Please VOTE Today

I have worked in politics for many years.  I used to say, “Please vote, I don’t care who you vote for, but please just vote.”

This year is a lot different, they advocate policies that could kill my children.

I do want you to just vote but I can’t say I don’t care any more who you vote for.  I have three kids, one who is gay, one who is bisexual and one who is straight.  Legislation in this country is repeatedly being brought up or challenged based on the Right and their anti-equality agenda.  The VP on the Republican ticket literally advocates for conversion therapy.

NOT ON MY WATCH.

There is no way it would be responsible of me to sit back, say nothing, pretend I don’t care.  While I have engaged in a great number of Twitter debates, I have only lurked on DailyKos this cycle because there is only so much hate one person can take.  The amount of Bernie Bros I have had to block calling me an “insider” and “see you next Tuesday” is astonishing.

We do NOT have proportional representation in our legislative body.

You can complain about it.  You can throw your vote to someone who will never get a chance out of principle.  WHATEVER. But there are a number of organizations and lobby groups that could use your new-found enthusiasm to shake things up.  All you do here is to ensure that you don’t get a seat at the table.  Do you really think that Republicans are going to meet with you over your pet project?  They don’t give a SHIT about your project and they WILL look up your voting record before you come to your appointment. (You know that’s public record, right?)

There is a formula for all things, legislative concern is no different.

It’s been a while since I have been to DC, asking questions and knocking on doors.  One thing that was very clear before is that there is power in numbers.  I was told once by an aid that they don’t really pay attention to an issue until they exceed 100-150 inquiries to their office from their constituents.  You feel passionate about a bill coming up regarding shoreline issues in California?  Then get California people to get on the phone, send emails, ask their representative to see your side of said issue.  THEN, when you request an appointment to discuss your organization, they are going to pay closer attention to what you say because their constituents care.

It’s not perfect government, but it’s what we have.

You can be pissed off but the reality is you need Democrats to push progressive bills through.  You will rarely find a Republican sign on to bills deemed “controversial.”  The content of the bill will change more than once in committee and some items removed to appease centrist Republicans.  Does that piss you off?  FINE.  However, this is the system of government we were given. Be realistic.  This is not a dictatorship.  Checks and balances exist so no one person can run over everyone.  How did GWB get away with everything he did?  Because too many progressive people didn’t vote.  We outnumber them.  Start showing up.  If we have “the greatest nation in the world” we should be over a 70% of registered voters showing up to cast a ballot.

You are handing extremists the ability to take over and dismantle Obama’s legacy.

We have all seen the pictures.  The comparisons to a certain period of time in Europe are not just coincidence.  The KKK has endorsed THAT guy.  Your vote for your “principles” is a vote to allow them to take away protections for my children that should be automatic.

Please VOTE.  Please.  Please.

#ImWithHer

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kevin Project

Many of you know that I married a disabled Vet, Kevin, and/or that my daughter, Emma, is trying to go through the steps to make the Junior Dream Team and later, the US Olympic Archery team.  This week, there have been a ton of discussions in our house after the tragic events in Texas and later in California…both committed by Veterans.  I felt like I should post something and decided it would be a movie I had to do for school.  I chose to do the short film about the relationship between Kevin and Emma.

I think that there is too much negativity in the media about Vets and not enough positive stories.  I know I can’t change that all by myself but I am setting the intention with the hopes that some people decide to follow my lead.  Too many Veterans and their families are suffering not knowing they can get help at the VA and how to get it.  Too many people are denying jobs to Veterans because they are afraid of the stereotype.  Too many caregivers are not getting the assistance they need mainly because there is not a great deal of publicity around programs that can help them right now.

This has to stop.

