Art Elements Design Challenge – April

Repurposing.

This was the Art Elements challenge for April, and I was stumped. I don’t have a lot of artsy things around the house to whip up something cute and fancy like all the others in this group. The month got the best of me, and by this past weekend, I had no ideas, no inspiration, no motivation… you see where I’m going with this? I almost bowed out, but since I had to do that last month for a whole other assortment of reasons, I hung in there.

Then, last night (just for emphasis — I’m talking about April 29 — the night before the reveal. For the love.) I was on the verge of panic, standing in the kitchen cutting up celery, and then… boom. There it was.

This is actually AFTER I started the process.
I was so excited that I found a project, I forgot to take a true “before” photo.

I’d noticed before that the bottom of the celery bunch looked slightly flowerish, so I decided to grab the craft paints and my watercolor book and get to work.

The first two passes were with pink and bright yellow.

Considering we’ve been seeing only grey skies and rain the past several days, I immediately went for the bright, fun colors. This initial combo reminded me of a Lily Pulitzer pattern, so I forged ahead.

When all was said and done, my “repurposed” celery stamp gave me a fairly vague floral vibe, so after fashioning a little quick greenery….

For an 11th hour project? I’ll take it.

I know this post was short and sweet, but I hope it inspired you a little to take a look at what’s within arm’s reach and make something fun! For even MORE inspiration, check out the other participants in this month’s challenge. Trust me, you will be blown. away. by their creativity and talent!

Guests
Tammy

Alysen

Evie & Beth

Karin

Hope

Divya

Anita

Sarajo

Kathy

Rebecca

AE Team

Niky

Laney

Cathy

 Caroline

Jen

Jenny 

Sue

Claire

Lesley

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It’s still a good thing

A little over three years ago, I sat down and wrote the following blog post. For whatever reason, it was saved in a folder that I just now got around to cleaning out, because I AM A WORD HOARDER.

The post dealt with realizing that my normal, everyday life at the time could use some down-time, and I set my mind on doing just that. Looking back, I probably tried, but got busy with “things,” as I was prone to do. Now, with three years gone by, I can see I arrived at a point at which I no longer have to force down-time. There came a point when it just integrated itself into my life naturally. Granted, the first-grader mentioned is now a fourth-grader, the middle-schooler is now a high-schooler, the high-schoolers are now college students. Our schedule has changed drastically, but there’s still plenty to do. I love the message, though, and think it bears repeating for anyone who hasn’t reached the point where down-time just made itself happen. Maybe if we’re conscious of how important it is to take time for ourselves, it opens the door for the opportunity… whether now or later.

Blog post originally published December 2015

A Good Thing

            While I’m not a full-throttle Martha Stewart devotee, I do love me some Living magazine throughout the year. I generally take the ideas, tips, recipes, etc. with a grain of rosemary-infused sea salt, integrating those nuggets of wisdom that fall in line with my craftability, pantry inventory and required effort. (But, seriously, she almost lost me as a follower the day I received an email article titled, “Life-Changing Laundry Tips.” Seriously. Want to give me a life-changing laundry tip? Tell me someone’s coming over to my house to do all the laundry. That will change my life.)

            One of the magazine features that never fails to catch my eye is Martha’s calendar, in which the gentle reader gets a glimpse of what I’m sure is a scaled-down version of M’s monthly To Do list. In my most recent issue, the calendar spanned December and January. I’ll admit — I did enjoy a little wistful daydream as I read of her pre-holiday prep, which included decorating her tree and taking a horseback ride the same day. Imagine! We were lucky to have gotten our tree completely decorated in one day, with rearranging the living room to accommodate said tree, weeding out the strands of lights that decided to crap out on us this year, and tasking the kids with selecting only a few of their personal ornaments to hang among the wide array of family ornaments that needed branch real estate.

            And then I saw it.

            There is was, on January 10 — nestled between “make lemon curd” (and a horseback ride!) on the 9th, and “prune topiaries in greenhouse” on the 11th:

            “Quiet day: plan garden for spring.”

            Of all the daily agendas I’ve read over the years, I don’t remember seeing anything like this. Let me be clear — it wasn’t the garden planning that stopped me in my tracks.

            Quiet. Day.

            Leave it to Martha to reach into her hand-knitted bag-o-tricks and pull out a show-stopper like that, which, as she would say, is a “good thing.”

