Phobic Football

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Lori’s second son is gender nonconforming. Her blog gives readers a glimpse of her family’s journey to understand and educate, and to love her son for who he is.

Raising My Rainbow

Yay sportsing! Yay football! Yay Super Bowl!

FullSizeRender(2)Chase likes football. He played flag football for three years and really enjoyed it; but he didn’t enjoy getting teased by his peers for it. Apparently flag football isn’t cool. You know what is cool? Spending $1,000+ a year and giving up all of your weekends to play Pop Warner and risk a traumatic injury.

I don’t want my kids – or anybody – to be tackled. I can’t think of many times in life when tackling is necessary.

Our family agreed that when Chase started middle school he could start Pop Warner. We signed him up, paid the dues and cleared our schedules. I sprung for the safest helmet money could buy. The first week was all conditioning and no contact. That was a good week.

Then came the first practice in pads with full contact and it went like this:

Pop…

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History Unleashed – Saint Virginia

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shutterstock_59973502Virginia K. Johnson was a courageous woman who was called to help unfortunate women in Dallas, even though, at the time, it wasn’t proper for reputable ladies to speak of prostitution, not to mention leading an effort to rescue them from a life of depravity.

Born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1843, Virginia Knight came from a well-to-do family. During the Civil War, Virginia assisted Confederate soldiers and was imprisoned as a Confederate spy. She married William Johnson, a prominent attorney, when she was twenty-nine, and The Johnsons moved to Dallas in 1880.

William died within the next ten years, and Virginia began her efforts in charity work, going door to door requesting donations for local charitable causes. In 1893 she also became head of The King’s Daughters, a Methodist missionary society for women.

At age fifty, her life would take another turn when Virginia was approached by a local madam who asked for help in leaving the prostitution business and starting a new life.  Virginia and The King’s Daughters considered her request an appeal from God to help wayward women start new lives.  After requesting donations through an article in The Dallas Morning News, the group opened an interdenominational eight-room rescue house in Oak Cliff named Sheltering Arms.

In 1896, Virginia produced The King’s Messenger, a quarterly Methodist magazine that heralded five thousand subscribers, and through it, she continued to solicit donations for rescue work. In 1897, local resident Ann Cunningham donated a small parcel of land in East Dallas and ten-thousand dollars toward a new shelter.  However, it too would be inadequate for the number of women wanting assistance.

To be continued….

Review of “Call Girls 4-Emily” by Emma Jaye…

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The Call Girls is an erotic romance series which tells the stories of members of a high-end escort service in Brighton, England. Emily was about a British aristocrat, Emmeline Grinshaw-Flynn, who rebels against her life of nobility by engaging in sexual encounters, beginning at the age of fifteen, and she soon realizes she’s a nymphomaniac. Once grown, she decides the best way to satisfy her sexual cravings is to become an escort, even though she doesn’t need the money, with a family trust fund in the bank, and a successful info-tech business of her own.

Although Emily has a special place in her heart for her subservient father, her domineering mother who constantly schemes for position and title is a constant thorn in her side. At fifteen, under the guise of being the daughter of the housekeeper, Emily seduces Arty, an aristocratic friend of her brother’s, but is caught with him in her bed.  It’s a scandal that plagues not only her family but the boy’s family as well.

Years later, at her brother’s engagement party, she finds that the brother of the bride-to-be is none other than Arty, the boy she seduced years ago. But even worse, his father is one of her escort clients, who has an odd sexual fetish no less. Blackmail and ultimatums ensue, and Emily is forced to leave her escort career to save her family’s reputation. And she must sexually occupy Arty while his father finds him the perfect wife.

But Emily finds she is uncharacteristically attracted to this man, and can’t turn off her desire for him. She’s obsessed with his quick wit, casual demeanor, and the erotic pleasure he gives her. The dragon tattoo which wraps around his torso seems to be always in her mind. But Emily finds that she’s not the only one who’s kept secrets – what he’s been hiding could destroy his family’s noble standing forever.

Along the way, Emily also becomes involved with her friend Ryan, and his significant other Vincent, a business tycoon whose unrelenting demands force Ryan to reexamine their relationship. Sexual encounters between Ryan and Vincent, and then all three, confuse Emily’s sense of friendship. In the end, will she find out who truly loves her for who she really is?

Call Girls 4 – Emily is sensual and erotic, a novel replete with sexual encounters of varying types – women with men, men with men, and threesome’s, even some BDSM thrown in for good measure.

I’ve never read erotic romance before, but I enjoyed the book. The plot was fast-paced and included surprises along the way, and the story was very entertaining. I recommend it to those who aren’t afraid to be a little naughty.

Review of The Good Goodbye by Carla Buckley

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20868266The Good Goodbye is labeled a domestic thriller. And it is that. A murder investigation interwoven with a family drama.

Two cousins, Arden and Rory, are more like sisters, sharing everything. Their lives are intertwined in ways their parents have no knowledge of. Lies told and secrets kept. But the girls soon discover their parents hide their own secret truths, as well.

You let yourself open, like a flower with soft petals, but you should know better, because everyone lies. Didn’t I tell you?

One night the unimaginable happens: the girls’ college dorm-room catches fire. A boy is dead, and both Arden and Rory suffer critical injuries. Most of the plot takes place in the hospital where their parents hold vigil, not knowing if their girls will survive.

And demanding attention is the homicide detective wanting answers that none of the parents have. They soon realize they don’t truly know their daughters. Who caused the fire? Was it an accident, or was it murder?

I like the format of the book. Although the current action unfolds in the hospital after the fire, the backstory is told through alternating chapters. Buckley tells the tale from not only both Arden and Rory’s perspectives, but also from Arden’s mom, Natalie’s, as well.

