Did someone really go on a killing spree because he couldn’t get laid?

27 05 2014

I have wanted to write of the latest massacre in Santa Barbara, but I haven’t been able to unjumble my thoughts. I’m numbed with the reality that mass killings are now commonplace. How is this acceptable? So many things in the news have overwhelmed me lately. I’ve been shocked and the details are so unfathomable that I turned off the news and lost myself in a fantasy book about a utopian culture this weekend.

But my brain wouldn’t turn off the thoughts. The horror remains. I tried to write cohesively and after sitting for an hour looking at a blank page, I gave up. So here are my random thoughts that I’m compelled to get out.

  • The Whys? Our crazy gun culture; misogyny; lack of help for those with mental health needs; an entitled segment of society; a paralyzed political system corrupted by money; the 24-hour news beast that must be fed; the list goes on and on.
  • The paradigm has changed. My daughter just graduated for the largest, most diverse class ever from Louisiana State University, with more women in that class than men. What’s significant is that this happened at a large Southern university. I love the South, but we’re not known for progressive social movements, so for this to happen here, it means it is happening everywhere. This American century is going to be about how we accept the diverse nation that we are.
  • So what do those in power fear? Loss of power and as the paradigm shifts they cling to the old way of thinking more tightly.
  • The young man who killed so many in California was part of an “alpha” male Internet group that is so anti-women that the Southern Poverty Law Center follows them for fear of the hate crimes they may commit.
  • As this country continues this diverse shift in our population, there has been a systematic assault on women’s rights. Louisiana just passed a law making it harder for women in this state—one of the poorest in the country—to have a safe abortion. I heard a startling statistic recently that crime actually started to go down 15 years after Roe v Wade. The theory was that when a child is wanted and loved and cared for, they are less likely to turn to crime in their teen years than a child who was unwanted.
  • It’s an easy jump from this hate crime in Santa Barbara to the other side of the world with the Nigeria #bringbackourgirls crisis, where a terrorist has kidnapped young schoolgirls. The biggest threat to this man’s world view was an educated girl. Who is it the Taliban feared? A young 14-year-old girl who loved education. What did they do? They shot her in the face to shut her up. But they couldn’t quiet her words and that young girl from Afghanistan was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. There probably will be more killing of women as we assume an equal position in the world. But it won’t stop the rising tide and it won’t shut us up.
  • I don’t believe in saying the murderer or terrorist’s names. I believe they thrive and often act for the publicity. I don’t want them remembered for their heinous act.

I hope that in the near future we look back on this violent era as a time that preceded a shift in human consciousness to one of living together in peace. I found a TED talk that reports even though it may not seem like it, due to the constant bombardment of bad news, that we are now living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence. If you need that bit of hope, check out, Steven Pinker’s, “The Myth of Violence” 

I wrote a post 10 Small Things I Can Do Now after the Newtown massacre in which I listed all the victims names.

I honor the lives of those taken in California and pray that the madness will end.

Weihan Wang

Cheng Yuan Hong

George Chen

Katherine Breann Cooper

Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez

Veronika Elizabeth Weiss

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My Daughter’s Graduation Gift

12 05 2014

Dearest Daughter,

Mother’s Day and your college graduation are just a few days apart, which has me reflecting on our mother/daughter bond. You and this huge milestone are gifts that make me extremely proud. It makes me think of gifts from your heritage. You are only the second generation from my family to graduate from college. You may remember the closure that ended each mother/daughter class that we took at the Unitarian Church when you were a young girl. “I am Connie Lee, daughter of Jimmie Dee, daughter of Jimmie Corrine, daughter of Minnie Mae; mother of Jade Lee-Mei.” You have inherited a beautiful legacy of mother/daughter connection.

Mothers and daughters, our maternal lineage

Mothers and daughters, our maternal lineage

I am grateful that your Nana has been such a part of your life. You already know that you have feisty, quirky, and funny DNA coursing through your veins. I have sweet memories of my Maw Maw. I remember being rocked by her on their front porch and her singing the lullaby “Hush Little Baby”. And I’ve heard similar sweet memories from Nana of her grandmother, Minnie Mae. It’s important for you to know that you come from a heritage of love.

That legacy includes the wonderful Dads in your lineage too. Even if your memories of your grandfather are vague, you’ve been raised with stories about him and your great grandfather too. If you ever wonder what your great grandfather was like, look no further than your Uncle Dudley. The warmth, love of family, wicked sense of humor, and even his looks were inherited from his dad, your great grandfather.

