Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dear Rosetta Stone,

Dear Rosetta Stone,

I've really enjoyed your Italian language program.  Molte grazie.

As you may know, the United States may be ending this Friday.  I am sure you are quite busy with so many Americans trying to learn a new language so they have the option of moving.  

My family and I were perusing your website and trying to decide between ordering the Mandarin Chinese program or the Russian program. 

But after much discussion, we decided that I should write and ask you to consider adding a new language in which we are in desperate need- Trumpanese.

We have tried and tried over the past year to fully understand what our future President and his supporters are saying but we still have not been able to crack the code- or find the Rosetta Stone, so to speak.

I was listening to the senate hearings and I think I may have heard Mrs. De Vos say that schools needed guns to keep out grizzlies.

I'm sure grizzlies must mean something else- like perhaps angry PTA parents- because I cannot in my right mind bring up any data that would support a statement that gun free zones for schools should be overturned by federal law to protect students from bears.  Is this is an issue that the fake news has been hiding?

Also, "fake news"-- I'm confused by this term. Should I believe what I see? I remember quite specifically watching fake news where my future President insisted that President Obama was born in Kenya and was a Muslim.  On the same station which is apparently fair and balanced, they broadcast that many of his supporters were very upset by President Obama's radical minister at his Christian church in Chicago.  Which I guess he attended in between "Muslim church" as they called it?  Or in Trumpanese does Muslim mean something else- like "black man with a funny sounding name?"

Because, once again, I am baffled.

I know the term Muslim is also loosely used with the term terrorist to describe people who shoot people.  Having Muslim friends, again I'm confused.  They are actually peace advocates like Muhammed Ali.  They don't have guns.  I know that toddlers in the US are apparently crazy killers with guns.  Could Muslim also be a synonym for toddler?  Or maybe it's a term to interchange with angry, mentally unstable white males since they are, by far, responsible for more mass shootings than any group.  Even gun toting toddlers.

The use of the term Mexican has confused me, too. I've heard Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans  and Colombians all called Mexican.  I think it might apply to everyone who is brownish with dark hair.  I may be Mexican in Trumpanese. 

The motto of "Make America Great Again" has be completely befuddled.  I can't think of any time in American history to which I would want to return.  Which word is Trumpanese?  Is it "great" which might mean "White Male Dominated" but then "again" wouldn't make any sense because, well, white males still constitute the majority of seats in Congress despite only being 35% of the population and over 90% of the Fortune 500 CEOs.  So does "make" mean "keep"? As in "Keep American White Male Dominated" because that totally makes sense if you don't have any hope and don't want to change things.

As you can see, we are very confused.  Sometimes when the future President speaks it's as if he starts the sentence one way and finishes it another.

If you could ask your linguistics team, do words change meaning in Trumpanese based on the speaker?  If the future President says something it is ALWAYS FACT.  But it doesn't sound like fact.  It sounds like he's making it up as he goes.  When I try to listen, my head hurts.  And I promise you, I tried very hard to listen and to understand.  I can't.

We are desperate to understand what he is saying.

And if you could throw in a math segment.  I know for a fact that unemployment is near full employment and underemployment is at a 10 year low.  GDP is growing.  Yet we are apparently in terrible economic shape?  So is the Bureau of Labor Statistics really just fake news even thought they have reported employment numbers for years and aren't partisan?  Or are numbers not finite in Trumpanese?  For example, 4.7% is really 12?

Another example that I need clarification on is how increasing spending AND lowering taxes creates more money for the government.  We have done that before and it doesn't.  I mean, I think there's quite a bit of research on it.  Does deficit spending mean something different if you are in charge?  I know I heard him and many others when they were very upset with deficit spending. Is it a math or language issue?

I've had some of his supporters tell me their taxes were going DOWN but it would appear they were going UP when deductions are removed to make it "easier."  Does easier mean "rip stupid people off?"I know not everyone is impacted the same way, but their magic math is fascinating- it's like Oprah "Everybody gets a car!"

If there is a special way to calculate that, count me in!  I want a new car, too!

Again, I'm confused.

From what I can gather from the first week in Congress, I'm not the only one.  They are saying one thing- like how important protecting pre-existing conditions for health care coverage is- then doing something completely different.  Or saying "we have a plan" but there isn't.  Maybe the Congress would also benefit from a course in Trumpanese?  I would happily pay.

As you can see, Rosetta Stone, this is a serious issue. With only a few hours to go, I'm going to be forced to listen to this bizarre language for four years.  I'm not going to understand anything that is going on.

If you and your team of experts could whip something up, that would be great.

I know you can.

In the interim, we will focus on learning both Chinese and Russian.


Grazie in anticipo,

Mama Bean

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 20th

That's my birthday.

I always say it's why I'm involved in politics.  I was born into it.

I started having ridiculous birthday parties in my late 20s.  In December, when I was 28, a few months after I had called off a wedding and had my whole world turned upside down on what was truth and what was lies, I had found a lump in my breast.  My doctor with whom I normally joked was quite serious.  It took a few tests and weeks to determine it was nothing- well, probably- but it started a nearly 20 year journey of annual and semi-annual tests. 

That was the year I decided that I was going to celebrate my birthday for the simple reason that I wasn't dead.

I wasn't going to wait for other people to throw me a party or plan anything.

My birthday, each year, is my celebration of gratitude.  That I get another trip around the planet.  I get the privilege of celebrating among my dear friends who make me laugh and smile.

It is not indulgent or self-serving.

It's my way of telling the universe thank you for my amazing life- let's have a drink.

I started doing themed parties in my 30s because I also like to be silly.

The themes have been Party Like You're in College, Rat Pack Swinging 60s, White Trash, Motown-- we've run the gamut.

This year, the theme was going to be taco trucks. Because I love tacos and mariachi.  And because if Clinton was president, we would (gasp) have a taco truck on every corner.  I thought that sounded fantastic.

We're not doing taco trucks this year.

We're doing a 60s hippie theme.  And, it is also the day that most of my friends- political party aside- will be marching in protest.  I'm glad they moved the time from 6 pm to noon.  I'm going to pretend it was solely so they could still come.

Because this year, I'm not happy about my birthday and that next trip around the sun is looking scary.

And no, this is not how some of you felt when Obama was elected.  The people who were the most fearful thought he was taking away their guns, forcing us to pray to Allah and was Kenyan.  Those people were scared because they believed a bunch of lies.  Others thought we would become socialist.

So here's the thing- my church is still open, I'm still married to a man, we still have our guns and my business grew substantially after nearly having to close my doors in 2008.

The people who were terrified of Obama based their fears on lies.  Pure and simple.  The biggest of those lies being funded and perpetuated by our future president.

