Love Doesn’t Excuse Abuse

My grandfather died a few weeks ago, and ever since, I’ve been mulling over something the preacher said in the service.

He kept saying how much my grandfather loved his family. How he loved his wife, my grandmother. How his love was so great.

And I was biting my tongue in the pew as my cousin cried next to me, because I had to stop myself from sharing a number of things about his love.

My grandfather loved his wife. I do believe that. I believe that he loved his family – my dad and my aunt and all of us.

But I also believe, and more so than believe, I KNOW, that he was emotionally abusive to all of those people he loved so much.

And what bothered me so much about the preacher’s words, is that it almost seemed like the preacher was excusing granddaddy’s behavior. And sure, the preacher had known him for years and might not have been able to come up with another way to approach my grandfather’s personality. (Approximation of a quote: “He had a lot of opinions, and his opinions were very opinionated.”)

But that doesn’t matter. Because love does not overcome abuse. Love does not excuse abuse.

Love isn’t why my grandfather spoke to my grandmother so angrily.

Love isn’t why my grandfather would get offended by something my father said and proceed to ignore him – up to and including pretending he was not physically present in the same room – for months at a time.

That is not love.

That is abuse. It is emotional manipulation. It is wrong.

Love does not offer excuses for abusive behavior.

As a kid, I loved my grandfather. My grandfather was a 6’2″, 300 pound, loud, scowling man who walked with a permanent limp and a cane. He smiled and flirted with waitresses, and talked shit about them behind their backs. He had a huge laugh, and regularly took me with him to go to flea markets – our favorite way to spend a weekend.

But as an adult, I see the issues more clearly. I remember the way he yelled at my grandmother about anything and everything. I remember how he stopped speaking to me for six months when I asked him to stop saying racist things about my dad’s business partner. I remember him shaking his fist in someone’s face.

“Love” is not an excuse for abusive behavior. Not ever.

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Cheapskate Stocking Stuffers

I have a weakness for reading gift suggestion posts from all kinds of different blogs. I love the ideas, the things I may not have thought of that my kid (or one of my sisters) would love. Or alternately, lists that have such bizarre, over the top suggestions that no one in their right mind would really ever consider (looking at you, Goop).

Here are some I’m enjoying:
2016 Good Gifts from Small Things – features wooden toys and creativity gifts.
Modern Parents Messy Kids Toy Gift Guides from Modern Parents Messy Kids – these are AMAZING. The guides are sorted by age, interest, and type, and give in depth looks at each toy.
Handmade Holidays by Sew Mama Sew – 30 days worth of handmade gifts to make, everything from simple to elaborate. There are many on the list that don’t require sewing. I haven’t made a single one of these, but I like looking at them!
Favorite Kid Gifts, 7th Edition from Angry Chicken – believe it or not based on the title, but this is not a list of toys to give your favorite child, just a list of cool gifts to give to any of your children, favored or not.
50+ Gift Ideas for Quilters from Diary of a Quilter – so much goodness for sewers and quilters!

And then there are the lists of suggested stocking stuffers. Which usually include a whole variety of things that are around $10 each, and you know what? If I’m spending $10 on something for the holidays, that is not a stocking stuffer, that is a GIFT, and it gets wrapped up under the tree where it belongs.

The problem, of course, is that I’m cheap. And I only have the one kid’s stocking to stuff – I don’t know how y’all who have more than that handle stockings.

I’m not Little House on the Prairie about stockings – where Laura and Mary were thrilled beyond belief to get an whole! orange! each! But I do think that if you spend 40-50 bucks on the stocking, you are going way overboard.

My personal belief is to get one (occasionally two) things that cost $5 or less, and then pad the rest out with candy and pencils and assorted little things. The other suggestion is just not to do a stocking..which I will admit I also have done.

Here are some of the things that I would pick from for my weirdo who likes both potty humor and pretty things – and like I said, I pick one or two from here only.

(These are affiliate links, so if you buy through the link, I get a tiny kickback.)


Yo-yo – because everyone on Earth needs a yo-yo at some point in their life
Piggy Paint Nail Polish – I don’t get too hyper about the chemicals in nail polish, but I if I can offer that, then I do.
Slinky – much like your enemies, it’s fun to push down the stairs.
Nose Pencil Sharpener – my kid will think this is HILARIOUS.
Poop Emoji Stuffie – also hilarious, because potty humor.
Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids – we own this one, and surprisingly, I don’t want to shove it down the garbage disposal after hearing the jokes 20 times each.
Jump Rope – I don’t CARE that it’s snowing, go outside and burn off some energy.
Pink Polka-dot Manicure Set – pretty sure the kid will be in raptures over the tiny purse, and far less interested in the tools inside. Oh well.
Design Your Own Bracelet – something sparkly that will keep my kid occupied for at least ten minutes? Yes, please.
Glow in the Dark Stars – I can put my kid on a ladder and endanger their life! Hooray!
Harry Potter Golden Snitch Bracelet – my kid loves jewelry and we’re reading Harry Potter. Done.
Pokemon Cards – because why not enable the addiction?

*PS. I’m having trouble with Java right now. The first four stuffers show up on my phone..is anyone seeing all twelve?

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Things That Have Annoyed Me Today

– the fact that it persistently refused to be Sunday when it was time to get up

– the inability for parents at my school to drop off their children in the right place, where I do not have to worry about them getting run over

– I crossed Monday AND Tuesday off of my calendar by mistake, so now not only is it not Sunday, it’s not Tuesday either

– an adult I work with attempted to get me to sit there and cut and paste tons of writing into a new document because she “just doesn’t know how to do that.”

– the dog ate half a loaf of bread off the counter

– the child’s collection of trash under her bed, which I keep asking her to THROW AWAY and yet keeps sitting there EXISTING.

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Pebbles of Hope After Election Day

I went to bed last night scared.

I woke up sad and angry and so so confused.

I don’t understand how a country like the United States could so willingly put hatred in the highest political office.

My co-workers are crying. My principal is dressed in all black. One child wailed, “I stayed up so late for nothing!” while another child cried in fear for her family.

I feel powerless. I feel hopeless.

But water drips through stone, and tiny pebbles can cause avalanches.

I’m handing out pebbles today. Tiny fragments of safety for people in the LGBTQIA alphabet. I’ve given one to most of the adults at work.

At the very least, this pebble will show someone that SOMEONE cares.

It’s not much. It’s the tiniest thing.

But it is something that I can do. And for today, that will have to be enough.

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You can get your own pebbles from #I’llgowithyou.

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Feeling Old and Achy

Should I already be starting to fall apart? Physically, I mean. I’m pretty sure I fall apart emotionally on a fairly regular basis.

But should both feet hurt with what I suspect is planter faciitious? Should I be hobbling around with the pain in my feet AND my shoulder being jacked up and having hurt for months even after some physical therapy AND my hands aching to the point I’m scared it’s arthritis? And none of this even mentions the pain in my literal butt that has resulted in me googling things like, “one side of my butt help?”

I’M ONLY THIRTY SEVEN. Somehow I had the assumption that my body wasn’t due to start giving up and throwing in the towel until I hit forty. But here I am. With a ridiculous amounts of body pain, and a terrible tendency to try to diagnose myself on google.

Thirty seven!

When I came home today, I iced my feet, for fuck’s sake.

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