Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Make Way for Ducklings (Rant)

I'd like to preface this by saying that I think I'm so annoyed by this because as a teacher, I'm used to seeing parents defend indefensible behavior in their kids. Too many parents really don't believe discipline is ever warranted, and even after this particular confrontation was resolved, it left me feeling like no one learned anything valuable. The entitlement is just. so. frustrating.

Tuesday, I went to the park for speed work. When I parked, I noticed a boy of 9 or 10 standing near the water. He was pulling bark off a tree and tossing it at the ducklings that have been in the lake lately. His mom was standing nearby, watching him.
As I prepared to run, I kept on eye on him. He wasn't being malicious, but I felt his actions were inappropriate and I couldn't understand why his mom was letting him do this. For one, he was ripping bark off a perfectly healthy tree. For another, he was throwing stuff at ducklings. He stopped, however, as the ducks moved off, and I began my first lap.

At the end of the first lap, I noticed the boy had moved to follow the ducks and was once again tossing bark and twigs at them. I motioned to his parents (his dad had joined them) to see if I could speak to them, but they ignored me. Or didn't see me. Or something.

So I put on my best nice-teacher-face and approached them.

Me: Hey buddy, you know, we shouldn't throw things at animals.

Boy: I'm not. I'm throwing it like...like this. [Tosses the bark near but not AT the ducks.] They think it's food.

Me: Oh I see. Well, you know, they're very little. What if you accidentally hit one?

Dad: Is there a problem?

Mom: [comforting son, who looks confused/contrite but not really upset] It's okay honey. [To me] They think it's food.

Me: [Speaking to all three, still in my nice-teacher-voice] I was just telling him that he might accidentally hit one of the ducklings and he shouldn't throw things at them.

Now, the dad immediately got defensive, and I get that. Some out-of-breath stranger came jogging over and is admonishing his kid, however kindly, while he's right there. But that's the point, isn't it? I wouldn't have had to say anything if he'd been doing his job as a parent.

(I also got the impression, based on how Mom spoke to me and comforted her son, that she seemed quite nice and if it had just been her, this confrontation might have gone differently.)

I'm going to be honest - I can't recall all of this conversation exactly because I got my hackles up, but basically Dad told me to mind my business. I told him, "I was being nice about it, but he shouldn't throw things at animals."

He told me, snidely, to call someone if I didn't like it (like a park ranger or something?), and I told him that wasn't necessary. Then he told me I should just ignore it.

Me: "I don't ignore cruelty."

Now, his kid wasn't being cruel, but I think the current political climate has shortened my fuse when it comes to things like this. I started off trying to sugarcoat things and be gentle about it, but the bottom line is that I saw a kid throwing things at baby animals and I saw parents letting him do it, so I stepped in.

I won't stand by and let things go if they look harmful; I wouldn't want other adults (or kids, for that matter) to let things go either. And I certainly wouldn't have to have started this conversation if the parents had been parenting in the first place.

Finally, in response to this, he goes, "Enjoy your time at the park."

I said, kindly, but clearly annoyed, "You too."

"We're leaving." They began to walk away.

Me: "Well, I hope you enjoyed your time."

Then he turns back and goes, "We're going to buy bread, is that okay?"

As if because I didn't want his child to throw shit at ducklings I was trying to be some high-and-mighty park authority figure.

I just said, "Sure," even though bread is actually terrible for ducks.

That was it.

I passed the family a few times during my repeats, and I have to admit that I got them done faster but my heart just wasn't in the workout. I know I did the right thing - I maybe could have handled it better in some way - but encountering such an entitled jerk with his young, impressionable kid was pretty deflating. Kids will be kids, but I expect better from adults.

Sometimes when I get myself into these situations, I wonder what I'd do if people just completely told me off or ignored me. That basically happened Tuesday, but I guess in a way I still got the outcome I wanted (the kid stopped throwing things) but nothing makes you feel quite as a powerless as confrontation.

How could I have handled this better?
Have you ever had to butt into someone's business to do the right thing?

ABK

Monday, June 27, 2016

Running Mail

What is it with summer and stocking up on all the running gear?!

I swear, it's like when I finally have some time on my hands I realize how much I need want new sports bras, running shoes, and sundry accessories. Luckily I had an Amazon gift card to spend recently because it made my summer purchase a little less painful.

