You Work for Me: A Letter to My Representative

New post up at Medium! 

Hot Links: Being a Grown-Up

For some reason, this week, I have been having a bad case of the Olds. I am not someone who lies about my age, I am proudly 42, but, blearrrrgh, I am feeling every second of those 42 years. Nothing fits right, my runs are kinda slow and herky-jerky, it seems like my grays show up faster, might I have arthritis in my left middle finger (and yes, I am flipping it off), I feel like I look tiiiiiiiiired and I am worried-beyond-worried about all the super bad news lately. (Well not really about North Korea, but they are all over the news cycle!)

But because I am 42 (only!), I am fine, I got this, life will go on, and I know how to not slip into a Pit of Despair Over Things I Cannot Control. I am actually happy and content and inspired. And I totally made this pound cake last weekend for my outlaw step-daughter and BF.

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That said, onward with some random Hot Links from all over that spectrum of 42-year perspective.

Hat tip again to Kim France for linking to these over-4o fashion bloggers.

Looking forward to my summer soundtrack.

They have heard of Roe v. Wade right? Get off women, jerks.

Best obituary of Margaret Thatcher hands-down. A sampling:

Is that what made her so formidable, her ability to ignore the suffering of others? Given the nature of her legacy “survival of the fittest” – a phrase that Darwin himself only used twice in On the Origin of Species, compared to hundreds of references to altruism, love and cooperation, it isn’t surprising that there are parties tonight in Liverpool, Glasgow and Brixton – from where are they to have learned compassion and forgiveness?

And finally, the sheer goodness power of the Internet. I met Leslie Fandrich in person (!) at Camp Mighty last fall, she of the twinkling-eye, earnest comments and wicked sense of humor. She has the kind of talent with both her camera and her paintbrush that makes it seem like, “omigod, I can totes draw that,” until you go, “no wait, I cannot, I can barely take a proper selfie or draw a stick man,”  because wow, she has some serious SKILLS of the magic kind, but that is why you are drawn into her work so deeply – because you can access it with your own emotions and experiences. The way her photos are both observational and composed creates an instant relationship, with Leslie and her subjects. This is probably why, when I flagged her down to sit with me for the last dinner at Camp, I found myself spilling my guts in a way I only do with very old and trusted friends, or perhaps, my therapist. (Still feel spazzy about that LF!! You get my shoulder next time, drinks on me!) Leslie is just that person. A brilliant, warm, talented, funny, awesome person.

Leslie has also been sharing one of the most intimate human experiences (and one that I have not yet had), the passing of her mother. Her photos, words and art work documenting the intimate nature of dying has been as life-affirming for me as a sunrise hike, belly laughter, great sex, a perfect plate of pasta. Using the word effortless to describe her experience and her work does a disservice to her courage and determination to be present and share it with all of us. Nothing about this is passive… yet there is an ease, and a quiet power, and mostly… great love in her expressions throughout this time. My deepest sympathies are with Leslie and her family as they move into the necessary period of mourning, but also, deepest and most humble gratitude for showing me what love and courage looks like.

Much love to you Leslie, can’t wait to see you in the fall. Let’s try something magical.

Hot Links: Come And Take It

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Perhaps it is because I am not getting the hang of meditation, or that I am so behind in miles that I am extra-worried about the state of our world, but this week’s serious list of Hot Links are for the moms and dads of 1st and 2nd graders especially, but also to everyone else, every single solitary American one of you, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, Man, Woman, Gay, Straight, Rich, Middle, Bougie, Poor, White, Black, Yellow, Brown, Civil Servant, Professional, Soldier, Trust Funder, Young, Old, Employed, Infirmed  Renter, Doctor, Lawyer, Cowboy, Feminist, Fundamentalist, Catholic, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Yogi, Mormon, Atheist, SNR,  Married, Divorced, Brother, Sister, Cousin, Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent… etc. ad infinitum, so you know, ALL OF US.

This was the week that we celebrated the first day of spring, but also the 10 Year Anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.

This was the week after Lean In and MAKERS made the headlines and was instead the one when the mainstream media felt sorry for the Steubenville rapists.

This was the week that we started playing March Madness, but also dropped the Assault Weapons Ban from consideration in Congress.

Go back up to that list at the top and identify yourself to as many of those categories that fit for you and feel free to add your own. Because that is what a political strategist or a marketer does. They look at the demographics and look for trends that bend toward 51% majorities and then write a law or sell you a product that is offensive to the other 49%. Is that fair? Nope. Not one bit. Because each one of us is way more complex and sensitive – including the assholes among us – than these categories we agree to belong to.

And yet, week in and week out, we keep buying their bullshit and their rape culture and their guns. It’s 100% on us.

To the moms and dads of those 1st and 2nd graders, those of you who can really go there in your minds and hearts and conjure up what it must have been like for the Sandy Hook moms and dads, however much you don’t want to think about this, please think about those moms and dads who got the call that THEIR son or daughter, their…

Charlotte

Daniel

Olivia

Josephine

Ana

Dylan

Madeleine

Catherine

Chase

Jesse

James

Grace

Emilie

Jack

Noah

Caroline

Jessica

Avielle

Benjamin

Allison

isn’t coming home today and in fact,  just got brutally murdered by a disturbed young man wielding a legally purchased assault rifle that pumped out 151 bullets in the span of 5 minutes with such sheer force that their small bodies were actually dismembered, to those moms and dads, please, please don’t just let this one go this week.

Your demographic is the 49% this week. And you’re about to lose.

