First up, on Friday I took the afternoon off to chaperone Landon's third grade field trip to the Science Museum and IMAX theater. I had yet to chaperone a field trip and since part of the point of my job is to be involved in the kids' schools (though to be fair I spent Monday night at the school for a PTA general meeting, Tuesday night at a PTA Board meeting, and Thursday night at a Science Fair meeting), and it was the day before a three day weekend, and I had nothing on my calendar, so I said sure! I was excited to see Landon in his natural habitat and he's still young enough to be totally pumped that I was coming along.
You guys, the kids were all really very good and the whole thing went as smoothly as possible, but a bus full of third graders is the LOUDEST PLACE ON EARTH. The giant IMAX movie - "BUGS! A Rainforest Adventure!" with 4-story tall bugs eating 2-story tall bugs piece by tiny gooey-yet-oddly-crunchy piece was relaxing compared to those bus rides. Teachers deserve so much more than we give them.
(which is the worst kind of pig because the real ones are actually pretty intelligent creatures)
Later on Friday I got to listen to the Republican candidate for president brag about committing sexual assault. Filmed when he was 59-years-old and at a work press event less than a year into his third marriage, while his wife was pregnant with their child, he describes his failed attempt to hook up with a married woman: "I moved on her actually. You know she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try and fuck her, she was married. . . . I moved on her like a bitch. I couldn't get there and she was married."
Then, EVEN BETTER, he sees the actress he'll be interviewing with and says:
Trump: "Yeah that's her with the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: "Whatever you want."
Trump: "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
After the rage simmered down in my belly and I spit out the phantom taste of a 59-year-old Donald J. Trump tongue shoved in my mouth, I decided a line in the sand had been drawn. I love politics. Political news, stories, theories, strategy, polling, etc. are all some of my favorite things to read and discuss and I spend a lot of time doing both. I'm politically progressive and have voted Democrat for every seat in every election since I turned 18 and looking at the current Republican party I can't imagine a time when I won't. But I grew up in a staunchly Republican community (though my parents are not), went to the most conservative law school in the Top 10 (though admittedly that's not a high bar), and currently live in a community that heavily leans conservative (though with liberals and a strong independent streak mixed in), so I regularly see and hear many contrary views, and I appreciate the insight and enjoy the way they help me shape and strengthen my own beliefs. I rarely post about politics on facebook (twice so far this year until yesterday) and it rarely comes up in my more mixed groups of friends. Day to day I'm a working mom of 3 and there is a LOT to talk about, laugh about, and discuss that has absolutely nothing to do with a single political figure.
But, bragging about sexual assault and dismissing it as "just words" and "locker room talk" is too much. I mean, to be clear: I think Donald Trump is a terrible person and a terrible candidate. He's a demagogue. He mocked a disabled man. He is racist, misogynistic, rabidly xenophobic, and incites violence. More than half - actually seventy percent!- of his statements in the campaign have been found to be "mostly false" (18%), "false" (35%), and "pants on fire" (17%). (Hillary's, for the record are 15%, 10%, and 2% in those same categories for a total of 27%, which is still not awesome, but the idea that she's "the liar" and he's not when you have a 7/10 chance that whatever he's telling you is a lie is alt-right nonsense.) He's a petulant, overly sensitive bully who can't pass up an insult, and his temper and impulse control issues render him unfit for office and an active twitter account. He has clearly made no attempt to study foreign policy or understand the complicated world we live in, and other than repeatedly claiming that everything he will do will be "tremendous," the only actual plan he has put forward with any detail is his tax plan which was found to increase the national debt TWENTY-SIX TIMES more than Hillary's, mostly because he wants massive tax cuts while also expending infrastructure work and social security, medicare, and medicaid, and mathematically that just doesn't work out. He hasn't released his tax returns like every other modern presidential candidate, and while he claims he doesn't owe money and has a "fantastic" balance sheet we can't know that because he won't prove it, and we have no reason to believe it because he lies 70% of the time (and I'm sure if it actually was true he'd have long ago produced his tax returns to prove it). But democracy means everyone makes their own choices and publicly, I stay out of it.
But. Bragging about being entitled to sexual assault women and dismissing it as "just words" and "locker room talk" is too fucking far. It's not "just words." It's words that describe past actions. And it's certainly not the offensiveness of the words as some are trying to spin it now. I curse all the time and the word pussy doesn't offend me in the least. But the idea that you can grab mine without my permission and get away with it because you're a "star" is revolting. A friend posted this meme on her facebook page and for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE I wrote something to contradict someone else's political post.
Me, totally cribbing from a friend who posted a righteous denunciation of this breakdown in logic:
Yeah no. I stay out of my friends contrary fb posts because everyone can think what they want but this comparison is ridiculous.
We are not outraged because of "naughty words." We are outraged because Trump said he can touch our most intimate parts without our permission because he just can't help himself and because he's a powerful man. No, actually worse: he said he has actually grabbed a woman's most intimate part without her permission and he feels *entitled* to do so because he is a star.
This is not "naughty words." This is not "naughty sex." It's called sexual assault, and it's a crime.
If we must compare it to the book, Christian did not assault Ana. Christian cared so much about consent that he drafted a contract with Ana. Also, Christian is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER, not a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Just no.