Its hard.  Each and every day along with taking care of myself, my kiddo and my animals, I have to now have the daily responsibility for a Veteran that would rather be able to do things for himself.  It’s frustrating for him and its frustrating for me.  But I remind him.  I remind him to get his hearing aids and to drink water.  I remind him he needs to shower before he puts his leg brace on.  I remind him of all the tasks he has while I am struggling to remember my own.  When he gets cranky because I have told him twice to do something, I endure.  If I don’t tell him, regardless of his reactions, he will suffer far worse than I.

In between, something amazing has happened.

Even when he has to take a pill to make the headaches subside just a little each morning, he still gets out of bed.  Even though his shoulders and elbows ache, he still packs up his bow in the car with Emma’s.  Even though he could sleep 20 hours a day, he endures so Emma can excel.

And boy, do we laugh!

I hope you watch this and it changes your impression of Veterans just a bit.  I hope it reminds you the next time you hear someone, read an article, watch a news report and you see an over generalized negative impression of Veterans, I hope it causes you to take action.

We need you.  

One person CAN make a difference

I was watching TV this morning and again, energy company commercials are running trying to scare people into forcing elected officials into keeping subsidies in place.  Seriously, people, get with it…an industry that posts BILLIONS in profits can afford to pay their taxes!  Jobs won’t be cut from it but if they do, I would be okay with it being this guy:

Chairman and CEO, EXXON MOBIL CORP (XOM), Headquarters: IRVING, TX


In 2010, R. W. Tillerson received $28,952,558 in total compensation. By comparison, the median worker made $33,190 in 2010. R. W. Tillerson made 872 times the median worker’s pay.

Seriously, its time for Americans to be outraged.  Click here and search for ANY of the corporations that operate here and see what they are paying the guy in charge and then explain to me why they can’t pay taxes.  I just don’t believe it.  Vote for candidates willing to end corporate welfare.  This is a way to help our country by ending subsidies that could pay our debt!  Tell a friend, write a letter to your Congressman, DO SOMETHING!

I submit a much better way of spending a tiny amount of money…feeding people:

The Comforts of Home

Cross posted at Vet Voice and Daily Kos

I love my home.  Although I wished I owned my own, no matter where I live, I make it my own.  After years of living in large places, downsizing allowed me to choose only the things I love and cherish them.  In today’s society that thrives on reality television, I think the idea of this has diminshed a great deal.  So many people need crisis as a distraction and things as comfort.  I hope that people wake up this morning and look at this squarely in the face and recognize the shift that needs to occur, both in themselves and this country.

Last night, I received a call from my brother and I was instantly transported to a call from my sister on 9/11.  Living in Hawaii at the time, I was not yet awake to have knowledge of the most horrific sight I have witnessed in all of my 42 years.  That day, it took me eight hours to get in touch with my brother, who was to have been working in the Pentagon on a contract.  I can not ever remember being more frightened in my life.  My entire family worked in Federal or Local government buildings at the time and the lines to all of them were jammed.  Waking up to another call, yet on the other side of the emotional spectrum, was surprising.  I can honestly say, I never thought I would see this in my life time.

Most of my life I have lived as a military dependant and now, sharing my home with a combat disabled Veteran and former Gitmo guard, I have never more acutely aware of how much I love my home and its comforts.  The love of my life lost much of his hearing, his ability to sleep at night and friends he worked along side.  Outside of being an operator myself, I believe I am supremely aware of the sacrifices made by service members as well as the greatest asset we have; I am so grateful for our intellegence community and special ops groups.  THIS is how you get something done.  This is the best of the best and it is great to see when it works.  I also am thankful that our Commander in Chief was willing to commit to the decision and its execution.

Too often Americans go through our lives, focused so narrowly that we do not do enough.  I know I am not one of those.  I work to feed and clothe the homeless, to help facilitate elections and educate the populations.  I have given up days of my own to ensure fair and accessable elections, I write letters to members of government, corporations, and organizations.  I say the things that other people are frightened of.  One day I hope that in some small way, I inspire others to do the same.  As impatient as I can be, I am not going to sit around waiting for that to happen.  In the spirit of some peoples new found patriotism today, I ask you to do something, anything, to make your country a better place.  If everyone would pitch in, even just an hour a week, we could restore our country to its former glory.  This cannot happen without all of us.  Stop relying on someone else to fix our economy/community/government.  Do something.  NOW.