In 2004, I was baffled by the re-election of George Bush.  I wasn't thrilled he was elected in 2000 and the whole election that year was questionable, but in 2000, I wasn't any more thrilled at having Gore as President than I was having Bush.  I know their policies are completely different, but neither cried out "leader" to me.  In 2004, after invading a country on false information, I was stunned.  I was worried about the financial situation since the repeal of Glass-Steagal, but that was still on the back burner and I lumped it into "things that keep me awake that probably won't happen."

But this.

This is different.  VERY different.

This isn't about policy.

And to be clear, I am not questioning the validity of the election. 

The Russians spreading false information about Hillary Clinton is one thing.  People believing the ridiculous rumors- she was running a sex-trafficking ring out of the basement of a pizzeria?  Seriously?- that just shows how truly stupid people are.

Yes, stupid.

If you thought she and Bill went to sex clubs on weekends, you're a moron.

I completely and totally believe that people went to the polls and pushed the button, pulled the lever, filled in the box and voted for Trump. 

I think it's crap that Hillary clearly won more votes and still lost, but hey, that's the system.  My vote counted more than my friends in California and New York. Three times more.  Seems messed up but it is what it is.

(If they find the RNC and the Trump campaign were aware of the tampering, assisted in it in any way-- well, that's another story but we know how that goes.  That's Watergate.  Election tampering. 

If we find that were in cahoots with a foreign entity... I'll let the DOJ handle the details on that one.)

Trump still has not disclosed his financial dealings.  He is NOT under audit- the IRS has formally stated that- and yet people believe him.  His assets are not moving into a blind trust.  He is on record of lying consistently about his relationship with Putin- he knows him, he doesn't know him, they've met, they haven't met.  He has lied about his investment relationship with Russia- he has none, they make up the bulk of their portfolio.

That is a very big deal.  This is not a birth certificate issue.  This is not a college transcript issue. 

This is ethics.

He does not specifically have to disclose it or divest.  He doesn't.

But the Constitution is NOT a contract.  It is a governing document that serves as a framework for laws.

It is meant to have loopholes to make it adaptable to changing times.

When it was written, the thought of private equity financing, emails, etc. weren't even fathomable.  There was no IRS.

But at the core of the Constitution is its dependence on morality and ethics.

That rather than looking for ways around it, the good men (because that's all it applied to back then) who were interpreting it would respect the intent.

And most importantly, it assumes that the leader of the United States of America would be a stalwart of ethics.  The best of the best.

When I think of the housing crisis, I think about the people who knowingly lied about their incomes to get houses and the mortgage brokers that encouraged them.  I think about the woman who bought 12 "primary residences" in my neighborhood and walked from all of them.

There isn't a contract that can be written to force ethics.

Mr. Trump is notorious for not honoring contracts.  I have friends who were contractors on his Vegas property.  He didn't pay them but a third of what was promised or agreed to.

That is NOT a smart businessman.

That is a liar.

He never questioned the work.  Never filed a complaint with the contractor board.  He just didn't pay and "nonny nonny so sue me"

That's an enormous character issue.  Or lack of character. 

Trying to get out of things.

We all know those people- the co-worker who milked the Family Medical Leave Act, the couple that doesn't get married because they would lose SNAP or insurance benefits, the fake injuries so they can collect Workers' Compensation benefits, the friend that always forgets his wallet when you go to lunch.

That's who he is.  But he has money.  Sorta.  He actually has a lot of debt.

Which most people in finance knew.  And most people in finance knew he received backing from eastern European equity funds.  And most people in finance know that a portion of the money is probably a little shady in its origination.  It's also not illegal.

But if voters had known that he owned foreign investors billions of dollars, my guess is that people in my hometown in Ohio would have been "hey...."  Or if they knew how many small businesses he decimated simply because he could, they might have said "hey..."  And in fact, during the primaries, my hometown did that and voted for Kasich.

Because Trump isn't Republican.  He isn't conservative.  Trade tariffs?  Trying to tell businesses how they should be run (talk about government intervention into the private sector)?  Building walls?  Refusing to support trade agreements?  He wants to manipulate the Federal Reserve?

How on earth is that about supporting states rights over federal intervention?  What is free market about that?  He has no clue how the Federal Reserve works.  Trust me on that.  His comments are laughable- as in watching financial managers laugh in discussing them.  They are non-sensical.  You can't renegotiate the federal deficit.  That again, is stupid.

He's cheated on every wife.  Yet conservative Christians support him?

He's notoriously screwed over small businesses. Yet the Chambers of Commerce supported him?

He's lied.  He's cheated.  He's done business with organized crime. 

And now he sits in the White House.

Sorta.

He's too good to actually want to live there.  We, the taxpayers now get to pay for security at three homes.

And people were pissed that Obama went on vacation three times a year?

Really?

His cabinet picks he treated like a reality show and he's put the country in a bind by not having them in place by my birthday.

His press conference and the shushing of one of the largest global news organizations was not only childish, but terrifying.

He lied nearly the entire press conference.

Fact check it.

If Marco Rubio or John Kasich had been elected, I would be concerned.  I would.  But I would respect them.  I would respect the office.  If my child's high school band was selected to go, I would say yes but please don't bring me back a souvenir t-shirt.

But I'm not worried- I'm terrified.

I'm terrified that people actually support him.  Still.


The Republicans that I expected to keep him in check seem to be wimping out.

And it's not about him hiring Russian prostitutes to urinate.  Honestly, that's hilarious and I don't doubt it. 

I don't doubt it because he watched teenage girls get dressed at beauty pageants and bragged about it.  THAT is disgusting. 

Peeing hookers... I can't wait for that video to leak.  No pun intended.

I'm not wishing for the pilot to crash the plane that we are on.

I'm not hoping for him to fail.

I am assuming it.

And not in the way I would be if it were Rubio or Kasich. Yes, I'd be complaining and whining about policy but they are honest-- for politicians.

If they were in office, I would not be worried about nuclear war because he has a big mouth, a temper and no sense of consequence.

There was a tiny, tiny, tiny part of me that thought MAYBE he might pull it together.

He isn't.  Not even close.  It's getting worse.

He didn't and doesn't want the job.  It's clear.

He wanted the publicity.

But we all could suffer.

So no, I'm not overreacting.

Maybe if I saw his tax returns and he moved his assets into a blind trust like he said he would, I would trust him.

I don't.  At all.

And not based on false news sites.  Based on his history and what he says.

So this year, I hope I make it around the planet another time.  I hope I don't get any disease that could be considered pre-existing.  I hope my children don't get anything chronic that they will never be able to afford to be treated  because their future insurance won't cover it. I hope my parents can afford the new, proposed voucher system for Medicare. 

