Currently…

It’s pretty quiet around our house after our very busy summer. Too hot to walk so I started doing laps in the pool again. Not as interesting and no pix to share! Thanks for the fun cards and letters, Linda, Martin & Alex, Susan, Donna, and Paul. I joined a nonfiction book club and these are the most recent books, both very interesting! Made a photo book of our awesome Chicago trip. And some of my pandemic knitting. 😊 Plus some thoughts.

November

I have certainly fallen off my posting since the election. I think I was just exhausted physically and emotionally from all of the months of working so hard on encouraging voters to get out and make their voices heard. I continued to greet at the polls on Election Day and the mood was upbeat. Although I expected Biden to win, or at least held out high hopes that he would, I was still nervous going into the evening when the votes started coming in. We did have tacos and flan, so that made me feel somewhat better. 🙂

Of course now we know what a baby Trump is and that he can’t find it within himself to concede even though it is obvious that he will be leaving on Jan. 20. The elation I felt on Election Day has given way to more exhaustion and frustration with the way it has all played out, the people who encourage Trump in his worst instincts, those who value power and influence over what’s true and real, the direction of the country in general…it’s all so unending. Here in Texas, we were disappointed that we didn’t gain more seats in the state and national legislatures and I was shocked that so many people actually voted for Trump again. I don’t get it. We have a lot more work to do, obviously and unfortunately. But on the happy side, we have a female VP, a female of color, and it looks like Biden is making some diverse picks in his Cabinet, even if he still hasn’t been offered the courtesies usually given to an incoming President. Okay, enough on the election. Let’s move on!

Grandkids and cousins Emery and Beck celebrated a shared birthday; she turned 11 and he turned 10. She is super creative, loves to read and write and draw, and is currently the “creative writing” and “jokes and riddles” contributor to the 5th grade newsletter at school. 🙂 She played volleyball this year, loves her family, friends and animals, and knows all the lyrics to the songs from “Hamilton.” I asked her mom “even the curse words?” and she said Emery just pauses on those. 🙂 Beck is likewise very creative, can put together any Legos project in record time, enjoys reading, videogames, and hanging out with his family, has joined an acting program in Tyler and is rehearsing for a show to be held in January. They are both very inquisitive and ask lots of interesting questions, as well as being silly and funny and full of life. We love these two so much!

I got to see Angela Davis speak in a virtual event put on by the SMU Human Rights Council. She was so interesting and all of the students asked great questions. Davis said something to the effect that “the arena of struggle is where you find yourself,” and it seems very fitting.

“Lit Sticking”

The time has come for the many, many Funky East Dallas Dems to get out and distribute our voter literature. We ordered giant sticky notes that we leave on doors of confirmed or potential Democratic voters, thus the shorthand phrase “lit sticking.” Saturday and Sunday, volunteers came to our leader Kristy’s house, which we have dubbed “FEDDquarters,” to pick up their literature, get directions and help with the phone app we use, and pick up some swag. My friend Kathy and I were in charge of merchandise so we had fun hanging out and chatting with people before hitting the streets to work our own precinct. Once we are finished with our East Dallas precincts, we will be helping similar groups in Garland and Richardson. I think we are distributing something like 130,000 pieces of voter information. Let’s do this!

Multitasking on the theme: Postal Service

Wrote postcards to voters

Enjoyed cards from friends

Got some new cool stamps through the mail (why does it seem funny to get stamps through the mail?)

Watched Postmaster General DeJoy bumble his way through a Congressional hearing

We’re still in a pandemic, though the President and the Republican party act like it doesn’t exist. As of today in Dallas County, we’ve had a total of 72,884 cases and 926 deaths. Statewide in Texas, totals are 625,000 cases and 12,459 dead. US totals are at 5.29 million cases and 181,000 deaths. We are still advised to wear masks when out in public, social distance, not to eat in indoor restaurant spaces, not to gather in crowds, not to attend large events, and so on. Yet Trump had thousands of people on the White House lawn without masks and in close proximity, just pretending that there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Meanwhile, Trump donor, millionaire, and person who doesn’t know the cost of a postcard stamp (I can tell you it’s 35 cents because I am sending out lots of postcards these days), the Postmaster General is taking machines out of service, hauling off mailboxes, and slowing down mail delivery. Personally, I accuse him of backing Trump in his efforts to interfere with the election but go ahead and call me a conspiracy theorist.