Need a suggestion?  Too easy:

Volunteer–Teens can get busy right now. Go to Do Something and sign up today!

GOTV–No matter your political party, you can help get people to the polls on Election Day. Just one day to volunteer is not a lot to ask. Contact your local Party office or Candidate of choice and tell them you want to participate in the GOTV events in your area.

Register to Vote–If you aren’t registered to vote, please do so now. As a grown up that lives in this country, there is really not an excuse for not being responsible enough to exercise your civic duty. If you still don’t, then please don’t complain. You sign away your rights to complain about any politicians when you decide not to elect responsible representation.

Give money–Not everyone has millions to give to charity, however did you know that 40 meals can be provided by a food bank on approximately a $10 donation? Each pay day, I find the extra $5 or $10 to give, even when times are so tight for us. There are many charities that could do so much even with such small amounts, find one in your area.

TeachChange the world. You could be the teacher that inspires a child that cures a disease, develops cheap renewable energy or engineer’s world peace. It could happen.

Write a letter or Make a call–What is an issue that is important to you? It takes less than 20 minutes for most organizations to make a call or write a letter of support/complaint/request to legislators that can be influenced by their constituents. Many causes will have letters that auto-populate so that you don’t even have to write the text which takes less than 5 minutes. While it may seem trivial, even in 2011, this is how things get done. Don’t believe me? Ask the folks in Wisconsin who are slowly getting recall petitions filed against many of their state politicians. This started one signature at a time and now it’s in the thousands. Each one makes a difference. You can make a difference.

You already do stuff? You got this covered, you are on top of this? Consider sharing then with people that don’t. Information and education. We can change the world this way, I believe it!

Good Hair Perry

My disdain for Repub Governors goes way back.  This year, between failing to coming up with a solution to our education issues to now misusing his position to push a religious solution for wildfires burning out of control not far from me, I can say that I continue to be furious that we can not get people in this state to vote against him.  I would very much like to win the lottery and move very far away from here.

Check out his latest move of utter stupidity HERE.

eat local: CSA week 2



nom nom nom



On my second week of CSA, the farmer brought to me:
U choy, Bok Choy, Pok Choy, Pole Beans, Parsley, Red onions, Tomatoes, Red Leaf Lettuce, Fingerling Potatoes, Squash, my Egg Share and I bought a Cantaloupe
It’s been a weird week. Because of the storms, they have had issues with any of the greens that normally would have been available and a large portion of this list, I would never have used. Nonetheless, we got busy. I failed to get the name of the squash but one of the volunteers told me that they are best used like cucumbers and boy was she right! I have used the mandolin to slice them for salads and some nights we have had them drizzled with balsamic vinegar…YUM. The parsley, tomatoes and one of the baby onions were used up in my favorite bucatini recipe from Rachel Ray that you can get here. The choys have freaked me out but at the suggestion from the CSA, we opted for grilling them. I took the baby bok choy and split them down the middle, rubbed them with garlic, sprinkled with salt and pepper drizzled with olive oil and threw them on the grill. I didn’t leave them on long and turned them back and forth frequently until the leaves just began to wilt. Pretty tasty business…some where in between celery and lettuce in taste and texture. I think I would actually use them again.

I feel like the Iron Chef and I am enjoying my cooking challenges. What are you cooking this week?

eat local: CSA and Cooking

This week was our first pick up from our CSA share. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how we would like it but overall I am mucho impressed. Aside from being a foodie and loving to cook with fresh stuff, I found the quality far better than the organic I buy in the store. I also calculated out how much we are spending and this came in as cheaper for us (a family of four). Definitely will be doing this again!

