Saturday, November 11, 2017

The CLIMATE of Sexual Assault and Washington, D.C. and my MAD RESPECT for Veterans

Remember when people even engaged in conversation about morality?

The Jefferson Memorial.  My fav quote of all time.

Aiight, I'm going to admit right up front that I get all my news from The Hollywood Reporter.  I clicked on something like an old person and now I get literal ALERTS from the Hollywood Reporter on my phone.  Whatever.  Every time I get a notification on my phone which is a gazillion times a day, it is from the Hollywood Reporter.  I shit you not.  So right now my whole world is SEXUAL HARASSMENT. It's one outing after another.

And how does this make me ANY different than someone who only gets their news from say CNN or FOX?  It is skewed.  I admit. But at least I am willing to admit it. I RECOGNIZE that my news source has a special filter.  So what?  So does everyone else's.

Call me crazy, but is sexual harassment NEW? I can site two MAJOR BLATANT sexual harassment instances in my work life which to every one's amusement centered on my breasts and I guess I'm a douchebag, but like it happened a hundred years ago and even though I am totally gonna OUT them here, I do not in any way mean to empower anyone.  I just wanna tell a good story.  And then you can take away what you need to take away from it...a laugh, recognition, empathy and then awareness, I guess, if I am being honest with myself.

Up front, I will say that I DO feel that there is a TRUE delineation between a Perve with minor power and a distorted sense of self and a lineage of misogyny versus a genuine sexual predator.  Let me throw some names out there:

Bill Cosby
Louis C.K.
Harvey Weinstein (duh)
Brett Ratner
and apparently Kevin Spacey aka President Frank Underwood

and then there's DUSTIN HOFFMAN, NOT a predator, but perhaps just a product of his generation and upbringing and let's not forget CHARACTER, which I'll get to later.

Could this BE?  I actually ENJOY the work of all of the above and they are DIRTBAGS?  How do I get my BRAIN around this?

Oh, I already have.  Woody Allen.  LOVE his work.  His films speak to me.  He is a TRUE artist.  Right?  STILL watch his films and look forward to each premiere.  He has MUSES.  It's fascinating. Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, Mariel Hemmingway...Scarlett Johanneson. He likes 'em young. And as I am writing this, I am conflicted because I literally LOVE his work, but he married his step daughter.

Ol' Woody's gotta be shitting his pants right now.  Given the CLIMATE and all.  Wonder if Bill Cosby is sweating?  Or have we forgotten about him?  He has over 40 women accusing him of drugging and raping them and he is a free man.

On the other hand, you can literally TWEET that someone sexually harassed you two decades ago and it is NEWS.  I am not discounting these women and men, I am simply trying to achieve a balance.

I was just in D.C. and took a few tours and basically, J. Edgar Hoover would just ADORE social media.

You can annihilate someone with a single post.

My goal, here, is twofold. And this is something I am struggling, first, look at the inequality of everything and to examine if it is OKAY to ENJOY the work of someone who is a DIRTBAG?

And for those of you who are intellectuals, NO this is not an analogy for the current Presidency. Although, the recording of him saying to just "grab that pussy" came out BEFORE he was elected.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Bill Clinton did.  Maybe it's better for you if you VAPE it.

OK. Back to my sexual harassment follies.

1. Mr. Taylor:  He would summon me to his office TWICE a week to turn the pages of house specs (They were huge.  Imagine like the ancient books in Raiders of the Lost Ark) that he had to initial in the corner and he would look down my blouse and laugh about doing such act to all the other males AND females in the room.  This was 1992.

2. Gary:  He was my boss at a newspaper and HE used to call me into his office and BULLSHIT for HOURS while he stared at my breasts and I fake laughed at his jokes that emanated out of his crooked, antibiotic stained front teeth (I asked him about it once. Couldn't help myself. Or maybe he offered it up. They were LOOONG seshes.)

Now, with GARY, I actually brought it up when Corporate came in to give us one of those "workshops about sexual harassment in the workplace".  His wife was HR.  Nothing happened.  I knew it wouldn't.  I don't mean to be a defeatist here but it was a different time.  He was, in his mind, just being HIM.  I offered up a hypothetical at the conference table during the seminar where he was not present, but his wife was.  It was MY way of fighting back, making he and his wife squirm, and I did it because I was ANGRY.  Angry at the fact that I had to ENDURE his bullshit to continue on with my day.

