Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Full of Grace

  • Walking to work, waiting to cross the street, a school bus stopped to pick me up. A school bus! I assume the driver was probably a substitute driver, and quite possibly blind, but at my age I’ll take whatever compliments I can get.

  • Cheesecake Factory now sells this - Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Topped with Hazelnut Crunch and Nutella. And damn it is good.

  • Anticipating a rather politically volatile Thanksgiving gathering, one of the more liberal in-laws texted those of similar leanings “if the conversation gets uncomfortable for anyone, just say “craisins” and we will try to change the subject.”  It was only said once when a vegan muttered it when the talk turned to hunting, and then one false alarm when someone asked to have the craisin stuffing passed.  With everyone on their best behavior, I had a very loud (2 televisions with football, 4 hyper toddlers, 4 rambunctious and opinionated about football men and 1 almost deaf grandmother who everyone yelled at) but very loving and abundant holiday.

  • Peachie came home early for Martha’s birthday as a surprise. And a delightful surprise it was. Most especially nice was that Beaner stayed with us also. It warms my heart to see my daughters snuggled up together in bed, sharing sister secrets, like when they were little.

  • And since everyone was home we went and got the tree together and put up most of the decorations.  It is still November, the yard is all buttoned up, and most of the holiday preparations are already done. I can now spend December cozily nesting, baking cookies, wrapping presents and enjoying the joyful blessings of the season.  And that is a grateful life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Full of Grace

I know this holiday will be especially difficult for some people.  I, myself, will be heading into redneck country. But as Maya Angelou said “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”  My wish is that, no matter what our differences, we can all find something especially beautiful and loving to be grateful for. . . . and then get out before it blows.

Happy giving thanks day.

Friday, November 18, 2016

What Now?

I have been spending a lot of time trying to how best to spend my time, energy and money to counteract the Trump agenda.  I will come up with a personal program for myself but in the meantime, check out this brilliant post:


which gives you a flow chart of viable options depending on your where your heart and stomach are right now.

Warning: lots of cursing

h/t schmuzie.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Full of Grace

I was going to write some thoughts about moving forward after this election but, I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of burned out and will save that for another day. So even though there is much to be concerned about today I will center on my gratitudes.

  • My almost 25 year old social worker daughter is now working with kids. She has asked for children’s games to use in her office for Christmas. So I am now buying CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders and it makes me very happy.

  • Sharing food, football and great (no political) conversation with long time friends. And the Cowboys win didn’t hurt either.

  • Unseasonably warm weather that has allowed me to do fall yard work in shorts. Although I am concerned about global warming, this little treat before winter comes (and it will come) is much appreciated.

  • I bought new potting soil in preparation of seed planting come January. The reminder that Spring does come and life renews itself is much need right now.

  • This.  

A Nutella “burger” at McDonalds.
I have never eaten a burger at McDonald's but that could change.
It is only available in Italy right now.
I have never been to Italy. But that could change too.

Life is a little scary right now but life is also amazing. Don't forget the amazing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Be the Change

Like the majority of Americans I am grateful that election day has finally come. I have been avoiding the presidential race news for quite awhile as I found it so negative and decisive.  Unfortunately, because I work in government, I couldn’t avoid the local races which were becoming even nastier.

I will work for a couple of hours this morning and then vote.  I live in a state with no early voting. Polls are located in churches, libraries and firehouses and you must go to your assigned polling place.  There the girls scouts or some other civic group will probably be having a bake sale and neighbors will be chatting with neighbors, no matter who they voted for.  It’s all very friendly and civilized. As it should be.

Then I will spend the day shuttling senior citizens and those who cannot drive, to their polling places. In my youth I only worked for one political party to get out the vote. These days I am happy to drive anyone who wants to vote, no questions asked.   I particularly like driving the seniors and listening to their opinions, which are usually about all the ways this country has gone to hell in a handbasket. I can’t say that I disagree with them. Nor can I imagine what this campaign must have looked like to the greatest generation. Oy.