Bubble, bubble…

I have some pics to share and some ideas for what to do with the things we picked up. I love to cook so this isn’t a big deal for me but I recognize everyone needs some inspiration from time to time. My biggest piece of advice is it isn’t really that hard. Some things you get right, some things you mess up. I am constantly evaluating “how can this be better” when I eat. Don’t be afraid, branch out. 

A pasta sauce is always a great place to add loads of veggies or use up some you may have over ripe or wilting in your “crisper” drawer.  You also don’t have to always make it from scratch.  There are a couple of great canned sauces and a few jars of them that make acceptable bases for whatever you can dream up.  For these meals I was looking for both fast and incorporating fresh ingredients.  My leftover sauce became topping for home made pizza another day!
This was more tasty than I can describe!

TURKEY BOLOGNESE


One pound of ground turkey, browned

One jar of your favorite marinara (I love Mario Batalis!)

One red tomato, chopped

One yellow tomato, chopped

Two Tablespoons of chopped garlic (yes, I add extra to everything)

Through all of this in a pan, stir; simmer on low for 30 minutes with the lid on. Stir every couple of minutes. This can stay on as long as you need if you want to throw together a salad or finish a load of laundry. When you are ready to eat, heat water in another pot to boiling, adding a couple of teaspoons of EVOO and a pinch of salt to it. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, drop in the fresh pasta (bought a couple of packs at the pick up), stir to coat with the olive oil and boil for two minutes. Drain and plate. YUM! (Yes, it’s that easy)

Love the color of free range eggs!

OMELETTE

The secret to good omelets is one Tablespoon of cold water per egg you are using. Have anything you want to go on the inside chopped in advance (at this point I also put meat and veggie ingredients on a small plate in the microwave for 20 seconds to take the chill off from the fridge). Drizzle the pan with EVOO and let it heat up on medium for a bit. I pour in the beaten eggs when I can feel that the bottom of the pan is warm. You let this coat the pan, swirl it a bit and when it begins to look cooked around the edges, use a small spatula to pick up the edges. Once the omelet is released on the edges, shake the pan a bit and the entire piece should be able to slide back and forth because of the EVOO you put in. At this point, I break small holes with the spatula into the base and let the remaining runny egg fill these places so it will cook. Once it begins to look cooked BUT NOT DRY I put the contents on. Using the handle of the pan as a guide, place your meat/veggie/cheese combo along one side of the egg base. When this is done, use the spatula to gently fold over the empty side and cover the contents with it. Leave it in for a bit to heat/melt it through and slide it out on a plate. This also takes practice and if you want a super stuffed omelet, sometimes it breaks. This doesn’t matter because it’s tasty and you can use some extra bits of the stuffing to cover any tears. Eat up!

In progress, wild boar sausage and fresh made pasta

Finished product, weird color but SO tasty!

WILD BOAR ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PESTO PASTA

Aside from being a hunter extraordinaire, my man tends to load things on the grill for me once or twice a week because he is awesome like that. I find if I have everything selected that I know I will use as ingredients during the week, the actual cooking during the week is faster AND gets done instead of reverting to the “eggs and toast anyone?” This week, he grilled 6 chicken breasts and 6 wild boar Italian sausages in advance. The chicken breasts were consumed with a great salad and I took two of the sausages to prepare with the pasta. For the sausage, I sliced these in circles and put them in a pan with a bit of EVOO on medium low with the lid on. Periodically, I flip the slices over. This allows them to heat through and get a crusty exterior while waiting on the pasta. I put on water in another pot to boiling, adding a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt to it. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, drop in the fresh pasta, stir to coat with the olive oil and boil for two minutes. I grabbed two plates and divided the sausage between them, returning the skillet to the eye quickly. I used a pasta fork to pull the pasta from the boiling water and put it into the skillet with the drippings, adding about 2 Tablespoons of pasta water. I dropped in 3 Tablespoons of basil pesto (Whole Foods 365 brand is great to have in the fridge but you can make your own). Stir quickly here to incorporate the pasta water with the pesto and coat the noodles. I divided this between two plates and got to the eating part. This whole process was about 10 minutes since I had pre-cooked the sausage.

