Monday, April 23, 2018

Earth Day (Redux)

The Burrow is 9 years and 1 week old today.  Born on April 14, 2009, it's a creation of Big Cuter's encouragement (Mom, you are way hipper than you think you are) and Little Cuter's unlocking the door (If Suzi can't write, maybe Ashleigh Burroughs can).  This is the 8th post I ever wrote.  I like it just as much today as I did then.

I hope you were able to be out and about, planting or enjoying one of my favorite holidays.  And apologies to the 7 of you who read this when it was inadvertently published on Sunday afternoon.


Earth Day

I like Earth Day. I was there at its creation, after all.

It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Initially, it was a touchy-feely alternative to the harsher realities of the anti-Vietnam War protests. You wanted to do something, but war was such an uncomfortable subject and arguing against it made your parents wonder why they were spending tuition dollars while you were telling the lawfully elected President of the United States of America that you knew more than he did. With your picture in the crowd on the front page of the NY Times. At 18 years of age, no less. But planting trees? Recycling newspaper? Not littering? And all this in service to Mother Earth. Who could be aggravated about supporting Mother Earth?

Earth Day had teach-in's. They were more fun than sit-in's, which invariably involved police and disciplinary action. They were less fun than be-in's, which owed more to Timothy Leary and The Grateful Dead than to anything political or practical. Teach-in's were earnest and had hand-outs and statistics and pictures of desolate landscapes ravaged by the cruelty of man. There was science and legislation and outrage and lots of tree give-aways.

Earth Day had no mandatory family gatherings. It required no gift giving, no card sending. You went outside and did something - cleaned a playground, weeded a median strip, planted one of those free trees. You felt good because you were doing good.

Now there is Earth Week and "We're greener than you are" tv networks Were this still 1970, there would be protests about the idea being "co-opted by 'the man'". Instead, Sheryl Crow is designing reuseable grocery bags for Whole Foods and Wal-Mart is selling them next to the discounted paper towels.

And Mother Earth is grateful.

Friday, April 20, 2018

You Can’t Do That - A Snippet

Mother-In-Law: I don’t want her there, with that new wheelchair.

Daughter-In-Law: You have known her since you were 5 years old. And, anyway, you can’t uninvite someone from your 100th Birthday Party just because she’s getting old.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#RedForEd and Me

Because what I really need is another cause, I spent the late afternoon at the administrative offices of the Amphi School District. My favorite Community Organizer invited me to join a small group of like minded volunteers, do-gooders of all ages who are committed to providing a quality education for all our children.

I hate meetings. I vowed that I would never willingly attend a meeting once I moved to Tucson. I have refused Board positions which required meetings. But in 2011, after avoiding meetings for 5 wonderful years, I had to represent GRIN at Beyond! planning events for the Stroll and Roll.

It was there I met Mama Meeting. She was coordinating the 40 something groups involved in the event.

Her meetings were special.  There were just enough of them, scheduled just when they were needed.  We began on time.  We ended on time.  We stuck to the agenda.  Everyone spoke; no one bloviated.  We accomplished what we set out to, and left with smiles on our faces and to-do's in our calendars.  We were motivated.  We felt valued.  We knew what had been done and what was left to do. 

It was all her fault.

There's a certain kind of person who can herd cats.  It seems to involve listening to both the meta and the actual conversation.  It's asking the question we haven't considered as if it were the logical conclusion to the discussion we were having..... and, of course, it is. It's having the information I needed the more I thought about the issues, distributing nicely printed handouts before we left the room this afternoon, with smiles on our faces.

We have tenets. We have a plan for creating change. We'll meet again.

I'll be there.

I'll go to any meeting this woman convenes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Businesses Behaving Badly

Allegiant Airlines is the new corporate whipping boy.

I bet Mark Zuckerberg is grateful to them, just as I was grateful for the Arab Spring, which drew the reporters and cameras and investigative journalists out of Tucson after I got shot. There's no such thing as bad publicity might have met its match when the publicity includes 87 million mistakes.

I was bemused by reports that Zuckerberg wore a suit and didn't fidget.  Has the bar really sunk so low?  He said he was sorry a zillion times, but sorry doesn't cut it when my data is used against me.  I'm not deleting my account; I need to see FlapJilly's adventures and that is where they are displayed.  But I'm more thoughtful about clicking through to stories and I'm ignoring all the quizzes that come my way. 