            My own inclination toward slowing the pace in 2016 was instantly reinforced. I mean, if Martha’s going to stitch in a quiet day every once in a while, why shouldn’t I? The truth is, I’ve been really needing one. Or two. Or twenty. Here’s a sampling of what could be considered a “busy” day for me so far this school year:

            5:20a   Wake and go for a 30 minute run

            6:00     Home, coffee, shower

            6:20     Wake middle-schooler

            6:25     Wake middle-schooler

            6:45     Threaten middle-schooler

            6:50     Drive middle-schooler to school

            7:20     Home, wake 1st grader

            7:40     Walk 1st grader to bus

            7:45     Home, wake high-schoolers

            7:50     Wake high-schoolers

            8:00     Threaten high-schoolers

            8:15     Drive high-schoolers to school

            8:45     Arrive at work

            1:45p   Leave work

            2:15     Pick up middle-schooler

            3:00     Home, fetch 1st grader from bus, work at home remainder of afternoon

            4:15     Pick up high-schoolers, transport to off-site sport practice

            5:00     Home, begin dinner, begin laundry

            6:30     Pick up high-schoolers from practice

            7:00     Home, dinner

            7:30     Help 1st grader with homework, clean up kitchen, continue laundry

            8:00     Start 1st grader pre-bed routine

            8:30     1st grader to bed, tell middle- and high-schoolers to shower

            9:00     Remind middle- and high-schoolers to shower, continue laundry

            9:15     Threaten middle- and high-schoolers

            10:00   Lights out for kids, continue laundry

            11:00   Tell myself to get to bed

            11:15   Remind myself to get to bed, finish laundry

            11:30   Threaten myself

            11:45+ Bed

            This is just an average sampling. Some days are less busy, some are even more chaotic. My husband is a firefighter, and works a 24-on/48-off schedule, so the days he’s on duty, I’m the Alpha Parent. (Those are the truly chaotic days!) On his off days, he totally picks up on critical items like cooking dinner, which is awesome. So, you can see how the idea of scheduling a Quiet Day is more than just a little appealing to me — and after 2015, it’s a requirement. Looking back over the past 12 months, a high-level glance would show a roller coaster that lurched to incredible highs and devastating lows. In between the peaks and valleys, the ride was rickety, bumping along at breakneck speed. Sure, there were enjoyable parts, but the feeling of constant busy-ness kept me from ever really relaxing enough to fully recharge and restore myself.

            I had already planned some changes for the new year — not so much solid resolutions, but rather a general change of lifestyle. I need to slow down, place my focus where it should be — on my family, close friends,… even myself. I’ve grown tired of reaching each weekend feeling like the preceding week had chewed me up and spit me out. I was spending weekends feeling like I was treading water, and before I knew it, the week began and I was pounded with waves again. Yet despite doing this week after week, I still felt like taking time to relax and recharge was selfish. How could I possibly justify sitting down to write, read a book, or cruise HGTV with unfinished projects, clutter and laundry waiting in the wings?! I know a lot of other moms feel the same way. How did we get to this point? How many times have we forfeited what we “want” to do, for what we feel we “should” do? Cue the Mom Guilt.

            If all it takes is actually inking a Quiet Day into our schedules, then let’s get on that train, Friends! Pick up those calendars, planners and smart phones. Pick a day, any day. Write it down. Make it official. We owe it to ourselves to set aside one day a week, or month, or whenever, just to regroup. Recharge. Rejuvenate.

            My first Quiet Day is scheduled for Sunday, January 17, 2016.

Artist in training…

Because I’m clearly not happy unless I have nine million irons in the fire at once, I decided to participate in the Art Elements theme challenge for January, the subject of which was the moon. (Quick backstory: I became familiar with this group because my fabulously artistic and talented sister-in-law Jen Cameron is one of its members. When I saw the theme challenge announcement, I was overcome with optimism, and before I knew it, I’d signed up. Never mind that I’m more “word-artsy” than “art-artsy,” I decided kicking off the new year with something different and outside my usual boundaries was exactly what I needed to do. So here I am.)

Before getting my hands busy with my project, I stalked reviewed the other artists’ pages, and was instantly amazed by the talent, creativity and depth of their work. “I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb,” I mumbled, fighting off the apprehension I felt creeping up on me. However, I refused to bow out of the commitment. I forged ahead during my free time on my project, which I knew would be paper-based. I had recently begun fumbling around with paper-making, and thought it was pretty interesting. The idea that stuck in my head was four separate note card-sized papers, with some kind of moon image, and the word moon written in four different languages, because words are my thing.