All in all, it was a great experience and I am looking forward to future boxes. This is just two days of stuff so I will have another post later with more stuff.  I think this has made the eat well and in season thing MUCH easier. Find a CSA in your area and try it out. Remember, cooking is not about being perfect, it is about experimenting and learning about things you didn’t realize you could do! (And you can do it, I know you can!)

The Commercialization of Everything

Cross posted at Daily Kos
valentine heart Pictures, Images and Photos

      After a comment on last night’s Glee episode and multiple conversations on Facebook over the past few days, we began the conversation in our house about holidays. Sitting here, stuck at home again on another snow/ice day, I posed the question, “As Americans, don’t we commercialize everything?” While this debate started regarding pending Valentine’s Day plans, it actually translates into more holidays than not. What I always find amusing in these conversations is that the historical fact or original tradition is somehow pushed aside to allow a condemnation of a practice that, for the most part, we all participate in. I think the biggest difference in my home is that we tend toward making things for gifts and cards on a regular basis because I want my children growing up understanding the significance of each occasion. In that same spirit, they all each also learn the historical facts available regarding said celebrations. It is funny how when we get twisted about the “commercialization” we neglect the “factual inaccuracies” of the same days. While my church is part of the UCC, we embrace the culture and celebrations of all religions because many of us came to this church from being raised as something different altogether. Because of that, even though I am not Catholic, I celebrate Ash Wednesday and give up something for Lent. We discuss in class and service the real intention of this practice of sacrifice. I am glad my children understand this and have an opportunity for such enrichment. For example, in the last youth service trip Middle Monkey took part in, they went to Washington D.C. to participate in a seminar on responsible sex education and to lobby Congress on this. They were joined by students from all 50 states and multiple denominations. Part of this was them getting to participate in and receive instruction on a Passover Seder with the Jewish students. This was a very powerful experience for her, helping her understand the history of Israel, solidifying her own faith search and bonded her with her Jewish friends. I believe each holiday, whether it is our own or not, provides these opportunities for each of us.

Think of that for a moment. Instead of lamenting the commercialization, why not becomes an ambassador for the intent?

Below I will give you a couple of examples of the historical information, how this translates in my home and how, where applicable, it is handled at our church. If just one thing inspires you to think differently of a holiday or possibly approaching a church you may belong to about celebrating in an alternative manner, I believe it would go a long way to wipe out the ignorance that so permeates our society about not just these occasions but how we look upon each other.

Valentine’s Day – This is the holiday that started this discussion. February has long been a month to celebrate romance from the Middle Ages, to Roman times onward to the Victorian times in which Valentine’s became more elaborate. The History channel has a great discussion regarding these traditions here if you would like to read more. In our home, we bake sweets, make cards and write letters for our “sweethearts.” Often we celebrate for several days in advance, watching our favorite movies or reading our favorite poems. Last night we watched Baz Luhrmann’s masterpiece Romeo & Juliet. I never fail to feel so moved by phrases like:

I am eternally grateful that such love of L-O-V-E has been inspiration for many a great literary work.

Halloween – This is one I always find a bit humorous when I get into debates with “Christians” that feel this is a satanic practice. That is completely and utterly false. While there is some belief that pagans celebrated the harvest by dressing in costume to scare away “demons” that came out at the end of summer, Celtics fashioned it to a festival meaning the end of summer. A more complete list of how these festivals have evolved over the years is found here. Our church celebrates the children’s trick or treating on the 31st, followed by All Saints Day in which we honor those that have left us and then the third day of this celebration is Dia de Los Muertos in which the children decorate goblets that are placed on the altars for their ancestors. Living in an area rich in Hispanic culture, I am glad my children have grown up learning about this practice, understanding it and even celebrating with their friends. While my cookie decorating is coming along, I am not yet to the point of being able to create such interesting sugar confections but I keep working on it.

