The Devil You Say!

miltonPeople who meet me for the first time, and then hang out with me for a bit, whether student, co-worker, new friend, find me friendly, self-effacing, generous. And then they hear that my company is named Devil’s Party Press and many of them get nervous for me and wonder why, almost like the old 1970s thing of “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” why I would associate myself with THE DEVIL!?!

Well, honestly, The Devil in the name is 100% related to the fact that I live in a little town that I love that is named after the poet John Milton, and that Mr. Milton was said to write so very well that he must be a member of the Devil’s Party, much like I am a member of the Democratic Party. And that is the sole reason I chose that name. It was suggested by a writing group member, and I loved the idea because it connected the press to the town, and it was a BADASS name, like older writers are BADASS writers.

Still, people say, I mean, the devil….

Well, you know, I just don’t believe in him, or his lighter half either actually. It’s perfectly okay if you do. I just don’t.

And, hope you don’t mind me saying so, I am 54. I don’t want to be afraid of anything anymore.

I don’t want to be afraid of death, though I fully acknowledge I’m going to die someday.

I want to find things I like to do, and I want to get myself into a habit of doing them, so that, should I ever be left alone in life, I don’t have to be afraid of being alone with myself.

I want to do the things I always wanted to do but never had the balls to do, like getting my tattoo, dying my whole head of hair purple, wearing gigantic earrings, so that when I am on the verge of dying I won’t be sad that I never overcame my fear and let myself try the things I wanted to try.

A lot of the things I wanted to/want to try I always figured, to make it easier, I’d wait to do after my parents were dead, but my mother isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and I’m glad she’s not going anywhere, so I better just do them and deal with her comments and find an adult way to keep the relationship going so that I can have both, because I want both, and as a 54 year old adult, I can have both.

This week, I bought a car, on my own.

I chose the car; I negotiated the car, and I am responsible for deciding if it was a good car, and if we could afford it, and if we would all like it. And I have no idea if it is, if we can, and if we will, ultimately,  but, I did the best I could with the information I had, and I’m not going to worry about it past there because, dammit, I only need permission from myself to buy a car that I will be the main driver of, and I am giving myself permission, and I am not thinking about it past there. Done. Great car. I love it. I already put a Tina Belcher sticker on it.

I mean, who am I? Who am I really? Isn’t it time I know me? Isn’t it time you know you?

Life, life is full of heartache, disappointing people, injuries, expensive cosmetics that melt in the car, tasteless food, empty refrigerators, empty hours, empty nests, empty beds, mosquito bites, elastic that fails during a job interview, prettier more vibrant people than you or I could ever be and…

so the fuck what?

Life… life is full of chances to

stand on the beach tossing bread to the gulls

take a flight to anywhere because even in dumb old Rochester or Savannah or… you can have an adventure

meet a cool new person who also loves Weezer

try a new recipe

try a new restaurant

help someone

kiss someone… with your tongue!

get yourself a pet

learn to drive stick

get high

plant strawberries

sing in public

dye your hair a weird color….

Really… what is on your list?

You know what the Devil is? It’s not a he, or a who, it’s a what.

It’s the thing that keeps you afraid, that keeps you from being the badass person you are; that makes your world small, that tells you you can’t when you want to.

Remember that it’s the devil who belongs in hell, not you.

Be the badass you that you want to be.

xo

 

 

WHAT’S BEEN GOIN’ ON?

blue hairPhew….

It’s been more than a little busy.

NEW JOB: Back near the tail end of March I took another job as the Executive Director of the Milton Chamber of Commerce.

It sounds more glamorous than it is. It is part time, and I am the sole employee.

But, hopefully it will pay the bills. One bill in particular: I am jumping ship from public school; well, my daughter is; my family is; we are; we want to.

NEW SCHOOL: If you read this crazy blog you’ve probably realized that I am one of “those” liberals who supports public education over “Pwutt! charter schools! pwutt pwutt!” (that’s me spitting out the words).

But we have tried and tried with our public school, and my main determination has been that our daughter needs more one-on-one to do well in school, at the same time that her school has increased class size year, after year, after year.

And she also needs the social times at school to be more supervised-   because she is a freaking awesome little kid who is very off-beat and who is not good at fitting the school-girl mold or sticking up for herself around little girl meanies

So I am hoping that the new job goes well, and that I do a very good job at the job (I am a writer, and I have superlative word usements), and that the job stays financially viable, and that my family forgives the extra hours and and and….

WHAT DOES A CHAMBER DO: Well, I just made it  through the first Chamber festival (the Chamber does festivals) and I survived that…

HCSF logosmall

But I am really much more interested in the small business end of the Chamber’s mission, and would really like to feel that, in some teeny way, I am helping Milton small businesses grow. Chambers of Commerce are supposed to help small businesses survive and thrive, in my view of the world.

SWEET: We discovered a delicious old-fashioned treat, just in time for the Memorial Day BBQ (Ridley Park, PA Mayfair anyone? Circa 1971?)! I found a Philly place to order the porous sticks online!

 

ON THE JOB FROM 9-5: I am working for the summer for the Chamber, of course, teaching a class at Del Tech 2 days/week, and working at a Writing Center 3 days/week, in addition to running Devil’s Party Press. The Chamber, honestly, to be done well, really well, should be a full-time job, and I’d take it if it was, but the budget is not there for that. In fact, currently, not only am I the Chamber, my house is also the Chamber. And, working at home, well, it has its own particular challenges….

 

It’s so comfy and sleepy with kitties everywhere….

PRIDE: I’m excited that little Milton is celebrating Pride this weekend, which is also the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

We are celebrating too!

pride 1pride2

And… our house needs power-washing. But love doesn’t care! Love is love people. “You gotta let love rule!” Is it gay? Count us in!

VROOM VROOM: If we’re going to change schools we need to finally break down and acquire a second car, with all the money and mischief that entails, so, while saving for private school tuition, we’ll also be trying to get that hooked up.

Equinox-Front Cover

 

A MAJOR AWARD: Devil’s Party Press (Dave and I {and Sophie}) won a national award for our anthology Equinox, so we’re going to Louisiana to accept the award at the end of this month, and I have also been asked to serve as a delegate for Delaware, which is really a nice honor. I am so excited and proud. We almost never travel, so this will be a nice little getaway for the three of us. Looking forward to taking Sophie to eat beignets and see a voodoo shop! Gonna get some voodoo dolls for those mean girls at school. Look out!

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: This time last year we were saying goodbye to our beloved exchange student, Lynn. We never hear from her, and I think it is all Trump’s fault. Lynn, if you’re out there, you’re still on our minds, and we still love and miss you.

Devil’s Party Press has three books coming out this summer:

Mosquitoes and Men

What Sort of Fuckery Is This?

and

Welcome to Breezewood.

However, we had only planned on two. More on that soon… .

BLUE: Oh, and yes, I’ve been stressed and left unattended, and when I am stressed and left unattended I do crazy things to my hair. Blue things.

I like it.

Happy Summer everyone~

 

 

 

A STRONG WOMAN

IMG_4504

Not necessarily only a wink.

Seriously, who is truly that badass?

I am going to say I give it a moan, and then a little kvetch, and then a little retail therapy, and then a phone conversation with my mom, and then I do it, and then I give myself a wink.

Truth.

I think I am a life-long striver. And I think I learned it from my mom.

And I think my mom and I both have had the misfortune to not really have resources, support, or a clue about which is the best way to strive, for us.

At this point in my life I think some people, mostly the men I know, and mostly in a derogatory way, would call me ambitious. A couple of my male friends, recently, when I thought we were cool, told me I am, basically, demanding, and I won’t back down once I get an idea in my head, like that is a bad thing. It truly hurt.

I have learned how to go-along-get-along over my years as a grown-up on this planet.

I am 54 currently. I have finally managed to eke out some professional situations (read as: job) where I am the decider (hello dear W; how we miss you, and how we never thought we would!), and, dammit, I have good ideas, and I know what I want, and why should I defer to someone else?

I am still an adjunct teacher, and it is still a lot of work for paltry pay and a situation where my years, decades, of experience mean I know better than a hellova lot of the people I work for, but I quietly defer to the powers that employ me. If you’re a woman, anywhere on this earth, who has reached her fifties without loss of sanity, you have learned to swallow a lot. And I have.

