North Carolina

Greetings from Hell…I mean Siberia…I mean North Carolina



Greetings from snowy North Carolina. No, you didn’t misread that.  My fair state is having another snow storm and this storm comes packing ice on top of snow.  In my area, we might see 6 inches of snow with a half-inch of ice on top before another couple inches of snow comes through tomorrow.  A half-inch of ice?  That could be catastrophic, to borrow the adjectives the forecasters have been using.  It really could be, though, because that’s the threshold at which branches snap and power lines buckle.  Fun times!

In this area, we have two winter weather events that make us catch our breath and say a prayer: the ice storm of 2002 (we lost power for 5 days) and the ice debacle of 2005 which resembled Atlanta’s situation a few weeks ago.  And we might have enough ice to recall 2002 and current traffic closely resembles 2005.

I’m glad my little family is at home.  We’ve been home all week actually.  Daniel appeared to be getting sick on Sunday but we kept our fingers crossed.  Monday, however, he was pale, lethargic, and warm.  He also threw up at the front door.  Home it was!  Yesterday his eyes started to take on on the tell-tale look of pink eye, so we stayed home and went to the doctor. Yep, pink eye. And Jimmy has it too. It also snowed a little bit yesterday.

This morning I woke up around 3 AM and had a scratchy throat. I currently feel like I’ve been hit over the head with a 2×4. Daniel’s school was closed today (good decision IMO) and it started snowing at 11:30 here. After 4 hours of heavy, big, fluffy flakes, the precipitation has transitioned to a mix of snow/freezing rain. Yay!

Again, we are home, snug and safe. We’ll “weather” whatever comes our way.  Keep your fingers crossed everyone feels better soon and that we don’t lose power. I might lose my mind.

Signing off from the frozen tundra known as North Carolina.

North Carolina: Abortion, Trickery and Callousness

I thought it might be good to have an update on HB695, the bill that would restrict abortion in NC.  Demonstrators against the bill joined the “Moral Monday” protests on Monday.  Yesterday, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services held a hearing on the bill and voiced concerns, urging lawmakers to study further before voting. This morning, Governor McCrory announced he planned to veto the bill unless significant changes were made (although no one knows exactly what that means). Based on those events, it appeared that the momentum behind passing HB695 was slowing, especially as some legislators started to express their discomfort because they are concerned with the economy, not social issues.  Unfortunately, the sneak attacks continue as Twitter is reporting that HB695 is unexpectedly being heard in committee without any notice.

Update: The House Judiciary just rolled out a new abortion bill as SB353.  There is no audio or live streaming from the room, but apparently demonstrators against it are filling the room. The bill was on motorcycle safety but now is about abortion. Changes include dropping ambulatory surgery regulations, requiring doctor to be there for first administration of RU486 and giving DHHS latitude to decide regulatory framework for clinics. Here’s an article with more information on the changes.


I keep starting posts with the intention of posting pictures from our beach trip but instead find myself compelled to rant about NC politics.  This is not a political blog, and I make no claim to be a pundit or knowledgeable in any way about politics. I’m just an ordinary citizen, a woman, a mother, and yes, a liberal. I care about fairness, reason and facts. I like to think I’m reasonably intelligent and mostly objective. I try hard to see both sides, to understand other points of views.

One of the things that bothers me about the recent goings on in NC is the callousness of the decisions made by the General Assembly. Where is the concern for all of NC’s citizens, especially those less able or with fewer means? How can any human being with an iota of decency cut unemployment benefits because they think it will spur the jobless to get off their asses and find work? NC has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the nation, and no one is living in the lap of luxury on unemployment. How can they cut off a very small source of income and not care about how these people will live?

How can they not care that they are effectively cementing lower achievement for poor children by preventing them from much-needed pre-K preparation? How can you look in the face of a 4-year-old and tell that child that essentially because his or her family is poor and therefore unworthy, they do not deserve a chance to thrive educationally? This editorial “The Decline of North Carolina” in the NY Times provides a great overview of some of the horrifying decisions the General Assembly has made.

