Damn it y’all. Yesterday was a blur, filled with shock and sadness. This country truly is divided. I so wanted Mike Espy to win Senate in Mississippi, get Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham voted out. So wanted Steve Bullock in Montana to win the Senate seat and not have Daines. Not have Greg Gianforte win the governorship in Montana, remember he is the one who body slammed a reporter back in 2017. Yea, great guy. This list could go on. Biden’s looking good though, there’s that. As Bishop Michael Curry says, the struggle continues, but love is the way. I’m going to hang onto those words.
On another subject, I just started an online memoir writing class through Creative Nonfiction. Already, I love the way it is structured, the way it gets thoughts and writing organized. First assignment is: Free-write on this question: ‘The story I want to tell is…’. Follow the first thought that comes and see where the words lead you. My Side of The Story:
Dismissed without discussion. That’s how it’s been for many years. And I still cry from the loss most days. It’s been four years since I’ve seen my now six year old twin grandchildren, a boy and a girl. I meet them at birth. I was an integral part of their lives for the first two and half years.
I have always been a “kid” person. Babysitting from a young age, being a nanny and then owning my own childcare. Children are so full of promise, innocence and fun. Being a part of their development is an honor. I love seeing the individual emerge and encouraging their curiosities as they present themselves. It’s been twenty years since I closed my childcare. I am still in touch with many of the children I cared for and close friends with some their parents. Caring for someone else’s children is an intimate service. The joys and challenges of a child’s development allowed me to become a part of some of my childcare client’s families.
Once I became a grandparent, I thought this is the life, the one I have been waiting for.
The next couple of days, the Mexican culture will celebrate Dia de los Muertos . During the Day of the Dead, Mexican families set up altars in their houses and decorate them with photos, candles, and various objects of their deceased loved ones. Family members come and connect in a spiritual way with their departed family members and offer them gifts. The Marigold flower (Cempazuchitl) is a popular flower that families place on the altars and on the gravesites at this time. Also, food items are placed as ofrendas for the deceased to come back for one night to eat their favorite foods again. I love this tradition, that it is a celebration, not mournful or sorrowful. If I were Mexican, if my family were gathering with painted faces to cook the favorite foods of some of our dead, and bring them to the altar with photos laced with marigolds, this is who I would celebrate and cook for. 1. Nanoo, my maternal grandmother, would be served biscuits and coffee on a dainty saucer and cup. 2. Matt Miller, a dear friend, who died our senior year, would be served a Krystal hamburger and fries. 3. Daddy, fried corn, corn scrapped from the cob, sautéed in butter and salt and pepper. 4. Tayloe, my high school, college sweetheart, a city club sandwich from Ole Tyme Delicatessen, oh and his mama’s devil’s food cake. 5. Amedee, the elder gentleman I had the honor of living with and caring for, there would be many dishes to choose from as what we were going to eat for our next meal was a main topic. I’d serve him food from House of India. That was his request in his parting words to me just before he died. Then for desert, I’d serve him Kozy Shack rice pudding. 6. Mama, a steak and baked potato. 7. Woosie, Elizabeth, the black woman who raised me, I’d be cooking for days. I’d want to serve her every good meal she cooked for me and my family. For desert, The Joy of Cooking, floating island. 8. Elaine, lifelong friend, we shared many joys and dramas. I’d make her a big jug of sweet tea.
It has warmed up to 16 degrees from 4 degrees today here in Missoula, MT. But the sun is shining and it’s actually quite beautiful after a day and night of steady snowfall. It will warm up to the 50’s by the end of the week. I’ll head to Eugene starting this Thursday.
A couple of talented friend’s work appeared this week. I hope you watch and listen. I found them both entertaining and enlightening. It’s worth your time.
Word of the day from dictionary.com: Ambivert – one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert. That resonates. I used to be much more of an extrovert but time and circumstances have made me much more of an introvert. Quarantine has been a gift to my introvert side. My writing group that started during quarantine is about to begin it’s fourth session of six week sessions. Deb, who facilitates, started our group with the idea of writing in lists. She is compiling a book for her children, they will learn a lot about her and other ancestors in this format. For myself and some others the list have served as prompts. It is remarkable what comes from it. This group of eight women has been the biggest gift of quarantine. We share authentically and deeply. Two women have adult children with severe mental challenges that present dangerous behaviors at times, another is from India and was cast out of her family when she married an American man and had half-caste children, and another women just lost her son to suicide at the beginning of this year. Sometimes when one of us complains then apologizes, “D” from India encourages our complaints. In her culture and others, it is encouraged as a way to get it out. I like that, and everything in moderation right? This week I suggested we write a list of rants. Inspired by Lola’s Get Down With Your Sweet Self improv class. Maybe you want to give it a try. Rant on and thanks for reading.
