Friday, January 29, 2021

I'm Done

I always said that we were best situated to weather this disastrophe.  

Our income is secure (thank you, TBG, for making sure of that).  We have lots of our own indoor and outdoor space to roam.  We have no place we have to be, and no one who depends on us to be there.  We receive all the channels in the land (except as Xfinity removes them, one by one, from our package). There's no snow, no hurricanes, no tornadoes or dangerous microbursts to keep us inside.   Once the library made their books available to pick up, everything seemed perfect.

We've watched the grandkids grow up, Facetiming every evening as they dine and we give Little Cuter a dose of parental love.  It's been a privilege to see the day to day changes; that's more than we would have gotten had Pandemica not intruded.

But it did.  And I am So Over It.

There, I said it. Through all my privilege (cf paragraphs two and three), I'm still morose.  I should be grateful that I'm on the list for the vaccine.  Instead, I'm furious that the process was not streamlined and smooth.  Waiting for something that will come..... eventually..... well, I'm not very good at that, as my present state of mind is demonstrating. 

For a while, I was confident that I'd be flying to Indiana for the grandkids' July birthdays; now I wonder if we will have next Halloween and Christmas and Chanukah via Zoom again.

This is worse than No End In Sight.  

I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow.  Today, I'm going to wallow.  Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 28, 2021


Scrolling through an alumni email, scanning the headlines while watching Last Time I Saw Paris, a  smile nearly broke my face.  I'm going to tell you why, but it takes a story.

I've never had a problem buying books for kids.  Read alouds and picture books and chapter books and poetry, geographically specific books (Blueberries for Sal for a Mainer's grandson) and interest specific books and books I think everyone should have (D'Aulaire's  Greek and Roman and Norse myths) - 
I could shop like that for hours.

But toys are harder.  

I have certain limits. I won't buy Barbies because you can't run on tiptoes like that.  I won't buy weaponry beyond swords and light sabers.  Beyond that, I'm lost.  While it's hard to watch their interests change from a distance, buying ephemera would give a momentary rush of pleasure.... and then become an offering at the neighborhood yard sale.  

We have enough stuff, Mama usually stops me from shopping.  But when we realized that FlapJilly didn't have blocks to stack (prompted by a pediatrician's developmental questionnaire), Gramma and Grampa sent them in every incarnation imaginable. We knew they were wanted and usable.  Blocks are forever toys.

Buying a truck for Giblet was more problematic.  It took a few days of searching - dump or garbage, plastic or metal, remote control or self-propelled - and, in the end, it was fine but nothing special.  

But when Giblet was 11 months old I stumbled upon Lovevery.  It's a subscription program of age-based, Montessori style toys, sent every 3 months or so, as the baby grows.   The price was steep, but it was for his fist birthday and we love him and we had no idea what else to do.  

The first box was amazing.  We couldn't stop fondling the objects.  They were smooth and rough and soft and colorful and exactly the right size for Giblet's fingers.  There were tips for playing with kids that age, written with intention and purpose.  We were convinced; the boxes have been coming ever since.

Those toys are magical, says their mother.  We all love them all and still even play with the baby toys; and the we includes the whole family.  Sending the ball down the chute around the tower  captivates your eyes and your ears and your body as you lunge to catch it before it rolls away.  The felt flowers that were encouraging conversation about colors with a 1 year old  now sit in a small vase atop FlapJilly's desk in the playroom, just like Mama has flowers on her desk.  There's something for everybody, from Grampa on the couch to Giblet chasing the errant ball across the carpet.

The carpet was probably not the best place to set up the water toys that came last month, though. 
Moving to the washable rug on the tile floor was a smart move for the scientists busily measuring and pouring, slowly and quickly, using the mini-sink from the previous box, too.
Please notice that this box was sent to a 2 year old.  His sister, 6 years old and in first grade, is as enthralled as he is.  

Can you tell that we love this product?  Well, it turns out that a lot of other people like it too.  It's been lauded as a Best Invention (Time) and a World Changing Idea (Fast Company) and, to bring the story to a conclusion, the co-founder  was named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year, which is what I read when the smile broke my face.

I texted the link to Little Cuter, whose responses are repeated here.  We both agreed that this is an award that is well deserved, that confirms our opinion, and which should be recognized far and wide.  This is my small effort in that direction.

(And no, we don't know how to pronounce it.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

We Got It (kinda)

I started at 8:15, 45 minutes before the gates were to open.  

I opened two tabs for the website on Lenore the Lenovo, one with all my information, one with TBG's.  Clicking before 9am did nothing but reset the entire form, forcing me to reenter all those pesky numbers and letters again.  

(Question for the concerned:  why does my Medicare number have 0's and O's.... one a number and one a letter, neither of which is easy to discern from the card or when it's been typed into a form.  We are old people; our vision is not what it used to be.  This is unkind as well as unintelligent - people are going to make mistakes.)

