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.


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.








Politics, Smut Peddling and My Year of Ups and Downs

Politics and My Real Life

I will go ahead and get it out of the way.  For those that know me, I know you are surprised that I have been silent on the matter.  That is strictly because I have been so damn busy.  Here goes–I am not sure why people even CONSIDER voting against their self-interest.  To say that I am continually dismayed by the state of civil discourse in this country would be an understatement.  If in my own family we so oppose each other’s opinions that the topic is off limits, I don’t have any hope for any change nationally.  So let me just give you some facts:

1.  I was married to a service member during the initial Iraq invasion.  While he is my ex and turned out to be a jerk, personally, I think it gives me some credibility to speak to the fact that the soldiers were lied to about their reason for entering that country and the result has been catastrophic for both our countries.

2.  Currently, I am married to a disabled Army Veteran.  His experience has been in the wonderful international destination that Afghanistan has become and later, Gitmo, Cuba.  I have held his had through PTSD episodes, nightmares, night sweats, tests, more tests, emergency visits, counseling appointments, frustrating goose chases that VA appointments can turn into.  I do think this gives me some credibility to speak on the subject.

3. President Obama signed a bill that allowed uninsured (like me) and those with pre-existing conditions coverage (my kids) and a number of other amazing things.  He also signed a bill that allowed me to become my husbands Primary Care Giver through a VA program.  This stipend allows me to facilitate every single thing necessary for him to get all the appointments, treatments, etc. that he needs without the fear of how to navigate a part time job and his critical care.  President Obama signed the Fair Pay Act and supports the right for me to make the decisions I need to for my own body.

Democrat or not, I can tell you that President Obama is the one that has done the most to directly impact my family.  Met with a crushing debt instead of what President Clinton left for President Bush, he has had a nearly insurmountable task.  He has begun a drawn down from two countries that we shouldn’t have occupied in the first place, trying to relocate prisoners in Gitmo that THEIR OWN COUNTRIES WILL NOT TAKE BACK, and some how try to help calm the fears in this country that our economy is permanently broken.

I wouldn’t want to be the President for all of the money and power in the world.  He was handed a Congress that lauded the fact that their job was to get rid of him and block his every move.  That should embarrass us all.  We can disagree but there are MANY things that could have been done to help us further along but simply because they were Democratic lead and sponsored, they were shut down.  It’s disgusting.

I support President Obama.  I hope you will too.

Smut and Those who write it

Whether you approve of Fifty Shades of Grey or not, there is no doubt that by now, you have probably heard of it.  I think that, overall, is a good thing.

I have been writing erotica since 2007.  My first piece was published on a The Erotic Woman blog and later, I had a relationship with the wonderful people at Love You Divine.  In both situations, I used the pseudonym (Mistress Cassandra) because at the time, despite many great literary pieces of erotic being accepted, working as a “smut peddler” was not a common and socially acceptable role.  What previously drew whispers, hushed tones and outright shut down of discussions now elicits endless questions and interested parties.  Since the popularity of Fifty Shades, everything has changed.  Overall, I think this is good.  Or at least I think that, until I see something like THIS.  There will be constant discussion now to define what one thing is versus what another is.  While I may personally think the BDSM subject matter is not reflected correctly, the author however is able to write whatever the author wants.  Clearly it’s sold without anyone having concern for the way it is perceived so who am I to pass judgement.

We have such antiquated opinions in this country about sex and about the human body in general.  I grew up in Europe and seeing someone partially clothed in a shower gel commercial there was not uncommon.  No big deal.  Here, we get ridiculously excited over “wardrobe malfunctions” but also have a society that supports a Jersey Shore culture and new shows like Honey Boo Boo’s.  You can’t have it both ways America.  Stop telling people what kind of sex they can have, what they can read about it and what kind of person you are if you write it when you have shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and send people on “private dates” where they can spend the night with each other.

I don’t get it.  So I keep writing.  This year for my Nanowrimo project will be an erotica novel under my own name.  Hopefully Fifty Shades gives me a little better chance of not getting hate mail and ostracized.  Or not.  Either way, I will keep writing.

