Remembering Floy

Not that long ago, I walked into my grandma’s house and found the garage decked out in fourth of july red white and blue from one end to the other. The decorations continued into the house itself, and I asked her if she’d had any help setting everything up.

She laughed, once, hard, the way she did. “Ha! No. That’s all me. I do that.”

I looked at her – closing in on ninety-four at the time – and then I looked back at the stairwell leading into her basement.

The one with twelve foot high walls rising up on three sides.

Which were ALSO decorated.

“How’d you do THAT?” I asked her.

She looked at me, and learned in, and said “Ain’t I something?”

And she was.


It’s difficult, maybe impossible, to sum up a life. Anyone’s life, let alone one as long and rich as my Grandma’s.

It’s a tiny bit easier to look at the effect someone had on the people around them – the stories about them; what they said, and what they did; the things they taught us.

I asked my family for some of the things they learned. This is what they shared:

  • The world always looks better through clean windows.
  • Wash your face, your neck, and your ears, even if you can’t wash anything else.
  • The food you grow yourself always tastes better.
  • Never move into a new house with an old broom.
  • Always sift your dry ingredients before you start baking.
  • You don’t quit when you’re tired, or if things gets hard; you quit when you’re done.
  • If you don’t have time to write letters, send birthday and Christmas cards and jam every square inch with whatever you would have written in those letters… and if you start to run out of room, just writer smaller and smaller and smaller until it all fits.

(My mom learned that one pretty well.)

And here’s another one: when you’re sad, crying is ok – but so is laughing.

Grandma showed us living your faith was in the quiet way you give, serve, share, and show patience to those who need it the most – not how many Sundays you made it in to church.

She showed us love can find you, even or especially when it seems like it never will again.

Grandma showed us how to milk cows, feed calves, and carry buckets of water that were – at the time – almost bigger than we were.

We learned early, watching her, a woman can do anything a man can. She never told a girl there was any job on the farm they couldn’t do, and she never told a boy there was a recipe in her cookbook we couldn’t manage, if we were willing.

She tried her best to show us how to make bread as good as hers – even if none of us ever managed it; it was enough to try, and even better if we tried with her, in her kitchen. In fact, she shared every recipe she knew, gladly, from caramel rolls, to chicken, to squash casserole so good we’d go back for seconds, and then go back for thirds, put whipped cream on it, and call it dessert.

My kids remember that, and holding her hands, and the bowls of candy she somehow always had set out, and the fact she had the fanciest, best decorated garage any of them had ever seen.

Everyone who shared some of their lessons with me, including my kids, eventually wound down to the same thing, by the end: “These are just a few of the things I remember – there are a thousand more.”

And of course there are. In a life that touched so many, for so long, it’s impossible to fully take in the impact of our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend.

So how can we remember her?

I would say: think of the small things – the little lessons, the tiny moments, the snippets of advice.

When you holler “no dirty feet in my clean sheets!” remember why, and share that remembering with someone else. Tell that story, and then tell another one, and another; as many as you can.

Some will make you sad, and you’ll cry. Some will make you sad, and you’ll laugh, and that’s okay too.

Don’t worry you’ll run out. There are thousands.

We are, all of us, a collection of stories, when you come right down to it, and Floy Jean, my grandma, was a good one.

She was, in her own words, really something.

2019-02-14

My grandma is dying.

I’m throwing random crap onto the internet to distract myself, but the Fact of the Day is, my grandma is dying.

She’s 95 and, until a year ago, hadn’t been in the hospital since delivering her youngest kid. All her current medical issues boil down to “she’s never been sick a day in her life and everything’s just worn out.” She’s a wonder, and I’m unspeakably lucky to have had her in my life for nearly FIFTY years and been her ‘precious first’ of the grandkids.

But… that’s all just facts.

It’s my grandma and I’m stuck in Colorado and I’m basically eight years old and trying not to cry in school, right now.

Nothing makes sense and I keep finding myself staring out the window at nothing.

What I Say…

Me: We need to take breaks, guys! Work-life balance is a thing. Go for a walk! Unplug! Stop working through lunch and weekends!

Also Me:

Watch This

A few years ago (two years, actually), I had a Pebble watch I loved. Charge lasted well over a week. Waterproof. Good app selection and functionality.