I then went on to the Pima County site; same links, but also a discrete mention of a phone number at Tucson Medical Center, our community hospital over on the east side of town.  I dialed and it didn't ring forever.  It didn't give me a busy signal.  Instead, there was a recorded voice telling me everything I needed to know.

I started to breathe again.  The voice was carefully describing the what's and when's of the waiting procedure, then it switched to a mind numbing Muzak interspersed with reminders that my wait time is over 60 minutes.

And then, well before 9am, well before 60 minutes had passed, Karen said hello.

I'm glad the desk chair has arms and a back - I fell into it in astonishment.  We were in!

She asked questions and I answered them.  She laughed and she was clear as she took TBG's information right after mine - it might take a while for the vaccines to become available, but once they arrive we'll get an email to schedule our appointments.  In the meantime, we were to look for an email that confirmed our registration and described the path going forward.

Five minutes after complimenting her for taking the stress out of an awful situation, after emailing our children to inform them of our progress, the email arrived in my inbox.

TBG received nothing.

We kept refreshing and checking and then, after realizing that my good feeling glow was dissipating amidst thoughts of being the only vaccinated person in the household, I called TMC once again.

Once again, the wait time was more than 60 minutes, a few minutes later it was 39 minutes and 10 seconds after that a young man was on the phone, asking how he could help me.  I explained the 2 signups/1 email problem, and asked if he could HELP!!!

Ma'am, you will only get one email.  You should be good to go.

I sighed, checked with him again that both of us were included in the instructions I received, and thanked him for his help.  We wondered why the email didn't mention that if you'd signed up together you were part of the one missive; it certainly would save time at the call center if they didn't have to talk to me twice. 

After some reflection, I decided that it makes sense to group the two of together as one entity.  That way we can be scheduled at the same time and place for our vaccines.  I wish that fact were included in the call center's script, though it feels churlish to complain about something that was really quite simple and well run.

And now, we wait.  We wait for needles and vials and mailing supplies are gathered and organized and shipped.  We wait for a shot that will certainly make my arm ache and will most likely give me a day or two of feeling crappy.  We wait..... and we're glad to do so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Getting the Vaccine

There are vaccines that have been distributed but not put in anyone's arm.

There are states where over 65's stroll into appointments like royalty, if the stories on tv are to be believed.

West Virginia is at the top of the We Did It Best list..... West Virginia?????

The lack of planning is staggering.  While the vaccine was being developed,  no one on any level was developing a comprehensive strategy for inoculating the populace.  Leave it to the states put the plan in the hands of Doug Ducey, Governor Ice Cream, who was busy figuring out how to appease the Trumpies while displaying some semblance of sanity, visible to the rest of us. 

He failed.  He and Cindy McCain were censured by those Republicans.  Meanwhile, those of us who he is sworn to preserve and protect are dealing with a website structure that could have been dealt with months ago.

As soon as it became  obvious that the vaccines were imminent, registration should have opened.  

Answering all the questions at takes a few minutes, at least the first time you go through it (those of us who've been relentlessly scrolling through the site have it down to a science; I may be the only person on earth who has memorized her new Medicare number).   There is no reason that this couldn't have been done leisurely, when I had a chance, taking my time and then feeling secure that I had taken one step toward health.

Instead, you can only register when your cohort has been called.  

Therefore, all over Arizona, at this moment (8:13am) there are senior citizens hunched over their computer screens, waiting for 9am when the portal will open.

I feel like James Spader waiting for the Stargate to reveal itself.  I don't know what's on the other side, but I'm willing to take a chance.

In the meantime, since the website advises using a computer and we have only the one, I opened two screens and will put TBG on the phone to Tucson Medical Center, the local hospital which has gotten rave reviews for kindness, intelligence and follow-through in this process.  

One of us tied to a screen. One of us attached to a phone.  There had to have been a better way. I have used up my anxiety quotient for the decade.  Arizona didn't need to add another layer to my angst.

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Best Laid Plans

I had a screed all prepared in my head.  I ranted and raved and crafted an exquisite description of my feelings about members of Congress who supported sedition.

Then, I woke up to a steady downpour, actual raindrops perking up my cacti and the succulents who have been deprived of their usual, albeit meager, yearly ration of water.  Another post developed, about the possibilities when evil is washed away, about how, if you're adaptable, you can get by with just a little bit of love and attention.

For a brief moment, I toyed with writing about sports, because TBG has been consumed with the NFL all day.... but I had a hard time remembering what team's laundry Tom Brady was wearing and I figured that if I couldn't muster enough enthusiasm to follow it even that closely then I shouldn't burden you with half formed thoughts.

