I woke up with such a heaviness on my heart. This is never a good holiday to think beyond my smallest world—No, I honestly thought that I had passed that stage. That this year I was free to take on the biggest world on this the eve of David’s Death Day, but the missing of him, the sorrow of the loss of him lingers, it scents the air like roses in a garden, it is in the fabric of the comfortable capris that I pull on to grab a cup of coffee before Julia gets out of bed.
The radio’s first story is about another Black man in Ohio, fleeing the police, who was shot 60 times. The eight officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave which signals at least some question of appropriate behavior.
Finding a voice after the insurrection—so many write about our national interests so much better than I could and yet I have not read what has been on my mind. And I am still angry. It is more than dismaying that this self-proclaimed hero of the republic has broken the 210 year old tradition of peaceful transition, that he has lied so often and so outrageously and that he is also the first president since 1869 to refuse to attend the inauguration of the person he lost to.
For awhile now, I have been wondering what the political rhetoric was like in the years leading up the the Civil War. What were people, north and south, talking about? What was the tone of discourse? When did violence enter the minds and hearts of Americans? How did the argument of slavery and states rights—the causes of the War that I remember from high school history class—erupt into violence? I did not understand those causes fully until recently—more the shame on me. A more succinct cause would have been the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states and Lincoln’s platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories. Added to that was the inept leadership of James Buchanan, customarily consider the worst president, in the years leading up to the Civil War. (Buchanan might be moving up a notch or two.)
I had plans today. And we all know what happens to plans. And sometimes it is more than hard to figure out just which clause of the Serenity Prayer should be in play right now. Or as Cheshire says, “2020 laughs at your plans.”
I predicted that we would not get to an outcome for the presidential election last night or this morning; however, I find that a definitive landslide for the Democrats was a wish lodged deep in my heart.
I fell asleep listening to election returns in bed on my laptop just before midnight and woke up a few hours later in time to hear the NPR host talking about trump’s victory speech. I groaned, closed the laptop, turned over and went back to sleep. I had at least two unnerving dreams during which friends who I haven’t seen in a very long time appeared. I hugged them hard.
From 2016: “After watching the debates and talking about the election in school, Julia is very much into it. She fished out an old Obama button from some treasure trove and is wearing it along with two new Hillary buttons. Her assignment for Tuesday is to color a map as results come in. She told me that she is going to color the whole thing blue before any results come in. Magical thinking to be sure, but she’s got the right idea.”
2020: Julia can vote! And vote we did at the kitchen table on Saturday after which we drove down to the town hall and dropped our votes in the assigned box. There was an older man who did it before we did and we applauded him. The young woman who was behind us applauded us. We are all in this together.
We are proceeding slowly through our day.This is truly our first day alone.During the weekend, we had a guest who lingered and we saw Cheshire and Justin twice since school let out.So, this is day 1 alone.
No word from the school about work so it’s time to devise some of my own.Looking through work from a few summers ago and thinking about what Julia is doing in her community math class, I decided on time as our math focus, one of Julia’s weaknesses and something that she needs to become proficient in to succeed as an adult.Today, I made up a worksheet for the passage of days.In school, they are working on the passage of minutes. Continue reading →
Not a wave, not everything I wanted, but a check and possibility a balance and a call to accountability by at least one house of Congress. Possibilities that did not exist yesterday. It is politics and you never get everything you want.In 2016, there was nothing for me.Today, Julia is over joyed that Scott Walker is out—8 years, or is it 28, of union busting, gutting Wisconsin schools and selling the state to the highest bidder could possibly stop.It saddens me to see how much of the country is still red in the worst way.Not the conservatives of my youth (that I did not agree with but respected) buta racist, misogynist, white national basket of deplorables with leaders ready to lie and manipulate almost without reason and certainly for political expediency.Still, the deplorables and their leaders have ushered in a wave of opposition that has been depressed and despondent since 2016 and uninvolved for a good long time.Women and people of color have stepped up and I believe that they are here to stay.Brava!Bravo!Walking outside this morning, I felt Madison breath a sigh of relief—shoulders look a bit lower, music sounds a bit more vibrant, the cold air feels a bit cleaner. There is tittering in the coffee shop this morning and a shit-eating grin on my face.