First, I needed sports bras. We're supposed to get new ones every six months and some of mine are literally years old. I'm small-chested, so when bras lose elasticity it's not a huge deal, but I recently had to toss a handful.

I wanted new bras that were cute (because I'm been practicing running without a shirt on - it builds confidence!) and flattering.
I like the lower-cut of the Under Armor Mid Sports Bra, and the colors were fun, so I got two. I also got a Champion Great Divide bra and love the neon green! The fit is very flattering, too.
Oofos recovery sandals have been on my "want" list for months but they're pricey; having a gift card made it easier to finally buy them. They are super ugly but really comfortable; I feel like a granny when I wear them. Comfort over fashion here, folks!
Next, I got myself a second FlipBelt. I seriously love mine for running - it's the first belt I've run in that I literally never have to think about once it's on - and decided to get one for work next year, because I'll be expected to have my cell phone on me at all times. I ordered if off Skirt Sports because I could use my discount, and got one of their new skirts while I was at it. (Don't forget you can use ABK20 for 20% off!)
The Cascade is one of their newer skirts and it is SO cute. I love the pleats!
I originally got my FlipBelt in black because I'd never used one before; now that I'm running without a shirt more often and the belt is visible, I thought getting a fun, vibrant color for my second was the way to go.

Finally, I saw a couple weeks ago that Road ID is now making IDs that slip onto the Apple Watch.  (They also make them for FitBit.) Honestly, we rarely wear our Road ID bracelets because we don't like wearing multiple things on our wrists when working out, and this way we'll always have it on us no matter what.
They both include our name, birth year, and emergency contact numbers. I also listed my allergy and medical information on mine, and still had space to write NO REGRETS across the bottom for motivation.
I told Matt it would be good for me to have at all times in case there's ever an emergency at school and they need to identify my unconscious body but he didn't find that funny.

The IDs come in nice metal boxes and fit perfectly on our watchbands. I paid extra to have Matt's done in black because I wanted him to actually agree to wear it; it blends in perfectly. Now I'll be a little less nervous when he's paddling in rough waters.

Of course, this isn't it. I've been buying, testing, and returning shoes for weeks now as I continue to look for my perfect new sole-mate.
Comparing the fit of my current shoes to the Brooks Ravenna.
But that's a post for a different time!

When's the last time you bought new sports bras?
What's your favorite running-related thing to buy?
What shoes do you wear when you're not wearing running shoes?

ABK
Linking up with Erika for TOTR today!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekly Workouts 6/20-6/26

Monday: Two rounds of Blogilates. You know what's weird about ab workouts? They burn SO much during but as soon as you're done holding a move, the pain goes away! I don't even feel like I've done a workout until DOMS sets in.
Tuesday: Elizabeth was leaving for Nicaragua to visit family that evening, so we fit in our last workout together on Tuesday morning. Usually we do speed work at night; it was hard to remember what I like to eat before an early, hard-effort run. I ended up just having a Gu (salted caramel, with caffeine); it's been awhile since I've eaten one and the texture was super gross, but it ended up being the perfect fuel for the morning.

We did 8 x.3 repeats. The first was slow (around 9:25) as we woke up, but after that everything was in the 7:40s. I felt unstoppable; I would have done two more repeats and I regret not going a little longer, but it is what it is.
Between rotations we did upper body (presses, bicep curls, tricep dips, and push-ups) and when I got home I did a few minutes of abs and iced my heel. I've been having a little pain in it that I think is mild, early PF. I've had this symptom before, so I'm just icing, massaging, and stretching diligently. Hopefully it goes away soon!

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: I created a lower body/core circuit and completed it while watching Castle reruns.
I was pretty proud of myself for putting burpees in there because I hate them, but I'm trying to learn to love them.

Friday: I went out for a moderate-paced run without a goal pace or distance in mind. I just knew I had to at least complete a 5k. It was my first solo run in months, and I just wanted to enjoy the golf course, my music, and my thoughts. I paused at one point to take a picture of a rainbow I saw. I ran in and out of the sprinklers. I generally just enjoyed myself.
Even though I'd already donated to the official GoFundMe for the Orlando victims' families, I signed up for this virtual race (the proceeds also go to the Orlando families) as well. Tonight was a good night to run it. I feel like that rainbow was kind of a sign.

Saturday: Lots of errands and work today...I was going to do some core work, but ended up resting.