Christmas & Easter – I lump these together because they are both debated as over commercialized and factually inaccurate. These are two dates that are simply false on the Christian calendar. Chosen by Roman Emperors to forge bonds between Christians and Pagans, each were intended to blend the customs of both into festivals that would overlap. (similarly, the books of the Bible chosen by in a way that was thought to be most effective to control the Christians as well as incorporate some Pagan traditions, but I digress). While I do not advocate everything on this site, this gives a good breakdown of how these Pagan customs were written into scripture. [As a brief side note, the movie Agora does a great job of depicting how the hostility at this time between Pagans and Christians was tearing society apart all over the known world. In that context, you might be able to understand the reasoning behind what sometimes seems a ridiculous decision.]

Just as we know there is a great amount of anecdotal evidence to suggest December 25th was not in fact the birth of Christ, Easter is not the actual day of resurrection. Though as Christians we know that this holiday is calculated by the calendar (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox) and is traditionally depicted with rabbits and eggs, we persist in complaining about its commercialization. These traditional icons provide the closest and most obvious evidence of their Pagan counterpart as a fertility holiday (I mean how many people really think about the Christmas tree as Pagan?). What I would love to see is Christian churches advocate the study of historical documents (likely existing in the Vatican archives) and find the closest proximity to the actual birth of Jesus as well as the actual date of his crucifixion (which would have been part of public record and by which the actual date of the resurrection could be extrapolated). I recognize this will never happen. Corporate America relies on the income these holidays provide and the religions on the world rely on these fixed dates to organize the activates of their congregation. Still, it does make me get a bit inflamed when the debate rages about the “War on Christmas” starts every year. I want to scream “how about a war on facts?” Our church celebrates in the traditional way but also celebrates the Advent and talks about the historical significance and political nature of the times around the birth of Christ. For Easter, they also discuss and honor the Passover and discuss the history of the persecution of this time. In our house, we honor the birth of Jesus by having birthday cake on Christmas Eve (since this is the time our church chooses to celebrate as well) and we talk about the original Christmas story. On Christmas, we sit around our tree, which we try to decorate with handmade ornaments and exchange gifts. Each year, some of these are handmade, some are for “knowledge” and some are for joy. That can take many forms but often the cards, tags and paper are homemade/recycled/repurposed, the “knowledge” takes the form of leather bound literary classics and music and then a few something’s for each individual specific to them. I shop all year so I don’t have to get caught up in the shopping frenzy and as I have discussed at length, I strive to do so without the financial burden it would leave behind.

I could continue; the green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, the hypocrisy of Columbus Day, the factual inaccuracies of Thanksgiving and the creation of Groundhog Day and its much celebrated pageantry. I know there are a number of these incidences that can be listed and quite a few folks who will be very upset with me for pointing them out.

So that it is not subverted in any way, I would like to specifically state that my point here is this: We are in control of how we celebrate our lives and honor our holidays. Instead of being upset of the commercialization of things, be a living example of the truth. Have your friends to your table to feast and share stories, laugh and appreciate each other. That can happen any time of year on any occasion or no particular reason. Yes! You should love your “sweetheart” each and every day, but is there anything wrong with taking time out after the hectic holiday season that precede it to spend special time to honor and renew that bond? Just as you hopefully would on an anniversary? While I hope everyone celebrates their love every single day, the fact is most people get caught up in the day to day grind too often. I take it as a time to put on the breaks and say “you are so special to me and I am so glad you spend your life with me.” If anything, I think the world could use a bit more of that in a world where precious gestures of peace and love seem to be fading.

Come on, who’s with me?