First on my list was making the paper. I’d used newsprint in the past, and while I loved how the different words and typefaces mixed & mingled in the finished product, I wanted something plain for the background (I’ll explain in a moment.) I used an ordinary, brown paper shopping bag, tearing it into strips and letting them soak in water a little before blending them into pulp. I added a few pieces of construction paper to break up the monotony, and this is what I ended up with:

My original concept was going to have ripped newsprint sort of collaged into a partial moon, filling the bottom left corner of each card (which is why I stayed away from using newsprint on the card itself). I talked myself out of that, though, opting instead, to sit down with some watercolor paper and paint to see what I could come up with. After playing around, I had a full page of this white-gray, mottled pattern, which I let dry and came back to a few days later. (No picture of that, because I’m new to this and forgot to get a shot of it.) At first, I cut a full circle and played with that against the cards. To me, it looked too perfect against the rough edges of the cards, so using a guide, I tore the paper into circles, and liked that better. Apparently, I can’t leave well enough alone, because I dragged out the watercolor palette again, and fussed around with different colors to highlight the moons — because leaving them to resemble the actual moon felt too … I don’t know… expected? (Again, forgot to photograph this part of the process. Sorry.)

I knew when it came time to write out the words, it HAD to be in silver, and it turned out exactly as I’d hoped.

My first instinct was to use “moon,” and “luna,” so I stretched further choosing lune (French), mond (German), lua (Portuguese) and mane (Swedish). I’m also new to the hand-lettering trend — which is weird, because I absolutely LOVE handwriting — so these aren’t super pretty, but I feel like it’s passable. I affixed the more colorful moons, weighting them briefly, because of the uneven surface of both papers made it difficult for them to lay flat.

And then, they were done!

Even though these cards are pretty basic, I was happy with how they turned out. I’m glad I stuck with the challenge, and now that I’ve done one, I’ll probably try and participate most, if not all, months in 2019.

All participants and group members are listed here, and I highly recommend you check out their projects/websites/artwork. It’s amazing, and maybe you’ll even find yourself inspired to jump into an Art Elements monthly challenge in the coming months!


Guests:
Jenny Melissa Kathy Sarajo Hope Sarah Rebecca Divya Anita             Rosantia Cat Evia Alysen Beth Tammy

Art Elements Crew:
Claire Laney Caroline Cathy Sue Niky Jenny Jen Lindsay

Meet Frankie…

The following is an excerpt from Comeback:

“She’s up there — somewhere.”

Frankie Posey-Gilbert’s words left her mouth in barely a whisper, riding on a thread of cigarette smoke. She was perched on a picnic table, staring into the vacant summer sky. Her cousin Meghan was somewhere in the baby-blue expanse 35,000 feet up, flying from New York City to Indianapolis.

She absently flipped the stub sideways into the gravel, tilting her face upward toward the mid-July sun. A soft breeze played with her hair, while the sweet scent of freshly cut grass co-mingled with the pungent lawnmower exhaust and fading smoke in front of her nose. Warmth had finally crept back into her cheeks, frozen from the past four hours on the Agricorp production floor. A quick glance at her watch confirmed her break would be over in eight minutes, just enough time for one more cigarette, which she immediately lit. Frankie hired in at Agricorp before the ink had dried on her high school diploma. Nearly everyone in Midway worked for the company in one way or another. And if they weren’t working at Agricorp, they were farming the surrounding fields.        

Except for Meghan.

Meghan spent the past 10 years out of state, first living in Los Angeles for a few years, then moving to New York City. She’d found fame and celebrity starring in a popular reality television show; however, her growing ego turned off enough producers that eventually she was only able to get spotty work, guest appearances and endorsements. That is, until three quick flutes of champagne and a hot mic at an awards show got her into a hot, snarled mess.

And now she was coming back home. She had to come back. Not only because a judge ordered her to do so, but because home is where you go when you’ve hit rock bottom and alienated just about everyone in your professional and social circles.

Frankie smirked, recalling the entertainment news segment describing Meghan Posey as “a world-class arsonist with impeccable talent for burning every viable bridge behind her. At one point, a rising star, she has perfected the art of career suicide.”

Not usually one to take delight in others’ misfortune, if she were completely honest, Frankie would admit to feeling more than a twinge of satisfaction reading about the demise of her cousin’s career. A career that could have been — should have been — hers.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the groan and sputter of a riding lawnmower, as Brewer “Boo” Huntley came around the end of the building. He spied Frankie and turned, making a line in the grass that stopped three feet from where she sat. He flipped the key to cut the engine, which stopped with a rattle that shook the entire machine.

