Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Another example of hypocrisy

Courtesy of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R).

Everyone knows the story by now… year-long affair with a woman in Argentina, Sanford’s wife found out five months ago, Sanford acknowledges that he let a lot of people down, etc.

This is the problem- Sanford, and his GOP Christian Coalition buddies have always preached about being the touchstone for all that is moral and right in America.  They anointed themselves the judge and jury in cases of moral decrepitude, and back in the 90’s went after Bill Clinton for his straying under that self-appointed mantle of morality.

In recent years, there have been countless examples of GOPers who have turned down the road of “the fallen”, as they put it.  Witness Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter and now most recently John Ensign.  Yet, the GOP continues to claim they are more moral, more worthy, and a better judge of all of us.  And every time another one of them falls, their hypocrisy is evident in bold relief.

How about if we recognize that people fail?  People simply screw up, make bad choices, and that affairs of the heart alone should not be the sole reason for career failure.  For anyone- regardless of party.  Learn forgiveness, accept that these are private issues, and allow people to deal with them privately.

Now, this is a lot to say coming from a democrat like myself.  Infidelity happens everywhere, in all social strata, all parties, all religions.   I’m tired of seeing these morality plays carried out everywhere, with the universe commenting on them and making mincemeat out of the families.  Case in point, John and Elizabeth Edwards.

The problem is that respect of people’s private lives will never be restored in today’s day and age.  This kind of obsession is part of the 24/7 news culture, and part of the political no-holds-barred system that governs Washington.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, is fair game.  It doesn’t seem like there is a way to turn back now.

These politicians get into these catch-22 situations by pontificating on morality, the strong family values they allegedly hold, and how they should have the right to say what is moral and just and what isn’t.  Sanford voted for DOMA, and has been a long-term opponent of any type of civil rights advances or equality for gay Americans.  He sits in judgement on all of us with his anti-abortion, anti-female rhetoric, his union-busting and his constant criticism of anything Democratic.  That’s why it is next to impossible for those of us on the other side of the aisle to let an affair of this magnitude just go by the wayside.  Just like the GOP wouldn’t let us off the hook for one of our own either- witness Eliot Spitzer.  I still wish he didn’t  have to step down as NY Governor.   They have been worse off without him.

Now the search is on to determine if anything Sanford did was illegal.  Did he use state money for any of these trips to Argentina? Did he use state time and equipment in carrying out his affair?  What about the fact that adultery is actually illegal and punishable by both a fine and jail time in South Carolina?  What about the fact that Sanford lied to his staff about his whereabouts?  What about putting the United States in a potentially dangerous situation by traveling to a foreign country with a history of high profile abductions, and failing to have security with him, or at the very least contact the US Embassy when he arrived?

All of these are valid questions, and should be answered publicly.  We’re never going to be able to return to the days when the private lives of public people were respected and there was a certain distance.  There are good reasons for that, and bad reasons too.

Let’s just keep the kids out of it, please.

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Perez Hilton v. Will.i.am

I know… of all things to be posting about, this is ridiculous.  But I think there is something important here.

Perez Hilton posted a video today about the alleged beating he took by the BlackEyed Peas manager, Polo, last night in Toronto after a verbal confrontation with Will.i.am.  Will.i.am has also posted a video at Dipdive to explain his side of the story.

First, everyone in the universe knows that Perez Hilton is a dramatic person.  He makes his living off other people’s drama, and his site is really harsh on a lot of people.  The times that something positive is said about someone versus the times something negative is said is about a 1:10 ratio, if not worse.  So there may be a bit of karma involved here.  But that’s not what’s bothering me.

What’s bothering me is that Perez has been a proponent of gay rights in California, and has written extensively about the “No on 8” campaign and the struggle for the LGBT community to gain equality in the eyes of the law.  Yet, in his own video about the confrontation, he relates that he was so upset with Will.i.am’s  agressive stance and attitude towards him that he wanted to say “the worst possible thing” to Will.i.am that he could.  The thing that would anger Will.i.am the most.  I was expecting a racial slur, which would have been terrible.  But what he said was just as bad.

Perez said he called Will.i.am a “faggot” and “why are you being so gay”.