Hmmm...maybe Trump IS the president of hope and change- because I certainly hope I can survive 4 years and we change presidents as quickly as possible.







Thursday, January 5, 2017

Momming

This past year I've had some extraordinary moments with my children.

To me, raising my children is perpetually complex.  It's a learn as you go process with each wrong move having an impact not so much on me, but on the future of my child.

I do not aspire to be a perfect mother.

Because that doesn't exist.

Because my children are different.

Because I have to live my life while being a mom and my children have to live their lives while being my child.

When my son was born and the first time we were alone and I was just holding him I looked lovingly into his eyes and said... I kid you not..

"I hope you know I don't know what the fuck I'm doing... oh shit I probably shouldn't swear.. dammit... did it again...

Here's the thing, I really don't have a clue what I'm doing but I promise that I won't drop you on your head."

At that moment, I remembered a guy I had dated years earlier named Louie.  I made a joke about his mom dropping him on his head.  She thought it was hilarious because she HAD actually dropped him on his head when he was a few weeks old.  The had phone rung, it startled her and oops- the baby fell to the floor... and she was a good mother. 

So I amended my promise.

"You know what, I can't actually even promise you that.  But what I will promise you is that I won't ever drop you on your head on purpose.  How does that sound?"

I swear I think I heard him sigh and roll his eyes.

But that, my friends, has been my bar for parenting.  Not intentionally dropping my children on their heads.

With that, I can say I have been an extraordinary mother and surpassed my own expectations.

In fact, one of my favorite compliments was from my grandmother who did not hand them out often.  She said "You're a really good mother." 

I replied, "Wow, thanks, Grandma."

"No seriously, you are.  I wouldn't have expected that."

And we laughed because quite frankly, it was the truth.

So here I am more than 14 years after crapping out my first child and they seem to be going quite well.

And it's getting harder, not easier.

Because each mistake that one of us makes has consequences.

Or as I like to say "They remember shit now.  This is the stuff for the therapist...."

As babies, let's face it, they are more forgiving.  Teens and tweens... it stings.  For all of us.

But my biggest challenge has been how hard to push.

Because I just don't know.

What is the fine line being a pushy stage mom/sports mom who is living vicariously through their child and the coddling mother who doesn't let their child suffer any pain or discomfort?

This past year my daughter had the opportunity to introduce Michelle Kwan, Olympic medalist, world champion skater at a women's event.

I had been scheduled to attend the event and my amazing friend and activist Astrid texted me and asked if Zoey (my blog name for my daughter in case you've forgotten) would like to introduce Michelle.

I was all over it.  My daughter is fairly audacious.  Or was.  At that point in time, she had actually become a little shy.  She had switched schools when we moved and honestly, her little spicy fire had been dampened.

I told Astrid that I would love for her to do it but I needed to check with her.

So I asked Zoey.  Her eyes got HUGE and she said no way.

I asked if she was sure and she said no.

I was crushed because I wanted to meet Michelle Kwan.  I told her "You could have the chance to meet an Olympic medalist- a champion-- are you sure?"

She nodded.

So I texted Astrid no.

Then she texted back that that was too bad.  They wanted someone sporty and spunky and Zoey was the first person that came to mind.

And then it hit me-- Astrid didn't ask her because she was MY daughter- she asked her because she knows Zoey and she thought of Zoey.

In fact, Astrid didn't even know I was going to be at the event.

So I went back to Zoey and I said "You know, you didn't get asked because you're my daughter.  You were asked because you're you. " and I showed her the text.

She sorta hemmed and hawed.

Parenting moment:  Was I pushing her because I wanted to meet Michelle Kwan or because I wanted her to have this opportunity?  Did I want MY daughter to introduce her or did I want my DAUGHTER to introduce her?

Whose opportunity was it?

So I asked- "Do you really not want to do this or are you scared to do it?  Because I can understand if you're scared.  It would be weird if you weren't.  But we can work through scared.  If you don't want to do it, that's a different thing.  If you're scared to do it, I think you should do it."

And then she said she was scared.

So we talked through the event.  It wasn't a huge stadium event.  It would be small.  She would only have to say 1-2 sentences. 

Then we talked about Astrid.  How Astrid risks her life doing what she's doing.  How Astrid really has to fight her fear of public speaking to do what she feels is right. 

She loves Astrid.  She fully understands how important her work is and the impact her work has had.

But she was still nervous.

So then I told her about why I wanted to meet Michelle Kwan and why she is one of my heroes.

I told her about how everyone thought she was going to win the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics.  How she had gotten silver the last time and everyone knew she would win gold this time. 

I told her how she tripped and then she fell.  And how I watched and thought "No... not possible...that poor girl."  But then, amid the gasps, knowing she had lost the gold, she got up and finished. I remember crying and I told my daughter "Because THAT is what a champion is, Zoey.  It's somebody who stands back up and fights off their tears, frustration, anger-- all that- and they do what they need to do.  Not because they are going to win, but because that's what champions do- they push through it- win or lose.  And that could not have been fun.  But she did it.  Because she's a champion.  Just like Astrid.  And I think you would regret the opportunity to meet her and be part of this because you're scared.  Because I know you're a champion, too."  And I told her how some jerk reporter had commented on how she had lost the gold and she told him "No, I won the bronze" and I remembered thinking "Go you" because she had 2 Olympic medals and that guy didn't have any. 

And then we joked about the worst things that could happen- she could fart or burp-- her pants could fall down--

But I knew at that moment it wasn't because I wanted to meet Michelle Kwan and it wasn't even because I wanted my daughter to meet her.

It was because I wanted my daughter to know that if she fell down, with the world watching, she could stand back up, brush herself off and get on with it.  That the only expectations that should matter are the ones you have about yourself.  And she DID want to do this.

If she backed out at 10 years old, she would back out at 11.  And then she wouldn't run for student council.  Or speak up in class.  Or speak up in college.  Or push herself. Or put herself out there.  And her life would be one of woulda, coulda, shoulda and I wasn't going to let that happen.

So she did the intro.  And she was hilarious- wrote her own thing- she made some kind of comment about how Michelle was an Olympic medalist in skating and that's really impressive because she can't even stand up on skates.  And the crowd laughed and my daughter smiled.

And she was back.  Her confidence.  Her zest.  It was like watching the pilot light come back on.

(And... I got to meet Michelle Kwan, too.  Who, I have to say, was better than I could have imagined. I actually avoid meeting celebrities and athletes because I'm usually disappointed.  She kicks ass and radiates a level of confidence and intelligence that I wish every young woman had.)

And tonight, with my son, we had a similar experience.  He is trying to select a high school.  It's a lottery system for the magnet programs so there's no guarantees, but he can pick three options or possibilities.

