redefine normal

Redefining Normal

I’ve always thought that the Gryffindor boys’ discussion at their first Welcoming Feast should have raised alarm bells, so here we go. I’ve kept things canon-compliant/plausible where possible.

“Enter.” At Severus’s drawled permission the owner of the timid knock slips into the room, his orange hair bright in the dim light.

“Mr Weasley. And what pray tell brings a Gryffindor to the dungeons?”

The boy comes closer to stand nervously before his desk. After a moment of fidgeting Severus sees him take a deep breath, obviously gathering what little Gryffindor courage he possesses.

“Well, you see, I was going to go to Professor McGonagall, after all she is our Head of House, but I never see her in the dorms or common room, none of us do, and then I heard that you were the one to come to in these sort of situations, and, well, I need to know…” His babbling trails off as his courage fails beneath his professor’s scowl.

“Mr Weasley. Get to the point, or get out and stop wasting my time.” The threat seems to work.

“What’s the definition of abuse?” The first year blurts out the words, his face turning red to match his hair.

“Why, in Merlin’s name…” He looks at him strangely; why is a Gryffindor, a Weasley, asking him this question? The one topic that will cause him to put aside his snarky attitude and respond in all seriousness. His blood chills as a thought crosses his mind. Surely the boy can not be asking for himself? Surely he is not being asked to intervene in the family of red-headed terrors? He shakes his head and turns his attention back to the nervous child before him, he is getting ahead of himself.

“Very well, Mr Weasley. I will answer your question, but then I do expect you to tell me why you find it necessary to know. There are four main categories of abuse; physical, psychological or emotional, neglect, and sexual. The non-accidental infliction of injury or pain. Verbal assault, threats, intimidation, or emotional manipulation. The withholding or lack of provision of necessities both physical and emotional. Any sexual contact with a minor or without consent.”

The boy nods to himself and Severus marvels at the expression on his face. Gone is the earlier nervousness, instead he is serious, thoughtful, taking in his words and comparing them to some previous concept. His manner is completely different to what he has seen so far, and he waits to discover what has prompted the change. Blue eyes meet his and he suddenly finds himself wanting to look away. He doesn’t want to hear what he will say next; it is a Gryffindor problem, not his. Yet the boy’s expression says otherwise.

“Professor, I’ve got some new definitions for you. Neville, Seamus, Harry. Neville, Dean, Harry. Possibly Dean, probably Neville, definitely Harry. And, bloody hell, I hope not Harry.”

The teacher in him notes his language, but the rest is reeling. When he saw the direction the conversation was taking he knew it would be bad, but all of them? And Potter. Perfect Prince Potter. He is supposed to be pampered and arrogant like his father, not… this. His mind shies away from the thought but runs into another equally uncomfortable. If he never saw it in any of them – and even this early in the year, he should have – what else has he missed?

“How…?” For once, his mind is too incoherent for words, but the Weasley boy understands.

“The thing you have to remember, Professor, is that I grew up with five older brothers, including the twins; I know how to read people. Besides, we talk, in the dormitory; most of them don’t really understand that what happens is wrong.” His voice is hard and Severus has trouble remembering that he is just an eleven year old.

“Dean, you know, is a muggleborn. They didn’t know what was happening when his accidental magic started, his parents thought he was possessed or something, tried nearly everything they could think of to fix it. He hasn’t gone into a lot of detail, but I know that discovering it was magic really didn’t help anything. I think he almost had to run away to come here.” This is not a story Severus has heard often, working with his mostly pureblood Slytherins, but it is more common among those from other Houses. He makes a mental note; this is a situation that will need to be resolved before the summer holidays.

“Seamus had it slightly better, at least his mum knew about magic and was able to help him, a bit. Didn’t help with his Da though. He’s muggle; she couldn’t tell him about magic until after the wedding, he didn’t take it too well. Things sound like they’re pretty much fine as long as his Da can forget about it. It seems that he’s learnt how to feel his accidental magic building, and to hold it in it until he can release it again out of his Da’s sight. Unfortunately, the results then tend to be slightly explosive…” Severus nods, that would account for the boy’s tendency towards pyrotechnics, then. He tries hard to avoid focusing on the rest of the explanation; the child’s situation far too familiar for comfort.