This is so disappointing, that a gay man who is allegedly in favor of gay rights and less discrimination and violence toward gays uses the words “faggot” and “gay” towards someone because it was the worst thing he could think of to say.

Perez, I think your self-loathing is showing here.  When will you learn that just because you’re a gay man, you don’t have the right to slam out hate speech any more than anyone else does?  Using the words “faggot” and “gay” in the context you did DOES make it hate speech.  You were hating in that moment, just as you were hating in your video response about the incident.  You wanted to hurt Will.i.am, and you chose to hurt an entire community with your slurs against them by making being called “faggot” or “gay” the most unforgivable insult you could think of.

Words mean something, Perez.  You may justify what you do for a living as “silly” or just one person’s opinion, but you truly do foster a culture of nastiness and cruelty on your site.

Violence is never the answer, that is correct.  Will.i.am did not personally hit you, and there is no indication that he directed someone on his staff to hit you.  Whoever hit you is who you should be upset with, and only about the fact you were hit.

Otherwise, the fact that someone finally called you out about the things you say on your website every single day, 24/7/365, is simply karma at work.  You cannot continue pumping out as much negativity and misery into the universe and not expect it to come back at you.  You just can’t.

A New Day in America

Wow, what a week it’s been!  So many winners and losers, but let’s get right to the point.  BARACK OBAMA is our President!  After so much work, phonebanking, cavassing, talking to friends and family about the vote, registering new voters, America finally did the right thing and turned the page on the status quo.

I watched the returns at home with my family, in front of the TV with my laptop plugged in next to me to get more information as needed.  Flipping between CNN and MSNBC, we saw the “hologram” and the “virutal room” toys deployed by those networks.  It was very exciting to watch, especially as the scenes from Grant Park in Chicago started coming in.  Hundreds of thousands of people, all dancing, laughing and then crying for joy when the announcement came: Barack Obama will be our nation’s 44th President.

It was like a miracle.

Then the world reaction came in, and there was so much to celebrate!  After all we have been through in the last 8 years, American has finally started back on the road to redepmtion in the eyes of the world.  I’m so glad to see it happen.

Victories for Democrats in places like Virginia and North Carolina.  Increases in our Senate and House majorities.  Jeff Merkley won his US Senate race in Oregon, after a long wait for the final counts.  He’s going to do a great job for Oregonians.  We have new Democrats in office for Secretary of State- Kate Brown and Treasurer- Ben Westlund, not to mention Labor Comissioner Brad Avakian.  Our local races were mostly successful, with a few disappointments in Tualatin and Wilsonville house races.  The best part was that every single one of Bill Sizemore’s measures failed at the ballot box yet again.  This man and his backers have got to learn that Oregonians are on to their scam, and they’re wasting their money up here.

Once again, Oregon’s Vote-By-Mail system was hailed as state of the art.  After seeing people having to stand in line for 8-10 hours to cast their vote, how can we not see this as a poll tax?  The system needs to be fixed, and it’s not the only one. I was sad to see Heather Ryan lose her bid for US House seat KY-01.  She was a great candidate, and I hope she stays in KY politics.  They need more rabblerousers down there!

I’m hoping healthcare will stay at the top of Obama’s to-do list once he’s in office.  There are people out there dying and in pain for want of healthcare right now.  Children going without necessary medicines and treatment.  Families bankrupted by the greedy insurance lobby who just want more, more, more.  It has to stop now.

So much to do for the new President and his staff.  I’m watching the news for all the transition info and cabinet appointments, just as eagerly as I watched for election news last month.  Obama’s staff is already planning a big overhaul of the White House web site, which will hopefully provide more opportunities for Americans to interact effectively with their government.

Today, the Obamas went to the White House to meet with the Bushes for a tour and private meetings.  Everyone I talk to is so glad to see a young family in the White House again.  There will be kids everywhere, especially when Joe Biden brings his family over for a visit!  I know some of you might find this shallow, but I love following Michelle Obama’s fashions, and what the girls are wearing too.  I’m looking forward to every bit of detail we can get about Michelle’s plans for decorating the Residence in the White House, and the fashions for January’s inaugural parties.  I want to see Malia and Sasha settle in comfortably in their new home, and start school in DC with the same high standards they’ve been put to all their lives in Chicago.