My Year of Ups and Downs

Some of you know I had some serious stuff going on at the beginning of the year.  What went from a little test to a bigger test, to a procedure and then a bigger procedure nearly broke me.  As a Mom, the hardest thing in the world for me is the idea that I can’t take care of my family.  I try to let the older ones find their way and not intervene but having one still at home filled me with panic and anger.  It doesn’t make sense why things happen to people that try to do the right things and walk the path of good intentions.  I thought I was that kind of person so for me, anger often took over much of my days that weren’t filled with profound hurt and sadness.  It affects everything you do.

The result was this:  after a particularly horrific week in which I thought my husband was having a stroke and I had a huge problem resulting from the stress I was told I was having an emergency hysterectomy.  Although I have had all the kids I intended to, the finality of it was not lost on me.  I am not sure that is something anyone can really grasp unless it has happened to them either.  For the record, there is a lot of horrible crap on line about hysterectomies.  (Health situations are generally not the best subjects to Google, for sure.)  I have to give a shout out to Hyster Sisters, a great site/forum where you can get real information about what is happening and join a group of people going through the same crap.  I found it to be the What to Expect When Expecting of surgical procedures.  It answered questions I desperately needed and calmed me the hell down.

I am nearly six months post surgery now.  I feel SOOOOO much better.  You don’t realize sometimes how something that makes you sick can affect all parts of your body and mind.  Do I feel I deserved to go through what I did?  No and I am still damn angry about it sometimes.  Am I better off now?  OH YEAH.  Full speed ahead!

Archery Madness

Thankfully, I healed quickly because my year literally went nuts shortly there after.  Most of you know Little Monkey has been competing in archery competitions but mid-year, she decided to take it to a whole new level.  Rather than me writing about her, I suggested she use her journaling she does during archery class as a prompt to chronicle her experiences.  Monkey has met some amazing people and formed friendships with international archers as well.  She has set some lofty goals, started writing blog posts and will only be busier next year.  For now I am handling her linking and photo uploads but she is learning and loving it.  If you are interesting in following her journey, she has her own site, Tumblr and Twitter.  While I have a Pinterest where she hosts “Little Monkey’s Board” it is largely nail polish and crafty related so be forewarned!

Wrap Up

So I migrated to WordPress because iPage became so restrictive!  I am happy that I could pull in the posts from my old Blogger page but sad that I lost my iPage content.  WordPress gives me some cool features and I can post multiple links and pictures that I needed so YEAH!  Thanks for sticking with me through the changes.

I am still writing at Almost Nerdy, hanging out on G+ and Twitter as well as handling a Tumblr page of my own, one for grad school and one for our newest pet/internet star.  I am on month 4 of a 12-month Masters program with Fullsail University for a Masters in Education Media and Design Technology and getting to try out some new emerging technology.  My research blog I have to maintain for that program is here and my emerging technology reviews I had to do are here in the event that you are interested in either.

Tons of DIY projects are ongoing right now so you will see that stuff posted soon!

Later peeps!

Road Trips and Grown Ups

Grandma’s House

I got to go home this last week.  It has been a while since I have visited and it is something that always makes me think, I want to move back to Georgia.  Much like anyone who feels a connection to a place, it is really hard to put into words how it feels. 

Valdosta State University

When Middle Monkey decided to go to college there, it was an even bigger deal.  Now my desire to move is even greater than I could have anticipated.  I scheduled a trip and her and I set out with for a visit to campus.  I expected her to enjoy it but the level in which she did surprised even me.  My old man processed the transition much like anything in his life, without barely a passing concern.  Middle Monkey, however, has embraced this next chapter with a joie de vivre that even I could not have imagined.  A couple of times during the tour, I placed my hand on her shoulder and asked if she was okay.  Once I had to ask  “Are you going to cry?”  To which she quietly responded “I might.”  It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous campus.  I too kept thinking “I want to live here!”  I can only imagine how it feels to be her right now.

It was good to see Grandma, the azaleas and the furry babies.  The sunshine was pretty spectacular too!

