08 May 2017

Digging Up Some Dirt

I watch So Who Do You Think You Are every time it is on.  I just find it fascinating that nearly everyone has something interesting in their families.  I also find it enjoyable/weird discovering these things about forgotten people.  I mean, they were just living their lives Just Like Us, and now they're forgotten to time.   In a movie once, someone asked when a person stops existing.  The answer was "When the last person who knew them died."  I remember that just hitting me in the gut the first time I heard it. 

I have been working on multiple family trees for a few years now.  It started out around the time my dad was dying so...nine years now...and has branched out not only to my family but Kevin's as well.  My mom has been the biggest beneficiary of this task as it turns out her family was prominent in the late 1800's/early 1900's in Southern California.   Tracing her family has been a breeze actually. 

As a child, my mom told us that we had Native American blood.  While I thought that was cool, if you look at me you certainly don't think "Hey, I bet she's Native American!"  I could not look more English if I tried.  It also gets filed into Family Lore that May or Not Be True.

I have been dedicating about an hour a day to this adventure and on Friday, I hit a gold mine.  I found the Native American ancestor!  I owe my mother an apology (for this and for thousands of other things, for sure) 

Her name is Katie Owl and she is Cherokee. Her name is Tsi Na Quil and it translates to "Young Chicken".  It appears that she married a white man but they lived as Cherokee.  She was my three-times great grandmother.  They lived in Tennessee during the early 1800's so prior to the Civil War and during the white man settling of the Midwest and West.  In fact, they were miraculously excluded from the Trail of Tears because the terrain where they lived was too much for the white men to traverse. 

I mostly use ancestry.com for my research but I've found the google to be helpful when I get stuck, or bored.  (50/50 there.)   Google gave me a gem of a document listing that particular family line.  I will so be the favorite (only) daughter on Mother's Day.

While I was breezing through the lineation, something caught my eye. My three-time great grandfather was charged with murder. What.what/what!?!?!

From: The Monroe County, TN Records 1820-1870 Vol II, Researched, compiled and Edited
by Reba Bayless Boyer, 1970: Circuit Court Records 1821-1830:
37 "May 1823: Hamon Helton found guilty of mortally wounding John Cross at Tellico,
causing his death on 11 April 1823: John Helton charged with aiding: 

Witnesses: Betsy Helton, Joseph Phillips, Samuel Colquith, William Williams, George Loftis." Court records found by Joyce Reece indicate that Harmon killed a man with a chunk of wood.
Abstract - Helton Case #10 - The State vs Hamon Helton & John Helton Indictment; State of
Tennessee, seventieth Judicial Circuit Court, Monroe County, viz. Circuit Court May Term
Incident occurred April 6, 1823 at Tellico (now Madisonville).
"Not having the fear of God before their eyes but being.....seduced by the instigation of an evil
spirit with fore and arms in and upon one John Cross and their being in the peace of the state
feloniously, willfully and of their malice, aforethought did make an assult and that______the
said Harmon Helton with both his hands and with a wooden chunk of no value which he the
said Harmon Helton then and there in both of his hands then and there had and held the said
John Cross in and upon the head, neck and body of him the said John Cross then and there
feloniously willfully and of the malice, aforethought of him the said Harmon Helton did
strike________giving to the said Harmon Helton then and there with both his hands and with
the wooden chunk aforesaid feloniously willfully and of his malice aforethought giving to the
said John Cross on his neck and body as aforesaid several mortal strokes and bruises and
wounds of which several strokes and bruises and wounds aforesaid the said John Cross from
the said Sixth day of April in the year last mentioned until the eleventh day of same month
upon to wit in said county did languish and languishing did live on which eleventh day of April
in the year last mentioned to-wit in said county the said John Cross of the said several strokes
and bruises and wounds died and that the said John Helton there and then feloniously,
willfully and.....that the Harmon Helton and John Helton then and there in manner and form aforesaid feloniously and willfully and of their malice aforethought did kill and murder the said John
Cross with evil example of all others againsts the peace and dignity of the state.

John Wilkerson, Attorney General for the Third Judicial District.
(Next page names witnesses: Betsy Helton, Joseph Phillips, Samuel Colquith, William
Williams, George Loftis. J.J. Wright, Clerk. 7
Following Proceeding is May 8, 1823 - This is the Grand Jury finding a true bill.
Next is Friday 9 May 1823
He pleads "not guilty" and is brought to trial and the jury placed: Thomas Blevins, Joseph
Martial; John Snider, Alexander_______, John Webb, William Davis, David Williams,
Michael Hawk, William Webb, William McRhea, John Cary & Joseph Brittan.
The judge finds him guilty. Harmon claims the benefit of clergy. The court orders Harmon
Helton be branded with the letter M inside of the left hand on tomorrow the 10th between the
hours of 9 O'Clock an 11 O'Clock in the open court - that he be imprisioned in the common
jail of this county nine calendar months and that he pay the costs of this prosecution and
remain in custody until the same are paid or security given for same and it is ordered by the
court that the Sheriff of Monroe County carry this judgment and justice into execution."
Source: Monroe County Court House - researched by Joyce Reece 2008.
Note: Apparently Harmon Helton was a minister and he probably got a light sentence because
"In English law, the benefit of clergy was originally a provision by which clergymen could
claim that they were outside the jurisdiction of the secular courts and be tried instead under
canon law. Eventually, the course of history transformed it into a mechanism by which first time
offenders could receive a more lenient sentence for some lesser crimes."

It doesn't say what the sentence was for John Helton (my 3x great grandfather, Harmon would be an uncle) but I am assuming it was a lesser sentence as well considering he was "only" an accomplice.  But holy crackers!  being branded with a "M" is one way to remind someone of what they've done.  

So, Native American blood: confirmed.  Sketchy personal past: confirmed (again)  Continued obsession with this search: rekindled with a passion.

02 May 2017

Find the Right Potion

I believe that if you're going to be sad/miserable/depressed, you may as well get other miserable things done at the same time.  So, I've scheduled my physical, which is always super fun, amiright? 

The biggest unfun thing I did was stop taking the nerve blocker that I used for my leg.   It's been five years since the original injury and two years since I've had the bionics removed.   I was told  that I would probably be on this medicine for the rest of my life, which makes me squint because I'm Susie Anti-Medicine. (for me, personally. Not judging anyone else in ANY WAY)

If you research this drug, it reads as either the devil or a lifesaver.  I would personally describe it as both.  It's the devil because it can be addictive.  I'm on the lowest possible dose and could only take it at night because it made me STOOPID. This did concern me but I wasn't terribly concerned about the dependency factor.  But it kept me from wanting to saw off my leg with whatever implement I could reach.

