6 Tools for Teens – Pass it On

Share this with your teens and talk to them about it. It mostly addresses girls, but teen guys are trafficked, too. Kids from ALL kinds of families fall prey to the greedy wiles of traffickers.

Binge watching.  Who doesn’t love having a weekend with an empty calendar, your favorite snacks, and your most beloved TV series queued up?  Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, the series ends, withdrawal hits, and life as you know it is over.  You were not prepared and now that the hysteria has set in, you’re beyond hope of finding a solution… So you start the series over.  No shame, it happens to us all.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Last week we talked about “What Is Child Sex Trafficking?”  You read it, right?  Next week we’ll be addressing parents and how they can watch out for their kids.  This week, we want to talk to the teens.  As a teenager, how can you watch out for yourself?  How can you keep from becoming one of the hundreds of thousands of girls who are sex…

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Human Trafficking Awareness Month–Targeting Buyers

trafficked girl w teddy bearHere it is January again. And once again it’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The problem hasn’t gone away and like most of this nature has most likely gotten worse.

When I started volunteering as Twitter account manager for StreetLightUSA, a local provider of comprehensive services for sex trafficked girls, in 2014, the emphasis of the anti-sex trafficking/stop child rape movement was getting the justice system and society to stop referring the human merchandise being bought and sold as prostitutes and throwing them in juvenile detention centers like their adult counterparts get sent to jail.

Education and awareness have changed this*. This girls and boys are now considered victims because it’s become clear that these young people do not willingly sell their souls to pimps who in turn sell their bodies to buyers, but they were coerced into it and coerced to remain. The pimps prey on basic human needs like food and shelter for runaways, love, and acceptance for kids who don’t feel that at home or are rebelling against it. Pimps play with the minds of their victims like experts of the human psyche. Drugs, rewards, punishment, fake love and more keep these now damaged children hostage. Some don’t realize they can escape and those that do fear for their lives if they leave.

Who would knowingly enter into a life like that, to be raped 10, 20, 30 times a day, to be beaten and drugged and manipulated in the most inhuman ways? All states and many countries now have decriminalized minor victims of sex trafficking, keeping them out of jail and placing them with services for recovery and restoration, although this system needs much improvement.

A more recent focus to eliminate selling our children to be raped is reducing demand or making it more dangerous and less worth it for men who pay to rape children. Many states and municipalities have introduced laws meant to discourage men from soliciting sex with children. In Phoenix, AZ and it’s surrounding cities, such a man is faced with heavy fines, sex school, his picture being published online and being labeled as a sex offender with all the ramifications that go with that.

Just as we’ve thought of child victims as mini-prostitutes who want to do what they’re actually being forced to do, we want to think of the sex buyers of these children as creatures so disgusting the only way they can get sex is to pay for it. This is false. These men are professionals, or businessmen or men with decent jobs, often married with children. Most now solicit and arrange for sex with children using the internet. They are the men we see every day in our professional and business dealings. For some of us, they are our family members.

One way police are capturing these people–mostly men–are by sting operations. They place an ad, set up in a hotel and arrest the men coming to them expecting to find a teen, or even younger. But they find the police and handcuffs and arrest and shame. This is one way of reducing demand.

But it’s just a drop in the bucket. Some traffickers still work by word 0f mouth, some sell their children, young relatives, their girlfriend’s children out of houses and apartments. These people need to be caught, too.

Increasingly, traffickers arrested and convicted are facing many years in prison, but the buyers do not. The risk of getting caught and the current punishments for buyers aren’t fearsome enough to deter them from paying a few dollars to rape a child. Without a market, a commodity is no longer needed, the business goes out of business.

We’re a long way from the perfect society where sex does not rule the minds, bodies and souls of many people. We’re a long way from respecting each other when it comes to sex. Until that day arrives when there is a worldwide epiphany and we understand how we hurt each other and determine to change our behavior, we must keep making progress to protect out most vulnerable citizens and punish and hopefully rehabilitate offenders. We must educate, and when that fails, prosecute. Otherwise, our society is doomed.

*SharedHope International 2015 Protected Innocence Report

Follow my Pinterest page for occasional news and articles about sex trafficking awareness

Follow StreetLight USA on Pinterest.