Still, if I gave up teaching tomorrow, I would really miss my students.

IMG_8745

IMG_5460.jpg

And if I think about what it is about me that makes students connect with me so well, and they do connect with me very well, it is because I am a very humble person. Humility is not something that I’ve put on, like a coat, or learned; I feel it is truly a part of who I have been from birth. And it’s not that I have a “low” opinion of myself. It is, in fact, that I view others, by and large, as my equals. We’re all in the same boat, whether you are more or less educated than me, richer or poorer, shorter or taller, etc., we are in the same boat: life is not long enough, it is full of land mines and also beauty, and we all share the human condition. Just because I achieved an education before my students did, I am not better. I am still a lousy speller with a lot of mistakes in me. So many “professors” I have met over the years are better…. than everyone. How can a student possibly approach those teachers? No one has to crawl or scrape around me.

In the past year or so, I have become a MAC user with an iPhone, and conquering those two bits of technology has made me feel successful. I have become the leader of a very successful writing group. I have become the owner, founder, and grand poobah of my own publishing company, I have a marriage that works; I have a daughter who loves me like crazy who I love like crazy; I have 5 cats who jockey to sit next to me on the sofa, and a dog who is bonkers over me, and I just became the only employee of my local chamber of commerce where, pending the approval of my board, I am able to come up with ideas and try them out. People are seeing me, finally, as competent. I have always been competent, though I did not know how to get people to see me through that lens, but, finally they are.

Does that make me a demanding “won’t back down,” and let’s be honest, the implication was, “bitch?” No. It does not. It makes me a striver.

In addition to teaching at two schools, having a workshop at my house twice a month, running Devil’s Party Press, and becoming the director of the chamber of commerce here in my little town, I have also just taken a tutoring job for the summer, at 16 bucks an hour. Not exactly peanuts, but not a fair wage for someone with my degrees and experience. But, I applied for it; I interviewed, and I am happy to have it, because the teaching jobs go away in the summer, and my family needs me to earn income. I feel proud that I jumped on the opportunity, and that I will be earning money.

And if I sound not so humble about it, well, it’s because I am proud of being…

A striver.

Not an ambitious bitch.

Not a full-of-myself person who knows everything and won’t back down on her opinion.

I am a striver.

I work hard, all the time, all hours of the day and night, to try to do my best work no matter whether it is paid, or unpaid.

I do not look a challenge in the eye and wink, though I did quite like the moxie of that magnet, and I did buy it for myself.

I look a challenge in the eye and I give it a moan, or a little kvetch, or a little retail therapy, and then a phone conversation with my mom….

And then I strive.

And yeah, when I am able to be successful, I might be proud enough of myself to give myself a wink. And why the fuck not, eh ladies?

SPEAKING OF POTATOES

IMG_5298Did any of you other kids from the 1970s eat raw potatoes growing up? My dad used to sit on the sofa with a potato (Yukon Gold type as I recall it), a paring knife, and a salt shaker, and slice of a thin slice of potato and salt it, and hand to my brother or I to eat, and he would eat one himself.

‘Round and ’round he would go, me, my brother, him, until the potato was gone.

What weird food(s) did you eat as a kid?

LAST DAY BEFORE SPRING BREAK

IMG_3803

So, one of the colleges where I work is a bit financially disadvantaged compared to other colleges that have students living on campus. It is also an HBCU (Historically Black College/University). This, in my mind, seems appropriate, as, in the USA, I feel minorities get less resources in general, so of course the HBCU would be run-down.

Some students here can be food insecure, and Dave and I packed up a big bag of noodles and the like for a student a week or so ago. Some students have trouble adjusting to a world where all they are supposed to do is concentrate on their own success and growth. Many have been trying hard just to make it to adulthood, or helping other family members or friends with all their personal resources, including scholarship money. Everyone they know has a sad story about why they need some of the student’s scholarship money. Focus on school work is not always easy.

Add to that the real truth that many of the facilities are run-down and in disrepair.

