16 November 2019

Geauxing To Vote

It's Election Day here in Louisiana. I early voted, and I'm team John Bel Edwards in the Governor's race, even though he's not nearly progressive enough for me. Even so the attack ads against him are saying he's "too liberal for Louisiana" and is in the pocket of national Democrats. Kind of a joke. He's pretty popular in general (he's a Democrat in name only basically), but there's a very real chance he will lose this election because of that party name. I am heart-stricken knowing that, as the opponent is just a mini-45, spouting similar racist and hateful catch phrases, dog whistles that are basically screams. How can you miss it? People I know and thought I respected campaign for him, post about his parties and generally gross me out.

I early voted last Friday so that I wouldn't have to worry today or take both girls with me to the polls. Our polling place rarely has lines and is easy in-and-out. But we had a church event in Lafayette today. We left at 8 and got home at almost 5. It's been a long day and I'm exhausted. I'm sure the election results won't make me feel any better.

There were two other races I cared about on the ballot - our state Senator race and our state House race. Both votes went to women Democrats who were both similarly maligned for being too liberal despite being pretty moderate Democrats. I get that it's politics, but it's also disheartening that being "liberal" is a smear here. Gerrymandering makes it very difficult for progressive (or even just non-lunatic) candidates to get elected around here.

Why does the state, in general, tend to vote against the best interests for the majority of its people?!

I wore my sticker as intended today.
I accidentally held it with this finger for the picture and then found the symbolism apt.
Bonus that it covered my forehead wrinkles...

15 November 2019

Decade Accomplishments

A social media question that has come around and around this week was something about how the decade is coming to an end and what have you accomplished. People have written about amazing successes. Ten years is enough time that things certainly change. But I know not always for the better. For me, I'd say yes in a personal sense. (For our country, OMG, this is the authoritarian, Nazi-driven pits.) But for fun, and an easy blog post here's what's different about my life from the end of 2009 to end of 2019.

2009:

Thanksgiving 2009
  • 28 years old (nearly 29)
  • Been married for just over a year
  • Lived in New York City in a studio apartment, rarely drove
  • Worked from home full-time doing communications work for a non-profit organization
  • Worked out, ate fairly well - beginning the cycle of weight loss
  • Attended Park Avenue UMC in Manhattan, minimally involved - I think by then we'd gone to a young adult event/volunteered at a food pantry and I'd designed a logo of sorts

2019:

  • 38 years old (nearly 39)
  • Been married for just over 11 years, love him more day by day
  • Mother of two girls, 8 and 3 (so two pregnancies and births in this decade), finding parenting to be simultaneously like breathing and the biggest chafing challenge of my life
  • Live in Baton Rouge in a home we own, drive constantly as a carpool chauffeur
  • Work from home part-time writing for a local parenting magazine
  • Not working out after a foot injury (oh, another free blogging idea!), eating less although not necessarily better - in the cycle of weight loss after tremendous swings over the decade
  • Attend St. John's UMC in Baton Rouge, more involved than I ever thought possible
More wrinkles, much less sleep, more crocheting, more loving, more fighting, more cooking and lunch packing, more LIFE.

I can only vaguely picture what life might look like in another decade. I'll be nearing 50, Jane will be graduating from high school. (She's a decade from adulthood with her eighth birthday.) Livia will be a teenager too. Where will we live? What kind of work will I do? Will I still be as embroiled in politics of The UMC? I'll take it day by day and just enjoy every day where I can ... and get through the others by hanging on.

October 30, 2019
Fifteenth Meet-a-versary

14 November 2019

Written Words

So ridiculously tired. I had a church meeting tonight, hired a babysitter since Shawn left for a trip. Ca-ching.

Then I stayed up doing some ads for the school play. Jane's not even in the play. I don't have to do them all tonight. I hate having things hanging over me though.

So very, very tired and this shouldn't count for NaBloPoMo, but it's rounding to midnight, I'm already running on fumes every morning. Every morning I say to myself "tonight I'll go to bed early!" And every night I manage to keep myself awake...

