Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mixed blessings

There is certainly much for which to be grateful: 

a charming new little life continues to unfold
with glimpses (at only 2 1/2 weeks)
of a much more mature child -
even when he's channeling his inner grumpy Yoda!
(Are kids like puppies?
Because if he grows into his hands and feet ...
watch out!)
Babysitting hasn't been this much fun 
since my senior year in high school
when I routinely babysat for the 'cool' neighbors,
got paid top dollar AND got to use their convertible!
Work is ... work ...
the clinic is challenging but thriving -
with over 840+ kids enrolled in our program -
in less than 22 months.

The frustrations and lack of response from within our organization continues
but is at least off set at this point
by recognition of the benefits 
being reaped by the kids in the program.

I've made several trips to the Capitol lately to speak to legislators 
about expanding the program statewide
to ultimately serve all children in the states foster care system.
No doubt a change in state leadership at the governors level
will impact how quickly this all happens.
Here's hoping the stoplight isn't prophetic.
And its that pending political change
along with all the other changes on a National level
that has left me with a pervading sense of gloom.
I've cycled hrough anger, disbelief and denial 
about the presidential elections results -
then back again to ground zero
only to start all over.
I simply can't find my way beyond these repeating feelings into the new reality
of such an odious little man being cast as leader of our country.

I've been single and dated enough men to know that when a man tells you who he is -
believe him.

And, as far as I'm concerned,
this one has told us
for decades
that he's not to be trusted;
that he only looks out for himself;
that he'll say and do anything to advance to his own interests;
that he has NO moral center;
that he has no close friends because he can't trust;
that he is so insecure about his own trustworthiness that any slight,
no matter how small and insignificant
must be defended immediately,
with no sense of proportional response.

Not exactly qualities I want in the leader in my country.

The reality is that I've been in mourning -
and I'm not done yet.

The sense of believing in the goodness of my fellow citizens 
and the world writ large,
the sense of believing in goodness
that I walked across an entire country to reclaim (on the Camino)
has been badly injured.
Knowing that the majority of people voted for a better option helps a little;
but, as we're all being reminded again, 
when it comes to the Electoral College,
the majority doesn't rule!

This isn't just a case of being a sore loser.
It's a refusal to acquiesce to evil.
I will NOT pretend that the president elect is a normal candidate
who won a normal election
and needs to be given a chance to prove himself.

He has unleashed the darkest instincts of his followers
and given them permission to wreck havoc on anyone they see as inferior - 
which encompasses all of us who don't agree with them.
He's already proven himself
not only by refusing to disavow them -
but by elevating them to the highest levels of government.

I keep looking for points of light in the darkness - 
and I find them -

but that doesn't mean I don't feel overwhelmed.

I do know I'm ready for civil disobedience.
I'm ready for marching, 
calling government officials, 
holding them accountable,
signing petitions...
I'm just pissed that all of this will be necessary - again.
I thought the 60's were behind us!
Here's what I won't do ...
I won't live for the next 4 years in a sense of hyper-vigilance,
seeing boogeymen everywhere,
letting fear eclipse my ability to wrest joy from the everyday.

The balance for how to do all of this
 is what I'm missing
and struggling to find.

Maintaining equilibrium is tough under the best of circumstances
and this period of our history is FAR from the best!

But there's this
and he gives me hope
and the strength to fight on -
because all the children in the world deserve better than what's coming!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Open Letter to Aaron Sorkin

Dear Aaron - 
Watching the West Wing on continuous loop is the only thing 
that got me through the wilderness of the Bush years. 

Binge watching The Newsroom 
got me through election campaigning. 

While I'm willing to start all over in 2017
and watch both again 
to get me through the 7th level of hell
that awaits when you know who is sworn in,
I was curious to know if you're working on any new material.

Your faithful audience awaits.

Please don't let us down...
but no pressure.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Just some thoughts

 I’ve been going to the reservation for nearly two decades now 
and I can’t begin to catalogue all I’ve learned in that time.

 What I DO know, 
above all else, 
is that what began as ‘service’, or Mission trips, 
has morphed into ‘visits home’ 
and ‘seeing family and friends’.
The spiritual life that so many of us long for 
isn’t a life set apart from our everyday existence; 
it’s not found by ‘doing good works’ 
or by convincing another person to worship God 
in a prescribed style that may work for you.