It soothed the ADD though.  It allowed me to sleep through the night.  So, now the middle of the night terrors are back and the ADD is making my head swim a little.  I swear if Kevin hears "Oh, I forgot!" one more time...ugh.

Kevin takes Melatonin because he is ADHD and this helps his sleep cycle.  I tried it but it freaks me out a little.  I have really vivid dreams and it makes me a little dizzy.  It doesn't seem like it's been super effective.  Now I'm trying St Johns Wort for anxiety and depression.  It hasn't been long enough to state a definitive opinion but I do feel like sparklers are going off in my head and it feels like someone has adjusted the contrast in my eyesight.  So, we'll see. 

I'm having to refer to my bag of tricks that I haven't had to think about for awhile:
Making lists is a big one.  I usually have one constantly running in my head but committing it to paper is more helpful.
Setting time limits for tasks.  (think of motivating kids: "You have two minutes to make your bed." 
Sticking to a schedule.  (because woooboy can I lose a day easily!)
Having one significant goal each day...completing a project, running an errand, etc.
Getting super organized.  I mean, I already am but eliminating anything that can send me down the rabbit hole is good.
Remembering to g.d. EAT.  Yes, I'm that hateful person who forgets to eat.
Limiting screen time is good too.  I can watch Bones all day or play Farmville on my tablet until...wait for it...the cows come home. 

It's all a process.  I'm trying to do the homeopathic way and use coping techniques before resorting back to the nerve blocker; recognizing that it might just be a reality for me.  Also, I realize it's going to take a bit to find the right combination and even then, it will change. 

18 April 2017

Just Give Me A Ring

I don't consider myself a possessive spouse.  I can only think of one time where I was overtly possessive. 

There is a woman racer at the track whom I would gladly give a bad haircut with rusty kitchen shears.  She is a talented driver with a sketchy personal life and flirts with Kevin on the regular.  Kevin can't stand her either so I do enjoy it so when I watch her futilely try to use her wiles.

The time that sticks in my memory is when we were waiting to race, literally standing with the racecar in the stage lanes, and talking.  She walked up behind him, touched him on the shoulder (*squint*)  and asked him a question that anyone else could answer, like I was not even standing there. 

It's one of the few times when I've squelched the urge to actually punch someone.  Instead, I stepped forward and put my hand on MY husband's chest, dead eyed her, and continued to talk to him.  Kevin monosylabically answered her and she wandered away.  Kevin just raised an eyebrow at me and we continued on with our lives.

The other night we were at family dinner because of course we were.  My nephew mentioned something about cell phone notifications, which lit Kevin's fuse because I'm known to miss calls and texts.   He explains to them that one of the ladies in his office has a ring she wears that vibrates when her phone rings or has notifications.  He would like to get me one.  So romantic.

I eye-rolled the idea because No One Holds Me Down and I just find the idea annoying.  In Kevin's defense, he worries when I don't answer.  It's not like I've fallen and broken my foot off my leg, or rolled a truck, or any other fantastical things that have prevented me from answering the phone.

The Nephew asked how it worked and Kevin explained that it vibrates just like your phone does.  He then explained further that he dialed her phone, held her hand, and felt it vibrate.  I reacted without thinking about it.  "You did WHAT now?" 

Kevin immediately realized his error.  "It's not like that, I mean, how else would she demonstrate how it worked?"   I took my engagement ring off and slapped it on the table.  "OH, I don't know.  Maybe like THIS!?!?!"

The kids were roaring with laughter.  They knew nothing really untoward happened and they knew I wasn't truly angry and they were just enjoying the show.  It's not like he's ever given me a moment of doubt and while not his best idea ever, not a punishable offense. 

But, I won't be getting one of those rings anytime soon.

17 April 2017

Take Me To Church

I went to church today.  Friends just paused upon reading this and thought wait, what?  Sh*t must have really gone sideways.

It's not the church you're thinking of.  Up here in this corner of the universe, there is something called the Tulip Festival.  It is fields upon fields of beautiful tulips of all colors, including two businesses that feature elaborate tulip gardens.  It is not unlike walking into Oz from a black and white landscape. 

The locals hate this festival because nothing defines misery like thousands of extra cars and people unfamiliar with the place; all on narrow farm roads.  It lasts about two weeks and traffic is a misery, for sure.  It's one of those situations that it's a shame the locals don't get to also appreciate the beauty, kind of like New Yorkers who never see the Empire State Building or that you get so used to your surroundings that you simply don't "see" them anymore.

This is another year that I've randomly chosen a morning to go explore.  I arrived as the gates open to ensure there is little nonsense with traffic and ugh, people.  The weather was mixed today in a typical Pacific Northwest kind of day, bipolar with a chance of rain.  These fields are on the flats so it's always windy, today was no exception. 

Like a teenager, I chose my favorite music, put in my headphones,  put my hoodie up and entered into the world of the technicolor. (music choice, you ask?  it was a shuffle featuring everything from Keith Whitley to Lady Gaga to Les Miserables)

Once inside, everyone speaks in hushed tones.  The environment is something between the reverence of a church and communing with Mother Nature's best artistry.  Especially with going so early, there aren't many folks and those who are certainly aren't rambunctious.  Even little ones are quiet and it's fun to watch the absolute wonder in their expressions.  I could spend a day just doing that.

At this venue there are areas designed like English tea gardens, there are little vignettes with benches and designs and there are huge open fields of color. Not only are there tulips but lilacs, daffodils, rhododendrons, magnolias, and other flowers that I'm unable to name other than "oooh, pretty!"
It's is adjacent to a working farm so some of the paths are muddy and there is the occasional farm smell.  To me, it's the perfect juxtaposition to the beauty.  You can't get the pretty without the ugly.
I take a million photos with just my cell phone.  Others have tripods and shades and are dancing on the edge of being intrusive.  Others manage to walk through unencumbered and I marvel at their self control and apparent memory.  (Or they've forgotten their cameras. That works too.)

The workers are also quiet, almost invisibly taking care of the flowers.  I found it sweet when I noticed one taking a photo of the lilacs this morning.  Even the folks who work in this wonderland aren't immune to its beauty.