“One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.”
(Act I Scene 2)

Doing The Right Thing, Part 1

This issue has spawned such debate in my house that I feel compelled to write about my most recent experiences when I have tried to do the right thing and it has backfired. This post is about number three on that list, one and two now having to be put on the back burner so I can just figure out now what the hell to do about this one, my most immediate issue.

When I started out a few days ago, I was certain someone with the corporate office would address the issue because it’s just bad advertising for them any way you look at it. After being belittled via email this morning for several hours by a realtor and consequently a broker she forwarded the email to, I am stunned to know this is perceived as acceptable behavior by grownups. Easily, they could have ignored me and said nothing. That didn’t happen. Another option would have been to decide to do something as human beings on the planet we share for no other reason than they are professionals in the region and maybe, just maybe, I would refer them out to any and all that I know for potential business opportunities. Alas, that did not happen either. What started at 7:42 AM this morning had ended at 10:19 AM where I have to reiterate, in a second request not to contact me again, that it’s against the stalking laws in this state to repeatedly harass someone in this state. She called me “unprofessional” because I dared contact another agent of the same company and office about an abandoned property. She called me “illogical” because I couldn’t possibly understand why she and the broker in that office didn’t care about this one bit.

Well, Mindy, this one is for you.

Feast your eyes on this gem of a property in my neighborhood:

It has been like this for a couple of weeks and a few days ago someone graciously towed in a wrecked car and parked it out front. Now, while that may seem strange, clearly they know that no one in that house is going to complain, nor would the realtor who left it in this mess. SO, doing what I think most people would do, I email the corporate office for ReMax. All franchises are governed by a larger corporate umbrella, yes? They graciously dig around and find that he worked out of the Richardson, Texas office and is no longer with them as of the 23rd of last month. She tells me I can file a complaint with the state board and they will handle the “unauthorized use of their name” on their end. Taking that info, I then do a search for “Richardson, Texas ReMax office” and come up with a link for this office. When you click the “Find A Realtor” button, you get a drop down list of realtors. The second lady, I am thinking by her photo, seems perfectly nice. She is listed as a “foreclosure specialist” and I have made the leap that this was a foreclosure and would hope an owner would know what was being done to their property. Bingo. Along with the email string I have from corporate (so she would have that information) and a photo of the property, I send her the following:

Mindy-


I contacted the corporate office regarding this property. Can someone in the office take a look at this? The grass is two feet high, kids are trying to break in and now there is a wrecked vehicle parked out front. By Oscar’s sign still being in the yard, it’s very bad advertising for you. I don’t know if it’s a foreclosure or an owner is involved but if someone could just clean it up it would help I am sure. I didn’t want to contact the police or the state if someone could just take the house over. Thanks.

Michelle

At this point, I am thinking she has read the previous correspondence with corporate, identifies an opportunity for herself if a realtor left the area abandoning houses and would want to generally make sure her office isn’t reflected upon poorly.

See, my mistake today is assuming a lot of things.

What proceeds from there is a repeated tirade of emails from her, then the broker she gets involved. At first, as she in every email continues to state “I don’t know how you got my information,” I give her credit for being slow and try to explain as slowly as I can how I came by choosing her. After the third time when she starts basically saying I am an idiot for contacting a realtor and not a broker in the first place (like I am supposed to know this automatically???) it dawns on me that she has not read one single thing I sent. She quickly evaluated that I did not want to buy one of her properties and wants me to bug off. She and the broker tell me not to “threaten them with the cops” which is hilarious because now two professionals are sending me emails like they are in some gang and they are going to bust my knee caps. I politely explained that it wasn’t a “threat” but merely I assumed (here I go again) that someone would ReMax would want to take care of the issue willingly, without me reporting them to the city or the state board.

Another mistake on my part.