In contrast, at University of Delaware, a PWI (predominately white institution) I taught in one building that had over 300 classrooms, and each classroom had over 50 brand-spanking-new chairs, and each of those chairs cost 600 dollars (per chair!).

THE CHAIR!!!

I know because I looked them up because they were sooooo cool I wanted to get one. Ha! Not in this lifetime….

Imagine the wealth there. Do the math. Think inequality has been fixed? Count the damn chairs.

So, in my own small way, I try to help uplift my students and the school.

This semester we adorned our tired room with handmade inspirational posters (and Sophie even added two one day when she didn’t have to go to school, but I still did!):

stickers from Dollar Tree (my daughter’s favorite place on earth people!):

IMG_7777

and two clocks!

I bought a clock originally that was a standard kitchen type of clock, and it fell off the wall and broke.

Today I installed this baby:

IMG_6494

I defy the powers that be to try to stop THAT clock!

But, as you can see, directly under it is a computer that cannot be used because the desk is broken. *sigh*

The last thing I did today, before leaving for spring break, was start an in-room library.

Wanna donate a book? It cannot be beat-up, and it must be something you, yourself, enjoyed reading. Don’t give me A Brief History of Time because you couldn’t get through it. Give me books that brought you joy, escape, entertainment!

Happy spring everyone! She is almost here, in all her color and warmth!

 

WHY IT’S GREAT TO HAVE A NOTHING TO-DO SUNDAY

 

IMG_5298

Boy, oh boy, I remember, in the 1970s, when I was young, almost every Sunday was busy, almost like an extra school day. There was church, Sunday school, and then off to visit Grandmom, or have Grandmom and (Great) Aunt Verna at our house. Cleaning and cooking, and then staying out of the grownups’ way as they played endless (truly, endless! I am certain the games continue now, in heaven!) games of double-deck pinochle.

I also remember the rare Sundays we didn’t do squat. There would be a patch of sunlight coming through the storm door glass to where I was, laying on the dark green carved living room rug reading the Sunday Funnies, doing the puzzles, and then switching over to a coloring book or a Nancy Drew. Mom and Dad would be sitting on the sofa reading their parts of the paper, or watching an Abbot and Costello or Blondie on TV. Dinner might have been fried eggs and potatoes, or oatmeal with piles of toast.

Although I always did well-enough at school, I don’t remember really enjoying it. And Sunday night was always stressful for me. I hated the thought of getting up early and being trapped in classes all day. (Probably why I thought it was a good idea to get so many degrees! WTF was I thinking?) Sagittarians (of which I am one) are supposed to love being outdoors. I think what I love is not so much whether I am in or out, but whether I am free or bound. So, on Sunday night after a “We didn’t do squat” day, I always felt slightly more relaxed anticipating Monday, as if the unstructured day had put enough air in my tank that I could hold my breath until Friday afternoon.

We don’t often get free-Sundays now either. I work a few jobs; Dave is in school, and we try to provide activities (hopefully with friends) for Sophie, and this Sunday (and every other one in general) we have writing group (damn you Milton Workshop!)

But, sometimes we get a lazy day….

And when we do, what do we do?

Dance with Mouse in a new dress sent by Aunt Lee

 

 

Nap on the floor or the sofa, as fat as we wanna be

IMG_3123

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine stories about potatoes

IMG_5298

Get visited by Rosie, our shy cat

IMG_4710

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-imagine our furniture

IMG_1571

Try on all our favorite shoes

 

 

Make art inspired by Frida Kahlo

IMG_0120

Drink more coffee than is good for us

buybook1

And fill up our tank with air for the long week ahead.

LOOK INSIDE EQUiNOX

Equinox-Front Cover

It was absolutely lovely to find out, just a few days ago, that EQUINOX won first place in The Delaware Press Awards. The book will now compete at the national level!

EQUINOX is a beautiful collection of tales, and features a glorious cover created by my life-long friend, Kristen Bossert. If you need art or graphics of any kind, Kristen is your go-to source!

One thing I particularly liked about EQUINOX, in addition to the cover, was that we asked the authors to add a preface to each piece discussing how the piece came to be.

Here is a peek at my own piece, from the (now) award-winning EQUINOX. . .

