Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - dancing through the fire

For the first time in about a billion years, I didn't plan a Thursday Thoughts post but I had things to say today, on Dr. Ford's testimony day, so excuse the save and share from Instagram stories. 

RAINN Statistics

Words from Ijeoma Oluo

If it's so hard for people to believe survivors of rape...imagine why those who have endured different types of sexual assault and sexual harassment might not come forward. Use your brain. Use your heart. See beyond the system we've all come up in. Otherwise, same as it ever was, with you the one defending it. 

Do not stop calling your Senators about Kavanaugh: call through the ACLU here or just dial your Senator's #. If you need help finding that, let me know. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

bronze, pottery, linens, lace, eight

The eighth wedding anniversary is traditionally one of bronze and pottery gifts, modern interpretation is linens and lace. I googled that to get a title. We don't do anniversary gifts period, let alone ones in the construct of tradition.
Our life together has not been traditional in any way, why would the gifts? Today is eight years married. This month is 16 years together and 28 years of knowing each other. 
It's been a long time since I looked through wedding photos. As you can see, I took a shortcut on downloading some and the resolution is shitty but frankly I am too tired to go back and do it properly. 
We had fun that day. The few people who work at the Deauville that also worked there eight years ago still talk about the Mummers playing and said they've never seen anything like it. We were surrounded by great people that day and have been every day since. 
This year has been hard - down a dog last September and just this weekend a Dad, added stress of running for office and everything that comes along with it, life a bit in limbo, seeing each other for 10 minutes a day most days and even Shit MFD Said has suffered from that time loss, trying to be warriors instead of worriers, trying to keep shit together, but always showing up for each other and still laughing together. Still surrounded by great people. 

Here's this year's collage - see this anniversary collage in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
1 - 9/25/17, we did nothing but lounge at home last year; 2 - October 2017 at the Peace Center Gala; 3 - November 2017 at the Pancreatic Cancer Walk; 4 - December 2017 late on Christmas Day after a full day out; 5 - January 2018 an unseasonably warm day for a creek cleanup; 6 - February 2018 on Super Bowl Sunday after an Eagles win; 7 - March 2018 on my birthday seeing Bruce on Broadway; 8 - May 2018 an ice cream after a day of shore chores where we nearly killed each other (I actually have zero photos of us in April) 9 - May 2018 voting for MFD on primary day; 10 - June 2018 one of four times MFD joined me at the shore for a day or two; 11 - July 2018 seeing America in concert; 12 - August 2018 - he was working and campaigning on the phone but he was ON the beach most of the day, so I considered it a win

Happy Anniversary MFD. I look forward to another year of non-traditional life with you...but maybe a little more relaxed than this year has been? Lol.

Happy happy birthday to Amanda! Love you!

Monday, September 24, 2018

TWTW - the hard one

This one all runs together. Friday I went to acupuncture, home to finish putting fall on outside, then out campaigning with MFD. Saturday morning MFD had a Recovery Walk and some canvassing shifts so I was at the shore by 9, fixed my nails right up, and was on my way home again by 5. Sunday was comfort food shopping and oh, here is a photo of a pile of eggs that will be breakfast burritos that get frozen. If that sounded disjointed, it's because it was. 
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights were also spent at hospice and Sunday afternoon with family. My father-in-law has been ill for quite some time and passed away very early Sunday morning. He was a ton of fun and made people in his company feel welcome, included, and at ease. He was funny outright but he could also bring levity to any situation by injecting his brand of humor. He was comfortable being silly and that was the best. He was kind. He loved his family so, so much. He was a pistol too. I loved him. I am glad he is at peace and no longer suffering. Please say a prayer for my mother-in-law, who has been his full time primary caretaker for years which was not at all easy on her; his kids who will miss him dearly forever; his grandchildren and the many family members and friends who were family to him. Thanks and much love to all who have reached out in support. MFD is doing okay. Years ago he would have lived in the bottom of a bottle. Now when he feels the need to escape for a while he drives to DC at the crack of dawn to stand against the Kavanaugh nomination on behalf of very fucking pissed off women like his mother and his wife and many other women we know. That’s what he’s doing today. His dad was really proud of Michael for running for office and standing for what he believes in and standing for the rights of others so that's how he's honoring him today. 