Sunday: I slept fitfully Saturday night; I think being on prednisone for my allergies this week is messing with me and giving me insomnia. After waking for the fourth time around 3am, I turned off my alarm (which had been set for 4:30) and planned to run long in the evening.

Then this happened:
video
So in the end, I did a quick circuit instead. I'm really enjoying creating these myself, and I like that they're a fast workout but effective! I like that I can do them at home whenever I want, no matter the weather.
Burgees-In-Progress are hilarious!

This is the first run I've missed in months, and I'm pretty unhappy about that...although maybe I should be impressed with myself for fitting something else in, instead! Oh well; nothing I could about it this time around!

How was your week?

ABK

Friday, June 24, 2016

Frozen Desserts: Wink vs. Arctic Zero

You may have seen pictures of these two ice cream substitutes floating around "fitness" Instagram accounts. I am definitely an ice cream binge-eater, and during summertime especially I can polish off a pint without much thought.

That can be a problem considering ice cream's not exactly a health food. Enter Wink Frozen Desserts and Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts. Both of these brands boast lower fat content, lower sugar, and higher protein than regular ice cream. I honestly don't care about GMOs or any of the other "allergen free" stuff, although it's nice to see so many gluten free options.
I was intrigued, so I bought myself some Wink first. Due to cost of shipping, you have to buy at least four flavors at a time. (If you buy six, they ship for free.) All of Wink's flavors are gluten free so I had a lot to choose from. They arrived packed in dry ice and perfectly frozen.
My first impression was kind of a let down. The desserts are definitely not ice cream. They're closer to a granita or Italian ice...very icy and brittle. The flavors aren't as strong as traditional ice cream, and there was a definitely protein aftertaste I didn't quite like.
I tried Cake Batter with a little chocolate syrup and sprinkles, but the texture and flavor still wasn't what I look for in a dessert.
I did find that by allowing them to thaw a little (about 10 minutes) before eating, the texture and flavor improves, but that aftertaste is just a deal breaker for me. Matt doesn't notice it, though! I've always been sensitive to protein-powdery flavors.

The bottom line here: I could totally dig the texture if the flavors were stronger and the aftertaste wasn't an issue.

A fellow runner had posted about her Arctic Zero experience on Instagram, so I commented asking if they were creamy because Wink had disappointed me. The next day, Arctic Zero emailed me offering a free "care package" so I could try their desserts. Of course I said yes and requested all gluten free flavors, because unlike Wink, some of theirs include cookie and brownie pieces.
AZ arrived overnight, came adorably packaged, and included an ice cream scooper! Because they were already a bit thawed from their trip (their dry ice hadn't held up quite as well as Wink's), I dove right in to the taste test.
Allergies got my eyes looking rough...sorry about the closeup, guys. Also sorry for the "zero guilt" label...It would be cool if they'd drop that.
First of all, AZ sent five flavors and two aren't gluten free, so I was disappointed not to be able to try those. But I was very pleased with the flavors I could eat. They're definitely creamier than Wink and do not have a weird protein taste at all.
I enjoyed the Cake Batter flavor with a mug cake and it was divine.
Their flavors are again...lighter...than ice cream, but more enjoyable and cleaner tasting than Wink. Because it's best to eat them well-thawed, I found that once I scooped them into a bowl, they melted fairly quickly.

Arctic Zero also boasts a huge product list, including "chunky" pints and bars.
The verdict: Arctic Zero is a nice alternative to ice cream if you don't want to derail your healthy eating. It's not ice cream, but it's a nice sorbet-like treat. Wink is alright if you don't mind that protein-mix taste that sometimes hangs around after certain protein bars and smoothies.

One final note: You can purchase both of these brands in some stores, but they're not easy to find. I was able to find the Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero at a local Publix and bought it myself before I was offered the care package.

There's one last brand along these lines that I'd like to try called Halo Top, but I think I'll eat what's in my freezer before I test it out!

Arctic Zero sent me a care package of these flavors free of charge. I purchased the Vanilla Maple flavor and all Wink flavors on my own. All opinions are my own.

Have you tried any of these frozen desserts?
What's your favorite summertime dessert?
Are you ice cream/FROYO obsessed? 