Not that I did them anyway...... after I was told that I was 100% Catholic I began to doubt their reliability.  I know.... I know..... it took me a while.  But I got there, eventually. Don't judge.

Facebook's status as Scandal of the Week was awkward, but not life threatening.  Allegiant's high rates of oops! events is another story, entirely.  TBG and I are getting on one of their planes on Monday.  Suddenly, ooops! is more than a news story.

We've flown Allegiant many times.  The planes are old, and so are the lockers and compartments in the flight attendants' areas.  They have the names of other airlines embossed on the outside.  I've always thanked the second hand metal cabinetry for enabling the flight to be so inexpensive.  (The base price from Tucson to South Bend has been as low as $79.)  I show my Allegiant Air credit card and am rewarded with a free can of soda or juice; otherwise, they cost $2.  The snacks are there, for a fee, but the flights are short and food is unnecessary.  

They charge for reserving a seat and using the overhead bin and checking a bag.  The seats don't recline and there's not much leg room.  But it's only $2 more to put TBG and me in an exit row or the bulkhead versus a seat with less comfortable dimensions, so I pay up and we're comfy.  

The same flight attendants appear on our adventures; we know each other by name, now.  The Mesa and South Bend airports are small and manageable.  The planes land and take off on time.  None of the ones on which I've traveled has every fallen out of the sky.

Should I worry?  Will it make any difference?  The tickets have been purchased and we're going, perhaps with a bit more anxiety than we usually pack, at least on TBG's side.  

Me?  I'm wondering how happy the executives at Allegiant are now that Starbucks is in the crosshairs.  We do need our scandals, don't we.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Reassessment

I asked Not-Kathy how I was walking.  Didn't she see improvement?  After all, she hadn't been around for the last 6 months; the difference must have been striking. Right? 

Actually, not much.

She's honest. She loves me. She's a nurse.  Those three qualifications factored into her analysis.  That made it all the more upsetting.

I've been noticing newly awakened musculature.  Nerve endings have connected with little explosions of  joy making their presence known in my upper thigh.  I'm able to do more in the gym and in Pilates, and do it with less unpleasant accompanying sensations (aka pain).  These gains have, I suppose, led me to a false sense of accomplishment.  If Not-Kathy thinks I'm stuck, then I'm stuck.

It's time for a reassessment. Once again, I have to assume a double role - patient and trainer.  I can't wimp out while looking at the weights; I have to put the 10 pound plates on the Smith Machine and do my squats deeply and powerfully and quickly and well.

I have done a few sets that way, stopping when it felt uncomfortable. Enough of that, I've decided.  There is gunk in my hip joint. I need to work past the sharp sensations caused when the space closes up and the gunk is squished. I have to continue the motion even though it's unpleasant to do so. 

I have to remember that rehab is different than exercise.  Rehab hurts because I'm using parts that were damaged or weakened or disturbed or destroyed. I can't expect them to bounce back easily. I have to encourage them.  I have to send energy in their direction.  I have to ask them to do that which they resist, and I have to ask them over and over and over again.

They aren't always happy with me, and that is a shame.  But I'll never get my knees together with my feet on the floor while sitting on a bench unless I demand that they do so. Right now, they are interested in comfort rather than progress.  That must change.

I have been reluctant to encourage them to straighten up and fly right.  It hurts when I engage my abductors.  It hurts, but my knees come together.  Both kneecaps face forward.  They are equidistant from the ground and from my spine.  It takes effort and concentration and the use of my entire body to organize.  It makes me smile when it happens.

It's time to stop pampering myself.  It's time to get back to work.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Same 12 People - A Snippet

Or, perhaps in your town it's 15 or 7.  We are the volunteers, the ones who do.

We show up at the meetings, collect the signatures, make the phone calls, and chair the committees.  There's no fame or fortune attached; the work must be done so we show up and do it.

We run into each other all over town.  Of course you are here, I think to myself.  I'm here.

I was at a picnic with them this afternoon.  The event was open to the whole club; the Board outnumbered the members two-to-one. 

It's a good thing I like them all.  We've been doing this together for a decade or so, creating outings and luncheons and doing good deeds.  Our leader is retiring next year and so far no one has jumped up to fill in the gap.

We need a 13th person.

Friday, April 13, 2018


There's a member of the Happy Ladies Club who annoys everyone she meets.

