I’ll be watching the inauguration

I feel the anger. I feel the frustration.

I also feel the wheels of history and democracy turning.

I’ll be watching the inauguration. I’m not going to boycott because my gal lost. I’m not going to refuse to watch out of spite.

I’m going to watch history church on and on. I’m going to watch the transition of power continue, as it has.

I’m going to fight from the inside to keep ACA aka Obamacare stay. I want millions of people to keep their insurance. I’m going to fight to keep abortion safe and legal.

I’m going to fight for my son and daughter to marry whomever they choose.

I refuse to fight in the street, or fight in random marches.

I’m going to fight with legislation. I’m going to fight to bills, laws, hours and hours of committees and bipartisan hard work.

It’s time to work hard, not give in. It’s time to dig deep, not slap some paint on a sign and hope someone sees it.

Victory is won when bills get signed.

Grief

I need to write.

Every day it gets easier. Every day it gets harder. I’m slogging through the days, some seem normal, others seem like a surreal half-life.

Grief is like a fog. It clouds you. It comforts you. It brings you to your knees at moments so benign you had no warning.

I thought I turned a corner. Since my father died I have gone from crying all day, to having zero tears left in me, to crying once again. I went weeks without tearing up. Two, maybe three. Almost as if I was refusing to acknowledge the reality of it all, refusing to let it control me.

I guess I’m in the denial stage. If we’re keeping track. Is anger next? I’m not angry yet. I’m too damn sad to be angry. Just when I thought I could simply go back to life, grief reminded me and sat me back down on the couch. Not yet, dear. Not yet.

Next week will mark two months. Two entire months without my father. Countless skating lessons for my daughter that he would have loved. Hundreds of conversations with my son, trading wit and barbs that he would have laughed at. Missed phone calls from me, every day after dropping off my kids at school, that we could have used to talk and talk and talk. I want to talk about the election with him. I want to talk about the Cubs going to the World Series with him. I want to make the eggplant parmesan he loved and make up the guest room, with special stuffed animals and signs from the kids so he can come stay, like he was supposed to.

I almost feel numb and breathless thinking of what should have been. I don’t know how I am supposed to act. Should I be moving on now? Should I be able to do more than sit and think? I can barely put on my clothes let alone move on. If I could stay in my bed all day, I would. Getting moving is challenging. A chore. In fact, everything is a chore.

Life feels broken. Certainly not the same. I almost feel guilty enjoying life. We took the kids to Disney on Friday and when I found myself so thankful and happy for my wonderful family I immediately felt guilty that I was enjoying myself. I assume this feeling will fade as time goes on, but right now it’s like I’m in a limbo of sorts, just trying to find my footing.

In the weeks since, so many people have offered their condolences. Helped pay to replace my bracelet that holds his ashes. Reached out to see how I was doing and to check up on me. For these kind gestures I am eternally grateful. Family, even extended family, has been so amazing I again feel guilty. Should I suffer more? Less? See how haywire my thinking is?

I just needed to write tonight.

“Is the wall here yet?”

Those are the words of a small child, a Latino Kindergartner in Tennessee to be exact, who his teacher says was “told by classmates that he will be deported and trapped behind a wall” —and he asks every day, “Is the wall here yet?”

Think about that for a second.

In other parts of the country “some are using the word Trump as a taunt or as a chant as they gang up on others. Muslim children are being called terrorist or ISIS or bomber.”

This is all from a study done by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They report:

      • More than two-thirds of the teachers reported that students—mainly immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims—have expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election.

      • More than half have seen an increase in uncivil political discourse.

      • More than one-third have observed an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment.

      • More than 40 percent are hesitant to teach about the election.

What on earth have we done? Have you seen that ad by Hillary Clinton’s campaign? The one about “our children are watching?” You need to:

Have you talked to your own kids about the election? Now that we’re back to school the instances of hate are, if the Southern Poverty Law Center’s study is right, going to rise.

Donald Trump doesn’t have the temperament, judgement, or frankly the class to be President of this great country. How can we possibly go from what has to be one of the classiest President’s in Barack Obama to someone resembling your ranting, drunk, used-car selling uncle at Thanksgiving?

