The Hidden Message

creative-hidden-logo-37Yesterday I read a post on FaceBook by a man who essentially said that women in the United States are not oppressed and then went on to list how de facto oppressed women are treated. After all, we have all the rights and privileges we are allowed to have.

He mansplained that, “When you’re told to kneel by a wall while the man you were forced to marry shops in the market while you sit like a common dog, you’re oppressed. When you’re forced to wear coverings for your face and body, you’re oppressed. When you are forced to work the fields, receive no pay, have your clit castrated, are taught that you are below a man, and are not allowed to vote, you are oppressed.”

Whew.  Glad he cleared that up.

So let’s think about this.  If your culture does not allow you to participate in shopping because you’re a female, its oppression.  The Los Angeles Adventurers Club does not allow women to participate in solidarity as adventurers of the globe. There are many golf clubs Men Only Golfing Clubs that still don’t allow women to join; they must be a guest of a male member (ha!) to attend any club function.   The National Coalition for Men exists to provide a safe space for men from those pesky feminists.  There are probably more such havens that don’t allow women to participate, but they probably allow them to shop, so there’s that.

It is true that women in this country are not “forced” to wear “coverings” for their faces and bodies.  However, there is that fact that women (and men) who choose to wear them are threatened, belittled, accused of being submissive, and otherwise attacked for their CHOICE. Similarly, try to wear a simple pant suit as business attire.  Some men think you just shouldn’t do it because it detracts from the most important aspect of a woman as a person; her femininity.  After all, shouldn’t you be a lady first, then when you master that you can maybe become President of the United States.  Wait….

As for being forced to work in the fields, privilege much? I worked in the fields because that was the work most available to me.  It was hard and unlike my parents who did it for years until they through education and opportunity were able to move on to less strenuous work, I chose at an earlier age to find different employment, again facilitated through an education. And sir, if you think that people who work always get paid for their labor, look no further than our newly elected POTUS.  Sometimes he just didn’t like the way the work was performed so he didn’t fulfill his contract, other times he just decided that he had to cut his losses and move on; those people could surely find an education somewhere else. Heck, maybe they could take out a loan like I did. I paid it back easily in just about 10 years. Ms. Betsy would be more than happy to help you get to her bank for funding. Oh and stop with the minimum wage hikes already. Let the market decide.

Now, I will say, thank you baby Jesus I was not forced to have my clitoris mutilated. I just hope that my sisters who won’t be able to afford medical care when that disgusting Planned Parenthood is shut down can avoid hurting their clits when they use a clothes hanger to terminate a pregnancy. Clitorises are more important than cervixes or uteruses because those are messy, and in fact, why not just get rid of them after we pop out a baby or two.  We should, however, Save the Tatas because they are fun and bouncy; just don’t show them if the baby is hungry; go to the bathroom with that mess.

But good thing women in these United States are not taught that they are below a man. Poor Madonna.  She’s only allowed to speak at a rally only because “she’s a celebrity who offered to blow men for votes.”  I’m kinda rethinking writing this.  Do I have to blow some man to post this?  Most importantly, it’s a good thing girls are not taught that they are below a man…in any way…by any means.

You may ask why I don’t mention his name. It is because he lives off of clicks and I don’t want to send anyone else to his page. And really, his words are not what worry me. He does have a right to speak out.  It’s the comments of his readers.  It’s the re-posting of this man’s words that is the saddest of all. I came across this post because someone I know posted it for everyone who marched on January 21st to read.

The message that the author was trying to get across is that the way he sees it, this country is fine the way it is. Women should not complain because men allow us to have so much. Women should not march because there is nothing to complain about. However, like in birth control, prevention is the key. If we don’t share our voices now, we will, in fact, be oppressed.

I came across this post because someone posted it for us loud-mouthed protesters (and our daughters) to read.  Good thing that our girls are not being taught that they don’t matter.

 

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Posted in Civic Duty | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

for our sisters and daughters; our brothers and sons

img_5471Empowerment is a word I often used.  No more. Yesterday at the Women’s March on Sacramento I stood in the cold as I heard a woman representing the disabled community say that telling someone you are empowering them presumes that you are in possession of their power … and that in fact, this puts them in a subrogated position.