There’s going to be so much on their plates in crafting a whole new kind of government.  I think we’ll be seeing things from an Obama Administration in ways we never thought possible before.

It is a new day in America, and I’m so happy to see it!

Foodstuff: A or B?

I saw this at Accidental Hedonist today, and it reminded me of the polls my kids do on their myspace all the time.  Except this one is all about food!  Yay!

Coke or Pepsi? Coke, but only if it’s the Mexican variety made from cane sugar and comes in a bottle.  Otherwise, I’ll take an RC Cola, also made from cane sugar.

Thick crust or thin for your Pizza? Thin, thin, thin.  Yum, yum, yum,

Rare or Well Done for your steak? Medium Rare please.  Beef should never be well done, ever, in any form.

Hot Dogs or Hamburgers? Hamburgers! I have to be in the mood for hot dogs, and they have to be the good kosher variety.  None of this Ball Park/Oscar Meyer pretend baloney dogs nonsense.

Ketchup or Mustard on your hot dog? Ketchup never belongs on a hot dog.  Any mustard should be of a spicy variety- I highly recommend Stadium Mustard, from Cleveland, OH. If you can’t get that, then a spicy, smooth deli style mustard will go nicely with the kraut and onions you should be using.

Cake or Pie? Cake.  With a great, homemade, real butter frosting.  None of this canned frosting crap.

Brownies with a fine, glossy crust, or soft cake brownies? Soft cake brownies are not brownies, they are, in fact, a soft cake.  Brownies should be dense, moist and not crumbly.

Nuts in the brownies? No.  Do not adulterate my brownies with nuts of any ilk.  I prefer my chocolate pure, thank you!

Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream? Vanilla, as it can be used as a base for so many different flavors and toppings.  If available, coffee is my second fave.  For a fun topping no one ever thinks about, try mixing chunky peanut butter with some Hershey’s syrup.  You can even heat it up a bit if you like- it’s great over a good vanilla ice cream- kicks the pants off of most chocolate & peanut butter ice creams.

Blue cheese or ranch dressing with your Buffalo wings? Please don’t make me cry.  Ranch dressing is evil.

Soup or Salad? I love soup.  Love it, love it, love it.  I wish I loved salad- it would be much better for me.

Butter on your Popcorn? Only if it’s real butter.

Pork or Beef barbecue? This is a tough one.  BBQ done right in either meat is great, but it’s harder to get beef right.  Pork is more forgiving, and more flexible with the sauce options.  I guess I’ll have to pick beef, since I love a good BBQ beef rib.  Yum.  And we’re supposed to be getting a new BBQ place here in town soon!  I hope it’s going to be good.

Coffee or tea? Tea, every morning.  Coffee is too hard on my system in the morning.  I’ll drink a cup of coffee once in a while at night with dessert, particularly if we’re enjoying baked goods.

Beer from a can or a bottle? Bottle, if draft isn’t available.  Then again, I’m not a huge beer drinker.

Oreos or Hydrox? Oreo, since I don’t think you can get Hydrox anymore.

Little Debbie or Hostess? Little Debbie- love those Swiss Cake Rolls!

Bacon or Sausage? Bacon, preferably thick cut and fully cooked- no wobbly bits.

Eggs Scrambled or Fried? Depends on what I’m having with it.  If there’s toast, fried over easy is great.  If not, scrambled is good, especially with cheese and hot sauce.

That was fun!  Do you have any to add?

The Omnivore’s One Hundred

This is an idea from a British food blog, the concept being:

“Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.”

I like this kind of thing, so here’s my response to the list- I’ve bolded the items I’ve eaten, and crossed out things I’ll never try.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar (mostly because of the cigar)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (for obvious reasons)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini

81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

So I’ve had 47 items off this list, and I won’t eat 11 items.  How about you?

Defensive Shopping

Mr. BigDog and I have been married for quite some time now, and our girls are now 14 and 16 years old.  That makes Mr. BD the only man in the house, unless you count our dog, who was fixed when we got him.   In the past, this hasn’t really been a big problem, but now that the girls are older, nature is really working against him.

Not having grown up with sisters, Mr. BD is pretty clueless when it comes to the idiosyncrasies of teenage girls.  I feel bad for him, like when he can’t understand their unexpected moodiness that sometimes takes him by surprise.  On other occaisons, he’s ready for it.  He’s a great observer, and he’s finally figured out a strategy for himself: Defensive Shopping.

In case you haven’t lived in a houseful of women, something you may not know is that the longer women are around each other on a regular basis, such as sharing a house, the more likely they are to have their menstrual cycles start to match up.  Periods are scary enough for most men, but you get three women going at or around the same time in the same house, and all hell’s gonna break loose.

Our 16 year old displayed a particularly unusually tart tounge the other night in a fit of fight-picking, so I figured she was starting up soon.  I didn’t mention this to Mr. BD, since I didn’t think it was relevant at the time.  Today, my cramps started up, and I was also not in the best mood.  This evening, our youngest mentioned she needed products, since she was expecting to start in the next day or so.  It’s like watching the perfect storm form before your eyes.

Mr. BD, apparently observing all this from his perch of testosterone, sensed danger in the pack.  He took action.  Mr. BD went to the store and wisely stocked up on ice cream (3 flavors), hot fudge, whipped cream, sundae nuts, caffinated coffee, Midol, and the required products we’d all need over the next week.  All of this without a word from me.  And then, tonight he said he was planning to get the house clean and the laundry done tomorrow.  It’s like the Perfect Husband Fairy has visited my house.

I wonder if he resembles the Snack Fairy from those TV commercials.

Anyway, with disaster diverted for one month, we’re all happily self-medicating and hopefully look forward to a quiet week.

Father’s Day 2008: My Grandfather and Obama

We went to visit my grandfather yesterday, Father’s Day.  Took the whole family, even my folks who’ve been divorced for 7 years.  My Pa-Paw, as he’s called by everyone, is 91 years old, and he has Alzheimer’s.  He’s been in an assisted living facility for going on 3 years now, as it wasn’t safe for him to continue living at home with my grandmother.

Pa-Paw has good days and bad days.  Sometimes we visit, and he can’t remember anyone’s name but my mom’s.  Or he thinks I’m actually my mom.  (That’s a little scary, but my mom’s so cool, I consider it a compliment.)

Other days he asks questions over, over, over again.  He did that yesterday, but he was having a pretty great day overall.  We brought him a digital photo frame that runs a slide show of lots of pictures of everyone in the family, including our pets, and us standing in front of our homes.  We went through the show at least three times while he identified people and places.  He was really enjoying it, and it was great to see him so happy.

We all sat in a circle talking about recent events, news from the family and what everyone was up to.  My youngest talked about being Obama-central for her junior high school- even the teachers came to her for news on the campaign.  All of a sudden, my Pa-Paw clicked into gear.

My Pa-Paw was raised in the Dallas, TX area, son of a butcher who made great block chili.  He graduated from high school- a first for his family- and went on to join the Army.  My Pa-Paw landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day+1, picking his way up the beach through the bodies of fallen comrades.  He never talked about the war, it seemed he saw too much having marched across France, Belgium and Germany, down into Austria before the war was over.

When he returned, the South was still a very segregated place as it had been for much of his life.  It was frequent that I heard racial epithets from my grandmother, while my Pa-Paw mostly stood by without comment.  It was a way of life for them, and while I challenged my grandmother in my younger days when I felt bold, I finally gave up trying to change minds that seemed frozen in the past.

Yesterday, when the discussion turned to Obama, my Pa-Paw asked me straight out, “What is it about that boy?  What is it that has people so stirred up?”  The amazing thing was that these words were said without an ounce of sarcasm.  The use of the word “boy” was truly about Obama’s age, not in reference to his race.  I’ve heard “boy” used when it’s about race, and this wasn’t it. The questions were asked honestly and plainly.

We all looked at each other, stunned that he would even know about Obama, much less remember about such recent events, and that he would ask such a question.  I stammered for a moment, trying to come up with a simple explanation that wouldn’t complicate the question.

My mom stepped in, my mom who has been apolitical my whole life, having seen her heroes cut down in their prime.  She hasn’t allowed herself to dream, apparently until now.

My mom said, “Daddy, he’s like Kennedy. The people, they come to him like Kennedy.  He’s going to save the country, Daddy.  He’s going to make us proud again.”