ABK

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Marathon Thoughts

I'm not planning to run a marathon anytime soon, but watching all my friends' training has got me thinking! For today's TOTR, I'm reflecting on marathon training and what works best for me.
Despite running three marathons, I can't decide if I've figured out what works best for me. For my first (Space Coast), I felt pretty prepared, but I had no idea what I was actually getting into. I ran a single 20-miler and took an entire week off. Then, I ran an 18-miler and ended up tapering drastically because it took so much out of me, and in retrospect I wondered if I had missed too many runs or taken it too easy too early.
Really, there's nothing like the first one, is there?
For my second (BDR), I went in feeling over-prepared and strong but totally got my ass handed to me by the weather. I only ran one 20-miler for that race, too, but I did multiple 16-18 mile runs and didn't drop the ball on training after any of them. Still, there's no way to know if those extra long runs and the prescribed, gradual taper were good for me or not because of race day conditions.
Smiling, but not really that happy.
For my third (A1A), I used BDR as a training run and did a 20-miler a few weeks out as part of my training. After that, I dropped out of training a bit and had what was basically a repeat of Space Coast's extreme, sudden taper. If you recall, I wasn't even planning to run the full until the day before race day. That marathon ended up being my PR.
Now I can't help but wonder if BDR was an excellent addition to my training plan for A1A or if it didn't make a difference at all!
I think what I'm beginning to wonder about is the benefit of the 20-miler. Other than mental strength, does it do much? Does it actually break down my body too much? Or is it a good training strategy for me, seeing as it seems to have paid off in the last race? Should I actually be looking at doing a 22 or 24 miler as my longest run, to help give my body and mind more fortitude, or is less better?

My runner friends using Hansons seem to like that their long runs top out at 16 miles; the double long runs on weekends mean more overall weekly distance than I've ever put in for marathon training, and I wonder which would work better for my body: running 20 milers but topping out at 35 weekly miles, or keeping long runs shorter but getting up into 40-mile weeks.
I know that for my lifestyle, running six days a week and not having any time on weekends to sleep in (because of the back-to-back long runs) wouldn't work for me. But when I get back to marathon training eventually, I think it would be worth it to really do my research on tapering, maximum weekly miles, and long run times vs. distance.

I love that the marathon is a new beast every time you run one. Even experienced marathoners understand that 26.2 miles leaves a lot of room for error and even if the stars align, you really need to rely on your best training to get you through it. I wonder how many more of these things I'll need to run before I know what truly works best for me!

What are your thoughts on:
-distance vs. time for long runs?
-the 20-miler vs. back-to-back long runs?
-long, intense taper vs. gradual/shorter taper?
-true fatigue/over-training vs. under-training?

ABK

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekly Workouts 6/13-6/19

Monday: Elizabeth and I had did final classroom workout. It was tight - the furniture all gets pushed into the middle of the room for summertime so it's easier to wax the floors - but we got it done. One round of T25 Core Cardio and one round of a BBG arms workout.
Excuse me...I look a mess.
BBG seems to be all the rage lately. I do like how hard it is, and I'm sure the results I see on Instagram are real, but I just don't think I could give up running for something like this. I guess for me, finding joy in the workout is more important than getting a "fit body".

Tuesday: Ah, our first day of summer break! Elizabeth and I took advantage of not having school this week to run later in the evening. It was hot and still, but at least the sun was mostly down for the latter half of our workout. We did 6x.6 repeats. My left calf and shin were super tight from all the jumping around on Monday (and also from my freaking shoes!), and my left groin felt weak, so I wasn't expecting a great workout.
We saw some adorable ducklings during the run that made each repeat a little cuter and more bearable!
Mostly we kept the repeats in the 8:30s but a couple times we crept into the low 9s. Between repeats we did bicep curls and overhead presses. I took a couple salt tabs at the halfway point and my calf/shin seemed to respond well to that, but it may have just been that I was finally warmed up. Either way, this was a hard effort workout even if the paces don't show it, and I'm glad we got it all done and didn't quit early!

Wednesday: We used that free samples of BBG again and did the ab workout. It definitely hurt! We were laughing halfway through because we felt so pathetic. That said, I wasn't sore at all the next day and I wonder if the workouts are really as effective as people claim!
Thursday: Rest.

