Sunday, June 26, 2016

As Pride Month comes to a close...

Pride Month started out rough.  It started with the massacre in Orlando.

Most of the country, and the world, came together to denounce the hate.

Some small minded people declared that the murder of gay people is a good thing.

I don't know what God they claim to follow, but the Higher Power that I and millions of others follow think they they are wrong.  (these people also give Christian a bad name, am I right?)

I've been a strong supporter of the LGBT community for years and years.

But there has been some rather strange developments in this community that worry me.

1.) There are FAR too many in the community that refuse to acknowledge the "T" in LGBT.  Transgender individuals are beening told that their time will come, but have been left hanging by Gays and Lesbians.  But that's a story for another time.

2.) There are FAR too many people, both in the LGBT community and out that don't believe bisexuality exists.

I know... it's in the name LGBT.  

How do I know?
Because I am bisexual.

I don't tell many people.  My family doesn't even know.  (But they do now!)  But I'm tired.  I'm tired of being told that because I'm dating a man that I'm magically straight.  I'm tired of being told that I don't belong at Pride events because I'm not "gay enough."  (Frankly the "not gay enough" thing REALLY burns my butter...)  The systematic denial of the existence of bisexuality is called bisexual erasure, and it's real.

But in this time of Pride, it's time to stand up for what you believe in.  And this time I stand up for me.  I acknowledge that I have privileges that gay and lesbian couples don't.  But that doesn't make me any less queer.

Friday, June 17, 2016

This week has well and truly sucked

Sunday we all woke to the news that 49 people were dead, 53 injured.

They were at a Gay Club in Orlando.  Almost immediately, speculation, ugliness and wonderful generosity.

(All of the photos are pictures that I've shared on Facebook this week)

Senators mentioned the loss of life, blamed ISIS, and refused to mention that these people were gay...

Tweets started flying about how these people deserved it.

And people inundated Orlando area blood banks, looking to donate blood.  So many that people were turned away.

What DO we know?

  • We know the guy was an American citizen.
  • He was a Muslim
  • He CLAIMED he was doing this for all sorts of terrorist groups.
  • We suspect those claims were false
  • he had some sort of gay dating app on his phone....

In all probability, this is a simple case of EXTREME homophobia, perpetrated by a man that was most likely gay and deeply denying it.  Is any of this confirmed?  No, but this is my best guess.

I've spent the week walking around just sad.

I'm really tired.  I'm tired of all the ugliness of the world.  I'm tired of politicians playing the blame game.

I'm tired of political candidates using tragedy to get votes.

I'm tired of a minority of a religious group being so awful that everything think they ALL are like that.

I'm tired of these "Christians" that were gloating over all the dead gay people... they are the most un-Christian-like Christians ever!

What am I going to do?

I'm going to donate if I can.

I'm going to take care of ME (selfish, I know...)

I'm going to go to Busch Gardens this weekend and get away from the TV news.

I might have a Harry Potter marathon... or watch some Disney movies.

What I'm NOT going to do:

  • Dwell on this.
  • Try to find answers when there are none.
  • Panic that it might happen here, to me or people I love.

I hope that at Pride this weekend, people can help each other heal.

I hope that all over the country, people can come together.  I hope that people of  different faiths, sexual orientations and ethnicities can come together to heal, and maybe prevent something like this from happening again.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What Marching Band has taught me

I know. We've all seen the posts...

But honestly, I think that Marching Band is an incredible activity, and the benefits stay with you.

1.) Time management

Rehearsal was:
Tuesday 6-9
Wednesday 6-8
Thursday 6-9
Saturday 9-12 + competition prep and the actual competition.

The ever famous band camp was always held during the hottest part of the year and it was Monday through Friday 9am-12pm and 6pm to 9pm

In all of that you had to make sure that your homework was done.  Your dinner was consumed.  

Also, you were expected to start at 6.  That meant getting there at 5:45 to get your gear.  At 6pm you formed up with your section and marched to your practice field.  Being late simply wasn't an option.

And I did it.  I managed to get everything done.  No whining.  No poking.  

2.) Self Discipline

I know it's hard to believe, but we policed ourselves quite a bit back then.

You dropped your equipment, or messed up majorly.  You did push ups.  I don't think I was ever told to do them... it was just something we did.  (Though I remember push ups being replaced by doing the move you messed up on 10 times in a row...)