As you know, I worked in corrections for a long time.  During my years inside correctional facilities, I always wondered why three people could control a housing unit filled with 100 men. I did not work with women, but its the same concept. What was it in our “authority” that caused our wards to allow us to manage them.  There were many times when these young people did act out and group disturbances occurred.  Usually, these instances happened when the groups had a change in their own internal pecking orders, or more likely when they felt that they could no longer trust the staff to keep them safe. They acted out more when they were worried about their well being, feeling perhaps that they had to take matters into their own hands.

img_5427As we marched, I asked my friend, if there are more of us that didn’t vote for Mr. Trump, then we out-number those who did. If there are that many of us, why did we give away our power? Why did we allow ourselves to feel safe and protected without maintaining an eye on those we trusted with our very lives?  We should have done more to help the president move us forward, past the obstructionism. We should have done more to get out the vote.

I have been gnashing my teeth and wailing since before the election. A very close friend of mine looked me in the eye and said, “Maybe this is God’s way of getting our attention. Maybe this is the only way that things will change.”

Nail. Hammer. Head.

I realized that my grief over this election was caused by my reliance on President Obama to watch out for what I believe in. He was the voice I trusted and my the voice that best echoes my sentiments.  The days just before the inauguration he seemed to be around but only to thank the nation and say goodbyes.  Meanwhile, Mr. Trump continued to voice his priorities and became louder with his rhetoric and bravado.  He started to more openly show his preference for the rich, his disdain for social justice or social constructs that do not benefit his rich cronies outright. The vetting of his cabinet members began, and the world was privy to their backgrounds, their preferences, and their lack of concern for the country they will purportedly lead. I literally looked around to see if Mr. Obama would step in and respond.  Perhaps he could come back and protect us, even if just with a few words.

Of course, the most valued ritual we have in this country is the peaceful and orderly transition of power. There is no way for our beloved President to interfere with that process.  For the same reason that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would not contest the suspected voting irregularities, and why we should all still be screaming about the Russian intrusion into our election process, Mr. Obama would not be anything by graceful and careful in his comments about the new administration; the transfer of power is sacred and our way of remaining unified in the face of world scrutiny and threat.

The truth of the matter is, as long as we refuse to watch out for each other or fail to put on the face of unity, we will always be weaker and more vulnerable. Inmates know that. Yet, we squabble over agendas that are issues of choice and allow these squabbles to cause a rift in us over issues of survival. We expose the weaknesses in our unity and by doing so weaken all our causes.  We cannot allow stratification and self-sorting to take precedence over the ultimate prize, the pursuit of happiness.

The peaceful transition of power is also the reason that I and many Americans felt grief over the loss of a decent man as leader and the despair over the impending inauguration. There was simply nothing that could or should be done about the inauguration of this new President. Our long history of peaceful, orderly transition of power can not and should never be interrupted. Mr. Trump is the POTUS. That’s that. In that sense, we should “get over it.”

But oh, there is the day after.  The day we gather together and roll up our sleeves to begin to minimize the damage until he and all his elected supporters, and those who do not fight the good fight against him, can be removed; midterm elections will be here soon.

So now that we have to face that our world of security and liberty is endangered, we are called to action.  We will rise and protest, organize and participate, volunteer and create assistance for those who can’t, and, we shall vote.

img_5236I, like many of my friends, will no longer wait to be empowered.  It’s already in us. It’s in the hearts of our younger generations and it is in the memories of those who fought before us. We were born with it, we just have to learn how to use it.

I will use my voice in every way I can.  I will no longer silence myself in front of one of my “employees,” voted into their job.  Nope.  They work for us. They have to listen. I will not ask permission to be heard.

I will dig in my heels and refuse to go backward.

I will not allow distraction, lies, and talking heads to confuse me. They seek only to remove my power.

I will pay attention, and help others pay attention as to how our “employees” perform. If they aren’t doing their job as expected, then I will use my power to vote them out.

I shall not be a prisoner of my own making.

I shall stand tall in my power.

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A special thank you to the women and men who stepped up to organize our local Women’s March on Sacramento and all over the world. You used your power wisely.

To those reading this, thank you for listening.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Civic Duty, self determination | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Murmuration Nation

murmuration2

 

The other day I ran across an NPR post on Facebook about the secret to successful murmuration among flocking birds (Video: Swooping Starlings In Murmuration – NPR).  While I have seen birds display this behavior along the Interstate 5 corridor of Northern California, I didn’t know what it is called, and most certainly I didn’t know how it is even possible to fly like this without a massive crash or two among the participants. The behavior/ flight patterns are mesmerizing and absolutely a joy to behold.