Thank you thank you to Stephen and Aubrey who took care of getting the shore house ready for next weekend's guests, it was a huge load off for me not to have to try to figure that out. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - shot down in a blaze of glory, take me now, but know the truth

1. Do not make me start on Brett Kavanaugh. Do we want this man putting laws on women? Call your Senators TODAY. EVERY DAY. Multiple times. 1 202 225 3121. Be relentless. They are relentless in shoving shit through that puts a lot of people in danger. The least we can do is pick up the phones. Here are some other ways you can be heard. This is not a republican/democrat issue, okay? This is a human issue and I hope we're all on the same side of it and that we've learned from Anita Hill and all of Bill's girls. Do not, in any way, read the comments on any articles. You will see how many people in this country truly hate women and consider them expendable. You will see how many people are rape apologists and will destroy women to keep the patriarchy alive. A lot of these people will be other women. We were all born into this misogynistic, patriarchal system. Identities are tied to it. People fear they will be left with nothing if they can't fall back on gender wars and oppression of one to the benefit of the other. And others of us are inside the walls smashing at them with hammers. Keep swinging.
Anyone know who did the drawing on the upper left? I stole it from a friend who stole it from a friend and can't find it on google images. I'd like to credit it if you know who the artist is. 
All of this just...fuck. Why didn't she come forward before/it was just horseplay/she was drunk blah blah fucking blah shut up. Just stop.
2. How are you helping those hurt by Hurricane Florence? So far I donated to this for Emerald Isle cleanup, as we have been fortunate enough to visit and enjoy their fair island and I wanted to do whatever small I could for those folks. Please hook me up with other grassroots people and organizations you trust doing work on the ground, especially for those communities inland who are experiencing river flooding and do not as a rule have flood insurance.

3. This week has been a zoo. Home from a tiring weekend at 10:30 Sunday night, up at 6 to spend the day with my niece and nephew on Monday. I had so much fun with them. Lola is a riot. Also, do all barbies not have bending knees now or just some?

4. Monday night I got home at 4:45, did a quick change/commute into the city/out until 11 at Turn PA Blue Blue Plate Special. It was a great event but way out of my league and comfort zone. We also had to actually go over the Walt Whitman into Jersey to get back home because of dead stop traffic on 95N after 10 pm.
5. Pumpkin donuts are back and I'm here for it. I'm apparently not here for birthdays, I've been awful at those in person, on FB, on here. Tuesday was my oldest friend Jen's birthday and yesterday was my brother Sean's birthday. Happy birthday to you both, love you lots.

6. Wednesday night I did the hustle out of work, picked up a stranger to me at the train station, and we went to MFD's event close to home. The former Mayor of Philly and Gov of PA Ed Rendell was there, of course MFD's Ferko brothers were there to entertain the crowd, my Mom (sorry for the bad pic mom!) and her friends Sue & Mike were there as well as many other friendly faces it was nice to see like Morgan and Mike, and I had great conversations with a few of the seniors who come there often to dance to the oldies. There was an incident with someone not at the event that really illustrated how bad the stigma against the opioid epidemic is and why while this campaigning is tiring and hard, it's necessary to get people into office who will work hard for everyone - including those who are most marginalized in our communities. We are better when it's better for all of us - including the ones most people turn a blind eye to.

7. Gus is still trucking, I have no idea how. Literally every week I think is the end and it's not. I'm working from home today and he was barking in my face as I was at my computer at 8 am demanding food and treats and everything. He doesn't do well if he doesn't take CannaPaws CBD Oil. So he takes that daily. No more steps for him but he's still doing everything else. Bruce is still jumping all over him like a circus monkey and Mae is growling at life. Same old same old here.
8. Plans for this weekend? Mine include going to the shore and feeling anonymous. I am wrecked after this week, I don't have the stamina for multiple evening peopleing events after peopleing all day.
9.  Reminder:

10. E-card of the week:

ALSO!!! Local people not comfortable door knocking and friends from out of state who would like to help MFD's campaign, please sign up here to text for him. If you have not done texting for candidates before, it's through an online program and your number is not visible to people. Once you have joined the texting thread, you can ask to be assigned specifically to his voters. We have 20,000 people to contact. Please sign on to help if you can, the next texting day is tomorrow (Friday, Sept 21).

I wrote this live today, so it's all fresh and not canned. This is how I used to do Thursday Thoughts, before I cared if there was a signature on it. It still feels nice and true. And I still have a centering issue at the bottom. Some things never change. 

Peace, love, and women's rights, you all. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Enough and expectations and inner peace and being true to yourself in the face of the patriarchy and all that jazz

I'm a big believer that the only person that can steal your inner peace is yourself. Sometime in the past month I stole mine and ran off like a thief in the night. Sunday my best self went and ripped it back with a proprietary viciousness. 

I've reached the point on the campaign trail that I've feared all along - when I'm in Philly, I feel like I should be at the shore, and when I'm at the shore, I feel like I should be in Philly. I don't feel comfortable or right anywhere. 

