To Gillian on Her 17th Birthday

Posted on 10/20/2017 04:57:00 PM
When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors. I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else. I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return. Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake. I answer the heroic question 'Death, where is thy sting? ' with ' it is here in my heart and mind and memories.' 

- Maya Angelou

Angel of Grief is an 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story which serves as the grave stone of the artist and his wife at the Protestant Cemetery, Rome


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Paint!

Posted on 1/05/2017 08:53:00 PM
Hey, here's my cat, surveying the Christmas aftermath and saying, "Don't look at me, I didn't do it."


I adore this picture.

On to other things.

There was some, shall we say, "overlap" between purchasing the house we are living in now and selling the old house.  It was the source of much stress and anxiety for me during an otherwise difficult year of stress and anxiety.  We moved out and then did projects on the old house to improve the sale-ability of the house and it was a good idea and all worked out in the end, but oh lordy how I never want to go through that again.  By the time we sold it, it was better looking than it ever had been and I learned two things:
  1. The idea of doing all the improvements to the house after you move out and not getting to enjoy any of your investment of money, discomfort and hard work is pretty stupid.
  2. After painting literally every surface of every room in that house, neither of us wanted to pick up another paintbrush for the rest of our natural lives.
So we declared a year-long moratorium on painting in the new house.

That moratorium extended organically to twenty-two months out of a combination of business and laziness... mostly laziness. 

We didn't love the Apartment Off-White this entire house had been painted top to bottom, nor the eggshell finish that stains and marks if you so much as look at it cross-eyed, but it sure beat washing out another paintbrush.

But finally in November, I gave it to a deep desire for color and gingerly bought a gallon of turquoise blue paint.  I know you're going to say this is nowhere near "turquoise" and I'll probably agree, but I pulled the color from Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin palette and that's what he called it so I'm not gonna mess with the Master. 



It actually came out more in between Turquoise and Midnight, but I pretty much love it and I'm not gonna complain.

This was a great way to ease my way back into painting projects because I only had to paint half a wall and it required no taping, no plastic on the floor, no standing on ladders, no cutting in at the ceiling joint, and no painting anything with my arms raised above my head. In fact, the whole thing took me a couple of hours one afternoon and a little less the next. My life was hardly disrupted by it. Woo hoo!



Then I got cocky.

The KoH has recently changed jobs and due to reasons! and use or lose leave, he ended up with a little over week off in between Christmas and New Year.  It's actually one of the reasons we had such a nice holiday.  In our whole marriage, we've never both had this time off together before.

My favorite color in all the world in Frank Lloyd Wright's Cherokee Red and I've always wanted to do a room in Venetian Plaster that is that color.  So, inspired by the vast improvement a little splash of color gave the kitchen, and the vast emptiness of a week without work and work projects and getting up for work and going to work, we made plans to burn a couple of our holiday days with a plaster project in the living room.

And so it begins.


   
Owing to my little obsession, I've been to a lot of Wright buildings in my time and let me tell you, Cherokee Red is a tricky color.  What Frank calls Cherokee Red in one building is vastly different than what he calls Cherokee Red in another building. The FLW signature tiles are supposed to be Cherokee Red, but in person, these always look way too bright red to me to be anything close to Cherokee.  The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust uses Pantone 173 for Cherokee Red. The floor at Taliesin West is also supposed to be Cherokee Red but that's not nearly as orange as Pantone 173.  The Cherokee Red at Fallingwater is more brown to than all those things and ultimately I don't think Frank Lloyd Wright even know what he meant when he called something Cherokee Red. But I went to a couple of [insert name of big box hardware stores here], armed with my precious Pantone color swatch book (man, those things have come down in price since I last had to buy one) and a dream.

Eventually, I found a couple of suitable options and settled on one.  Then finding tint-able Venetian Plaster was a trick because employees of both large big box hardware store chains tend to look at you like you have grown a third ear in the middle of your forehead when you start talking about anything but satin and semi-gloss.  

Paint desk guy: "Venutian what?  I do not think that is a Thing." 

Me: "I know it's a Thing.  And it's Venetian, not Venutian."

"Well, we don't have that Thing."