As I watched the video and read the intriguing explanation as to how such coordinated and seemingly choreographed events are even possible I scarcely breathed.  The author explained,

A few years ago, George F. Young and his colleagues investigated starlings’ “remarkable ability to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments and with limited, noisy information” — a nice description of what goes on in a murmuration.

Going in, Young et al. already knew that starlings pay attention to a fixed number of their neighbors in the flock, regardless of flock density — seven, to be exact. Their new contribution was to figure out that “when uncertainty in sensing is present, interacting with six or seven neighbors optimizes the balance between group cohesiveness and individual effort.”

And like a bell ringing in the dark, I was sharply oriented into the present and as suddenly as metaphoric sound traveled through my brain, I understood what has to happen in a post-Trump era of fear and confusion.  This awareness while perhaps not novel to the grass roots organizers of days ago, or even to those pulling us together for Marches on Capitols in the present, was like a bolt of lightening to me; the person who is not an organizer of large numbers of people.    It simply made perfect sense in the realm of the small, defined and finite groups of people to whom I belong.

The key words, “when uncertainty in sensing is present, interacting with six or seven neighbors optimizes the balance between group cohesiveness and individual effort.” 

murmuration1

Eureka! This is what is missing for many of us feeling overwhelmed and alone! We are missing each other. We feel alone because we are ignoring those flying among us, also feeling alone. The key to successful murmuration is relying on 6 or 7 of those closest to us, our neighbors by proximity or ideation; and they relying on their closest 6 or 7.

We shall not stand silent. We shall not merely watch as others crash against each other.

We shall not try to work alone and feel hopeless. We will seek to help where help is needed by lessening the load as possible.

We shall send our thoughts into the universe and aim them at the people who are struggling to make sense of the irrational and nonsensical.

We shall share our ideas or even just fleeting thoughts with those closest to our whispers so that perhaps they can whisper back what we need to hear in order to continue forward.

We shall listen to the whispers of others so that we too can lend support to keep the group together and moving in the same direction. We each will contribute our knowledge.

We shall listen to the relayed whispers of those farther away from our immediate flock so that our small community can absorb any lessons delivered to us by distant communities, who while far away, are still striving to travel in the same direction as we.

For it is in listening that we hear our own voices echoed in the heart chambers of others. It is in observing that we are supported by the actions of those far from us, similarly struggling to fly in beauty and cohesion.

This is what we must do…..it’s nothing just created. I’ve heard it time and again in the intimate bosom of my closest friends via Walt Whitman:

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

We just have to do it amongst 7 of our closest friends, and they, among theirs, and they among theirs.

Soon the murmuration will lift us above the fog of egotistical tyrants.

The murmuration will itself guide us to the best solution for ALL of us and not just some of us.

The murmuration will allow us to discuss without judgment and to act altruistically.

The murmuration requires inclusivism to be successful. The murmuration will allow us to change course as needed and to create beauty along the away; leaving no one behind.

So let the whispering begin. Listen to girls. Listen to women. Listen to those different than ourselves. Listen and whisper.  Pass it on with clarity and love, for this is what it means to be moved by the Spirit.

Together we shall soar in beauty and truth, for the good of us all.

Thanks for being my friends.

Posted in Civic Duty, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sad, Not Sorry

dump-16Everyone…well almost everyone, is lamenting 2016 as a terribly difficult year, myself included.  To those of you that aren’t sad, you may want to avert your mouse to a different blog post.

During this year we lost so many people as a community.  In my house, we lost a grandmother. She was the first grandparent to pass and our kids, while adults, were greatly affected. My husband lost his mom and well there are no words.

I personally lost my mind.

The election process was and still is devastating to me. I can not seem to grasp how anyone could have voted for the PEOTUS. In my heart, voting for him is a vote for all the horrible things he and his cronies stand for.  Isn’t that the very definition of voting?

I went crazy the night of the election and wrote a lengthy rant about people who voted for PEOTUS being supportive of his process and beliefs. I offended many people when I asked them to get off my FB page if they voted for him.  Many simply deleted me from their “friends” list.  Others barked back at me and then deleted me.  I deleted a couple who even after I voiced my feelings continued to post anti-Clinton and anti-Obama sentiments on my posts. I had simply had enough.  After eight years of putting up with Obama bashing, I could not face another second of hypocritical behavior from people who are too selfish to care about anyone but themselves; the years of hurt they imposed with their words apparently isn’t as bad as the hurt I imposed when I asked them to look at themselves.

There is a lot more to my dismay that cannot be shared here because of space, and time restrictions as well as my desire to stop digging the hole in which I currently find myself.