I'm not a be everywhere, smile and say nothing campaign wife. I'm not a 1950s stand by and follow your man housewife, a wealthy woman with no career, or a vacuous woman with no interests or life of my own. My identity is not tied to my husband's or anyone's aside from myself, and to some people, even those that are supposedly liberal, that's still not acceptable or desirable in a woman. I did not choose this path to politics. I would never choose this path for myself as a candidate or a spouse, but nonetheless it's where I find myself. Because I support him 100% and I understand the burning need for him to do something, it's where I've tied a knot in my rope and hung on. 

We agreed that in order for us to survive this, he would work selling real estate so we can afford to live (want to buy or sell a house? Please contact him) and work on his campaign and my focus would be behind the scenes keeping shit together while there are a thousand balls in the air and dropping any one of them could be ruinous. Campaigning for office is so weird and not a universal, shared experience most people have or will find themselves in that it's hard to describe what living in it is like - the best I can do is that it's a short season that you know has a time limit and when you're in it as life is happening around you there is an added intensity that feels like standing five feet from the heat of the sun and is the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about when you go to sleep even though you still need to keep doing your real job and all of the other essentials of daily living Oh and people who don't know you and that you didn't know at the end of last year want to advise you on if it's acceptable to breathe and what to say and where to be and who to talk to and what to do and if you have time to shit and how to live your life in public and what your priorities should be and on and on. There are a lot of rewarding moments and a lot of great people but a lot of things that are fucking nuts too. I know people need to step up and pursue these roles but this current system is fucking bananas and extracts well more than a pound of flesh. MFD and I have come to an understanding of how this whole thing would go and part of that is the expectation of self care on both ends. His is mostly in rooms and mine is mostly at the shore.

But sometime this year I started qualifying my time at the shore with I need to be there for check in and I'm managing the property and after summer season rentals ended I'm cleaning the house before and after renters on weekends. And while those things are true, who the fuck am I explaining things to people who are not living my life every day? I'm managing my mental health two days a week in addition to managing my property sometimes, the fucking end. I was explaining, without being asked, why I was not doing more for his campaign when inside my head I was screaming you are doing enough and can't take on one more thing. The call was coming from inside the house and I was the one ruining my own peace.

This campaign life has brought back a lot of demons I thought I had slayed forever. I live by "no is a complete sentence" and "I don't have to explain myself to anyone" and "no fucks given." I spent years disciplining myself into that and not only saying those things but living them. Fuck I've even written about saying no and the concept of being enough and I still wobbled under additional outside pressure. To say I don't like that is an understatement. 

This has not been my favorite year, and I haven't been quiet about it. I will ask you, going forward, regardless of who a candidate is and if you vote like them or not, that you consider that these are human beings with families who are upending not only their lives, but the lives of the other people in their homes, because they believe they'd be a good representation of their neighbors - so regardless of what you think about their positions, they care enough to get out and try to do something. I had no idea what went into this. I will never not think about that again. This world is crazy and that's just the people allegedly on your side. 

I've been very focused on waging a war inside of myself and the path to how to make this relate-able to everyone wasn't always clear. Then I thought that while most women will not ever find themselves under the microscope as a candidate or the partner of one, the same societal shit exists for all women. If I am a woman who is secure and purposeful and comfortable within myself and I hit a series of women devouring potholes but sit quietly like this shit doesn't happen to me and let other people bust their frames in those same potholes, that's not right. We were all raised in a patriarchal system and no matter how empowered you are, you will come up against it. Not acknowledging it doesn't make it go away. Acting like there aren't women out there trying to remind you of your place like we accuse men of doing all the time doesn't mean that they don't exist. 

There is a part of this political process - not my husband or people we know - but people who are old politics even of the democratic variety that would find it easier if I were less myself. Less outspoken, less opinionated, less bold, less honest, less independent, less feminist, less placing my life and interests on the same level of importance as the life and interests and pursuits of my husband's. More wife, less life. 

There is a fine line between being supportive and losing yourself to something that's not yours. There is a fine line between being accessible when people need you to be and feeling exposed beyond your comfort level. Women in particular often end up on the wrong side of the exposure line when we struggle with the question of what is enough and overcompensate for what we perceive other people want from us. The truth is if we gave everything the world asked of us, we'd be husks of our former selves, brittle leaves easily crushed underfoot and swept away by bitter winds. And we'd probably still be trying to explain ourselves to people who don't care and also don't deserve an explanation as we floated out of existence. 

Because Lord, what the world puts on women. Even though I grew up with women role models saying me first, world, long before it was fashionable; even though I know the care I must show myself; even though I know the self preservation that is required for me to exist happily in this world; even though I know the danger of tying my identity to someone else's journey; and even though I have been banging that drum for years and it has gotten me through being a woman in the workforce, being a woman in the freaking world, family issues, living with a substance abuser and someone who suffers from depression, the awesome but abrupt transition to sober living, self doubt and loss and grief and fear and all the mountains and molehills in between, I still started hearing some niggling voices. You should be home with your husband. You should be doing more for him during this campaign. Then my voice - This is his chosen path, not yours, and you don't need to sacrifice everything for something that is not yours. Your life is inside out, that's doing a lot right there. 