It’s typical to say “think of the children.” But really, when you have to turn off a Trump rally we really need to start thinking of the children.

I’m glad Hillary Clinton has, and I hope you’ll be voting for her in November.

All I Want is a Garden

Denial, anger, … acceptance? Or is there one between there?

Meh. I’m somewhere between denial and anger as my CDiff has returned despite the over 90% success rate of the transplant I underwent before the 4th of July. We will try another tried a second one, upping my chances to 98%, but that one failed as well. Leaving me in this hospital for 17 days and counting.

17 days of wondering why me.

17 days of worrying.

17 days of continued bad news and frustration and stress.

Here is the thing…all I want to do is plant my tomatoes and veggies. This has been the first summer in 10 years of living in this home I haven’t gotten my garden in on time. While planting now wouldn’t be ideal, it’s also not bad considering our climate has been entirely messed up.

Yes, in this epic, multi-year battle which now includes a fight for my life with a super bug, I just want my garden in place.

My garden in place = normalcy.

My garden in place = hope.

My garden in place simply soothes me and makes me feel as though it’s all going to be ok.

For the first time in all of this I’m honestly not sure how everything is going to turn out. I’ve been sure, over and over again it was going to be ok. But right now there are so many other things going on and so many lives hurting and just so MUCH for the first time in my life, I’m not sure even my superwoman abilities are grand enough to make all of this ok.

So yeah, I sent myself some flowers at the hospital because I deserve them. I remain grateful for family that will show up in 24 hours to help when things go south. But I need to find a solution that doesn’t disrupt everyone’s lives except mine.

I’m still searching.

I don’t know if my garden will be planted. I don’t know if my search will lead to anything I can control. But I am still here. And I guess that will have to do for now.

The (Digital) Kids Are Alright

I really think you need to suck it up and realize what was normal for US as kids is not normal for OUR kids.

Sure, get fresh air, get exercise, go play outside…but let’s face it, when it comes to ‘play a game’ or ‘read a book’ all of that is now done digitally.

Yup, that means their iPads or their computers or their phones…ONLINE.

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I was recently reading a few posts about bloggers limiting screen time, not even allowing their kids any screen time and even some who refuse to allow their children to play any games at all or use any ‘smart’ devices.

Not to start another Mommy war but… are you TRYING to handicap your child? You do realize the world is a very different place than the one we grew up in and certainly WORLDS away from the one our parents grew up in- meaning just about everything is digital these days.

My kids research their homework using their iPads. My kids play with the their friends in virtual worlds like Animal Jam and Club Penguin. My son meets up with his buddies in Destiny and Borderlands. That’s social and educational.

Their projects in school are in minecraft and contain websites with links to their homemade videos. They link to their sources instead of write them down. They dictate their essays and email their teachers.

They know more about cyberbullying than kickball and can rattle off more youtube video makers than actors in Hollywood.

I’m entirely ok with all of this. So is their Dad.

Go on, hate away. But my kids are learning to do all of the things we learned to do, just throw in code and type at a much younger age. Yes, they pilot drones and use google maps to make sure our roof isn’t hiding any wayward frisbees…and yes, they stare at a screen as much as they like. It doesn’t mean they aren’t learning and it doesn’t mean they don’t get any exercise.

It just means times have changed and the book they are reading is stored on their iPad and the homework they are doing requires they watch a video embedded on the Smithsonian website.

Then to relax they put on their headphones and mics and have a virtual playdate with their buddies across town I can’t drive them to anyway because dinner is nearly ready.

So do your kids a favor…lay off the strict rules and timers when it comes to their gaming consoles and phones and tablets and computers. Think of it as your parents forcing you to shut off your radio or your walkman or putting away your TeenBeat or your D&D game. Actually, it’s more like them making you come in from outside instead of creating that imaginary game with the neighborhood kids…because that’s exactly what our kids are doing with their friends, it’s just their imaginary worlds are way more colorful and their costumes are super cool.