I have offended people that were the heart and soul of my life.  How I didn’t know that they do not feel the same way about me is disconcerting.  I gave up much of my life for these people. Yet, that didn’t seem to warrant a discussion about the pain I was feeling.

I thought about it and have been thinking about it since 11/10/2016.  And here is my conclusion.

I have over the last 7 years been in a terrible spot in my personal life.  I have shared that with only a handful of people.  Two of those people I would consider to be my closest friends in the absolute world.  Over the last 7 years, not once did those friends ask, “how are you doing?” Not once.

Yet, when I voice my concern over the way the world is going and that we should not support a person who garners and encourages hate among us, I am attacked and dismissed, again without a word or even seeming concern. (Believe me, there is more about this that will not be said here.)

I recognize that telling people how to vote is not democratic.  I also recognize that voting is secretive. But I also know that for 8 years I listened to complaints, lies, derogatory comments, racial slurs, etc about our president without end.  Yet, the minute I question the veracity of hiding behind their polling booth curtain I suddenly am not a Christian, not patriotic and certainly not worthy of friendship.

Saying the election doesn’t affect you personally is not good enough. Saying that it’s not Christian-like to expect your closest friends to disavow hate is hypocritical at best and blasphemous at worst.

Well, sorry, I’m not sorry. Thank you for tossing me out of your lives so unceremoniously, it’s the first time I’ve seen the truth about how little I meant to you.  Frankly, it does sadden me in that I’ve lived a false life. I have to get my priorities straight and move on…after all, isn’t that what the PEOTUS is asking us to do?

Time to reassess, reprioritize and live well.  Time to give back without judgment. Time to reaffirm to the younger generation that it’s not just about them, but how they fit into the bigger picture.

I’m sad.  But I’m not sorry that I’m sad. Sometimes it hurts to be on the right side of history.  I’m sure I’ll stop crying soon.

Cheers to a productive, focused, healthy and love-based 2017.

Agape

(Matthew 22:37-41)

Posted in Friendship | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Chunky

There are a number of times, perhaps in the hundreds that I have heard or read we all have a soundtrack to our lives and that when we hear certain songs we are immediately transported to a place and time stored in between the lines of the lyrics. Sometimes these realizations occur in real time.

A friend of mine posted on facebook that she really enjoyed the new Bruno Mars cd titled 24K Magic…so naturally I bought it.  I’ve listened to it a few times and really do like it.

Last Thursday I was reminded via text that my husband’s office Christmas party was that evening.  Yikes!  Why don’t I write these things down? I grimaced at the thought of looking for something to wear in a closet that belongs mostly to size 8 me.  Perfectly beautiful clothing that was purchased in the excitement of a great deal of weight loss with the hopes that I would stay motivated if my clothes got tighter.

Now, I’m no Nancy Reagan.  I don’t always buy a new dress for a special occasion. In fact,  I’m more of a Rosalynn Carter kinda girl in that I will wear my dresses more than once and don’t care who knows it. So I dug around and found a perfectly suitable size 10 shiny party dress.  Yes!!

Then I turned to looking for matching shoes.  My heart dropped.  Crap, I have to wear high heels.  It’s likely been a year since I last wore high heels. In fact, when a friend and I recently went to the opera in San Francisco, I left my heels in the box in the car and walked in flat sandals. Yup, hate heels, having worn them for much of my working life.  But, I found the shoes.

My heart literally stopped when I realized that I actually had to wear pantyhose. I don’t even own pantyhose…and it was pouring rain.  But, well, the dress called for black sheer pantyhose.  I grabbed my rain boots and headed out to my favorite Marshalls hoping to find what I needed just a few blocks from my house rather than having to go into the downtown Macy’s.  I drove through flooded streets and into a parking lot that was literally 5-7 inches deep in rain water.  HA! I calmly walked into the store looking like THE Gordon’s fisherman and within minutes, I found the stockings.  Sheer. Black. Beautiful. AND cheap.  I bought two pairs just in case…you never know.

I rushed home to find my spouse getting ready. I turned up my music put 24K Magic on shuffle.  I curled my hair, put on some mascara and said, that’s fine, time to dress.

I grabbed the packages of pantyhose and tore one open.  Wow, its been a while.  I stuck my left hand into the left leg of the garment and immediately felt my nail snag the super sheer fabric.

AY!  I gently pulled my hand out, made a fist and tried again.  Success! I made it to the foot portion and then realized that I had to lift my sore, tight runner’s leg high enough for my short arms to get my foot into the opening.  Huffing and puffing, I got the left leg into the sheath. Now for the right leg…..done!