It says something at how furious I was because 50 Shades was terrible, but I love romance novels and the fact that I enjoy reading a good consensual sex scene in NO WAY means I'm okay with you grabbing my genitals without my permission. It is insane that I need to make that clear. We've basically taken the "well what was she wearing?" and turned it into "well what was she reading?" and OHMYGOD I just cannot.
(Update: I've since had four more friends post that meme and you guys, it is illogical and beneath you.)
(Updated update: One friend pulled his down after my response, even keeping my comment visible with a placeholder describing that he'd removed the meme and why, which was actually very powerful and humbling to me. I have no intention of arguing my way through facebook, but I do think that every now and then, when something really matters to you, you can speak up and maybe make someone think about what they're posting? Anyway, I wanted to be fair and include the update though it is killing me a little how much I am defending a book I really didn't like.)
But back to Donald. So he was clearly bragging about how he can kiss women without their consent and grab their pussy without consequence, but let's say it was "just words" and he didn't actually do the things he said. But words matter too. The rape culture he's perpetuating in that video and now dismissing matters. Promoting the idea that you can just reach out and grab me, my daughter, any woman anywhere "by the pussy" and then brag that you can get away with it because you're a big important man is morally repugnant. Telling my son this is just "locker room talk" and "look, it happens" is equally so. And when you're a 59-year-old thrice-married man nowhere near a locker room, you're not only lying in your desperate attempt at spin, you're attempting to normalize unacceptable behavior and abdicating all responsibility for your own words and actions. And if you really do sit around with your guy friends and swap sexual assault stories, you're also telling me a hell of a lot about your own morals and those of the company you keep. He is vile. I'm with her.
And in a bit of perfect timing, my t-shirt arrived on Saturday!
Because hell yes we are.
(Last minute addition- I haven't been a big fan of the Daily Show post-Jon Stewart, but their clip tonight was quite good and includes a viewing of the tapes themselves about 2 minutes in and the audiovisual element really adds a layer of creepy lechery that the black and white words in the transcript don't quite convey. I can't get it to embed, but you can watch it here.)
Frogs and Toads
(and humans pretending to be them)
Also on Saturday, after testing out my new shirt and apologizing to an indignant Claire for not buying her one, we got as fancy as we ever get in Fort Worth and headed out to our first Children's Play of the 2016-2017 Casa Manana season: A Year with Frog and Toad. It was so cute and, as always, so well done.
We love that theater and feel so lucky to have it just up the road. Cora hung out with her best friend, our nanny Tara, but pretty soon she'll be coming too!
Sheep and Ducks
We didn't all attend this, but it must be noted that Landon got to go with a friend to the Mainstay Farm pumpkin patch on Saturday morning and I think it sounded amazing. I say "think" because Landon spoke in stream of consciousness style so fast and so loud and for so long when he got home, I really have no idea what he did. The phrase "...and then we RACED SHEEP!" came out and "... we raced ducks TOO but not real ones this time," so it fits the theme. I assume the sheep were real and the ducks were rubber but in neither case were they actually riding either animal? There was also a giant maze, hay ride, go karts, a giant chair (?), giant hay bales, a giant slide, and maybe just a lot of giant things? Also pumpkins, I presume. He had the BEST time and we're going there to get our Christmas tree this year.
Giraffes and Other Noble Creatures
(plus an ostrich)
On Sunday, we headed south to Glen Rose to drive through the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. I've wanted to go forever, but for some reason we waited 3.5 years and yesterday was the day. Beautiful weather, three thrilled children who were woken up really early because their parents don't handle crowds or lines well and have to do everything right when it opens, and 9 miles of paved safari road.
This is basically Landon's heaven.
We met many a prong horn.
Landon can tell you all their official names, but I prefer to make up human ones. This is Larry.
Cora LOVED it and so did Claire, at least until this intrepid ostrich bit her hand and then it was DEATH TO ALL OSTRICHES.
"I am NEVER FEEDING AN OSTRICH AGAIN. When I see one, I WILL THROW MY FOOD FAR AWAY. ACTUALLY I won't even GIVE IT ANY FOOD AT ALL. I'm KEEPING MY FOOD for the OTHER ANIMALS."
Do not fuck with Claire. She never forgets.
My absolute favorite was this gorgeous gentle giant. We came across about 6 giraffes and this one is my best friend. I love him and think he would be so happy in my backyard. We could gaze at each other through all my sky lights.
He had the softest nose and the world was a better place when I stood up through our sun roof and he nuzzled my head.
All in all it was an excellent few hours spent feeding and communing with the animals. We will definitely be back. The zebras snubbed me this time and while I took it rather personally, I'm willing to let them try to be my friend again.
(it's been a busy few days)
Clearly I need to wrap this up, but the kids went to Benbrook Stables for a part-day camp today and it was AMAZING. For $55 they got to ride, groom, and feed horses, play a bunch of games, interact with the other animals at the stables, eat lunch, and be generally cared for and supervised for five hours. They loved it and had so much fun. A friend told us about the camp and if you're a local, I highly recommend checking them out.
And now I'm cutting myself off (Cora wore an adorable cat shirt but we are saving it because this is already too long and I'm uncomfortable with all the Donald Trump pussy talk and an adorable picture of my toddler in a kitty cat shirt existing in the same post). Back to regularly scheduled Cora programming (there are also new bows; GIANT ones) soon.