EQUINOX is an anthology focused loosely on the idea of spring, and, for me, spring always makes me think of times gone by, shabby chic decor, formal women with floral names: the time of my grandmother. I tried to highlight my old timey feel about spring by juxtaposing that against a modern backdrop for my story of Heliotrope, a modern woman but named after a flower and possessing a vintage sensibility. Although the action takes place in a Chipotle restaurant, our heroine is an old-fashioned lady, and the story’s vocabulary features some old-fashioned language the reader may not be familiar with such as oscullable (kissable), widdendream (dreamy frenzy), malagrugrous (dismal), illecebrous (enticing), degust (taste and savor), brabble (argue about petty things), gorgonized (paralyzed), gyre (ring/circle), and sonance (sound).

I hope Heliotrope’s widdendream transports and delights you as it does her.

WIDDENDREAM

Despite the apricity of this particular midday Heliotrope was finding it difficult  to stay warm as she ate a highly unsatisfying late lunch inside a very malagrugrous and cold Chipotle. The food, the restaurant’s decor, the vibe, none of it suited her. While she could appreciate the whole “industrial” thing as a thing, it wasn’t her thing. The walls were clad in metal; oh well, maybe it was fake metal, but it certainly looked real. The counters, the tables and stools, all looked and felt, metal, cold when her skin met their industrial skin, and all were the color of the pinto beans in her bowl, but where the beans were soft and yielding, the restaurant was not. 

Of course she had to sit to eat. She wasn’t a person whose uncouth parents had raised her in a barn with the door left open. And she was not, also, a fan of climbing onto multistory stools to sit at tall tables and try to eat while her legs dangled beneath her like waiting clappers. Dead, spindly weight. It was hard to keep her clogs on, and, of course, Heliotrope always wore clogs, if for no other reason than that she had always worn clogs, at least since the 7th grade, and, in any case, they made a lovely horsey sort of clip clop when she walked down any hall lacking carpet, but a dignified clip clop, like a Tennessee Walking Horse, not a downtown carriage nag. Heliotrope had always been dignified.

However, as she bent over the bowl of pintos swimming in a vast sea of sour cream while seated at the high hat in the damn Chipotle, the clogs, dangling at the end of her pins, involuntarily swayed and whacked one another, and the noise they made was far too close to the “There’s no place like home” clicking of Judy Garland’s exquisite shoes. Sure, Heliotrope would take a day off from clogs to wear those fabulous shoes, but she hated the whole, “Wow, you had an astounding experience where you saved… everyone! Time to go home now and go back to being monochrome.” Clearly Frank L. Baum was no feminist. And Chipotle was no place for a lady to eat lunch. But Heliotrope was, most certainly, a feminist, and a lady, and a fairly illecebrous example of both.

Really, though, she was not here to cavil on to herself in a silent monologue about the establishment, and she worried that it was not good for her digestion to do so. She began to degust her meal, concentrating on the positives, like the gentle texture and subtle peppery taste of the aforementioned pinto beans. The problem with the positives were that they ignored the known fact that Heliotrope did not possess a constitution well-equipped to handle fast food of any kind, and this was her third time at this particular Chipotle this week.  And, as had happened on the other two visits, it seemed that wherever she sat, people constellated at the same high hat as she, which she found encroaching. 

On Tuesday a middle-aged couple had come into the establishment hand-in-hand, and had progressed through the cafeteria-style line in the same way, only to begin to brabble among themselves immediately upon perching at Heliotrope’s end of the communal seating. Heliotrope was somehow blind to how monsterful osculable she was, but the male portion of that couple was not. There was something of a young Penny Singleton about her which made many a man want to perform random feats of strength when in her presence. This one had been no different, lifting the heavy metal stools over his head and moving them into a different position, ostensibly to provide warmer seating for his good lady, but, though Heliotrope was blind to his ulterior motive, his good lady was not, brabbling ensued. Heliotrope hardly noticed beyond feeling that she wished the world was a bit emptier.