My Reading Year in Review

I’ve been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last two years. I set my goal at 20 books each year. I only made it to 17 in 2014. I got bogged down in a long “bestseller” and an equally long “award winner” that I might have been able to finish had they both better content editing. I did exceed my goal for 2015 by 2.68 books, though. I’m a slow reader (Michael Fassbender admits to being a slow reader, too. *sigh*) so I don’t set lofty goals.

My non-scientific and random review methods based on the fact I’m a writer, I get moody and other things that may vary day to day.

***** So compelling I’m willing to not do things I love (like write and sleep) to keep reading.

**** The characters are compelling or the story so interesting they follow me around until I can read again.

*** Good enough I’ll keep reading, maybe for enjoyment or maybe another reason.

** Gave it a good try, but probably won’t finish.

* WTF?

My ***** for 2015

  • The Lady of Lakewood Diner by Anne R. Allen. I believe Ms. Allen is an indie author. If you grew up around or are interested in the 1960s, you’ll especially enjoy this.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. I’m not a big fan of things about World War II, but the characters and the prose are stunning.
  • The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. A library book sale big time score! Loved everything about this book.
  • Horse and Buggy Mennonites by Donald B. Kraybill and James P. Hurd. Nonfiction research for Zook’s Corner. A readable interesting detailed account of Old Order Mennonites in Lancaster County, PA.

The lowest I gave was a *** to The Outcast by Jolina Petershiem. I think I was feeling generous that day.

Everything else received solid ****.

An L.A. writer runs to Maine and meets an odd little girl. Literary fiction.

Sometimes I inadvertantly pick up books around the same time with the same settings or themes. In 2015 I read At The Water’s Edge right before All the Light We Cannot See, both WWII settings. Then both set in Seattle were Safe with Me and Firefly Lane. The Robber Bride is set in Toronto (which I’ve actually had the pleasure of visiting) and something else was Toronto based in my life then…maybe a movie?

I think the most disappointing was The Girl on the Train. Wildly popular and I got it for cheap on Kindle. It was a great read until the ending which was just “meh.” In my opinion. You may think it’s brilliant.

I did abandon a book, Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. It’s YA. I found the first person over-obsessing of a guy by a teenage girl annoying. Not a bad book and I have some questions that won’t get answered because I don’t like the voice, but just not for me.

Maybe if you click here, you’ll go to my Goodread page of my 2015 books. If not, sorry. If so, click on the book if you’re interested in my rating/review.

Lined up for 2016, I have The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. First I have to After the Rising by Orna Ross, whose Blue Mercy I really enjoyed in 2014. I think I’ll keep my goal at 20 books. It’s always feels better to exceed a goal than to not meet one.

What was your favorite book in 2015? Anything on your reading agenda for the New Year?

Note: Thumbnails are of other books I read in 2015 by indie authors (except Everything I Never Told You isn’t indie.)

 

Bet You Don’t Know What 9/22 Is!

You know how every month is now some kind of cml dayawareness month? Everything from
ethnic group history to diseases to food and activities. September has its share. It includes Suicide Prevention Month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Childhood Obesity Awareness, Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness, Alzheimer’s Awareness, Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Backpack Awareness (this is by Occupational Therapists so I guess they’re concerned with the effects of too-heavy backpacks), Sepsis, Atrial Fibrillation, ITP (involving blood platelets) and lots more. One thing I didn’t see on this list was Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Blood cancer is not as prevalent as breast, lung or prostate cancers. I’d post some statistics, but honestly, I think it’s too late in the day for me to do that without too much thinking (my brain can only handle math between 8 and 11 AM) so I’ll post some links below.

What I really want to talk about is today, 9/22 is World CML Day. This is actually pretty clever. CML is Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. It’s of particular interest to me because I am surviving this thing. Yay!

Somewhere along the way, a couple of my regular chromosomes decided to do something funky:

philadelphia_chromosomethu_jpg

The Mayo clinic explains it:

An abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome is associated with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Your cells each contain 23 pairs of chromosomes that are made of DNA and hold the instructions for every cell in your body. The Philadelphia chromosome forms when chromosome 9 and chromosome 22 break and exchange portions. This creates an abnormally small chromosome 22 and a new combination of instructions for your cells that can lead to the development of chronic myelogenous leukemia. (here is Mayo’s page on this)

So, this is where the 9 and 22 come from.