The plot is fast-paced, with teasers interspersed to keep the reader guessing, speculating what truth will finally be revealed. I also enjoy the way Buckley portrays the emotional turmoil of waiting to learn if a loved-one will survive. In limbo, only going through the motions of living. Experiencing circumstances that are so surreal you’re not sure if you’re awake or dreaming. Not able to comprehend what the doctors are saying, because they just can’t be talking about your child, who was healthy just the day before.

If you’re ready for a good domestic thriller full of lives-intertwined, secrets, and lies, I recommend The Good Goodbye.

A big thank you to Bantam Books/Random House for providing me with this advance copy to read and review.

History Unleashed – Prostitution in Dallas in the Early 20th Century

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shutterstock_59973502Although in the late nineteenth century, many Texas cities passed laws against the practice of prostitution, they didn’t enforce them in any meaningful way. City government was also keenly aware of the money collected from prostitution houses in the vice districts – fines and rents that all knew were to allow the continued operation of the establishments. Prostitution was also thought by many to be a necessary evil – it wasn’t a question of whether prostitutes should still be active, but where they would conduct their trade.

In the first part of the twentieth century, when Frog-town was to be converted to The Reservation – the legalized red-light district in Dallas – wealthy businessmen bought residential homes and land to turn into commercial real estate where the red-light district could expand.  Efforts by the reformers, those such as the Reverend Upchurch and the North Dallas League, to close down the vice districts was met with anger by the poor owners of these residential areas, knowing that if the vice districts were illegalized, they would not be able to sell their residences as prime real estate.

Anti-prostitution crusaders worked to shut down the vice districts, but their efforts were ineffective until 1913, when the Dallas Council of Churches decided they could no longer accept the vice districts, and pressured Dallas City Council to shut down Frogtown. The women of Frogtown were given until 6 pm, November 3, 1913, to leave, or be arrested.

(Information gathered from The Texas State Historical Association and Dallas’ Frogtown – A True Tale of Prostitution by David Kirkpatrick)

Review of Inside the O’Brien’s by Lisa Genova

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Inside O'BriensIn Inside the O’Briens, Lisa Genova takes us on a journey through living with Huntington’s Disease (HD).

The O’Briens are a typical, blue-collar Boston family. Joe has been a policeman his entire life. He and his wife, Rosie, and their four children live in a three-story walk-up in Charlestown. Joe’s been a Townie his entire life. Life has been good – until odd things begin to happen with Joe’s motor skills. First inexplicably dropping things, then the inability to keep his feet still. Joe hasn’t felt the need to visit a doctor for twenty years, but after being chastised at work for not being able to keep formation, Rosie insists on taking him to the doctor. A neurological exam, and blood test, reveal that Joe has Huntington’s Disease.

Hours later, alone in his cruiser, he noticed his hands gripped around the steering wheel, shaking so violently that the entire car shimmied.

But the worst part is that each child has a fifty-fifty chance of having it as well, and if they have the gene, a fifty-fifty chance of passing it to their own children.

Genova takes us on a journey through Joe’s earliest symptoms of anger and violence, to his later inability to control his muscle movement. In addition, she explores the very terrifying prospect of genetic testing that Joe’s children must consider. Is it better to know that you have the gene and will one day suffer the full effects, most likely dying by the age of fifty? Or is it better to live without knowing your fate?

And what if the results are negative? Can one deal with the guilt of health when those you love are doomed to disease and death? How do you act and what do you say when those you love are battling a life-altering illness?

She feels that she has to be so careful now, especially around her family, worrying about what not to say, what not to notice. Sunday suppers in that cramped kitchen are particularly excruciating, where every spoken and withheld word seems to stomp on a minefield of eggs, crushing them into sharp shards that slice her lungs, making it painful to breathe.

In Inside the O’Briens, Genova takes us into the minds of a family whose life has been turned upside down by the prognosis of consistently worsening debilitation, and explores how different people cope in different ways. The story leaves readers with a vivid picture of living with HD, and fills us with the obsession that her characters feel as they struggle to deal with lives that have been forever altered.

In the book, the terms Huntington’s Disease and HD have been used an inordinate amount of times, almost overwhelming the reader, and I can only wonder if this was Genova’s way of showing us how one can get lost in the negative energy that living with a chronic illness can cause?

But in the end, we are reminded that even though fate can be almost cruel in doling out undeserved suffering to good people, one can still live life with thankfulness and grace, enjoying and appreciating every moment that we’re given.

I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster for providing an Advance Reader’s Copy for reading and review.

History Unleashed-Prostitution in the 19th Century

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shutterstock_59973502In anticipation of the publication of Life Before, I thought I’d share some interesting historical information about some of the issues dealt with in the book – prostitution, social reform, and child labor, to name a few.

Prostitution has been prevalent in Texas since before it became part of the United States. Then after the Civil War, the industry grew, with the eight largest Texas cities having several square blocks of vice district near the downtown business districts.  Dallas had Frogtown and Boggy Bayou, Houston had Happy Hollow, Fort Worth had Hell’s Half Acre, and Austin had Guy Town.

During the Civil War, prostitutes were attracted to the army encampments.  Some even served as laundresses in the camps, but many worked at the settlements that emerged near the Army forts. The prostitution business also flourished with the rise of the ranching industry, the oil industry, and in the towns which prospered from the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railroad in the 1880’s.

Although prostitutes also worked in saloons and gambling houses, their primary residence was the brothels, or bawdy houses, run by madams, or the lower-priced crib houses. The crib tenements charged customers twenty-five cents and upwards, while the more upper-scale brothels charged as much as three to five dollars for services.

(Information provided by The Texas State Historical Association)