I vacillate between thinking there is no way that Trump could get reelected and being totally scared that he will. I can’t take four more years of it.

Getting out the Vote

I and many others have been writing postcards to voters throughout the pandemic, encouraging participation in the upcoming election. Now we have collected all of those postcards and are meeting in small groups, masked, distanced, to put labels on all the cards and get them ready to mail. With all of the current issues at the Postal Service, we want to get our bulk mail project out sooner than planned. Wouldn’t it be a shame if all that work was in vain and people didn’t get their mail till the election was over??!!

This is such an important election. I hope everyone who can do something to help save our democracy will get out there and get busy! Make sure you are registered to vote and make sure your loved ones are, too. Do you know where you can check? Go to this website if you have questions. You can also contact your county elections office. If you are eligible for voting by mail, request your ballot now! As soon as you get it, fill it out and return it right away. If you can take it in person to your elections office, do that. If not, mail it immediately. If you can’t vote by mail, vote in person EARLY. Most states have early voting for days to weeks before November 3. You can find this out through your county elections office as well. Wear your mask, go early, and vote in person. Don’t wait till election day if you can avoid it. If you have to wait till election day, go early, make sure you have any documents that are required in your state (in Texas we need a picture ID), wear your mask, take some water and snacks, and be prepared to wait in line. IF you are already in line when the polls close, you must be allowed to vote. Don’t just leave. If you are told you cannot vote for whatever reason, ask for a provisional ballot. You are entitled to one and cannot be denied a provisional ballot, no matter what anyone says.

In the meantime, volunteer for a candidate or an organization working on voter issues. Become a volunteer voter registrar and get people registered. Take part in educational events. Put a sign in your yard. Contact your legislators and make sure they know where you stand on issues. Donate to a candidate you support. Write postcards. Block walk. Make phone calls.

Let’s do this, people!!

July, Please Be Nice to Us

Coronavirus cases rising still. Unrest in the streets. Crazy man in the White House, and evil minions around him. What will July bring?

I haven’t been walking much since it’s been so hot but I  (Ms. Not Much of a Water Baby) have actually been getting in the pool a bit. I’m starting to like it! One morning I thought I would take a short walk and then jump in the pool to cool off. I set out on one of my usual routes but this time I decided to walk down an alley because I thought I saw a few things that might make interesting photos. As I reached the end of the alley, I turned left onto Buckner Blvd, which is a fairly busy street that has no sidewalk. (I walked this once before when I went all the way to the Post Office and vowed I would not do it again).  But there were only two houses to walk past before I got to the next residential street where I could turn back to the left again, so how hard could it be, right? Somehow in that short distance between two houses, I managed to stumble and fall into the street, skinning my right knee pretty badly and my left one a little bit, plus both palms. Thankfully there were no cars coming and thankfully I bought a case for my newish phone because it flew out of my hand as well. I was mostly embarrassed and hopeful that no one had observed my fall!  I made it to the next street and turned back toward home but it was about a 15-20 minute walk on my injured and bleeding leg before I made it.  I took a shower and by then the pool was out of the question, mostly because I thought the chlorine would hurt my wounds. I’m still not sure how I fell and I am reminded again that it can happen so quickly that you can’t even stop yourself from falling. One of the hazards of growing older, I suppose. I am super grateful I didn’t break my wrist again, or something worse. I really don’t want to think about breaking a hip!

Pix from the walk and a few things I’ve grabbed off the internet to put on my  Facebook page which give you an idea about my current mood. 🙂

Rich’s seared potato gnocchi with sage brown butter and lemon, his sourdough bread, our homegrown tomatoes with cucumbers from the Comeback Creek Farm produce box, corn on the cob also from the farm. Delicious dinner!