I have to believe that the people who decided how the Land of Oz looked must have experienced gardens such as these.  It is an example of how "riot of color" has come into definition.  It's a child's imagination come to life.  It is magical and it is church.

11 April 2017

Keep On Believing

So, in researching my family history I've made some incredible discoveries.  One of the top ones being that my dad was a real and true bastard, having been conceived months prior to his parents marriage.  This gives my dark little heart joy.

Three out of four grandparents have been married three times.  Three.  That's one hopeful and stubborn group.  My grandma outlived three husbands, my granddad was widowed once, divorced once then married until his death.  My other grandma was married three times, divorced twice and died at 60 so she packed a lot in there. (also: two sons, two different fathers)   My grandma's first husband died at 24, he's the only one that truly married until death do us part. 

My maternal grandmother's family was Society in Southern California.  She always kind of had that proper air to her so this isn't a surprise.  What was a surprise is that she married a bad boy.  An honest to badness bad boy:

It's clear that my racing interests are genetic.  

But that was her second marriage, to who turns out to be her first husband's best friend.  Her first marriage held a bit of scandal, I believe.  It sounds like an elopement:

To those of you wondering: nope, they weren't pregnant
It looks like they lived in Arizona for a while before returning home as he had a job with the railroad. But I wonder if it was also to maybe to let the scandal die down?

Unfortunately, I can only rely on my imagination as everyone has passed away now.  My mom was in the younger part of the family (her dad was the troublemaker) so these goings on happened before her existence.  Also, my grandma didn't seem the type to tell stories like this.  Let alone the idea of asking your mom about that one time you eloped.

Not to mention how unbelievably painful her life must have been, lost her first husband and a baby to the flu epidemic, remarried but lost him to a heart attack at a young age, to remarry again just to be widowed. 

She's always been my quiet and staid grandma.  It is fascinating to think of her young, impulsive, and eloping.  It's fun to think of her marrying her late husband's wild best friend.  Then finally marrying again to a war hero who was widowed, also lost a baby and had five kids of his own. (his wife and baby died in childbirth)

Lena and Lloyd...they look so serious...

04 April 2017

Gonna Change My Grade

A thousand years ago when I was in a high school psychology class, one of the requirements was to write a journal entry every week for that quarter.  For someone like me, that was easy peasy.  I could write you anything, just don't ask me for help with Algebra.  But for some reason that I can't recall now, I didn't do it. 

If memory serves me, it was when I started doing work study so I went to school for a little bit then went to work.  I think I just forgot all about it.  Also, this was before journaling was a thing; keeping a diary was for young girls and old people, not for high schoolers.

So, I don't fail well.  I am problem-solver.  We know this.  I remember the sinking feeling of the teacher announcing that the journals were due at the end of the week and I just knew I was screwed. 

I considered just faking it.  It was like twelve entries or something, certainly I could pull that together.  But that's not how I was wired then or now.  I sat down to figure it out and finally just wrote one journal entry explaining why I didn't get the assignment finished. 

I wish I still had it, maybe I do.  I don't recall what I wrote but probably something along the lines of the above: work study student, short attention span (what they called ADD back then)  and asked for consideration. 

Yeah, I got an "A" on that entry, which made my failure to complete an assignment "F" grade into a "C".

I don't know why I thought of this, other than a whole lotta life examination happening up in here right now.  I'm going to try to channel that tenacious, never-say-die teenager over these next few months as I try to figure out all.the.things.  I'm going to make an "F" grade into a "C". 

28 March 2017

Just Try Not to be an Ass

Sweet baby jesus, I should have considered this 30-day list a little more closely before deciding to use it.  It feels like Negative Town up in here and I'm only on day three.

What are your three pet peeves?

I think I can only decide on two, really.  Both of them are encompassing many bad behaviors so I might be cheating at little.

Bad Etiquette - table manners, rudeness, effing gum chewing, not being aware of your impact on others around you.  (looking at you those people who stand in the middle of the aisle of the grocery stores)

Willful ignorance - in this day and age, there is no excuse not to have some level of knowledge.  My most recent examples are that horrifying How Bout Dah girl.  Or our friend who said "I just didn't know who to vote for this year."  Or a certain family member who blindly accepts others opinions as facts and does no research.

Let's flip this. Here's what I do to try not to trigger anyone's pet peeves:

I try to make a point of saying please, thank you, I'm sorry to everyone. 
I look cashiers in the eye and ask how their day is going.
I will hold the door open for you and bite back yelling "You're welcome, your highness" when you don't say thank you.
I try to remember service people's names and use them.  The water guy? Marshall.  The postman? Jeremy.  The delivery guy? Kyle.  
I will turn around in a store aisle if it's crowded.  I will skip making a choice and return to it if I'm holding up traffic. 
I comment to kids with glasses because I can relate.  "I like your glasses. All the cool kids wear glasses."
I make faces and wave at babies and toddlers.
I smile at old folks. 
I thank service members for their service.  Even the older gentlemen with the veteran hats.
I tell someone if they look great.  I've found "I love your shirt, you should wear that every day." works wonders.

Now, I'm certainly not Susy Mary Sunshine as the above list may make it seem.  I'm certain that I've done the frustrated deep sigh, the impatient throat clearing/cough, used "the tone."  I am human, I just try not to be an ass while doing it.  

27 March 2017

We Are Always Going to Be Annoying

"Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot."

Ugh, two entries in and I'm all "Can we skip this one?"  I'm back in high school, not wanting to do the writing assignment.

I'm sure the intent of the prompt is to think if something positive that someone would have said to you.  But I think that in being human, one would tend to think of negative things first.  Maybe I'm wrong but that's been my experience among humans.

Well, the first thing that popped into my mind is appropriate for the situation that I've found myself in currently.  I don't remember who said it though.  To be honest, I've probably heard it more than once, just phrased differently. So, para-phrased:

"Who you are, as a person, is always going to draw someone's ire."

I can be outspoken, not outgoing usually but outspoken.  A person rarely has to guess how I'm feeling about something.  I'm known to be blunt, in a direct way and hopefully not in a mean way.  I know a little about a lot of things and I've had a lot of life experiences that perhaps gives me a different perspective.  I live in boy world, where filters and feelings are rarely employed.

So, I'm no church mouse nor the super popular cheerleader.  I am certainly not everyone's cup of tea.  It also seems that if someone is insecure in their own person, I can be a nightmare.  Or I can be your best friend, or both, of that I am sure.  Sometimes it seems like  there is no middle ground. 