“Hey, Frankie… on break?”

 Boo was quite the master of deduction.

  “Yep,” she replied, squinting through the sunlight. “Almost done though.”

Boo reached behind the mower seat and grabbed two sodas from a cooler. He turned and leaned forward on the steering wheel, offering her a dripping can.

 “Here. S’really hot today.”

“Thanks, Boo.” She took the drink, and icy droplets ran from her palm to her elbow. She cracked open the tab releasing a sneeze of carbonation and took a quick sip.

Boo wiped sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand, and they both watched a bumblebee hum through the heavy air between them. She knew what was coming next.

“So, I heard Meghan’s coming back today.”

 And there it was.

 Frankie sighed, took a deep drag from her cigarette, remaining silent.

Boo shrugged. “Yeah, well…. Hey, there’s a field party out at Tucker’s on Saturday…,” he paused for a swig of soda.

Frankie held her breath in anticipation. “Don’t say it,” she thought.

“You wanna come?”

 She exhaled. Relieved.

“And, y’know… bring Meghan.”

 Frankie’s glare locked on Boo’s sunglasses as she leaned forward.

“I’m sorry, I’m busy Saturday,” she replied in a tone well-suited for the inside of Boo’s soda cooler. She ground out the last of her cigarette against the blistered green paint on the table, before sliding down and walking toward the building.

“As for Meghan,” she threw back over her shoulder, “you’ll have to ask her yourself.”

“What?! What’d I say?” Boo called after her.

Frankie didn’t even feel bad. He knew exactly how she felt about Meghan.

Everyone in Midway knew.

Frankie’s hard steps crunched and scattered gravel as she crossed the parking lot, her mind racing back to last week, when the certified letter arrived, announcing Meghan’s return. As the words on the page were registering in her brain, her hands started to shake.

July 15, 2018

85 Market Street

Midway, IN 45792

Ms. Alice Posey

Dear Ms. Posey:

This letter is to inform you that Meghan Posey, will arrive in Indianapolis on July 23, in immediate need of transport to Midway. Specific flight details will be provided as received.

Please be advised that Ms. Posey’s arrival has been mandated by Judge Ramona Green’s sentencing decree of July 14, 2018. Ms. Posey is to remain in Midway for a period of one (1) year, or until Judge Green sees fit to rescind the restriction. During said period of one (1) year, Ms. Posey is to remain within the town limits of Midway only. Failure to comply with this sentence will result in one (1) year of incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine.

Please direct any questions you have regarding this arrangement to my office via the contact information below.

Regards —

J. Nathan Sommers

Attorney at Law

834 W. 34th Street

New York, NY 10012

jnatsom@nylaw.com

            She’s here for a whole year — 365 days of hell.

1/365

Whether it’s trite or a good sign of productivity, here I am.

I still barely know what day of the week it is (I spent three hours this morning thinking it was Wednesday), and getting back to a halfway usual schedule tomorrow will bring a sense of content, I’m sure. The past week and a half has been a full-blown, holiday whirlwind: Christmas prep, celebrating with family on Christmas Eve, baking and prep for the annual family ski trip to northern Michigan on the 26th, back home to celebrate my 50th on Sunday, New Year’s Eve, and now… finally… New Year’s Day.

Kicking off at least one resolution today–getting back to healthy eating–has me feeling decidedly more human. I feel like we’ve been surviving on a steady diet of coffee, sugar and carbs because WE HAVE BEEN. It’s fun at first, you know… when the first batch or two of holiday cookies & treats are made. “It’s the holidays!” you say, popping a warm, peanut butter kiss cookie into your mouth. But I’m here to tell you, after a week of that tomfoolery, the mere sight of the cookie platter left me feeling trapped and defeated. I wanted a cookie, and probably could’ve summoned the willpower to stay away, but then there was that little voice somewhere in my brain, reminding me that I’ve had zero willpower thus far, it’ll taste wonderful, and they’re little cookies anyway, so just eat the damn thing already. So I do. And the little voice is absolutely right on every count, including the part about them being small cookies, so I listen again when it tells me to take another. I’m not going to lie here — when I finally dumped that platter of decorated sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, and the pb kiss cookies this morning, I felt so incredibly liberated. It was awesome, and I may or may not have smirked as I heard that voice in my head shriek and begin to weep.

