Log in

No account? Create an account
17 January 2018 @ 01:39 pm

In the recent weeks and months, I've been feeling like walls are closing in. I don't know if it's because of my age, the state of my cancer or just the world in general, but the feeling is well present. There is a lot of anger in the world. Too much anger, really. None of it will lead to anything good as it never does. People are getting hurt along the way and the apparent lack of empathy we feel for one another as a society doesn't prevent that from happening--it just magnifies it. All of this stems from a failure to listen. Mostly, we need to listen without any prejudice and many of us do not.

We are losing sight of the other and only focusing on the self. The "self" can even be a group of individuals with a specific agenda, which is far scarier and far more dangerous than one person's selfishness. Those with causes, in their effort to do good, often only operate in the "all or nothing" or "black or white" mentality and that does damage to the cause. We do not exist in a world of black or white--not yet, thank goodness.

People who only operate in such stark contrasts do not realise that in forcing their agenda into one of these colours is actually forcing our world into a totalitarian state.

For those of you who need a refresher of its definition:
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.

We have become a society of bullies in our effort to do good. Many times, most times, really, we are unaware that in our effort to make things better, we forget that there is a lot of grey area between the black and the white. We tend to live in that grey area If we are not an active part of an agenda and the things that are being dictated don't necessarily apply to us, but eventually, should a group get its way, we will find it to be the case.

Extreme points of view will not benefit anyone and nothing will get accomplished. Unfairly attacking an entire group of people like, say, Republicans, rather than going after the ones within the party who are creating harmful policies is pointless in its generalisation of conservatives and accomplishes nothing other than the creation of enemies you previously didn't have.

Yes, our society has become filled with bullies in not just our politics, but in our social justice causes as well. That's not how it should work and that is not how we should allow it to work. To bully someone to the point of submission, to put your blinders on and not see the damage that you are doing in order to get your mission accomplished is unwise. We should be better than this.

We as a society spend so much time looking at little screens and reading about what is happening to other humans that we have lost our ability to interact with others on a human level. There is no compassion and certainly no fairness, balance or actual justice being carried out even as we believe that we are striving for that.

This cannot continue.

As I drove past places that are now vastly changed from when I was a toddler, I understand full well that we cannot go back to the way things were. I certainly don't want that because the way things were was not particularly great for so many people I love. I also don't like the "now" in all of its chaos and the things I mentioned above. The only thing I can do is hope for a better future even though I will not be a part of it. I'm doing what I can to make sure that justice--actual justice comes to those who need it; not the "torches and pitchforks" brand of justice that comes from a mob mentality that's fueled by the perception of wrongdoing or in some form of social vengeance. This simply won't do and should never be accepted.

Until then, I will do what I do and I will continue to #RESIST in all the ways necessary. I hope you will join me.

Current Location: Warehouse 1138
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Expanded Version]
30 September 2017 @ 08:20 pm

I wanted to share this amazing sermon that my friend and boss, Rabbi Allison Vann wrote for Yom Kippur afternoon service. I held it back until now so i didn't steal her thunder by posting it before she was able to deliver it, but here it is in all its glory.

It is not just something written for Yom Kippur, but something written to address the state of our lives in Trump America 2017.


I have a quick assignment. You don’t have to move, you just have to think for a second. Who is your favorite superhero? Why? What is about this superhero that speaks to you?

Perhaps you thought of this superhero:

He is faster than a speeding bullet.
More powerful than a locomotive.
He can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
It’s not a bird.
It’s not a plane…

Maybe some of you included him in your hero list because he was born in Cleveland, after all, and he was created by two Jewish men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster! When they created Superman, I doubt they realized that he would influence American culture so thoroughly.

Superheroes are created when life is hard, and scary, and out of control. Superheroes tackle problems that are too tough for mere mortals to handle. For many people, myself included, superheroes are beacons of hope, sources of inspiration, and definitive examples of what is good and right.

Superheroes have been around for a long time. What’s fascinating is that there is a long history of Jews creating superheroes. There is a legend that, in the 16th century, Rabbi Judah Loew, due to ongoing persecution, made a creature of clay to defend the Jews of Prague.  He brought the Golem to life by writing the letters “aleph-mem-tav”, meaning “truth” on its’ forehead.  After defending the Jews by scaring most of Prague, the story goes, the Emperor asked that the Golem be destroyed. In return, the Jews would remain in Prague in safety. It is rumored that the Golem is buried somewhere in Prague to this day, ready to be called into service if needed again.