Why did this start happening to me? Don’t know. I don’t have any of the common risk factors: exposure to certain chemicals or excessive radiation, a family history or past chemotherapy.

If left untreated, the uninvited Philadelphia chromosome would cause the stem cells of my blood to create many more white cells than needed. These funky white cells would take over because they live longer that regular white cells plus they don’t do their job of killing off germs. As time goes on, I would make fewer red cells to do their oxygen carrying thing on top of my body being unable to fight infection.

Blood cancers are often discovered in people by accident, as was my case. I had elective surgery and my white blood cell count was found to be a little high. A few months later I was hospitalized for an unrelated infection. The heavy duty antibiotics didn’t take lower my elevated white count. I’d also had other infections in the previous months such as several UTIs of which I’d had one previous in my entire life. So this was concerning and further testing, including a bone marrow biopsy, were done, and well…here I am.

For which I am grateful. CML is one of the very first cancers to have responded to targeted therapies. My treatment, Gleevec, went into us in 2001. It was considered a magic bullet. Before that, someone diagnosed with CML in the early stages, as I was, had a 3-5 year life expectancy. The five-year survival rate for CML today is about 60%. I’ve been on Gleevec for 6 years. I had an early complete response and went into remission within the first 9 months with minimal side effects. Since then, there had been no detectable glitches in my chromosomes/DNA. I take a Gleevec pill once a day. It targets the causes of the overproduction of defective white cells. There are several other similar treatments available, now, too. Each has potential long-term side effects. But hey, I now get to live long enough to see if I’ll develop them or not.

It was as first thought it would be necessary to be on this treatment for life, but clinical trials are being run to see if it’s possible to go off as long as careful monitoring is done.

Gleevec and drugs like it are very expensive–$90,000 a year and more. Really. What a round of normal chemo might cost, is what one year of this kind of therapy costs. The quarterly blood tests are expensive, as well.

So, how does this knowledge affect you?

  • Monitor your health. Don’t ignore unusual fatigue, infections and other changes to your good health. I’ve met people (men!) who almost died because they waited until they could barely get out of bed to see a doctor. The further the disease progresses, the more complicated and risky the treatment. It could involve stem cell transplants. Folks have died waiting for a compatible stem cell donor. This goes for people in your care, too. Don’t wait for odd symptoms to go away.
  • Support legislation that provides for parity of cancer treatment costs, oral and self-administered vs. traditional chemotherapy and delivery.
  • Support control of prescription costs and coverage by insurance companies.
  • Know, that while rarer than other cancers, blood cancer can strike at any age. Some are more common to certain age groups.
  • Know that if it hasn’t happened already, you will be affected by cancer, either you or someone you love. It’s a sucky fact, but true.
  • When you are affected by cancer, yours or a loved one’s, get educated. Don’t panic. Deal with your emotions, but don’t dwell on the negative. Reach out for support.

I’m grateful I’m still healthy and that despite job setbacks I have never had to go without my treatment.

Well, 9/22/2015 is over for most of the world. Today, about 8 people found out they have CML. Tomorrow, the same and on and on until there is no such thing as cancer.

cml awareness day uk

Leukemia Lymphoma Society

Leukemia–Hemotolgy.org

National CML Society

The Comments I’d Really Like to Make on Facebook Posts

If you’re on Facebook or some other social media, you probably have a mental list of types of posts that burn your grits or you would like to leave snarky comments for.

At the risk of alienating my friends and being unfriended, unfollowed, etc., here are a few of mine and the comments I don’t post:

The vacation selfies–the poster in some exotic place with a huge smile or open mouth, etc.

Comment: If you’re having such a frickin good time why are you spending so much time posting pictures? Brag much?

annoying selfie

The posting of a hundred individual photos of a the same place/event/person.

Comment: Haven’t figured out how to make an album yet, hmm?

