“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches…”

Why do I live somewhere that hurts my face for half of the year? I do not snowmobile, I do not snowshoe, I am terrified of ice fishing, I do not ski or snowboard; all these things that locals do around here I have zero (possibly even negative) interest in.

I get excited for snow when it gives me a reason to be a hermit in my house and that’s about it. I realized the other day that I may, in fact, have more of a love/hate relationship with the flakes than just flat out dislike. It’s ridiculously pretty – that I can easily acknowledge.

A few days ago we got dumped on and I took a few hours to drive around and appreciate the white blanket it left on my city.

Here is what I found…

One Tree

“Snowing is an attempt of God to make the dirty world look clean.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

animal prints

“… there’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.”

—Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Erb Park

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”

—Mary Oliver, Snowy Night

Another Tree

“Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder — no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.” —Candace Bushnell, Lipstick Jungle

Basketball Hoop Ice

“Winter is nature’s way of saying, ‘Up yours.” – Robert Byrne

Drip

“Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.” -Andy Goldsworthy

FieldOfSnowmen

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” -Andy Goldsworthy

Hyd

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”-Hal Borland

Kickass trees

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder.” -Susan Orlean

Line of Trees

“The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.” -Joseph Wood Krutch

snowy trees

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” ― E.E. Cummings

Tree Branches

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person” ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

tree forest

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” John Ruskin

An Open Letter To Stupid Viking Fans

Dear You,

You know who you are. You’re the one booing the second an interception is thrown or whenever the Vikings just don’t quite meet your expectations. I’ve been wanting to write this for quite some time; last Sunday we played the Packers and many of you showed your faces giving me the ammo I was waiting for. Our Vikes, being on a winning streak and all – I’m sure you expected them to do more than they did, right?

Twenty minutes south of Green Bay I watched the game from my house and could clearly hear roars of ‘GO-PACK-GO’ throughout the entire fourth quarter …because all of you stupid fans left. 

Did you not want to face the Packer fans? Can’t handle a little grief? Were you just that disgusted that you couldn’t bear to watch another second? Trying to beat the traffic? …All stupid reasons. I don’t give a flying shit what the score is with 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter… why are you leaving?!

Friendly Tip: Just don’t go. Save yourself the misery and fake fandom.

Listen, I’m not unreasonable. I also don’t enjoy being a Vikings fan 100% of the time, it’s not always fun. Hell, let’s be real, watching them kick ass in the first half only to be a completely different team when they come back from halftime sucks. I get it. Do you know what I hate more than even that, though?

Being associated with you stupid fans.

I live in Wisconsin – if there is one other Viking fan that’s in the general vicinity – we’re lumped together and I don’t appreciate it. The Vikings have the worst fans in the NFL (that could be an exaggeration… I didn’t look it up) and 79% of you only support them when they’re winning (another made up statistic).

We lost against the Packers… what about before that? The Vikings won five games in a row for the first time since 2009. We’re still playoff contenders. Our team is a talented group of guys with crazy potential and the coaching is finally where it needs to be. We play our biggest rival to defend the North Division and you let a bunch of Packer fans take over in your house. That’s gross.

While I think the Vikings deserve that new stadium… you stupid Viking fans do not. Maybe with the extra bells and whistles you’ll enjoy your time more. Meanwhile, I’m going to start drafting a letter to whoever is in charge over there – maybe they can work on some technology that can drown out your fairweather, wishy-washy-boos so the team… that you’re there to support don’t get distracted…by their fans. 

You’re dumb.

-A Non-Stupid Viking’s Fan.

SKOL.

 

I Do Not Fear Mental Illness – I Fear Our Perception Of It

I sat in a park in Menasha, Wisconsin by the water with my 8 year old son last night. It was beautiful…and scary. It wasn’t like this before. I found myself looking over my shoulder every time I heard voices coming in our direction. I kept a judgmental eye on people who seemed to be moving in a way that didn’t seem normal.