I also don’t like sneaky moves and underhanded behavior, which the attempts to restrict abortion in the state clearly are despite legislators’ claims to have no motive other than ensuring the safety of abortion and therefore indicating their concern for women.

And of course, most of all, as a woman, I deplore attempts to restrict my ability to make the most personal of decisions for myself. It’s abortion today; perhaps tomorrow it could birth control or domestic violence or family building via assisted reproductive technology.

I’m a slacker, though. I haven’t been participating in any of the Moral Monday protests, even though I work 10 minutes from downtown. I follow activists on Twitter who are putting their money where their mouths are and demonstrating and advocating.  All I do is retweet, share information and post my unhelpful thoughts on what’s going on in NC. It’s not enough. It won’t be enough.

North Carolina’s Race to the Bottom

There are events that make you wonder if you live where you thought you did or if you woke up in, say, Saudi Arabia. If not Saudi Arabia, then possibly a more conservative state like Texas or Mississippi. Or even Ohio.  Or maybe you still do live in the state but wonder if you’ve been transported back in time, and it is actually 1953 or 1933 and not 2013.

The War on Women has come to North Carolina.  I watched the hateful and horrifying attempts to limit women’s reproductive freedom in Ohio and Texas. I was disgusted by the personhood initiatives in Mississippi and other states. You always think it can’t happen in your state until it does. I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the new conservative majority in the NC General Assembly passed Amendment One and tried to establish a state religion. Last week, the General Assembly approved a bill that would force educators to spread false information about abortion. And, starting July 1, 70,000 North Carolinians, including military personnel, lost extended unemployment benefits thanks to a new law; another almost 100,000 will lose benefits once their time ends. The thought process is that the loss of the cushy benefits will encourage citizens to find work. That might work if there were jobs to be found.

But the General Assembly’s actions yesterday take the cake and bring home the seriousness of the changes in North Carolina. HB695 was a bill that would prohibit the application of foreign law in family court.  Late yesterday, the Senate decided to amend the bill to include major restrictions on abortion:

  • Doctors would be required to remain in the room whether it is a medical or surgical abortion
  • Abortion clinics must go through licensing procedures similar to outpatient surgical centers (there is one clinic that would qualify)
  • Clinics must have transfer agreements with local hospitals

The end result is that it will be extremely difficult for a woman to obtain a safe, legal abortion in North Carolina. Let me reiterate: a legal abortion.

The Senate hoped to avoid demonstrations and news coverage like Texas faced last week, but thanks to social media, that was impossible.  Protesters have rallied outside the General Assembly.  However, unlike Texas, we can’t filibuster this bill to death.

Y’all, I’m scared and anxious. This is not the North Carolina I grew up with. And I’m pissed and angry because I am fucking tired of old white men (and women) trying to decide my reproductive choices. Treating me as if I am not entitled or able to make medical decisions for myself. Deciding that the life of the unborn is more important than my own life; until that life gets here of course.  Then it’s every child for him or herself. Better hope your only option for pre-k isn’t the state’s program because chances are, you’re shit out of luck with this legislature. Better hope you can afford private school because this legislature hates the public school system too.

I’m tired of it. NC General Assembly: get out of my uterus and stay out. You are destroying my state and the progress we made over the last 60 years.  Maybe you should go read that Bible  you’re so fond of quoting; I think you might be surprised at what you find.


As expected, the bill passed the Senate and now returns to the House for a final vote.

For shame, North Carolina.

Listen to Your Mother Raleigh-Durham: Location Update!

Awesome news!  We have a venue!  The Listen to Your Mother Raleigh-Durham show location will be at Kenan Auditorium on William Peace University’s campus May 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM.

I am so relieved to have a location for our show, and it looks like it will be perfect.  Having a place, date and time makes our show so real!  Marty and I agreed that we are going to keep our scope small for our first year of putting on a Listen to Your Mother show so we can learn the ins and outs and not become overwhelmed, but I promise you the show will be no less meaningful and awesome.