Julia’s head scratching has not abated with the delousing and aftermath.She is losing hair and areas without hair are increasingly visible to the casual observer.I think she is doing most of her scratching at night before she goes to sleep and when she is alone in the bathroom.Anxiety, habit, stimming or something else?Years ago, the way she finally stopped scratching her skin was on a three-strike-and-she-was-sent-home-from-school program.It was radical and it worked.I don’t know right now how much scratching is going on at school — I’m checking.I don’t think that school staff would be willing to put such a discipline into effect.Of course, if it is mostly at night, that it wouldn’t work anyway. I am in full worry mode.We will visit our doctor next Tuesday and her shrink on Thursday. OT is working on it as well. Needless to say, I am without control.
I spoke with a local reporter yesterday about Shabazz High School and my experience last spring when Julia applied for admission and was first asked for an interview and then rejected before the interview took place.I talked about inconsistent messages and requirements, and apparent exclusion of kids with IEPs.I told him that just before school closed for the summer and we were about to travel, how I got a call that they were reconsidering everyone who had applied and was rejected.(I don’t remember if it was rejected without interview.)Julia couldn’t interview before traveling and when we returned home, I check out the requirements again.Julia had been summarily rejected for not doing grade level math.Neither the requirement for doing grade level math nor her math skills had changed.I decided not to put her through an interview.I acknowledged to the reporter that the school has been good for kids there and I didn’t want to jeopardize the school for those kids.And yet, what of kids like Julia?I am conflicted. Continue reading →
I’m having a hard time writing. With all that is swirling around in the greater Madison/ Wisconsin/USA world, with pipe bombs and the massacre in Pittsburg and the killing of Kroger shoppers in Kentucky–all just in the last week–I find it hard to take the petty concerns of my days seriously. Can we all vote now or on November 6? Can we vote for Democratic candidates no matter how we’ve voted in the past? We need to break the choke hold that the current administration has on the rhetoric of our nation. I’m sorry to ask good Republicans, moderates, fiscal conservatives to betray your party. But really, is it your party? I find it hard to believe that the Republican judges I worked for and those I knew in the legal Indy community approve of what the Executive and Legislative branches of out federal government are doing. Or saying. It is horrifying to see a major American political party welcome Nazis, White Supremacists and misogynists into its ranks. It is appalling to hear a president’s speak so disrespectfully of people, institutions, agencies that are vital to our way of life. Today’s insult, to nullify the long-accepted constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship in the United States via executive order is absurd. He must know that. It is, however, a great way to rally the racists. And when it proves not possible, he will lie and say he never said it and those same racists will believe him. How can you stand his lies? 3084 since his inauguration, some possibly not intentional but for a president to lie unintentionally is no excuse. It just means he didn’t both to find out the truth. Continue reading →
I began this two days ago and wrote more in the morning, the day after Judge Kavanaugh complained the his “family and  name have been totally and permanently destroyed.” He also said what goes around, comes around.I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believed Professor Anita Hill.These women have showed courage beyond my wildest dreams.My thoughts of the season pale beside their actions.I honor them.
Still, I write.
Ah, the turning of the season!Last week or late the week before, I noticed a few fringes of red on the trees I see driving on the Beltway.Why don’t I know the names of trees? I could say the oaks are redding, the maples show scarlet.Maybe one day. Not today.Closer to home, the ashes are yellowing and dropping those tiny yellows so that the street gutters are looking messy with yellows and greens and browns.I love that clutter.Every year at this time, I remind myself never to buy a house in this season.The colors, the wind, the crackle of cold air, the smell of first logs in fireplaces and the clutter of leaves lining the gutters in streets—I would be romanced, swept off my feet.I would not make a sensible decision. Continue reading →
Yesterday, on the month anniversary of the massacre by a 19-year old using a semi-automatic style weapon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 dead and 14 injured, students all over the United States walked out of class to protest gun violence and to demand action by their lawmakers. These clear, young eyes see the NRA’s emasculation of the GOP, the party which controls all three branches of our federal government and 33 state houses across the USA. They see that the best the GOP president can do is host a roundtable discussion about violent video games after the NRA made him walk back his gun control comments. I’ve heard and read “grown-ups” criticizing students for meddling in issues they do not understand and insinuating that the protesters only wanted to get out of classes, but possibly those “grown-ups” know a very different kind of student than I know. I applaud the students who organized demonstrations of all sorts yesterday and who intend to demand more from the rest of us to end gun violence with gun control. Continue reading →