Today’s tablemates worked at the local Geek Squad, if their shirts were to be believed, and, with little reason to heft the heavy stools, as they were all male, and young, and equally able to heft the stools, they resulted to the lowest common denominator to try to win her attention, doing witless things with the plastic utensils, and kenching and cackling and slapping each other when they had success. Heliotrope’s eyes were fixed out the window on the dammed Coke truck that had been there as long as she had this particular day, and she bored into the red “O” with her vision, trying to encourage it to move, and trying to block out the kenching of the men with her concentration. She was starting to believe that this Coke truck had broken down, and would be there until the next day, and if it was, that would mean another bowl of beans for midday meal overmorrow, not something she contemplated with tranquility. The squad of geeks around her eventually gave up on this lovely but unreachable woman, and left to go to their next appointment, or to Jamba Juice, one being as much the same as the other in their world, but they did wonder at her fixation on the window as the left, looking over their shoulders at the lovely girl.

What brought Heliotrope to that Chipotle for three days that week was not the Coke truck, or the pinto beans, but was, in fact, the pediatrician’s office just across the parking lot. Heliotrope was a lady, but she did not enjoy the lady-like employment she had held for the past four years, keeping the records at the local town hall. She found that work bland, scentless, without piquancy, and stultifying. To be among the brambles, the milkweed, the morning glories, that was the deep desire of Heliotrope. And so, one day, she dared to take a half a day from her bank of personal time to visit all the locally-owned businesses, and to ask them, each one, if she could design their landscape for them, on spec. The pediatrician was the only one willing to give her a try, as all the businesses in town used the local firm made up of ancient family stock from their little county and saw no reason to change. To hire someone new, to look beyond hydrangeas and peaceful bamboo, would have been considered a radical, unnecessary, and disloyal choice in this community. But the pediatrician, in some ways viewing Heliotrope as an adolescent who needed encouragement, and in some ways tired of the unspoken county rules, decided to offer her this challenge, “Impress me by the time spring is here with something astounding in the front garden, and you’ve got the job.” 

Heliotrope accepted the challenge, and had secretly gone to the office grounds for many nights in the preceding October, shivering in the chill as she surreptitiously removed little plots of the doctor’s turf and gently planted bulbs. The effect, when spring came, was to have had the patch in front of the door to the doctor’s building bloom, just in time for the Easter Holiday. The surprise was to be a double one for no one knew that she had been there throughout the fall, and Heliotrope had planted her bulbs among the grass to give the impression of an Easter basket full of lush colored eggs.

So here she sat, on absolute tenterhooks, trying to peak at the plot from the vantage of the Chipotle, where she hoped to see but not be seen, and here spring was, just two days away on her calendar, and Easter only a week after. She didn’t think the flowers were going to bloom in time, as she had not seen even one minuscule crocus or windflower when last she looked two days ago. 

Does her garden bloom in time? Why don’t you buy a copy of this award-winning book and find out? 

ENIGMAS, or WHEN I GET HIT WITH A TERRIBLE EMAIL

administration america art banner
Photo by Public Domain Photography on Pexels.com

Today I received this email. It was from a family member who thought I would agree with them, or be schooled by them, not sure which. It was titled ENIGMAS.

1) Isn’t it weird that in America our flag and our culture offend so many people,  but our benefits don’t?

 

(2) How can the federal government ask U.S. citizens to pay back student loans,  when illegal aliens are receiving a free education?

 

(3) Only in America are legal citizens labeled “racists” and “Nazis,” but  illegal aliens are called “Dreamers.”

 

(4) Liberals say, “If confiscating all guns saves just one life, it’s worth it.”  Well then,  if deporting all illegals saves just one life, wouldn’t that be worth it?

 

(5) I can’t quite figure out how you can proudly wave the flag of another country  but consider it punishment to be sent back there.

 

(6) The Constitution: It doesn’t need to be rewritten;  it needs to be reread

7) William F. Buckley said: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other points of view and are then shocked and offended when they discover there are other points of view.”

 

(8) Joseph Sobran said: “‘Need’ now means wanting someone else’s money.  ‘Greed’ means wanting to keep your own.

 ‘Compassion’ is when a politician arranges the transfer.”

 

(9) Florida has had 119 hurricanes since 1850, but  some people still insist the last one was due to climate change.