"Actually, look here on my phone. This is your store's app.  It says you have this Thing on aisle 9."

"Hmm.  Guess we do.  But we can't tint it."

"See here where it says in the description of the Thing You Don't Have in your store's app?  It says it's is tintable.  That means that Thing You Say You Don't Do To The Thing You Say You Don't Have is possible."

"Well, we can only tint it these three colors."

"The company's website says you can color match it."

"Yes, but we don't have that color in our computer."

"We if you can color match it, can't you just use this swatch from your paint colors rack as the thing to color match it to?"

"I dunnoo......"

"Just give me my Thing."

Eventually, I got my Thing and even after I watched like fifteen videos on how to put it up, I still needed The KoH to help me understand it because when I saw the technique years ago on Trading Spaces, they did it differently and I couldn't wrap my brain around it.  It's good to have a partner in crime.

This is not really paint.  It's not applied with a paintbrush, but with a trowel or a drywall knife.  Which is interesting.  Now that I've done it once, I kind of get it, but if I'd known then what I know now, it would go a lot smoother.

Step one:


 

Once that is done, on to step two:



I know it looks like we could have just covered the entire wall in the first place, but it actually does matter that you do this step a day later than the first step.  I would have been just as happy to leave it like this because I think it looks like suede, but the texture of the wall was displeasing.

Step three, not pictured, but it looks a lot like step two because we should have just done step two a lot thicker.  Step one also actually.

Step four: sand it all lightly with fine grit sandpaper and then spend two weeks removing red grit and dust form your bookshelves, books, underneath your fingernails, your hair, the corners of your eyes, etc., etc.  This step also not pictured because my camera lens seems to have a film of red covering it.

Step five: burnishing.

This involves taking a metal drywall knife and using all your strength to rub a section of the wall until it doesn't feel like old sandpaper and it becomes polished and shiny in spots.  From me to you: this part suuuuuucks.  You really have to want this if you're going to get through it.

It's also good if you have some indentured servants to help.



The bigger indentured servant was the most helpful of them all, because as it turns out even at my best, I don't really have the strength or weight to put my back into it and do this properly.  Also, I was nursing a really awful head cold at this point in time so I would work for about a minute and a half and start to get dizzy and have to sit down with my head between my knees. 



Eventually, he took a big, metal cement trowel and rubbed the wall vigorously with it until it responded with gorgeous veins, lines and splotches.  I know that sounds a bit sexual and it is.  That's right, baby.

He's my hero.



I could not be more pleased with how it turned out.





And now it's probably going to be another six months before I can think of painting anything again.  

Totally worth it.

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Mrs. Peacock's Piano

Posted on 1/04/2017 05:52:00 PM

Hello, 2017.  May you be a damn sight better than the old year.  You kind of have to be.

When we first saw this house at the open house weekend, there was an old painted red upright piano in the basement.  It was there for inspection and every time we were able to take a look at the house, though other things, like an old church pew in the carport that I desperately hoped they would leave, disappeared.  During our settlement, the previous owners, who grew up in the house, said that they would remove the piano if we wanted them to but that they'd prefer to leave it all other things being equal because they had no place for it.  They explained that a woman named Mrs. Peacock had given it to their mother and it had been there since they were very young children.  I don't know if they painted it or it was always like that but I do know that they'd always just called it, "Mrs. Peacock's Piano."  

Between the two of us, The KingofHearts and I have fixed our fair share of things over the years.  We dragged home one unplayable piano from some woman's garage/construction site The KoH worked on and for the cost of a $30 bag of plastic piano joints, a bit of wood cleaner and some elbow grease, we turned that thing into a real piano that we used for almost a decade. It was the piano the girls first learned to play on until a few years ago a friend gifted us her father's beautiful spinnet piano when he was moving into a smaller space and didn't play anymore.

So, to say the least, we were pretty confident in our piano-restoring abilities and told the owners we'd be happy for them to leave it for us and we'd try to make it playable again.  

However... once we moved in and took a closer look at Mrs. Peacock's piano, it turned out to be in much worse shape than we had originally anticipated.  Restoring it would entail way more money and time then we really wanted to put into it and my suspicion was that even then, we would not really end up with a decent sounding instrument anyway.  So we decided to get rid of it eventually to free up some space in what was now The KoH's wood shop.