Women will understand this….now to shimmy these things over my hips.

CUE the damn music.

She got to shake her little something (shake her little something), ooh
Throwing that thing from left, right, side to side.

I heard the lyrics and hoped my spouse was ignoring them.  I dared not look up lest I start laughing. If I laughed, he would laugh. Then I would get mad and well, it was supposed to be a fun Christmas party. I dared not make eye contact.

Then it happened.  I stuck my thumb through the fabric.  I cursed out loud. I took them off and thought, good thing I bought two!

She got to have her own money (she got her own money), oh yeah
Shout out to the girls that pay they rent on time

I opened the second package as the iPod blared Bruno’s mocking lyrics at me.

Ooh, chunky
Looking for them girls with the big old hoops

I again averted my eyes and kept my focus on sticking my legs into the pantyhose. In my younger days, I would have plopped to the floor and figured it out.  Yeah, those were the days when the midsection didn’t prevent me from folding over. I started to sweat again.

I’m looking at you
Yeah, you baby

My husband slipped on his sweater and declared he was ready to go. Bruno laughed and said,

Now let me hear you say you ready (I’m ready), oh yeah
Girl, you better have you hair weave strapped on tight
‘Cause once we can go, where we rolling

Ooh, chunky

I said loudly, to cover the lyrics and get him out of the room, you should go get an umbrella and put the gifts into the car. I will be right down.  I adjusted the waistband on the very restrictive undergarment and slipped into my dress.

You got what I want
Girl, you got what I need
37-27-42
Ooh, squeeze all of that into my coupe

Rude.

I grabbed slipped my shoes on and my feet slid to the front where my previously unrestricted toes slammed into the all but forgotten scrunched position.  I gingerly walked to the stairs and wondered how I would ever get down without throwing my back out, or falling.  Old runners trick: go down backward.

Chunky

I’m looking at you
Yeah, you baby

I turned off the iPod and thought…I can do this. It’s just 5 hours, complete with dancing.

I should have put Old Blues Eyes on the record player…”You’re lovely….the way you look tonight.”

Siempre hacia adelante!

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction, Happiness | Tagged , , , ,

To Receive You Have to Let Go

cim-medal

I decided to volunteer at the CIM because a friend, Laura was running, another friend, Ellisa asked us to, and because I needed to give back to this community of mine that has opened so many doors and exposed me to so many great adventures.

Being a last minute volunteer I was excited and happy to find a slot in the “heat blanket brigade.” I showed up at 730 am and got to work. After personally tearing open and separating 800 blankets (4 boxes), I moved on to unwrapping medals.

I watched as first, the wheelchair winner came across the finish line, followed by the men’s first, second and third place finishers crossed. Then the woman’s winner.

I watched, while I pulled plastic from the gorgeous medals and I thought about how it must feel to run that fast. I watched as the runners continued to come in, all sweaty, most breathing hard, some wobbly. I listened as they talked about mile 23, about the perfect weather, about how happy they were to run together.

I had already talked to a supervisor and asked permission to look for my friend Laura so that I could give her her medal. Laura is more than experienced so I kind of knew when she would be coming in. I watched the gun timer and the third hour decided to move to the finish line to hand out medals until Laura came in.

At last, I saw her turn the corner. I grew excited and started yelling encouragement. She, of course, was in the moment and likely didn’t hear me at all. As she got over the line and headed toward the group of volunteers handing out medals, a group I had already warned not to give her a medal, I caught her attention. It took a second for it to register but she hugged me and said she was happy I was there to give her it to her. She went on to get a heat blanket and find some rest and recovery.

I thought for a bit that I should go back to my assigned station. But I decided to stay. We each handed out hundreds of medals. My arms ache from carrying bunches at a time and lifting them all to place one around the neck of each finisher.

We yelled and greeted each runner with the name printed on their bib. The sound of their individual name being said somehow brought the runners into quick attention and often to tears.

Some asked for a hug. Others just grabbed on. Medical staff helped those who couldn’t walk anymore. Families greeted their runners. The lady whose bib read: “112th marathon” crossed the line. The blind runners and their guides smiled to hear their names yelled out as we draped their medals over their heads.

As time passed, the great swell of the middle of the pack seemed to overwhelm us. And then the crowd observing and the crowd running became sparser. After five and a half hours we were seeing the last of the runners come in. Or were we?