 

You can’t fix stupid, no matter how much duct tape you use!

 

Some say that we should stop killing Ducks to make Duck Tape.  And THEY VOTE….SCARY!

 

I never know quite what to do when one of these bombs lands in my email. Usually, I confess, I delete it and move on.

Today, I just could not, and so wrote this response, and sent it the my family member (former family member? possibly!) and the person who sent it to my family member as well. And to my sister. I usually include my sister when I do this kind of thing, for moral support!

Gosh, is this a list of your beliefs?
_________, I gave you the benefit and read this whole email you sent me. PLEASE give me the same consideration and review my replies to these arguments.
1.FLAG: I don’t think anyone is offended by the US flag, in fact, the illegal Mexicans in Los Angeles loved both the US flag and the Mexican flag equally, and flew and wore both proudly.
2. EDUCATION: Would you really only take care of your own, and leave children uneducated because they have no legal standing here? The person who always gave me extra snacks for my friend who was poor would never do that. I happily educated non-citizens in California. They were some of my best students, and I would give them my time and help again, anytime.
3. A. DREAMERS: non-citizens are called “dreamers” because they came here as children, have only known this country their whole lives, and love it so much they wish to stay here.
3. B. NAZIS: No one would label me, a legal citizen, a racist or a Nazi because I celebrate people who are not white; I love their cultures; I adopted a non-white person, and I love being friends with Jews, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and Vietnamese, and Black, and Mexican people, among others. I have a good friend from Bosnia. So, who are the legal citizens who ARE racists? Those who think Jews have all the money. Those who think Mexicans working in the horrible chicken plants are stealing their jobs. Those who supported WALLING OUT the poor, something the JESUS they claim to love so much would NEVER do.
4. NON-CITIZENS VS. GUNS: AGAIN, deporting all non-citizens to save one life? YOUR Jesus was illegal his whole life. Would you send him back to die from drug violence or war?
5. FLAGS AGAIN: OF COURSE my Chinese daughter will proudly wave China’s flag, and OF COURSE she would consider it a punishment to be “sent back.” Would you or your friends WANT her to be sent back?
6. THE CONSTITUTION was written by very smart guys, but, #1. Only by guys, and #2. They could not imagine Facebook and iPhone’s. OF COURSE it needs to be a living document and revised carefully and according to the times. And if not, then those who want it the way it was should give up their indoor plumbing, central heat, cars, credit cards, etc., anything that does NOT appear in the original document.
7. WILLIAM BUCKLEY was actually a pretty great and clever writer. He could sell ice to an Eskimo, as they say. I do not agree with him. I fully understand we’re not all going to agree. What I do not understand is thinking that some people (white Americans) are more valuable or deserving than any other person. I am happy to share my taxes with the poor from any nation; I am happy to share the USA with people from around the world who need a safe place to live; I am happy to teach anyone who needs teaching.
8. That whole thing doesn’t make any sense to me. I guess it’s purpose is to scare us that poor people and politicians want to steal from us. I don’t agree.
9. CLIMATE CHANGE does not affect whether or not hurricanes exist. They have always existed. Climate change DOES affect how powerful they are. When the ice melts, there is more “loose” water on earth, and so more for a storm to pick up and pound a beach with. Plus, the warmer hurricanes are, the worse they are. No February hurricanes. If anyone would like information on how hurricanes work, I am sure the weather channel has this.
I would like to see our world, and for me that is the USA, go back to welcoming the huddled masses yearning to be free. I would like to see our world become safer for women, and offer them more opportunities to grow and thrive as humans. I would like to see a nation that cannot get enough tacos stop insulting the people who created them.
I would like to NEVER see another hate-filled email like this one sent around as a spam-load of shit to try to stir up discontent and make people hate each other and feel afraid.
______ has an Asian granddaughter. _______ has a Russian granddaughter. SEVERAL of our friends are Jewish. It amazes me that none of you think of that when you casually send this out as a representation of your beliefs.
Love you very much, and hope you can understand the way the world looks through my eyes.
Dianne

 

And so, I am probably on the shit-list with someone I love very much, a person I am trying to keep low-key and pleasant with as we both age. She tried to “school” me, and I did the same thing back, which is not good, especially as I am usually playing with a much more informed deck.
But, sometimes, something is just too much for me to ignore when it is presented as just an off-hand joke that we’re all, of course, going to agree with. Lord I do not agree with one single thing it said, including using the term “illegal” for people who haven’t been able to get a chance to be Americans.

