On the bright side, I spent Saturday at the beach with my little family, watching the Extreme Volleyball Tour, with pros and junior players, wrapping up the summer of volleyball. I've been watching Olympic volleyball on tv too, enjoying both the indoor and sand competitions, very exciting. Locally, not quite as exciting, but still entertaining, with fifty courts playing at once, and maybe some future Olympians in the making.
Here's the view of the Chicago skyline from the first half of Saturday, so hot the sand burnt our feet.
Thank goodness for the cool fresh water to swim in just a few yards behind us.
That's my girl, scoring a point.
Then a huge storm rolled through, causing a 3 hour delay, nothing to do but watch the show in the sky and wish we'd brought more food.
But nobody is complaining about rain this summer.
Finally, the sun came back out and the stragglers finished their brackets, with my girl and her partner finishing third in their age group. Not a bad way to end the season. The view below is from the dunes at North Avenue Beach looking back toward Navy Pier at day's end. I was mesmerized.
And another view:
The weekend before, we were in Milwaukee for the Junior Nationals and had a blast. Em and her partner finished seventh in their pool, for third place in the silver bracket, pretty good for a couple of first year sand players. The weather was wonderful and the competition very good, from all over the US. Milwaukee's lakefront beach is so visually different from Chicago's, as they have preserved the greenery and trees in parks along the dunes. Look one direction at trees, the other sand and water. You can almost forget you're in a major city.
This is me and my girl at the end of the tournament. Can you guess where she gets her tall genes?
They only negative this trip was the mean Dance Mom nearby who berated her 8 year old daughter for not giving it her all, when she played so well in the 12 year old group. She and her 10 year old sister should not have been partners, because big sister was mean and unsupportive to little sister. Pretty easy to figure out who was the golden child. We all wanted to say something, but that mom was mean, and we were scared of her too. At least there was a Grandma there ready with a hug and a hair braid when the tears came. Em told me not speaking up to a bully is the same as being one, and she had a point, but I know better that to get into a stranger's family business in public. Or maybe I'm a coward. But I still think about that little girl and how fierce she was and how blind her mom was to her favoritism and cruelty. Our team is all about love and support and having a good time, a very zen approach, so it was a stark contrast.
We stayed near the airport, a few blocks away the suburb of Oak Creek, scene off the latest crazed gunman senseless murders at the Sihk Temple. I can't even wrap my brain around this hatred and violence anymore. I'm getting numb. It just keeps happening, relentlessly. I went to see the new Batman movie with my son, and really enjoyed it, right up until the part when I remembered all those people in Aurora who were enjoying themselves right up until a crazed gunman showed up and ruined their lives. It chilled me to my bones, and it took me a while to shake that off and watch the movie without crying or throwing up. I had promised my son I'd go with him, he'd already seen it with friends and wanted me to see it too. We've been movies buddies since he was a little kid, and I was glad to share something he enjoyed with him. It was a very good movie, once I was able to let myself watch it, and so ironic that Batman's character is adamant against guns and killing.
So there was that dark spot. And then....
In other news, I got into a facebook pissy arguement with my 18 year old Baptist niece this week, thanks to the Chick-Fil-A appreciation day comments she was posting to show her Christian values, to stand up against the media attacks on Dan Cathy's comments against gay marriage. For this, proudly, they waited in line for hours for fast food. I commented that Jesus would love my gay friends too, and that they deserve marriage and families like everyone else. You can guess how things went, right? I got nowhere, just lectured about how Jesus loves all sinners, and to ask myself how much I love Jesus and how wrong gay couples are because they can't procreate. My sassy daughter couldn't resist chiming in to support me, and it just went downhill from there. I always thought my niece was a lovely and kind hearted young woman, but I saw a side of her that scared me, a judgemental, sanctimonious side, a side that felt persecuted and believed that her words and actions were not persecution, because as she put it, gays could just choose to stop being gay if they didn't like the way they were treated. Dear Lord. It was not pretty or productive, to say the least. You'd think I was old enough to know better, but my ears were still burning from Em's words about bullying last week, so I jumped into the fray. Silly me.
I don't think we'll be exchanging any more Christmas cards after this fiasco. They're probably convinced we are heathens and will burn in eternal hellfires. I told my daughter if that's what's gonna happen I'll be right there with her holding her hand, wondering about the injustice of it all, looking for the rest of the people we love, because they will surely be there with us too.
I couldn't find the words to express in a facebook comment my deep sorrow that amid all the shit that's wrong in this country, people proudly lined up by the thousands to protest gay love and marriage. If Christians had lined up to rally support against the 1.2 million violent crimes committed in 2010, or the 14,750 murders, or the 84,767 rapes, or to assist the 21% of all children in the US living in poverty, or to help educate the 42 million functionally illiterate Americans, and so on, I wouldn’t have minded one bit. That would have made sense. But they drew their line in the sand and around the block for hatefulness. I believe my version of Jesus would just weep.
Anyway, that happened.
In other news this week, my oldest, my boy turned 18. I have officially created and raised a now legal adult. I asked him if he felt differently and he said sure. I can buy cigarettes or get arrested now, which was funny because he's a health nut and has never been in a speck of trouble. He just loves to make me sweat, because he's funny that way. I reminded him he can vote now, and he said he was pretty disillusioned with politics in general. Can't say I blame him. I am too. But I have a self imposed moral obligation to vote and you can bet I'll be expecting the same of him. I still believe, despite how screwed up the system has become, that voting is both a right and a privilege. But he's a young man who just turned 18 and not that interested in his mom's philosophies or moralities. I can almost remember turning 18 myself, which in 1978 was the legal drinking age, so no wonder it's hard to remember! I do recall thinking I knew everything at that age and that my parents hadn't a clue. It's almost funny now. He wouldn't want me to post his picture, but he doesn't read my blog anyway, so here he is.
Well, I was about to go off on another tangent, since I mentioned citizenship and voting, about something that really got under my skin this week and made me want to actually burn a book, something I never thought would cross my mind. But this post has gone on long enough, I'll save my latest moral indignation for the next one. And I'll let you know what I do with that library book, but it's looking like kindling to me right now.
Until then, I'll be humming this tune. Have a good week, or at the rate I've been posting, month.