That being said, not ONE boss or interview I had ever had ended with a man masturbating in front of me or touching me, unless you count the Mexican restaurant I worked at in college where they would regularly press themselves against me when they handed me my Spanish homework.  I'm joking.

They TOTALLY pressed themselves against me, just not after they handed me my Spanish homework.  Just when I had to lean over to get chips out of the warmer and pretty much any time we were in a small space.

I had this conversation with Hallie, my eldest, on her sixteenth birthday trip to D.C., her happy place, besides Disney World, that is.

"Make no mistake," I said, over lunch at The Old Ebbitt Grill, an institution in Washington, "There is a distinct difference between someone who made their employees uncomfortable by being a PIG 20 years ago, and an actual PREDATOR that masturbates, gropes and rapes it's victims because they are in a position of power."

Gawd their food is good.

Look, dialogue is important, and it raises awareness,  and a predator is a predator is a predator, but let's spread equality and fairness across our swift persecution and be sure to include predators past.

I just LOVE that inappropriate bosses are forced to reexamine.  It doesn't really bother me that retired folks are being self-reflective.  You have to understand, too, that this was a different time.  When I look back, I am more disgusted by Gary than Mr. Taylor.  You know why?  Because everyone in the room with Mr. Taylor understood that he was never going to change, including his son, who would also be in the room from time to time.

I wonder if HE does the same today.  Sitting in his father's big, imposing desk, ripping people off who can barely afford to rent, with the dream of a big, prefab house.  Maybe he's listening now because the CLIMATE has changed, but let's not tarnish his father's memory by all this talk of breasts and pages and laughter, right?

See how powerful that can be?  It reduces a person to a moment.  My inner turmoil comes from those that were a product of their time and they were extremely inappropriate and those that are TRULY damaged and dangerous.

So, in D.C., Hallie and I went to the night tours of the Capital.  You go in a bus and you have a tour guide that gives you both important and anecdotal information on all of the nation's most famous landmarks and memorials.  It is a MUST DO if you go.  We lucked out and got an amazingly young black tour guide.  They all know each other, as they would high five each other in passing. 

Chistopher explained, " I am new at this so please, please review me on Trip Advisor.  It is a tour guide's life blood." 

He was hip and energetic and involved and informed.  He is the epitome of who I want the next generation to be.

It is awe inspiring.  It really is.

At one point, we were outside the White House on one of the last stops, late at night, and a dude with dreadlocks and ear buds buzzed by during one of Christopher, our guide's, soliloquies, with his music blaring and his middle finger in the air as her strolled by the fence separating the President's residence and a park and we all had to laugh, right?  Our tour guide was all, "Welcome to the White House".

We also went to the White House, BTW, through our Congressman's office and I was detained, of course.  It was very dramatic.  I was almost executed.  Ask Hallie.

If I am honest with myself, I was compliant in the sexual harassment.  Sure, I may have staged a small coo, but at the time, the "law" was not on my side.  I appreciate that everyone is so open now and I applaud those that are speaking out, but you cannot speak out of both sides of your mouth.

You CANNOT, say, ENJOY the mighty who have fallen and still respect the work, or can you?  JFK.  He had orgies in the White House pool and was an infamous womanizer, yet he is lauded and did great work.  He literally changed the social landscape of this country.


Are you uncomfortable yet? Because I am.

Equally obsessed.  What a STRONG ASS woman.  This was at the NEWSEUM.  I MUST SEE. The exhibits are mesmerizing. A definite highlight.  We spent HOURS there.  I could not get ENOUGH.

By reaching back into history, and outing these people it is empowering, and it is informative, but it can also be unfair and I'm talking harassment here, not assault, because the person you are accusing is on the cross, unable to defend themselves and the time.

In today's world, we TWEET transgressions and then the transgressions TWEET back and then no one stands a chance.

Is it any coincidence that Ronan Farrow is leading this charge?  Woody Allen was in his family.  He has an ax to grind. And he should, but we need to level out the playing field.  It appears persecution via social media has replaced the good ol' fashioned justice system.  And why is THAT?  Perhaps it is because the justice system has failed victims in the past and social media is the victim's new platform. And that is FIIINNE, as long as it is fair.

Everything has changed so quickly, yet stayed the same.  We are all so paranoid, and we should be, it is our new reality, whyyyy I was just at Reagan Airport when Hallie and I were in the bathroom and an officer yelled in to "GET OUT!   There is a threat! And brought his bomb sniffing German Shepard in while we waited in line to wash our hands.