“Is that so?”, my Pa-Paw responded.  “Seems he’s got a lot of people rooting for him.  I hope he makes it.  It’s good to see young people involved.  I hope he makes it,”  he said.  And then he asked me for the fifth time what kind of car I was driving.

We were all struck by the fact that race didn’t even factor in to the question, or in to Pa-Paw’s support for Obama.  He’s lived so long, seen and endured so much, yet even in his short-term memory restricted state, Obama had broken through all the barriers for my Pa-Paw.

It was a great day.  We were thankful to have another Father’s Day with him, and we hope to have more.

CNN condones no politics at the office?

In a story on CNN.com, Should Your Office Be a Politics-Free Zone?, making talk of politics a no-no at work is advice that comes too little, too late.

There was a time when people didn’t take each other apart over politics.  That ended in the 90’s when the GOP took over Congress and the airwaves with the likes of Limbaugh, Savage and Hannity.  Politics has since become blood sport for many, promoted by the NeoCons, and resisted by the Democrats for so long, they lost 2 elections over it.

Now that the Democrats have found their voice again, here comes CNN to tell us it’s not OK to talk politics at work anymore.  This advice rings hollow now- where were these admonitions when everyone who wasn’t a conservative, religious Bush loyalist was railroaded by those who were?

Where was this admonition when in the run up to the Iraq War, those who objected, raised concerns or outright showed evidence that the facts the administration were touting were flat out lies, those people were publicly shamed- told they were unpatriotic, terrorist-loving, weak-kneed traitors to the cause.  This happened everywhere- workplaces, schools, churches, and on TV and radio for all to see.  There was no protection against those false charges made by NeoCons then from media outlets like CNN.

So here we are, the Democrats have finally found their voice, and the GOP is whining about being on the receiving end.   The difference this time is, Democrats are fighting back with the truth about the failed politics and policies of the GOP.  They’re not just making stuff up like the GOP did, not tearing people’s lives apart simply to advance political strategy.  That was the GOP way.  Just ask Don Siegelman about that one.

The advice in the column is, keep quiet about politics, don’t rock the boat.  You’ll notice that the main thrust of the story is how to appease these sensitive conservatives- Samantha Smith can clearly dish it out, but doesn’t want to take it.  Daniel Drew was effectively told to shut up, even though he was being threatened and disparaged simply for being a Democrat.   Some workplaces are prohibited from promoting any type of politics due to the restrictions of the Hatch Act of 1939.   For the rest, let me remind you that being a member of a political party does not make you a member of a protected class.  You are not entitled to protection from discrimination for political activity unless you are working in the public sector, where most overt political activity is strictly prohibited.  In the private sector, it’s all fair game.

I’d rather we could just all get along, as Rodney King once famously pleaded.   The GOP took away that decorum a long time ago, and now they can’t handle being on the other side of the cattle prod.   Will we ever get back to the Golden Rule- treat others as you would like to be treated?  When it comes to politics, not likely.

Mother’s Day 2008

Mother’s Day has not usually been a fun holiday at our house.  In the past, it normally required getting up early on a Sunday, getting dressed up and schlepping a fair distance to pick up relatives we dread spending time with, and then going out for an overpriced, overcooked brunch.  Exchange of sappy cards and some flowery hanging basket destined to die on the front porch came next.  Followed up by uncomfortable discussion of “happy family memories” that don’t exist, arguing ensues, and someone leaves in a huff, while someone else gets to say, “see I told you so” superior.

This year was not like that.

This year, my mom came up to my house at 11AM.  My husband cooked us all an amazing breakfast.  We read the Sunday paper.  We discussed the upcoming primary vote.  Then we settled in for two movies, 27 Dresses and Juno.  During the movies, we made bacon sandwiches with the breakfast leftovers (toast, bacon, cheese), and then chocolate chip waffles, complete with whipped cream.  We would have put strawberries on them, but we got an under-ripe bunch and they tasted more like Styrofoam.

Side Note: We have the best waffle maker in the whole world.  I highly recommend it, and if you haven’t had chocolate chip waffles, you’re missing out.  Just pour your waffle batter into the iron, then sprinkle the chips on top.  Close the iron, flip and bake until done.  Allow it to cool a bit, then spray with whipped cream – the real stuff only!- or dust with powdered sugar.  Heaven!