 Henri Nouwen captured it perfectly when he wrote: 
The spiritual life can only be real 
when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys 
of the here and now”.
A single trip to the reservation can be overwhelming 
when faced with the third world level of need and poverty.
If you let it,
it can blind you to the richness and beauty 
of people and place 
that dwells alongside the brokenness. 
It can make the ‘here and now’ too painful to be fully present.

I’ve come to trust the value of simply showing up  - 
and each time I find myself 
sitting with the pain that some folks on the reservation carry, 
I’m overwhelmed with my own inability to do much more 
than stand in awe, 
struck dumb by the sheer size of their burden; 
more than I’ve ever been asked to carry – 
and I used to think I’ve shouldered my share.

Standing in solidarity with people 
generally doesn’t change the facts of the reality they live with 
but it can change the way that we perceive that reality.
It can remind us of who we are.
We are not what we do 
or what people say about us 
and we are definitely not what we own or have. 

It can remind us that we’re not alone.
We are all the beloved daughters and sons of God.

I don't know about you, but I need that reminder
from time to time -
especially in this political time and climate.

Monday, November 14, 2016


 I mentioned before that the family bassinett was dug out of the attic of the last family who used it
and gifted to my son during the family baby shower in September.
It's hard to believe it's been 3 years 
since the last little one in our family needed it.
(Miss Ari)

It has been used by every baby in our family for 72 years -
now it's Sam's turn
and if you see where his feet are, 
you can see he won't be in it for very much longer!

He's changing every time I see him -
and I think he looks far older than a 1 week old!
THIS one cracks me up ...
He looks exactly like his father after Thanksgiving dinner
when he's in a food stupor
and just wanting to get into his stretchy pants!
The larger world has suddenly erupted in color -
in St Louis

and in Standing Rock.
Just gorgeous!

It's helped to look for beauty 
with so much ugliness all around us.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dear Fellow Americans who just voted for President Voldemort

I have so much to say and I'm going to try to be kind but:
 I had NO idea there are so many people in this country who are unable to connect the dots.

Let's pretend for one minute that T-rump isn't:
 the most dangerous demagogue and narcissist this country has ever seen;
that he doesn't have an ego bigger than NYC,
that he hasn't demonstrated over and over
(I mean consistently for decades!)
that he's a bigot, 

a misogynist with HUGE mommy (and daddy) problems, 

an admitted sexual predator,

mentally ill,

financially irresponsible-
with his own and other peoples money -,

the named principal in over a dozen pending lawsuits,

has HUGE impulse control issues,

brags about never reading,
leading to poor mastery of the English language
and the vocabulary of a 2nd grader,

has never offered a single day
 - let alone a lifetime -
in service of others...

let's take all of that  - 
and SO much more -
out of the equation. 

This country is expected to have just elected
 a man who has never held public office 
and knows NOTHING about how government works.

 (In case you don't know it,  he hasn't been elected yet.
He won't be until the Electoral College meets on December 19th 
and the electors cast their votes
stop saying it's the will of the people -
more people voted for Hillary than for T-rump.
She won the popular vote)

I'm right there with Mr Khan in suspecting 
that T-rump has never even read the American constitution. 

Apparently for many voters this was part of his appeal.
The same people, no doubt, who would recognize 
how dangerous and foolish it would be to seek out a physician
with NO experience or track record 
for a life saving procedure you need,

(What? A doc who has done hundreds of heart transplants? 
No thanks, get me the first year surgery resident; 
I want HIM to do it!)

have just turned over the keys of the kingdom 
to a complete RUBE!

Sorry to break it to you folks, 
but you've been conned.
And the snake oil you just bought is going to poison the well for all of us.

 It's now on you ... 
 you think you were voting to drain the swamp? 
 well, you just sent ALL the same leeches back into it
with a new Swamp Thing as their leader.

The state our country is in
(and, BTW,
it's NOT as dire as you've been led to believe)
is NOT due to the Democrats OR the sitting President.
Republicans have been in leadership of the House, 
the Senate 
and most state Governor-ships
for YEARS.