The school I wanted him to pick for his first choice is challenging.  I help with admissions for my university, so I know the Ivies and the other top schools like this high school.  The curriculum is rigorous.

He is torn between staying with his friends or another school that will not be as academically grueling.

I'm okay with him wanting to stay with his friends.  He has GREAT friends.  But they were also applying to other programs.

Something in my gut told me there was something else.

This school checked everything off his list- a Calc 3 class (one of 2 schools in the district with it), a great band program, a swim team, ROTC- everything he likes. 

He was ambivalent.  "Naw..." Typical teen stuff.

Except my son isn't typical. 

It was something else.

So I pushed.

He was afraid of the work load.  He had heard there were hours and hours of homework.

He does his homework in about 10 minutes in the morning.

He was afraid he couldn't do it.  That he couldn't compete with the other kids that went to the feeder middle school  (also by lottery selection- don't get me started).

He was scared.

So we talked about it.  We talked about where he wants to go to college- a top school.  This is him, not me. 

We talked about what colleges look for- a B in Calc 3 is better than an A in Pre-Calc.  It shows you push yourself.

And I gave my "If You Want to Aspire to Mediocrity I Will Not Stand in Your Way But Don't You Dare Blame Me" speech.

But I said if he was scared, that was the worst reason not to do it because he would regret it.  If he's there for a year and hates it, he can go to his zone school.

We talked about how great the teachers at the open house were- how engaged and inspired they seemed.  How you can't really change that.

And he decided it was worth it to make it his #1 choice.

His decision.  That I helped him make.

But I didn't manipulate him.

I helped him identify what the real issues were and then assess those. 

Get over the fear part- brush it to the side- and analyze the facts.

What's the worst thing that could happen?  He would have a few hours of homework which is what his job is- to be a student.  He may not be the smartest kid in the class- which actually might be a good thing.

But as he went through the process of deciding what to do- I saw a spark.  A twinkle of excitement.  The thrill of pushing himself.  The realization that anything was possible- and he held the keys.

He may not get into the program but I'm happy that fear didn't force him to take the road most traveled or the safe route.

He opted for change and took a risk and pushed himself.

THAT was what I wanted.

Neither of my children are perfect.  They are a reflection of me, no doubt- but my role as a mom isn't to make them do things.  It's to encourage them to do the right things.  To give them a foundation on which to think and be rational.  To not be guided by fear.

I read a parenting article that had the greatest line- my job as a parent isn't to prepare the path for my child, but to prepare my child for the path.

I will not run to the school to take my children a lunch left on the counter.  But they know what to do if that happens and they won't starve.

Their rooms are messy because they clean them themselves.  They sort their laundry.  They can't survive in the wild, but by the time they are off to college, they will know how to manage because they will be confident. 

Because they know they can stand in front of 100 people and introduce someone or go to a school where none of their friends are going because it's a challenge.

Because they will know how to identify when they are scared and when they need to take a risk.

Because 14 1/2 years ago as I held a brand new baby, I was scared.  And every day we move forward.

And every day we make mistakes.

And we stand up, brush it off and finish the program.

Medal or not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Nostalgia

"Country Living" had a post on 30 things people miss from the past for the holidays.

What I thought would be a sweet article annoyed the crap out of me.

The post had a bunch of people waxing nostalgic about how great everything used to be.

Perhaps I'm still a little sensitive from all this "Making America Great Again" crap- (back when women knew their place and black people had separate bathrooms- I'm still not exactly sure when we were better than we are today - none of my family members have polio, for example) but this article made me want to punch Santa.

Here are a few of the items-

Reading the new book we got and ignoring everyone.

Waiting until Christmas to open your gifts.

Matching pajamas.

Christmas morning coffee cake.

Tinsel.

Um... aside from tinsel which was a nightmare to clean up and choked dogs and babies- what exactly has changed?

Then the comments "Back when kids didn't stick their face in electronics..." or "Getting the whole extended family together"... "Going to church on Christmas Eve."

If I remember my childhood correctly, adults did not feel compelled to be entertained by children like they are today.  Maybe because we have fewer kids, but I remember quite vividly being ignored by adults at family functions and told to go off and play.

What's the difference if my kids are playing on an electronic toy or a board game?  Nerf guns have been the preferred toy in our house up until the teen years started to kick in.  We weren't especially  any more social back then than my kids are.  They find random relatives that they never see talking to them like they are 2 about as annoying as I did 35 years ago.  I still remember my son, at 10, asking me- quite seriously- if one of our relatives thought he was learning impaired. 

And maybe your family isn't getting together with you because they don't like you.  I don't know about you, but we spend Christmas with about 40 relatives.  In fact, we spend pretty much every single holiday like that.  We also throw in our friends. New Years we have a tradition that started with all our friends with kids who lived in walking distance of our home and felt lame for staying in on New Years.  Now they come over, we have dinner, we celebrate at 9 (east coast midnight) for the younger kids and midnight our time.  It's a blast.

You want to see your family?  Pick up the phone, invite them over, and throw a ham in the oven.  Don't wait to be invited.

And church?  Last time I checked, midnight mass was still going strong.  There's no war on Christmas.  My Jewish friends celebrating Hanukah hasn't exactly impeded my ability to celebrate the birth of Christ.

We still get the family matching pajamas. 

I also give my kids oranges in their stockings. 

We make cookies.

I make a special breakfast Christmas morning.

We try to go caroling.

We look at Christmas lights.

I'm sorry- I guess I just missed it.

And like tinsel, some traditions were annoying.  Like those nasty cookies that someone made from the old country.  They were meant to stay there.

So if your holiday season sucks and you dream of days of yore, maybe you need to evaluate YOUR life. 

If you're lonely for the holidays, my guess is there are other people out there that are as well and you should call them.

You are ultimately responsible for making the holidays what they are.

I'm always fascinated that people bitch about how materialistic the world is these days, yet every Friday after Thanksgiving, it's chaos.

and for some of my friends that IS their family tradition.  They get together with the family, hash out a plan to go shopping, fill their thermoses with cocoa, coffee and if I had to guess some adult beverages, and they hit the malls and have a blast.

Maybe they aren't churning butter but they seem to be having a pretty darn good time.

Granted, you will not catch me any place near a mall then... unless one of my kids asks me one day.

Because to me, the holiday season IS fun.  I love the lights.  I love the music.  I love the food.

A few years ago, pre-recession, my husband and I bitched because we had something like 14 parties to go to in about a 3 week period.  It was nuts.  We seriously complained.

Then the next year, it was like the rug got pulled out and there were 2.

Two.

As we sat on our butts, we decided we would never complain about holiday chaos again.  In fact, that was the year we started the New Years Eve party.  And everyone was THRILLED to come because they, too, were sitting home, alone with nothing to do and feeling like losers.