And maybe that statement applies to everyone.  Who we are is always going to annoy someone else. 

25 March 2017

10 Levels of Happiness

One of my planned tasks/coping techniques is a 30-day Writing Challenge.  I never make time for these and I always want to do them.  I'm squelching the OCD that disagrees with starting this on the 24th of the month and not the first.  So, here goes.

Topic #1: 10 Things that Make Me Happy and Why

Kevin...he's so patient with me.  I know I'm not a picnic to be married to.  It's been 27 years and sometimes it feels like it's been five minutes.  Plus, he's super fun to hang out with and easy to look at.

The kids...although they're not my children, they have become so.  I just can't describe the joy they have brought into our lives. As someone who has always known she can't have children, I didn't guess that my life with be this full of them.

Lucy...she's the happiest dog we've ever had.  She's a great snuggler when your life sucks, she's a good companion in the truck, and look at this face:

Coffee.  I know this seems frivolous and cliche.  But it's not just the need of it. It's the process, the ritual. It's purposefully doing something that I enjoy.

Television...see the above.  I was raised by the television so it is a source of comfort.  It's a companion.  

Reading...It doesn't matter if it's the interwebs, a magazine, or a book series.  My love of reading has been lifelong. 

Hamilton...I've not experienced music in the way that the Hamilton soundtrack has affected me.  Every time I listen to it, I seem to learn something that I hadn't caught before.

Gardening...this is a new one.  I haven't developed a love for it until recently.  Now I find I'm itching to go dig in the dirt, pull weeds, and care for the flower garden I've planted.  I'm even considering a kitchen garden, which makes the younger me laugh and laugh.

Photography...I enjoy randomly stopping to take photos.  I've gone places I probably shouldn't.  I've gotten soaking wet and cold.  I've learned to be in the moment.  I've documented moments for the family that I know will be beyond valuable in the years to come.

Soaking wet in January, I misjudged the timing of the waves. 
Writing...I mean, duh.  But it helps quiet my brain.  As someone who has three thoughts, song lyrics, and a to-do list simultaneously and constantly scrolling through her brain, writing helps slow the process.  It gives my imagination something to do.  It provides me a place to document memories that I know will fade in time.  It requires me to be still.

24 March 2017

Down the Rabbi Hole Again

I've started this post a few times. I've given it ten titles, many just using curse words.  "Nothing Gold Can Stay", "Won't Get Fooled Again",  "FML", "Starting Over", "An Early Spring Break", "Didn't See That Coming".   You probably get the idea.

I'm not working again.  Again.  In a zany twist that I didn't see coming and could not have predicted, I lost my job.  My dream job.  No warning, conducted like an assassination by strangers, and leaving a big scar in my psyche. 

It's been a week and I'm still a little shell-shocked.  I mean, seriously I did not see this coming.  One moment I was  working and the next, not so much.  The reasons given at the time didn't add up but now that time has passed, personal agendas, leadership changes, and budgets seem to be the cause. 

So, EFF.  Seriously.  (another possible title, that one)

There's no way not to take this personally.  There is no way not to internalize this.  There is no way not to feel angry and hurt. 

Here I am starting over again, again.  I've been here before but for vastly different reasons.  I've only held three real long-term jobs in my adulthood of twenty-cough years; one lasting nearly thirteen years, the other seven years and this was the one I was going to stay at forever. 

I get to decide once again, who I want to be when I grow up.  What do I want to do and where do I want to do it.  I really thought I had this figured out but apparently the Universe was bored and needed to mix things up. This is where my more metaphysical friends would nod knowingly and say "There's something else out there for you, this wasn't the right path."   While I know deep down that it's true, I still kind of want to yell curse words and stomp. 

A coping mechanism I'm trying to deploy is one of structure.  I'm keeping myself on the same schedule, as if I were still working.  I'm applying for all the jobs I'm qualified for, regardless of my interest in them.  I've given myself a timeline and schedule to keep, I'm not going to relax into the time-off like in the past.  I'm trying to focus on other things like completing projects and purposefully pursuing hobbies. 

I'm trying not to fall down the rabbit hole, because that would be incredibly easy.  Thus the structure plan and employing self care that I wouldn't regularly do.  But that rabbit hole has been enticing, for sure.

06 March 2017

Musical Trucks - A Love Story

Firstly, it's never going to stop snowing here. Like, ever.  I honestly don't remember the last day where there wasn't snow on the ground...December?  This is really unusual for the lovely Pacific Northwest and while it was fun for a while, I'd like to break up with it now.  It's not it, it's me.

This morning I'm driving a new truck.  I'm still having a bit of anxiety so the excitement level is a little low.  My beloved 4Runner was pronounced terminal by our mechanic a week ago.  I'm terribly sad about this and yes, I have an unnatural attachment to things.

I have always wanted a 4Runner and I absolutely love it.  The problem being is the body style that I love the mostest has the crappiest engine and isn't worth fixing.  Boo.  We've already fixed it once because we bought it for next-to-nothing so it was worth the investment.  Not so much this time though.

We started out looking for a newer 4Runner but I just don't like that body style and they were few & far between.  So, we were going to roadtrip to Idaho to a truck place and get one.  Because I'm fussy about my vehicles and Kevin is a saint.

Then, the next morning Kevin, in his Kevin-like way, found a Durango (Dodge version of the 4Runner) that he really liked.  I was tepidly considering getting a Dodge truck at the time so I was open to the idea.

But it was over on the coast.  Gah.  The guy was in a hurry to sell it so double-gah.  Kevin left work early and over we went.  It was a pretty cool truck so we jumped at the chance.  But, the seller is a soldier and on duty so we had to wait until Saturday morning to go get it. Nothing about this is seeming easy.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to almost six inches of snow on the ground again. We headed out, again, and I couldn't even get excited because the thought of driving a new truck in this snow was making me crazy.  It's not like I've had good luck in the snow.  (see previous post)

But we got over there just fine and the snow was just in the mountains so that was nice.  As we were leaving the coast, Kevin phoned his dad to ask him if it was still snowing.  "Oh, yes, it's dumping down here and it hasn't stopped!"

We got home and the roads were clear and it was almost sunny.  WTH.  I hovered between thanking sweet, tiny, baby jesus and punching an old man for being melodramatic.