“Neville, on the other hand, has the opposite problem. For years his family thought he was a Squib, and kept half-killing him to try and draw his magic out. When they finally did, it was by dropping him out of a tower window; they were more excited about the magic than they were about him surviving! Now, he’s still not really convinced he’s a proper wizard and is terrified of disappointing people and not living up to his father’s example.” He winces. Blasted Gryffindors. That… explains a lot about the boy. As frustratingly inept as the child can be, even he knows that approach can only have made things worse.

“As for Harry, I don’t even know where to start with those bloody muggle relatives of his. I mean, his bedroom up until a month ago was a cupboard; literally! From what I can tell, if you think human house elf working for a Death Eater family you get the idea. And the worst is, he seems to think he deserves it.” No. That is not Potter’s son, Lily’s son. It can’t be…

“Professor, those are my dorm mates. Four out of five. Think about it; that is the boys, of one year, of one House. What is wrong with the world?”

Severus feels his preconceptions crumbling around him. Thinking of the list of students from his own House, and those who have been uncovered in Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, for once he can only agree.

It would be easy to read the Columbiners’ public performance of extreme sexuality as worrying, especially because the girls involved are so young. But is there really anything new going on here? Teen girl sexuality—like, well, adult human sexuality—can edge up against the dark and the illogical, even when the crush object isn’t a murderer. What’s more disconcerting, perhaps, is being confronted what teen girls, or a subset of teen girls, really want. If a focus group of middle-aged white men got together to design a teen idol, they’d most likely come up with someone who looked a lot like the glossy-haired, button-nosed Bieber. Klebold and Harris, in contrast, are as unmanufactured as you can get. They look like awkward seventeen year-olds from the 90s. Their clothes don’t fit right; they haven’t entirely grown into their faces. Crushing on them is an act of resistance that bonds the Columbiners together.

Because, in the most positive sense, what the Columbiners are doing is working through an obsession with the support of a non-judgmental community. They don’t have to explain themselves to each other, which seems to be a source of great relief. Along with their more explicit or swoony posts, the girls share their anxieties about upcoming history tests and awkward moments in class. They are vocally anti-bully. They upload pictures of themselves and ask if they’re ugly; “you don’t know you’re beautiful,” the Columbiner universe choruses back. Holmies post helpful information about psychosis in between their #dirtyholmiesconfessions, and Columbiners act as one another’s suicide watch. In living out their obsession online, the Columbiners are redefining “normal” teen girl behavior through finding safety in numbers.

—  Rachel Monroe, The Killer Crush: The Horror Of Teen Girls, From Columbiners To Beliebers
Frostbite Falls

I recently saw an ad for a CW show called “Riverdale.” 

My first thought was, “Ha! That sounds like the high school that Archie and his friends attend in the Archie comics!” 

As the ad played I thought, “Hey that weeping character with a gun pointed to his head even looks a little like Archie… and that other character looks like Veronica… and, wait a minute…” 

Yes. The CW actually made a gritty reboot of Archie Comics. Is this a bad SNL sketch or YouTube parody? Nope. No, it’s the real thing. 

So I figure, why fight it? Why not embrace the trend and push it further? With that in mind, I submit… 


Frostbite Falls (Wednesday’s at 9pm on the CW) 

The pilot episode introduces the audience to Frostbite Falls, a small rural town in northern Minnesota that sits so close to the Canadian border that the locals joke that they don’t know which accent to use. 

But Frostbite Falls has a secret. 

A hundred feet below the snowy streets, lies a hidden bunker that acts as headquarters for Project Andalusia, the government’s first and last line of defense against cyberterrorism. And they’ve just been briefed by the Pentagon that an anonymous tip suggests there’s a new unidentified threat heading their way. 

Meanwhile, at Frostbite Falls High, a couple of new students are shaking up the status quo: 

Like B.B., a freshman who managed to make the varsity basketball team when the previous all-star Jason suddenly has to transfer schools just two weeks into the season. 

And Natasha, a dark-haired femme fatale who upturns the school’s entire social structure, shocking the entire town because everyone knows that the social hierarchy of high schools are completely fixed and unchangeable, and teenagers never make new friends, alter their tastes, or redefine themselves under normal circumstances. 

