Monday, August 22, 2016

When horrible things happen to wonderful people... an open letter to WWE

Dear anyone at WWE who is able to get this information to the right people:

Today I sent a message out to Seth Rollins via the WWE website. I also tagged him and Mick Foley in a Twitter post. And I'm going to re-post the message here, along with pictures of the kids who need this so much. So if you read this and have any contacts with the people at WWE who handle such outreach things, please pass the link along. I'll gladly provide them with contact information. (Does Vince McMahon ever get online? How about Stephanie?)

This is about the beautiful young woman pictured here, who apparently was hiding her pain so deeply that no one knew it. The picture was just taken in July.

This is the message I sent:

Dear Seth,
I am writing on behalf of a dear friend, and a HUGE fan of yours, Sarah Kelley. Her family is going through an extremely rough time right now. She's a mother of 3, well, now 2.
Her daughter Natalie was 19, and was a bright sassy shine of light in her mom's life. She was also an amazing force to anyone who knew her in any capacity. 
Last week, Sarah was in Canada for work (she works at Whole Foods in St. Louis, MO). On Saturday, she received a call from her ex-husband that their daughter was gone. The boys had gone to get her to go out to dinner, and she was unresponsive.
Sarah's work and others went out of their way to get her back to be with her family. And she is still the strong, sassy woman she always has been. But a part of her is broken. They think her daughter was having problems with undiagnosed depression, and took meds that she hoped would help, and accidentally OD'd. There are no set answers right now, all that is known for sure is that an amazing young woman is gone.
Last night, Sarah watched Summer Slam with her boys - and she actually felt like life was normal for at least a little while. She attended events in person when she could, and generally lost her voice from screaming and cheering the next day.
I messaged her today asking if she thought it would be okay to try to get someone from the WWE to contact her, because honestly, a hug from her wrestling hero (that would be you) would make a huge difference in her world right now. Her response was "HOLY FUCK!... That would be awesome!" Well, I wasn't sure how receptive she'd be to the idea, but I know now.
This is a message from her just now...
"Of course. And of course we love all the rasslers. Right now Ryan is wearing a SR t-shirt and Tom is wearing his Booty-O's t-shirt. Tom had to move his action figures out of the living room to make space for a makeshift shrine we have going. The boys have been just incredible. Feel free to throw out the fact that this little boy was the one to find his sister dead from an accidental drug overdose. There's an event in St Louis in December, right between Christmas and Tom's birthday on the 29th. I hadn't bought tickets yet but that was to be his big present this year. 😊"
So, I'm hopeful that someone actually reads through this, and is able to reach out to Sarah. She's on FaceBook as Sarah Wilkinson Kelley. 
Thank you for anything you're able to do. The WWE is known for its generosity and kindness and understanding when it matters. 
Suzanne Mastaw

I'm not making this up. I'm not looking for anything for myself. I just know my friend is in pain, and her boys are hurting, and something from their idols would help them tremendously. Sarah is so sweet, she didn't even ask for anything special... just mentioned that something when WWE is already going to be in her city would be awesome.

If you wonder just how avid of fans they are, here are some pictures...

And Sarah is a HUGE Seth Rollins fan. She has been for years. And I still like her (yes, I am more of a Dean Ambrose kinda gal). The pic to the right here (and above) is of Tom, the younger boy, dressed as Bray Wyatt for Halloween last year. I think he pulled it off quite well.

He's the one who found his sister. I think he's also the bigger fan of the brand.

He's the one whose WWE Action Figures had to be moved for his sister's shrine at home.

He was just playing with them this afternoon... Sarah sent me a pic while we were chatting online...

Again, if anyone from WWE is able to see this, please contact me so I can direct you to Sarah. She deserves so much more than she's been dealt.

If you're not a WWE fan, and want to help Sarah and her family out in a more practical way, there is a YouCaring page/fund drive set up for the family. You can find it at this link

Hug your kids. Hug your friends' kids, your family, hold your loved ones dear. Because you never know when your world could be ripped out from under you. And if anyone reading this does manage to get the information into the right hands, you have my gratitude.

ETA: I just realized my contact information isn't in here or readily available... If you can do anything to help, please send me an e-mail message. Thank you. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Things that make me wonder...

Recently, big news has been that the head of NAACP in Spokane, WA is *shock and gasp* not actually black. Yup, she was outed by her parents. And now she's resigned her position. And people are horribly offended that she would pass herself off in such a way, even though she apparently was performing the duties of the job effectively. As far as the issues between her and the police and harassment go, that's another matter entirely.

Exclusively with regards to her deciding she identifies more with those of African descent, I say more power to her. If Bruce Jenner can decide to be Caitlyn and gets tons of support, even though biologically there is no arguing that Caitlyn was born a man etc., then why can't someone decide they identify more with another race, and do what they can to be a part of that race.