Then it stopped working (would not charge for love nor money), the RMA/troubleshooting process took two bloody weeks, and just as it was wrapping up and I had gone through the tooth-pulling process of convincing the company I was owed a replacement watch, they were bought out by Fitbit and all replacement warranties were rendered void.

Fast forward 18 months and two poor replacement watches, it’s May of 2018, and I have a new Fitbit Versa with which I am well pleased. Nice long charge. Waterproof for swimming. Great fitness tracking apps, which it turns out I have even more use for these days.

And, four days ago – stop me if you’ve heard this part – it stopped holding a charge; used to go four or five days between charges, and it was down to a matter of hours.

Fuck, I thought (and said, repeatedly), here we go again.

But wait!

THIS time, all I had to do was contact them in a text chat this morning, charge up the watch, made sure it synced throughout the day so they could see the battery stats, wait for it to die (which it did, like… clockwork – ahem), and contact them again.

Five minutes later, a replacement watch is on the way. No muss, no fuss.

A pretty decent new year’s gift, as far as I’m concerned.

No Way to Prevent This

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 5/27/14. Isla Vista, CA. 6 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 6/17/15. Charleston, SC. 9 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 10/1/15. Roseburg, OR. 9 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 12/3/15. San Bernardino, CA. 14 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 10/2/17. Las Vegas, NV. 58 people killed (851 injured).

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 11/5/17. Sutherland Springs, TX. 26 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 2/14/18. Parkland, FL. 17 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 5/18/18. Sante Fe, NM. 10 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 9/13/18. Bakersfield, CA. 5 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 10/28/18. Pittsburg, PA. 11 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 11/8/18. Thousand Oaks, CA. 12 people killed.

I Believe Dr. Blasey Ford

Thanks to the political horrorshow that has dominated the last week (not to be confused with the dozens preceding the current week, or those yet to come – I’m looking at you, greatest tax fraud scandal in the history of the presidency), we’ve gotten to hear from a number of men who are terrified they’ll be falsely accused of rape.

Good news, guys: Kavanaugh hasn’t been falsely accused, and you won’t be either.

Disagree?

Let’s do something CRAZY and look at evidence and facts, helpfully compiled by Jeremy C. Young, and even more helpfully pulled out of the Twitter cesspool by Tumblr folks.


First, how hard is it to arrange a false accusation of rape?

In the last week of the 2016 election, Democratic donors Susie Tompkins Buell and David Brock demonstrated you don’t need morals or brains to acquire wealth, and decided to find out. They offered $700,000 to any woman who would say Donald Trump raped her.

Source

So. Women had whatever normal incentives women have to lie about rape (more on that in a bit), plus fistfuls of cash on offer.

The result: “It was not productive.” One woman requested $2 million, Bloom said, then decided not to come forward. Nor did anyone else.

This has happened before. During the Clinton impeachment hearings, Larry Flynt offered $1 million to anyone who said they’d had an affair with a GOP congressman. Only one woman got paid, and the man she accused, Bob Livingston, admitted she was telling the truth.

Source

Let’s go back to that “whatever normal incentives women have” line.

Why don’t more women lie about being sexually assaulted?

Because the disbelief and ridicule they receive is so devastating that the lie isn’t worth it. They don’t HAVE any motive. They can try to “ruin” a man, but most of the time it doesn’t work, and they get ruined instead.

This isn’t to say there aren’t ANY false rape accusations. But let’s take a look at what those look like, courtesy of this outstanding article, which you really should read.

What kind of person makes false rape accusations?

It turns out there have been studies on the types of people who make false rape accusations, and they fall into a few consistent categories.

  1. Teen girls trying to cover up a pregnancy or missed curfew.
  2. People with extensive criminal convictions for fraud.
  3. People with Munchausen’s Disorder (who fabricate a million health conditions).
  4. People seeking revenge, usually for petty things like someone stealing their truck.

Also: “False accusers almost never tell stories that could, by any stretch of the imagination, be seen as an innocent misunderstanding.”

If Dr. Blasey Ford wanted to lie about Kavanaugh, based on the patterns observed in the article, she’d accuse him of torturing her in a basement, not of attempted molestation at a party.