That's a real accomplishment.  There are upwards of 400 females in the group.  One would think that some of them would be her kind of person.  One would think that there would be a few women who found her charming, interesting, enjoyable, worth knowing.  So far, I haven't encountered any of them.

What I have found is members consciously avoiding the table she's chosen, looking askance when the only available seat is beside her, refusing to participate in events she's organizing. People roll their eyes as she approaches.

She's antagonistic.  She's moved from snarky to nasty.  She's right, always, without exception, and she has no qualms about correcting those with whom she disagrees.  It's her way or the highway.... and her way is no fun at all.  She's not physically repulsive, but her persona is such that it feels like she smells.

She was less unpleasant this afternoon, quieter, less responsive to random comments which typically led to rants.  After she left, we wondered about it.

Was she ill?  She hadn't mentioned it, and she's not one to hide her trials under a basket.  Had something terrible happened?  No one knew of any disasters in her life and, again, past experience led us to believe that we would have heard the whole sordid story if she had one to tell.  Was she worried about upcoming events?  We inquired about those we knew of, and she was silent.

The conversation turned to her, somewhat naturally since she left in the middle of a game.  Was she ill?  Was she angry?  Where was she?  She never said goodbye; she just departed.  Though the organizers knew in advance that she'd be leaving early, the rest of us were left to wonder until we were informed by our leader that she, at least, knew of the early departure.  The game went on, but we were still flummoxed.

We are not nasty women.  We are The Happy Ladies Club.  We're all about making connections, about learning new things from new people, about being inclusive and welcoming.  It's hard when someone is perceived as toxic by virtually everyone she encounters.  What do we say?

We comfort those she's abused, but then we have to explain the abuse to the others who aren't aware of the story.  Today, there were no new incidents and that, in itself, was newsworthy.  We talked about it, and then we exchanged the look you give your friends when you know you've been awful and you wish you could suck those words right back into your mouth..... we were being awful and we knew it.

On some level, it was helpful to those who'd encountered her rudeness and thought that they were all alone on the receiving end.  On the other hand, it was talking about someone as soon as she left the room - every teenager's nightmare scenario when leaving a party early.

There was something cathartic in reveling in her distasteful behavior.  It was also kind of icky.

We talked about both sides of the equation in the few minutes between ending and starting new rounds.  We weren't thrilled with ourselves, but we weren't thrilled with her, either.

I heard G'ma in the back of my head, tut tutting as she reminded me that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.  

I remembered my own younger self knowing that they were discussing me as soon as I left the room.

I don't feel any warmer towards her, but I feel a little less wonderful about myself right now.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Olla Pots at Prince

Do you know about them?
They are porous, unglazed pots with lids.  You put them in the raised garden bed or container, fill the rest of the area with soil, and plant around the olla.  When you fill the olla with water and replace the lid on top, osmosis does the rest.

It's capillary action bringing the water from inside outside ..... or, as the kids at Prince said, it's absorbing...... it's leaking..... it's changing color.

Science is fun when you are in the garden with dirty hands.

The playground aide has issues with lots of kids within the fence; I make a big show of counting the number of helpers I have.  Though they are tortured by the fact that they can't come over the fence, Prince scholars are well trained.  They stay outside, peering at their peers who were lucky enough to make the cut.

Those inside stand aside so their friends can observe the action.  Though they are honored to be within the confines of the garden, there is still some jockeying for position and for duties.  And the duties are few.

I bought a pitcher and brought a marker.  I trained the early birds who followed me when I first showed up with the olla.
They learned to fill the watering can in the cafeteria, to carry it safely (using two hands and balancing it carefully) back to the garden, to use an assistant to hold it while clambering over the locked gate,and then, finally, to remove the olla's lid and fill the bowl to the top.

We're monitoring how much water the tomato plant uses.  Do we need to fill it every day?  (No) Can the tomato survive the weekend without a refill? (Yes!)

We're learning how to sprinkle not drown the plants Mrs. S's class has planted in the nearby garden beds.  They are not fish.  They do not swim.  We wave the can over the tops of the flowers, being careful not to spray our friends.  I'm not sure how much good three drops of water are doing on the struggling starter plants, but the lessons learned are doing the kids a lot of good.

We're sharing.  We're taking turns.  We're learning about water and roots and stems and leaves and flowers and buds.  Adding your name to the watering can is a Big Deal - you can only go into the garden without Grandma if your name appears there.  So far there are four Grandma's Gardeners; you can pick them out by their gigantic smiles when they hop over the fence to join me.