Jumping from the 16th century Prague, to the late 1930’s in the United States, Jews again began to create superheroes to deal with extraordinarily difficult times. Life was unsure and times were dark. A superior non-human being that could save the world was an answer to everyone’s problems.

It’s no wonder, then, that Jewish writers and artists Bob Kahn – who changed his name to Kane – and Bill Finger created Batman. Together, the two men were inspired in 1939 to create the character of millionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne, who fought criminals at night as a masked vigilante: Batman. As you may know, as a child, Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents’ brutal murder in a back-alley of Gotham City.  This became motivation for him to use his wealth, ingenuity, and self-discipline to bring criminals to justice. Comic book historian and creator Alan Oirich observed about the creation of Batman, “In the late 1930’s, Jews in some of the capitals of Europe were being killed in the streets, with high culture and gothic architecture serving as settings for acts of uncivilized violence. Like the aghast eight-year-old Bruce Wayne, post-Holocaust Jews have witnessed the generations before them shot down in the streets. They struggle to understand, to avenge and to decide what in the world to do in response to such unfathomable tragedy.”

While Batman may have been created to avenge those who died senselessly; Stanley Lieber – aka Stan Lee – created his superheroes to help protect us from every major modern drama. For example, he was motivated to create the Fantastic Four – four superheroes who worked together to save the world – as well as the Incredible Hulk – during our country’s very real fears over nuclear war in the early 1960’s.

Around the same time, Stan Lee responds to both the nuclear fear, and the radical cultural shifts beginning in the United States by creating Spider-man. Peter Parker was one of the first superheroes who was just a normal teenager. He was a little nerdy, a little shy, and not your typical superhero material. A radioactive spider bite turned him into a hero who could walk on walls and swing from his web. Peter chose to use his newfound powers to help save New Yorkers from criminals.

All of these and many more superheroes were created when we most needed to figure out how to deal with pain, fear, lack of control, division, and hatred. In the 16th century, we felt small and helpless, so we created the Golem who saved the Jewish community of Prague. In modern times, as Rabbi Marci Bellows wrote, “Superman fought for integrity, Batman for justice... the Fantastic Four for teamwork... and Spider-man for responsibility and redemption. They give us hope that, in the end, no matter what, good will prevail over evil.”

Superheroes have always been popular, but recently, blockbuster movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Iron Man and Wonder Woman, to name a few, have again reached a pinnacle. Perhaps it is because we are once again facing unparalleled and unpredictable challenges such as racism, political division, and intolerance, war, terrorism and so much more.  In these uncertain times, as we cope with ever growing threats, we, more than ever before, need something or someone to believe in and give us hope.

My family and I recently watched Wonder Woman. It’s quite good. Wonder Woman is a force for good, fiercely protecting those who cannot defend themselves. More than a good movie with a great superhero, it begins to highlight something very important to me. Perhaps we don’t always need these characters with special super powers. Perhaps we can be the super hero.

See, in the movie I found Captain Steve Trevor compelling. Steve Trevor, also determined to do what was just and right, said early in the movie, “My father told me once, he said, ‘If you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing, or you can do something’. And I already tried nothing.”

Steve Trevor reminds us that when so many difficult things are happening all at once, we can become paralyzed. However, we all carry within us the potential energy, skill, and passion to shift this world in a positive direction. We don’t have to wait for a bat-signal: the news is out there in our version of the Daily Planet:

We can be the superheroes.

Yes, us.

We can help to repair the world.

We have a permanent, incredible superpower: we are each created btzelem elohim, in the image of God. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught with both his words and, more importantly, with his actions, what it means to be made in the image of God. “We must be a reminder of God,” he wrote. “And that, in turn means that our imperative is to live our lives in such a way that if someone looks at us, they are reminded of God.” this is what it means to be a superhero. This is the true call, of Yom Kippur: it is to remember that you are a superhero. To me, this means that God trusted us, and believed in us enough. god placed us on this earth to be God’s partners to build a more just and kind society for ourselves and future generations.