Sarah's wedding and Philly 048

Sarah's wedding and Philly 048

Sarah's wedding and Philly 045

Sarah's wedding and Philly 043

The grandchild/ grandchildren. “My new grandson, Antler, is the sweetest, cutest blessing that’s ever been created ever by God, man or anything else. He’s so amazing and beautiful and smart, just sleeping here in my arms all squished up like a person who’s just been pushed through a narrow tube that was too small for his big round and now misshapen head.

Yup, your new precious blessing is the best thing to happen to you. Way to make your kid feel like trash. Also, learn to make a photo album. Don’t post another photo of Antler until he’s five.

grandmother

Couple selfies at the beach, date night

Yup, you’re a great looking couple that looks twenty years younger than your contemporaries. Thanks for making me feel old, boring, and ugly.

Laughing mature couple holding hands and walking on beach

“Here I am at the airport waiting for my flight to New York/London/Abu Dhabi/Scranton! Vacay here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

What, you’re on vacation again and you’re only 30? It took my husband 20 years to get a lousy 4 weeks a year for vacation. Do you have a real job? What is it that you do that you can afford to fly places at least once a month and stay at hotels and eat out and go to concerts? Does your employer hire old people? Or do you live in a refrigerator box under a bridge the rest of the time?

young-female-passenger-at-airport

I’m sick of people who create drama in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My feelings are so hurt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know my family hates me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Someone just said something that makes me want to commit murder!!!! You know who you are!!!!

Well, I don’t. What did this person say???? What do you do that makes your family hate you????? I WANT TO KNOW!!!!!!!!! Stop vaguebooking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

facebook-drama

The poster you can tell just got off work. You see you have 15 new notifications and 14 of them are from this person sharing some meme about positive thinking or the meaning of life.

Um, don’t you do anything? Can’t you at least tell me what you had for lunch once in a while?

Inspirational memes

Sadly, actor Bobby Bundy, 95, was found dead last night in his Bel Air mansion by his lifelong faithful friend, Spot, who activated the alarm system. Bundy is best known for The Bobby Bundy Show that ran from 1954-1961. He will be missed. Followed by comments like: “This is so sad.” “I’ll miss him so much.”

Spot will miss him. And his agent who hadn’t gotten him a job in thirty years. Having a TV show or being in movies never made anyone immune from death.

This is actually Mickey Rooney who died in 2014 at the age of 94.

This is actually Mickey Rooney who died in 2014 at the age of 94.

There. I feel better now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

What kind of social media posts would you like to see less of? What snarky comments do you keep to yourself?

Sexism-Ugh!

Yesterday I happened upon a Yelp review for the local family-owned garage we use. The review was in the not recommended section. A user identified as Jeff discussed an unsatisfying phone experience. “I seemed to offend the VERY RUDE women [sic] whom answered the… geese lady. You need medication, it’ll help with the hot flashes.” (emphasis mine.)

Of course, I don’t know if the woman was actually rude to this man or if he was being a jerk (because jerks usually don’t admit to it). I’ve most likely dealt with the woman in question and have always found her pleasant and exceedingly helpful. But we all have bad days and people dealing with customers might have them more often.

What I object to is the reviewer insinuating the problem was caused by the state of the woman’s hormones, of which he knows nothing. This is an example of the age-old sexist thinking about women. I could go on about how women’s hormones have benefited Jeff over the course of his life, but I won’t. I could go on about this kind of treatment of women even in this day and age (Donald Trump, et. al.) but I’ll do that another time.

Yes, maybe there is medication to help with hot flashes, but unfortunately there are not any to help with being a misogynist asshat.

I’m looking at you, Jeff.

Ornement_plafond_RanakpurOr maybe, Jeff was eperiencing universal karmic payback for all the times in history that women have been intellectually and finacially abused by males while getting their cars worked on. If that’s the case, Karma must have believed he deserved it.

You Found A Picture of My Child Where?

smudged for blog 2While I’m on the topic of parenting, what are your thoughts about posting pictures of your kids on places like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.? This wasn’t an issue when my kids were small. The internet was a baby itself that most people had no idea that such a thing even existed. The most instant photography we had were Polaroid cameras which developed special film in the camera and spit out crappy pictures. Everything required film and sending it off for developing and if you wanted far away people to see the pictures, you had to have prints made and snail mail them. (I still have rolls of undeveloped film from when my kids were younger.)