So yeah, that

Three hospital stays since returning from Hawaii. Not entirely how I envisioned the past 6 weeks.

I’m coping. I’m trying hard not to fall into that dark place and I’m taking solace in words from the neurologist during my last stay…things will change, and this time, next year, I could be a very different woman.

This is chronic illness.

How are the kids and husband coping? Sigh. Can you hear the wave of guilt hitting me as I type that sentence?

I thought, instead of dwell, I would just say that I’m ok. We’re ok.

I will know more Monday and I will know if that promise…that hope…that doctor really can change this life of mine.

In the meantime, go check out our December vacation where, for at least a short while, I felt like I was whole.

Well, almost.

Getting there.

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Black Lives Matter

I was going to write a post about being entirely disgusted to find myself cited by the infamous Ann Coulter in her 2009 book Guilty: the blah blah I hate liberals they are ruining the world book to make me money crap fest.

She wrote and released this book when I was in the worst of the throws of my Lupus diagnosis. You know, having strokes, losing organs, being hospitalized and having multiple surgeries. So she’ll have to excuse me that it didn’t come to my attention until now that I’m in her piece of trash.

Apparently she’s trying to make the case liberals were freaking out over a Barack Obama presidency and if he’d be killed. She thought we were blaming the right-wing nut jobs for targeting him (to be clear, I blame some of them for stirring the pot) and she attempts, rather poorly, to point out that it’s been nothing but liberals shooting up the country and killing people.

Let me make something very clear here…it’s been white males engaging in mass shootings for various reasons that everyone likes to call ‘mental illness.’ I will agree if you want to shoot up or have shot up anyone or anywhere you have mental issues. Something we need to tackle. But to be perfectly clear to Ms. Coulter and everyone else…Black males have a target on their back and it’s simply for being who they are. Black CHILDREN have targets on their backs for walking, driving, talking, BREATHING while BLACK. And when they sell cigarettes illegally or they allegedly steal a pack of cigars they are vilified that they deserved what they got. I had no idea these allegations brought about the death penalty without charges or a judge or a jury.

But, here is where the facts comes in. And I want you to USE these facts: Black males are 21 more times likely than their white counter parts to be KILLED by police. Just for being darker than a ‘mentally ill’ white boy.

They don’t get the benefit of the doubt of being ‘mentally ill.’ No. They are killed. Murdered. Snuffed out. Because, apparently, Black males can’t be mentally ill or be taken into custody with a baton, a taser, pepper spray, with back up help…no. No. Instead they are perceived as dangerous and a threat and shot and killed or choked until they could no longer breathe. Or simply walking around with a toy.

So my column, of which Coulter pilfered and called me insane for writing, stands even more true today than it did in 2007. Our President, just by his Blackness, has brought out the racists in this country and he has lead phenomenally under circumstances that are beyond insane.

12-year old African-American boys aren’t even given more than TWO SECONDS to react when they play with their toy guns in a park before being gunned down by cops. That is how much we are taught to believe everyone with skin darker than ours is a threat that must be eliminated and given zero benefit of the doubt. EVEN THE CHILDREN.

I will tell you right now, my son could play with every nerf gun, fake AK-47, and real looking toy gun with the orange tip scraped off on EARTH in our nearby park and no one would bat an eyelash. But you give that to a Black child and the cops don’t even HESITATE to shoot him on sight. They didn’t even HESITATE. Two seconds. TWO SECONDS.

The lack of indictment in the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown are further proof of my original assessment…that it would take a sacrifice of the First Family to stand strong in the WHITE House as the scum from under the rocks of America came and continue to come crawling out to finally proclaim in broad daylight they have issues with race. They have issues with an ‘other’ leading our country. They can’t even manage to leave the First daughters out of their sheer hatred and contempt for our President and call them classless and bar sluts. When these girls have been nothing but the epitome of amazing, good, classy tweens and teens.

Yes, our country has become divided – they can’t even handle the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. They have to protest .. but…but … #ALLLivesMatter.