Now there is nothing more filthy than an airport in my mind and as I laid my hand on the small of Hallie's back and told her to run, not walk as far away from the bathroom as we could get, I couldn't help thinking of all the smut on my hands.

It is a new World order.  In every sense of the word.  Constant information and stress and confusion about what is real and what is not.

Think about the word THREAT and what feelings that conjures up.  It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed because it is VAGUE.  With social media, anyone can do anything they want to do to you with total anonymity.  And that is not fair.  It is not JUST.  And Justice is what our nation's very principle was found on.

The Constitution is a set of laws that was put into action because people needed to know what to trust.  Something to refer to, when they feel THREATENED.  Something to believe in. I don't know about you, but I don't trust anything anymore.  I have always been the eternal skeptic, but today's world has brought this to a whole new level.

I have three girls and they TALK.  They tell me everything.  I know shit about people I don't even KNOW and I always ask them when they offer up some salacious anecdotal information to consider the source.

But what source do YOU trust these days?  The Hollywood Reporter?  The New York Times?  CNN? FOX? The President? Your Congressman?

I'm going to leave you with a few quotes on the walls of the Martin Luther King Memorial that struck a cord with me.  What a visionary.  Truly.  He was a THINKER.  He was a REVOLUTIONARY.  And best of all, he was a DECENT HUMAN BEING in his personal life and that used to mean something.

He had CHARACTER. Remember what that was like?  More than formidable, more than distinguished, more than even respected and respectful.

Character is defined as "the inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions."

Conversely, PREDATOR is defined as "a person or a group that ruthlessly exploits others".  That is pretty broad.  Does the word "ruthlessly" make that person more menacing?  Or do his/her BEHAVIOR define the action?

Here is what Doctor Martin Luther King has to say:

I think we all want justice, don't we?
They left this one.  The memorial is three stones.  His memorial of his likeness is the middle one.  The others rough.  Magical to see.  Poetic, really.

I like pics with people in it.  Hallie was happy to oblige.  This is her favorite memorial.  The detail is unparalleled.  

Words to live by.  Who thinks like this anymore?  It is all just rhetoric at this point.

They have since removed this quote because "people felt it was too arrogant".  I don't know who these people were.  I am assuming it was the family.  If it was anyone else, they are assholes.

GUIDANCE:  Go to D.C.  Take your children.  Take your parents.  Everyone has a different reaction, but a reaction just the same.  Not the kind of reaction you get from a twitter feed or an Instagram post, but a visceral reaction to all that affects the senses.

All of these people died for you.  Respect their memory.  Be a better American.  We are extremely lucky to live in this country, but ultimately it is up to us to make it a country we are proud to live in.  We owe it to THEM and we owe it to ourselves and our children.  It's LEGACY time, y'all.  Look backward and look forward.  My daughter has hit REFRESH for me on how important HISTORY is and I am truly grateful for that.    Thanks Poppy for the hotel points.  We wish you could have been with us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Massage Parlours and Blankets on a Lawn

I'm making out like the whole night was a big buzzkill...quite the opposite.

Soooooo... recently I made the mistake of telling my tennis pro about getting a massage at a "massage parlour" that just popped up in our neighborhood.  I should have left that image to his imagination, but on not ONE, but TWO occasions during what should be a typical middle aged clinic on a Tuesday at 1:00, turned into me SIMULATING said massage, only THIS time, Keith was ME, and IIIIII was the tiny Asian woman who accosted me on that FINE Sunday afternoon.

Allright, let's back up. I sometimes like to mess with people on Facebook at night when I am bored. (Not as much, anymore, considering how SENSITIVE everyone is) but from time to time I will post shit that entertains me, or make fun of people who I encounter on vacation, or whatever.  Who cares, right?  I ain't looking' fo' no JOB! Not yet, anyway. Still waiting to be discovered like a super model in an airport.  Where do all the literary scouts hang out?  Not, apparently.

Aaanyway, a little bit ago I was avoiding my kids by going by myself to PIADA at 2:00 in the afternoon on a SUNDAY, and this sign caught my eye, as it had a hundred times before, when I was escaping my family to hang out by myself on a weekend.  

A new Asian Massage place had opened up in between the neighborhood toy store and deli at the twin strip mall beside Piada's. The shades are all drawn, and they have this cheesy banner announcing their new residence, flanked by Easy Living, this German delicatessan that makes my stomach turn, but my husband finds both nostalgic and delicious, and then there is like a BOUTIQUE toy store.

