Friday, January 20, 2017

An Inaugural Pledge

For all of my life, I have paid attention to presidential inaugurations.  A minimum, I’ve found time to hear the president’s speech.  At maximum, I’ve watched every moment.   In 2008, I kept my son home from school so we could watch Barack Obama’s inauguration together.  I wanted JT to forever remember the historic moment.

But 2017 is different.  It’s not just that my candidate didn’t win the Electoral College while winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.  I watched the inauguration of George W. Bush, despite the fact that he lost the popular vote to Al Gore.  Today’s inauguration of the spectacularly unqualified Donald J. Trump is  a profound disappointment for me.  In the months since Donald Trump’s November election, I’ve dreaded the moment that our nation’s collective fate is in the hands this self-absorbed megalomaniac.  I will eventually find time to read the Cheetoh Kleptocrat’s speech.  I will be glad of a peaceful transition of power.  But after that, everything about this day is filled with anxiety.  There is no cause for celebration.

And so I pledge to stand tall for equality and justice; for the liberty that we the people claim for ourselves and must always cultivate.  Our nation has endured and even flourished in the face of outside threats to our values.  The test moving forward is to endure and flourish when the threat comes from inside.  I would be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t afraid.  

On the evening of the election, as the horrible realization dawned upon us, my liberal 16 year old son developed a case of hives to go with his growing anxiety about the meaning of Trump’s victory.  Repeatedly, I reassured him that we would be fine and that the task that lay ahead would be for us to make sure to look after those who might not be fine in a Trump Administration.  And then my big strong boy, the son of two mothers who has not once experienced discrimination against his family, asked if his moms and their partners would be safe.  I reassured him that gay folks have endured much worse than Donald J. Trump and that we would be around long after he was gone.  

For me, that moment is the compass the directs me as we move forward.  I will not live in fear.    

I am strong.  I am in the majority.  I will not bend in the face of threats to values that have endured far longer than the bluster of one hateful, ignorant man.   This is our country just as much as it is Mr. Trump’s.  He is the test history has sent us.  I pledge to resist him with every fiber of my being.  I will be strong.  I will be good.  I will stand with the vulnerable.  I will speak truth the power.  Every day, for as long as it takes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sunday at Costco: Why? edition

It snowed on Saturday and the six hours of smelling wrestlers in the gym exhausted T and me.  After the grappling, we sought naps, not more time in the company of people.  So, instead of going to Costco on Saturday, I went on Sunday.  Happily, there was no shortage of strange sightings to behold.

1. A man in camo shorts, dress shoes, and a sweatshirt pushing a cart full with a toddler and average food items.  Had he run out of suitable clothes for shopping?  Come from a church-related hunting outing? It’s so hard to know.

2.  A different man in cargo shorts, hiking boots, a winter hat and a heavy parka.  Again, I am forced to wonder exactly where he had been or where he was headed.

In both instances, I must also admit: my son wears shorts all year, pretty much no matter the weather.  Is he going to be one of those men someday?

3.  Two men haranguing their disinterested wives, who were filling their carts with your usual Costco items.

4.  Countless examples of leggings.  Internet, I believe I have made myself clear on this matter.

In the interest of full disclosure, my cart contained the following items: 5 cartons of ultra-pasteurized half & half (Mama’s coffee needs are met through February); a 3-pack package of organic chicken breasts; 1 bin of fresh blueberries; 2 loaves of bread; and a 5-pack of men’s deodorant.  I was not wearing leggings.

Oh, New Jersey.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Amaryllis Tuesday: Week Four, January 17

This week, as we march toward the inauguration of a man who is wholly unsuitable to be the executive of our nation, the amaryllis is a reminder of patience and the power of endurance.  I do not expect good things for my country in the era of Trump and while I resist with all my might, I will look for hope where I can find it.  This week, I find it here in a stem standing strong and looking toward the light.

Monday, January 16, 2017

On Good Trouble

To celebrate the life, leadership, and accomplishments of Reverend Martin Luther King in the same week that we will inaugurate a man singularly unqualified to lead our nation and who did not win the popular vote is one sort of irony.  That Mr. Trump has chosen this week to strike up a conflict with Representative John Lewis, a member of Congress and a Civil Rights leader who worked with Reverend King and has the scars to prove it, completes this circle of irony.

Representative Lewis, now 77 years old, remains active in defense of equality, liberty, and justice.  It is the struggle that has shaped his life.  When he speaks of his work in the civil rights movement, he contextualizes it by calling it “good trouble.”  In celebration of the accomplishments of Martin Luther King and his movement, in support of Representative John Lewis, and in resistance to Mr. Trump, let’s remember not to duck from “good trouble” when it comes our way.  Now is the time to do the right thing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Not a Fan

The backstory: On Instagram, I follow a woman named Jen Hatmaker.  She lives in Austin, Texas and writes about her life as a wife, mother, and Christian.  On the face of it, we don’t have much in common, but I like her sensibility and her sense of humor.  From her, I’d adopted the idea of an occasional rant about the small annoyances in life.  She calls her rants “Not a Fan” and that rather sums it up, so my occasional rants will also arrive under that title.

1. Yoga Pants at School
Part of my job as Assistant Principal comes with the expectation that I will enforce the dress code, which forbids leggings, leotards, yoga pants, and all things of that ilk unless they are worn under a skirt, dress, or tunic top.  With the caveat that there are a near endless variations of these things that you may wear to cover your backside, I’m calling them all yoga pants.  In the world of adolescence, everything is negotiable and thus I often find myself in the unenviable position of saying to a young woman that her top is not long enough to be worn with her yoga pants.  I am not a fan of these conversations and I wish that the mothers of my school would stop this problem at the pass by not permitting their daughters to leave home in clinging yoga pants and short tops. 