I put my 4Runner on the craigslist for sale and Kevin's phone blew up.  There was someone who wanted to come look at it and was certain he wanted it.  I went to find the title and not so much.  I emptied the drawer and every file and no title.  What.the.actual.hell.is happening.

I never lose things.  I'm just not that girl. I have paperwork for a car that we don't even own anymore from 2004. I don't lose things, I keep them. So, I was thinking about it.  We got the truck in November 2011 then went on vacation then it was the holidays.  In Spring 2012 was when I broke my foot off my leg and was home for six months.  I realized that the title had never arrived.  GAH.  It's been five years!

So, we had to take the ad back down and wait until today to get a new one, with the idea it was going to take at least a few months and we would be stuck with this broken yard-art of a truck.  I drove past it this morning and felt a little guilty.  It's such a pretty truck and it's a crying shame that it's junk.

Our tax return went toward a new-to-me vehicle this year so hooray? It sure is pretty and I'll fall in love with it too, eventually.  Maybe after the old truck is gone and I don't feel so guilty.  I have issues, obviously.

Oh, and then Kevin's truck blew a head gasket yesterday.  Because of course it did. The irony in this situation is that he has been teasing me about being so attached to my truck. I told him he had karma patiently waiting for him because when it's time to sell that truck, it will be exactly the same.  And here we are.  But we'll probably fix his because it's fixable.  Lucky duck.

Snow was melting when I took this and now we have more

28 February 2017

How I Spent a Snowy Morning

It's been a snowy winter.  I don't mind the snow.  I think mostly because I have the kind of work that gets snow days.  But when I do have to drive in the snow, my drive to work is sketchy.  Curvy and hilly backroads, freeway includes a mountain pass, and even once in the city there are hills. 

When this happens, I take the backroads and avoid the freeway.  This keeps the "Whohooo, I have an SUV and can go really fast in the snow because SUV!!" people away from me.  It also lets me take my time and take photos if something catches my eye. 

I did just this on a recent snowy day.  It was a Friday so I was unconcerned with getting anywhere in a timely manner and I stopped for a coffee because of course I did.  Once I left the coffee stand, I turned into the left hand turn lane and waited for the light to change.  I was the first in line at a busy intersection with a long light.

Suddenly, a white truck came skidding toward me and smashed into the corner of my truck.  I saw it just in time to take my hands off the wheel and brace myself.  It didn't feel like that hard of a hit, really, but the truck wedged against mine proved otherwise.

I couldn't quite see the other driver but I could see some flailing about.  I got out of my truck and walked all the way around the one that hit me to check on the driver.  Finally, he opened the door and told me he was okay. 

Of course, it was a college kid.  He was clearly frustrated and embarrassed.  So much so that his flailing kind of continued.  In a fit of pique, he slammed his door.  I was just about to turn to walk back to my vehicle because tantrums are unnecessary when I heard this quiet "Oh...no, no, no, no."

Dude locked himself out of his own truck.  In the middle of the intersection.  I BUSTED OUT laughing.  "Dude, you are not having a good day." I said aloud while thinking "And sometimes karma is instant."

He phoned his dad, because toddler, and asked him to come bring his spare keys.  He was vague as to when he would arrive so I called 911.  This was fun because they were busy and frustrated with these type of calls.  But I think I made the dispatcher's day when I explained I was calling because dude locked himself out of his truck during a tantrum. 

They sent a traffic cop to monitor traffic and she was laughing at him too.  Finally, she stopped traffic so i could back up and park in a parking lot.  Before I backed away, she told dude that they had to call a tow truck to unlock and move his truck.  When he fussed about it and explained that his dad was coming to help, she told him that they would have to see who got there first. 

I had to wait about thirty minutes before the tow truck won the race and got him moved out of the way.  I'd called Kevin and took photos already so all I could do was listen to the radio and drink my coffee.
Not a bad way to spend the morning but not on my top ten list, for sure.

Finally, the police arrived to take all of our information.  He wrote dude a ticket for driving too fast for conditions and while he was doing that, dude's dad finally arrived.  His dad was very attractive, calm while boiling under the surface and was kind to me.  I went to work and dude when to university to most likely fail his exams he had that day.

Photo courtesy of my work's IT guy because even though it's a city, it's a small town:

24 February 2017

Would You Give Me Your Shoe?

I was trying to explain a person's generosity the other day. "Scott is the kind of person who if you asked him for his left shoe would give it to you. No questions asked. And with no expectation of it being returned."

This made me think of other ways to categorize people. Because this is how my brain works.

My friend Willa would do a one-minute bit about possible reasons to give you that shoe but would definitely do it.

Kevin would laugh incredulously, ask WTF you need it for, then figure out a way to not have to give you his shoe but still get you the shoe. And you'd probably come away with more than you asked for.

Another person might, to use one of my favorite Swistle words, dither so long that the need would pass or you figured out another way. Or the shoe would suddenly just show up with no fanfare.

I would give you the shoe, completely forget about it then be mystified later if you tried to return it. Or conversely, tell everyone about the time I was asked for my left shoe.

19 February 2017

27 Years

This year has been bizarre, not just the current bizzaro-world administration but all the things. The loss of Karl, the continual fragility of Kevin's parents, Kevin lost a coworker to illness. He has a dangerous job that we recently discovered has resulted in a loss of hearing in one ear and just the other day, some very bruised ribs. 

Yesterday we visited an old friend who lost his wife about a year ago.  We hadn't been to the house since then as he lives far away. It was like time had just stopped within those four walls.  It's heartbreaking to see and made me feel powerless.  There is nothing we can do to help.  I'm a person of action so to be a passive audience member is horrible for me.  But it's not my life and as badly as I feel, he's probably feeling exponentially worse.

Kevin is seven years older than me and sometimes that age difference really shows.  Not often, but sometimes.  When we were talking about the above situation, he said something so darkly romantic that it really rocked me.  He said he realized that the time he has spent with me is now probably more than the time he has left with me and that it made him sad.  We've been together 27 years in October so the math plays.

We are in one of those life cycles where loss is the theme.  I remember this life cycle from when I was a child, it was one of those reasons one was given when one has an alcoholic parent. So, I know it's a thing.  A developmental life cycle that everyone has to go through.  But that doesn't mean it's fun.  We have to just bunker down and live our lives.  Perhaps stop paying attention to calendars and ages.

13 February 2017

We Already Knew

I've mentioned our young nephew before. The one who we knew was gay and was just waiting for him to realize it.  He's thirteen now but we've known since he was four. No exaggeration. And we're all TOTALLY FINE with it.  Our only irritation was the giant, feather boa'd elephant in the room that no one could talk about.