Stay tuned for audition information that will be announced next week!  We also are getting close to announcing our chosen charity.

If you aren’t in the Raleigh-Durham area, I urge you to check the other participating cities for audition dates and performance information.  You do not have to be a blogger to participate.

Thank you for your support.  I’m a little in shock that we will be having our show in less than 4 months, but it is SO exciting.

My 2013 Hobby: Listen to Your Mother is Coming to Raleigh!

Back in the day, I was theater nerd.  I started acting in community theater at the age of 8 and soon joined a children’s theater group and school theater, acting in plays and musicals throughout high school and college.  I even considered making it my major but decided against it because I like to eat and buy clothes off of eBay.

I haven’t done anything theater-related in a LONG time, but I missed it.  I didn’t miss the behind-the-scenes drama and diva behavior (actors and actresses can be intense y’all), but I missed the camaraderie of a group of people coming together, sacrificing evenings and weekends to create something and let’s be honest: there’s nothing quite like the high of performing.

We have a vibrant theater scene in the Triangle, and I had thought a tiny bit about trying to get involved when something serendipitous happened.

Have you heard of Listen to Your Mother? No?  Well, let me tell you all about it.  Listen to Your Mother (LYTM) is the brainchild of Ann Imig and is a series of readings by local writers across the nation to celebrate mothering and Mother’s Day.  Selected communities create a show that is entirely produced, directed and performed by those in their community.

Last year I watched the chatter on Twitter around the 2012 shows.  I wanted a show in my area!  Fortunately, many others felt the same way.  When the call for applications for 2013 opened, the Triangle bloggers mobilized, expressing interest and participation in whatever way needed.  Marty (@Canape), a fellow blogger, and I agreed to fill out the application and submit it.

Almost 2 weeks ago, we received word that our application for the Raleigh-Durham area had been accepted.  We were jubilant but couldn’t tell a soul until the formal announcement.  Torture!

Today the formal announcement was released, and the floodgates opened.  Marty and I are honored and so very excited to be bringing Listen to Your Mother to Raleigh-Durham in 2013.

We don’t have many details firmed up yet, but stay tuned!  We will be announcing audition and performance dates soon.

On a personal level, I am so proud to do this.  I mentioned a few times this year that I was floundering a bit, trying to expand beyond my comfort zone and figure out what I want to do.  Bringing Listen to Your Mother to the area is the perfect challenge and opportunity for me, and it will require me to exercise muscles that have been dormant for a long time. It is the perfect marriage of theater, writing and motherhood, all subjects dear to me.

I welcome this challenge and hope you all come along for the ride.

Braindead Blather

‘Twas the night after the election…

No.  Just…no.

I’m rather brain dead tonight, so you will be treated to rambling and nonsense. Sorry.

  • My household is very happy with the outcome of the election (obviously).  I really hope that magically we can restore some civility to our discourse and not call the President of the United States very thinly veiled racial slurs or cast doubt upon his citizenship or devotion to this country any longer.  I also hope that somehow a sense of bipartisanship permeates DC.  I can dream, right?
  • I’m attending the Internet Summit tomorrow, so you might want to mute me for a bit because I will likely tweet a lot, but it probably won’t be snarky.  Maybe.  Depends on the speakers.  I’m excited to attend because I attended the first few years but missed the last 2, so it’s good to be back.  I love learning about the latest in social media, search and email.  And I’m out of the office.  What’s not to love?
  • Daniel and I had a delightful conversation tonight about what he wants Santa to bring him.  His mind is getting so complex!  I love discovering his little personality.  I wish we could buy him everything.  I know that would likely be a disaster, but oh, the urge to give him everything his little heart desires is strong.
  • Remember how on Sunday I extolled how our first day with the time change had been fine?  Well, then the work week started.  It’s dark when we leave daycare, which is jarring, and Daniel has been much closer to melting down since he’s had no nap and is up a little bit longer than he normally would be.  It’s like walking a tightrope, but so far we’re handling the change OK and avoiding horrific meltdowns.  Our hope is that by the weekend, he will have  adjusted to the time change. Pretty, pretty please with whipped cream and cherries on top.  Truthfully, I think that we’re going to have to split up daycare duties sooner rather than later and have Jimmy take him to daycare while I pick him up so that I can leave earlier.  It felt like we had so little time with him in the evenings already, but the time change has really exacerbated it.
  • We really, really, really want to see Lincoln.  Maybe we can see it over Thanksgiving.
  • I wish North Carolina had gone for Obama like in 2008, but I’m OK with the outcome although I am a little concerned at what the newly-elected state government will do to education.  Again, prayers for good sense and compassion would be welcome.
  • I need a new fiction book to read.  Any recommendations?

I think that’s all the blather I have.  I hope to resume more interesting and substantive posts tomorrow.  Have an awesome Thursday!


Friday Foolishness: Going Out of Town (Again)

This week has been very “meh.”  I can’t find the motivation for much, including blogging because really, why am I so narcissistic to think it matters?  That’s when I see through the facade of condescendingly insisting that I blog for me and acknowledge that I like to be read (and when did that become a bad thing?). I know I post something like this every week, but the truth is that I’m in a funk.  I’m frustrated because it’s almost halfway through the year, and I haven’t accomplished much in any area.  My house is a mess.  I’m a mess. And when I think about trying to put words together that could possibly be worth anything, my harsh inner critic (she’s a real bitch) scoffs and brings me back down to earth: what could I possibly say about anything that matters?

I could get all soap-boxy because heaven knows, there is a lot of absurdity out there about which I could rant, but I don’t want to be “Oh there goes KeAnne getting all ranty again.”  That’s why I didn’t write anything about the Time breastfeeding/mom enough challenge cover.  I subscribe to Time (apparently one of the few since that seems to be the conclusion for why the magazine did the cover).  The dastardly issue is sitting in my magazine basket right now, and I’ll finally get to read it on the plane on Sunday.

I think that my lack of reaction to the cover (kudos to Time for having the balls to use such an asinine challenge on its cover) is that my particular route to motherhood already makes me concede that no, I’m not mom enough.  I can’t even participate in that conversation when I outsourced the carrying of my child.  Or, perhaps, I could conclude that yes, I AM mom enough because I wanted to be a mother so much that I outsourced it when my own equipment didn’t work.  But that’s stupid and not worth even asserting.

I think the likely reason I sort of shrugged was because the older I get, the more I feel that I am not <anything> enough. I’m comfortably mediocre.  There’s always going to be someone who does more, is better, is smarter, is prettier, is harder working, is funnier, is ballsier, is nicer, is more successful, is a better wife, is a better mother, is a better friend.  There can only be one superlative.  Everything else is just a fruitless comparison.  So I shrug although I do wonder how we let a style of parenting primarily advocated by a man dictate how we mother.

We’ve been dealing with our first daycare virus the last few days, and it is a doozy.  I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say that it is explosive…everything.  From everywhere.  Think HazMat suit or gas mask needed at least. And hours spent stripping beds and washing everything.  It’s so much fun, yet I feel like it’s a rite of passage and I now belong;  I am officially a daycare parent.

I’m flying to Orlando (again) on Sunday for another conference.  I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it after my last trip, so if  you could send up a little prayer to the travel deities, I’d appreciate it.  I’m excited to present at the conference because I feel like it’s my first real conference.  It’s not that the last conference didn’t count, but it was for a particular group.  Kind of like if  you sell Tupperware and attend a conference thrown by Tupperware.  This conference is for a professional society, and I submitted a session idea and was accepted.  It will be the first time I present on my Master’s Paper research, so it’s like my first big girl conference (And yes, I acknowledge that I spent the first three paragraphs of this post whining about how I haven’t accomplished anything this year. I own my hypocrisy.).  On the other hand, it’s a conference for engineers (blows a kiss at Mannlymama, who received her engineering degrees from my place of employment), so I feel a tad bit nervous about what to expect.  I’m also attending with three other coworkers and to be honest, they aren’t my favorites.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to, um, not see them through the throng of attendees.