And yet, she somehow manages to dethrone Kimberly, the one girl that EVERYONE (regardless of age, race, social status, or area of interest) acknowledges as THE single most popular and socially powerful person in school. 

Also, there’s a generic punk-pop music montage showing Natasha putting on makeup and B.B. feeding squirrels in the park (which feels really out of place.) 

Watch as inquisitive teenagers and inept adults, played by white, conventionally attractive actors, grapple with questions like: 

  • Will the school still be able to win the championship without Jason there to lead the team? 
  • What deep dark secret is Natasha using to blackmail Kimberly? 
  • Where did these B.B. and Natasha come from?  

Also watch as those same teenagers and adults fail to grapple with more obvious questions like: 

  • Where are these kids’ parents? 
  • Why do all these kids supposedly between 15-17 look like their in their mid to late twenties? 
  • How is it that not even the teachers seem to know B.B.’s full name? Don’t they have an attendance sheet or anything? 

The plot thickens as Natasha and B.B. meet up in the woods one night, not in popular kid clothes, but in spandex and kevlar clothes, mysteriously at the top-secret entrance of the top-secret bunker that houses top-secret Project Andalusia. 

Not only that, but they’ve ditched their generic American accents for vaguely Eastern-European accents. (Though for some reason, they’re still speaking English.) 

Most mysteriously of all, away from listening ears, Natasha begins calling B.B. by his real name: “Boris” (which is obviously way too Eastern-European to not be suspicious to an audience whose cultural narrative is still defined by the Cold War, despite most of them being born after the Cold War already ended.) 

Hang on to the edge of your seat during several suspenseful minutes of action scenes and lazy writing, resulting in Natasha and Boris inexplicably escaping from overly-complex security system and underly-competent security guards. 

But just when it seems our roguish villains have completely escaped into the woods with their mysterious USB drive payload, the plot thickens like a bowl of instant oatmeal that was microwaved for two minutes too long!! 

Because suddenly, one of those squirrels from the park jumps out of the trees and grabs the USB drive. (Ha! And you thought that earlier montage with the squirrels was pointless! Shows what YOU know about good directing!) 

The pair chase after the squirrel and get separated in the woods. After a long pursuit, Boris corners the squirrel and pulls out his gun. Suddenly, there’s a snap of twigs nearby, and Boris spins around to see a huge moose that must have somehow crossed over the nearby Canadian border because remember this is a town that is REALLY close to Canada, like that one local said at the beginning. 

The moose comes rushing forward, and the scene cuts to black. 

For the final scene, we see Natasha sitting by a hospital bed where Boris lies unconscious, hooked up to mildly annoying-sounding medical monitors. She whispers a monologue to him, until he begins to stir. He looks at her, and opens his bandaged hand. Inside his clenched fist, he holds the crushed USB drive, which all of the doctors and nurses and paramedics somehow missed when treating him. 

He locks eyes with Natasha, and through clenched teeth, says just two words. 

“Moose!! Squirrel!!” 

When the Moon fell in love with the Sun (All was golden in the sky)

Word Count: 634

Genre: I seriously do not know, fluff I guess, AU and definitely something different.

Warnings: None, except that I wrote this in 15 minutes AND HAVE NOT PROOFREAD IT SO BEWARE ANY GRAMMATICAL/STORY MISTAKES

(Very loosely based off of When the Day Met the Night by P!ATD however I listened to a completely different song while writing it which I think encompasses the mood of the fic better, so click here if you want to listen to my recommended song to listen to while reading this fic)

—————————————-

The Sun decided one day, that he ought to have a name.

Of course his name was already Sun to the humans he endowed with his bright rays of hope. However, the Sun reasoned, there were plenty of Suns, now that humans had emerged from their caves and finally had started to explore beyond their star system.

And so the Sun gave himself a name, he decided on Phil, the word for friend in the ancient language spoken by humans in a land of oracles and gods two thousand (or was it two hundred thousand?) years ago. For that was the Sun wanted to be, a friend to all who were under his protection.

But Phil decided, that he could not differentiate himself from the rest of the universe, without also giving a name to his constant companion in the heavens of the Earth. The Moon, who silently passed Phil by only when the day was golden, his light gently redefining the possibilities of normal and guarding the human race from on high when darkness took over the Earth.

