00t! Way to score points!

Just what the doctor ordered? :)

FanFrazzlingTastic review from "That Dude".

Giant, foil wrapped bar? How can you go wrong? ;-)


I love the idea I was able to help another artist simplify their work. :)

Have you purchased anything from one of my zazzle shops?  I'd love to see your review, and maybe even feature it here!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cosby, Rights, Wrongs and Rape

(I've had to do some editing on this since I posted yesterday as blogger was doing some rather odd things with the text that I didn't catch until now)

I almost didn't write this at all for a hundred different reasons but the main one is, I don't want to see any snotty, hateful, emotional, reactionary comments and/or emails, tweets, etc.  I know that's probably pretty selfish of me but I kind of enjoy an obscure, peaceful, non-confrontational life :)  So, with that said, I'm going to try as best I can to phrase this very carefully so there is no misunderstanding at all.  

Just saying that almost guarantees no matter how I say it, someone's going to be offended or read it incorrectly.  We certainly do seem to live in the age of the Perpetually Offended.  Hopefully though, this is received in the spirit it's written in, and that is one of logic, reason, fairness and justice.


By now, pretty much everyone who's anyone, and anyone who is an unknown (and their dog, ferret and canary) has written about Bill Cosby and the allegations of sexual assault against him.  Some articles & blog posts are spot on, some are horrifically neanderthal-ish and others are somewhere in-between.  I'm not about to say anything here you haven't already read before but that's mostly because this really isn't about Bill Cosby.  It's more about the kinds of thinking and deductive reasoning I've seen online since all the proverbial doo-doo hit the social media fan.  Essentially, this is more about the way people think, than the actual case of All These Women v. Bill Cosby.

Based purely on the reaction to the Cosby allegations by so many, and even those who would be considered well-informed, well-educated and intelligent, fair-minded people, I have found myself rather stunned at some of the comments.  They simply don't sound like informed, educated, intelligent and/or fair-minded comments.  In many cases, they sound like "prepare the torches, sharpen the pitch-forks and meet me at the edge of the forest at sundown!" lynch-mob mentality.  What I find even more disturbing about these kinds of comments is that they're based on nothing more than what the mainstream media & social media is perpetuating.  Gossip, rumor, accusations, allegations, suspicions, speculations, etc.  I think it's important to remember not one of the allegations against Cosby have been validated/proven in a court of law either by evidence, testimony or any other means.  NOT ONE.  There has been no arrest, no charges, no court/jury decision, no testimony, no evidence, due process of any kind, at all.  NONE.  All of this, is based 100% on her (and her and her and her times about 27 at this point) word against his.  None of which would be admissible in a court of law.  Interestingly enough.


Now please, as you read this, feel free to replace "Cosby" any time you see it, with "my bother" or "my son" or "my husband" or any other male close to you.  Because the truth is, this can (and does, sadly) happen to someone close to you, or someone you care about, and will most certainly change the way you might think about it, if it were to happen. God forbid.

Does this mean I automatically think Cosby is actually innocent of all these awful against him? No, no it does not.  For all I know, he's 100% guilty and frankly, that sickens me more than I can articulate here. Mostly because it's reprehensible that a man could do the things he's been accused of but also partly, because I grew up thinking he was just a nice, funny guy.  I hate the idea of thinking I was duped by his public image when privately, he may have been just another depraved monster seeking sexual gratification.  Our world is TOO full of these kinds of people already.  However, it is most certainly possible that he's 100% innocent, and for whatever equally reprehensible, sickening, selfish reasons has been targeted by people for whatever reason(s) seems justifiable to them.  Yes, that happens too.  Statistics tell us it's pretty rare, but it does actually happen.

The FACT is, I don't personally know whether he's guilty or innocent and I don't NEED to know that, to know what a US citizen's rights are under the law.

Sadly, that doesn't translate into the court of social media circus opinion.  The fact is, it does not matter if the law says you are protected under the US Constitution to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Nor does it matter that the same rights guarantee you protection of your life, liberty (which includes being gainfully employed without slander and/or libel affecting your livelihood) and property, until such time a court of law finds you guilty of whatever charges have been leveled against you.

For whatever reason(s), we're now all watching Cosby's 2015 itinerary shrink day by day, as more and more people jump on this bandwagon to remove him of his liberty to pursue his livelihood, as they have chosen to literally throw the baby out with the bathwater and made up their minds he's guilty as accused.  EVEN THOUGH, there isn't a single court decision that backs this up.  Not one.  Anywhere.  In any state.