Kevin had to work on Saturday so at 5:30 in the morning I'm blearily scrolling through my social media.  My nephew had posted on his page earlier in the evening with his friends.  As you can imagine, I scrolled right past it because giggling teenagers showing off for the camera can be a bit much, regardless of what time it is. 

Then there was another video, of just him, and posted much later.  Curious, I did click on this one.  It just had a different feel and weight to it.

He came out.  Finally, he did it.  Actually, he admitted to being bi-sexual, to be accurate but he said the words "I like boys" (followed by a muttered "and girls..." but BABY STEPS)

The relief I felt surprised me.  I mean, we've known for YEARS.  It's been a running joke of how he was going to finally come out.  No one is surprised, no one is upset.  I just wanted to post "We KNOW, Dude."

Thank God for social media because the response can be immediate. His first comment was from his dad.  His dad is blunt and makes me look like a diplomat sometimes.  It was a perfect response:
"You be you. The only problem I have is you being on Facebook at 0230. Go to sleep lol"

Then adult friends/parent figures commented, then his mom, then me:
I used the Dr. Seuss quote of "Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" followed by "I'm gonna go with dr. Seuss here. We just want you happy, safe, and healthy. We don't care who you love." 

Slowly, comments trickled in during the day.  All positive.  Hooray progressive family and friends! Thank you for a world where this is normal now.  His cousins, his aunties, his great grandma even.  

It's funny because I asked his older cousin if he was seeing anyone at Sweet Baby's First Birthday if he was seeing anyone.  (yes, her name is Kendra) and then he deflected attention to one of the Littles, who will be ELEVEN in three months.  ELEVEN.

I asked him if he has a girlfriend, the amended it to "or a boyfriend, either way is cool."  He said he likes girls but shrugged it off because these kind of questions are NOTHING these days.

When I was his age, one hundred fifteen years ago, I didn't really have an awareness but even if I did, no one ever talked about it.  It was considered impolite and even put the person in jeopardy because you didn't talk about it then.

What a relief for it to be "easier" now.  Not to imply for one hot second that it will be easy for him.  He will have his challenges, for sure.  But I'm not worried about it, not like I would have even when I was his age.

And what a new world that someone can just make a video and post it and it's totally normal and acceptable.  It seems so efficient.  But also risky.  People could have bombarded him with negative comments for sure.  I'm sure he had moments of sheer panic waiting for everyone to respond. But he had to know that we were all fine.  

So, it's a whole new world.  No longer do I have to hear about Demi Lovato's hair (well, not as much).  Hopefully we will learn about what young men he finds attractive and if he's seeing someone.  Finally, we can have honest conversations.   

Welcome to this new world, young man.  May it greet you as openly and positively as your family and friends did.   

31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

May every hour that fleets away bring blessings bright with you to stay true,
blessings all your life to cheer, shield you from harm and protect you from fear.
In sending these Season's Greetings I wish to tell you dear that I wish you 
a prosperous and Happy New Year!

New Year's Meme

It’s back! The New Years Meme!  

Please play along! Copy and paste to your bloggity or social media.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Had a huge increase and change in my work.  I had to learn medical insurance billing.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yes, I think so. Incrementally.  I have a stove that still needs attention though so we're on year three of replacing appliances.  I replaced the microwave with one I hate so ugh.

My resolutions for 2017:
1.  I'm going to try to be more zen this year.  Let things go. 
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something.  Facebook and to-do lists don't count

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, OMG, Sweet Baby James!  Love of my life.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

God, I just can't even with this year.  Multiple people.

5. What countries did you visit?

"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Healthy Family Members 

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Road trips with Kevin....Mount Baker in May and Baker Lake and Dam last month. (same national park, different sides though so two different trips.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not desk flipping and leaving my dream job out of abject frustration. More enlightened answer: Learning a whole new skill.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Staying in touch with friends.  Life intervened this year in ways I never expected.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not this year!  Hooray!

11. What was the best thing you bought?


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Nephew, again. He's a champ.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I refuse to state his name or title.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Same as every year: Bills, Racecar, Vegas trip. Books. Amazon. Mochas!

15. What did you get really excited about?
Sweet baby James

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Hamilton Soundtrack.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I’m ambivalent, right now.
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? About the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read.  I didn’t seem to have time to read this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - In a sitcom level family gathering with my family. 
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

This Is Us.  Hands down, makes me cry every episode.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time.  I'm side-eyeing a person who shan't be named though for the next four years.

24. What was the best book you read?
House on Tradd Street series

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Hamilton soundtrack.

26. What did you want and get?
Time with Kevin.  We actually had a non-family vacation this year.

27. What did you want and not get?
I can't think of a single thing.  Hmmm.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
This is random: Mr. Right with Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, totally funny and violent and I loved it. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, critics hated it and I loved it.  Added to my all-time favorites was Brooklyn.  Such a beautiful film.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Slept in, mochas, lunch with Kevin, shopping, take-out dinner, opened presents from my BFF throughout the day.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less work stress, and less work, frankly.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
More purple.  Trying to let my hair go.

32. What kept you sane?

Mochas. Kevin. Lucy. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Hardwick is my new celebrity crush

34. What political issue stirred you the most?


35. Who did you miss?

It's been a rough year, full of reflection.  I don't know if it's people I miss or the good old days.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

My work BFF.  Love her so.  She's intentionally and purposefully kind.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Drop in the Bucket Theory.  I mean, I've known it but I'm actively putting it into play.

29 December 2016

This is an Organizational Tool

I've been up since 5:30 this morning.  I haven't accomplished anything beyond looking at social media and wondering why the characters in Supernatural always look like they haven't showered in days. Are they gremlins?  can they not get wet?