Here's me from earlier in my lumberjack shirt. I'm still wearing it -- gotta take my shower before I can hit the sack!


13 November 2019

Going Home and Online Safety

I've been a Twitter user for more than 10 years, joining in mid-2008. I've never gotten into real heated arguments or had much trouble with "trolls," although I've certainly seen their work on others' tweets and threads. I mostly post innocuous stuff and even when I'm upset it's vague or about something offline most often. Retweets don't usually get hate spewed back to the retweeter.

I had a weird experience this week in that I retweeted a post with a comment. It was a request for female clergy and their allies to retweet their support and that women pastors should not "go home," as a powerful white man (or men?) has recently said. My comment with the tweet was "A woman's place is in the pulpit."

A man I don't know commented back about "the Bible says" women are only allowed to teach younger women and never in a church so #GoHome. Kind of hilarious, as I am a homemaker/stay-at-home mom basically doing what he advises. But I'll be damned that people still think this ... and even crazier that you'd go find a stranger's tweet to tell them your (incorrect) scriptural interpretation in such an ugly way.

I just blocked, because I don't want to deal with it. I did reply to another person who tweeted in support (something like "you're answering the call to preach") but deleted it because I worried the troll might see it and pounce more. My drafted/deleted response was about how I'm NOT a pastor, but a UMC laity formed by the work of women responding to God's call on their lives to be pastors and preachers. That work began when I was a tween (before tween was a thing though!), and I have always known God could use women and their gifts everywhere including in the pulpit!

WHY DO PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN WANT TO LIMIT GOD?

(I have preached one sermon in my life, when I was about 12 I think, as part of a youth group organized by our pastor's husband. Maybe five people in the audience at the time - LOL.)

So I've stewed a bit about it today, just aggravated because women have made great strides in general but there's still so much bullshit and patriarchy to wade through even among those who claim God.

I worry some about my safety -- have I revealed too much of who I am being lulled into the idea that I'm a non-controversial person so no one would ever bother me? But it would not be hard to piece together where my children go to school or even where we live (as a homeowner some of that info is public record if you know where to look #journalism). I've written so much over the years, and just before no one has ever really read it doesn't mean no one ever will I guess. My kids' safety is paramount, but neither do I want to be silenced.

It's also not my responsibility to enlighten the trolls or make sure everyone thinks correctly or believes what I believe. That's too big of a job anyway! I don't want to shirk responsibility by saying "that's too much" because everything really is too much. I want to be a conduit for good somehow.

I know that women belong as pastors. That is good. And I know that LGBTQ+ persons belong as pastors. That, too, is good.

12 November 2019

Cutie Crochet


A friend from church commissioned two hats for her one-year-old great niece. I added bows, although they are removable on hairclips. Thinking now I should have just sewn them on since it's basically a baby going to wear them, but a baby who can unclip things for sure! Oh well. She seemed happy with them, and hopefully I'll get to see a photo of them in action later on. She originally asked for "whatever Christmas-y hat you have left over that would fit a one-year-old," but didn't like what was left (I even had an adorable gingerbread girl!). I was happy to make these, even though they're not really Christmas-y (I added the red sparkle bow to the penguin to try to make it so!).

My friend said she could be my agent and get lots of people to buy tiger hats, but they're very fussy to make -- the stripes aren't terribly hard, but figuring out the sizing with two different stitch heights (black is single, orange is double), plus the ear flaps and braids, 10 circles (two striped for ears, two black for inside ears, two whites of eyes, two pupils, two white cheeks) and a triangle (nose), sewing everything in place and adding whiskers. It's a lot of work. On the other hand the penguins are much simpler and with varied eye placement they can have different expressions.

I need to buy some alligator clips for the bows -- I just used regular barrette type clips that I use in the girls' hair, particularly Jane's to clip down her self-cut micro-bangs when she'll let me (which isn't often). Before they'd been clipping down the other hair she'd chopped short, which finally grew out just before she did the micro-bangs. Ugh. A digression.