The Latest

Last year my girls were all on the app Marco Polo, where you can videotape messages to each other but you don’t have to all be present at the same time as you would on a phone call. You can watch the videos whenever you want and record your own message back. I enjoyed it last year but it didn’t seem to last long before they all lost interest. I was kinda sad they quit doing it. 😦 One recent morning I woke up around 6 (early for me), tried to go back to sleep and suddenly around 6:30 my phone started going off over and over. I picked it up and all three of them were sending video after video. Marco Polo is back! So I laid in bed and went through the messages, considering trying to get back to sleep when Sarah sent a video that said, “Mom, we can tell you’re watching so you might as well say hi!” LOL I responded then and we all chatted a bit more. At that point, I decided I was not going back to sleep so I got up and did a few things around the house. I checked the temp and it wasn’t that hot yet so I thought I would walk to the lake and back. It was a pretty morning and there were not too many people out so that was nice for social distancing. I stepped into a field of flowers to take some pix and then later walked down to the water’s edge for some more. Little did I realize that I managed to pick up some chiggers and I am still dealing with the itchiness!

This is as good a day as any to do a little update on the virus and the state of the world. Texas, of course, opened up businesses before we had even seen a decrease in cases so now it’s going wild and spreading like crazy.  The governor, who has been opposed to many restrictions and has been fighting with our county officials who want to be stricter, has finally admitted that things are not as great as he would have liked and made some businesses close back up (bars in particular). Dallas Co. had 572 new cases today.  We’ve had 20,737 total cases in Dallas Co and 353 deaths. The county has us at the highest alert level “stay home, stay safe.”  Of course people are defying that and defying any notion that wearing a mask helps protect themselves and others. Mask wearing has become a political issue and a flashpoint with people threatening each other and getting into shouting matches and fights over whether to wear a mask or not. It’s all so ridiculous.  On the other front, Black Lives Matter marches continued daily and nightly in Dallas. My friend Margie has been going to most of them and keeping us posted via photos and statements on social media. I’m glad to see such a high level of engagement and hope change is coming.

It looks like the rest of the summer will consist of more quarantining and social distancing. If we thought we were going to be able to see family and friends from more than a distance, I think we were wrong. At this point we don’t even know what the new school year will look like.  My niece Brooke in WY has postponed her July wedding till next summer. Many of us have cancelled vacations. It’s a whole new and isolated world.

Meanwhile the Trump administration continues to be inept, unconcerned, inactive, focused on all the wrong things…I don’t like to be a hateful person but I have a lot of hate in my heart for Trump, Pence, McConnell, Graham, and all their minions. If you are reading this 20 years from now, look them all up because I don’t have the energy to spell it out. 🙂

Our days are pretty routine. Rich is making loaves of sourdough bread, which we are enjoying. He also used up the rest of the zucchini from our farm box in some zucchini bread. Yum. We have foregone most of the yard work now that it is so hot but I did plant some flowers in pots today. We actually got in our pool and got a little exercise since it’s too hot to walk very far any more. It’s a shame that we don’t use the pool more so maybe we will start making that a habit. I am knitting a couple of projects, though I keep tearing them out and starting over. LOL

Read:  The Book of Longings, All that You Leave Behind, and Daisy Jones & The Six.  All good but especially loved the last one.

Watched: “Contagion” (oddly prescient and it was kinda spooky to watch) and “Eurovision Song Contest,” Will Ferrell’s latest offering, which was goofy fun and made for a nice night of mindless entertainment. Started the “Perry Mason” series but not sure if I will stick with it. It’s a prequel and he’s a private eye before he became the Raymond Burr attorney character some of us grew up with. Kinda dark. Contemplating whether we want to pay for Disney Plus so we can see “Hamilton” in a few days.

Listened to: New Bob Dylan (not overly impressed even though one reviewer said it was his best in years…) and old Neil Young that he finally released after years of being in his vault (better than Dylan, but I always was a Neil girl), Black Pumas (excellent), Gary Clark Jr (extra excellent).

Growing: a very few tomatoes in pots…think we waited too late and now it’s too hot.