The house is a mess, by my standards only which even I admit are impossibly high.  What do I define a mess?  Well, let's make a list:

Approximately six half-eaten chip bags, two birthday cakes, and two tins of now stale Christmas cookies are needing my attention today. 
The recycling needs to be taken to the place. 
I have to send out three sympathy cards, including printing two photos from our wedding for one.
Christmastime is always a good time to start another photo project so I have that.
The tree needs to be taken down and this is where I admit that perhaps an 8 foot tree was not my best choice.
Defrocking the kitchen and living room...I may have mentioned before, multiple times probably, that I have too many decorations. 
Laundry, because always.
I have to change the radios back over to our regular station because they stopped playing Christmas music.  But The Weekend can't feel his face when he's with me so I can't just yet.
My father-in-law returns home from the hospital today so I have to go look at what kind of a disaster is happening over there.  (yes, I swore I wouldn't clean up over there ever again.  shut up.)
I've already changed my shirt because it bugged me. Now my socks don't match and I'm trying really hard to not let this ruin my life.
I have to write a thank you note to the parents nurse who helped me get portable oxygen for my m-i-l yesterday, while sitting in a hospital full of oxygen that she couldn't have.
(don't get me started, ain't nobody got time for that.)

So, I'm spinning my wheels a bit.  There are all.the.things to do and this is where the ADD spins out.  Clearly, as I'm sitting here writing about all the things instead of doing them.  Let's just say that I used this post as an organizational tool.

24 December 2016

22 December 2016

Stop Marrying Me Off, Husband

Major life discussions tend to occur when people around us pass away.  This week has been no exception.

Kevin has always been very clear about his wishes. He has a distinct picture of what he wants to happen if he passes before me.  I have a specific set of instructions and key players in our friends and family also know them.  He has told them "She's going through the worst part of her life, whatever she says goes and eff off if you're going to argue with her." 

It's a little terrifying and creepy that he is so prepared.  But, he has always been honest that he's never felt like he was going to live to be an old man.  He has a very dangerous job and a dangerous hobby so he lives his life like a dare.

The latest topic has been if I would remarry.  He's, like, guessing who I might choose.  It's equal parts fascinating and horrifying.  Who he has seemed to have settled on is not someone I would immediately think of so I find that intriguing.  I mean, how did he decide?  Convenience?  Similarities?  Time we've known each other?

And it's not like I can say "Oh no, I would run into This Person's arms" because that's not going to end badly at all.   Holy Awkward Conversations, Batman.

So, after being together 26 years this is what we've come to:  Choosing future spouses. 

Karl, We Speak Your Name

It's usually the odd number years that are challenging.  It's just a theory, of course, so a person has no right to be surprised when 2016 continues to be so challenging.  Seriously, we have just a few days left, 2016, get your sh*t together.

A childhood friend of Kevin's passed away this morning. He's the first of the inner circle of friends to pass.  It was unexpected and gut wrenching.  Life is just feeling super challenging right now.

Like you do, a person revisits memories when someone passes. 

When Karl learned Kevin and I were dating, (a bit of gossip stirring at the time) he just shrugged and said "Oh, okay" with a smile. If you knew Karl in real life, you just heard him say that. He had a childlike way to him, including many one-liners, bad jokes, and puns. 

Karl waited quite a while to get married.  His was one of my favorite weddings because we just knew something Karl-like was going to happen.  To our surprise, he was pretty well behaved.  The last thing, the kiss, was what made us laugh.
"You may kiss the bride..."
"Oh, okay."  Then he kissed her like a grade-schooler would, with a firm grasp on her shoulders, a peck on the lips, and then set her back on her feet.  It was textbook Karl.

When his first son was born, they named him Justin.  Karl joked, albeit with some seriousness, that he wanted his middle name to be "Case".  I'm a little surprised he didn't win the argument, actually.

Karl was one of Kevin's street racing buddies in high school. I knew Karl from cruising when I was a teen. Karl was at our wedding. Karl helped us move. Karl would randomly show up at your house for a visit.  Karl always had something when you needed it. I can't count how many times I've heard "I got it from Karl" when the car guys are talking.

We'll miss you, man.  We thought you'd be around forever.

11 December 2016

To Glitter or Not to Glitter?

Before we left on vacation in November, I was thinking about Christmas cards.  I even took them out of storage and put them in plain sight.

Almost one month later and here we are.  Still not done.  However, there are some finished and this is the soonest I think I've ever started.

Swistle talked about choosing Christmas cards (and then made her own. Omg, they're fantastic! look!)  It made me realize something about myself.  I have too many cards to choose from.  This is what spins me out every year.  Well, at the fact that it's just a daunting task as a whole.

I overthink things (I know, shocking) so I will spend time thinking "Well, they have kids so it has to be something Santa-ish" or "They're church people so choose a pretty church card" (I have a stack) or "They have dogs so send one of those"  (I have a stack of those also)  Too many choices, for real though.  I also tend to hoard my favorites, because reasons?

So, it occurred to me this time last weekend: Just send everyone the same doggone card and be done with it.  That's the mature and reasonable solution.  Am I either of those? not often.

Then I saw this and posted it to my facebook.  Now I have to do it.  Because I don't already make Christmas cards  complicated:

One of the biggest hurdles is that I get distracted by our address book.  It's the same one we've had for many, many years.  I believe I've written about it before. My attachment to this particular item is unusually strong.  In it, there are people who have passed, people who we wouldn't mind dead, many scratch-outs because people move, people divorce then remarry, business cards stapled in (just in case).  Finally, just for fun, it's not alphabetized by last name.  It's not how Kevin's brain is wired, nor mine really, so it goes by first name.  This is fine until one realizes there are tens of Johns and Lisas in our lives.  Those pages are crowded.

Just spending time browsing and organizing the address book on an annual basis is a time consuming project.  I should probably schedule doing that at a different time. Won't, but probably should.

I also have a list that I keep. Except this year, when I managed to print off an old list.  I am somewhat organized, evidence to the contrary.  But even with a list, I get distracted.  "Oh, I'll do neighbors first, then BFF's, then family."  Next thing we know, the list is half crossed-out and my ADD brain malfunctions trying to figure it out.  So then I make an updated separate list then rinse & repeat.   To anyone who ever thought, I wish I had a brain like hers, print out the paragraph and remember: no, you don't.

Why are you even?, you're probably wondering.  Because I do actually enjoy it.  I enjoy receiving them even more.  It's become a lost art and that makes me sad.  I don't want to contribute to that loss.  It is soothing to look back and then write out these cards.  I think I would miss it. Even if I do make it too complicated.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, look:

04 December 2016

Who Are All These Kids!?!

We just celebrated a few big birthdays in the family. With the kids there is now an age range of teenager to baby.  We now have three thirteen-year-olds in the family. (not the Littles but three nephews) Sweet baby is coming up on nine months old.  The eldest boy is about to be fifteen.  And we have a three year old boy, no longer a baby as I tend to call him, on the other side of the family.  My adult nieces are now 21 and 24 years old.  Nephew will be 31 in January, Niece will be 35 in a few days.