In The Book of Miracles, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner writes:
When you see something that is broken, fix it. When you find something that is lost, return it. When you see something that needs to be done, do it. If all the people in the world were to do so, our world would truly be a Garden of Eden, the way God meant it to be. If everything broken could be repaired, then everyone and everything would fit together like the pieces of one gigantic jigsaw puzzle. But, for people to begin the great task of repairing creation, they first must take responsibility. (p. 50)

As a country – as a world – we’re really hurting.

The Avengers aren’t coming. Superman isn’t coming.

But we are here. And we are superheroes. At one point or another every one of us-- even superheroes-- has tried to run away from their power-- because it is such an awesome responsibility. But in the end, just like in the movies, let’s not run away. Let’s understand that we have been entrusted with this responsibility for a reason, and that we cannot back away from it. We are God’s creation: we are B’tzelem Elohim. We must not waste this superpower.

So I end as I began: Who is your favorite superhero? I hope you’ll think about saying: me. What will you do in the coming year as a superhero? How will you help to save the day? Next Yom Kippur, I can’t wait to hear your superhero stories.

Current Mood: Inspired

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first:
This convetion, though at a convention centre used for this event on two other occasions, was completely boggled. I don't know if it was ReedPOP or if it was the higher-ups at the centre itself.

The lines on Thursday were a mess as there was only one point of entry to the centre. The line, which was estimated to be a little over a mile long, wrapped around the back side of the centre and along the highway. The staff were still setting up security checkpoints as people were entering and the wristband allocations didn't make sense. Many with medical badges were unable to gain entry into the main panels or get the Hasbro exclusive because they were unable to sleep overnight inside the convention centre.

Topps mangled the autograph and photograph times and queues so badly that many folks missed opportunities to get the photos and/or autographs they'd paid for in advance of the show.

I'll close with the good news portion of the bad stuff by saying that a conversation I was having with someone who shared this experience was overheard by someone from ReedPOP. He was standing just behind us with his wife and college-aged son in the check-in queue at the airport. He was extremely kind and said that he felt that his company took a massive step backward with this convention and was extremely disappointed to learn of the experiences with Topps. I also learnt that Reed felt that the Anaheim convention in 2015 suffered from a venue that was too small to properly accommodate the number of people who attended.

With that, I will continue to the good part:
As always, it was wonderful to reconnect with all of my friends who are also my family. I cannot express enough how much I benefit from the energy and the love that this lovely group brings with them. I believe that my experience in Anaheim healed me and this one will help sustain my level of good health until the next convention (wherever it may be)!

We started things off right with a wonderful pre-Celebration dinner at Tony Roma's. The event was attended by almost 80 people! The folks at Star Wars Action News helped procure a number of raffle gifts for the attendees and that made the evening even more special. As always, there were new friends to be made.

The best panel of the entire con was the 40th Anniversary panel, which was hosted by the lovable Warwick Davis and attended by Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, Hayden Christiansen, Ian McDiarmid, Peter Mayhew, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill and HARRISON FORD! I was glad that we were able to get into that even if it was only in one of the streaming rooms. It was amazing sharing that experience with such an enthusiastic bunch of con attendees. Carrie Fisher was given a lovely tribute, which was followed by a moving speech by her daughter, Billie Lourd. If someone tells you that they didn't cry, they are lying or they have no soul. The panel concluded with John Williams conducting the Orlando Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Hamill also delivered a beautiful tribute to the late Carrie Fisher at a separate panel. There were tears again and then the ugly crying started when Mark, who was reading the statement he gave just after Carrie's death, began to tear up and stopped reading. He quietly said, "I don't know if I can read this..." He segued into another funny anecdote to compose himself before finishing his statement.

A personal highlight for me was that I participated in my first full-length improv event, entitled "Whose Line Is It, Alderaan?" We had a fun little group of people and we played to a packed room. It didn't occur to me until the next day that for an hour, I was contributing to and starring in something that was a part of the Star Wars universe. And like all of the smaller things thgat happen at the convention, most will eventually forget they saw us, but some will remember that we made them laugh and they might come to see us again if we should happen to revisit this a future Celebration. I have to thank all of the folks I worked with for being so talented and generous and for helping make this a unique and special moment for me. Hey, I also got to sign some autographs. My signature is now in some official Celebration commemorative programmes!

And now, as I write this from gate 14 at MCO, I feel the wave of sadness that comes when good things end and friends disperse. The week at Celebration is always like summer camp for geeks, but in the spring... and usually for less than a week for some, but still, it's like that. We pack so many memories into such a short span of time and you really do notice it when it's over. Thankfully, the friendships continue and the lines of communication stay open, whether it's on the phone, on social media or via e-mail. That's one of the benefits of this new age; getting to stay connected until the next time we all meet--whenever and wherever that might be.