Then it sat there for a long time - over a year.

We talked about putting it outside and making into a planter... or a fountain

We talked about cutting the legs off of it and using them to prop up a cabinet where the KoH stores his handmade swords and knives.


We talked about letting the kids take a sledge hammer to it and bringing out the pieces one by one for the garbage collectors to take.  That one felt unnecessarily mean.

We talked about mailing the pieces one by one to my mother... like Radar did with a Jeep in M*A*S*H.  I'm sure she would have appreciated that.

Ultimately, I felt badly about destroying the piano that had been in the house since the 1960s and I decided that Mrs. Peacock's piano - or at least a part of it - belonged with the house. So I pulled off the front panel - which was really quite beautiful - one day last summer and refinished it with antiquing glaze.  


Then I hung it on the wall in the stairwell, alongside some antique windows a friend had given us, which we were using for decoration.


(There are several more of these windows decorating our basement.)

I loved it.   

Eventually, I secured an antique copy of a song that means a lot to me, one of my all-time favorites: "Without a Song,"  That music now sits on the desk to the side of the filigree.

That got me thinking.  What more could we do with Mrs. Peacock's piano so it can live harmoniously among us?

I didn't like the idea of putting it outdoors, because it'd be only a matter of time before the whole thing was destroyed in the weather.  Then one day, The KoH and I hit upon the idea of making it into a desk.  One afternoon he and The Caterpillar removed the keys and hammers and most of the other inner workings from the cabinet, cleaned everything up, and replaced the keyboard desk with a plexiglass cover because, as it turned out, you could see the unique serial number and maker stamp inside, which was pretty cool.



Then they added lights for better homework doing-ability.


I think it is beautiful.

In the meantime, I took some of the hammers and dipped them in resin for unique jewelry opportunities. 


The latest project was completed over the Christmas vacation when I caught a cold and with it, the inability to sleep past three am.  Putting together these piano key sets was actually really fun and done mostly done with leftover materials in The KoH's shop for $0, at least until his router broke in the middle of carving out the edges of the plaques I'd cut and I had to go buy the wood plaques that I glued them to. So like $24.  Still not a bad deal.


Funny story. I came up with this idea out of my very own head and thought I was the most unique-thinking individual in the world for it. Originally, I wanted to do this, but too many of the keys were broken and damaged beyond repair or display quality.  I had all kinds of ideas about adding some of the hammers and other bits of the piano along with music, all modern art-y style, but in the end, I settled on just putting together a few sets of in-tact keys, cleaning up the old ebony and ivory (Did you know that the best way to clean ivory piano keys from the 1800s is with toothpaste? Let that sink in for a second.), staining the wood, adding a bit of hardware and then mounting them on three separate wood plaques. About halfway through the project, I took a look on the interweb and found that not only am I not the only person who's thought of using piano keys as artwork, but see the first hit in this google search? I'm not even the first person to come up with this particular design and place it in a stairwell.  I hate it when other people have my ideas before me.

At any rate, they now live with the face board on the stairwell wall.




I'm still working on a way the ebony from the black keys will become jewelry and The KoH is making the pin board into a jewelry hanger for The Dormouse and there might be a flower bouquet or two to make from the rest of the hammers.  We have more ideas than time and effort, it turns out.

And that's how you cannibalize a piano, my friends.  And how Mrs. Peacock's piano came to be a permanent fixture in this house. Where it belongs.

I think Mrs. Peacock, where ever she is, would be pleased.

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Then Rang the Bells More Loud and Deep

Posted on 12/24/2016 07:47:00 PM In:

About five years ago, I purchased a string of these Jonathan Adler ornament/lights to put in a bowl as a Christmas decoration because they each slowly fade and turn colors, but in no particular order so it doesn't look like most "twinkling" tree lights that flash on and off like a great big neon Eat at Joe's sign. They are hella expensive and hard to find, but each year, I've caught a new sale on Amazon and added one or two strings (each string has just six bulbs on it) to my collection until this year when I finally had enough to to our entire giant tree in them.  They are one of my favorite Christmas decorations.