Now it occurs to me to check with someone and verify I did what would be expected in the situation or  probably MORE than I should have had to? Someone that is a realtor? Oh yeah! Karen (albeit a different agency and out of state) gave me her advice. This is what she said:

You are right. I am always first to be contacted on site cuz of Abbott. I get that! For every contact that does not pay, I get several that do, so it’s a numbers game all independent agents should grasp. She is an idiot – EVERYBODY who contacts me is a potential client, whether it be today or ten years from today. She needs a prospecting 101 class.

As for the property – You did the right thing. It was uberkind of you, and absolutely understandable because it affects you and your family.


Every county and city, if you are in city limits, has a manager, whom should be available through their website, who should take your email and had it to the right person. It is against city, county, state health codes to allow a property to go unattended.

As for the realtors role. Every realtor who lists a foreclosure, agrees to maintain the property, even at his or her own expense, to be reimbursed at closing. If you get no help from the officials, which would be hard to believe, then you can send me the address. I can find the bank who has the note, and they can tell me who is responsible, and I can put you in contact with that person. It would be my pleasure, cuz, well, see paragraph 1. 🙂

Maybe I am not losing my mind but I now have to file a complaint formally with the state, call several city offices and wonder what happened to courtesy and kindness in our country. I could go mow the grass but then what happens to the sign? I didn’t put it there and what if the ReMax gang sends someone to bust my knee caps when I touch their sign? This property does not border mine nor is it in front of my house but I still have to see it every day and it’s now attracting vandals in the form of ignorant teens. It does affect me, even if that office doesn’t care. My boyfriend, having spent several years dealing with the worst of humanity in all the places the Army can send you, thinks this solidifies his “keep your head down and don’t get involved” mentality. I have tried to raise my kids to be activists, to care when there is a wrong and seek to fix it. Huge dilemma in this house today.

So, I pose a question to each of you, if this was happening on your street, how would you handle it?

Middle Monkey Returns

To say that I was very proud to see the child I sent to D.C. last week return would be an understatement. Rocking her newest HRC t-shirt and barely able to keep her eyes open, she ran out to greet us full of a glow that could hardly be contained. Aside from the cool “I get to lobby Congress for a return of sex ed to schools” stuff, she was inspired, energized and feeling so much hope from the core of her being. It was a great and wonderful thing to see given that in her absence, I have had more arguments and debates with people over health care reform this week than ever in my life. I am a bit shocked that it has served to draw a line in the sand, making people say things they can not take back, and making me stand and take the barrage as I have. I am used to this. Looking at this child rattle off all the amazing experiences she had I also think, wow, she is gonna have an uphill battle. For people that don’t work in a political or activist arena, it is hard to grasp, but for us left wingers, its brutal. She mets some Tea Party folks whom she describes as having “the worst energy” and really creeped her out. I tell her they won’t be the first of many intense opposition groups she will encounter. They will tell her that people she loves will go to hell because they are gay, they will tell her feeding the hungry and giving shelter to those in need is not important if they have to pay more taxes to do it, they will tell her that sex education is not a priority and kids should listen to their parents. It will hurt. It will almost break her some days, how I have pushed through this long I just cant really figure out on my worst days. Then she tells me something…for a change, she shocks me:

She keeps talking, they were invited to participate in a Passover Seder, she asks if I will take her to a Buddist temple ceremony, says she thinks she is going to take some Theology classes as electives. She wants to travel and meet more people from other cultures. She keeps talking but I am stuck on one thing she said:

We are supposed to take care of people.

All of my babies have been walking blocks and stuffing envelopes since they were knee-high to a grasshopper so to speak. Middle Monkey is the only one so far that wants to seize this life as part of her own. I am worried for her but at the same time so confident that she gets it. You go girl! I will be right here to help stuff your envelopes and walk your blocks. 🙂

Today is a great day in America. Let’s hope for more fired up teens doing grassroots organizing in their communities. It is the way to ensure a permanent shift in the priorities of this country and certainly, it’s what I pray for every day.

Peace and chicken grease!

“Mom, I think this whole experience has just strengthened my faith. We are doing what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to take care of people.”