Be who and what you want to be. She wasn't hurting anyone, and was actually helping quite a bit for the most part. Again, there are legalities at play here. But seriously, when it comes down to the basic argument that she was pretending to be something she's not... Aren't we all, to some degree?

A completely separate issue, but only slightly.

Other big news of late, at least locally, is with regards to a bill signed into law by Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder. This is another one that is pretty pointless at present. The Supreme Court is due to rule on Michigan's Gay Marriage ban soon. So much of this may become a moot point. In addition, in April, he stated that he would veto any RFRA style laws (which this clearly is). And honestly, is this really an urgent matter that had to be addressed now? Um, no. Not really. Grand scheme of things, this is pretty low importance for the state.

I've decided that since our lovely legislature has yet to come up with a way to deal with budgeting for much needed road repairs, they opted instead to throw out a hot-button issue that probably won't stick. Because apparently, this is how you run a state... when you can't solve a problem, you distract everyone by throwing out controversial legislature. Way to go.

Pure Michigan.

Love where I live, but wow, sometimes I just don't know what to think.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thank you, people of Michigan. And I hope the lawmakers are paying attention.

There was a proposal on our ballot yesterday that was pretty solidly struck down. Proposal 1 was for a constitutional amendment, and the official wording on the ballot was:

A proposal to amend the State Constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6%
to 7% to replace and supplement reduced revenue to the School Aid Fund and local units of government caused by the elimination of the sales/use tax on gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles operating on public roads, and to give effect to laws that provide additional money for roads and other transportation purposes by increasing the gas tax and vehicle registration fees.
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
  • Eliminate sales / use taxes on gasoline / diesel fuel for vehicles on public roads.
  • Increase portion of use tax dedicated to School Aid Fund (SAF).
  • Expand use of SAF to community colleges and career / technical education, and
  • prohibit use for 4-year colleges / universities.
  • Give effect to laws, including those that:
  • Increase sales / use tax to 7%, as authorized by constitutional amendment.
  • Increase gasoline / diesel fuel tax and adjust annually for inflation,
  • increase vehicle registration fees, and dedicate revenue for roads and other transportation purposes.
  • Expand competitive bidding and warranties for road projects.
  • Increase earned income tax credit.
Should this proposal be adopted?
YES [ ]
NO [ ]
(Original Mlive article reporting the wording)

Have you ever seen anything so convoluted? Basically, they're saying that they'll take the money that's supposed to be dedicated to the schools anyways, and actually spend it on schools. And they'll increase the state sales tax. Oh, and they'll also increase vehicle registration fees! But they promise they'll use the money for road repair! And just to be nice, they'll give back the earned income tax credit that was taken away in 2011, and set it to match the Federal credit, like it used to. And something complicated about other gas taxes. Not exactly sure how that worked. And oh yeah, if the companies repairing the roads don't do a good job, it will be covered under a warranty, and they'll have to fix it for free! Because it's part of the CONSTITUTION people!

And it's all rolled into one proposal, with a constitutional amendment! Because the last major constitutional amendment we passed was such a great idea! That one is still kinda up in the air.

Lawmakers who were on TV espousing their support of the proposal even acknowledged it was flawed. One actually said that it's not perfect, but we need to fix our roads. Hmmm... Last time I heard the "It's not perfect, but it's what we've got." we ended up with the Affordable Care Act. Which, mind you, has many good points. But it is also so labrynthine that it's hard to understand parts, and while many benefit from it, many are also in a worse situation now because of it.

Do I like our roads? No. They suck. Big time. Would I like them to be repaired? Absolutely. Should the state figure out a way to do it that doesn't completely screw me over? Damn straight. The first MLive article that I linked to puts it pretty well. Essentially, we have informed our lawmakers that guess what, we want you to work. Do what you were elected to do. Forget your summer break, forget passing things along half-assed. Sit down, sort it out, make cuts where they need to be made, and put things back on track.

I know that several districts had other proposals on their ballots this spring, but for ours (and most others from what I've seen), this was the only one. I'm actually curious how much was spent, total, on bringing this forward. Between ad costs, time spent drafting the bill, printing costs, and the overall extra election costs, what did this cost the state? And if all that money had been diverted to beginning road repairs, how far would it have gone?

One of the things that seriously amused me in that first article is that there are other possible funding options out there, but that they aren't very "politically viable". Well guess what? This one wasn't either.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Forget Resolutions. I have Goals.

That's right, I've set Goals for myself, with a capital G. And they are attainable.

I will hold myself accountable. I will track what I eat and drink. I am tracking my activity. Note, there is no weight loss goal. The current goal is simply to be accountable. With that generally comes the weight loss and better health, because if I know it's getting put down, it had better be worth eating.