Now, we snap a photo with our phone and tap the screen a few times and everybody you want to see can see it. Depending on the privacy settings on your social media, maybe many more than you imagine can see it.

In researching this, my main concern was that pedophiles can easily access photos, download, and share and sell them with other like-minded creeps. And this is true. Some investigators believe this doesn’t happen that often. Other have seen that even innocent looking family photos can attract unsavory attention. There are websites where predators interested in exploiting children can place orders for the type of photos they are looking for, specifying age, gender, race, etc. Others of the ilk send/sell what they have. Some will even go out and take pictures at playgrounds, etc.

There are also “less” frightening incidences of people digitally kidnapping children by reposting photos of kids and claiming them as their own, creating a fantasy life with other people’s children and posting on Facebook, etc. as if it is real. There are also cases of photos of children stolen from posts that appear in ads without the permission of parents.

smudged pic for blogPersonally, I understand the desire to share photos with family and friends. My husband and I have mostly lived in other states than our siblings and parents and have missed out on getting to know our nieces and nephews as they grew up. And now they are having kids. The best way to stay in touch is by Facebook. I love seeing the newest members of our families, and my friends grandkids and the kids of my kids’ friends I drove around when they were younger. It’s their choice to make these available to me, trusting me to respect their privacy.

A few things to consider:

  • Some parents don’t post photos at all on the internet. Others are more trusting of human nature and post whatever they want. I would bet there many who haven’t given it much thought.
  • Be aware of the privacy settings you use on social media sites. I am most familiar with Facebook where you can set up lists of specific people you selected to receive a post. You can also change and audience after you post something.
  • Remember it’s possible for someone to download a photo, even if you disabled sharing. It only takes a couple of extra steps.
  • Be careful who you chose to share with. Maybe you connected with a friend at a recent class reunion and you’re now friends on social media. But you don’t know what this person has been up to or become in the intervening years. This even holds true for relatives and co-workers, unfortunately.
  • If you chose to post pictures of your kids with other kids, be aware other parents may not want their kids to appear on the internet.
  • Resist the urge to post locations of photos. This feature can be disabled on apps.

In my volunteer work with StreetLightUSA, I come across much information about the numerous ways that children are exploited. The internet makes this so much easier today, in many cases bringing the victim right to his or her exploiters/pimps/ johns. I haven’t even touched on the apps that make it easier for teens to meet the wrong people.

All this to say, be aware of what you do online, especially where your kids are concerned. You’re the first and best line of defense between them and the nastiness or even careless stupidity in the world.

More articles on this topic:

How to Protect Photos Online via Parents

Photos of Kids You Shouldn’t Post Online via Parenting

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”) FTC

Putting Children’s Pictures Online: What Are the Rules CNN opinion

Family Photos Could Be Pedophile Targets and Facebook privacy tools via Battle Creek Enquirer

You Need What for Your Kid?

My daughter and son are adults now. Somehow, my husband and I managed to raise two well-adjusted adults through the 1980s and 90s without a baby monitor and with only four well-used Tupperware sippy cups and dozens of cloth diapers.

tupperware sippy

I’m friends on Facebook with some of their friends who have reproduced as well as young parents from church. It floors me to see the kinds of things available to raise kids these days.

I almost fell off my chair when I say this:grass mat and flowers

A plastic “grass” mat to air dry child feeding tools. One less than one square foot is just under $16.00. One just about a square foot is $30. Then the little plastic sci-fi looking flower things are $6 a pop to hold nipples or whatever. So we’re looking at about $50.00 worth of plastic here. Plastic, people. To actually change seasons, you can get a winter version in all white with gray twig-like structures.

This is how my kids’ feeding things were washed and dried.george-marks-woman-washing-dishes-at-kitchen-sink Then I’d just put the bottles/nipples/cups/lids any place they landed without falling on the floor. Sometimes I used nothing more than a clean dish towel.

And of course, I always smiled when leaning oner the sink doing dishes. My favorite thing in life.