The timer said six and a half hours. Still, they came. One after the other, one foot in front of the other. Husbands and wives holding hands, celebrating his 40th birthday. Twin brothers dressed exactly alike save their bib numbers. Very old runners. Moms crying and holding their children. Two unrelated runners asked me to say hi to their respective mother and son via FaceTime. I happily and loudly obliged.

Runners thanked us for “staying there” so they could get their medal. We yelled louder at the end simply because the spectators were now gone and those runners needed encouragement.

Finally, I had to leave because my family was waiting. I think that all the runners ahead of the course sweepers were already in. I handed a medal to a woman whose husband would not make it in before the sweepers. She said he won’t stop until he’s finished. She wanted him to be assured his medal.

I ran this marathon last year and as many of you will recall, I was very disappointed in my performance. I’ll tell you what. Not anymore.

I saw myself in those people struggling to finish. I saw that I didn’t give up. I saw that my accomplishment was just as great as theirs. I handed medals to 3-hour marathoners and 6:45 marathoners. The accomplishment was in some ways more amazing for the slower group than for the fleet of feet.

I wasn’t jealous either. I thought I would be, but it didn’t happen. I was just happy for them and for myself that I was in such a great place to witness the triumph of the human spirit; the will’s power over the body’s performance.

I am sore. I am hoarse. I am tired. It was a perfect day.

Congratulations to those whose goals were met or exceeded…. which is just about everyone who ran today. Well done.

CIM 2017….??? Maybe.

Posted in Gratitude, Running | Tagged , , ,

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

sunset-10-20I went for a walk, as usual, today.  The late afternoon, pre-dusk hours are magical time on our Sacramento levee .  Sure there are thousands of little gnats that drive you crazy and so many dogs that you literally need a set of traffic rules just to make sure no one gets too excited, but the peace of mind that comes with a slow stroll makes it all worth it.

I meander over to the levee at least once a day and am always pleasantly surprised by what I get to see.  If I’m lucky, there are turtles on logs sunning themselves always on the lookout for anyone or anything that comes too close.  Or perhaps, the wayward seal will return and pop his little head out just long enough to give us a bark or two then disappear again.

There are always fishermen on the water. If it’s a warmer day, the sound of ski boats pulling skiers through the water, howling with joy or fear depending on their level of expertise, fills the air.

Today, my heart leaped for joy when I looked up to see  a man and his grown son walking hand in hand.  Both were grinning as big as day. As they passed me, the older man winked and wished me a good afternoon.

I turned to watch as they continued down the asphalt paved road.  The were still holding hands, and swinging them.  I watched them as they headed toward the bend and I wondered aloud, why don’t we see more of this?

When do kids stop needing to hold our hands?  When do we stop asking them to hold hands with us?  Has this custom of days past become obsolete.  Sure, people who are romantically involved hold hands to some extent, but even that tends to fade.  Even younger children don’t hold their parent’s hands unless there is a perceived opportunity for danger, like in crossing a street or maneuvering in a crowded place.

I miss my kids holding my hand.  I know that they are adults and are busy with their own lives, but perhaps next time I have the chance, I’ll remind them of how it feels to be connected.  There is nothing better than being connected to your child, emotionally and physically…whether they are 2 or 22…it’s a great feeling.

Kudos to this father and his son for maintaining that “one-ness” that binds their relationship physically as well as emotionally.  There will be no regret about their relationship because they demonstrate their love for each other without reservation. Sometimes, you have to let people know they are loved.

Sometimes, you have to let people know they are loved.

It can be as simple as holding their hand.

holding-hands

*Pictures taken on iPhone 7.

 

 

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction, Happiness, Love | Tagged ,

If You Give a Mexican a Taco….

jalapenoIf you ask a first generation Mexican American to describe a taco for you they will tell you that it is anything wrapped in a tortilla.  So when you ask for a burrito, it’s really just a taco being eaten by someone other than a first gen Mex-Am.

This is what I think about when I’m alone and have a day to myself. JS

So I was stuffing my face with a taco this afternoon when I decided I needed a jalapeño to add to the experience.

Not having any in the house, I started to panic. So I went into the fridge where I remembered I had jalapeño stuffed olives.

(insert the sound of angels singing here)

I bit into my taco and took a bite of my olive.  Perfect: a little salty, a little garlic-y, a little spicy.

Whew, a little spicy!

I need a beer. Found one last stout and said, “Gracias, Rasputin!”

I took a swig and realized, I was out of taco.

So I grabbed the comal and made another taco.

Eat and repeat.