On the buses to the competition, we always were silent once the bus pulled off the highway.  That was a time to mentally go over your performance.  Mentally get yourself in the zone.  No adult ever told us to do that, it was something that the students started.  That the students maintained.

I remember times when everyone was struggling to get what needed to be done... done!  We'd call silent rehearsal.  No talking while we were stopped and the instructors were trying to fix drill issues.

I also remember doing our last run through on our last practice of the season alone.  No parents.  No spectators.  It was OUR time to get it right.  It was up to us then. 

3.) Teamwork

I didn't write this, but I found it on Facebook.
It's so true.  Every single person on that field is important.  If someone is missing, it's painfully obvious.  And as much as there were cliques (aren't there always?) we were a team.

During my years, someone started a tradition.  Cool tape.  Electrical tape is something that very literally holds a band together, so we all have rolls of the stuff.  Someone, in some section, decided to rip off pieces and give them to people.  You wore it on your undershirt, under your uniform.  And it wasn't one section.  It was the entire band.  The people that handed it out made sure that every. single. person. had cool tape before we got on the buses to head to the competition.  

In these days of helicopter parenting.  Of kids getting everything immediately, or because the parents demanded it, Marching Band is an important activity to help teach kids the independence and skills that somehow are lacking.  I work at a college.  I see the lack of self discipline and time management every day!  Hell, at times I need me own refresher course.

These lessons stick with you.  As does the bond of this amazing shared experience.

I think one of the things that make West Genesee so great are the bonds that the band creates.  Each generation builds upon the one that came before it.  I spent the weekend with girls that had graduated in the late 90's and all the way until last year.  We all had stories.  Many of other people's stories were so familiar, I swear I could tell them myself.   

We all have been part of something truly excellent.  And that touches you and stays with you for a lifetime.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How to be 18 again, in 3 easy steps

This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the West Genesee High School Wildcat Marching Band!  640 Alumni came from all over the globe to march in the Camillus Memorial Day Parade.

And it was amazing!!

But it took some work!

Step 1: Saturday

Saturday it was 95 degrees.  90% humidity.  Not a cloud in the sky!  It was brutal.  It was like old school band camp brutal!

Going in, I wasn't at 100%.  After that round of norovirus, I was still working up to get back to full strength.

That weather didn't help!  But I let the instructor know.  I was encouraged to take breaks.

We were there from around 10am, until 4pm.  We covered 2.5 miles on the suburban streets of Camillus, NY.  Multiple people were seen by EMT's.  Multiple people (me included) had to sit down on someone's front lawn and wait for a ride because we were going to pass out.

In the end, I got a severe sunburn (I kept sweating off the sunscreen!)

But I was put into the group of banners that were doing more difficult work, and I was happy about it!

Step 2: Sunday

Sunday's rehearsal was an hour shorter.  There were going to be thunderstorms and we all were carrying 6 foot metal poles.

But I did the work:

(Video by Allison Graff Mitura)

We ended up hitting the streets for only a mile this time, and I think everyone made it.

Step 3: Monday

No one slept well.  We arrived at the high school at 8am to board buses.

photo by Nelida Nuzzi
Within 5 minutes, my high school crew was sitting in the back of the last bus, just like old times.
new era banners- picture by Allison Graff Mitura

We got to the top of Camillus Hill, and eventually assembled.  The band gathered together.  And Bill Davern said the same words that he did before every competition:

(Video stolen from Michelle Osborne, who got it from Natalie Waters)

"Everyone Touch. Say a prayer.  A very unselfish prayer.  Not for yourself, but so that someone else in this band can do their very best job today."

And we started down the hill.

First it was just 1 snare tapping out a cadence:  tap. tap. tap.  taptap. tap. tap.

Then street beat started.  Something about street beat makes you stand a little taller.  Shoulders down.  Head held high.  I was here among 50 years of people that have experienced the same triumphs and tragedies.  We've touched excellence, and that feeling stays with you.

Then, before anyone was seen lining the parade route.  Roll off.

Dun dun.  Dun dun.  Duuuuun dun dun.

And it was time.  The culmination of a weekend of rehearsal.  Of months of practice for some.  Of years of prep work for others:

(Video by JoAnn Kennedy)

photo by NewsChannel 9 (and this is just the front!)

