No rest for an activist

I have jokingly commented several times in the past two years that I thought I would be able to relax in my older years, but apparently not. Of course, these are not joking times and I am more and more disturbed and angered as each day goes by while the Trump administration seems determined to destroy all that has been good about our country. No, we have never been perfect and yes, we still had a lot of work to do as we inched slowly, slowly toward justice for all.  I have protested one thing or another in just about every administration since I was old enough to do so; however, this particular time seems especially cruel and inhumane.  Among all of the despicable things that have been perpetrated by Trump and his minions, the idea that the USA is purposely and systematically separating children from their parents at the border is particularly heinous. Thankfully people are speaking out and taking to the streets to call attention to these horrific policies, though I am fearful that extreme damage has already been done to these children as we know that trauma can cause permanent change in developing brains.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made in remedying the situation as I write this,  with tonight’s news announcing that the government needs more time to reunify families of small children under five years old (five years old!) and I’ve read heartbreaking testimony from parents, children, aid workers and lawyers familiar with everything going on.

Saturday Rich and I joined a rally and march in Dallas to make our voices heard. It seems like a small thing, under the circumstances. But with similar rallies being held all over the country, perhaps we will make a difference. I also emailed our county judge who was seeking mental health volunteers to work with families.  I hope I will be able to assist in some way.

Amusing side note: We only saw one counter protester (unless you count the very elderly couple who walked through the crowd in their MAGA hats) and he chose to stand next to Rich with his sign that instructed people to “go home” and “change your own country, not mine.”  Followed by “I support ICE.”  I don’t know if he thought Rich was a kindred spirit or what! Rich was holding a sign that said “end racism now” so he asked me to take a picture of the two of them.  🙂  See if you can find it in the montage above.

The next Monday I attended a standing room only meeting of the Funky East Dallas Democrats who are going all-out to get people registered to vote and out to the polls. We heard from our Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, Mike Collier, and two state senate nominees, Nathan Johnson and Kendall Scudder (who is running in my district). They were all GREAT! I know we have some awesome candidates for November and hopefully that BLUE WAVE is coming in Texas.

36578975_10211949204861910_733247214888943616_nFourth of July was quiet as the Dallas kids were out of town.  Bonnie and David flew in from Amarillo early that morning, had breakfast with us and visited for awhile before they had to leave to shoot a wedding about an hour from here.  Rich and I had tostadas and fresh corn on the cob, then Bonnie and Dave came back to spend the night after the wedding reception. They are really funny and had some good stories to tell as we sat up till 1 AM talking and laughing. They had to leave early the next morning but we were happy, happy to have them here for a quick visit.

Happy Independence Day. Let us strive to embody the ideals that this country claims to stand for, even though we have failed time and time again. We are patriots when we work for peace, justice, and equality for everyone, especially those who have no power against the government.

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More Garden Goodies

The garden is about to play out as it is getting way too hot but these pics are from a couple of weeks ago when everything was at full peak. Unfortunately we only produced three eggplants but they were so pretty and tasty!  Rich made eggplant parmesan, of course, plus baba ganoush (one of my favorites), moussaka, and pasta a la Norma.  All were super delicioso! We’ve had lots of salads and tomato based recipes, plus he canned 6 jars of tomatoes for later.  It was very exciting that our cantaloupe survived the critters this year and we actually got to harvest some.  I think we had a total of 8, with 3 of those still growing. The boys helped us pick the cantaloupe and they taste pretty good, though we agree they could be sweeter.  At least they are not mealy or hard and we have certainly been enjoying our “fruitful” bounty.

Memorial Day Weekend

Susan and Corey brought the kids to us and visited for a bit before going to a concert and heading home the next morning.  We’d been telling Corey about Big Tony’s West Philly Cheesesteaks so we had to have lunch there and everyone gave it a big thumb’s up.  Pretty darned close to the food we love from Philly and South Jersey!  The kids got right in the pool and we took a walk after dinner.

Susan and Corey left the next morning and we took the kids with us to run some errands at a couple of garden stores and grocery stores.  Grabbed some lunch at the cute little cafe at one of the garden stores, where Aidan ordered a grilled cheese sandwich that was much more “gourmet” than he usually eats, with several kinds of cheese and some fig jam on it.  He was a good sport and did his best and Grandpa finished the rest! That night we went over to Sarah’s and babysat all the kids while she and Miles went to a concert.  Elle had a soccer game and Ally could not wait for her to get home! She finally arrived late and they were happy to have a cousin sleepover.

The next day we were invited to the Dallas Athletic Club with Sarah and Miles for Memorial Day festivities. The kids enjoyed swimming, getting fake tattoos, eating cotton candy and snow cones, and having a big ole time together.  It was hot but fun for all!

 

Garden update and other fun

I really do love all of the events that a big city offers!  Last week we got to see David Sedaris and I haven’t laughed out loud so much in a really long time.  He was hilarious and we thoroughly enjoyed him reading some of his works and talking about his life. I also bought his latest book, which is a compilation of his diaries from 1977 to 2002.  He stayed after to sign books and we waited for awhile but there were so many people in front of us that we decided to go on home since I had an early morning the next day.