I'm reading the unready books on my shelves, first editions acquired through a Book Passage promotion the summer we left Marin.  They've sat, unloved and unopened, until this weekend when the need to hold a physical book in my hands was thwarted by the fact that the library is closed on the weekends during Pandemica; my reserves will have to wait until Monday.  I thought about discussing the diaspora, of being the other, of making your own place in a foreign land..... that one I might come back to.

But yesterday and today FlapJilly usurped my writing time.  She and her friends did jigsaw puzzles on-line, and she thought that Gramma might like to do it, too.  So, for several hours over the past two days, my granddaughter and I have complimented one another on our genius, on our perspicacity, on our ability to see patterns the other had missed.  

We've danced in celebration as we finish, and taken 10 deep breaths to get focused when the task seemed too much to bear.  We've created 24 and 45 and 54 (YES, I know my numbers, Mom!) and 60 piece unicorns and castles and The Dolomites, horses and gummy worms and covered bridges.  

Her parents moved a china cabinet to the basement while her brother slept and we amused one another. Little Cuter was needed to select and share the puzzle itself, but, except for her brief interjections, it was Grams (I seem to have been given a nickname to my nickname) and FJ, chillin' on the weekend.

I really did plan for meaningful prose to start your week.  

I'm not sorry at all that events intervened.  I've been smiling. A lot.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Was It Only Last Night?

I'm still smiling.

Scarlet and I played online mah jongg this morning, but mostly we talked about yesterday.  Everything we liked we both liked, in the same way, with the same over the top but what about !!!!!

After a deep dive into the Twitterverse, my guy in the sneakers carrying the littlest fur clad member turns out to be a lot more interesting than "I'm gonna be walking and carrying my kid; I better be comfortable"

He's Nikolas Ajagu, the partner (or the husband - Professor Google was unable to agree) of  Vice President Harris's niece, Meena Harris, and a bigwig at Facebook.  Those kicks sold for $2,200 (or $2,000 - again, Prof. Google fails us) off the rack, as befits a partnership between Dior and Nike's Air Jordan brand.

Personally, I have no clothing that cost $2,000.  If I did, I probably wouldn't let it touch the ground.  I'm just sayin'.

The girls with the adorable matching coats are Vice President Harris's nieces, her sister's grandkids, Nikolas's offspring, dressed as an homage to their Auntie


which will be obvious to you if you click through to the second image.

There was Schiaparelli and Chanel and Ralph Lauren. There was Doug Emhoff throwing back his head.  There was Jill Biden resting her head on The President's shoulder.  There were all the fireworks in the land.

Today I watched some of the Senate confirmation hearings for the incoming Secretary of Transportation, Mayor Pete.  There were complete sentences and attention to decorum.  I watched a normal press briefing, starring Anthony Fauci and a cast of 1000 facts, co-starring the new Press Secretary, Jen Psaki.  

I can hardly wait to turn on the news tonight.  It will be refreshingly boring, just like the rest of today.  

Doesn't it feel good?

Do You Have a Favorite Part?

Was it the sunny skies and the flapping flags and the colors on the Mall?

Was it the fabulous coats the women were wearing or their magical ability to stand and walk and look strong and graceful while wearing stilettoes?

Was it Lady Gaga looking up at the flag, Garth Brooks and his cowboy hat or was it JLo and all her bling? 

Was it how crisp and clean everything looked so soon after armed marauders broke down the doors?  

Was it the fact that we were doing this at all?

Did you like "a whole bunch of Bidens" or were you more entranced by the family surrounding Doug and Kamala?  TBG and I were taken with the guy in jeans and sneakers, carrying the littlest fur clad member down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Was it that you didn't have to hear anything about the former occupant of the office?  This one is right up at the top of my list, right there with those ridiculously matchy-matchy shoes Nancy Pelosi had on (okay, maybe I am a little fashion obsessed for some reason)? 

But I think we can all agree that America's first Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gordon, won our hearts.  

Her hands.  Her words.  Her voice.  Her message.

I'm ready to feel good about America again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

President Biden

That smile.

Those open arms.

Eyes, looking up and forward.

And a tie that's not hanging down to his crotch, a suit coat that buttons over his belly, and the ability to string 4 words together without dismissing or damning or disparaging another human being.

Four years ago I was distraught, straining for a glimpse of the Obamas behind the Trumpian phalanx of deplorables.  Today I am going to make every sweet thing I can imagine for breakfast, and sprinkle sugar over those things which don't normally require it.  I'm going to concentrate on hope and courage and confidence in America.

Tomorrow, I want them to take down those horrible black barriers and gates.  Tomorrow, I want them to start sharing the charges they'll level against the Terrorist in Chief and his minions.  Tomorrow, I will give vent to the rage that I have been storing up for 4 long and torturous years.