Current Mood: sentimental
22 January 2017 @ 04:01 pm

Lou and I joined the congregation of Trinity Cathedral a couple weeks before Christmas 2014. Lou, feeling directionless after my cancer diagnosis, decided to see what our neighbour's church was all about, so off we went one Sunday morning. Lou had been actively searching for a new church for a few years and I just found church in my heart and out in the world, but I was open to going and I'm glad that I did. On that morning, Reverend Tracey Lind, the dean of the cathedral, talked about how she liked to get to know people who were interested in the church as a way of finding ways that she could attend to their spiritual needs. We soon found ourselves with an appointment to chat with her on a grey Cleveland evening after work.

Tracey asked a few questions about us, giving us the chance to let her know how we came to our decision to attend Trinity. I started to speak about my diagnosis and she listened. She asked a few more questions and then said, "I noticed that as you spoke about your condition and diagnosis, you smiled. Why is that?" My response was, "Well, I know that whatever happens in the short- and long-term will be what it is meant to be and no matter what, it will be OK." She smiled and nodded. And then I decided to stop being deep and somehow moved on to the fact that I was a giant Star Wars geek, which delighted her.

I continued attending the 9:00 "Mostly Jazz Mass" every Sunday despite my mobility issues. I moved to the music when I could, gathered for communion around the table on the altar, and smiled during every moment of it. I was happy and I felt loved and cared about. And cared for! Reverend Tracey even introduced me to a fellow parishioner who was also a Multiple Myeloma soldier. There she was, connecting me with the community and I was grateful.

As things happen in typical fashion at our house, Lou was diagnosed with colon cancer in late April. Lou had a rough time dealing with my illness and was now having to deal with his. I remained calm and kept my humour. We went to an "emergency" mid-day mass since one was scheduled on the day of his diagnosis. Lou called Tracey and Reverend Kay Rackley to let them know of the news and we were able to sit with them for a while after mass ended. Tracey used some particularly honest language about the unfairness of life and I appreciated how real she was. It made me know that she was not above us in any way and that she was just one of us, but one of us with a special job.

Lou got through his illness and I continued to address mine. In January of 2016, after my “cancer vacation”, I found myself working for Suburban Temple-Kol Ami as the new administrative assistant. In the loveliest of coincidences, the Very Reverend Tracey Lind was scheduled as the guest speaker at the Kol Nashim Women's Shabbat, a service I attended on the Friday before I started work. She took a moment before she delivered her sermon and introduced me to the congregation as "the bravest, and happiest person I know." Now that was an introduction!

Flash forward to November of the same year... Tracey announced that she was suffering from a degenerative frontal lobe condition and would be retiring from Trinity. It struck a massive blow to the congregation because we would be losing her leadership and the amazing things that she taught us--taught me in the time that I knew her. I experienced her dedication to social justice, her commitment to reducing gun violence, her willingness to tackle the difficult things as she led us into battle by providing us with an example of what it means to be a true Christian. She told us that we must use our heads as much as our hearts, but that we are to love all and to not judge, for we all come from different experiences and we must do all that we can to understand one another and not put up walls to separate ourselves from each other.

Tracey Lind is probably the bravest person I've ever met. And probably one of the smartest, too, which is why I find this brain condition particularly cruel when I think about it. But no, we don't stop because she stops. We keep going and we take her teachings and her ability to love and we put these things into practice every day because what she taught us is good and true and it is, I believe, as God wants us to be. And this is why I feel so honoured to have known her and to have made that impression on her. It makes me feel stronger than I thought I could be and that's a mighty good thing.
Current Mood: Reflective
19 January 2017 @ 05:41 pm

One of our congregants stopped by yesterday and we had a nice little chat. She said that she was worried about the direction of the country as there was so much anger and division on the eve of Trump's inauguration. Now, as most of you may (or may not) know, I am famously not a fan of Donald Trump and president or not, I have always found him to be a foul excuse of a human being. That being said, I have managed to maintain a sense of humour and a general air of positivity on the impending doom next four years.