I carry that feeling that I imagine grandma's do.  There's just a joy in having all these kids around.  It's astonishing to see them grow and become their own person.  Even more astonishing is watching their parents grow into parenthood and adulthood.

The Littles have very distinctly different personalities and now that they're ten, a person can see the individuals they are becoming.  One is super smart and skilled at humble-bragging, one is quiet and in their own imagination, and the other is pragmatic and very careful.

The Bigs...oh, they're so grownup now.  Biggest has a girlfriend and is no longer the nerdy little magician.  C2 is in that weird stage of trying to figure out how he fits in the grownup world, the school-ager world, and just the world in general.  Gosh, I hated being thirteen. 

Sweet baby is moments from walking.  He loves the guys in the family, he's a guys guy like his uncle Kevin.  He's pretty adventurous, if it comes to playing with his siblings or trying new foods, no matter.  He is all in.

The other nephew, same family but different parents, is also thirteen.  He is so socially awkward that it's almost painful.  He's going to school now so I've noticed that is starting to change.  The biggest hurdle he is facing, I believe, is that he has a coming-out in his future. The family is completely fine with that yet his parents seem to be rooted in denial.  "But he likes GIRLS!" his mother says "He loves Demi Lovato and..."  I just want to shout "He wants to do their HAIR and wear their SHOES, not date them!"  This is not a crisis, just something that time will take care of.

The other thirteen year old is Nephew's brother-in-law, whom they had temporary custody.  He's living with Nephew's sister-in-law, visits often, is doing very well in school and has acclimated from being essentially feral.  His "mother" remains in jail and should be there until he turns 18. He still is a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume, both in number and in sound, of all of us.

The grown nieces are doing well, in their own ways.  Eldest has an apartment, rented from her former stepmother (totally weird, right?) and has a long-term boyfriend who is a little on the odd side but very good to her.  (he randomly bursts into song...)  Youngest is still finding her way but has yet *KNOCK EFFING WOOD* to make any life altering mistakes.  No marriages, no pregnancies, no addictions.  She is much like me in  the Go Where the Wind Takes You way of living life.

George, my three-year-old nephew, has finally decided to talk  and holy buckets, he has a lot to say.  He narrates what he is doing or what you are doing, and it is adorable. His favorite thing to do is help, doesn't matter how big or little the task, if he's helping he is overjoyed.

The toughest part I have with this whole grandkid thing is watching the adults make decisions, sometimes what I would consider mistakes, and having to just be a passive spectator.  Instinct is to guide, advise, and frankly, shout. Bottom line is that it is their lives and their decisions, even if we know better.  I realize that this is every parent/significant family member in the world and not just me.  But if you know me in real life, you know I have no hesitation to advise and guide. 

Now we're entering the Christmas holiday where feelings of goodwill are abundant.  I will resist buying the kids All.The.Things and be excited to watch them open their presents.  We will continue to be the naughty NotGrandparents who open all the packaging against their parents wishes.  

25 November 2016

Top Ten Things About Our Trip

Top Ten Things About Our Trip

My Do Nothing Day stretched to two days.  I stayed in the hotel room, watched television, read, played a game on my tablet, texted my friend, and did nothing.  Twice. My version of bliss.

Hanging out with Kevin is always fun but when we're traveling, it's even more.  It reminds me that we're a team in this crazy world.

Listening to Spandex Nation play live at the Fremont Street Experience with our friends who are my age.  We were singing, dancing, and laughing like the teens we were when this music was popular.

We learned more about how to get around Vegas the way the locals do.  It lessens anxiety, for sure.  We're also finding locals spots to eat and that is easier on the bank account, which is always good.

I visited the Titanic exhibit again, this is my third time.  I just enjoy it so much, it's so well done.  We also went to the Bodies exhibit.  I over-rode my anxiety about it and it was pretty cool.  Not something I would do again though.

Our friends held the top three spots in their class at the race, one of them won.

Seahawks won.

I bought another cozy sweatshirt.

Figured out how to check in online for our flight.  This is a game-changer and requires faith in the electronic world.

Finally, just the time spent with our friends.  It's irreplaceable and makes the stress of traveling easier to bear.

24 November 2016

18 November 2016

I'm Not Scared of You

This election has had an impact on me that I would have never predicted. I'm sad, I'm scared, and I'm disappointed. Not just that my candidate didn't win but that a large portion of this nation voted and said that racism is okay, sexism and sexual assault is okay, fraud is okay. People seem to believe that it's now okay to be openly racist.

The racism bothers me the most. I worked for the YWCA for seven years. It is in the actual mission statement to eliminate racism. I admit that that portion made me skeptical. Erasing racism is impossible. But, we can do our part to make sure it lessens. It became a core belief for me.

Now I'm in Vegas. I'm away from my predominantly white state. I don't normally notice much a person's color but now I am painfully aware.  Now I feel protective. I feel compelled, as a middle-aged white woman, to say "I'm not one of them!"

I meant to grab a safety pin to wear but I forgot. Also, that movement has been met with such derision that it gave me a sense of futility. But it's an easy way to say I'm Not One Of Them.

While we were checking into the hotel the other day, I asked the  clerk a question that she misunderstood. She thought I asked her if she'd experienced any abuse since the election. She said no but that she's nervous now. She has to think about it now.

One of our favorite baristas at home is mixed race and she's scared.  She's already had a friend who was verbally attacked. She attends a liberal university in a liberal city in a county that is conservative. She says she no longer feels safe and now feels like she has to be vigilant.

This morning I went downstairs to get a coffee. As I was waiting for the elevator, a man also walked up to wait. I glanced up and he was a gorgeous black man, also by himself. I saw him internally flinch. I felt like sh#t knowing he's probably thinking this tiny little white girl is scared of him.

I looked at him again and he was studiously examining the back of his chip bag. Now I am having a debate in my head as to what to do. I stood there feeling dumb.

Finally the elevator arrived. He stepped on first because he was closer. I stepped on and smiled. I said "Good morning." And he visibly relaxed. Then four college guys got in and off we went.

When the elevator stopped he let me out first. I told him thank you and to have a good day. I can only hope that everyone meets him with the same respect and gentleness.

I effing hate that this is a thing. Some might say that it's always been a thing but it wasn't in my world. While I try to remember that people are mostly good, I can't help but feel compelled to compensate for the ones who aren't.