Here’s an easy way for you to assess my politics: I have never voted for a sitting president. I wasn’t eligible to vote for him the year Jimmy Carter took office. I’ve been a fan of his since 1977. In my first election, when Ronald Reagan ran against Carter and won, I walked home from college classes in tears.
I have cried over many elections since then.
I’m not going to list why I didn’t vote for this one or that one, just know that I had my reasons. I read, I assessed, I watched, I listened, and I chose.
I have been weeping for four plus years. …
I give him a lot of credit for this. Having been single most of our lives, we each have our unique foibles. He puts up with my compulsions, whirlwind of activities, projects scattered hither and yon about both the house and yard. Where his patience fails is being home for seven months (and counting!) and working ten steps away from this writer.
Writers are soloists. We don’t (I don’t) generally like to be around other people except on our terms. And sometimes on Tuesdays. It’s not that we only write when the muse strikes — it’s ridiculous waiting on her to show up. She is on her own schedule and trust me, she doesn’t care one iota about what I want. We write all the time, even when those words aren’t magically appearing on paper or on the screen. …
My tiny mom sits on the edge of the cool porcelain tub
resting after her shower.
Once five feet tall, she is smaller now,
one breast missing from a mastectomy,
that cancer gone years ago,
a new version working on her lung.
I hate it.
She rests there as I come into the bathroom to check on her.
Vexing me most times,
in this moment rips my heart,
the shreds dangling in the open.
I want to wrap her in a heated towel,
in my warm arms,
and love her,
make her, make us, whole, once again. …
For several years, I participated in a Bible study group with women who had been Christians much longer than I had. Eventually, the question of how I came to Christ was asked. They have, I have, people we pray for who we hope will realize that Christ is there for them. I know what happens when people of faith continue to pray for those of us who are lost and wandering around aimlessly.
Given how analytical I am, it stuns me that many eons ago when I was younger and dumber, I didn’t at least look at my older sister and think: gosh, Jackie is infinitely happier than I am. …
Joanne is ten years younger than me, born in May instead of in June, one day later. Everyone in my family was born on the 25th or 26th except Jackie. She chose April Fool’s Day to come into the world.
Jackie and I were planned. I like to believe we were wholly welcomed after Mom suffered at least two miscarriages. Joey was an oops, but Joanne, she was a big oops. In 1969 for a 35-year-old to be pregnant was slightly less scandalous than to be found drinking in church. …
I love to entertain.
When I lived in Red Lodge, Montana, it was easy to announce a potluck dinner party on a Monday for that Friday. Small town proximity made it simple to work with each other’s schedules, even with busy calendars. In Pittsburgh … well, I have a friend from the opposite side of town whom I haven’t seen for ten months.
Getting together depends on where you work, where you live, what your commute is, what activities you’re involved in, what your spouse or kids are into, and if there are sporting events going on. Driving around Pittsburgh is a twenty minute venture — off peak times. …
When I first joined the Medium Partner Program, there was an awesome criteria in place for you to earn money: You had to both contribute your writing and be an active reader. You had to be part of the community supporting fellow writers. This meant you had to spend time reading, highlighting, commenting, and sharing others’ posts. It was a wonderful thing and I’m sorry that it disappeared somewhere in the last two years.
What this guideline forced writers consumed with putting words down was what we could pick up from someone else and learn. …
I love music. There was a time in my adulthood when I solely listened to the blues for the soulful poetry and rich instrumentals. As a writer, I don’t work with iTunes shuffling through my library. In singing along, I inadvertently type lyrics into my stories. For the last several years, my playlist has moved to Christian groups, making it harder to keep from shouting the uplifting words.
Blues, Christian, even a lifetime ago when I embraced country … music connects us to surroundings and eras. It binds us to people and moments that otherwise stay buried in our subconscious. Music sets mood, provides a backdrop, soothes you, or opens wide your eyes. …
Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Memorial Museum is a difficult building to experience.
For four hours it was difficult.
We tried to tour this Memorial before. That attempt had us only managing to see part of the changing exhibit on the ground floor. As determined as we were when we began, we couldn’t find the energy to explore the permanent section. By the time we finished, we were mentally and spiritually exhausted. We knew we would return, better prepared to do the Museum justice by going through the three floors of the permanent exhibit.
The Memorial is a self-guided, chronologically laid out, exploration of how the Holocaust evolved out of the Nazi party’s determination to achieve power. …
In my people-observations, the happiest married couples tend not to treat each other like spouses.
The happiest twosomes don’t act as if the other person is an appendage that they can abuse at will, overworking it to the point of pain. People content in long-term relationships behave as they did when first meeting. When a person attracts you into a friendship — opposite sex or same sex — you best foot keeps getting put forward. You want them to recognize the finest parts of yourself. Those perfect feet are out there, obscuring the real, not so enjoyable parts from bubbling to the surface. By the time that new person figures out the hidden you, they’re hooked on your innate goodness. …