I have seed packets to distribute and strawberries to plant.  I have self-watering pots to buy.  I have a plan to send kids home with things that grow.  I wish I had more hands.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Discussed at Cards Today - Truly Random Thoughts

Michael Avenatti is an attractive man.
Donald Trump would have been smart to hire him.
3 Billboards was a better movie than the fish story.
And inter-species sex is just unnecessary. (A view not universally shared)
Phantom Thread was just a bad, bad movie.
Plus, it was a story best left untold.  Ugh.
Lady Bird made us all nostalgic for our mothers.
Overnight train travel is lots of fun.
It's not that many hours from the station in Tucson to Los Angeles.
Mah Jongg and Hand-and-Foot and Bunco are chatty games.
Bridge is not.

And then my partner and I came back from a 3000 point deficit and won. I love the Happy Ladies Club.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Old Friends

Dr. K and Not-Kathy are back in Tucson, after 6 months and 28 countries of adventures.  TBG and I couldn't be more delighted.  We four have been friends for decades.  We've gone through graduate schools and job searches and pregnancies and colleges and job searches for our children. 

What goes around, comes around.  It's nice to watch it with people I love.

The first time I heard him laugh after I got shot, TBG was out on the patio, guffawing with Not-Kathy.  For the first time in a long time, he forgot to be sad.  That only happens with someone you trust, I think.

Not-Kathy introduces us to people as the ones who had to approve of me.  I'm not sure that's completely true, but I will admit that we took a proprietary interest in Dr. K's future partner. After I set him up on a blind date with a girl who broke up with him most unpleasantly many months later, I felt I owed him..... big time.

But it was easy to love her, and she fit right in, and she brought so much along with her. I babysat her first born.  They hung hand-blown-and-decorated-with-lace-and-paint Easter eggs in their big backyard with mine.  She made gingerbread houses with The Cuters when they were small, I hosted her daughter's college roommates around my pool when they were grown.

And now they are here for many weeks.  This afternoon, I invited myself to her parents' house.  I had a hole in my day and I thought they might welcome a diversion from preparing taxes.  We chatted, they ate, we chatted some more, we made plans and confirmed our weekend plans before I drove off to Pilates and home.

It's very nice to have them around.  Comfy and happy and easy.  Deep and honest with little held back.  No pretense. 

We're just there, in the moment, with all those years of moments pillowing the experience.

Old friends........

Monday, April 9, 2018

An Apologetic Snippet

I've read all the C J Box Joe Pickett stories.  The newest was released last month. 

I went to the used book store.  No one had turned one in.

I went to the library.  I'm number 395 on the Hold List.

I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the hard back.  With all my discounts, it cost about $16.

I'll finish it tonight and resell it tomorrow.

Sometimes, I just have to shop... and read.

I'll be back tomorrow with deep thoughts and profundities and witticisms.  Right now, I'm going to finish my new book.  I have 120 of the 387 pages left.

Friday, April 6, 2018

I'm Still Wondering

Commenting on yesterday's post, Rain listed all the reasons I didn't like Hillary Clinton then and I don't like her now.  Like Rain, I held my nose and blackened the circle next to the Democratic Candidate for the President of the United States because the Republican candidate (rightly) terrified me. 

Hillary didn't run a great campaign.  She's never been clear of ethical issues, starting waaayy back in Arkansas.  The Ballerina grew up in Arkansas; she just shrugged when asked about the corruption. 

It was difficult to be a successful woman.  Mitch McConnell, to my ears, is shrill, but I've never heard anyone else use that term when referring to him or any other man.  The troubles she had were not all of her own making.

It's just that so many of them were, and they were always floating around in the back of my head. 

I'm still wondering if those news feed articles might have pushed me to stay home, or vote Republican, if I were not a die-hard pro-choice gun-safety voter.

The articles weren't bashing Hillary; most of them were about her defending herself against the accusations.  It wasn't the content; I rarely clicked them open.  It was their frequency, and, I imagine, the carefully nuanced headline writing that pricked the wound as I scrolled past them.

I grew up knowing that some newspapers were more reliable than others.  Uncle Abby explained the concept of Yellow Journalism to me one day, laughing over something in the N Y Daily News.  I try to be a critical consumer of news. 