I love the way they look and they mesmerize me.  Sometimes I just catch myself staring at them for blocks of time that are entirely too embarrassing to mention here.  


One of my other favorite decorations is this little Christmas village, which I'm sure has been featured on this blog before, but The KingofHearts bought these little vintage-ish bubble lights this year and we paired them together.


My mother purchased these, I think, in 19mumblesomething and I've always loved them.  As a kid, I spent hours arranging the village and moving around the little pine cone people. Now my kids do the same.  I was just saying to someone how I'd never seen anything like them before, and then last weekend we were in an antique shop and I looked in a basket to find this:



I called The KoH over to take a look at them and the antique store lady tried to tell me what they were.  "Oh, I know," I said and whipped the picture above that was still on my phone out to show her.  I thought briefly about buying them all and maybe I should have, but mine were all in much better condition.

The girls' ornaments this year continue to reflect what's going on in their lives.  This year, the theme of our lives was leaves.  We were inundated with leaves from our little forest and spent most of the year, mowing, raking, and otherwise removing piles of them.  We even had a group of people from church come by and remove leaves one weekend.  They spent a half a day raking up and carrying bags and bags of them off and just as they were heading off, the wind picked up and dropped every last leaf that was left on a tree over the beautiful clean lawn they had left us. They each drove away from our house with a single tear in their eye, watching a new batch of leaves falling to the ground like snow.  By the next morning, the leaves were shin-deep again.  

But not to worry, because we then had two days of crazy strong winds and I walked outside the morning after to find the wind had arranged our leaves carefully and thoughtfully:



And then I followed the yellow brick road until I found a wizard and asked him to give me a heart.

Anyhoo... 

The girls' ornaments this year are actually leaves. Oak leaves, gilded, made by someone I found on the internet.  They're gorgeous.  The internet still holds few positives for me - but only a few.

This is the Caterpillar's:



And the Dormouse's:


My favorite story of the month is how much fun it has been watching my girls prepare for Christmas presents for each other this year. The shorter of the Shortlings especially, is taking this gift-giving process very seriously and has been working for weeks to hand make presents for The KoH and me.  It's a good thing it's an incredibly sweet gesture or we'd all have become sick of the mechanizations that go on order for these presents to be made and would have lost patience with them long before we did.  We have been banned from entire levels of the house. We have each had to go to at least six different stores for special crafting supplies. We have listened to her argue with fabric and thread.  We have picked up scissors left on the floor after we stepped on them.  And I don't know about my gift, but The KoH's gift was as much a chore for me as it was a project for her.  That's another story for another day.

For her sister, however, the perfect gift had to be purchased in a store.  And that perfect gift consists of preferred and desired art supplies, which are markers that cost $8+ a piece.  I took her shopping for them and patiently explained that for the amount of money these cost, versus the amount of money she had, she should probably just buy less expensive supplies so she could get her sister something more than two markers at best.  She selected a paint and colored pencil set and we headed home.  Then she immediately regretted it because it wasn't what she had wanted at first.  (A good portion of our lives these days is spent dealing with the aftermath when something challenges the world view of The Caterpillar.  It's exhausting.)  We both assured her that she had made the right decision and The Dormouse would be happy with her gifts, but she still wanted to go back and buy the crazy expensive colored markers with whatever money she had left which was about $3 - not even enough to buy one marker.  

Finally, she appealed to the nerd in both of us and presented us with this equation:



Oil pastels + paints = 50% chance for Sister to hug me
Oil pastels + paints + fancy markers = 70% chance for Sister to hug me

With that kind of logic, who can argue? I took her to the store and paid the ungodly amount of $60 for a set of six fancy markers. I AM NOT MADE OF STONE, PEOPLE!

At the store, she told me she didn't have enough money to pay for all the markers (actually she didn't have enough to pay for one - I'd known that at the outset).  I told her that I'd cover her but she had to make me a deal, she had to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else. She offered to take over some of my chores around the house, but I told her I didn't want it to be for me; I wanted her to look for nice things to do for other people (I was going for "sister" people, actually, hoping to improve that relationship these days) and to keep doing them until she felt like her debt was paid off. It was up to her to decide when she'd done enough.