When you were little, you loved to look in my jewelry box and ask me if the jewelry was going to be yours someday. For your graduation gift I am giving you a piece of jewelry that is part of your heritage. It is yours; to keep, or wear, or sell, or save to pass on to a daughter you may have someday. It is the ring my grandfather gave me when I graduated from LSU.

The gift in the box that my held my mother's engagement ring.

Your ring in the box that  held your grandmother’s engagement ring.

You know this ring as my engagement ring. Because this ring meant so much to me, your Dad added the diamonds and we made it the ring that would represent our marriage. Your Dad and I may not be married anymore, but you do know that our love for you has never faltered. We have always believed in your abilities and your dreams. You were born to parents who planned for you and who wanted you, when we were young, happy and in love. That’s what this ring represents and it is now yours.

I am proud of the woman you’ve become. Congratulations on your college graduation milestone. Your adult life is just beginning. During the ups and downs of where your life will take you, always know that you come from a circle of love.

Love, Mom





A Mother Moment

4 05 2014

The women of Midlife Boulevard May’s bloghop is on memorable motherhood moments. A bloghop is when a group of bloggers write on the same subject. The links to my friend’s blogs are at the end of this post.

Three Generations (I love mom making a silly face)

Three Generations (I love mom making a silly face)

I just spent a week with my Mom in the hospital for a broken wrist. It was a hard fall and at 85 breaks and surgery get real serious, real fast. It was very difficult for mom and for me too. But I can’t deny that she’s a drama queen and when she has an audience she likes to perform. Because of her age and her sweet little old lady demeanor, she gets away with murder.

She had names for the various staff who cared for her; Doogie Howser, Justin Beiber (it was the hair), Queen Latifa, BarBarBarBarBaran, and George (from Seinfeld). When the Physical Therapist didn’t look too happy about being called George Costanza she tried to make him feel better by telling him she adores that character. She told him she loved George because of his ineptitude and because he couldn’t get a date. Poor George, I never did learn that therapist’s name.

Doogie Howser came to ask her questions to make sure she was informed and ready for her upcoming surgery. I appreciated the time he spent especially when her answers were long and had nothing to do with the question. I knew he was about to ask her about Do Not Resuscitate orders when he said he had a final important question to ask her. That’s when she said, “You want to know if I still have sex?!” He actually blushed.

The Chaplin was a small quiet man whose hands stayed in his pockets. It was the end of the day and you could tell we were the last stop and he was ready to go home. He asked mom if she would like him to say a prayer for her. After she said yes, he wanted to know if there was anything she would like him to pray for. He was not expecting her to say World Peace in her best beauty pageant voice. “Let us pray for Jimmie’s health…and for world peace.” I kept my head bowed to try to hide my laughter.

My sweetie came to stay with her while I went home to catch up on sleep and take a shower. When she complained to him that I was cranky, he explained to her that I had not left her side all week and one doesn’t really get any sleep in a hospital at night. The next night when mom called for the nurse, she explained in a loud whisper, “SSSSHHHH, DON’T WAKE MY DAUGHTER, SHE GETS CRANKY WHEN SHE DOESN’T HAVE HER BEAUTY SLEEP.”

My daughter came for a visit and she helped me to see humor in my mom accusing me of smoking marijuana in the room, when in fact she was the one on morphine. When Mom accused me randomly at 6:00 AM, I didn’t find it funny, but my drug of choice, caffeine, hadn’t kicked in yet.

So why would I treasure this moment in time, when in reality it was a very difficult week? Once I caught up on sleep I realized it was a week filled with love and not just outrageous things mom said. When Mom was first admitted she waited hours on a gurney in the ER hallway waiting to find out how bad her injury was. Vulnerable, in pain, unable to move in a neck brace and not even allowed to take a sip of water to quench her thirst, she was very scared. She only had me to keep her calm. I started reading my blog to her from my phone. She loves my writing, especially when I write about her. My blog is filled with stories of my family, both sentimental and quirky. I could see her visibly relax as I read post after post.

Mother to daughter—l’m now mothering my mom. When my adult daughter came up to visit her Nana, we all three came up with a list of people that needed to receive her college graduation announcements and who needed to come to her graduation party. With a bittersweet joy I knew to savor that moment. At 85, every day with my mom is precious. And I don’t know how much longer my daughter will be able to drop by before she flies away on her own life’s journey, far away from home.

Gifts from the Universe come in unexpected packages. I’m grateful for this year’s Mother’s Day gift. I’m a grateful mom and a daughter sandwiched with love between generations.

I honor my maternal lineage: I am Connie Lee, daughter of Jimmie Dee, daughter of Jimmie Corrine, daughter of Minnie Mae; mother of Jade Lee-Mei.

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