Call me naive, call me ignorant, call me whatever you want, but I still believe in the criminal justice system.  As flawed as it is, and of course it is since we have flawed human beings running the show that enforce it, it's the BEST we've got to mete out FAIR and RIGHT justice.  Of course it's never perfect but its more often right than it is wrong, with all the safeguards and loopholes in place that ensure swift and FAIR justice is served.  Without it, all we have is chaos, and the kind of lynch-mob mentality those folks in the little village of Dr. Frankenstein had.  Hear a rumor, prepare the torches, catch the monster, kill the monster.  Sadly in those cases of old, sometimes the most wicked monster was the one preparing the torches to cover up his own crime.


I've read a lot of commentary on this case online via twitter, FB, blog posts, msm articles, etc.  I haven't contributed my opinion in most cases because I've seen the response and frankly, it's just awful.  Mean, nasty, sarcastic, rude, obscene, etc.  And, to be quite honest, all understandable, but at the same time all inappropriate.  Why?

Understandable because obviously we all find sexual assault simply inhuman and repugnant.  Inappropriate because absolutely NONE of us know for sure, if any of the accusations are in fact, true.

Many have jumped on the bandwagon because: a.) no one voluntarily identifies themselves with sexual assault unless it's real (which is actually not true) and b.) because if they are true and factual then Cosby is the creepiest of the creeps in the last 40 years of clean, funny, family-friendly entertainment.

Well heck, hubby and I just had a conversation the other day about how it seems like the older we all get, the more we discover nearly *every* family had that "sketchy uncle".  Feel free to replace uncle with whoever it was in either your family or the family you knew of that had that perverted family member that always seemed to have his hands in places they had no place being.  Those inappropriate comments he always made, the crass/vulgar jokes, and the way the younger female members of the family always acted around him: either avoiding him completely or making those sarcastic remarks about how "weird" he was.  It hardly appears Cosby may have been the "sketchy uncle" or the creepiest of the creeps, since it seems the sexual deviant has been in nearly every family.

Yet another fact to consider is how many women/wives falsely accuse their former hubby/lover of sexual deviancy.  Abuse against themselves or their children.  Granted, it's a very low stat from all I've read but it DOES happen.  Please be honest with yourselves, men aren't the only devious, conniving, scheming, deceptive people in the world.  Women do it too.  In fact, I have to sadly admit that being a woman, and being IN the company of  women over the years, there are MANY women that would gladly and happily report this kind of thing, if it meant they'd get what they wanted at the end of the day.  Let us not pretend there aren't just as many devious, deceptive women out there as there are devious and deceptive men.  Equal rights, y'all. 

Another reason I haven't opined in many public venues on this as it pertains to the justice system is because I've seen others do it and and the response "shame on you, it's YOUR fault more women don't report their rapes".

Well kids, here's where it gets downright ugly.  Here's where possibly long time readers of this blog learn something about me they never knew before.

1. It is NOT the fault of criminal justice system adherents, that more SA/rape victims don't speak up.
2. It is NOT to our "shame" that fellow women (and men) have been sexually assaulted.  The shame belongs soley with the man or woman, who assaulted them.

I believe in the criminal justice system as much as I can because frankly, it's the best we've got.  Obviously it could use some improvements but overall, it's better than nothing.  That being said...

I was the victim of SA at the age of 3. THREE years old, folks.  I didn't understand it enough until the age of 20 to report it to the proper authorities, which I did, and had monumental support. Praise God for the ladies at Kitsap Support Services (which by now I'm sure the name has changed, but they were awesome ladies and they have a special place in my heart to this day, and always will).

I was a victim again at the age of 15.  Minding my own business, walking home from high school in the 9th grade, munching on a partially frozen King Sized Snickers bar I'd won in some random draw for something I can't even remember (amazing really, how your brain compartmentalizes seemingly useless details), I was accosted by some special kind of pervert from behind.  I turned, freaked out, and beat the living snot out of him with my semi-frozen Snickers bar.  He ran, like the depraved coward he clearly was. I stood on the sidewalk for a few seconds and just screamed... then ran home and dialed 911.  The two detectives assigned to my case believed me 100% and set me up with a local sketch artist to get an image of this pig in the local papers.  Of course as a minor my name was never in the press but eventually the local PD did catch this guy.  He'd done SO much more than what he did to me, my testimony wasn't even needed to lock the piece of garbage up.  I was totally okay with that.

There was another incident, far worse, at the age of 19.  I was dumbfounded and never reported the crime to the police because like so many others, by that time, I believed the hype that if "he" is "this" or "that" no one will believe you.Ironically at the time, I *knew* there were certain folks that *would* believe me but I was overcome with the numbers of people that wouldn't, only because of who he was. Looking back, I only wish  I would have made as much noise about this then.