(video by YouTube user jpm315)

And then it was over.  We rounded the corner by the Green Gate Inn, and it was on the buses and back to the school.

But the media caught up with us:

I have some souvenirs from the weekend.  I found my band Starburst.  Every senior gets one when they graduate.  I also found my Varsity letter.

I may also have skin cancer from the weekend.

But I'm exhausted, dehydrated, and emotional.

It was one amazing weekend.

See you in 5 years West Genny

Monday, May 16, 2016

The commencement that wasn't

Before we begin, a warning:
Thursday and Friday the Spousal Equivalent stayed home from work.  He was having a bit of a tummy bug.

I thought nothing of it.  I had Commencement to prep for!

By Friday afternoon I had everything ready to go.  Everything except the list of Latin Honors, which I can't get to until Sunday morning.

I was ready!

I was prepared!

Then on Saturday night, I became violently ill.  Like "I forgot that I had that for breakfast" ill.  It took me by total surprise!  As did the the sentence that left my lips after I was done.
"Honey..... I need some new pants...."

That's love right there!!  Bringing your lady love clean yoga pants after she was so violently ill that her's didn't make it through the ordeal.  He even did the laundry.

(Spoiler alert:  this happened a 3 other times too)

After this ordeal, I started to panic.  I have a co-worker that is going through chemo.  Picking this up might land her in this hospital!  Plus, what a great going away gift for the seniors!  Here's your diploma and a side of norovirus!

Commencement is actually written into my job description.  Thou Shalt Not Miss Commencement.!

And this year I did.

I heard that it went well.  And I'm SO thankful that it went well!

I'm also thankful that my Exorcist impression only was on Saturday.

Though, I'm still not really liking the idea of food....

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Excuses.... Excuses....

I'm having one of those mornings.

I got a massage yesterday.  And not a gentle massage.  I got a pound you against a rock to loosen yo up massage.  it was great!  I can turn my head now and everything!  But man, I feel like I've been beaten!  Ow...

So I ended up oversleeping.  That meant no workout this morning.

Then I ran downstairs to make breakfast and found:

1.) A VERY stinky trash can.   I had raw chicken in there and the Spousal Equivalent was supposed to take the trash out.  He didn't.  So Misty and I did.

2.) Dirty dishes piled everywhere.  I cooked quite the meal yesterday.  And the dishes were my fault.  Since I couldn't make breakfast until I moved them, I decided to just load the dishwasher.

All in all I wasn't too terribly late.

And the good news is that I'm going to the chiropractor today, to take advantage of the fact that I can move my head from side to side!

But in all of this, I did manage to see the Dr. Strange trailer.

I think tonight is going to be leftovers, and some yoga.  (I skipped this morning's workout.  I need to make sure not to slack!)

I hope everyone else ins't having "one of those days."

Saturday, April 2, 2016

My April 3 Es

"E" #1 -  eating

I kicked my own butt last week to get back on the Weight Watchers/ BeachBody container system eating wagon.  What does this mean?

  • Planning- especially since we're oven-less, I have to make sure I have stove top friendly, plan friendly meals.  I also need to spend some money and get plan friendly snacks to keep on hand.  Also, I need to make sure I'm eating all of my containers, so I have a well balanced diet.
  • Portioning- I need to measure and portion everything that I eat.  Seriously.  I have the containers, I need to use them.
  • Journaling-  I've got the planner to write this stuff down.  I just need to do it!

"E" #2- exercise

I'm currently working on a ChaLean Extreme/ TurboFire calendar.  I have what I need to do.  I just need to DO it!  Never miss a Monday... And all.

Also, I'm ready to start running again.  I'm going to make sure I get a good weekend run in.  Today it's running, so not today...

"E" #3 - environment

We're getting a new couch later on this month, so I've started cleaning.  But I need to do more.  I need to "weed" out my possessions, getting rid of things that I don't use.  I need to work on the outsides of our place, weeding the front and making the back a place that we might use (maybe this year we'll buy the screen door?). I need to keep up with cleaning.  I need to take everything off the shelves in the storage room and consolidate.

When my environment is orderly, the rest of it seems easier..

So that's my plan.

What is yours?