Friday: We woke up early and did a tempo run. Storm clouds were gathering and there was lightning, so we ended up cutting the planned 5 miles a bit short. We haven't done a tempo run in awhile and I was happy with it, but with the brewing storm it was really humid and pretty rough.
One of my favorite post-run stretches. I'm not sure why we look so serious!
Saturday: Rest! I watched Matt's paddle race in Pompano Beach and hung out on the beach all day. It was actually exhausting - you know how it is when you get too much sun! James and his wife Rhonda were there, too; James and Matt both had super races (Matt was on his brand new board and in a new board class, so I'm glad it went so well!) and Rhonda and I enjoyed lounging around and talking about books while the guys dominated the Atlantic.
At the race start...
Matt sprinting to the finish! His race was 6x1-mile laps with a short beach sprint between each one.
Sunday: I was exhausted after sun and travel, so I slept through our long run and relaxed all day. I usually hate evening long runs, but Elizabeth and I went out for 8 miles at 7pm and it felt really good! It was nice to have temperatures drop as we ran instead of the usual buildup of heat throughout. I picked up a baby snapping turtle and saved him from the road during the run, so hopefully I don't get salmonella.
It's honestly amazing how much better my legs and feet feel in the old Kayanos! Sorry, I just can't shut up about my shoe drama.
All in all, a pretty good week! Have you ever tried BBG?

ABK

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Shoe Conundrum

A few weeks ago, I bought the Asics Kayano 22s for the first time. I've been in my 21s for awhile, and the 20s before that. I've never had a problem, and I seriously thought the Kayano was my sole-mate. Unfortunately, as I've written here recently, the 22s are weirdly long and narrow in the toe-box.

After some run tests and returns, I've been in the Kayano 22 (wide) for a couple weeks now. I have about 20 miles on the shoe, and it's officially going back to the store. I think the extra width makes my forefoot slip around too much, which is creating hot spots on balls of my feet. Also, I have to lace them too snuggly and that ends up hurting the top of my foot.
I wish it weren't so, but it's back to the store for you pretties.
I've been changing my gait to deal with the discomfort, so now my calves and shins have been tight. I feel clunky during my runs.

All this means I'm officially on the hunt for new running shoes. I overpronate as I tire out on long runs, so I need a little stability and I like a soft, cushioned shoe, but lately I've also wanted to try something more responsive and bouncier.
I used the Brooks shoe-finder after I already kind of knew which shoes I was interested in, and it confirmed my thought process...but depending on if I chose "cushion" or "energize", it gives me both options I'm interested in! So now I'm still stuck!
I've narrowed my search down to the Brooks Ravenna and the Brooks Transcend. These shoes are both support shoes; the main difference is in how they offer support and in the amount of cushion.
My "energize" option.
The Ravenna is more responsive (bouncier), which I want to try out, but the Transcend is definitely softer and more cushiony. Once I eventually go back to marathon training, I think I'll want that cushion, but do I need it for distances up to the half marathon?
My "cushion" option.
The other sticking point is that the Transcend sounds ideal - it has the cushion I prefer and slightly stronger support - but I've read it's a bit wide. I don't want to deal with the same sliding/rubbing issue I'm having with the wide Kayano 22s!
The Transcend's specs.
To further confuse me, the Ravenna's heel-toe offset is more similar to the Kayano 21; I'm not a big fan of low-drop shoes (not that the Transcend is low).
The Ravenna's specs.
I know running shoes come down to personal preference, but I wish someone could just pick for me! And I wish my local stores had these two shoes in stock so I could try them on, but I'll have to order them first and then return what I don't want.

Shoe hunting is so frustrating. I hate that it takes a few runs before you really know if a shoe is working for you or not. If only there were an easier way. Wouldn't it be nice if running shoe manufacturers would stop drastically updating shoes that are perfectly awesome the way they are?

Any advice on picking between these two shoes?
What are your thoughts on cushion vs. responsiveness?

ABK

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Plans

Today I'm thinking out loud about what I hope to accomplish this summer. My break isn't normal this year because of my career transition, so I have less time off. Summer is short anyway because we got out June 13 but start August 1 (next year we'll get out in May); on top of that, I have CRT training in mid-July and then I got back to work for new teacher training July 25.
Saying goodbye to my classroom of seven years.
So in my few short weeks of free time, here's what I plan to do!

1. Housework. I hate to admit it, but from May onward I really dropped the ball on house-related things. I need to get back on track with daily stuff like laundry and dishes, but I also need to pick a backsplash for our kitchen and get that installed. I also need to finally unpack the last couple boxes from our move two summers ago!