I reassured her that this division is something that has always existed, but was not quite as vocal. I also told her that there was no way that our values, morals and acts of inclusivity would disappear if we kept these things in practice. We would need to stand together and be more visible and more active in what we do. If we are afraid that the things we hold dear would not survive this presidency, we need to make sure that they do survive no matter what opposition we may face. We are not selfish--we are always thinking about the benefit to the greater good.

She agreed with that and then said that she didn't think we've ever had such a time of division in our country's history. I pointed out to her that we've not had such a time of division in our lifetimes. We were too young to remember the division that the Viet Nam War brought to our country. We were not alive during the time of McCarthyism and therefore don't know what it felt like. This is new... to us.

Memories fade into the past and even our parents forget the violence and immediate anxiety that they and the country experienced 40 years ago. This is not new in the scheme of things and we just have to organise and hold fast to our beliefs. We need to see both sides in order to understand what we need to do to win. We must be smart and start taking action on how we can win the midterm elections in 2018 before we can even begin to tackle 2020. I hope to be alive that long!

This is on all of us and we can't just complain about it. If complaining helps you cope the way making fun of Trump helps me cope, that's fine, but you need to act. I have been making calls to elected officials and sending them e-mails. I don't know what good it will do, but I am doing something. This country matters to me and the people in it matter to me.

Don't be afraid.

Current Location: Lakewood, OH
Current Mood: Emboldened
27 December 2016 @ 06:25 pm

Today we lost another legend. In a year where we've lost David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey and George Michael amongst other notables, 2016 decided to send Carrie Fisher to the afterworld on its last Tuesday in December.

While I was sad about the losses of so many others, none touched me in a personal way as this one did. If you haven't heard me tell the story in person or read the story elsewhere, and even if you have, here it is again in all of its glory...

I met Carrie on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at Celebration in Orlando, Florida. It was the weekend after my 45th birthday and my meeting with her was a surprise birthday present from my then partner (now husband), Lou. Lou had secretly contacted my friend, Marjorie, and arranged for her to deliver this birthday surprise on the first day of the convention, which happened to also be my birthday. The special package, delivered by an equally special friend, contained a pass to get Carrie's autograph and a voucher to have a photo taken with her. As if I didn't already have a thing for her, I certainly was about to!

Anyhow, I had a fast pass and managed to bypass the long queue to get the autograph. In typical fashion, her sarcastic wit greeted each fan ahead of me. What do you say to someone like her? I smiled in my anticipation and she noticed even though I was a still a couple fans away from her. The first words out of her mouth were about my smile and how she was glad to see it so late in the afternoon. She commented on how the endless queue of people who didn't look excited and seemed tired was wearing her down. I told her I was glad she liked my smile ‘cos she was going to be seeing it again at the photo op, which I mentioned, like the autograph, was a surprise birthday present from my partner, Lou. She laughed and said, “well… you have an amazing partner and equally amazing smile. I guess I will see you shortly when I get my picture taken with you!” I think I giggled.

I waited in the photo queue for about an hour and I made friends, as I do. Once the line started to move, it really moved. I was stopped just before I was permitted entry into the makeshift photo studio because Carrie was futzing with and kvetching about her sweater top. She said "fuck" and turned sheepishly to see who was around to hear her. She rolled her eyes and said, "oh, thank God it's only you and not some family with kids I'd have to apologise to for being foul." She motioned for me to come in and the photographer visibly wanted to move things along, but she wasn't ready. She asked me, "top on or top off? This thing isn't working with my tits." I told her her wardrobe choice was entirely up to her and I was only there to be a prop. She laughed, flashed the cameraman, smiled at me and said, “Look, I’m going to put my head on that strong shoulder. My head’s heavy and I'm fucking exhausted, so hold it up… and now snuggle with me. On the count of three, let's yell 'tits!', okay? One, two... three.” *click* I yelled "tits!" and she did not. She laughed a hearty laugh and squeezed my hand before letting go. I thanked her for the fun and she winked at me as I headed out of the fabric photo box.

I was lucky and I had an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. This might've been my all-time favourite celebrity encounter and I have my husband and Marjorie to thank for this moment.

Many thanks to Debbie Reynolds for creating such an incredible and unique world for Carrie to grow up in and for giving birth to a creature who brought such great joy to so many and saw life in such a curious way. We are sad for your loss as it is our loss, too.

Godspeed, Carrie...


Until we meet again...