Today, I'm going to celebrate.  I'm going to clear my brain and scrub the corners where Trump lint has been lurking.  It's the start of a new era, with a clear vision of what's gone wrong and what we need to do to fix it.

That's my plan, and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

One Last Day

It's been four full years since he started talking about American carnage.  

That's all it took to bring our democracy perilously close to its knees.  Members of Congress did not vote to certify the election of the next President of the United States.  One of those votes they wanted to discount was mine.  

I take umbrage with this.  

I've always been willing to do some of the heavy lifting required to maintain our democratic norms.  I've protested and voted and written and recruited and advocated and made my presence and my opinions known.  Nobody elected by someone in Nebraska has the right to say that my vote does not matter.  I've done the work (and even if I hadn't); I get to speak 

Of course, by saying that I am assuming that we are dealing with the same set of facts.  Living here in the real world, I often forget that there are a disturbingly large number of individuals who barely believe that the earth is round.  

And, they get to vote.  Some of them get to vote in Congress.  

And then there are the Jamie Raskins of the world, who are unwilling to lose our republic and who are willing to put personal grief aside to work toward that end.  That's where I'm focusing my energy today, on the content of his character to stiffen my spine and strengthen my resolve to keep the pressure on, to hold those responsible accountable for their actions, to do what I can to insure than this will not happen again.

That's a fitting way to spend the last day of the worst presidency in our history.

Monday, January 18, 2021


My children memorized I Have a Dream the way my classmates and I memorized The Gettysburg Address.  

They are both passionate defenses of the American dream - one nation, with liberty and justice for all.  That's the dream.  It's never been realized, though every once in a while our better natures shine through and we do something right.  

It's never been tried across such a large, heterogenous conglomeration of individual fiefdoms - religious, cultural, political, economic bubbles refusing to share or bump into one another without a confrontation.  It's never been easy, or conflict free.  

In the Spring of 1970 we drove from Ithaca, NY to Washington, DC for the Mobilization Against the War.  We passed cars filled with people our age, who looked like us, who shared peace signs through the windows as we journeyed together, part of a caravan of young people who were part of a movement that followed Dr. King's notion of peaceful protest.

We had bandanas to protect our faces from tear gas.  We stayed away from the center of things, avoiding arrest by listening when the police told us that wading in the fountain bordering the FTC building was frowned upon.  Thousands of protestors were herded into RFK Stadium, some held for days, some charged, some released without paperwork being filed.  

I don't remember anyone arrested for a gun violation.... and we were protesting a war.

The images on the Edmund Pettis Bridge are shocking not only for the brutality, but for the non-violent reaction of those being beaten and hosed and bitten by dogs.  It's hard to call them instigators or agitators.  

It's a shame that the right wingnuts who stormed the Capitol don't believe in facts or pay much attention to history.  If they did, they might have learned something.  Equally terrifying would have been a weeks long silent sit in, surrounding the Capitol, allowing access but forcing the Congress to pass by and notice that there was something amiss.

Instead, they are being turned in by relatives who are furious, who have been waiting for the chance to stop their own personal connection to the madness.  And madness it is.  It's the same fight we've been waging since the Founding Fathers kicked the can down the road, forcing the country to deal with slavery and race and opportunity and advantage over and over and over again.

Was there a better way?  Did they hope that we would have evolved to the point where the solution would be obvious?  We'll never know.  

What I do know is that this democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.  Lauren Boebert and Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley may try to besmirch it, but, thus far, they have been held at bay.

I'm going to go around judging people by the content of their character today.

Friday, January 15, 2021

To My Grandchildren, Part Two

I feel marginally safer right now, although the country still feels like it's going to hell in a handbasket.  Order was restored, the people's business is receiving attention, and it looks as if the information that was provided to those who were responsible for the safety of Congress was accurate and timely.

Why there was such a lapse between insurrection and control remains an open issue.  So many balls were dropped.  So many calls were not taken.  So many helping hands were refused.  It will take a while to sort it all out, but I have confidence that the work will get done.

Why? Because now that the shooting has stopped what's left is the fear, and fear is a great motivator.  
Staffs are threatening mass resignations if something is not done - and that something includes voting to impeach the instigator in chief.

There are 10 Republican members of the House of Representatives who voted with all the Democrats.  Only 10.  Of the rest, many say they are afraid for their lives and the lives of their families if they vote to impeach.  

Remember that oath, the one about protecting and defending the Constitution?  Did they think that meant only when it wasn't scary to do so?  

The political machinations are ongoing.  Joe Biden will be sworn in before another week passes.  There is a massive military buildup prior to the inauguration, an inauguration that very few will attend, given COVID and security and the fact that it's January in Washington DC and likely to be really cold, and the world moves on.