 

A Lamentation for Black Lives

I have had a very hard time making myself sit down and write since the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a cold hearted white cop. A white cop who left his hand in his pocket and stared into the phone camera held by a 17 year old girl who did not turn away.  If not for her courage, we would be unaware and going about our days. To see a grown man feel that he still has to call the cop “sir” as he is killing him, to see a grown man cry out for his mama as the breath is squeezed out of him, to know that he knew in those last moments that his life counted for nothing in the United States of America–I don’t know what to say except “enough.”  And it wasn’t just George Floyd. It was Breonna Taylor, shot 8 times in her bed because the cops broke into her apartment on a no-knock warrant. The wrong apartment. Looking for a man who had already been arrested. Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend thought their home was being invaded (which it was). He was a licensed gun carrier.  He was scared and still had the wherewithal to fire only a cautionary shot into a cop’s leg. He probably could have killed the cop but he didn’t.  And yet these cops shot his girlfriend 8 times as she slept. She was an EMT helping people in medical distress. Dead for no reason except her black skin. And her boyfriend arrested for shooting the cop. The cop who did not identify himself and broke into their home. (Thankfully he has been released by now but the cops have still not been charged). Shall we discuss Ahmaud Arbery, jogging in a neighborhood not far from his own, chased down by white men in a truck, cornered, killed?  For no reason except he was black? Here in Dallas, Botham Jean, a young professional black man was shot “by mistake” in his own apartment by a white cop who somehow thought she was entering her own home and HE was the intruder. His college degree did not save him, nor his beautiful voice singing in the church choir. Shall we go back over the years to 12 year old Tamir Rice, playing with a toy gun? Has any 12 year old white boy ever been killed by the police for playing with a toy gun? Please point me to the police report if so.  How about Trayvon Martin, shot for wearing a hoodie and carrying skittles while black. Not by a cop, but by a security guard wanna be. Shall we go all the way back to Emmett Till? Shall we go all the way back to the first slave ships arriving in an American port?

This is a racist country, pure and simple. We cannot deny it, even though some will try.  If I am tired of it, imagine how Black people feel. If you can. Because I don’t think we really can. But we can try. And we can ask. And we can do better, can’t we?

I am both encouraged and discouraged right now. Encouraged by action in the street and calls for change, young people taking the helm and maybe doing what our generations failed to do. I am hopeful. Discouraged because we have a man in the White House who is so racist, so divisive, so corrupt, so downright evil that he will do his best to stand in the way of progress. Encouraged because there is an election coming. Discouraged because I think he will do all he can to subvert the election. Not just him, but all his minions who protect him and do nothing to correct his basest instincts.

I feel like I want to write down a summary of all that has happened in the last two weeks, just so I will have the history here on the page. But it’s too much.

I’ve been really wanting to attend a protest in Dallas–they have been happening every day and every night since George Floyd had his life brutally taken on May 25.  The virus is still with us, and in fact, increasing daily in Dallas and in Texas. I am a little worried about crowds, even with a mask. I have also jokingly said (and maybe I shouldn’t be joking) that the cops in Dallas have been somewhat aggressive, tear gassed protesters the first couple of nights, and I am a little afraid if I had to break into a run, I might stumble and break a hip. That would not be good. But, yeah, white privilege that I can make that decision and stay home. Many people feel they have no choice any more. They are willing to take the chance of getting a deadly virus because they can’t be silent about police brutality and systemic racism any more. They are willing to take their chances in front of the police and in front of the virus. Rich and I tried to go to a small protest in our own area one day last week. Unfortunately when we showed up, there was no one there except the police. We waited a bit and no one came. I am not sure if they just got a really late start or what. One of my friends has gone out every night. I admire her! She tells me the virus is real, be safe, there are other ways to be an ally. I am trying to do my part from home. Is it enough?

(And I’m so proud of my daughter Bonnie and her three kids who attended a rally in Amarillo, TX. Next generation activists!)

Artists have been decorating the boarded up windows downtown. Rich and I went to see them the other day. They are beautifully heartbreaking. We met a talented artist named Jesus who was painting the remembrance of Botham Jean. I keep thinking of a U2 tune that says “how long, how long, how long must we sing this song?”

Black Lives Matter.