I can't shake the feeling, though, that my voting behavior might have been influenced by Russian trolls, had I not been so adamantly against DJT.  After all, if they read through my posts from the run-up to the 2008 Clinton v Obama convention, they'd have a pretty good idea of just where I stand

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Bolton Project

I'm watching Rachel Maddow explain the connection between John Bolton and Facebook and my voting habits.

Rachel tells me that if my data has been sold I'll find out via an email on Monday.  Meanwhile, I'm left to wonder.

I wonder about my Facebook news feed in the run-up to the Presidential election.  I saw more than I ever wanted to see about Hillary's emails, about Hillary fainting, about the Clinton Foundation and something I never quite understood about Hillary and uranium.

I wonder how I would have voted had her opponent been anyone but the repulsive Mr. Trump.  I was never a big fan, and the new feed gnawed around the edges of my determination to hold my nose and blacken the circle beside her name.

I wonder how many women who were less repulsed than I blackened another circle.

I do not like feeling this way about our electoral process.  No.  I do not.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Series of Minor Mishaps

Do you have days like this?

Every year, TBG completes the tax planner.  I copy and mail it to the accountant. TBG's part requires preparation and much moaning.  My part involves stationary and makes me happy.


This morning I cleaned out The UV.  I loaded the paperwork on the passenger seat, planting materials and library books on the back seats and the floor, and the pot with soil, the dolly, and my newly organized hold-all in the back.  I had my route planned out. I was ready to be productive.

Things went awry before I left my street.  Channeling my very first driving lesson with Daddooooo* I drove backwards to my driveway before I reached the stop sign - I'd forgotten my school book bag.

Boccaccio and my crocheting in hand, I started out again.   Figured out the copy machine at Kinko's.  Put papers on the front seat and in the USPS Flat Rate envelope with the address label I'd printed at home.  Drove to the post office where I deposited the envelope and went on my merry way.

It was too late to plant at Prince, so I stopped into Alan's Shoes..... and left half an hour later, with very happy feet.  Opened the hatchback to stash the bag safely in the new, neat space.... and found soil spilled everywhere.  I scooped.  I brushed.  I cursed and laughed in equal parts as I used the dolly to prop up the refilled container and pulled the door down.

Pulling down the door requires a vaguely uncomfortable reach.  I was aggravated when I got back in the car, and it only got worse.  There on the seat beside me were the original documents.  I had mailed the copies.

(Cue frantic violins and gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair.)

There were no Kinko's on my way to school.  I learned and crocheted and chatted and said goodbye to a snowbird friend and returned to my Kinko's and, once again, copied the documents.  Hoping to avoid a trip to the post office, I decided to walk across to the Pack and Ship desk and FedEx the originals (yes, I checked this time).

Didn't happen.

She wanted to scan my driver's license.  "Why?"  "It has to do with what happened in Texas.” No way that was happening, so she took the license and typed in my address, asked where it was going and frowned.  "FedEx doesn't do P.O. Boxes."

So I drove to the Post Office and remembered to bring a pen inside and I used the machine to print out another label and I checked to be sure I was sending the ones I was supposed to send and the smile on my face when I popped it through the slot surprised me.

I think I'm getting back to my old, pre-perforated, snarky self.  It was the kind of bad day a regular person has: mild aggravation over solvable problems.  I haven't had one in a very long time.

I smiled all the way home.

*For some reason, my father drove me to a dead end street and had me back upore he let me go forward. "I want you to be able to get yourself out of trouble."   At the time, I didn't think it was weird.  Not sure what I think now.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April Flowers for Auntie Em

Over Easter dinner, a friend talked about Philly's four nor'easters.
This morning on ESPN, announcers in sweaters were cavorting in a snowstorm.
Snowy hikes are making a comeback this week on Facebook.

Auntie Em, enduring an East Coast Spring, has mentioned several times that she loves my snapdragons.  I love Auntie Em and I love my hardy snaps, so here we are.
 Spring after Spring, although they are sold as annuals. they reemerge from a severe winter pruning, thicker and healthier than the year before.  They may not be an exotic species, but I'll take anything that gives me reliable color and deem it the most beautiful plant I've ever seen.
Yes, I'm easy that way.
You would be too if you gardened here.
Little Cuter, photographer extraordinaire, calls this lighting The Golden Hour,
These 36" newbies were planted with expansion in mind.  I have high hopes that they will cover the area between the Heavenly Bamboo (nandina of some variety or other) and the scraggly ferns..
Lest you assume that I am a wizard at creating lush landscapes, let me assure you that I have failed more often than I've succeeded.  
This is The Container Of Last Chances. 
 Everything planted here was originally somewhere else, doing poorly, near death, not thriving.
I found bulbs that never bloomed as soil was being swapped out of otherwise healthy pots.*
I remove the dead stuff and plant the rest and encourage them to take their time.