I just didn't want you to have to worry too much about me right now.  It feels as if our institutions have held, for now, and that's information I wanted you to have.

Thursday, January 14, 2021


There's nothing I can say that you don't expect me to say. I need to vent and this is my forum so I'll apologize in advance if this is old news or the same-old-same-old.  It's weighing on my chest and my brain and my heart.  I have to get it out

There are conspirators amongst our elected officials, giving tours to terrorists.

Two impeachments in one term, both foreign and domestic, just like the enemies he was sworn to protect us from..... and don't get me started on the virus, which has slipped from our consciousness as the numbers rise and vaccine distribution remains a mystery to all but a privileged few... and they don't seem to want to share.

I could go on, but why?  I feel better having typed just that much.

I'd really like to post about the unexpected bounty of late season tomatoes off a plant that's three years old, some popped warm from the sun into my mouth, the rest nestled comfortably in the pocket of the softest sweater I've ever owned.
I took that thought into the kitchen, trying to hold on to the warmth in my soul, when I turned around and saw this:
And so the sun sets on a dinner prepared by Big Cuter, leaving me in peace until Rachel and Anderson started reminding me of the reality of the day......... sigh.....  just a few more days........
Until then, I wish you as much peace as is reasonable to expect.  
I'm aiming for that, myself.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It Was There - We Didn't See It

In the early 2000's Big Cuter walked down the Capitol steps, fuming.  He phoned home from those steps, bemoaning the fact that his interview in the office of  Republican Representative Darryl Issa had devolved into a How could you have worked for this radical leftist last summer (San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno) rather than an exploration of what he could offer this man's constituents. 

He went in for a job interview and found himself skewered on the spit of partisan politics.  It was surprising, odd, out of the ordinary, not at all what he (or his parents or the mutual friend who arranged the meeting) thought would happen.  

"He didn't listen, Mom.  He just kept shoving more and more paper in front of me, trying to prove his point."

We didn't recognize it then, but in retrospect it seems like a very early and very clear sign of the American divide.  I'm right, you're wrong, and there's nothing we can gain by sharing a space.  

It's frightening.  

I have a dear friend on the other side of the political spectrum.  We disagree about everything except kindness and respect.  As she often says, "I'm a Republican.  I'm not crazy."  

I yearn for the days when that statement was not met with skepticism, when it was acceptable for people of good will and kind hearts to be members of the GOP.   I wonder when those days were.  They obviously weren't there when my kid wanted to do constituent service for all the voters, not just the ones whose views aligned with Issa's.  

This is America.  Maybe it's always been 74 million Americans looking for a cult leader to show them the way to the Promised Land.  It certainly was this American at the dawn of the century in an office in the Capitol.  My son was there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


I started out scared, went through fury, and now I'm just sad.  Anybody else out there feeling that way, too?  

It's hard to tell from the talking heads or the letters to the editor or the articles online and in the paper (yes, the hard copy, newsprint all over my fingers, actual newspaper.  I'll do anything I can to support local journalism.).

I see "leaders" inciting violence and no armed, shielded, baton wielding law enforcement officers holding them in place.  I see one Capitol policeman luring a mob of white guys up the stairs and away from the open door to the Senate floor and I cry.... for his bravery, for his quick thinking, and for the sheer awfulness of these thugs roaming the people's halls.

For they are our halls.  They embody everything that's wonderful about this country, everything that my parents drilled into my head with almost yearly visits to DC, to our Senator's office (so Daddooooo could thank Mr. D'Amato for the skating rink and fishing pier and swimming pool he funded and named for himself).  The doors were open - to the building, to the hallways, to the Senator's office itself.

It didn't seem foolish or unsafe or unusual to me.  Not then, not now.  Our open democracy made me happy, made me feel as important as the people behind the desks, made it obvious that we were all in this together.


We, the people. 

Does America have a We now?  It used to be that We could at least agree on some facts.  

Mr. Trump (I agree with Michael McFaul that the orange menace has lost the right to the title) has done that in.  Lawmakers who don't live or vote in my state took the stage to demand that my vote be uncounted, thrown out, discarded, based on lies and misrepresentation of the facts.  

The Arizona legislature's contribution to this situation, Mark Finchem, represents the District just north of us.  The proximity makes my skin crawl.  Our State Rep,  Dr. Randy Friese, was called to service after a right wing wingnut opened fire on our US Representative.  He saw guns and violence and incivility as issues to be addressed through governing.

He did not opt to raise an impromptu army and storm the Capitol

Driving home from the bagel store  (one of the two establishments I allow myself to enter these days) I decided to avoid NPR and more angst.  I switched to KXCI, our community station, and smiled... the first one in a long while.  I turned the volume way up and sang along, loudly, lustily, with feeling, lots and lots of feeling, to this
 the Brockington Ensemble's rendition of God Bless America.