Not. Today. Satan.

With all that temptation behind me, I’m hoping to focus more on returning to the healthy lifestyle I left back in mid-December, as well as getting some fiction out for reading.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the beginning of a rough draft, and I hope if you come by to read it, you’ll leave a comment. Tell me what you like, what you don’t like… what works and what doesn’t. One of my goals for 2019 is to get work out in front of readers’ eyes, and to develop a mutually-beneficial environment for feedback and constructive criticism. Similar to the way my physical self won’t improve without hard work, neither will my writing. And the only way I know what to work on, is to hear from those who read it.

Happy New Year to all!

36 minute respite

I can’t remember last Sunday.

That’s how busy the past week has been.

From work to holiday prep, I readied myself each morning with a quick mental layout of the day to help keep my sanity.

It worked. For the most part.

At the moment, I’m in a brief respite — no one home except the dog… Christmas songs being crooned from the Alexa … and enjoying the newly-assembled holiday decorations. This? Is bliss. It isn’t going to last much longer. Jeff and Bobby will be home soon, and we’ll settle in to watch some NFL for the remainder of the afternoon. They left to meet up with Jeff’s brother at Taco Bell, which we never visit. The thing is, Bobby recently realized he was the only one of all his siblings to have never eaten at Taco Bell. Personally, I’d have worn that feather in my cap pretty darn proudly (no offense TB), but he was determined to try it out. We made several attempts, but plans always managed to fall through at the last minute. Last week, with family over, there was an exchange during which James (Jeff’s brother) waved a Taco Bell receipt at Bobby, inadvertently rubbing it in that he’d never had it. James truly felt bad, and promised to take him on the maiden voyage at some point. That point, turns out, was this afternoon.

I imagine right about now Bobby’s downing a chicken soft taco, chasing it with a Baja Blast.

But for now — it’s so calm. A stark contrast to the last six days. The perfect snippet of time to breathe and think about how truly thankful I am for the things that made me so busy. Today we sent off two of the kids — one back to Purdue, and the other to her new apartment in Manhattan. Neither wanted the short holiday break to end, but they’ll be back in a few weeks for Christmas. Until then, it’s back to the daily grind–work, school, classes–until we’re all together again. The break in the busyness of last week is giving me perspective on the upcoming holiday. I’m a planner by nature, and that fact saved me from a mental breakdown on many occasions. However, I’m going to try setting aside about 20-30 minutes at the end of each day to assess the ol’ To Do list, and stay on track. We’ve got a short, four-day family vacation after Christmas, and I would love to just relax and enjoy it, rather than feel like I’m constantly getting duck in a row.

How do you prep for the holidays? Are there any tried-and-true methods that keep your head above water and a smile on your face? If it isn’t anything too top-secret, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

Oh, and if you check in here once in a while (usually wondering why in the world a writer can’t manage to keep writing on her own blog), don’t be a stranger. I’m going to be trying out this space for some creative projects very soon!

UPDATE: Bobby’s full report on his first Taco Bell meal was summed up as he walked in the door: “It. Was. Awesome.” He also came home with souvenirs — three packets each of Fire! and Mild sauce. And, as he peered over my shoulder to the laptop screen, he affirmed he did, indeed, have a Baja Blast, and “drank it like it was his job.”

On caring and words from the past

We’re a week into August, and down one kid. Three days ago, we moved one man-child into his college dorm; the other man-child moves to his chosen university in just under a week. The two remaining children at home will begin a new school year a week from today.

All the feelings have found me, and there are moments when my emotions seem held together with  a wisp of a spider’s web. For roughly the past six months, friends and I have commiserated, repeatedly asking “where has the time gone?” as we shake our heads, denying that the young adults standing in front of us are, indeed, the kids who were leaving on the annual 5th grade day trip to the dunes just last year.

Wait. It wasn’t just last year?

Sure seems like it.

Sending them off to their respective colleges, we all hope and pray we’ve done our best. That we’ve raised intelligent, caring children. And that caring part is important. No one seems to care for people much anymore. And by “care for,” I mean take care of.  I know there’s good out there, but so much hate is rising to the surface these days. I, for one, firmly believe we all have our own individual purposes to fill during this life. Yet, despite having our own roles to play, we are ALL expected to have care and compassion for our fellow human beings.

John 13:34-35  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. 

Seriously. I’m not sure which part of this command is confusing to some people.