My voice was loud in my own ears, but not loud enough. This patriarchal system has hardwired women to acquiesce, to put our needs last, to cater to others before we take care of ourselves - even when they don't ask for it. When we put ourselves first as a rule, we are called selfish, we are told we aren't doing enough, we're considered revolutionary among our peers. You hear and see this pressure to acquiesce reflected in the world, so much that you think it's what is expected of you even if not one person has said aloud (to your face, at least) that it is expected of you. And women...we often do this the most to other women. 

Partners and kids and are not out there demanding to be put first before even yourself - we are assuming they should be put first because we see it indicated in subtle and not so subtle ways in the very fabric of society. Unfortunately this often becomes focusing on their needs only because we only have so much time and energy to go around and when you put yourself last the well runs dry before you get there so you get nothing. When you're always getting nothing, lots of women convince themselves they deserve nothing. Fuck that, ladies.

This is a pressure we are putting on ourselves and on each other. We want each other to know how much we have to do for our partners and how they can't survive without us and how much running around we do with our kids and how important we are at our jobs and how we never have a minute to ourselves. We want to show the world we are so much to everyone but we end up feeling like we're not enough and aren't doing enough and it's time to fucking stop that. All of that. 

We do not need to first be best wife and best mom and hardest working best employee or the most active activist of all activists in this political climate - we all need to do something to save democracy, but no one is going to win an award for doing the most all the time and it requires 0 of us to do that 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So stop. Be the best YOU every day, and the next day, wake up and try to be better than you were the day before. Fuck what everyone else is doing. 

We need to first be our best selves to and for ourselves so that we may share our best selves with the people in our lives and show up to situations as our best selves which enables us to perform to our true capacity. We need to recognize that our identity as a human is not dependent on others. We need to stop apologizing and feeling guilty for saying no to things we don't want to or don't have the capacity to do at that time. We need to really comprehend that if we don't care enough about ourselves to give ourselves the time and care we need to make sure life doesn't burn our best out of us, we're not able to truly show up for anyone or anything.

That's no way to live, ladies and gentlemen. We have such a short time on this earth - work hard, do good for others, but make sure amid the obligations and commitments that you take the time to feed your soul too, and don't give one fuck about what other people think when you do that...picture me, at the shore this weekend with no renters to manage and no excuses to offer, doing just that. 

Thanks for indulging me in this note to self, and for sticking with it if you got through it all. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

TWTW - the one with no title

Friday was finishing cleaning the house before 7 am, working from the shore with my canine coworkers, painting my nails (Rimmel Red Hot Chili Pepper) at lunch, meeting weekend renters, a visit to the angry sea and boardwalk bike ride after work, making a vat of chicken salad and hanging with the dogs on the porch. Since I was up at 5, I was in bed by 7 and asleep by 9. 
Saturday was a beautiful day, a full day, yet not an easy day. I'll try to write more about that tomorrow. Started it out with a 5 am walk with all dogs, then sunrise on the beach with Bruce.
A visit to Dog Beach for all dogs, much to Mae's dismay.
An hour plus reading on the windy AF beach and watching a fool get whistled off the slippery AF pipe.
A bike ride to the bay for sunset.
Lots of dog time including their favorite time (bone time), finishing a book, starting another, and caprese for dinner. 
Sunday was cleaning up dog poop at 4 am but then sleeping in until 6:20, walks, and porch time. Just Bruce at Dog Beach while the old dogs rested. Cleaning up the apartment before a bike ride and beach afternoon for the Air Show where I finished a book and also had ice cream.
Cleaning up the house after the renters left (late). I didn’t get home until 10:30 and to sleep at midnight. 

Weekly food prep: breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer (will also be making more of those to freeze this week), lunch is PB&J, snacks are bananas and cucumbers and celery, dinners are Mexican stuffed shells from the freezer and whatever soup I happen to pull out of the freezer. 

I'm off today watching my niece and nephew and it's the one year anniversary of Geege dying so their funny little selves will be a good distraction. I know he's with me, but I miss the touchable presence of my soul mate dog as much today as I did in the weeks after. 

Local friends, are you around Wednesday night? MFD is having a fundraiser at Katie O'Donnell's near Franklin Mills with Ed Rendell and Larry Arrata. Committee people $15, Student $10, supporter $27, Sponsor $100, host $2500. Light apps included, drinks are on you. Will I see you there? Buy tickets here.

Happy happy birthday to my friend Shelby today! 

Hope you all had a great weekend! I need to change my tag after TWTW. After over seven years of TWTW, I'm running out of the one withs.

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