The fun in memories is that you never take pictures of the bad times-- I stole that line from my mother-in-law, by the way.

And our memories often do that.

The old days weren't that great and today isn't that bad.

New traditions are just as fun as old ones.

And no one is stopping you from making Grandma Mary's Nasty Ass Whiskey Ball Cookies.  We renamed them.  I miss Grandma Mary like crazy but not those disgusting cookies.  Her fudge- absolutely.  Thank goodness we have the recipe.  And her dancing Santa is in our house, too.  Which is almost as good as having her with us- because that's one thing we can't get back- the awesome relatives that we miss.

But we can enjoy the new relatives.  The new babies.  The new in-laws that joined the craziness.  And we can tell them stories about the ones that aren't there.

Life moves forward- for good and for bad.

If you miss a tradition, take it off the shelf, dust it off and bring it back.

But most importantly, join in.

And stop bitching.

I'm so tired of people bitching about what they don't have.  Or how great they once had it.

Get over yourself- you weren't that great and never had that much to begin with.

Enjoy what you have. Enjoy the moment. 

Call your friends.

Reach out.

Make the holiday season YOU want.  Don't wait for anyone else to do it for you.

If baking 40 dozen cookies exhausts you, don't do it.  If some relative comments "Gee, I miss your cookies" tell them they are welcome to come over and help you bake them or give them the recipe.  If you LOVE baking cookies, then bake like the wind.

Stop looking back and live.

Tomorrow isn't promised.

And the holidays aren't about tinsel and the tree. It's about the people around it and what's in your heart.

So go out and have a Merry Freaking Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Because I'd hate to have to punch Santa.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Moments of Clarity

Quite a few years ago, the book club I belonged to went through a World War 2 phase where every book we read seemed to focus on the Holocaust- "The Boy with the Stryped Pajamas," "The Book Thief," "Atonement, " "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,""Sarah's Key"- we called it our Nazi phase.

Usually we would come to the discussion on how could good people let something like this happen.  How could they stand idly by?

I remember saying that I understood.

And everyone looked at me like I was crazy.

It wasn't because I thought they could deny that it was happening.  I don't believe those people.  I believe they were in denial.  I believe they didn't initial believe it or fathom what was going.  But by the end... they knew.

I understood because I've had a gun pointed at me.  I understood because I have children.  I understood because as a mother, I feel that it is my responsibility to protect my children.

My very best friend is Jewish.  A number of my closest friends are, in fact. 

At that time, I said I would love to think that I would hide people and stand up to the Nazis, but the reality was I didn't know what I would do. 

My friends were stunned.

I'm not shy about standing up for injustice.

But if my family was at risk and could be killed- I honestly said I didn't know.  I said I would probably do what it took to stay alive and keep my family alive.

So I understood why people stood by.

That apparently made me a terrible person.  Well, not really- we're all still friends- but I could tell my honest response surprised everyone.

Flash ahead to election night.

And yes, I'm going to compare it to Hitler's Nazi Germany.

If this offends you, I'd ask you to stay with me.

If you can't see the correlation it's because you're one of the people it didn't impact.

Maybe you voted for Clinton half heartedly and thought "Oh well, she lost."

Maybe you voted for Trump because you wanted to make a statement with your vote.  Give a middle finger to Washington, DC.  A fuck you to the establishment.

I'm from rural Ohio and I don't think my friends who supported Trump there are racists.  Some people are, but no more than I've experienced in the urban areas.  In fact, to be brutally upfront, I've found racism to be far worse in the the cities where I've lived.

I think people who supported Trump  did so because it didn't impact them.

They aren't Muslim so the fear of being required to register for the simple purpose that a few people of their faith committed crimes- far less frequently than Christians murder in the US, as a side note- they weren't worried.

They didn't have any gay friends or relatives whose  marriages were at risk of being dissolved.  Or if they did have gay friends, they might have even thought it was wrong and a choice. 

They didn't have any friends who were unable to get health insurance for pre-existing conditions and could die or lose everything because of it.

They didn't know anyone whose family could be torn apart by forced deportations.  They think becoming a citizen is easy and have no idea about the how process works- the expense, the time line, the misinformation- because they don't have any friends who are immigrants.

They weren't too terribly impacted by the recession because things were never really as bad in Ohio as it was elsewhere because the jobs in the area weren't impacted as much as other parts of the country.

They never knew anyone who lost their home during the recession.

To them, it was just a regular election.  They saw what some of us saw as hate speech as simply rhetoric to get elected.

They had nothing to lose.

But to me, those consequences were real.  Very real.

And the night of the election, one of the people that I love who has been personally targeted by the PEOTUS and his family, texted me because she knew that I knew the math and that Clinton- her friend- was not going to win.

She was terrified.  Not for just herself, either.  The first words she said, as she stood before me shaking, was asking about what would happen to this 10 year old little girl whose mother could be deported.  She had spoken out against the PEOTUS- the little girl- and we know he reacts to people who stand up to him.

And I looked my friend in the eye and grabbed her hands and told her that the little girl would always be welcome in our home.  We would take care of her, no matter what, for as long as it took.

And my friend said "What about the other children?"

And I said they could all come live with me until it was all straightened out.  I said it would make for an interesting Christmas card next year.

And I would adopt her as well, as an adult.  Which she then explained I couldn't, but thanked me.  I told her I would "gay marry" her- but then joked that that was probably shot to hell, too.

So then I said she could stay with us and I would not let anyone take her or her family.  We could build a bunker.

And then I tried to make her laugh because that's how I handle stress.  And she is one of the strongest people I know and I have no doubt that she will be fine.

But in that moment, I learned something about me.

Something I had been unsure of my entire life.  Something I questioned when I read stories about the Underground Railroad. Something I thought about when studying the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King.

What would I do when faced with injustice?  Would I sit idly by?

When I told my friend she would be okay because I would protect her, it was because I meant it with every ounce of strength in my soul.

So yes, I would have hidden my Jewish friends. And their families.  And as many as I could.

As I will hide my Muslim friends if they are forced to register and leave their homes like the Japanese Americans in the 40s.

As I will help my immigrant friends. 

Without a doubt or second thought.

But what about my family?  My children's safety?

The next day, I spoke with my children about the election.  My daughter was in tears because she was worried for her best friend's grandparents.  My son was confused and concerned for our gay friends. 

My children- the ones that I love more than anything-  were worried for others.

So I told them-

"Listen, I don't know what will happen.  I would like to think the Mr. Trump did not mean the hateful things he said to get elected.  But we're going to assume he did.  Because that's the smart thing to do.

And we are going to fight for the people that may not have a voice in the future.  Because that's the right thing to do.