 

 

 

(Image credit: Flag by David Treibs. http://www.comeandtakeit.com/)

What Thomas Jefferson Says

These words of Thomas Jefferson’s are inscribed at the Jefferson Memorial in Panel 4 out of four that surround his statue:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Especially for my Libertarian type friends who really value TJ’s seemingly prescient wisdom, please back off the 2nd Amendment arguments when it comes to your semi-automatic guns. He’d have recognized the difference between the flintlock and the AR-15 and seen the need for us to “advance… to keep pace with the times.”

The quote, in the context of Sandy Hook is still slightly ironic however; although discovery and progress are enlightened, guns that kill 20 children in the span of mere minutes are anything but.

Stages of Grief

You know that thing when a song comes on, a song you’ve heard a million and one times and you sing it out loud and bob your head and quicken your pace and feel like a badass? But then on the millionth and second time, you hear that same song with totally new ears and the whole meaning of the entire thing just… changes. Yeah, that thing. Just happened to me. Give Arcade Fire’s “Month of May” a listen after yesterday and see if you hear it too. (Lyrics below the video.)

Gonna make a record in the month of May
In the month of May, in the month of May
Gonna make a record in the month of May
When the violent wind blows the wires away

Month of May, it’s a violent thing
In the city their hearts start to sing
Well, some people sing,
It sounds like they’re screaming
Used to doubt it
But now I believe it

Month of May, everybody’s in love
Then the city was hit from above
And just when I knew what I wanted to say
A violent wind blew the wires away

We were shocked in the suburbs

Now the kids are all standing with their arms folded tight
Kids are all standing with their arms folded tight
Well, some things are pure and some things are right
But the kids are still standing with their arms folded tight
I said some things are pure and some things are right
But the kids are still standing with their arms folded tight

So young, so young
So much pain for someone so young, well
I know it’s heavy, I know it ain’t light
But how you gonna lift it with your arms folded tight?

First the built the road, then they built the town
That’s why we’re still driving around
And around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around

Two-thousand nine, two-thousand ten
Wanna make a record how I felt then
When we stood outside in the month of May
And watched the violent wind blow the wires away

If I die in the month of May
Let the wind take my body away, yeah
I wish I may, I wish I might
Don’t lay me down there with my arms folded tight

Start again in the month of May
Start again in the month of May
Come on and blow the wires away
Come on and blow the wires away

Start again in the month of May
Start again in the month of May
Come on and blow the wires away
Come on and blow the wires away

Start again in the month of May
Start again in the month of May
Come on and blow the wires away
Come on and blow the wires, the wires away

My Mother Owns A Gun

“Throughout the history of mass gun killings in America…” is a phrase I never want to hear again, but as the meta-indication of the phrase denotes, I definitely will. This time, as with so many times before,  a former FBI profiler used it while being interviewed by a cable news anchor whose actual expertise for his network is early morning political analysis, not breaking gun murder news. As such it was not surprising, yet slightly disingenuous, when he called Aurora, Colorado an American suburb straight from central casting. I do however, know what he meant: that Aurora could be any American suburb, we all know that town, that strip mall, that theatre multiplex with the stadium seating and the THX sound system. Any one of us could have been in that midnight show of the new Batman last night. We are all from central casting, and we all know this script by heart.  The coverage goes something like this, I will bullet point it for you, pun intended:

  • Heavily armed, likely mentally ill young man walks into a crowded public space and opens fire.
  • The victims are all age ranges, from the very young to the very old. It’s always the kids dying that really makes us sick. The first responders are deft and often heroic. The shooter is either killed or subdued and brought into custody.
  • Cable news scrambles to get the facts straight, sometimes they screw up badly like when NPR prematurely announced the death of Representative Gabrielle Giffords after her attack last January, and the TV news went with the unverified reports.  They start interviewing surviving or merely wounded victims who give their eyewitness accounts using phrases like, “it sounded like firecrackers” or “it seemed like a movie” or “I slipped on some blood.”
  • We cut to the news conferences and endless interviews of police authorities, the chiefs of surgery, the friend who knew a guy who had a class with the shooter, the open carry advocates, the gun control supporters.
  • We shake our heads and fight back tears and swallow the mouth sweats down hard.
  • We remember the last one and we always, ALWAYS remember Columbine.
  • Some of us start pleading for more gun control, but weak to do anything, we can only unfriend the person in our Facebook list we didn’t realize was an NRA talking points automaton.
  • We feel like shooting someone.

Why is this happening again?  WHY?  What the hell is wrong with us that we cannot, as community members, Coloradoans, Americans, as HUMAN BEINGS, once and for all stop with the free flow of guns in our country?

My mother has a gun.  MY MOTHER HAS A GUN.  I do not agree with this at all and I tell her every single chance I get that she is part of the problem.  Before you start parsing the 2nd Amendment and talk to me about hunting, let me make the uniquely American statement that if you are a hunter who uses guns to kill your animal prey and you keep those guns locked up in a vault and your ammunition is kept separately and also locked and you have registered and insured those guns and maintain the good working order of those guns,  I am not talking to you.  I am talking to my mother and the millions of Americans who own handguns because they feel they the need to protect themselves.  You people, the legal gun owners, are the enablers of our entire gun problem.  There, I said it.

My heart should not have to go out to the victims, or their loved ones, or the theatre staff, or the first responders, or the doctors, surgeons and nurses, or the mental health professionals, or the good people of my first home state of Colorado who are dealing first hand with this attack on their sanity and security.  My heart should be celebrating for the everyday triumphs of all the aforementioned, none of whom I know, but are all part of my central cast.  My uniquely American central cast.  I will of course, share my heart with those who are most in need.

And then, I will use my brain:

GUN CONTROL NOW.

***Updated: My mom and I have had a long talk about this post.  I got very emotional in telling her again how much I don’t like her gun.  In her words to me, “I love you.  We are okay.”