The typical safety I feel by being surrounded by a baseball diamond full of players & other folks enjoying the weather… was gone. It does not matter how many people you’re surrounded by when there could be one individual in the crowd who is unstable and battling an inner struggle that you or I cannot comprehend.

mental illness quote michelle obama

[Police: 4 dead, including suspect, in Menasha shooting]

At 7:30pm on May 3rd, 2015 in a park in Menasha, Wisconsin four people werementalillness killed, including an 11 year old girl.  Grief struck me last night as I sat with my son; I felt sadness for a child that will never experience life & for her mother who survived. I looked at my son, put my arm around him & realized I cannot protect him from a mentally ill person with a gun. When a human being is overcome with a negative shadow, rarely is an offense they commit planned out. Randomly, they seem to take their aggressiveness and feelings out on innocent people who never see it coming.

Gun control, gun control, gun control… in America we all have an opinion. We read about it, we talk and debate about it – if we, as a nation, discussed mental illness the way we ranted about gun control… we might get somewhere. But, the focus remains on a belonging, rather than people.

MentalIllnessQuoteGlennClose

I’ve always been an overly-analytical person, trying to understand things by dissecting every aspect of a scenario, regardless how big or small. While watching people in the park last night, I started to wonder how the shooter’s family and friends are grieving the loss of him.

Were there red flags that now haunt them? Had he attempted to reach out for professional help, what steps would have been taken by doctors… medication?  I can’t help but get angry when mental-illness is downplayed or not taken seriously.  We’re failing not only a person who has something terribly wrong with them… but we’re failing the 11 year old girl whose life got cut short.

Sitting in a quiet park in Wisconsin with my son, should be anything but an anxiety-ridden experience. The pleasantry of the trees finally being filled with green leaves & the sounds of kids running around, without a care in the world have been replaced with an uneasy pit in my stomach.mental health quote glenn close1

ALERT: People Aren’t Using All Their Government Grocery Allowances.

foodshare wisconsin fox11 investigates properly ridiculous

I was expecting something better than, People Aren’t Using All Their Government Grocery Allowances when I clicked on that link.

I’m not suggesting it’s not bogus that people’s food stamp balances exceed $10,000 – but I have to imagine that’s pretty few and far between & the most extreme of cases. Abuse of the system happens regularly and it’s rarely investigated – just griped about.

People sell their food stamp funds for cash at 50%.  I know someone who intentionally didn’t pay an electric bill because once the disconnection notice arrived, it could be brought down to the county office for some “help”. People have their hours reduced at work, so they can receive more government benefits.

What happened to doing what you have to do? …Making it work?

I’m thankful that I live in a country that offers assistance to people who need help. I’ve received help. When I no longer needed it, I walked into my son’s school with a check for his lunch account. I was told to keep it & it was clear they weren’t able to wrap their heads around the idea that I wanted to pay for my son’s lunches.

PRIDE / A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements.

It was explained to me, they’d rather have my son continue to receive free lunches for the rest of the year for statistical, grant & money purposes…

This [Foodshare] is supposed to be a “need-based program. And if those benefits are going unused, certainly, in the large amounts you had shown me last year, really creates concerns that the program isn’t functioning as it was intended.

-State Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) [Wisconsin]

Excuse me, Mr Jacque? The program isn’t functioning as intended…& the people who are hoarding the funds are a small piece of the pie. The claim that Foodshare is a Need-Based program is laughable. There’s no way to stop the vast array of ways people abuse the system, but I have an idea.

Why not make it more difficult to get hand outs? 

For the record, I do not say hand-outs negatively; that’s what they are. Free stuff to those in need; to be used as a last resort.

If every option has been explored [and then some] & assistance from an organization or the government is needed, for lack of better terms, people should be willing to jump through a few hoops… while still being grateful at the end of the process.

The people who feel entitled to welfare, and other programs will continue to feel that way until it’s no longer convenient.

Fox 11, perhaps you should investigate that.

Slenderman Stabbing : Parents, Please Pay Attention.

I wasn’t sure how nationally noticed the Slender Man murder case had become; it happened 2 hours from where I reside so the local news originally shared it with me.

Morgan GeyserAnissa Weier, twelve year old girls from Waukesha, Wisconsin attempted to murder their classmate & friend, Payton Leutner. When you hear people say Waukesha is a quiet community, they’re not off base.

The court proceedings have begun, meaning new information has become available regarding how something like this could happen. While none of it is logical, it should put weight on parent’s shoulders everywhere.

morgan-geyser-anissa-weier-slenderman-suspects
[via: nydailynews.com]
Payton’s parents explained on ABC’s 20/20 the relationship between Morgan & their daughter. They’d been best friends since the 4th grade & Payton was excited about Morgan’s birthday party. With no reason for concern, they dropped her off expecting to hear stories of the night she’d been looking forward to. Instead, the following morning a detective & uniformed officer were knocking on their door.