I was unable to get pregnant. I was ridiculously lucky to be able to adopt a wonderful daughter from China who had to be given up by her poor birth mother because of poverty, patriarchy, or communism, or all three even, and yet some in my family will open their arms to her, and turn their backs on all the other children in the world who are suffering and in need. If I had the money, I’d give Angelina Jolie a run for her money, and I would fling open the doors to the people who need to escape from gang violence, or Syria, or poverty.

MY DAUGHTER

IMG_9828I adopted my daughter from China, and from the time I met her I have felt like she has a very strong and interesting personality. Well, all mothers love their children, right?

I remember once, before I had my daughter, when I went shopping with a mom and her young daughter, and I was a little taken aback at how much the mom controlled her daughter’s clothing. It was not just that she, the mom, did all the choosing, it was that everything that the daughter picked out, the mom responded with statements like, I don’t like that. I’m not buying that. That’s a stupid outfit.  Those are not direct quotations, but the general spirit of the thing. I felt as if it wasn’t enough to deny her daughter the choosing of the clothes, it was the addition of insult to each choice, as if the mother just could not get over how horrible and stupid her daughter’s taste was, and wanted her to know, to be put in her place.

With my own daughter I have faced some clothing challenges: number one, by age three she had given up pants. No more pants. Only skirts, only dresses. No sneakers. No shorts.
This preference means nothing to me, but drives my own mother a little crazy I think. Many times she has sent my daughter presents of shorts, and each time my daughter has opened the package and been sorely disappointed. Frankly I think she feels unheard by my mom.

The second challenge of having a fashion-determined daughter, her friends and/or their moms/grandmoms. My neighbor has a granddaughter who sometimes comes and plays with my daughter, but my neighbor will not take my daughter anywhere in a dress, and her granddaughter has zero dresses. Usually my neighbor will invite my daughter, then send my daughter home in tears because she says, “You cannot do (insert any activity here) in a dress.” Then I walk over and ask, “Are you really saying she cannot go because of her clothes?” And my neighbor says, “I didn’t think you would want her to go in a dress,” careful dodge there. And then, finally, my daughter can go, at last, in her dress. But, we always do this dance, each time her granddaughter visits. I think it’s simply cruel. My neighbor calls herself a liberal, but she is blind to her own conservative controlling ways.

For my child, for my neighbor’s grandchild, and for all girls who are, fortunately and unfortunately, raised by women, women who often are passing down their anxieties, and their prejudices about who and what women can be, prejudices that they received as gifts from their own moms or grandmas or aunts or sisters, I’d love to see this kind of in-home harassment stop.

This is what I want to try to make myself do, to curb all my own little micro-agressions against my daughter.

I want to make a pledge:

~If my daughter is chubby, too thin, or perfect, I will bless her, and help her to understand, feed, and regulate her own appetites as it suits her.

~If my daughter’s outfit is clashing, too loud, too feminine, too masculine, or just not my style, I will bless her, and let her go out into the world and find her tribe.

~If my daughter does not do or say or think or wear or eat what I would do or say or think or wear or eat, I will bless her. Let her go; let her grow, I want to be the place she can come back to and always feel accepted. You never know, someday, at some party, some future Supreme Court Justice might just get her and hold his hand down over her mouth so tightly that she thinks she’s going to suffocate and die right on that spot. Or some boy or girl might marry her, and go about taking her apart with little insults, or big ones, little injustices, or big ones, piece by piece, until she is trapped and so fractured she cannot free herself. Or someday maybe everything will evolve around her into the most perfect world and the most perfect life. Or any spot on the line in between…. And because anything is possible I will pledge that, regardless,

~I will kiss her, bless her sweet head, and try my damnedest teach her that I am always the place that she can come to, can run to; I want to always be the nest, the place of no judgement, the place she’s loved best.