Uncle Sam

The Bad Mother

Society is fickle. What most has amused me this recent news cycle is how fast we have gone from talking about the Tiger mom to Tiger blood.

While I have just a little to say about either, it has made me think about the way I parent. I will admit that I did not read Amy Chua’s book but also that I have no intention to. The sound bites the news has provided gives me enough information to sort out that I don’t care about the context; much of it seems, well, abusive. I really would not care how often my elementary age child forgot her mittens, locking her outside to stand in the cold so she would remember NEXT TIME just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t matter to me if she was really nice just before this event or recognized her error just after and apologized, Amy is just mean. That is the kind of thing that will scar a child and as Bear will tell you, possibly physically as frost nip can set in FAST. Maybe the Tiger mom watches the temperature and only undertakes such extreme measures when it WON’T produce such results. Regardless, as I said, that’s mean and I don’t care how great your kids grow up to be.

The over saturation of Mr. Sheen as late has also saddened me but quite honestly, it has given me an opportunity to parent. See kids; see Mr. Sheen and how he is behaving? This is not normal. This is not something to aspire to. This is not a role model.

Mainly, in both examples, I have recognized that I have tried to raise my kids in a way that will make them functional adults. Don’t get me wrong, I have babied them when they needed, spoiled them unnecessarily but provided structure that children desperately need. So far, my children have managed to be relatively normal, without the rampant sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle that seems to be reflected in the media as appropriate for their age. It makes me laugh when I hear people complain about their kids not going to bed or sleep and how at 11 PM at night, they are begging and bribing to make that happen. Since I had my first child, quiet time has been strictly enforced. At 8 PM every night, the television and computers are to be turned off. When they were too little to read on their own, I would spend that time reading to them and as they learned, they read to me. Even as seniors in high school, the oldest still head to their rooms with the youngest. Sometimes they read or the older ones web surf but the intent is still the same, they are to be quiet as not to disturb their siblings. Having this kind of pattern in the house allowed them to adjust and calm down from a full day of playing and over stimulation. I have never had difficulty getting children to go to sleep because they understood that the routine of quiet time was intended to provide this. Now as they are older, occasionally on a Friday or Saturday night, they will stay in the living room later when we are doing family movie time, but not every time. This means at 8 PM, I also get my own quiet time to read or spend the time distressing from the day.

Having that kind of parenting philosophy, I have a hard time understanding the parents that freak out when their children start Kindergarten or go away to college. These are milestones to celebrate! Not once do these parents think of the burden they are placing on the child? If you are despondent and crying when a child does something that is supposed to be great for them, you are setting them up to feel that in some way they are responsible for your feelings/crying/sadness. I would be mortified if I put that kind of emotional baggage on my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I miss each and every one of them when they are not here but I also so carefully guard and cherish the time I get without them. You cannot parent so wholly that you forget who you are as a person. I think this is the greatest contributing factor to “empty nest syndrome” because people put so much into the children and make them the center of everything that they forget they are their own human beings.

It is sad really. There is a high rate of divorce at this time in life because I think there are parents who then blame the other one for how crappy they feel minus children in the home or they never cared to nurture the relationship with their spouse. This is a disservice to your children. As I said before, I have tried to raise my kids in a way that will make them functional adults. They should be able to do their own laundry. Mine each took over that responsibility for themselves between the ages of ten and twelve, which ever coincided with the age that they were tall enough to reach the controls and empty the washer. They also have known by the age of thirteen how to cook a few basic meals, scramble an egg, make a grilled cheese, an omelet, bake cookies or muffins, how to read a recipe and how to use coupons. Each saves their own money and knows how to calculate tax when purchasing items with cash. Frankly, I am constantly surprised and saddened when I hear of the college age kids that have no knowledge of how to do their laundry or iron. This tells me they had parents that continued to do their laundry and ironing until they were 18, really? How are you preparing a child to be an adult if you can’t teach them the basic skills they need to know to survive without you simply because you don’t want them to be without you?