2.  People Who Complain to Me About Girls Wearing Yoga Pants at School
The only thing worse than dealing with girls and their revealing yoga pants is people who complain to me about girls wearing yoga pants to school.  I enjoy these conversations even less than I enjoy speaking with the girls themselves about their yoga pants.  That the complainers are sometimes guilty of wearing yoga pants themselves makes it even better.  

3.  Yoga Pants
I do not care for the current style of wearing yoga pants all the time.  Under no circumstances do I wish to see your bootie in a pair of yoga pants.  I will tolerate it at the gym because, hey, you may be headed to yoga.  But otherwise, I feel like your yoga pants create a level of intimacy between us that I do not wish to experience.  Athleisure wear, it's time for your turn in the limelight to end.

4.  Pants at All, Actually
I personally do not enjoy wearing pants.  I prefer a skirt or a dress.  In theory, I can see that pants may be handy.  In practice, I find them binding and uncomfortable.  In the Summer, I never think about pants.  But when the weather turns cool, I imagine that pants would make life easier.  They’d be easier than putting on tights to keep my legs from turning blue, I think.  In theory, I could slip my pants on and run my errands, attend the athletic event du jour, and go countless other places where pants would be convenient.  In reality, I dislike the way pants feel, I don’t care for my appearance in them, and I feel silly when I wear them.  So pants and I are barely on speaking terms and soon enough I will be longing for warmer days when a skirt and flip flops will do the job.

Friday, January 13, 2017

On Mornings

I haven’t always been a morning person, but the older I get the more I find mornings to be a lovely part of my day.  In the quiet as the sun rises, I have time to read and think; to write and make plans for my day.  

On school days, I get up at 5:30 am and after my shower, I drink coffee, practice Spanish, catch up on work e-mails, read, and write while I eat breakfast and listen to NPR.  I use the time to make a mental list of the things that must be accomplished or attended to in the day.  That quiet hour sets me up for all that the day will bring.  

On days off, I’ll often get out of bed at 7 am and still be drinking coffee, reading, and writing at 9 or later, when the rest of my family surfaces.  The quiet is time for me to take stock of the passage of time and the pace of our days and weeks.

Morning is lovely no matter the season.  In the late Fall and Winter, I rise in the darkness and watch the sun peak over the horizon as I enjoy my coffee.  In the Spring and Summer, I wake with the sunlight.  If the morning is warm enough, I can steal a few minutes outside.  In the Summer, my early morning wake up permits me the luxury of time outside before the heat of the day has taken hold.  

I enjoy the quiet; the sounds of nature; and my sense that a new day feels fresh.  I like the fact that even the busiest of days can start with time for quiet; a pause before the chaos begins.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Amaryllis Tuesday: Week Three, January 10

Just like that, the month of January is in double-digit days (though barely in double digit temperatures!).  The amaryllis is doing its thing, soaking up the sunshine from its southern window., and inching ever upward toward a Winter bloom.

That’s happy!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Real Life Conversations with T: Valentine edition

The backstory: T and I were grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon when we came across the Valentine candy section.

T:  I suppose I should get my Valentine some chocolate.

Me (while visions of delicious Lindt truffles swirled in my head):  Yes, yes you should.

A few minutes later, this decidedly low-rent box of candy was in my cart.  When I saw it, T had a question.

T:  We good?

Internet, she’s taken.

Friday, January 06, 2017

In the Thick of It

We returned to classes on Tuesday; JT starts midterm exams today.  Over our Winter Break, I updated my new 2017 calendars, laying out the wrestling meets and assorted events that will take us to our mid-March Spring Break.  Though 2017 is new, we are nearly at the mid-point of the school year and experience reminds me that the months ahead will rush by in a flurry of activities and events.

JT is a Junior this year and I’m aware that his application for and departure to college is in our sights.  I’m not quite ready for the time to fly by so quickly.  But I remind myself that I’m not in control of the calendar.  I am in control of how I manage these rapidly passing days.  I make sure to make time to enjoy the moments as they unfold; I take time to laugh and enjoy my son’s company.  When he runs, or has a wrestling match or a baseball game, I am there.  My goal now is the same as always —— to raise a happy adult.  For years, that seemed like a distant goal.  These days, it seems a bit closer than I expected.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Real Life Conversations with My Boss: Toilet repair edition

The backstory: My boss and I have a lot of conversations. Surprisingly, none have made this blog.  This is either due to a stunning degree of professionalism on my part or the fact that all of our conversations are insanely profane. I’ll let you be the judge.  Upon our return to school on Monday, we had a conversation about toilet repair, a subject readers of this blog may recall from 2015.  

Me:  We have two weeks off but my toilet chooses Sunday night for the handle to break.

B:  Didn’t you just repair that?  You people are hard on a toilet.

Me:  That may be…..but in any case, I yet again confront a broken flush handle.  When I diagnosed the problem, both T and JT were cavalier, offering up something along the lines of, “your last repair was never any good.”

B:  An unwise response.

Me:  Agreed.  In any case, I am once again about to replace the toilet handle.  Let’s hope this repair doesn’t come in for criticism or the two of them will be sent outdoors to do their business.  

One You Tube toilet handle repair video refresher course later, a new handle has been installed.  We are flushing like champs.