I will most likely go to bed before the results are in. When I wake I hope there is a clear winner. My worst fear is that it will be close, or there will be some controversy that forces it to the Supreme Court. A tied 4-4 Supreme Court.  I don’t even know what happens after that.  Either way our government has become so dysfunctional that neither candidate will be able to advance their agenda very much.  We are approaching a failed state.

Still I do hope that we, as a nation, will begin a healing process from the ugliness of the last few years. Surely we have much more in common than those things that divide us. When the election is over and done we will be in desperate need of more advocates, reconcilers, and peacemakers. We’ve got a lot of healing, loving, restoring work to do my friends.

No matter what happens today  - be the change you want to see in the world.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Walking a Mile

A couple of weeks ago a former colleague’s mother died. Besides working with this man for 20 + years, we also had daughters the same age who had become good friends in middle school and have remained friends since. I held Allison when she was first born and later had numerous conversations with her when she came out as gay. We lost frequent contact when she went away to school and found a job in a faraway city. Then she emailed me a last year ago to say that she was transgendered and was going to have top surgery and did I have any advice. The news did not surprise me as for all the years I knew Allison I watched as her hair got shorter, her clothing more masculine and her interests shift.  Beaner recently told me that Allison was now Aidan on FaceBook.

When the mother’s obituary came out I noticed my colleague’s children were listed with his oldest son and “Aiden” which made me smile that the immediate family was obviously acknowledging the transition. But then Aiden called me. He was very concerned as this would be the first time coming home and could I explain to people the different name in the obituary ahead of time and maybe hang with him at the wake as a buffer.   He told me how hard it was going to be for him to face all these people he knew from his youth.  How people would look at him like a freak. He has started a new life, in a new city, as the gender he identifies with.  He is trying to be happy there. In fact, he was telling me how incredible it is to experience the world as a man, or rather how much differently the world treats you as a man. But also how different he is treated when people know he is transgendered. Now he was faced with the first time reactions of friends and relatives and was terrified.  I hung with him at the wake and I could see it.  The strange looks, the groups of people whispering while glancing his way.  How very uncomfortable to be under that microscope of judgement.  I even heard one person say “well, of course 8thday knew about this, she is queer too.” I have not felt uncomfortable in my sexuality for a long, long time and yet here I could physically feel the tension his presence was causing.  I can only imagine what transgendered folks feel ALL. THE. TIME.

And Beaner has a new boyfriend.  I knew that this was serious when she asked if we could meet him after only a week of dating him.  She has always told me that meeting the parents was a big deal and honestly, we have met very few from her world of revolving door dating. She also told us that he was a paraplegic, and that we needed to find a restaurant that would accommodate his wheelchair.   

Having worked in site development approval my whole career, my initial reaction was “all public buildings have to be handicapped accessible.  Or so I always thought.  Turns out that older businesses are not required to be accessible if doing so is not readily achievable.  The sidewalk I use to walk to work has heaved in many places - impossible for a wheelchair. Entrance doors are often so heavy as to be impossible for a disabled person to open. Everywhere I go I am now looking to see just how “accessible” accessible really is.  And I have become much more aware of the barriers her boyfriend faces every day.   Way too many barriers.

Yesterday my friend plufrompdx posted an excellent story about her frustration with men’s unwillingness to see how dangerous the world is for women.  And it has me thinking about just how much we all don’t see because we have never stopped to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  Or maybe we just don’t want to "see" because then we would feel morally obligated to do something about it.  It is so much easier to stick our heads in our own comfy world of sand and ignore the challenges, feelings, barriers of others, especially those not like us.

I don’t know how to end this except to say that my eyes have been opened to different people’s lives in the last few weeks in ways that were, well, eye opening. I hope to train myself to be more conscious of the different perspectives and challenges every person has and why. And then I hope to find the courage to help.