My oldest is almost done with his freshman year of college and my middle child heads to college in August. I have seven more with the last one and then she heads out. I think that is exciting for them. I will miss being able to talk to them each day and being involved in their decision making processes but that is what helps them detach and grown up. Will they get everything right? NO. Did you? NO. Do I think I have prepared them as best as I can, YES. You don’t have to be a hard ass Tiger mom and you don’t have to be a push over either. My son went to college with a skillet, a cookbook or two and the knowledge of how to use them. He wields an iron better than I do and I am sure he still needs to clean his room but I don’t worry about that stuff. I taught him how to take care of himself. That is what a parent is supposed to do. Not belittle a child and make them into your own ideal and not to make them so dependant that they can’t function as an adult without you. I have a great sense of pride and joy in every single thing they do because some little part of every accomplishment is a foundation that I helped create. I look forward to the last one getting out and doing her own thing. That means I have even more time for books, great food, travels, movies and adventures yet to be written. I have hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with my kids or being a mom. I am grateful in that way that I have parented myself just as well. I do not feel less a person without them here. I am not depressed or worried that my life will be empty. Some people think this makes me a bad mother. But I believe I must rejoice in every single part of my life because it is mine, and I just happen to be a kick ass mom.

When all else fails, I remind myself that no matter how bad their decisions are so far, none of them are warlocks with fire breathing fists.

Go me!

Eat Dinner

Sounds simple right?  I guess I am just a different kind of parent but its seems a no brainer.  How will you know much about your kids or partner if you aren’t sitting down with them for a meal at least occasionally?  I am not unrealistic, people are busy, but when companies start movements to encourage family dinner, I have to ask, what the hell?  Everyone is stressed, rushing, texting while driving, hurrying around like their heads are on fire.  Is all that stuff that important?  What are you teaching your kids if you are in a mode of constant rushing and stress?  SIT DOWN.
A common complaint is “I can’t cook.”  I don’t believe that anyone has zero skills, but that can happen.  Stop at the grocery store, pick up a rotisserie chicken, a bagged salad, a package of Hawaiian rolls and a gallon of ice tea/lemonade/milk.  Go home, put it all on the table except the salad which does require opening all the packages and dumping in a bowl and mixing with tongs or a wooden spoon.  Poof.  Good food that took more time to pick up than put on the table.  Certainly you can add to this by picking up a great bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers for a vase and cut fruit for dessert but I don’t want to confuse you.
Have a few skills?  If you are looking for the proper way to bake or cook something always go to Martha.  While I have stacks and stacks of cookbooks and magazines, recipes printed and on cards, if I ever need to know the proper way to do something, Martha always has the answer.  The difference between her instructions and just about everyone elses is that she explains the proper way to do it.  She doesn’t say “cook this”  she gives you specific steps to follow.  For anyone that is trying to learn skills, she is the best teacher.  If you can boil water and will tolerate semi-homemade, this is one of my kids favorite things:

Chicken and Rice
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups of cooked rice (you can use any variety)
2 chopped, boiled chicken breasts or 2 cans of cooked chicken (found near the tuna)
1 Tablespoon of Lemon and Pepper seasoning
1.  in the pot of cooked rice while hot, dump the soup, chicken, seasoning and stir until mixed through out
2.  eat