And here's the thing- I hope you know by agreeing to do this, if I ever put you at risk it is not because I don't love you- it's because I do love you.  And I need you to understand this--

I do not want you to grow up in a world where people aren't treated fairly- where they are discriminated against because of their religion or race or who they love.  That is wrong.  As your mother, it is my job to make sure the world does the right thing.  That is the best way for me to be your mother and you shouldn't expect anything less from me.  We do not cower- if we hid and did nothing- that would be wrong.  That's against everything I ever taught you.  Fighting against injustice is how I will protect you.

I will not have you grow up in a world like that- ever.

And if it ever seems that I am putting another child before you, it's because if there ever was a time when your dad and I weren't around, I would hope that someone would stand up for you.  And if I'm not willing to do that for someone else's child, then I cannot expect someone to do it for you.

So we stand together, as a family and we support our friends.  No matter what. 

And we fight to make things better and safer.  And we hope for the best."

Because I want to believe that the hatred spewed was nothing more than campaign rhetoric.

If it's not, I will do everything I can, in every way that I can, to stop it.

I'm fine with political disagreements and philosophical debates.  Muslim registration- no.  Not on my watch.  Because it doesn't stop there.

And for me, being a good mother means doing the right thing.

These are scary times.  When one post, or one tweet can lead to death threats or personal attacks, it's terrifying. 

So for me, social media and protests aren't going to be method of making the world "better."

I will work quietly, in the background, as I always have.

Because I am a human.

I have an obligation to care for others.

Because I am a mother. 

I have an obligation to make this world better for my children.

But even more importantly, to teach my children to do the same.  By my example.

That is what I learned this year.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

To My Son's Teacher Who Spoke About Immigration Issues in Class Today

To My Son's Teacher Who Spoke About Immigration Issues in Class,

My son came home and excitedly shared with us the discussion that you held in your class today about immigration. It naturally turned into a discussion on the election.  He said it got somewhat passionate.  He was one of the few that had supported Secretary Clinton.  He shared what others had said. He rolled his eyes.  He said it was pretty much him and a few others against most of the class.

Relax.

This is not the letter you think you'd get from your student's liberal mother who is very good friends with some pretty kick butt activists.

I want to say thank you.

And I'm not saying it sarcastically.

I'm not sending this to the school because things get misconstrued.  Not that the internet is the best way...

But seriously thank you.

Thank you for having the discussion.

My son said you did a good job- you tried to hold back your opinion- and you know what- I don't actually care if you don't hold back your opinion, as long as you present it as an opinion, use facts as facts and don't penalize the students who disagree with you.  As long as it's not hurtful.

From what my son said, you did all of that- well, we would disagree on some of the facts- but it sounded like you were pretty open to those as well.

People have stopped talking to each other.  And while it would have been great if you discussed the use of "undocumented" in referencing immigrants versus "illegals" when discussing those who come and either overstay their visas or come without any (and there are MANY circumstances that this happens that are completely without poor intent), I am so grateful that you are at least talking.

In whatever words.

Because we need to hear all the words. So we can understand why some words hurt.  And why they are used from the people who are using them and from the people are hurt by them.  Directly. So that people know that it's not a politically correct thing, it's a kindness thing.

We need to talk to each other. Face to face.

The kids need to have the conversations rationally.  They need to learn how to have a mature discussion.

As adults, we have not been good examples lately.

They need to not be afraid to have an opinion that is different from everyone else.  They need to know that they can disagree with a teacher and not fail a class.  Teachers should be allowed to express their opinions as well and not live in fear of a parent complaining or getting fired or suspended after 40 years, like the teacher in California recently was.

I've had three friends who teach tell me horror stories this fall.  One taught a media class in college, another an American History class, and a third a Current Events class.  They all received complaints from parents about discussing the election. The election.

My jaw dropped just typing that.  Especially in the Current Events class- I mean how do you NOT talk about it??

To know that my son's 8th grade Geography class had a discussion on immigration is fantastic.

I'm relieved he didn't say "Hey, dumb ass" to another student be truthful... he can be blunt.  I have no idea where in the hell he gets that from...

But seriously, thank you for making them think and not be afraid.

Especially this week.

So much this week.

With all the hate that we've seen across the country and all the tempers rising- myself included- we need to make sure the children know how to discuss and communicate and disagree.

Somewhere we lost that.

Somewhere we forgot how to disagree.

Somewhere we forgot how to compromise.

Somewhere we learned that saying "Wrong" was an appropriate response to a debate.

And we have to continue to question and debate and learn to defend our position.

I have taught both my children that it is important to us that they NOT parrot our beliefs.  That we would love them even if they were a conservative.  It would be hard, but we would work through it.  With counseling.  It would be easier if they were gay, but we could handle .... Republican... if it came to that. 

Sorry.  I needed a minute.

One of my favorite moments this past election season was meeting Bernie Sanders very early on (no Secret Service yet) and having my 10 year daughter look him straight in the eye and say "I'm really a Hillary supporter but they made me come."  We have a picture of his face- it was priceless.  He cracked up laughing and said "Well, good for you.  I like her, too." 

So please, keep pushing my son. 

Question him.

Ask him why.  Tell him why you think what you think.   What lead you to your beliefs. 

He knows our stories- share yours. 

It could and should influence his.

And we are completely okay with that.

There isn't any way that you couldn't avoid not discussing it.  In a class that discusses borders and history and changing borders, migration and policies are critical.

Thank you for teaching.

And if you every want some more  details on the role undocumented workers play in the US work force, please let me know.  I can even arrange for someone to come speak.  My son's response to my offer "MOM- NO- DON'T DO ANYTHING."  But honestly I'd be happy to help... we actually have one of the lowest percentages of our labor market that IS undocumented as compared to other countries.... and a large portion pay taxes from which they will never benefit... and okay, here I go...

I hope you can empathize with my son....

I think you are a fantastic teacher and my son enjoys your class.  I will never fault anyone for trying to get 13 & 14 year olds engaged in any conversation on what's important. Actually just to speak is a challenge.

From what he said, you did it an open, engaging format and no one felt belittled, threatened challenged or afraid.

That seems quite rare today.

I wish more people would take the chance.  Maybe if the kids came home from school and said "Hey today I learned..." and parents listened, rather than immediately called the office to complain, we'd all be better off.

I appreciate your hard work.  I'm glad my son has the privilege of being in your class.  This year, he's had some amazing teachers at some very critical points in his life in what I think has been a critical year for our country- in English, Spanish, the unfortunate example recently in the music department... all of it is helping to shape the person he will become.  Your influence is as great- if not more at this age-  as ours.

You inspired him enough to talk with us about what happened in class- that should say everything right there.  He even said he was okay with me sharing this.  He helped me edit.