I remembered a post written a few years back, after a particularly shocking event. I’m not usually one for posting reprints, but given the two incoming college freshmen in our family — and, quite honestly, the state of things in general right now — I felt it was appropriate.

(Originally published in May 2015)

An open letter to my older sons, in light of recent current events:

Dear Boys–

Some of you may have heard about the Stanford rape case in the news lately. If not, here’s the overview: In January 2015, a 20-year old Stanford athlete (swimmer) met up with a young woman at a party, and at some point of the evening he decided to sexually assault her. Yes, there was alcohol involved, on both parts. She was drunk enough to pass out, and he took her outside, behind a garbage dumpster and raped her. During the act, two other students approached on bicycles, and noticed something wasn’t quite right with the situation. They confronted the young man — Brock Turner is his name — at which point he tried to run away. They tackled him and held him until the police arrived.

Last week, he was convicted of the crime, which ordinarily would warrant something like a 15-year prison sentence. Astonishingly, the judge sentenced him to just six months in prison, with the likelihood that he’ll actually serve just three of those six months.

After the sentence was handed down, Brock Turner’s father penned a letter, basically belittling the crime, referring to it as “20 minutes of action,” and how that didn’t warrant ruining Brock’s future.

Needless to say, people are shocked. Dismayed. Disappointed. Outraged.

I am among those people.

Who knows where this case will lead next,… whether or not the sentence can be changed, what sort of changes will occur in the legal system because of it. But I do know that parents everywhere are bringing this story to their children, in hopes of driving home the point that sexual assault — rape — is not something to belittle. As much as Brock Turner’s father pleaded for his son’s future which was now ruined by this paltry prison sentence, he never once mentioned or even acknowledged the young woman’s future. Her future is ruined. Her future will never be the same, significantly marred by Brock’s actions as she lay unconscious. (I have both the victim’s letter and the one written by Dan Turner for you to read, so you can read their words for yourself.)

All that said, I believe you all would conduct yourselves appropriately in social situations. Just to be clear, however, here is the step-by-step procedure I expect each of you to follow, should you ever find yourself in a situation that even remotely resembles this one.

SCENE: You are at a party and you notice a young woman, alone, who may or may not be drunk. Whether you know her personally or not, here’s what you are to do:

1.) Ask her if she is OK, if she has friends with her and where they are.

2.) Help her find her friends.

3.) If she is alone, or doesn’t know where her friends are, YOU are now her friend. Your primary responsibility at this point is making sure she either gets home safely, or stays safe until morning.

4.) If she passes out, you find a safe place for her to remain. Give her a pillow, a blanket and a trash can.

5.) You make sure she is safe and no one messes with her.

I want you all to note that none of these steps include taking advantage of this girl in any way, shape or form.

This isn’t new, undiscovered ground for me, as I can clearly remember partying in college. Surprised? Don’t be. My friends and I were social, and yes… there were times when someone needed to be taken care of because she’d had too much to drink. I even remember taking care of one of my male friends at his own fraternity house, because he started too fast out of the gate one Saturday night, and was a slurring, stumbling mess by 10pm. Granted, the chances of him being sexually assaulted in this situation were zero percent. However, we didn’t abandon him, saying, “He’s in his own house,… he’ll be fine. Probably.” Nope. We got him to his room, put him in his bed (made sure he stayed on his side so he wouldn’t choke if he vomited), and put a trash can next to him. We stayed and made sure he fell asleep/passed out before leaving, then we shut his door and continued our evening. At no point did we think it would be funny to degrade or humiliate him. Being drunk happens, but it isn’t an open invitation to strip someone of his or her dignity, or worse.

You are all intelligent, respectable young men with endless possibilities for future plans. Mistakenly thinking that you could/should take advantage of a girl simply because she’s unable to protest, will ruin lives forever. Plans that either of you had will probably never be realized.

These expectations I’ve listed apply to any situation — it applies to girls you know, and even those you do not. I don’t care if you encounter a complete stranger who’s falling down drunk… it doesn’t matter if you know her. She is a human being, and as such, we take care of one another. I expect all of you to adhere to that standard. We all need to watch out for each other, because there are people out there who feel entitled to have whatever they want, whenever they want it. Period. These are the most dangerous people, because when they are denied what they want, they can become violent and fight for what they feel they “deserve.” I’m no expert on what people deserve in this world, but I know for damn sure that in January 2015, an unconscious young woman didn’t deserve to be raped behind a garbage dumpster.

Always be gentlemen. Always.

Love, Mom