Try it..... we're all isolated and no one can hear you... and if someone can, perhaps they'll join in.  

Monday, January 11, 2021

To My Grandchildren

Jan 10, 2021 (the weekend after the Capitol was breached)

It's important that you know how it feels to be alive right now, in the midst of an insurrection, the first battle of which was fought in our Capitol - inside the actual building - on January 6, 2021.   Right now, domestic terrorists are mobilizing for another battle on January 17th, and another on Inauguration Day, January 20th.

Why, you may wonder, would the insurgents announce their plans in advance?  It seems kind of silly.  If the people in charge know you are coming, won't they be prepared to rebuff you, to repel you, to arrest and imprison you for violating the laws of the land?  But these terrorists knew that the main man in charge was on their side.  They could see no security presence, the way BLM marchers saw it when a photo op seemed the correct response to a nation in pain.

They were unprepared.  They were absent.  I couldn't understand it.

I kept saying, "Where are the police?"  (Okay, I was screaming..... until Grampa told me to tone it down..... he agreed, but I was hurting his ears.) 

It was impossible (for me, at least) to conjure up any scenario that did not include an immediate police presence once those sworn to serve and protect noticed that thousands of lunatics were racing up the Capitol steps.  It was hard to watch those in charge of safety and security allowing this to go on without mounting a response.   

The National Guards of neighboring states could have been called up by the sitting president, but he and his family were having fun watching the show on television. 

No, that is not what he should have been doing.  

Nor should he have called them patriots.  

Nor should he have said that we love you.  

The hole this created in my heart is expanding, days later.  The American Presidency is a sacred space and this man is defiling it.  His supporters are trying to make this about free speech (the social media platforms that pandered to his excesses finally permanently banned him) and unity and reconciliation, but I'm not interested in that.

I and those who agree with me have been in pain for four years.  We never staged a coup.

These are not patriots.  They and he are fomenting and participating in a civil war.  The flag of the secessionist states was carried up the stairway and flew in the United States' Capitol.  The more video we watched the more terrified I became.  These and their ilk showed up on the steps of the Michigan state capital, with no consequences.  They plotted to kidnap and kill a governor.  They left bombs in their wake on Wednesday.

I feel no desire or need or compulsion or sense of duty pushing me to accepting these folk back into the fold.  They must be identified and punished, not, as they were, escorted peacefully out the door.  Behaviors have consequences; your parents taught you that when you were very small.  If there are no consequences for these actions then what will stop them from happening again and again and again.

If you drew on the wallpaper and no one cared, how many unadorned spaces would there be in your house right now?  If your parents said no more cookies but watched you put them in your mouth, how long would it take for your siblings to join your fun?  

Allowing this to stand without repercussions can only harm our democracy.

The Capitol Steps..... the phrase itself has majesty and dignity. A reporter holds a microphone and says "I'm standing on the steps of our nation's capital" and I get a little frisson of connection to our Republic.  It's the home of democracy in action.   It's unruly and amusing and ponderous but it's often profound.  Barbara Jordan speaking at Richard Nixon's impeachment is an example of that.

There are those who say that impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment are not necessary; the man leaves the building in a few days.  

There are those of us who remember Hugo Chavez, who was removed then ran again and won and then created a dictatorship. There are those of us who believe that you don't hand a 4 year old the nuclear codes.  There are those of us who think that inciting insurrection must have been somewhere in the framers' minds when they wrote about removing an unfit person from the highest office in the land, and who are absolutely horrified that any elected official could disagree.

And I am so sad, so despondent, so disheartened when I hear members of the Congress finding room to wiggle away from doing their duty.

Yet they do, despite the fact that they swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.  I took that oath, solemnly and seriously, twenty some years ago, on the local level, in a job that served less than 15,000 souls.  The fact that men and women who have risen to the highest ranks of our governance can be so cavalier with the truth, with their responsibilities, with their obligations to you and your children and your grandchildren.... well, that just makes me want to....



tremble with fear.

And then I remember that this is a democracy.  My voice can and should be heard.  So I will call my representatives.  I'll write a letter to the editor of the local paper.  I'll call out those who equate terrorism with protest. I will not be silent.  I will not let them win.... not without knowing how I stand.

Actions like these will make me marginally less anxious.  I'm still very worried.  The political ramifications are just beginning to be played out.  Tomorrow is Monday.  I don't know how I'll feel then.

Friday, January 8, 2021

I Thought I Was Done With This

I am unprepared for the full onslaught of Trump-is-the-President angst I thought I'd put behind me.  I was used to breathing freely, confident that change was possible.  With control of the Senate, real progress was on the horizon.