And no one wants to see a flat graph for activity. I realize that sewing and knitting register, but I'm not worried about that, because it's still activity. It's not placid sitting on my butt zoning out to the TV.

Also tracking my sleep. So now I'll be more likely to get enough. Because when I don't, I'll see it.

Same with finances. I'm hoping to get a budget figured out. It's all about being accountable. Not buying anything without tracking the expense. When it's staring at me, I'm hoping that I make better choices.
I'm hoping to post something here or on my craft blog more often too. No set amount, just something, more often.

So that's my goal, to be accountable to myself in what I do and where my energy goes. If all goes well, better things will follow. Because I know how to do things right. The trick is the follow through.

Monday, August 11, 2014

So much to say about this day

Yet all I can coherently get out is "No comment."

RIP Robin Williams. Much love to my family and friends and indeed the world as we grieve over the loss of such an iconic human being. And I hope everyone grants his family's wish to be left with their privacy until they're ready to share.

Hug your kids and your friends. Teach them to listen. Not to lecture, not to give direction, but to sit and listen. Today hurt for me too. And that was long before I heard the news. Today just hurt. I was a bit out of it and not feeling well. Worried about everything. But I kept moving. Some days it's only because I know I have to take care of my family. Some days it's just because of habit. Most days it's because I've screamed at myself in my head that I have to get moving and once I start the rest is easier. Getting out of bed is the hardest part.

Yes, I have a history of depression and anxiety. It has required medication off and on for years. Right now it is mostly managed, thanks to an amazing support network. I've never seriously considered suicide, because the problems would still be there, they'd just be pushed off on someone else. The thought of doing that was always unconscionable.

I'm tired. Still not entirely happy. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'll attempt a bit more coherent thought then.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

There has been a lot of talk about body image lately. Posts about how companies are making money off of insecurities, makeup companies are getting rich by telling us that we don't look good enough, or need to weigh more, or less, or whatever. That having gender-differentiated toys is bad. That items shouldn't be marketed to boys or girls separately. And so on and so on.

You know what? I'm tired of it. I'm tired of people complaining about it. I'm tired of the protests and the cries of "OH MY GOODNESS YOU'RE BEING REPRESSED AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW IT!!!"

Do I wear makeup? Sometimes. I have off and on since middle school. Have I struggled with weight and body image? I've done the whole diet and exercise thing from time to time. Successfully and otherwise. Do I consider myself a victim of other people pressuring me to think/feel/be a certain way? Nope.

I wear makeup because I like how it looks. I like how it makes me feel. A friend described it as "War Paint". Sometimes, that's exactly what it is. Most of the time, I don't wear makeup. I have no problem with how I look without it. I don't have a crazy need for it. And when I do wear it, the look is very subtle, very natural. One of these days I might go all out and do the whole glam thing. Because it's fun. It's dress-up with your face. It's like putting on a mask.

I usually tell people that if I'm wearing makeup and all dressed up, it's likely I woke up that day not feeling the greatest. It gives me a boost, and helps my inside and outside feel beautiful at the same time. I asked my 14yo daughter and her best friend why they wear makeup, and they just looked at me like I sprouted a 3rd eye. No one says they have to, they just like to. They agree that you shouldn't start until 8th grade or so, when you have a better idea of how to apply it and how to not cake it on (unless that's the look you're looking for) etc. I've raised my daughter to know she's beautiful no matter what, and to know that she doesn't have to meet someone else's expectations of what's beautiful. And while there are some out there who are raising their children otherwise, I like to think they're in the minority.

So you, the people telling me that the beauty companies are all evil and getting me to buy things because they're preying on my insecurities - stop. I'm more intelligent than that. Give me more credit than that. Don't tell me that it's a bad thing that I like wearing makeup. I know I'm beautiful without it. I wear it because I enjoy it. And you telling me that wearing makeup makes me any less of a person is worse than people trying to tell me I need it. You are acting like you know what I want and what's best for me. The beauty companies are just offering suggestions. Sometimes subtle and insidious, but they haven't ever told me that I'm wrong.

Let's stop talking in absolutes. Give people some credit that they're capable of making their own decisions. Just because I agree with a mainstream thought doesn't make me a lemming.

Welcome to a blog of my thoughts

I have thoughts on things. Lots of thoughts on things. And while the direct thought-to-blog app has yet to be created, we're getting closer every day. I have another blog that is mostly my creative stuff, but I didn't want to keep getting the two mixed up. So here we go. Read it. Or don't. Agree. Or don't. If you're rude in comments, I'll delete them. If you can disagree and be coherent and polite, that's fine. Because me, I'm all about open dialogue, as long as you use your manners. And don't forget to wipe your feet at the door.