(The woman is more from my mom’s mothering days than mine. But the technology was the same.)

 

Here’s a new baby swing. $120 worth of plastic that needs batteries or a plug to work. Of course, it does play 16 songs and includes nature sounds AND rocks back and forth or side to side.

new swing

We had one like the picture below. It’s metal with a cloth seat and runs on crank power that often wakes a sleeping baby up when you go to rewind it. It had a soothing click-click-click sound as it swung in its only direction. When the kid gets older she can practice hand-eye coordination by reaching for and grabbing a front leg and stopping the swinging motion. This means more parent/child engagement when you go and restart the thing and the baby smiles and chuckles to see you again.old swing

One of our favorite things was the jumper. I’m glad to see they’re still available. We had a doorway jumper like this:

Doorway-baby-jumper

Both kids loved it and they laughed and laughed as they jumped. Now you can get the hyper-stimulation model:Activity-baby-jumper

What babies NEED most are loving parents, food, shelter and security. That’s how infants have become adults for thousands and thousands of years. If anything else gets in the way, stresses parents to provide or care for, frustrates the baby in some unnecessary way or otherwise detracts from the peace of a home (which babies are known to do to begin with!), it’s worse than useless.

Modern baby equipment may or may not be better or even safer. Babies are huge business and new parents can be easily induced to feel guilty about what they can or can’t provide for their children. Good strong loving parenting is what every baby even needs the most of. Don’t let stuff get in the way.

It’s a Dry Heat.

frodo ring hotThis is my tenth summer in Phoenix, Arizona. I traded the moderate (mostly) summer temps of Southeastern Pennsylvania for the front porch of Hell itself.

dry heatBut yes, it is a dry heat. Today’s humidity is 13%. On Thursday, it’s expected to be cloudy with humidity of 26%. That’s getting up there and it’s noticeable. And then you really start to sweat.

Summer is our winter. We avoid going out in the afternoon if at all possible. Even though the kids are out of school, you won’t see many in the parks before sundown. I can’t imagine not being able to send my kids out to play. People with pools wait until the evening to use them. Sometimes the water is even too hot to get in.skip-dinner-heat-wave

But, at least we don’t have to shovel sunshine.

A friend born and raised in AZ posted something this on Facebook recently: “Turn your hair dryer on high and point it at your face. That’s what it’s like outside.” It was a breezy day.hot wind

I’m a white girl of Northern European descent. I don’t have the genes to enjoy the sun. It’s like little needles being shot at my skin. I pity people I see working on roofs and on roads this time of year. And police officers in their body armor. Of course, not everyone is as sensitive to the sun or physical discomfort as I am.two face az hot

Besides extreme sunburn and heat stroke, there are lesser dangers from living in extreme sun and heat. A car can be as dangerous as open flame. Opening a car door can hurt! So can touching the steering wheel and gear shift knob. The metal of seat belts are hidden dangers that you learn how to avoid. Some folks drape a towel over the steering wheel and know, especially if you don’t have one of those window shade arrangements.hot knob

Or we just do this. Seriously. We do. Or use those gloves we wear twice in the winter.
oven mitt

So while the rest of the country is enjoying their beaches and lakes and barbecues in the parks, we here in the Valley of the Sun entertain each other with memes posted on the internet.

melted ic truck ice guy fan melt arizonaheat

And patiently wait for winter, which is our reward for enduring summer.

endure this salt

Play Ball With Your Enemies or Baseball Rivalries I Have Known

A Facebook writer friend who lives in Israel posted that someone gave her an MLB something for her birthday and now she can watch the Dodgers. She used to live in Los Angeles.

That reminded me of the baseball rivalries of my life. I touch upon this topic in Another Place on the Planet.

   “I wonder,” I (Lily) said absently as we walked past Chase Field on Jefferson Street, “if the Diamondbacks open the season at home this year.”

     “You like baseball?” he (Charlie) asked with the first smile I’d seen in a while.

     “I do. I’ve been hoping to meet someone to go to games with.”

     “If I go to some games here with you, you’ll have to go to Dodgers games with me in L.A.,” he said.