I was a happy girl.
I can't believe it took anyone this long to realize that he's not going to get any better, that as the time comes for that-which-is-untenable-for-his-brain-to-comprehend, he will explode or implode and the rest of us will pay the price for a long long time.
Susan Collins was right - he learned the same lesson from his impeachment that he learned every time Daddy bailed him out, or he sued his foes into submission.  There are no consequences when you are Donald J Trump.  
Cabinet members are resigning and leaving us with this mess.  

Invoke the 25th Amendment and then walk away,  if you think that meaningless gesture will do anything to polish your reputation.
I woke TBG up with my whimpering last night.  He patted and rubbed and reassured.  "It's okay.  It's okay..." 
....... even though we both knew that it wasn't anywhere close to okay.
10 years ago tonight I took myself to IHOP for 10 o'clock pancakes.  I paid for dinner for a young couple and her abuela because they were just wonderful to watch, as I sat alone with my book, smiling at the good fortune that was my life.  

12 hours later, I was bleeding on the sidewalk, holding the hand of a blameless little girl whose love of politics and people and me got her killed.  
Tomorrow is not promised, denizens.  Tell those you love all the things you want them to know.  Don't put it off; who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

I Woke Up So Happy

Georgia has two Democratic Senators, one of whom sets a new bar for nice, Jewish boys.  Queen T had a good thing happen at work.  Virtual Garden Club with the 5th grade was a rousing success. TBG and I settled down to watch the Joint Session of Congress do the people's business.

And then all hell broke loose.

Nothing I wrote yesterday seems relevant. My memories, my clean closets, by generalized angst are small change compared to what streamed across my television screen all day.  

My plaintive "Where are the police?" was met with my son's "C'mon, Mom, these are white people."

I've been scared all day.  My house has never been cleaner..... it was the only thing I could think to do with myself as I watched and listened and fretted and ranted.

I felt less anxious when the Senate and the House announced that they would convene tonight.  I relaxed even further when the Leaders said they would stay all night and finish the people's business.

I felt a bit of surprise when Kelly Loeffler withdrew her objection to Georgia's electors; I smiled when her colleagues applauded.  Cory Booker's passion raised goose bumps.  Big Cuter's Twitter feed tells him that some Cabinet members are discussing the 25th Amendment.

I don't know how I feel.  

It's a lot like when I got shot.  One moment I was laughing about accessories. The next there was blood dripping down the front of my favorite jeans.  It's a lot to absorb all at once.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Having Trouble Getting Started

It's Tuesday.  There's an election in Georgia, there's an attempt by the Arizona GOP Chair to throw out my ballot, and the anniversary of my perforation is coming up.  There should be lots for me to write about.  

There should be.  But I'm having a hard time getting fired up about any of it.

I wrote my postcards and letters to Georgia Democrat leaning voters.  Watching the televised nonsense isn't moving Ossof or Warnock closer to the finish line, so I've given that up entirely.  I've done what I can and I'm moving on, in keeping with my resolution to find peace and enjoy it.

The radio isn't helping much in this endeavor.  I can avoid the talking heads on tv by leaving the room, but my car radio and NPR are inseparable; I have to remember to change to KXCI, our community radio station, before I am bombarded with voices purporting to know the unknowable.  Once the thought is put into my head, I'm doomed.

Kelli Ward lost an election, got herself selected to the top of the AZ GOP pyramid, and has proceeded to quash any hope that her party will be seen as anything more or less than obstructionist goons.  There is no valid argument, and yet she persists.  My fury is unabated; my vote should count whether she likes the result or not.  The nerve, the arrogance, the temerity, the audacity --- this, too, is getting in the way of my inner peace.

January 8th could have slipped by unnoticed this year, and I wouldn't have minded a bit.  There's no Stroll and Roll on CTG's path due to pandemic precautions.  There's no ringing the fire station bell downtown, either.  There's a memorial dedication, but I was always planning to skip that.  Scarlet offered to stand 6' away from me at the Safeway, showering virtual hugs on my standing alone self as I placed a stone on the memorial they erected one year after the bullets flew.  I demurred.  Without a physical hug, she'd be just another reminder of all we've lost this year.  I'll be sad enough without adding COVID 19 to the pile.

That Safeway memorial is the only part of typing this post which made me smile.  It cost very little, it happened quickly, it's in the right spot, and it conveys the right message.  There are 6 big rocks for those who died, and 13 stars for those who took bullets sit below the explanatory plaque on the largest boulder of all.  Stuffies and candles and prayer cards and flowers adorn the site over the course of the year; I've stopped there every anniversary to do my commemorating and my crying.

This is the 10th anniversary.  The local paper is doing a podcast and running some articles.  I'm grateful that the pandemic has kept the national newshounds away from my door; I've been dreading rehashing the experience since last year.