Thank you so very much for making him think.

Thank you for teaching.


Sincerely,

Mama Bean


P.S.  I was serious about providing you with the literature on immigration.... 


Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Hard Blog to Write

Election night my phone buzzed non-stop from friends across the country and here in Las Vegas.

"Is this happening?"

"I can't believe this!"

"How did this happen?"

The only one I cared about- no offense to anyone- was from my friend who is a national activist and is covered under DACA.  She was shaking.

Because to so many across the country this is political discussion- banter over cocktails.  But to her it is real.  It impacts her life.  It actually impacts a lot of people's lives.

And when I saw people complaining about "I'm so sick of this election" and saw that people wrote ridiculous things in as write-in votes and threw away their vote rather than taking their vote seriously "they both are crooks"- actually they aren't-- I was irate.

Because it IS serious.  It's the President of the United States of America.

It is the leader of the largest economy, the controller of the largest treasury, the commander of the largest military

I'm sorry if that interrupted your viewing of whatever "Real Housewives" show you're into.

It's important.

And you know what else is important?

All those local city, county and state positions, too.  Those actually impact your lives FAR more than the President can.

My favorite thing in Nevada to do when people would start bitching about the presidential election is to ask them which assembly district they were in.

Because they rarely knew.

Or I'd ask if the had made a decision on their school board member.

Blank stare.

Because THAT is the problem with "the system."

The system is our system.

It is us.

And there are more elections than every 4 years.

I heard ridiculous things about how bad the system is- did I know that dead people were registered to vote?

My response:  I know.  That's crazy.  Those dead people really need to remember to unregister after they die.  I can't believe how sloppy they are about that.

And then people realize oh.... that's why they are still on the roll. 

Or when people get upset that they aren't still registered.  It's because you haven't voted in 2 years and your voter registration card was returned for an invalid address.

In other words, they thought YOU were dead. 

By the way, where the hell have you been? 

And the rants about not showing IDs... I had an older friend who thought it was ridiculous we didn't have to show photo IDs in Nevada... until she worked the polls and went through the training and realized that it's nearly impossible to vote in our system unless you are you.  We have a fantastic voting system.  I told her she should probably share that with people.  And tell them not to watch so much Fox.  At least turn the channel and mix it up every once in awhile.


Then it was all about how bad the candidates were.... blech.

The candidates that we chose. 

They weren't picked by the government (calm down fellow Bernie people- I feel ya). WE selected them.

Also, WE have the option of running if we'd like.  We could run for President. 

You don't like the system, participate.

BUT I VOTED AND WE STILL ENDED UP WITH A COMPLETELY INEXPERIENCED ORANGE HAIRED HATE MONGER AS PRESIDENT.

That is Mr. President now.  Get used to it.  There's nothing we can do.  There is a strong possibility his trial (yes, there really is a trial for fraud & racketeering scheduled on November 28th) will not go well and then we'll have someone that I can guarantee voters know even less about.  AWESOME.  Won't that be fun.

And thank YOU!

Did you knock on doors?  Did you call people?  When your crazy uncle went off did you even try to explain anything to him?  Did you call your Bernie friends and tell them that their gay friends' marriages could be annulled or their friends deported?  Did you have any friends that have had cancer and couldn't get health insurance when they lost their job but now they can?  Did you talk to any of your friends that you know wouldn't vote and explain that it's important to you that they vote and here's why.

Because I did.

More than ever in this election.

I reached out to friends on the fence.  When they said they were unsure I said "Hey- let me give you some reasons...." 

This was personal for me on a few different levels that I won't share.  They weren't caricatures to me in a cartoon.

This campaign had consequences.

It will continue to have consequences.

So my real response to what happened on Tuesday was where were you Monday?  Or the Mondays before that?

We are all busy.  I didn't have much time, but I made some time.  I supported the people that did it full time.

And here's the thing - it is what it is.

And now my fear is, people will be pissed and discouraged.  They'll be less engaged.

The Bernie supporters that felt such outrage that they would risk their friends civil rights to teach the Democratic Party a lesson broke my heart.  But it wasn't anything compared to the fear in my friends' eyes on Tuesday night.  I hope they own that.  You want the party to own the loss- they are.  You get to partially own the fact that 600 kids didn't come to school at my husband's school.  That there are children crying every day for fear of deportation.  That's partially on you. Not all of it, but some of it. You put your self-righteousness before their actual safety.  I crossed over. 

And the entire time I knew we were going to lose.

The whole flipping time.

When I walked into what was supposed to be a party,  a friend looked me right in the eye and said "It's over, isn't it?"  The polls had just started to close.  And I said "Yep." And he said "You told us this would happen.  You said she'd never win."

Because people simply didn't like her. 

For no real reason.  Or for imaginary reasons.  Or for sexist reasons.

It certainly wasn't the platform which was exceptional once she blended it with Sanders.  It would have been a huge benefit to everyone, especially the lower & middle income families.

But no one even bothered to read it.  Because they didn't like her and they never were going to and it's not fair and we voted in a celebrity game show host with a terrible business track record.

Again- AWESOME.

But you know what, my beloved Democratic Party?  You barely have me.

I've been called a closet Republican more than once.

But sorry- they've been batshit crazy too long and can't do math.

So I get the whole Trump appeal (that made me throw up in my mouth a little)- and I tried and tried and tried and tried and emailed and emailed and emailed and emailed and...

But you thought you had it in the bag.

You do not understand small business at all.

You do not understand rural poverty at all.

You do not understand women at all.

I know what you're thinking... whoa... back up on that last one, missy...

But the Democrats support women's rights and Planned Parenthood and Emily's List and all these great things!

We LOVE women!!

We ran a woman candidate! 

Um, just because I have a vagina, doesn't mean I'm exactly like every other woman.  I HATE when my own broker/dealer offers training in marketing to women and they lump them all together.  I had some young woman tell me how a spa day is the best day to connect with my female clients.  We could get mani/pedis, massages, facials and steam together!  A whole 4-6 hours!!

That sounded like hell to me.

If I'm doing that, I'm doing it alone so I can relax.  Not entertain while I'm in a bathrobe. 

I'm also not going out dancing at the clubs with the girls.  Because I'm not the Girls Night Out kinda gal.  I did it once in my 40s.  I'm good probably until my retirement.

Do you want to hike and not speak to each other until we see something cool?  Count me in. Or go fishing?

Or maybe browse a used bookstore for 4 hours and also not speak?  Or go to an art show for modern art...

What I'm getting at is that we are all very different.  My kids are extremely important to me. But I don't live vicariously through them.  But they get top billing- don't hold all day women's conferences on a Saturday during soccer season to take me away from them. 