He decided upon Dan, he who judges, for in the ancient times of land, stone and river, all justice lies and secrets were revealed in the light of the Moon.

All was golden, when the day met the night, and the Sun, for the first time in millennia, spoke with the Moon.

It happened just as the two crossed paths in the twilight of the fading day, Phil said only four words.

“Your name is Dan.”

The moon regarded the sun with liquid copper eyes, watching the horizon from where the setting sun had disappeared long after he had sunk below the far-off mountains at the edge of the world. Dan curled up into a ball as he began to traverse the sky, reflecting the life-giving light of the Sun who had finally given him a meaning

The next time the Moon met the Sun, the Moon asked four words back.

“What is your name?”

“Phil.”

And so the celestial dance of the heavens continued, as simple questions turned into simple conversations, and simple conversations turned into pure, unadulterated laughter, ringing across the sky at dusk.

And as Phil gave Dan the light necessary for him to shine, Dan gave Phil meaning, a reason to keep on glowing.

The celestial bodies shimmered in the sky, the background of their dance sometimes the deep blue of Phil’s eyes, and sometimes the coal black of Phil’s fringe.

Dan waited impatiently for the transition periods to arrive, when all seemed as golden as a dream.

And when Dan sniffled and bit back tears in the night, afraid that Phil might never return from the darkness, Phil was always there at sunrise, waiting with words, then friendly touches, and, eventually, bone-crushing hugs.

The Sun had given the Moon light to shine, just as the Moon had given the Sun a reason to glow.

So it was no surprise that the heavens seared and shimmered when finally they shone together.

Dan rested his forehead against Phil’s, sensing the impending cover of darkness trying to steal away Dan’s fading memory of only milliseconds before, the feeling of Phil’s infinite glow shining against his lips.

Before either could speak however, the moment passed, leaving them to only slip away from each other.

And on the other side of possibly the longest night in an infinite chain, stretching far back into the dusky dreams of beginning, Dan met Phil with a searing crash of their lips against each other and Dan’s breath ghosting three simple words over and over in their limited time in their chain of infinities,

“I love you.”

And all was golden, when the night met the day, when the autumn met the spring, when the Moon met the Sun.

All was golden, when Dan met Phil.

Under normal circumstances, Rua was anything but a patient person, however, he found himself in anything but a normal situation. He laughed at the idea of normal now, once Ruka became a Signer the idea of normal went out the window. Even by redefining his definition of normal to include the Duel Monster Spirits and the war between the Signers and Dark Signers. 

Because he was now one of them.

It was all Divine’s fault, yet when he thought about it… dying to Divine gave him the chance to protect Ruka. So in a way, Rua owed it to Divine, without that fateful duel he wouldn’t have the power to protect Ruka. He’s kept his existence a secret, only appearing with his hood up. He only wanted to duel one person, and that was his sister. So he allowed his fellow Dark Signers deal with the rest, and watched as one fell after another waiting for a moment to strike. 

His patience finally paid off as he stood at the pre-determined site, he was very aware that the rest of the Signers were distracted leaving Ruka the only one remaining. His hood still hid his face as he heard footsteps approaching.

“You came.”


@ancientfairyguardian

The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.
— 

Our Imaginary Weight Problem - The New York Times

This is three years old but still not common knowledge.

Matt Ruins The Shit Of The Sex and Gender Divide (part 1)

Sex and gender are the same thing. Feel free to stop reading here if that statement makes blood spill from your ears in rage. I like you have been taught since I was young that sex was biological and gender was social and that one does not equate to the other. In this article I will go over why this is inaccurate and why it is a problem that this is how we think about gender.

In university a professor of mine gave a slideshow presentation on sex and gender. In the slideshow there was a diagram labeled the “genderbread person” it was presented like a scientific cross section of human beings. It divides our identities into not only 2 categories (sex and gender) but into 4 categories: Our identity, orientation, sex and expression. This is it here…

First of all it points to the source of sexual orientation as the heart. Can you think of anything less scientific than that? The only thing contained within your heart is blood. Secondly sexual orientation should have absolutely no bearing on how we identify ourselves on a basic human level. Human beings have a huge array of sexual preferences, all of which are inconsequential to how we conduct ourselves and interact with the world. For example my love of a certain kind of music will not change based on whether I like blondes or brunettes. Why include it as a fundamental explanation of who I am at my core? Its inclusion in this setting just enforces the idea that sexual preferences have a bearing on personality. This kind of thinking will lead to stereotyping and prejudice. What someone is attracted to sexually tells you nothing about that person other than…what they are attracted to sexually.

What would you call someone who is biologically male, but is more feminine than masculine? If you answered anything other than a man you might need some deprogramming. If a man is very feminine and deviates from what is typically seen as masculine this does not make him a woman. It makes him a feminine man. If a woman is more masculine than feminine this does not make her a male…it makes her a masculine woman. There is nothing wrong with either of these scenarios, this is the simplest and easiest way to explain sex/gender. Occam’s razor dictates that the simplest explanation is often the best. Saying I am a man is far simpler than saying I am a male masculine heterosexual man. That is a convoluted and unnecessary definition of who I am. How you think about yourself does not change what you are. It is okay to be a man who feels very feminine you should not need to identify yourself as a woman when you are biologically male just to feel better about being feminine. (and vice versa)

The fact that it is possible to deviate from what is typical to your sex does not mean you do not belong to that group. The reason propaganda like the genderbread person exists is to avoid anyone feeling different or abnormal. Rather than pushing the message that it is okay to be abnormal, it is okay to be different…we are trying to redefine words and redefine normal to suit a social agenda.

Yes socialization has an impact on how our personalities are formed and this is okay. It is okay for people to deviate from their traditional roles and expectations it is also okay for people to not deviate from those traditional expectations. It’s okay to socialize boys to be boys and girls to be girls. In psychology you learn that biology and socialization compliment each other. Your biology will affect how you interact with the world, which will in turn impact how the world interacts with you. This is one of the reasons humans have always been a sexually dimorphic species. There is nothing wrong with expecting men to be masculine and women to be feminine, so long as you are willing to accept that it is not always the case. No need to modify language and no need to rage against “the social construct of gender.” Just because not everyone fits neatly inside the lines does not mean we need to erase the lines; All that will do is cause more unnecessary confusion.

This is one of the goals of feminism, to destroy the concept of gender because they believe the only reason for any variation or difference in the sexes is how we actively condition children to be. This is also one of the areas where feminists will claim that feminism is beneficial to men. They say it is harmful to men that there are standards for manliness. If the fact that some men will not live up to societal standards of masculinity is reason enough to lash out at the concept of masculinity… there is something wrong with how we view the world. Why not abolish every positive concept we have? No matter what it is there are bound to be people who do not meet the standard and feel badly because of it. Let’s get rid of the concept of intelligence, people who are not smart wont feel so bad if nobody is called smart. There is nothing wrong with masculinity and manliness being held to a certain standard, just like there is nothing wrong with femininity and having standards for being feminine. Own up to what you are, and what you are not. Accept the things about you that are not pleasant as well as the things that are. It is not the worlds job to protect you from bad feelings, so accept who you are or actively work to improve yourself (Really Do Both).

(these ideas will seem ‘problematic’ for the trans community. I will address this and talk about dysphoria in my next post, which will serve as a part 2 of sorts to this post.) 

Redefining normal

The first gift came the second week of summer.

Her mother had crashed into on an early morning jaunt to the station, having been called in for something or the other before the sun had risen, and her cursing had woken Caroline. At first she had feared her mother was in some sort of mortal peril, dread filling her instantly and Caroline had flashed down to her, fangs bare and ready to fight off the attacker.

She hadn’t expected to find her mother massaging a banged knee as she tried to wipe coffee off her shirt that was already soaked through, all the while glaring at the mini fridge sitting on their porch, a large black ribbon tied around it with a bow on top. Caroline probably shouldn’t have laughed at her mother’s pain, but the sight was comical, even when the glare was directed at her.

“Do I even want to know?” Liz asked, sighing at the fact she would need to change and be even more behind than she was currently. Not to mention the fact that running into the fridge and having coffee spilled all over her had hurt.