Except this time, I was out of the Rick Bayless sautéed chicken I made the night before and still had beer left.

I said to myself….

Ok I said out loud, “Careful y’all she’s going back in!”

BINGO!  I found leftover grilled pork…that would make a great taco!

The comal got another workout and I finished my beer and taco.

But now, I had this bitter beer taste in my mouth.

And I remembered…I have carrot cake….

 

Yeah, this is why I don’t look like the princesses on the Mexican bakery calendars.

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(OK we have the same lips)

Siempre hacia adelante!

 

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Runner’s Mind

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I made it to Indianapolis for the Indy Women’s Half this month; marking off state 15 of 50 including the District of Columbia. I can’t tell you what working on this goal has provided me.  I’m a better planner, saver, runner, organizer, explorer, and traveler because of it. Most of all, though, I am a better thinker because of running.  No kidding. I get to think a lot; real thinking, quality thinking. That is the beauty of running alone.

Obviously, since I am usually only away from home for a few days, I fly to my destinations. In my time spent in airports or on planes, I meet some very interesting people.  I also meet people who themselves are not interesting but behave in a manner that causes me to sit back and listen to them.  People love to talk about themselves (clearly I do too) and it’s easy to be a listener.

At the airport my TSA pre check status euphoria ended abruptly as the gate agent announced the cancellation of my flight.  I decided to celebrate with a Blood Mary and a breakfast burrito while I waited.  Soon I found myself in conversation with a man who also had time to kill.  He seemed in a much more celebratory mood than I and dove straight into the story of his life.  Eventually we got around to talking about grandchildren.  I mentioned that I only have one, and that he is the light of my life. We spoke of soccer, little league and all manner of things.  I mentioned that my daughter requested that I teach my grandson Spanish so that he can be bilingual and therefore, that is the only language I speak with him.  The gentleman sat back and well, took a minute.  Then he said, “Well your English is pretty good. I guess that’s ok.”  I finished my meal and excused myself to wait at the gate.

I made it to Las Vegas where I needed to change planes.  I went to the gate printed on my boarding pass and sat to recharge my phone and watch the news.  As they called passengers into line, a gentleman said to me, “That’s interesting, we have the same boarding number.”  Immediately, a woman behind me asked, “Are you sure you are at the right gate?”

I learned soon enough that in the delay and eventual cancellation of my earlier flight, my boarding pass was incorrect, and there had been a gate change.  Lucky for me the plane  i wanted was across the room and the doors had not yet been closed.  I ran over, and made it just in time.  The gate agent rolled her eyes at me and instructed me to take the first available seat.

As I boarded the plane I saw an empty seat three rows in.  I gently tapped the man sitting in the aisle seat and asked if he would mind me taking the center row seat.  He unbuckled and quickly moved to the center.  I protested and asked him if he preferred to stay on the aisle he should. He declined stating he wanted to sit by his wife.

I sat down determined not to bother him by engaging him in conversation, or otherwise distracting him.  He fell asleep and snored lightly.  Eventually, he awoke to see me fiddling with my iPad. He asked if I knew where we were, so I showed him on the flight tracker.  He thought that ingenious and we talked.

We talked about nothing in particular then he asked, “Where are you from?”

“Sacramento,” I replied.

“NO. I mean, where were you born?” he restated.

“Oh,” I said, “Bakersfield, California.”

He grew more exasperated. “I mean, what are you? What is your race?”

I said, “Mexican” and returned to my iPad.

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I made it to the start of the Indy Women’s half with plenty of time to chit chat with the runners around me.  I mentioned my ambivalence about whether to run with a rain cover or not. They countered with tales of the 2015 race and how it was “Black Flagged” requiring runners to return to the safety of a building and the official cancellation of the race.  I had been warned by a friend in California who ran that particular race but refused to quit and in fact completed her goal; one of 25 women to do so. I hoped that wouldn’t happen this time.

The rain did come and it came in buckets.  This was a little more than Cali drought-traumatized girl like me was ready for.  But I dug in and started to unpack the cluttered drawers of the executive desk I call my brain.  I thought about my feet and the tape I resorted to in hopes of preventing a blister like the one that sabotaged my CIM time. (For the record, I averted any sign of a blister this time.) I thought about the water dripping from my hat.  I thought about the water streaming off my elbow…I had never thought about my elbow in a race before.

I thought about the way the ladies from the Black Girls Run group leapfrogged with me as we crossed watering stations (I carry my water) and how many young Latinas were also in the race.  My stream of consciousness took over and I no longer felt the rain or my feet or my elbows.  I thought about what the men said to me earlier.  The thoughts raced through my brain as deep as the water in the gutters I was trying to avoid.