Don’t like Lemon Pepper?  Easily you can just use ground pepper, or dill or even rosemary.  This is where you can impress yourself when you gain confidence and switch stuff up.  I keep boiled chicken breasts in the fridge because these can be used in a multitude of ways.  Buy a bag in the grocery store frozen section, skinless boneless breasts are best but the boneless skinless chicken tender strips work as well if they are on sale.  At home, heat a pot of water to almost boiling and put all the chicken in it.  Once it starts boiling again, set your timer to 20 minutes.  At the end of 20 minutes, drain and pack these in a container for your fridge.  (This can help with time during the week if you do this on Sundays.)  Add this dish with the above mentioned salad and rolls, or get crazy and nuke a can of green beans and corn to go with this and you have another meal ready in less than 20 minutes.  (tip for canned veggies:  rinse these well before cooking and it will improve the taste, add butter pats, salt and pepper with them in a bowl and nuke for two minutes.  Yes, that easy)
Feeling like cooking more or learning more while doing that?  Get a great book, definitely one or more by Martha but my current favorite is by Katie Lee and her book The Comfort Table.  This book has great menus done for different occasions and are quick easy ways to have a great meal.  I just made her after Thanksgiving menu and it was AWESOME.  Oh, and why do you save the “nice stuff” for other people?  You and your family are worth it.  Take it out, celebrate your life, use cotton napkins and champagne flutes for sparkling water.  It will make you smile.  Trust me.
Take this time to be proud of what you do for one another.  Give everyone a job so its done even quicker.  TALK to one another.  One of my favorite things to ask at the table is what was the best and worst thing that happened to you today?  You will share in small victories and be able to talk through uncomfortable situations with your family, building their confidence and providing everyone with comfort and love.  Who can’t use that?  A new question I have incorporated is one I just heard from Diana Sawyer, what interesting questions did you ask today?   You will be surprised how much your kids and/or partner will tell you if you only ask.  You may discover things you didn’t know!
I am thankful that there is a movement to bring people back to the table, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think we should ever have left.  It is a rule in my house that we eat a minimum of one meal a day at the table with each other.  Period.  On days when everyone will be out in the afternoon/evening, that is breakfast, otherwise its always dinner.  On family movie night, we may order a pizza to eat while we watch a movie but we do it together, hanging in the living room.  Its just the way it is.  It doesn’t matter if there are after school activities and friends, we work around that and plan for eating together. 
And no phones turned on or at the table.  Period.
Slow down, stop the spinning out of control and see what it can do for your life.  Eat dinner together.  

Princess Emma turns 10

Monkey just keeps growing and growing…it’s just WEIRD.  I keep thinking of her as the baby but truthfully, sometimes she says things that make me think that she is more mature than the rest of us.  I was reminded today of the reason I started this blog and figured with school starting and her elevating to “intermediate” school, it was high time to celebrate!  Here you go…have a FABULOUS week!

Emma Delaney and the Old Toad

In a very hot place, in a very tiny house, the Princess of frogs, toads and all creatures that hop was having a bit of a crisis. Emma tried very hard to be kind to all of the little hoppers in her kingdom, but admittedly, she was not a big fan of toads. They farted a lot and had bad breath, which according to her mom, the Queen of the Universe, were not very good manners. When going about her business this morning, Emma noticed that there was a slight ruckus in the hall closet that did not seem to be working itself out on its own. So, as ruler of all things that hop, she knew she had to do something. Emma stood at the door for a long time thinking she wished she could turn off her nose when there were bad smells around…this was NOT going to be good. Shortly after the last ‘bang’ and ‘crash’, she was joined at the door by Miss Halloween, Queen of all Actual Cats.

“Good morning Princess Emma.”

“Good morning Queen Halloween.”

“What seems to be happening in the hall closet here? It doesn’t sound good.”

“Well, Miss ‘weenie, I was just trying to decide what to do about it. You know that dealing with toads has, well, side effects.” Emma wrinkled up her nose to demonstrate.

“Yes, love, I know, but being the ruler of all hopping creatures, you are obligated to help in difficult situations. What can I do to assist?” Halloween purred.

“Any creative ideas for smell control?” Emma asked, pinching her nostrils closed.

Halloween sat back on her orange and black haunches and took off her backpack. She rummaged around with one paw until presenting Emma with two clothes pins.

“I have these left from my unfortunate meeting with the skunk clan of Pearland. They keep applying for honorary acceptance into the actual cat clan but they are, well, nothing like actual cats. It doesn’t make sense. Anyway, put one on your nose, it holds pretty tight.”