They've accomplished NOTHING because that was their goal -
to obstruct and shut down the workings of government -
all because they didn't like the blackness of the man in charge.
 (Oops,I forgot, we're taking overt racism out of the equation)

And they were successful.
But, as Dr Phil would say,
how's that working for ya?
Apparently not too well;
but you've been conned into blaming the wrong part of the system.
Republicans are very successful at that bait and switch tactic too.

I'm sorry they didn't care enough about you 
to tell you that the jobs we lost 
on small family farms, 
in mining, 
small businesses,
the auto industry,
the railroads 
aren't coming back.

And that guy you just elected?
He was part of the establishment that sent them overseas.

I'm sorry they didn't care enough about you 
to tell you that the life you enjoyed -
the one in which your pale skin color
and all the privileges attendant with it 
kept you in an isolated bubble 
in which you could ignore 
all the ways the system wasn't working for so many others - 
it's gone too.
Mayberry only existed for a select few anyway.

And that guy you just elected?
You honestly think a billionaire from NYC gives a rats ass about your life?
How many times prior to the campaign has he visited 'the flyover'?
How many times has he walked down a 'Main Street' in a town with a population under 500?
Spend a lot of time in Appalachia did he?

Well, sit back and enjoy the 3 ring circus that's coming to your town soon.
But don't get too confortable.
He won't be in the center ring for long!

Dear rest of the civilized world
We're sorry you got dragged into this travesty 
but it wasn't me or any of my close friends; 
please give us political asylum.

Dear political pundits
You blew it.
You're dead to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


What I was hoping for:
What I got:
Still suffering from whiplash.
There will be more said later.

What I'm focusing on instead

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Learning new things

After not having an infant in the family for a very long time, 
you tend to forget about all the adjustments that go along 
with figuring out who this new little creature in your life is.
You forget how helpless you can feel trying to decipher what they're trying to let you know.

You forget about all the new sensations and experiences these little ones are barraged with
and how disconcerting that must be for them.
You forget how much harder all that is when you're doing it 
on less than 3 hours sleep.

And, as a grandparent, 
it's a tough job to watch as new parents struggle, 
as they must,
with learning for themselves 
what works and what doesn't.

New things are being learned here in the Lou!
 Much of it lovely and life affirming.
THAT reality, however, just makes my general anxiety about the election
more pronounced.
 Not that I didn't have skin in the game anyway;
I mean, I have to live with the results in this country.
The Motherland (Canada) won't take me back ...
Cuba is beautiful but it IS a dictatorship and if I'm going to live under one anyway,
it might as well be here
fighting with, and for, my people.

It may well be that I'm the one that's proven to be delusional
but I REFUSE to believe
that the people in our country have gone so far 'round the bend
that they could elect an orange buffoon as our leader.
I voted early since I'll be driving downstate to a conference,
having to leave at the ass crack of dawn before the polls open.

The trip will take me deep into Trumpland
and I'll just say it,
it's unnerving.

No matter the outcome,
it's not where I'd choose to be as the results come in!

After casting my vote though,
it's out of my hands.
You can't control another person.

Which seems to be the lesson of the day -
try to figure out how to make it work
 and how to cope when it goes south!
All you can do is buckle up -
its gonna be a bumpy ride
but we'll make it through.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The day my heart grew another chamber

It seemed like any other day -
until it wasn't.

It had been drizzling all morning 
yet when I drove to the hospital,
this happened.
And it felt like a sign!
What happened in the intervening hours is not my story to tell, 
but I can share images from the end of the day.

 At almost 22 inches long,
this guy was luxuriating in having room to finally stretch!
 I don't even have words yet for how tender it is to see
YOUR baby holding HIS baby!
 Welcome to the world, Sam!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Things that I noticed

while waiting for Baby E to put in an appearance!
You'll be seeing this again!

A hot, bland fall, so far,
with few exceptions.

Searching for spots of color in 80 degree days
has deepen my appreciation for 
crisp breezes and snuggling under blankets -
and increased my longing for the same.

A book that needed just a few modifications to be reading ready
for those nights when Baby E is over at Nanny's!

Preparation can never start too soon.

Teach your children well.