No shit. But you don’t hijack a hashtag where people are bearing their souls and jump in with this ‘ALL’ bull crap. We know ALL lives matter but this IS NOT ABOUT YOU. This is, specifically, about Black Lives. As I saw on twitter…would you hijack a cancer hashtag and say ‘but..but.. LUPUS matters too!’ No, you wouldn’t.

So sit down and shut up and finally LISTEN to these amazing members of our community who are SCREAMING for you to hear them. SCREAMING for you to walk a mile.

Once you have taken your time to sit and listen, then you need to take the time to stand up to the subtle and not so subtle racism you’ve been around your entire life. And you know exactly what I am talking about, so don’t even act like you don’t.

That uncle of yours that calls our President a ‘coon’ or a ‘porch monkey’ or the n-word if he’s just a total dickhead. That cousin who discusses how great cops are (which, many many are) and how they have to deal with these ‘savages‘ and ‘animals‘ – when their white ‘savages’ and ‘animals’ seem to get away with the same behavior when their favorite sports team wins a championship. Really? REALLY? You are telling me your sports team is more important and this behavior is ok so long as you win a game? But NOT when people DIE?

CALL THEM OUT. The time is now.

Do you hear me? Silence = agreement. People are DYING. Children are DYING. The time for you to sit on your hands and say nothing of the ‘sake of the family’ or to keep the ‘peace at church’ or ‘I don’t want to upset my grandpa’ is OVER.

The civil rights era has begun, again. Not that it ever really ended. I think we just swept it under the rug for awhile, despite our friends of color telling us otherwise.

Stand up. Be counted. Do NOT be afraid and do NOT allow ANYONE to get away with the usual crap that goes on over the holidays.

Give them facts. Give them stats. Let them know we will NOT tolerate this another second. Another minute. NOT another day and NOT another life.

We’ve watched schools be shot up, neighborhoods be war zones, and those in authority waltzing in like they own the place and forcing people of color to keep their heads down and say ‘no sir’ and ‘yes sir.’ Might as well be ‘no masser’ and ‘yes masser’ – because that is what it amounts to.
Go ahead and let your Mom blame you for ruining Christmas dinner. It’s that or let another Black person die.

Your choice. 

I Believe

I don’t want to talk about Michael Brown.

I don’t want to talk about Trayvon Martin.

I don’t want to talk about Tamir Rice.

I don’t want to talk about Jordan Davis.

I don’t want to talk about Timothy Stansbury Jr.

I don’t want to talk about John Crawford.

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I could go on…but I don’t want to.

We can argue all day and night. We will not get anywhere. Jury’s. Indictments, non-indictments. Trials, no trials. Armed, unarmed. Fearing for lives, just living their lives.

No one believes all cops are bad. There are members of law enforcement I respect and love with all my heart. I appreciate their work.

No one believes all white people are racist. There are allies who are working hard and listening.

No one believes all protestors are looters and out to destroy. We watched for 109 days your civil disobedience where little to nothing was damaged and non-violent marches and vigils took place.

With all of the things we all know no one believes…I have one question:

Why does no one believe Black America?

It doesn’t seem to matter if there are statistics to back up their pain.

It doesn’t seem to matter if there are facts and studies and numbers to give the rest of us something solid to hold on to instead of just emotions.

It doesn’t seem to matter if they ask nicely or scream loudly or speak from the highest office in the land. As the President of the United States said, “But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up.”

Why? Why does no one believe Black America? The PRESIDENT has to remind us communities of color aren’t just making these problems up. Why on earth do we think they are? Why would we QUESTION their life experiences??? Who are we to say what they live every day is somehow, not true? Why.don’t.you.believe.them?

If there is any hope for any of us, if there is any chance to heal decades of pain, to right wrongs, to have the slightest bit of empathy for our fellow man…we need to believe.

We need to believe when they tell us they hurt.

We need to believe when they tell us their truths.

We need to believe when they tell us their lives are not like ours.

We need to believe when they ask us to listen and learn.

We need to believe in our friends, our neighbors, our family, our community as they write, speak, sing, scream, march, and plead for us to HEAR THEM.

I hear them. I believe them.

Do you?