I heard back from the preschool director and we had a conversation that made me feel less bad I guess. Certainly not ignored. The kids do have "Indian" names -- Livia's is Smiling Kitten -- which is egregious and upsetting. The director said she'd understand if we didn't want to be part of the gathering. So I'm just sitting with it, praying about it and stewing. What good will it do, what good will anything I do do?

11 November 2019

Myths & Stereotypes - Thanksgiving Conversations

https://educationvotes.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/NASS-Thanksgiving-Booklet-Print-Ready.pdf
While reading for magazine ideas I came across a great curriculum put together by Oklahoma City Public Schools about culturally appropriate ways to teach young students about Thanksgiving. It lists myths and things to avoid and has suggestions of alternatives plus plenty of craft ideas and book recommendations.

Liv's preschool has an annual Thanksgiving program of some sort, and they dress up the three-year-olds as Indians. I am NOT about that, so once they tell us the details (it's next Tuesday!) I'll make a decision about whether Liv can participate at all. I'm not sure a boycott will do anything but soothe my conscious, but that might be enough. It certainly will mean disappointing Liv, since they've been working on all kinds of things for the program. So far I've only heard about hand-print turkeys and painting feathers, but I definitely don't want my kid to sport a feathered headdress or anything else that basically makes fun of another culture even if it's not meant to do that (and clearly that's not the intent of the preschool). We would never dress up our kids in black-face, and this is a similarly offensive thing.

I sent the link to the curriculum to our preschool director, but I haven't heard back. (I kind of expected a generic "thanks, I can take this into consideration for next year's program" or something similar -- not just ignoring me. I didn't say Liv couldn't participate in my email either. I don't actually have any concrete information about what it is other than seeing another parents' celebratory photos from last year.)

I don't want to be the problem parent, but in many ways I am. I am the "too liberal for Louisiana" person pushing back against commonly held ideas that are wrong. Even some of my like-minded friends think this is going too far somehow, or trying to assure me that because Liv is young it won't damage her. But white supremacy and devaluing other cultures begins young and is so baked into everything everywhere. I definitely do not spot it everywhere, but when it's so egregious I have to say something.

10 November 2019

Unpleasant: Feeding My Family

I've been a stay-at-home mom for about eight years (I worked part-time from home for a half year after maternity leave when Jane was a baby, and I'm definitely working from home now). Even so, I still don't have the hang of the homemaker duties. Cleaning definitely is not something I enjoy or excel at. It's never ending, of course, and my piling tendencies and just general I-want-stuff desires makes for clutter. And I just don't have patience to deep clean, although I much prefer a deep cleaned house. I keep up with vacuuming the floors, cleaning bathrooms as best I can and laundry of course. Shawn manages dishes and most kitchen cleanup.

Another awful-to-me chore is cooking. Day after day, coming up with meals that my family will eat and that are somewhat nutritious is grating on me. When Jane was little I was much more thoughtful about varying things, making sure there were veggies on every plate, that fruits were colorful and plentiful. The girls still eat fruit, but they're less keen on vegetables. Rather than dumping things out or doing showdowns I haven't been making them as much, except for whatever Shawn and I might have. We have a few standards -- spaghetti, meatloaf, a chicken casserole -- and fast things like frozen pizza or scrambled eggs with toaster waffles. When Shawn's out of town sandwiches are features for most meals -- girls are happy with toasted cheese or peanut butter and jelly. I eat cereal and just hang on.

Did I ever enjoy meal planning? I don't remember it being so awful and feeling like such a big hole for me. Grocery shopping is also getting me down. I know I could do online shopping now and there are delivery and drive up services that would save time (although not money). It's not the time it takes to shop, although it's been difficult to find the time these last few weekends and I end up using some of my precious girls-in-school time for shopping, meh. It's really the monotony and the fact that I do it and do it again and again and again. Maybe with some new recipes or when the holidays hit and I'm cooking yummy foods I'll feel better about it.

But for now I am feeling very blah and overwhelmed and tired, so this is the word vomit I have for today.