Getting started on 2021 has been difficult not only because of the sorrow, but because it really doesn't feel any different than 2020.  Even this post is more of a retrospective than an expansive view of the new year.  I ought to have some thoughts that look in that direction.  Unfortunately, I don't.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Productive Week

I spent Sunday packing all the holiday boxes except the tree's ornaments and lights,  
after spending the previous week organizing 
and repurposing and recycling and donating.  I found myself with empty shelves where there had been chaos.
The green box on the floor contains books that must find space on a bookshelf.  Its resting place is temporary, low enough that I can reach the contents without straining, and meets Queen T's exacting standards for space in A Finished Closet.

She grew up cleaning out the old year and starting the new year fresh, her space reflecting the way she would like to live every day.  It was Marie Kondo and my father rolled up in a helpful young human who shlepped and lifted and shifted and wiped and swept and did all the things that a deep clean requires, all the things that my shattered hip aches just thinking about, all the things that have kept me from starting these projects on my own.

She was up and down without holding onto anything else.  I can't remember the last time I clambered up a step stool or got down onto the floor like that.

She was ruthless but kind.  Instead of Daddooooo's what do you need that crap for? Queen T's when was the last time you used this dusty, out of style, whatever it is? felt genuinely interested, if somewhat amused.  

She was not totally heartless; she understood that I wasn't ready to give up G'ma's purse..... not yet. 
I only emptied it this summer, more than six years after she died, a little teary as her Revlon lipstick and powder stuck to my hands, refusing to be thrown away. It's washed and could be donated if it weren't so yucky inside. For now, it's living with me.

The laundry room, the game closet,

the cleaning closet, and the two under the sink cabinets have been stripped bare and will now live regimented lives, each with its own set of rules, all of which make sense to me.  

The candles are in an upper shelf that's easy to reach from the floor, as long as what I'm grabbing isn't too heavy.  A 6" beeswax and soy pillar fits the bill perfectly.  I no longer have to push away the recycling bin
to find my more awkwardly shaped candleholders and bases.
I spend an inordinate amount of time opening doors and staring at the wonders they conceal these days.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Hello, 2021

Some things have not changed at all.  

DJT is still trying to undermine our democracy, still behaving as if he is untethered from reality, still in charge of the nuclear codes.  I am neither more nor less frightened than I was last Sunday night, even having read the entire transcript between our President and Georgia's Secretary of State.

I'm still delighted by those who wonder about the political future of a man I am certain is going to prison.  I still wonder what Javanka are telling their children about Grandfather, what Baron hears about Daddy at school, and what Kimberly Guilfoyle is doing on anybody's radar.

Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords continue to inspire, ten years after our lives collided.  My hip hurts about the same as it did a year ago, but I'm much more flexible and spry, able to be on my feet for more hours before I collapse in a heap.

Tucson, although too far from the world's sweetest grandchildren, is still the perfect place for our aging and aching bones.  The friendships we've made in our dotage are as deep and delightful as those we have kept from our youth.  Sitting outside, under the stars, wrapped in warm blankets, is a lovely way to finish up a holiday evening.  We are ever grateful to have made this choice.

And choice is what I am taking with me into the new year.  

My resolution to compliment the good when it happens has brought me joy and will, once again, be renewed.  It's being enhanced by an emphasis on gratitude, on noticing the wonder around me and taking stock of that moment, pausing to be present, to observe, to feel.  

Stopping this morning to notice how big that new-to-the-neighborhood-just-passing-through bird weighing down the branches of the crepe myrtle outside the library window, I added on a thank you for his visit and a smile.  

I'm choosing to be hopeful, to be grateful, to be aware of the good as I acknowledge the bad.

I'm leaving a toxic political environment behind, with great expectations for leadership that believes in science, in vote tallies, in the rule of law.  There is a woman in the second chair, and that bodes well for our future.  My state has two US Senators who reflect (for the most part) my values.  Our democracy has withstood 50 plus challenges to the will of the people, and is still standing.  

These are all wonderful results of a terrible presidency.  In my 2021 frame of mind, I'm going to be grateful for where we are, and have positive thoughts for the future, and try my best to focus everywhere but on the past.

Except when they get their just desserts.  Then, I'm going to revel in it, being grateful that I have survived to see it, thanking the courts and the process and the USofA for struggling and coming out the other side.  

I didn't say I was going to give up my snark or my anger or my disgust.  I'm saying that I'm going to enjoy it, entirely.  No one gets to stomp on my democracy without paying a price.  

2021 will bring a vaccine (eventually) and hugs and the last year of my 60's.  My roses will grow bigger and stronger and I vow to take better care of them.  After all, they bring me joy, and I should show my gratitude in tangible ways.

This is going to be a good year....  a year filled with radiant health and inner peace and the sense to enjoy it.

At least, that's the plan.