And don't make everything about "the children."  I have some pretty kick ass female friends who don't have any and don't want any and some that really don't even like them. 

And I have some that truly family is all they want to hear about.

We are diverse.  Not just in color but in every way possible.  My black female friends are not all strong, ass kicking activists.  Some of them are quiet and reserved and very bookish. 

And here's another thing- a lot of my female friends are pro-life.  They are.  Maybe even more so than men.  And not just the religious ones.  And you completely and totally missed it.  There is a way to address it. That choice isn't pro-abortion.  It's about choice- not abortion.  It's about owning our health and not allowing our bodies to be legislated.  It's about keeping it safe for women who do make the choice- because they always will.  It's about decreasing the number of abortions through family planning.  There are a lot that want Roe v. Wade overturned.  You struck out BIG on that one.  I tried to tell you.

And NO ONE TALKED AT ALL ABOUT SMALL BUSINESSES. Our new POTUS did but shockingly nothing specific. Imagine that.  I'm sure he has a plan.  A good plan.  A big plan.

Small businesses are truly the lifeblood of this country and they are constantly getting screwed.  Large corporations are perpetually getting tax breaks.  Tax incentives.  Small businesses get nada.  When you extended the unemployment benefits it screwed me over.  I had one employee that I laid off in 20 years.  She took it for 2 weeks because I asked her to take it- I had changed the job and it was just not what she wanted to do- she was partially retired and it didn't make sense for her to learn an entirely new skill set.  I was paying the highest rate up until last year because of my former employees that would get laid off and then eventually I would be the next to last employer (after the prior employers had maxed out their contributions) so my insurance pool got wiped out. For employees I had years earlier.  That I didn't lay off. 

And you raised my fees.  And added another payroll tax. And then there was Obamacare which pretty much made group health plans disappear for small businesses.  Did you even know that?  There are some great provisions in it- absolutely- but small business owners took it up the shorts on that one.  And you never provided us with any options.  And we can't get a vendor to even return a call.  And the costs are ridiculous.  So Bernie's single payer plan sounded pretty darn nice.

But crickets. 

Because you banked on the misogyny card.  The Woman Card.  Except that's not the only card in my wallet.  My business card is in there, too.

Oh- and as a hillbilly, here's a heads up- my rust belt town has never recovered from Reagan.  The farms are gone, the steel mills one.

They blame Obama.  I have no idea why.  I know what happened.  They don't care why it happened- they just want it fixed.  You blew them off like they all were ignorant racist bigots and they weren't.

Don't get me wrong- based on social media- a shitload of them are and I hope the POTUS elect addresses it.  I've heard horror stories and he's not even in office.

But my hometown looks rundown and dumpy and the people are hurting.  They don't even know they are hurting because most of them don't leave the area very often. 

There are football games and basketball games and soccer games and church.  They don't want to be on welfare.  But an entire generation has been ignored.  And they got pissed and left.  Because we didn't bring jobs to rural communities- and this includes poor minority communities in the south, too- not just white ones in the midwest.  We need to rethink how we get people back to work... oh wait... I have and idea...

and we're back to...

SMALL BUSINESSES.

Maybe even encourage small businesses run by women.

But no one talked about it.  Ever.

It's the abyss in the middle of the country that feeds us.

We don't connect with them.

So that's what happened.

People didn't vote.  People didn't put any effort into it  The Democratic Party ran a candidate that the voters couldn't connect with because you never let her just be herself- you over rehearsed her.And it showed. 

The other factor, too, was my Republican friends who begrudgingly voted for Trump didn't think he'd win and they were as shocked we Dems were.  Honest.  They are a little scared, too.

I'm a little mad a people who don't care.  I'm a little mad at a campaign with a ton of money that didn't seem to listen to reason.  I don't know how toeexplain what we did to help the poor because it's not leading them out of poverty.

And to all my friends who compare this to when Obama got elected and you guys kept saying he was like Hitler and said to knock it off and it all turned out fine- give us some slack.  Our candidate wanted to give you health insurance, protect you from bank fraud, let gay people marry, end a war and limit crazy people from getting guns after a bunch of first graders were gunned down in their classroom.  Your guy wants to quiet the presses, cut 20 million people off health insurance, get rid of nearly all banking regs (that didn't work so well last time) , deport our friends, ban Islam and monitor mosques, nullify our friends' marriages and he threw out protestors regularly for protesting.  Well, at least two weeks ago he did. He seems to have changed his stance on everything.  But I hope you can realize that's a little different than getting health insurance.  No one was torn away from their children, cut off when they hit their insurance cap. And I know you still have your guns. I still have mine.

(As for social media bickering, there is never, ever a situation where I will tolerate racism or ignorance.  You want to post an insensitive, racist meme- go for it- you're gone.  I don't care if you're family- I'm not listening to your rant about things you know nothing about- and I will never let you be racist.  Ever.)

We also did a lot right, too.  We stood up and will continue to stand.

I had so any friends engaged, I couldn't count them all.

Most importantly- I had so many friends that just STARTED to get engaged. They went canvassing for the first time or made calls.  They were fantastic. 

They did not sit idly by.

And you should not. 

Be engaged.  Join committees. 

Be a part of the process.

If there is a law or a zoning change you don't like- get on the agenda and get it fixed.

Things can change.  Government can be more efficient if we all participate.

If everyone engaged, we wouldn't need to worry about money in politics. It wouldn't be necessary.

And engaging is not posting memes.  It doesn't mean you voted.  Voting is part of it- not all of it.

So thank you to my amazing group of friends for inspiring me.

To Hillary Clinton, thank you for putting it out there.  Thank you for inspiring young women everywhere.  Thank you for showing us that no matter how smart or successful you are, women will always be held to different standards.  You handled things with grace and class,  You are brilliant.  To be quite honest- you are too brilliant for us to appreciate and we just can't have nice things right now!

To my friends of color, I have no words.  I will be there when you need me.  I will never understand fully what you are going through- all I have is empathy and empty words.  Just know I will come if you call. I will always go to the mat for civil rights and for you.

I truly wish President Trump success.  His success is my success.  I will watch him closely as will everyone else.  I hope after meeting the man he trashed so viciously for so long, he realized that he helped contribute to slowing down what could have been the best  presidency in my lifetime.  I will continue to contribute my positions on policy through the appropriate forums.  I hope he is as open to input and discussion as the prior administration.

I also hope he acknowledges the increase in racism he caused over the past 8 years by leading the birther movement and continually questioning the current' President's motives, nationality, religion- anything-- and then he threw a match on it expanding it to xenophobia, anti-semitism and normalizing harassment of women with his campaign.  To win at any cost. I will not get over the hatred that he spewed.

He can own that.