Current Location: Lakewood, OH
Current Mood: sadsad
28 November 2016 @ 08:23 am

Here's a little conversation I had this morning at the gym. I was getting dressed and I heard two familiar voices talking about Trump, Clinton and the recount of the votes. The one guy was being quite logical about it all while the other guy was not. I just couldn't resist myself, so I dropped in to participate and it went something like this...

Me: I couldn't help but overhear your conversation about the recounts.

Guy: Hilary is showing just how power-hungry she is by asking for for the recount!

Me: I'm not Clinton's biggest fan, but she just said that she would aid in the already in-progress recount, which she didn't call for, by supplying some people from her team.

Guy: Well, she just wants to win.

Me: I guess... but Trump really could just send in a couple people in from his team to assist in the process rather than going on Twitter and being a whinging idiot about it.

Guy: Well, Middle America voted for him and that's all that matters. He won that.

Me: Wait, so you're saying that the only votes that matter are the ones from Middle Americans? 'Cos... he still lost the popular vote.

Guy: Well, those are the most morally just people!

Me: Hmmmm... OK.

Guy: (muttering)I wish California would just fall in the ocean.

Me: Really? You think it's OK for a state that really contributes quite a lot to our national and world economy should just fall into the ocean?

Guy: We can relocate and rebuild those businesses elsewhere!

Me: I think if we had the ability to grow avocadoes and oranges in Oklahoma, we would've by now. (meanwhile, I have been looking through my phone to find a picture of my friend's adorable 4-year old daughter)

Guy: Those people are freaks!

Me: (I hold my phone up to him) So, you are totally OK if the little girl in this photo dies?

Guy: I didn't say that!

Me: You kinda did, man. You said that you wish California would fall into the ocean. If it did, it would take this lovable child-- who lives in San Francisco, which is a part of California.

Guy: That's not what I meant.

Me: That's what would happen, though. So, let's circle back to this "Middle America thing". You feel that Middle Americans are morally righteous and that you identify with that and you feel they identify with you?

Guy: Yeah.

Me: (nods) OK... so morally just people feel it's OK to wish death on other people and that it is easy to replace our industries and natural resources that could be lost in a major catastrophe?

Guy: Well... no. That's not what I said!

Me: Again, you pretty much did. So, let's recap--Clinton is power-hungry even though she didn't call for the recounts, Trump sits on the sidelines and tweets like a deranged idiot rather than contributing to the process, you're OK with people dying and throwing off our national economy and that only Middle American opinions count.

Guy: ( stunned silence)

Me: Well... that's about it. My work here is done. You guys have a great day!

Guy #2: (grinning broadly) You too man. You too!

I think the thing that did him in was the fact that I stayed calm the whole time and never became emotional. That's the way to take 'em down kids. That's the way.

Current Mood: Triumphant
18 November 2016 @ 06:00 pm

I left work today and it was a beautiful 72°. The sun was shining and most of the leaves had fallen from the trees. There was a sweet smell that filled the air-- the smell that leaves which have turned colour have when the sun shines on them. I was immediately transported back to the age of nine and roaming the fields behind Allen K's apartment over the Novelty, Ohio post office. The fields occupied a vast parcel of land that would eventually become the neighbourhoods of Belle Vernon Drive, the Fox Hills Drive extension and Fox Den Drive. There were ponds, hills and little gulleys where we would set up forts out of discarded pieces of wood and other appropriated building materials to which we were granted access. We would have adventures against unseen enemies (usually alien) and we would hide from the older kids who would occasionally ride their dirtbikes through the area.

It was there that I discovered milkweeds and touch-me-nots for the first time. I got close to hawks, geese, ducks, deer, rabbits and foxes and came to appreciate the simple beauty of these animals. I felt safe as I walked through these fields with the tall, dry grasses that gently brushed against my arms and left burrs on my trouser legs. I took in that smell of the turning leaves and wondered if anyone else noticed it or if it was just I who had taken a moment to drink it all in.

These days felt like they would last forever, but the autumn turned into winter, which eventually became the spring and summer. I faced another October and the cycle would start again and again until the earth movers came and started carving out the new roads the summer before Allen K. moved away. I wouldn't have the occasion to play in those fields again. Even though there were other fields, they just didn't seem as magical as this one.