 This is honestly the closest I could ever come to to the whole "Cosby" issue.  My assailant was not at all "family friendly" or well-liked or even well respected.  Fact is he was a common street punk who instilled fear in all kinds of people of all ages throughout the community due to his connections.  From all I've read, to this day he's well respected in the community and my only comfort is that God's justice will prevail.  (I'd actually long forgotten about this experience until this issue came up about Cosby.)

That being said, the super-lame accusation of "shame on you, YOU'RE the reason this is so under-reported" is 100% garbage & 100% hypocritical garbage from the very same pro-women organizations that are supposed to be 100% in support of women who have been victims of SA.

 So... incredibly ironic. No?  No, people like me are NOT the reason sexual assault and rape are under-reported.  The shame is not with me, the shame is with the MEN who commit these crimes and the PEOPLE who, in various communities, buy the lies that "keeping things under the rug", so to speak, is better for everyone.


At the end of the day, I know exactly what women mean when they say "rape culture". God knows, they're not saying anything I haven't lamented about privately for the last 40 years or so, wept about late at night during my private prayer time, and tried to discuss with my hubby so that he understands it enough to relate it to our son in his own way of "guy on guy" conversations.  I've talked to my girls and will continue to talk to them if need be, on this topic.

While we (men and women, moms and dads, etc.) have to be honest, we also have to be fair.  We have to be righteous, just, and rational.  We have to be factual, compassionate and reasonable.

We have to be... honest in our opinions, and base that in fact, not emotion or experience (as hard as that can be).

At the end of the day, as it pertains to Bill Cosby... I will be honest and admit I will be sad if it's all true.  In my opinion he always seemed to me the "clean" version of family-friendly comedy and I really dug that, you know?  But, if he's guilty of what he's been accused of then YES, dude needs to go to jail and/or serve whatever penalty he needs to serve for what he's been accused of.

I don't know.  I wasn't there.  I don't know what the situation was... neither do most other people since, none of us were in the same room with both parties and understood what the same expectations were (if anything at all).

Were these private encounters mutual agreements/expectations?  Possibly.  More than likely, probably. Is that gross and disgusting for us who are still so delusional that they believed Bill and his his wife Camille were 100% monogamous and 100% devoted to one another?  Well... yeah. Duh.  At the same time however (and we're talking about the 60's, 70's and 80's) do many of us understand that at the *time* it was considered part and parcel of the entertainment industry overall, despite marital status?  Yep. We get that too.

Fact is, at the end of the day, none of us really now for sure what the deal was, between anyone and anyone else.  The entertainment industry has been RIFE for decades with this kind of thing and based on all I've read, it's always been expected that everyone just keep their mouth shut about it.  So, based on that, none of this really takes me by surprise.  No matter how much I really want Bill Cosby to be the one exception, the one truly decent man, the one genuinely family-friendly stand-up comic in the Hollywood industry.

In a nutshell?  God help us all.  It's only going to get worse. Truly, God help us all, to read between the lines, think rationally and make the right and just decisions.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year's Day Dip!

Once a year, New Year's Day, I make this wonderfully delicious dip.  I first had it many many years ago when our church had a monthly fellowship lunch after the service and one of our church members Mike, would bring this dip every time.  For years, we just called it "oh wow, remember Mike's dip?" 

Then, several years ago our oldest daughter brought a variation of it for Christmas eve.  Ever since then, it's become a New Year's Day staple.

We've never had an official name for it, so we'll just call it 
Layered Cream Cheese Salsa Dip.  There are lots of ways you can make it, so here's the basic recipe:

2 bricks of cream cheese softened to room temp
1 tub of sour cream
1 cup of salsa (mild, med. or hot, depending on your preference)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
2 cups grated sharp cheddar (or a mix of cheddar and monterey jack, or tex-mex style)
*sliced black olives
*guacamole or avacado chunks
*sliced jalapenos

In a large bowl whisk together the softened cream cheese and salsa.  Spread into a pan and cover the bottom completely with this first layer.  Use the same bowl (saves on clean up) and whisk together the sour cream and taco seasoning, then spread that over the cream cheese layer. Cover this layer with your choice of olives, avocado chunks, jalapenos, salsa.  Sprinkle your grated cheese over that.  Serve with tortilla chips.

I'm not going to include the nutritional info.  Suffice it to say, it's REALLY fattening. Hence, it only shows up in our house once a year. :)