    “Yikes!” I cried with mock—mostly—fear. “Going to L.A. to see the Dodgers? That might be a little more trauma than you’re worth.”

    “What do you have against the Dodgers?” he asked, his step lightening a little.

     “Everything. It’s a Phoenix thing. Like hating the Yankees is a Boston thing.”

     “A beautiful woman who loves baseball and understands its rivalries. I’m in heaven.” He kissed my cheek as we waited for the light to change. His mood seemed to lift a bit. Mine did.

Dbacks General Manager Kevin Towers. He probably never said this, but probably wanted too.

Dbacks General Manager Kevin Towers. He probably never said this, but probably wanted too. I know I’ve wanted to hit Puig in the face. At least.

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania watching baseball with my Dad. The Phillies. Occasionally the Mets. I tried football but didn’t understand it very well. Baseball I could keep track of. A few season, I sent away for theyear book. Once when the star pitcher at the time, Steve Carlton, was having a bad season, I sent him a letter of encouragement and was awarded an autographed photo for my effort. I think I still have it. I also drew a poster of various players copied from photos in the yearbook. Guys in white and red uniforms on a blue background. Guess I was a baseball geek at the time.

This is the photo I received that was autographed by Carlton. It would take all day to find the actual photo. longer if I don't have it any more

This is the photo I received that was autographed by Carlton. It would take all day to find the actual photo. longer if I don’t have it any more

2506_philadelphia_phillies-jersey-1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we moved to Maine in 1975 for my dad’s midlife crisis (there really is something to be said about getting a sports car your family won’t fit in as opposed to forcing them all to move to another state and subculture, dads) we became Red Sox fans and I learned about rivalries in baseball. That the Red Sox Nation (although it wasn’t called that at the time because TV was harder back then) detested anything to do with the New York Yankees. That’s just how it is. If you’re a Yankees fan in New England you had better be tough. We all know how much fun it is to hate a rival, even though we know if our location was New York, we’d hate the Boston Red Sox.

i love to hate the yankees

don't be a dick

 

 

 

 

 

In Maine and I met and fell in love with my native New England husband and appreciated the Red Sox even more. (He was actually scouted by several major league teams in high school, but a book-adapted-into-a-movie worthy car accident ended his baseball career when he was a senior.) We even got to a few games at venerated Fenway in Boston.(I saw the Yaz hit one of his last homeruns.)

fenway-park

He quickly adopted the Phillies when we move to Pennsylvania. The Phillies rivalry with the Braves was in full swing, made worse by the fact the Braves almost always tromped the Phightin’ Phils.

After 20 years, we ended up in the Phoenix area with the Diamondbacks and marveled at how easy it is to get to games in downtown Phoenix at Chase Field as opposed to the nightmare of Philadelphia.

The Dbacks have only been around since the late 1990s and the state of Arizona still has Dodger holdover fans from when there wasn’t a major league team here. Plus the thug element sides with the Dodgers because they’re a bunch of thugs anyway. This was perfectly illustrated when, after winning pennant in a postseason game, the LA thugs desecrated the pool at Chase Field by jumping the outfield fence and rollicking in it, cleats and all. Every Dback fan there ever was was supremely insulted by that deliberate action of disrespect, as was the intention.

Lord, help me forgive.

Lord, help me forgive.

But sometimes, you have to put the rivalries aside. Our lovely daughter fell in love with a Yankees fan (and a New York Giants fan which is hard to ignore when you grew up in Eagles territory.) This was something we had to work through. She was with us (albeit in my belly) when we witnessed Yaz and his homerun at Fenway. But we decided to love him anyway, for the sake of our daughter. As far as we can tell, being a New York fan is his only fault. But he grew up there, so you can’t blame him too much. If he grew up in New England and was a Yankees fan, that would be a completely different story. We might have had to disown our daughter.

Not really. We’re not hardcore. It’s just fun. When you finally realize it’s only a game and your life won’t change one iota if your team wins or loses, even the World Series. (I’m talking about you, 1986 Red Sox) you can let go of the red-hot-gut-churning-soul-consuming anger of being defeated by the entity you hate more than ever hated anything in the history of your existence (and oh, how we know that agony, given the histories of these teams) and move on and live a normal life.