Caroline shook her head, not really having an answer for why the mini fridge was sitting on their porch in the first place. Or, well, she had a feeling she knew why it was there and who it was from, but she really didn’t want to hash that out with her mother. “I’ll get it inside and I’ll do the laundry,” Caroline assured her instead, already lifting the fridge from the porch and bringing it to the living room where she had been putting the rest of her ‘bring to college’ items.

Keep reading

The meta-analysis, published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewed data from nearly a hundred large epidemiological studies to determine the correlation between body mass and mortality risk. The results ought to stun anyone who assumes the definition of “normal” or “healthy” weight used by our public health authorities is actually supported by the medical literature.

The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.
2014: a year of
changed plans
long heartache
questioned habits
loud laughter
challenging work
life-changing surprises
illnesses abounding
new diagnoses
medication mixups and fixes
unrequited feelings
God’s hand in everything
permanent designs
stepping one foot in front of the other
jumping for joy
chronic fatigue of mind and body
growing up (a lot)
walking on stilts
important decisions
spilled ink
eraser shavings
new traditions
strong contrasts
music made and cherished
quiet reflection
mountains climbed
astonishing successes
long hugs
tough news
lying in the dark
struggles with forgiveness
countless apologies
grave contemplations
patience beyond limits
hands to hold
trying again
getting back up
speaking out
revolving doors
even (and uneven) keel
continual experimentation
crushing disappointment
even stronger hope
sneakers tied
laps swum
waiting, leaving, staying, wondering
choosing to walk alone
never truly being alone
independence and interdependence
excess in nearly everything
redefining “normal”
many moves
altered expectations
blacks, whites, grays, rainbows
yeses, nos, maybes, I don’t knows, incompletes
unapologetic authenticity and vulnerability
learning (and relearning)
forgetting (and not being able to forget)
holy water, prayers, amens
intersectionality in action
worldwide cries for justice
feminism lived out
ignited passions
broken hearts
counted blessings
warped perceptions of time
deep appreciation
sweet (and sad) remembrance
shifts in ability
Tumblr and Netflix marathons
accommodations made
planes, trains, automobiles, handicap permits, orthotic inserts, wheelchairs, back pillows
eyebrows raised
withheld judgments
weakness and strength
empathic warmth
ever-shifting but ever-present community
couch cuddles
sweet sisters
crazy music kids
social justice warriors
new friends, old friends, online friends, closest friends, missing friends
finding my way home
blood thicker than water
relics of the past
sketched treasure maps
murdered perfectionism replaced by “good enough”-ism
joy in little (and big) things
words written, read, spoken, withheld
recognition and humility
honest self-compassion
refreshed self-image
tentative peace with an imperfect body and mind
answers received (and not)
wisdom from all corners of the earth
celebrations and funerals
growing pains and perks
tears shed
squeals of delight
seeds sown
desperate optimism that became reality
flowers blooming
birds chirping
sunrises and sunsets
marvelous views
purposeful living (even when I could not see it)
constant curiosity
permanence and ephemerality
recognition and confusion
contentment with contentment
unbreakable spirit
unquantifiable and unchanging love
time pressing on.
—  10/365 (e.f.a.)

anonymous asked:

For your boyfriend, how has being with Helaine changed your life or you if it has??

Sorry for the delayed response. I got addicted to sunflower seeds. They took over my every waking thought to the point where I couldn’t focus on the important things like my job and relationships. I’ve finally admitted this problem to myself, but even now I have a cheek full of salty heaven electrifying my taste buds. I digress.

I wouldn’t be the man I am today without Helaine, and that is a fact. She truly has no idea how much she has changed me. I know this in the curious way she looks at me when she is trying to figure out what the hell I am thinking, and trust me, she is justified. I can be weird, but then again so can she. Together, we redefine normal. My life couldn’t be this great without her by my side to fuck shit up. Figuratively speaking. See, we don’t trash grocery store parking lots, disorganize clothes in the department store, set fires to cars, or put down people who give us dirty looks. We dance in the parking lot, put things back where we found them, set fireworks on fire, and wave hello to everyone we see. Somehow that seems to go against the status quo in this modern world where so many try to stay quiet as if it helps convey peace to others. It is a blessing to have Helaine in my life so we can show people that it is fun to be socially liberal. She reminds me too. I hope I remind her at times. Undoubtedly, she makes me a better person and my life a better one to live.