Emma gratefully accepted the temporary solution, put the clothes pin on her nose and looked back towards the door. The occasional ‘bang’ and ‘crash’ continued in the hall closet along with mumbling of some sort. It sounded like Old Toad’s language might be as bad as his breath. She looked over to see that Halloween had put on her clothes pin, righted her backpack and had given her the paws up sign that all was ok. Emma put her hand on the knob and turned ever so slowly and opened the door at the same rate. A huge, warm cloud floated out of the door. Although her mouth was covered, Emma thought it burned her eyes as much as it would her nose hairs and waved quickly to try to disperse it.

Halloween coughed. “Good grief little girl. This is some foul air for sure.”

“Yes, I agree. I need to look into better ventilation for the closet dwellers; this is not good, not good at all.”

Emma leaned her head in, squinting her eyes and tried to figure out what was going on. She saw little tiny houses on every shelf amongst the chenille bedspreads, cotton towels and comfy sheets. When she finally adjusted her eyes, she realized there was a hopping washcloth on the floor of the closet. This is the maker of the crashing noises. She leaned down to pick it up and saw, underneath, a befuddled and hopping mad Old Toad.

“For the love of all things brown and bumpy! Could not one good soul in this closet come to my aid?” He was breathing heavy and looked quite upset.

Emma sat on the floor in front of him. “Hello Mr. Toad. I am sorry you were having a hard time.” She looked amongst the shelves above to see every door and window buttoned up tight. “There doesn’t seem to be anyone about that could have helped. I heard your crashing from my room this morning so I came over to see what I could do.” She motioned to Miss Halloween at her side. “This is Miss ‘weenie, Queen of all Actual Cats. She graciously agreed to assist.”

Old Toad bowed to them both. “Thank you for rescuing me. I was making repairs to my roof, accidentally hit the stack of linens on the shelf above and down one came, like a trap. I have never been more frightened or embarrassed in my life.” He looked at her, over his spectacles, “Good grief girl, what is that on your nose?”

“It’s a clothes pin.”

“What’s it for?”

Emma looked up at Halloween and then back and Old Toad. “Well, it’s because you…well Mr. Toad, you are a bit smelly.”

Toad hopped up high, laughing as he went. “That I am child, that I am. I forget sometimes because I live with myself and I think my nose stopped smelling about the time I was 5 years old. I burnt out my smeller you know.”

“Smeller, that’s funny Toad.” Emma and Halloween laughed.

“How would you ladies like to join me for a cup of tea? I promise it tastes better than I smell!”

“We would love that Old Toad. Thank you for that generous offer.” Halloween said, giving Toad a curtsy.

Toad disappeared into his little house and after much banging, crashing and breaking came back outside to the front porch table with a tray of cookies, a pot of tea and a sweet pea blossom in a vase.

“My, my Toad. What a beautiful tray of treats!” Emma exclaimed.

“Only the best for royalty, my dear.”

Once he was done pouring, Miss ‘weenie, Queen of all Actual Cats and Miss Emma, ruler of all Frogs, Toads and creatures that Hop, picked up their tea filled thimbles and drank with Old Toad. Toad took a long time. Emma and Halloween were done quickly and moved on to the tiny button sized cookies.

“Toad, I am glad I came to see you today. You bake tasty little cookies.”

“Thank you Princess Emma. I am sorry you have to wear a clothes pin on your nose.”

“It’s okay. If you don’t mind, I would like to come by for tea more often.” Emma licked her fingers after she put the last sugar covered nugget in her mouth.

“I don’t mind at all. I don’t really have a lot of friends. Maybe I should pass out clothes pins?” Toad chuckled and held his belly while he laughed.

“Not a bad idea, Mr. Toad. I will also spread the word to my kingdom so that the traveling cats that come your way know you have time and tea for them all.” Halloween said in her most official sounding voice.

“Maybe I should open a Bed & Breakfast in the closet?” Toad pondered.

“Yes, but be sure they get their clothes pins in advance.” Emma said, laughing so hard until Halloween and Toad laughed with her too.

So the Princess, Queen and Old Toad giggled and gobbled and had a wonderful time. Sometimes it’s just better to take a chance. You will never know where you will find a friend, even a stinky one, but it may be under a washcloth in the hall closet in a tiny house, in a very hot place.

The End

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.”