Lastly I leave you with the below picture taken by coworkers on their way to an event near Burlington.  I promise you it is not doctored in any way.  Before I offended JJ by insinuating she was old, she corroborated its existence by telling me she saw it many times during her college years.  Apparently in NC, we have no problem legislating hate, but we permit obscenity and poor spelling on our signage.  Oh well.  It gave me a good chuckle when I saw it, and I hope it gives you one too.

I love North Carolina

How has your week been?

We Are the 39 Percent

Amendment One passed on Tuesday.  Hate and discrimination have been voted into the NC Constitution. I know that this amendment will not have a long life and we have lost the battle but not the war, but I am so disappointed.  Yes, I admit that internally I am calling those who voted for it without fully educating themselves on what the amendment would do nasty names, but overall, I just feel disappointed.

It was naive, but based on what I saw on Twitter on Facebook, I thought the amendment had a decent chance of failing.  I hoped that my fellow citizens who have a innate cultural disdain for the government telling them what to do would vote accordingly.

I was wrong, and I am disappointed.

I’m disappointed that my state felt the need to waste time and money on amendment that outlaws something that was already illegal.

I’m disappointed that conservatives sneaked the amendment into the primary, knowing and counting on turnout to be low.  This amendment was not voted on by the state’s entire electorate but by a small percentage.

I’m disappointed that conservatives are making marriage an issue in the 2012 election, trying to ensure that voters will vote against Obama because of their feelings on it instead of on economic policies when our nation is in a genuine economic crisis.

I’m disappointed that politicians and voters continue to fail to consider unintended consequences of dangerous, poorly-worded legislation.

I’m disappointed that I have to defend my state and its citizens against comments such as “North Carolignorance” and “I thought all the Northern transplants would override the state’s ignorant natives.”  I’m a native North Carolinian and proud of it, and there are many of us who voted against the amendment for a variety of reasons and while I’m ashamed and angry at what the state has done, I also must defend it, myself and others like me.  It’s a weird position to be in.

We’ve told people that we don’t care if Daniel is gay, and the response is always a gasp followed by “You don’t mean that!”  We do.  We don’t go around hoping he is, but the point is that we don’t care.  It’s not an issue to us.  Truly.  Our hope for him is that he finds love and if that love is for a man, woman or hermaphrodite, we don’t care.  Those voting for Amendment One are correct in that marriage is sacred.  I believe it is sacred.  It is sacred because it is two people coming together and pledging their lives to a larger union.   What does gender or sexuality have to do with that?

Here are reactions from other North Carolinians to the passage of Amendment One:

If you come across more posts, please send them to me so I can add them.  I want to curate them.

Amendment One: Don’t Embarrass Me, North Carolina

I have 99 things to do today and unfortunately, work is one of those things.

On Tuesday North Carolinians will have the opportunity to vote for or against Amendment One, an initiative that would amend the NC Constitution to define marriage as between one woman and one man as the only type that will be recognized by the state.  There are many reasons why this initiative is stupid and harmful, but the simplest one is because it already is defined that way legally in North Carolina.  God, I hate redundancy; don’t you?

You probably can guess which way I intend to vote.

Liberals aren’t the only ones concerned about the repercussions of this amendment passing, so instead of blathering about how I wish the government would stay out of my bedroom and uterus, I invite you to read posts from others, some of whom are conservative, on why they won’t vote for Amendment One:

And this one on how social media is being used by opponents of the initiative.

North Carolina, I am proud to be a citizen.  I love this state and its long history and usually progressive behavior.  You are better than this.  We are better than this.  Do the right thing on May 8 and vote against Amendment One.