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Then a couple of days ago, we went to see the poet Naomi Shihab Nye. She was equally engaging, read some of her poetry and prose, talked a bit, and answered questions from the audience.  About 15 years ago I took a creative writing class at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and she came to speak to our class, did a public reading, and then had dinner with us after.  She was very kind and friendly and it was great to hear her thoughts and insights.  I was glad to see her again and to find that she is still a compassionate and thoughtful person.

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We have been hauling water at the garden as there is a leak in the water line and the city has turned it off while repairs are made. Hopefully it will be back on by Friday, they say. It’s been pretty hot the last several days so we don’t want our plants to get too dried out!  They are coming along well and I noticed today that we have blossoms on our cantaloupe plant and eggplant plant (is that redundant?)  We have quite a few potatoes and will harvest them soon.  The tomato plants are loaded with tomatoes!

Is my husband becoming a Texan?  He made catfish and hush puppies the other night!

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Morikami Japanese Garden and Museum

On my last full day in FL, I decided to take a Lyft to the Morikami Japanese Garden for the day.  My driver was a nice enough guy but did not speak any English so we had a bit of a language barrier.  He wasn’t sure where to go, found the garden, but entered on a service road where we almost got creamed by a semi truck coming out. That was fun!  He dropped me and I had to climb under a fence to get into the main building.  But no worries, all was well in the end!

The sun was shining and it was a lovely day wandering around the gardens.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and finished it with a stroll through the museum and great lunch in the cafe.  I was interested to see that it is rated one of the top museum cafes in the nation!  I can see why–the food was amazing.  In fact, I wanted more! Read more about the garden here.

 

My driver back to the hotel was a reasonable white guy so I told Rich that his team was redeemed after the other night. haha

Kathi and I went back to the Atlantic Ave area for dinner at a place called 32 East, where we had some pizza and arugula salad, both delicious.  We enjoyed chatting with our server who was from Haiti and had the most positive attitude!

 

On one of my Lyft rides, I had seen a train speeding by and asked my driver where the train went.  He said “lots of places.” I asked if it went to the Fort Lauderdale airport and he said yes.  So I looked it up and found that there was a station very close to the hotel and it was only $5 to get to the airport. Score!  Much better than paying another $40 on Lyft. I made arrangements with the hotel to take the shuttle over to the train station the next morning.  Kathi and I had a pleasant last night in the hotel and then said our goodbyes the next day as she still had another half day of training and I had to leave in the AM to catch my plane. I’m really glad she invited me and had such a nice relaxing time!

The shuttle took me to the station the next morning and I purchased my ticket for the train.  As the departure time approached, we started hearing messages over the loudspeaker that the train was delayed 35-40 minutes.  I had allowed several hours but certainly did not count on any big delays!  I eventually asked one of the transit officers what I should do and he seemed to think I would still be “okay.”  He gave me an 800 number to call, which I did, and was told the train was on its way and should be at our station in a few more minutes so I stuck it out.  It did arrive soon after and we all loaded up. Another thing I didn’t realize was that the train did not go right into the airport but to a station about 15 minutes away and we all had to get on a shuttle bus. By then I was a little anxious but thought I still had plenty of time.  Thankfully, this was true and I made it through security with time to spare; even had time to get a tea and a snack before boarding.  The flight home was good and Rich was there to pick me up.  It’s always nice to get back home!

Where did February go?

I have been slacking off, apparently!  Lots going on, as always.  Here’s a little catch-up for February.

First off, our son in law Corey had a birthday on the 2nd.   He’s a great husband and dad and one of the hardest working guys we know. He’s also a lot of fun and can tell some funny stories, which is pretty much a requirement to be in our family.  We have lots of interesting conversations and always enjoy hanging out with him. AND despite leaning toward the metal category, he is surprisingly versatile at Song Pop Party, kicking most of our *&#$%es in many genres.  We love you, Corey!

Next up, granddaughter Elle’s 10th birthday. Yes, another one hits double digits. Man, the time is flying by!  She is sweet and sassy, kind and thoughtful, funny and silly. She is a great reader and writer and I can’t believe the long passages she can memorize and recite! She excels at soccer and volleyball and gets more skilled every year. She still beats us at board games and likes our after-school slushie treats, visiting Ajax, and “arguing” back and forth with Grandpa. We love you, Elle!

We babysat the boys overnight while Elle was in a soccer tournament and while she had a birthday sleepover.  Beck was a little upset because he didn’t get to go to the birthday slumber party so we made our own party at the Studio Movie Grill where we ate pizza and watched “Peter Rabbit.”  Then just the usual fun and games at our house. They are great kids and we always have a good time with them.

Found this little oasis of Philadelphia in Dallas while driving to Elle’s volleyball games.  Tastes pretty darned close to a Philly cheesesteak and we’ve been back one more time when I had an Italian hoagie that was almost perfect.  Hurray for a little bit of home!

Okay, maybe February needs more than one post!  To be continued…