The takeaway: “If a woman without any history of dramatic falsehoods says she went home with a man and, after they’d kissed a while consensually, he held her down and forced her into sex – in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, you can assume it’s true.”

(More to the point, you SHOULD do so, but that’s MY takeaway.)

When it comes to Kavanaugh, false accusations of this type simply don’t happen. Dr. Blasey Ford is telling the truth. So are Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. If you know a man who’s faced accusations like these three, it’s almost certain they actually did what they’re accused of. (More on THAT in a bit.)

False accusations of rape do happen, but they are rare. Rarer than being struck by lightning WHILE SITTING INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. If you’re not lying awake at night worrying that lightning will come through your window and electrocute you, you shouldn’t worry about being falsely accused of rape, guys.

What we SHOULD worry about is what happens to women like Dr. Blasey Ford when they tell the truth and are still not believed. What’s been said about Dr. Blasey Ford would land most people in therapy for years. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh’s nomination trundles onward.

In summary, you literally cannot pay women to falsely report sexual misconduct.

But, as Donald Trump has demonstrated (repeatedly), you can certainly pay them not to report sexual misconduct that actually happened.


Okay: let’s loop back to “If you know a man who’s faced accusations like these three, it’s almost certain they actually did what they’re accused of.”

I’d like to make an edit to that sentence. Delete “almost.”

There are statistics about false rape accusations floating around that range from 2% (according to activists) to 10% (according to skeptics). (The highest rate in any credible study is 10.3%. If someone quotes you a rate higher than that, they don’t know what they’re talking about.)

But there’s a BIT more to it than that.

First, go back and read the article I linked. Seriously, do some legwork; it’s literally one click and moving your eyeballs.

What kind of person makes false rape accusations?

Second – and this is critical – not a single false accusation mentioned in the article involved more than one accuser. With multiple accusers who are (a) credible in their own right and (b) don’t know one another, the possibility of a false accusation drops exponentially.

Put another way, if you have even two credible accusers who don’t know each other, you have (for all practical purposes) mathematically removed the possibility of reasonable doubt.

Kavanaugh has three credible accusers, and two more potentially credible ones.

The chance they’re ALL lying is functionally zero.


SOME OTHER ARGUMENTS YOU MIGHT HEAR

“Memory is unreliable.”

Sure: people often don’t remember the face of a stranger who attacks them. They DO remember when it’s someone they know. And three women don’t MISremember being attacked by the SAME GUY. That’s light-years beyond lightning-struck-in-my-armchair odds. It isn’t a thing.

How Reliable are the Memories of Sexual Assault Victims?

Takeaway: People forget peripheral details of trauma, but not central details. They might misidentify the face of a stranger rapist, but they don’t misremember the identity of their classmate, whom they know, who attacked them.

“Why now?”

Maybe you’re talking with (or are) one of the “why did she wait 40 years to come forward” crowd? I (or, rather, Jennifer Taub) have got you covered.

Coming forward is traumatic. Sexual assault survivors are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than the average person, and most report that public victim blaming is one of the main reasons. The Mental Impact of Rape

But if he’s going to be ruling on the rights of 150 million women? Suddenly it becomes more urgent. Judged to be worth the pain, I must assume.

“Women just want to protect Roe v Wade.”

Okay. So did all the women David Brock offered fistfuls of money to in 2016. And yet.

Wanting to protect Roe v Wade, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars, wasn’t enough to convince anyone to make false accusations. It’s just too traumatic.

And, again, consider motive. People who make up false accusations ALWAYS trend toward the sensational. They’re easy to spot.

“I know someone who’s been falsely accused.”

Cool. How many people do you know who’ve been sexually assaulted? Data says it’s 27% – somewhat more than 40 MILLION WOMEN – in the U.S. – and 7% of men.

And let’s not forget 80% of women sexually harassed – that’s… 120 million in the U.S.?

But sure: hit me with the anecdata about that one guy you know…

“Innocent until proven guilty.”

That is a legal standard, not a job interview standard. I’ve worked inside HR offices as a trainer for years, and don’t know any who’d hire someone with these kinds of stories flying around about them, from multiple credible witnesses. It’s laughable.

No one’s suggesting Kavanaugh should be in jail without trial, just that he shouldn’t be on the Court.