Gardening in the desert Southwest is a constant test of wills - me vs the environment.
The COLC is my way of striking back.

Happy Snapdragons, Auntie Em!
Come back and see them in person anytime!

*1/3 every year should be gently removed and replaced with fresh potting soil, according to both the Pima County Master Gardeners and the Marin County Master Gardeners.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Field Day at Prince

It was at Field Day that I was crowned Official Adopted Grandmother of Prince Elementary School.  The kids who heard that are in high school now; the ones who call me Granny as they hug me now weren't born when I was perforated.  All they know is that I was shot in the butt.  It's one of their favorite things about me.  After all, how often can you say butt with impunity?

And so, last Thursday, as the school band
welcomed the student body, high school and parent volunteers, teachers and staff to Field Day,
I used those bullet wounds to explain why I couldn't jump rope with them.

 I couldn't jump, but I could coach.

Put the rope behind your heels.... your feet in front of the rope.... not on the rope.......

Hold your arms straight down then SWING them backward.and up and... oops it caught in your braids.....on your shoulder.... on your ear.

 One foot, no feet, two feet on the rope .... then, amazingly, You Did It!!

Then, quickly, do it again, so you don't forget how.

And now we're counting how many you can do in a row. 
Some took a little encouragement before trying.  But, slowly, cautiously, 
you are up-and-over! 

All the friends clapped with joy.

There were scooters

and sit ups
and balancing eggs on spoons

with mixed results.
Field hockey with fluffy tennis balls was harder than it looked. 

A young scholar broke her arm.
She was not allowed to play, which was a bummer until she took my phone and began capturing her classmates in action. 

  I think she did a pretty good job, don't you?

Friday, March 30, 2018

May I Rant?

I was out all day today.  I ran errands up and down Oracle Road, aka State Route 77.  I started at 10ish and I got home at 6.  I was out and about during lunch time and after work and get-me-home-in-time-for-dinner drive times.  I need to spew the venom which has been building up all day.  Thanks for listening:

The same fools were on the roads all day.  Not a one of them paid any attention to the unwritten Rules of the Road, the ones that the DMV doesn't publish but that anyone who has ever driven a car in a responsible manner understands.  Let me list a few:

  • The left lane is not for sight-seeing.
  • Turn signals are useful devices, installed in your car because I cannot read you mind.
  • The speed limit is not a suggestion.  Zooming from the right lane to the left lane with your bass turned up does draw attention to you, but not in a good way.
  • Leaving 20 car lengths between you and the car in front of you is unnecessary.  
    • If you like to have that much space available, use the right lane.
    • Doing this because you see a red light half a mile ahead is obnoxious.  
    • Doing this in a way that prevents me from accessing the designated turn lane is designed to aggravate me.
  • We are a "hands free" county - dialing your cell phone while drifting into my lane is not a great idea.
  • When your road merges with mine, that doesn't mean that my lane evaporates.  I'm still in it, in my car, moving forward with alacrity.  There might be cars to my left as you decide to join me  from the right.  Looking first might be a good idea.
It was a long long long long day.  It's the snowbirds and Spring Break visitors clogging my roadways.  They are good for our economy.  I wish they would all go home.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Random Quotes and Thoughts from Moms Demand Action Lobby Day

The podium was in the sunshine.  The rest of us had our choice.  I love living in the desert; large group meetings held outdoors, where the comings and goings take place over grass beneath the bright blue sky.  The temps were in the 60's when we started, and hit the low 70's when I left.  Spring in the desert makes lobbying feel like a vacation.
Rep. Daniel Hernandez, sporting bright orange socks, exhorted us to contact everyone.  He received 300 emails in one day from the other side.  It's important to continue to make our voices heard.
Sen. Steve Farley represents my District.  He's also running for Governor.  
He told us that the gun lobby is scaring people.
Once again, making our voices heard was the theme.
Sen. Kate Brophy McGee thinks that the legislature may be close to passing gun safety legislation.  The Democrats hate parts of it.  
The Republicans hate parts of it.
So, I think we're almost there!
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone is my new favorite public official.
Public Safety should never be a partisan issue

Law enforcement must be proactive..... with 3 priorities:
public safety
public health
public education

There is never a time when protecting our Constitution is more important than protecting our children. 