As we were walking out of the store on a cold, rainy night, we went down the steps next to a man who was sitting outside on one of the stairs. I greeted him. He said "Merry Christmas" and we both responded in kind.  He hesitated and then said, "I'm sorry to ask this, but my ride didn't come and I'm trying to get home, do you happen to have a couple of dollars for the bus?"  

I apologized and explained that I had no cash, but I wished him luck and he thanked me anyway.  We started to walk away but The Caterpillar yanked on my coat sleeve and turned to go back.  She ran back to him and pulled the $3 she had planned on using for... I don't know, half a marker?... and handed it over to him.  Then she told him Merry Christmas and ran back and grabbed my hand.

"That's a start," she said.

I don't know about you, but it's been really hard to believe in humanity lately and I needed this.  It was one of the sweetest moments I've ever experienced with my children and I nearly burst into tears.  But I held it together because I never did get that heart from the wizard.

Then the next night, I took The Dormouse out to shop for a gift for The KoH.  She found something appropriate after a long while of looking, but again didn't have enough money to cover it all.  I made the same deal with her that I'd made with The Caterpillar the night before; I'd give her the money, but she needed to do something nice for someone else.  Something big enough to cover the value of this gift and she had to decide when she'd done enough.

She thought for a moment and sighed heavily.  

"Can I just GIVE you the money?"

Well, we're batting .500 at least.


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Christmas 2016

Posted on 12/22/2016 10:14:00 AM In:
Good gravy, will this year never end?

*sigh*

I suppose I should document our Christmas cards this year.

Outside: 
Inside:

We had the most fun staging this photo, because it's not often that you get to drop a giant tree on your children and then tell them to move this way and that because they don't look dead enough.


Last year, we bought a tree and argued about the height of it because we always end up getting a tree that's too big for the room once you put it in the tree stand. Now we have "fourteen-foot ceilings," as he keeps putting it, so we got a much bigger tree than prior years, but I still kept saying certain trees were too tall and we should pick a shorter one because The KingofHearts keeps forgetting that the fourteen-foot point of our ceiling has a wall attached to it and the rest slopes downward, so it's not actually fourteen feet.  We took the tree home and put it up and I made the mistake of saying out loud that we actually could have gone a little bit bigger with the tree.  That was the living end for The KoH and he told that story about the next eleven months about how I was Wrongy Wrongerson from Wrongsville, Wrongington and I said we had to have a shorter tree, but the second we put it up, I totally agreed with him and he was right and he'll never listen to me again.

So this year, I said nothing about height of the tree. No. Thing. 

I let them pick the tree they wanted and thought would fit.

Here it is in all its glory:


This was after he cut like three feet off the bottom.  If it seems like it's bending to the will of the ceiling, you're right, it is.  We cut the tip off [insert circumcision joke here] shortly after the photo was taken.

Because as it turns out, see that sloped ceiling?  There's only about ten feet from the ceiling to the floor if you want to actually put the tree in a place where you might actually be able to walk around it or where it's not spreading its branches into the fireplace... which... I'm no fireman, but seems like a bad idea to me.

But either way, it's gorgeous and I love it.  Even if the star has to be attached six inches lower than the top of the tree.



We are having a lovely holiday season, despite the fact that 2016 has treated us like a horse that was rode hard and put away wet.

I might have shared this gif sometime last year, because there is no more appropriate image I have yet seen that describes how awful 2015 was for me. If I were to make a gif for 2016, it'd just be me continuing to bounce around at the bottom of the slide some more, and maybe a six year old wanders up and kicks me in the ribs a couple of times. 

I'm looking forward to a much better 2017.  It has to get better, right?

Please?

Bonus beautiful kids picture that we couldn't quite make work for a Christmas card.




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Am I Angry?

Posted on 11/12/2016 11:05:00 AM
Tuesday's election in the U.S. has devastated me like few other things have. 

Am I angry? Yeah, I'm angry.