So, I thought, did that man give me permission to teach the baby Spanish as long as he was assured that he would also learn English?  He was assured that I speak “English pretty good.”  Did he realize that I dumb down my English depending on the audience? Am I supposed to rationalize his comments by saying, “Oh, poor thing had too much to drink?”  I bet he would be the first to say, “Government/schools can tell me how to treat my children.” Perhaps I generalize him to be part of a group that thinks that way, and he is not. Wait, why am I correcting my feelings? Why didn’t I tell him to mind his own business? What would that have changed? That would make me rude and perhaps less than I want to be. Or would it?

And as for that other guy, and his question about where I am FROM.  If he wanted to know my ethnicity why choose those words?  FROM?  FROM implies …not of here, but of another place. His insistence that FROM means ethnicity leads me to think that to him, white people belong here and others are inherently from without and logically then, do not belong here.

I am not FROM anywhere.  I was born here.

Then again, I thought, poor guy is not very smart.  I chastised myself for taking offense to something a not so smart person had to say.

Wait, why are ignorant people allowed to be rude? When did rude and discourteous become become the opposite of politically correct?  They are not opposites.  Rude and discourteous are just bad behaviors.

Then I slapped myself around. If he doesn’t know he is being rude is that his fault? Not if no one corrects him.

What if I had said Mexico? Would his next question be about my legal status?

Should I have asked him where he is FROM? And is being from DUMB BUTT County an excuse to stand up to political correctness (to be rude and discourteous?) Why did he ask me that anyway? I never ask anyone their ethnicity unless they bring it up as part of a conversation. I never think to ask that….which is also a problem. People are proud of their heritage and rightly so. But to ask for no reason at all is weird.

I kept running.  I thought, “Everyone can tell from my pace that I am not Kenyan.”

I looked up and a young woman was praying to Jesus aloud. “This is crazy,”  I said as I nodded to her, “We don’t get this kind of rain in California.”

She said, “I’m gonna pray for you too.”  I thanked her and realized that the finish line was just ahead.

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As I received my medal from a young man in uniform I thanked God for my Runner’s Mind.  My drawers were all unpacked and I was ready for  rest and perhaps some food.  I walked around to the fountain so I could make a picture of it.  I stared at the children playing, holding hands as they circled the base and I thought, no one cares where they are FROM….but I bet at least one of them speaks perfect Spanish.

Siempre hacia adelante!

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Posted in Running, self awareness | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Good bye Nashville

Note: I originally wrote this on May 1, 2016. I published it incorrectly and well… Here it is.


I don’t know, but I’m feeling really melancholy about leaving Nashville today.  Ok maybe it the 16 ounces of Kirin I just swallowed on an empty stomach. Either way, I sure love this city and the surrounding area. 

I came in for the third time in two calendar years to try and accomplish my Tennesee half marathon. You know my story, first a broken shoulder and then a half in Chattanooga that was short by half a mile.  Yeah, so I had to come back (poor me) to try and get that notch on my belt.

In the mean time, I visited museums, local sites of interest and the closest national park sites I could find. And I fell in love..hard.

It’s the people.  At Hillbilly BBQ in Dover (or was it Clarksville) where for 8 dollars I was served 6 pork ribs, 6 oz of coleslaw and another 6 of potato salad, and a diet Dr. Pepper under a patio cover, during a major thunder storm by a young man only too happy to help me out.  Where a young 6 year old made faces at me through the stairwell rails of the tiny shack decorated with the stereotypical barefoot hillbilly smokng a cobb pipe while her mamma and daddy ordered some pulled pork sandwiches

Or maybe it was Lizzy, the eagle lady sitting in her car near the bench people sit on to watch the three week old eaglet and it’s parents trying desperately to keep it fed and warm.  She said, “our” Eagles, like she owned them.  Wait, she does. Doesn’t  she?  


Or maybe it was the little tour guide at the Grand Ole Opry. She lead us around like she were walking among Angels in heaven. Her eyes sparkled with every word she spoke and she floated a as if she held the key to the pearly gates themselves. 


Or maybe it was the waitress who served me bacon and eggs at the nearby CrackerBarrel. Her patience and endless refills of my tea kept me going back for my morning meal throughout my stay. 
It was all of that and more…

People ask me why do you want to go to other states to run… Duh it’s the people!

Posted in Happiness, Running