2. Cook! I'm trying to put together a little recipe book over the summer so that during the year I have some easy and delicious recipes to fall back on. I'm getting so bored of the same old stuff.
Please share a favorite/easy/crockpot recipe in the comments! Remember to keep it gluten free :)
3. Read. I am so ready to read for fun! HP round 12 (or something), here I come!
4. Working out. I'm excited to try some new workouts and enjoy my runs without the added pressure of work the next day. I have my sights on the Race for FISH 10k in October; my PR for the 10k distance is on that course, and I'd like to beat it this fall.
It's been nice to have a schedule and an accountability partner over the last couple weeks because I've been pretty tired and just going through the motions. You may have noticed. I'm getting my workouts done, but my heart hasn't been totally in them. But I'm ready for summer rejuvenation and the energy and work ethic that comes with it.

5. Travel? Maybe? Matt and I may make a trip to see friends in July, and he'd like to fit a cruise in, but I'm not sure when that will all happen. We try to travel every summer but this year I'm not sure time is on our side.

6. Nothing. Seriously, I'm looking forward to turning off all my alarms and just letting my body get as much sleep as it wants. I have to confess, I like still being in bed when Matt has to get up for work because during the school year I always have to get up first!
I've been doing lots of research on Sleepopolis.
Speaking of beds, this year for our anniversary I'm buying us a new mattress. I can't wait! We're long overdue and I'm so ready to wake up feeling refreshed instead of super sore. I'm too young to be this achy!

Do you have any good summer recipes to share?
Do you like your mattress? Picking a new one is super stressful!
Do you have any trips planned this summer?

ABK

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

About Pulse

A couple weeks ago, my brother-in-law Scott got engaged in just about the most romantic way possible. His boyfriend Robby made him a video as he walked through places in LA important to their relationship. The footage included the phone calls Robby made to my in-laws requesting permission to propose. Then he surprised Scott by showing up unannounced in St. Croix to propose in person. The entire video is here, if you want to watch it. If you feel like crying some happy tears.
I'm sharing this because like Robby and Scott, there were couples in Pulse on Sunday who were planning to be married. Instead of sharing a wedding, they'll be sharing a funeral. One of these young men went to high school with a college friend of mine. This shooting hits very close to home.
Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher Leinonen
I have always been passionate about gay rights. Maybe it's because as a Jewish woman, I've faced discrimination myself and I feel particularly empathetic to those who are marginalized. Whatever the reason, I was a proponent for gay rights before Scott had come out, before my best friend had come out, before I'd even met a gay person.

I can't understand the hatred. I can understand confusion or fear, or even that "ick" factor people might feel before being exposed to gay people and having the chance to realize they're just normal people like everyone else. But the hatred? The need to kill them? That I cannot understand.

I also can't understand the hatred for people of color that is increasing exponentially everyday. We cannot forget that Pulse was targeted on Latin night. As racist rhetoric in this country swings out of control, we can't brush over the fact that the vast majority of the victims were Latino.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

I'm too angry to sit here and say "pray for change" and "love always wins". I'm so damn tired of the same old script and the fact that within a month we'll have brushed this story aside for other news. I'm enraged that people - family members even - will express sadness over this horrific tragedy but will turn around and vote for the party that has continuously blocked gun legislation that would have stopped this murderer - twice investigated but he FBI and on the no-fly list - from purchasing those same guns he used to mow down 49 innocent people while they were in the prime of their lives. They will vote for the party that supports anti-gay and anti-POC rhetoric.
Write to your congressmen. Write to your senators. I'll be drafting a letter today and sending it to every politician who took money from the NRA and then had the gall to "pray for Orlando" via trite statements on Twitter.
Click for the Twitter feed.
Why can't America see that enough is enough? Gun control works in every other country that has passed it. Why do we insist it won't work here?
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I leave you with this. Last night, Matt and I drove up to Sarasota and took his mom to the candlelight vigil in honor of the Orlando victims. One of those victims was Eddie Sotomayer, a Sarasotan himself. The vigil was a balm on aching hearts, and it was a chance for the LGBTQIA community to come together and for their straight allies to show their support.

It was beautiful and moving and poignant and invigorating. But it won't make change. We don't need more hope and prayer. We don't need memes and statistics shared on Facebook, although raising awareness helps. We need legislative change. Please get on board and actually DO SOMETHING.

ABK