The night before the election was also the night before I was getting on a plane to go to a week long conference.  I participated in early voting so I wouldn't miss my chance.  This has been a long and horrible process and we're all ready for it to be over. We have clear and strong opinions about the candidates and issues in our house but just the same, we have tried... very hard... to keep to civil discourse in discussing even those strong opinions in front of our children. We don't keep from talking about our thoughts about the political discourse within their earshot, but we also don't bad mouth opponents of candidates we like. I try to refer to them all by their full names or titles rather than just throwing around last names like they are curse words.  But as I was putting my youngest to bed the night before the election, she looked up and said to me, "Mom?"

"Yes?"

"If Mr. Trump wins, are we going to have to move to Cuba?"

I made some joke about trading one fascist dictator for another and assured her that Mr. Trump would not be the President.  I reminded her that this is the same country that elected Barack Obama twice.  I had faith in us.

I was wrong.

Basically, we have an unqualified, racist, misogynist, homophobe who was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan getting ready to take White House now.  And all because the other candidate, an extremely qualified and competent woman whom we've been brainwashed to hate for the last 30 years, who, despite the fact that large groups of people have spent decades and millions attempting to prove she did something illegal and failing to do so, simply rubs many people the wrong way.  Because where was the outrage when the Bush administration "lost" 20 million emails?  Were people chanting to lock him up? Why is this only a problem now?  Where was the outrage during Iran-Contra, one of the biggest presidential scandals ever? Or in this very election, what about when "he" refused to release the tax records for taxes that he most likely didn't pay for the last 20 years? But you're worried about "her" transparency? What about when "he" encouraged and downright asked for Russian hackers to commit espionage toward the United States in a public forum? What about the bankruptcies, the 3500 lawsuits, the hundreds of defaults on payments for services that he agreed to pay to hardworking service providers? Where was your outrage then? Was that somehow better? You say you don't trust her? Well of the two, whom do you think is more trustworthy? Do you really think that of the two, "she" is the crooked one?  No, this is far exceeding that. This is because it's "her."  This is because you don't like her pantsuits.  This is brainwashed misogyny, pure and simple.  Because even if you didn't feel comfortable voting for "him," when you voted against "her" or you didn't vote at all, you basically cast your vote for "him" and for what he stands for.

I had to explain to my youngest daughter what a "pussy" was this month.  Hint: not the cat kind.  And what it means to grab a woman by hers.  Because despite the fact that we watch literally zero news channel television in our house, that horrible tape of the man who will now be the President and will swear to protect the constitution of the United States that my daughters are growing up in was on TV 24 hours a day -- even on channels that have kids' programming.

They heard him say it.

They know what he meant.

They know that "all men" don't talk like that.  

No one they know talks like that.  

The first time they heard disgusting talk like that -- and I'm not talking just the words, I'm talking about the attitudes that women are objects to be fondled and used -- the first person in their lives that they heard express those sentiments?  He was an accepted candidate for the Presidency of the United States they live in.

*sigh*

I was sexually assaulted when I was about the age my older daughter is now.  A man literally did "grab me by the pussy."

My friends and I were at a wave pool, boogie boarding. It was crowded.  When the wave came, I - along with about a hundred others - flopped onto my board to surf to the beach side and in the commotion, someone I could not see behind me, stuck his hand between my legs and grabbed my genitals.  Hard.  He (I assume a he because the assumption is probable, but I admit that it could have been anyone) tried to put his finger where he had no right.  I kicked and wriggled and managed to get out of the grasp and when the commotion ended and we surfed to the beach and the wave was gone, he was lost in the crowd.  I had no idea who it was.  I never saw. 

I was humiliated. Mortified. I thought it was somehow my fault for prancing around in my modest, one piece bathing suit in public.  For even daring to be there in the first place. For not simply staying home and inside. I didn't know what to do about it.  I didn't have any tools for doing ANYthing.  So I went back to my beach towel on the sand I never. told. anyone.

The truth is I was not raped. I was not seriously hurt.  For that I am grateful.  But I was changed that day. 

I'd almost stopped thinking about that incident.  I pushed it down and put it behind me. Or so I thought... until I heard the man who would eventually become the Republican nominee for President of the United States, along with a cousin of two presidents, egging him on and then doing a little men's elbow-you-in-the-ribs inside joke later, encouraging an innocent bystander woman to give that same man who had denigrated and objectified her not five minutes prior, a hug... and laughing about it like little boys who got away with looking at a naked lady in a National Geographic magazine. It all came rushing back like a bad dream. And it sickened me. 