Awhile back, I won an Amazon gift card (remember Alicia). I joined Amazon and have watched shows on Amazon Prime. I ordered something this week, yes a cushy cushion for my seat to help with back pain. That’s the shopping theme lately, cushions, memory form, heating pads, even looking at suppression underwear. Anyway, I digress. I love my cushy cushion, especially while driving in the car. But when it arrived, it was in a huge box with unnecessary packing materials. That depresses me. It’s so wasteful. Last night, I heard a news story of how many accidents occur on the job at Amazon that are covered up, minimized, etc. They push their employees to make sure your item gets to you as fast as possible. (Why does everything have to be so fast?) Last night, I used the last of my gift card and cancelled my membership. I don’t need to help Jeff Bezos get any richer. Also, last night, I watched a new PBS documentary, Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility. It is educational, eye opening and heart opening. This morning woke up to this song and performance shared by my friend, Paty. Hope you watch it, I cried. Keep Going On Song Love you all, Thanks for reading. PS not sure if I’ll continue with Fuck it Frances. WordPress renewal is coming up. It’s $118 per year. Feedback welcome.
The family was gathered in the kitchen, cooking, laughing, dancing then I woke up Some of us moved away to make new lives for ourselves, we called each other to check in then I woke up I call my Mama every Sunday for a chat then I woke up My sisters, brother and our children, along with grandchildren are planning our next family vacation then I woke up We are listening to each other with empathy then I woke up I hear a little voice calling “mama” then I woke up
I voted and it feels so good, “Reunited, and it feels so good Reunited ’cause we understood There’s one perfect fit And, sugar, this one is it We both are so excited ’cause we’re reunited, hey, hey”…
So good I just had to sing for bit. You remember the tune by Peaches & Herb?! The lyrics could work for reuniting this country again. I think there is hope. If you can vote early, do it. Drop your ballot in a polling box if you can. Mail in is a great option, but it will delay the results and since the 45th and DeJoy are sleeping together no telling what shenanigans they will drum up.
Need a good laugh, check out the talented Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey in the latest episode of Saturday Night Live, First Debate. The entire episode is available on NBC, highly recommend.
We are all reeling from the “debate” Tuesday night. I choose to listen to it on NPR, as the less I can look at the 45th the better. But really, I couldn’t listen, the banter and arguing were disturbing, so I turned it off. The good news is, I am going to vote tomorrow. Here in Montana, one can go into an election office starting tomorrow and put their vote in. I have actually had some mail that was coming not show up so this is will feel the most effective way to get my vote in and counted. I’ll mask up, stay six feet apart and wash, wash, wash my hands. Hope everybody has your plan of action of getting your vote in as soon as possible.
Hip/back pain update: it’s been a month and still hurts. Yesterday, I could hardly get out of bed. I decided to go by the Bone and Joint Urgent Care. X-rays only revealed a little degeneration in my spine. The doc prescribed physical therapy and muscle relaxers. If no improvement in a few weeks, they will do an MRI. Looking forward to physical therapy starting Monday. Muscle relaxers didn’t do much last night. Got the heating pad, ice packs and stretching going on today. Truth: I’m tired and miss my grandchildren.
Vote and strengthen your core. Thanks for reading.
A friend on social media posed a question: “Tell me how the past year has irreparably broken your spirit?” The responses were many, varied and poignant. Here’s my response: The injustice that has reared it’s ugly head this year has broken my heart, caused me to reflect, go into action and accept some of what is. In research I’ve discovered shameful acts of my Southern family, my grandfather declared a black man insane for trying to enter a white southern university and had him committed. My family of origin’s dysfunction has created a chasm that may be irreparable. Tribalism is creating a divide. We are forgetting we are all connected. It breaks my heart everyday, especially this past year.
I’d love to hear your response.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway