Monday, August 31, 2020

What I think about when I think about guns

That photo of me during what would become the peak of my adolescent geekdom is at the top of the fourth most viewed post on my blog, titled "Let's Talk About the Gun." Approximately 32,000 people have found it since I posted it in 2014 shortly after I posted the photo for the first time and was deluged with inquiries about "the gun." 

Again, it isn't a gun. You can read about it if you click on the link.

People love guns in this country or google the words a lot.

I was reminded of it tonight when I read about a group of Trump-loving fools riding up Ventura Blvd this weekend in some kind of caravan. I believe shots were fired, but who did what is unclear. The POSPOTUS, of course, tweeted  The only way you will stop the violence in the high crime Democrat run cities is through strength!, which I guess means guns. A friend from Michigan reminded me of the Trump-loving gun-toting cowards who stormed their capitol, fully armed, to protest masks or something or other, their foolish faces screaming into the masked soldiers standing at arms outside the legislative body's door. Those dudes didn't blink, their mouths still behind their black masks, even though there was a bunch of Covid 19-laden spittle hovering in the air. Afterward, I guess the White fools went home and ate some terrible food cooked by their wives who had shopped for it, ignorant that it had been picked and packed and slaughtered and quartered by the immigrants they hate and other sufferers of the fake virus. I was thinking about that hateful White 17 year old fool murderer who drove twenty miles to protect some property in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killed a couple of people and then walked right on by a bunch of cops. I was thinking about those two tacky fool lawyers in pink and khaki and stripes who came out of their faux chateau in St. Louis, Missouri, fully armed as peaceful protesters strolled by, eventually lauded by the POSPOTUS himself at his hateful foolish sycophant fest. Good for them! I heard someone say about them. I started thinking about how people I know keep guns in their house to protect myself and my family. I was trying to imagine what it would feel like to get trained using a gun and then to carry one around in anticipation of or just in case you'd need to kill someone. And then I thought of the brilliant quote by writer and deeply Christian thinker, Marilynne Robinson. It's been over there on my sidebar since I plucked it out of an essay some years ago -- an interview she had done with President Barack Obama. She said, 

Normalizing the idea that we should all go around capable of a lethal act at any moment is completely corrupt and crazy. I wouldn't carry a gun. The reason I wouldn't carry a gun is because it is an immoral act walking around imagining you're going to kill someone. It's a recipe for a completely deranged society. It's grotesque.

Tens of thousands of people have viewed that one silly blog post of mine, and I know it's not because of my gingham dress. We're a completely deranged and corrupt society in the big fat ugly year of double twenties in Terrible America. We are grotesque.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

"You are not behaving like a decent person, and I do not respect you."

You are not behaving like a decent person. 

I do not respect you.

Gabrielle Blair, The Consequences of Your Actions

I hope you'll read the above link, because in this post Gabrielle, otherwise known as Design Mom, writes literally everything that I think, on a nearly daily basis, as I struggle to maintain relationships even in my own family. It's incredibly exhausting and debilitating to all involved, I'm sure, even as I acknowledge how it pales in comparison to my fellow human beings who are fighting for their lives.

A lot has happened in the last week or so since I've been here on the old blog. I tested negative for Covid, thank goodness, and I'm sorry I didn't let you know earlier. I took Sophie to the beach for the first time in years -- down to the water -- in her new beach wheelchair that my parents bought for her. I think I'll leave you with these glorious pictures. Having access to the beach again is transformative and brings me to my knees in gratitude. Sophie was so happy.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


I don't think I can express to you, dear Reader, how grateful I am to have a job teaching and how much I love my students and the place where I work. I teach at a school that uses a one-to-one model, and we went virtual back in March after a week or so of Windexing our rooms and wiping down surfaces to ward off the beginnings of the plague. Sigh.

That seems like forever ago. It was forever ago. The transition to virtual was virtually seamless, to tell you the truth, and while I miss seeing my students and colleagues in person, and Zoom can be exhausting in a weird way,  teaching English literature is doable. I had only a few students all summer long, but the fall term is picking up, and next week I have a nearly full schedule with about 12 students. They range from a darling sixth grade Language Arts guy who bounced up and down all through our fifty minutes together, to a young woman and young man in their last semesters of 12th grade English. I'm also what we call a Tutor/Mentor to a couple of students who struggle with reading. Each student is like a miracle, to tell you the truth. They show up on this weird platform and we work together to learn about literature and writing and life. I am encouraged by their and my own sons' general resilience to #weird world. The term ahead has Catcher in the Rye, Macbeth, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Anne Sexton, Little Women, The Laramie Project, Anne of Green Gables, Out of the Dust, Roald Dahl, Flannery O'Connor and so forth. There's really nothing better than back-to-school for geeks like myself.

In other news, I've been doing a little bit of art these days. I've taken a couple of Zoom classes and dabbled a bit in a handmade book with collage, via an old blogger friend of mine, Suzy Banks Baum. I also ordered an embroidery kit.

This morning, I spent an hour doing paper cut-outs, Matisse style, via Zoom and the London School of Drawing. The instructor even had a jazz playlist on Spotify for us to listen to, and damn if it wasn't the best hour of quarantine that I might have spent.

I feel somewhat at peace of late due to meditation, I guess, and turning things over to a higher power. Just kidding on the higher power. Sort of. Things had gotten so bad that I sort of broke into my higher absurd dark-humored self. Or she came around again after taking a hiatus. Praise Jesus. Even today, for instance. I've been feeling covidy lately, so this afternoon I made an appointment and went for a test. I paid big bucks to stand under a tent with a guy in full PPE who handed me a swab and told me to first cough hard a few times into my mask and then wipe the swab on the inside of both cheeks and on both tonsils. You'll know you've gotten the tonsils when you gag, he said. I then dropped the swab into a test tube and went on my less than merry way. I'll find out by midnight tonight. I don't mean to be glib. It's hot as shit here and northern California is burning. There are people in Terrible America who believe the virus is a hoax, and there are people I love who still support Dear Leader. There are, quite obviously, two Americas and who knows what will happen? I'm struck by the ease with which I got a Covid test, by how much it cost and by how quick the results come in when you have the money to pay. This is not right. This is totally fucked up. But like I said, I'm feeling more at peace these days having surrendered in a small way to all the fuckery in my own world and the outer world. We can only live in the now, as they say.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Making gazpacho on the verge

 A series of movie clips:

So, I can't go into it here, Reader, but I'm being grifted. It's outrageous and frustrating and hurtful emotionally and financially. There's nothing I can do about it, and while I wish I could tell you more, I don't want to enable The Grifter. I've gotten good legal advice about The Grifter and have accepted it. Accepted that I'm being grifted and can do nothing about it, that is.

My tiny little mother mind™ learned from a friend about a concept called status inconsistency which is fascinating, especially when I look on it as a kind of personality disorder. It would explain The Grifter, for sure.

In real life, I am thinking of that old Pedro Almodovar movie Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Have you seen it?

In more cheerful news, both my dudes are home for a short time before leaving to go to their respective campuses where they will be studying virtually or doing some sort of hybrid thing during The Great Pandemic. They are really the greatest sons in the universe. And Sophie is doing pretty well. We had a scare with a person close to us who came down with The Covid and had to be hospitalized, but she is recovering, and we all tested negative (this time, for what it's worth). Sophie had an EEG the other day, and I had to badger The Nice Neurologist for the results, but I'm happy to report that it's the same old, messed-up EEG that it's always been with no ESES.

We have a lot to be thankful for, including the recent appointment to Vice Presidential-candidate, Kamala Harris. I think she's exciting, strong, interesting, brilliant and presidential. At this point, Terrible America could use even a kindergartner to replace the present POSPOTUS, so we're on the way out if not up with Harris.

What are ya'll doing?

Monday, August 3, 2020


On Friday morning, I set up a Zoom call with my friends Louise, Jessica and Sarah. That's them (or is it they?) up there in that photo, except for Sarah. She was probably somewhere near when the photo was taken, talking, probably, or making someone laugh. I can't remember where it was taken, but it must have been in 1985 or shortly after we graduated from college. I coordinated the Zoom call to accommodate three different time zones, the earliest being mine on the left coast and the latest being Sarah's somewhere in France. So we gathered in our little boxes and smiled at each other and laughed and caught one another up on our children, thirteen between the four of us, close to the age we were in that photo, most of whom are already out of college or in college or soon to be in college. Thirty-five years and thousands of miles make no difference. I feel connected in every cell to these women, and the pandemic and all its despair and loneliness melt away for the couple of hours we spent together. It's always with yearning that I leave these meetings and a sad reluctance to separate, the sad little button you click, LEAVE THIS MEETING.

What does it mean -- essential? Pandemic words.

Each morning, Chris sends a brief note of what she's grateful for, and I am at once irritated (the tyranny of gratitude) and buoyed. My sisters and I share strange humor back and forth back and forth our lifetime together. Leslie, Kari and I text one another almost daily with snippets of poetry.  The death of a mother and a father, the illness of a spouse, the ongoingness of caregiving are met with words of love or a well-placed fuck and hearts and check marks, these little messages and connections and it doesn't seem possible to be shored up but it is and we are. Tanya posts pictures of flowers and plants from her walks, sketches everyday objects on her kitchen island, talks on the phone  in her lilting voice and we are both reassured. Debra texts each evening: Feeling the evening covidy feeling, and I know exactly what she means. And the silence from others says everything, essentially.

These friendships are essential. Touch is essential and full body hugs are essential. 

I'm not faint of heart. 

Henry said tonight that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to die after all, but I didn't say that I'd thought it myself. I said some kind of mumbo jumbo about doing good, being kind and helping people out since we appeared to be doomed in these disunited States. I said something sarcastic. I am being taken advantage of, after all, by persons who've betrayed me. Insults and injuries. I cling to that, aware of the danger. A burning bush, not yet consumed.  We had read an article in The Atlantic earlier in the day that set the tone. It didn't tell us anything different than we already knew, but it was written so clearly and concisely.  Terrible America.

Anger veers into dullness eventually and reveals sorrow deep and wide where I guess we tread for a bit, tread water, our feet making walking motions and hands a downward circle. I can do it, maybe forever and maybe not. 


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