And that sickening feeling was added to the sickening feeling provided by a hundred other things he had said before that and the hundred other things he would continue to say after it.

That man/boy/child/person at the wave pool?  The person who did that to me was probably not a monster.  He was a regular person, enjoying a day at the fake beach just like me and my friends. It was probably some kid who got a feeling of titillation out of trying something and getting away with it.  A regular person who had been sent the message over and over that women and girls are objects to do with as you please. A kid, who wasn't told not to do that shit by his parents, his community... or his President.

And now, maybe that manchild is going to be the President of the United States some day too.  Maybe that manchild is the one who will be in January.  It could be; I never saw him.  

I'm angry because what we all said when we voted for "him" and even those who didn't vote for "him" but chose to vote against "her" because "she" rubs us the wrong way is that we know what "he" said.  We know what "he" did. To Jews, to Muslims, to gays, to Mexicans, to women...  We know what he thinks because he's told us... over and over.  For YEARS.  I am waaaay less bothered by the fact that this one man won an election than by the fact that 47.5% of the voters heard these things from that man's own mouth and said, "You know what? I'm okay with that."

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

And the worst part about it is this man, whom you elected, has no intention of representing you either.  He will use this position to line his own pockets and feed his own ego - the only two things that truly matter to him.  You think he'll find you a job? Doubtful.  You think he'll keep your access to healthcare? It's probably already gone.  You think he'll work to fix what's wrong in your community?  He couldn't care less about your community.  Do you think your children will be safer? He has already indicated his intention to remove gun-free school zones.  Even if he's not as bad as we all think, do you think he'll work to make the country a better place for your daughters and sons to grow up in and learn to be kind, equitable people in a functioning Democracy next to other people who are kind and equitable?  He has proven he has no intention of doing that.  

I already am hearing from my fellow therapists - some who provided services to kids after Newtown, after Orlando, after Columbine, and Sandy Hook, - that their clients are afraid because this has emboldened people who think that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems and they are not just afraid for their ease of living in this country; they are afraid for their lives.

This is not the country I want to live in.  And that's the most devastating part of an already really devastating year: we are not the people I believed we are.

I called my kids from my conference Wednesday morning, despite the fact that I could barely keep it together enough to keep from crying on the phone.   And I am not a cryer over presidential elections.

They are scared.

Let that sink in.  My kids are scared of the person who will be President.

Maybe I could have done a better job as a parent shielding my children from the things this man who will be President says, but to be honest, I don't think I should have to.

They are worried their friends at school will be deported.  They are worried that their gay friends' marriages will be dissolved and they will be forced into conversion therapy.  They are worried that as Mormons, they will somehow also be identified as "other" someday down the road and have to sign into the same registry that he said he would create for Muslims.  They are worried that we'll hate each other even more than we already do.

It was very hard not to agree with every one of those fears. I am worried too.

When I called them, I told them that I knew they were disappointed. I was disappointed too.  All because a little less than half the country and a whole lot of political gerrymandering decided to grab at all the power and good people couldn't vote against that because, "I don't like her.  I can't explain why. I just don't like her." 

I also told them that just like in Orlando, and Newtown, and on September 11, and so many other events we've witnessed together, that there are as many people running toward the flames as away. That people will still be there to keep us safe and work toward equality for everyone. That fortunately our governmental system has other checks and balances and while this man may have a lot of power, he doesn't have all the power.  And that people, as we spoke, were donating money in record numbers to organizations that work to protect the vulnerable and at risk from the statements and policies that he supports and that I was doing the same.  I told them that we would still stand up for people who are bullied, who are afraid, who are not treated fairly, and that we would work doubly hard to make sure this never happened again.  I told them that now more than ever, it's incumbent upon all of us to demonstrate kindness and equity for all... and I expect no less than that of them, of myself, of us all.  

I almost believe it.

What I learned from this, is that this country is way more sexist than it is racist... as Patton Oswald said, "...and it's pretty f***ing racist."

So am I angry?

Damn right I am.

I am livid.


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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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