We cannot continue as we have, thinking of our children as collateral damage in defense of the 2nd Amendment.
I was inspired.
In it for the long haul.
Off to write an email to an elected official.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I Had A Moment

I joined Moms Demand Action in the Rose Garden outside the State Capitol in Phoenix today.

I parked without knowing exactly where they'd be gathering, and I walked through the lot and around the building before I found them.

There were enough chairs and benches and tables for everyone, some in the shade and some in the sun, but I wandered around, crossing the grass, greeting old friends and making new ones.

I stepped over and around the boxes under the tent.  I walked back and forth in the State Museum Building looking for the cafeteria (it closed 6 months ago).  I stood for the group photo and moved with enthusiasm for the boomerang (which is something on social media I didn't quite understand). I walked to offices and meetings.  Hours passed.

And then, I had a moment.

My hip was not in the way.

I stood in the sunshine.  I walked on the grass.  I wandered.  I congregated.  I gyrated.

I'm still not perfect, but today came pretty close.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March For Our Lives, South Bend Style

Little Cuter was so proud of (her) little blue county in a big red state coming together for the sake of common sense. She and SIR and FlapJilly took Giblet to his first march on Saturday evening, and though the weather was frigid, their hearts were warm.
FlapJilly asked to wear her Wonder Woman costume and we said HELL YES because what we need is peace, love, and harmony, so peeking from beneath her winter jacket and and hat-with-ear-flaps-in-MARCH-for-crying-out-loud, is a 3 year old's expression of the power of children.

As my daughter went on, it’s the kids - from 3 to 18 - showing us how it’s done. 

And show them they did.  

The piece Little Cuter wanted me to share with you is this Spoken Word by Ben Fecher, a high school senior, called We The People.    
It's kids like this that inspire me.

 Yes, Everytown and Gabby Giffords's PAC provided introductions and financing and logistical support, but that's what they are supposed to do.  Michael Bloomberg promised to spend his last dime defeating the gun lobby, and he's well on the way to doing so (permits and security and sound systems are not inexpensive).  Gabby and Mark called Robert Kraft, and the Patriots' plane was dispatched to carry Parkland survivor families to DC.  Moms Demand Action volunteers helped sibling marches throughout the country, but the initial impetus came from the students themselves.

Their parents are starting them off right.
A young activist and her parents in DC on 3/24/18

Monday, March 26, 2018

#MarchForOurLives in Tucson

I love the notion of Sibling Marches.
I was brave enough to go to ours.
I was smart enough not to walk the 1.8 miles from downtown to the UofA Mall.
with the 7,000 or so who did.  

Instead, I went straight to the rally site, minimizing the distance between The Uv and my exit.
It was a multi-age crowd; I was tasked with keeping the able bodied out of the chairs and spaces reserved for the disabled and those with wheelchairs and walkers.
We watched the marchers join us on the Mall. 
Children already scarred by gun violence 
carried banners of the murdered and the inspiring 
Two of my favorite politicians, Daniel Hernandez and Billy Kovacs, were there. 
Billy facilitated the behind the scenes logistics, and was there, moving tables and attaching signs and doing what was needed when it was needed with a smile on his face and no name tag identifying him as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives.  He's an impressive man.

Daniel spoke after the students spoke.  The kids talked of personal loss, of terror, of not going to concerts because something weird might happen.    Daniel told of holding my boss's head in my hands.... I was 20 years old.  

Then Christina-Taylor's best friends spoke, with CTG's mom by their side.  She'd have been there, leading the way, they said.  They said some more, but I was distracted by the memory of chocolate brown eyes, by the sight of her mother's controlled face beside those two-who-should've-been-three, by a sense of outrage at a murder which was preventable.

As CTG's mom said on tv that afternoon, we are in it for the long haul.... even though we wish were weren't in it at all.  The march was happy/sad ... proud and sad at the same time.
So many teachers were there, 

This delightful young man and his mother created the other side of my "gate," 
blocking the way with smiles and bulk.  
He took me out of myself, and allowed me to open my heart to this 
with courage inspired by Gabby. 
In it for the long haul.
So glad to have all these kiddos along for the ride.


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