There was no early wake up call, no dressing up, no overpriced crappy food, no arguing, no misery, and no family we dread.  Just my kids, my husband and my mom.  We still did the sappy cards, and instead of a hanging basket I’m going to pay for a housekeeper for a month at my mom’s place (she’ll get the place cleaned twice in a month), or she can pick one housecleaning and one grooming for her dog.  Her choice.  Much more practical than a plant that will die.

It was great to just be able to enjoy the day without a lot of stress and pressure to “celebrate” Mother’s Day.  Like my mom said while she was here, we don’t need someone to tell us that we love each other on a certain day.  We appreciate each other all the time.

I’m hoping we can make a tradition out of this- breakfast at home, movies, chocolate chip waffles and just enjoying each other’s company.  Much better than the alternative!

Thanks to my wonderful husband for all his hard work today, and to my kids for being such great girls!  And to my mom, to whom I owe so much.  I wouldn’t be me without you.  Without any of you.  Thank you.

The door is off the hinges…

He called tonight.  Tentatively asked for me, and asked if I was sitting down.  I told him I’d already found the obituary in the papers here and in CA.  I asked what happened as the obit didn’t list a cause, still assuming illness or car accident.  After all, 24 is pretty young to die.

It was suicide.  Leaving behind a 16 month old baby.

This was not just a regular, run-of-the-mill female-type suicide.  Studies show women will attempt more often with less success than men as a cry for help.  In cases where they are successful, 20-24 YO women typically choose or hanging/suffocation over firearms according to JAMA.

My brother- still odd to say that- told me of her long struggle with drugs, alcohol and what some in the family perceived as mental illness.  He said they’d all taken their turns trying to convince her to get help for any and all of the above, but her attempts to do so were short-lived and exacerbated by her lack of truthfulness with her doctors.  He said they all knew she’d been having a rough time of it lately, and her husband had been trying to get her into some kind of treatment.  They did not lack for options- they had health insurance that would cover treatment, and family willing to support that choice.

She made the choice instead to shoot herself in front of her husband.  She cocked the gun with that distinctive “click” sound, he turned around and saw what she was about to do, yelled out to her, running to her, and when he was within arm’s reach she pulled the trigger under her chin.

I cannot imagine witnessing something this awful.  I cannot imagine the pain her husband, mother and other family members are going through.  I am shaken by this entire development of events.

I said before that I didn’t feel the need to grieve.  I’m feeling something very different right now, a sadness, questioning and sense of tragedy I didn’t feel before.

My brother told me he was at my stepsister’s home in CA with his mom and that the husband and baby were with them.  He expects to be there a week or two, and then will come home.  He was happy to hear I was open to meeting with him, and promised to contact me when he gets back in town.  He sounded exhausted, saying the family was going through the whole range of emotions, questioning every recent interaction with his sister, going over anything they could have done to stop this from happening- just raw emotion.  I did the same thing, and I didn’t even know her.  I was only related to her through my father.  We talked of the tendency towards depression that runs in our family, how our father fought it most of his life, how we’d each dealt with it ourselves.  He is so young to have this much loss, a father and a sister, especially in this way.

This is the second suicide I’ve dealt with in my life.  The first was a good friend who jumped off a bridge after he was diagnosed with AIDS.  It was horrible and tragic, just like this one. I’ve not had a lot of loss compared to some folks, other than my father’s death 14 years ago, and the death of a good friend in a car accident 20 years ago.  I worry how I’ll cope when it’s someone I’m really close to.

I worry for the husband, and how he will be able to move on from this to parent his daughter.  I worry about the daughter, growing up without a mother and knowing why.   You can tell a kid all day long it didn’t have anything to do with them, but they always question, always wonder, and turn that finger of blame upon themselves.  It happens with divorce, death, addiction, abandonment, all of it.  I pray she will grow up with a strong family support system around her that will outweigh this.  The impact of suicide never stops- the rings in the pond that rock was dropped in just keep coming for all those involved.

My heart aches for the survivors of this tragedy.  I will pray for all of them.