When Stacie and Joe Leutner heard who was responsible for attacking their daughter, they searched their minds for any other alternative. Morgan was a young girl who had been in their home many times, over several years.

Payton was stabbed 19 times; one wound missing a major artery by the width of a human hair. 

As a parent, the first thing that enters my mind is…

I can’t even feel safe sending my child over to a friends house anymore.

Morgan’s parents dabbled in some dark hobbies and while that may provide an answer or two regarding why their daughter showed interest in fictional characters like Slenderman, she also had notebooks with disturbing drawings & dismembered Barbie dolls with cult symbols scribbled on their bodies.

Even if her parents knew of those [obviously questionable] items, additionally, in her bedroom, she had a list of supplies that she would need to attack Payton.

morgan-geyser-supply-list-picture
[via: nydailynews.com]
Anissa & Morgan planned this & after their plan was complete, they left Payton in the woods as they walked away; on their way to a nonexistent mansion in the woods, to become Slender Man’s proxies.

[via: newsweek.com]
[via: newsweek.com]
A bicyclist went off the beaten path that morning and found the bleeding, injured girl laying in the grass, gasping for help. Ironically, this man went on a chained off, restricted path… what are the odds?  

“There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.”

[Napoleon Bonaparte]

While Payton was being operated on in a hospital bed, fighting for her life, her best friend was being interviewed by detectives.

In an interrogation room, Morgan told a story about how oddly calm they were as they walked down the road, covered in blood.

[via: wkow.com]
[via: wkow.com]

Detective: “Silver Man?”

Anissa: “No. Slender Man.”

Detective: “Oh, Slender Man.”

Morgan: “And he has tendrils that are very sharp.”

Detective: “Do you see him in your dreams? Or where do you see him at?”

Morgan: “Oh, I see him in my dreams.”

They claimed the motive was simple, to prove Slenderman’s existence.

Anissa: “So, I decided to go along, tag along, to prove the skeptics

slenderman-child-photo
[via: ign.com]
wrong.”

Detective: “Ok, so did you think you actually had to kill somebody to prove it?”

Anissa: “Yeah.”

Detective: “Like for real?”

Anissa: “Yeah.”

Detective: “Ok.”

Later, it’s questioned how Morgan ended up with the kitchen knife.

Detective: “So, how did you get the knife from Anissa?

Morgan Geyser: “She sort of just shoved it into my hands… and there it was! And then I didn’t know what I did. It just sort of happened. It didn’t feel like anything. It was like air.”

When the girls were asked how they persuaded Payton into the woods…

Morgan Geyser: “We said we were going to go bird watching. People who trust you become very gullible, and it was sort of sad.”

Nine hours of interrogation tapes were released…maybe 10 minutes worth have been quoted. That’s chilling; these are twelve year old girls who will potentially be tried as adults for attempted murder & face 65 years in prison.

I am rarely at a loss for words but this about silences me. I believe if there is one thing I can take from this, is hope that every single parent is on the same page when I say:

Your children are not entitled to privacy. 

teens-online
[via: cbsnews.com]
Technology is so vast – Parents need to know how their kids are using it. 

When your kid is over at a friend’s house, look in their room. After they go to bed, look in their phone. Why? …Why not? Snooping is a privilege that’s handed down for giving life; seems like a fair trade.

I’m going to become an advocate for parental rights. Stand up to your children, do not worry about their feelings when it comes to privacy. Have confidence that if your kid winds up doing something crazy… the police aren’t going to find satanic drawings & voodoo dolls in their bedroom.

[via: scienceofrelationships.com]
[via: scienceofrelationships.com]
If you happen to stumble across some questionable items… ask. Open that thing called….what is it? Oh yeahconversation.

Maybe it’s not Slenderman.

Maybe it’s not something 100% obvious – just talk.

You need to know if your person, that you are responsible for is getting into things they shouldn’t be. You need to know who they’re spending their time with; get to know the parents of your children’s friends…

Pay attention to your kids. The Slenderman stabbing case should put weight on parent’s shoulders everywhere.

Watch out for them; be there.

Please, just be a parent.