The memory of the land and the adventures lives in my heart and every now and then, on days like today when the weather is just right, I remember... and I am young again.
Current Mood: Nostalgic
I spent most of the night putting all of this together, so I hope you will read it. Yes, it’s really long, but I am thinking this is my final word on this.

We have a new president and we need to make sure that we cooperate with him to make sure all our needs are met. Similarly, we need to be a giant pain in the ass to the government in general because this whole “Republicans in all three branches” thing doesn’t work. It also doesn’t work if it’s all Democrats in those branches, just so you know. We also need to make sure to keep on all our elected officials to do the right thing and not be obstructionists when it comes to getting legislation passed. We should also not be doormats and let the Republicans get their way. That nonsense is why things don’t work. I am going to be a massive pain in the ass for the next four years because I do want change. I get that we all needed a big change (and don’t start on Obama—he did a pretty admirable job considering the giant mess that Bush left behind and the fact that the Republicans kept blocking things). I don’t necessarily think that we went about it the right way.

A little history…
I’ve never liked Donald Trump and I’ve never had any respect for him. I haven’t liked him for 35 years, so he needs to earn my respect. Why? He’s conducted himself without any dignity and he’s spent those years coming off as a bully, an idiot and an asshole. I’m not apologising for that ‘cos he really does. I’m pretty sure the guys I know who supported Trump wouldn’t appreciate it if I spoke of their wives or mothers using some of the pearls from Trump’s phrasebook. Maybe I should try as an experiment… or not.

Like I said, we have a new president. While I don’t think that we should completely worry about President Trump at this particular moment, we need to be concerned about the stuff that he brought in with him. Not into the government per se, but what he brought in during his campaign and is now starting to take hold after his election.

I’d like to equate it to this scenario:
The family cat got out and the kids were worried that something bad happened to him. Mom and dad waited and waited for the cat to come to the door so they could let him back in and all would be right in the world. Unfortunately, mom and dad got tired and maybe weren’t thinking their plan through 100%. They left the door open all night so when the cat came back to the house, it would come back in and didn’t run away again. Hurrah! The next morning kitty cat was back in the house and everyone was happy. They were happy until they realised that the open door let in a skunk, a couple raccoons, a bunch of leaves and maybe some pieces of garbage. We are so lucky that it didn’t let in a thief or a murderer! Sure, we got something we wanted, but inadvertently we also got a few things we didn’t want so much. I hope we didn’t want those things.

President Trump is a wait-and-see situation and I am willing to wait and see what happens. I can be OK with that. What I can’t be OK with is the fact that his tone and his language managed to tap into the worst of the worst in our society and gave them an implied call to arms. The reason we marginalised people are afraid of this presidency is because of hateful groups that intend to do them harm if given the opportunity. This isn’t just speculation, you see. On Twitter, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was simultaneously orgasming and losing control of his bowels because of the Trump win—saying that it was time to take America back. I don’t think that’s a good sign. Do you? This is kind of scary if you are not white. Or heterosexual. I was treated to some really neat words from a woman I identified in a conversation as “white”, “straight”, “married”, “having a husband and children”. She was offended by this and then said that I was pervert, an abomination and that my marriage was a joke. I didn't think that the things I said about her were name-calling, but simply a statement of fact. So, thank you for illustrating my point so beautifully. Really, “thank you.”

Another thing that troubles me is that there are a great number of Trump supporters who are calling Trump non-supporters “whiners.” I seem to recall a lot of “whining” when Obama was elected in 2008. They are also telling them to shut up and respect him and help him do his job. It doesn’t appear that a lot of people did that for President Obama was in office. Maybe they already forgot. You really cannot have it one way, kids.

Since I already went with a cat analogy, I have a one last thing to add in a roundabout way: One of the most startling things that I encountered this week are the large number of females who have referred to Trump non-supporters as “pussies” and that they are sick of the “pussification” of America. These women, who say that they are strong, independent and intelligent are using a gender identifying part of their anatomy to say that something / someone is weak. Does that seem like an empowering choice of words? I’m not answering that for them, but I’m just drawing your attention to it and asking the question.

OK… I think that’s it.

Let’s all make sure the cat doesn’t get out again and the family works to get rid of all the refuse and undesirable critters out of the house so that we can all have a bit of peace and happiness. There is a reason for sadness and there is a reason for fear—do not dismiss these things or try to minimise them; they exist and we need to make sure we address this correctly and with grace and sensitivity.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Star Wars Oxygen , Volume 36