My neighbor and I were discussing it one day and he (this is second source, y'all, a source close to the subject) had been binging on Shameless as of late, and suggested that the "relaxing massage place" was run by Easy Living employees and they would run over in the middle of making sandwiches and give massages.

Which brings me to my SOURCE.

A professional writer NEVER reveals a source.

Not too long ago,  my source and I went to Louisville together to see The Lumineers.  The venue was amazing.  I was in my HOMETOWN,  and we had an absolute BALL!  It was fun to show someone I really care about where I grew up.  I don't get to do that very often anymore.

I kept telling my source that we needed to bring blankets because it was a grassy knoll type sitch, and the bitchy source ACTUALLY said to me, " I can't REMEMBER the last time I sat down at a concert."

And then we exited my Dad's car, cause he gave us a ride, natch, and it was a SEA of fucking  blankets and quilts creating a picturesque patchwork on the grassy knoll disappearing into the Ohio River.  I am talking LIT bridges in the background, and various boats docked in the bay to the right, all partying and listening to the free music.

"In MY opinion," I pointed out to the boats, addressing the source, "THAT is the best seat in the house.  And you were wrong about the blanket.  Big Time." I said for what would end up being forty-five times that evening.

The source then got us two vodkas a piece and we sat down on  a square of grass in between all the blankets and I bitched intermittently for a good 30 minutes about my drinks melting and the rash I was about to get.  Good times.

The venue boasted various food trucks and liquor stations at every turn. It was magical.  I can't wait to go back.

 I still bitched about the blanket whenever I could.  I would ask those of us around us what fabric their blanket was made of and if it felt good on the backs of their bare legs.  I was relentless.

Finally, the source tried to buy me a Lumineers blanket (that I was told I could also"drape over my couch" by the douchy couple behind us, which also admitted to "owning a blanket for  EVERY concert they had ever been to" because it was "their thing"), but they were SOLD OUT to every OTHER dumbass source that FORGOT theirs, OR needed another reminder on their furniture that they went to a concert.

SOOOO naturally I needed a massage after I got home from the Lumineers concert and my belly was full of Piada, sooooo I thought I would finally stake out our new bordello and, in turn, take the untraceable cash I had earned from my ticket sales from the concert (I had extra) to get an otherwise undocumented massage. Until now.

I'm exaggerating.  I had been super curious since they opened, boasting their "relaxion" when I was just trying get a birthday present for a kid that was having a party in 10 min.

At first, it was RECON work for Facebook, but then it turned into something DARK and UGLY, or SPONTANIOUS...AMAZING...and eventually, HABIT FORMING.

I went in and asked if they had any specials, like ANY investigative journalist would do.  The young girl at the podium deferred me to the madam, I mean, the proprietor. She showed me the price list which is published below.

I went back out to my car after taking the pic.  I sat there a full five minutes, I shit you not.  And then finally I was like, FUCK IT, I REALLY want a massage.

I go back in and I am matched up with a 60-year-old Asian lady.  I get necked.

Let me break this down for you.  You have a, I don't know, HAND towel covering your ass, and then the front when you flip over.  She totally manhandles you in the sense that there is no "comfort zone" type conversing, like you might get at a resort.  You just kinda do what she says and you hope that the place does not get raided while you are there.

This all sounds sexual, but it wasn't at all.  It was, should I put it, both mortifying and gratifying at the same time.  Wait. That is sounding sexual again.  Being that we are in the throws of  another Fifty Shades moment and all.

It was a great massage without the pomp and circumstance of it all.  There was a plastic rose on my pillow when I first entered the room for Christ's sake.  There were no candles and you could hear the Lane Avenue traffic outside because YOU GUESSED IT - there was no music.  I'll just bring my earbuds next time, I thought to myself.

I went to a back alley massage, without having to lock my car with the freshly purchased kite and one of those stuffed animals with the big eyes in the front seat from the adjacent Toy Store, as my cover.  "See these presents, muthafuckas," I think to myself, the baby oil segregating the baby hairs into clumps at the nape of my neck as I get into my SUV, "that's my muthafuckin' ALIBI."

I've got layers of guidance today, y'all.  Check out CAAMP, the BAND.  It is not a new obsession of mine, but one that needs to be shared and appreciated. They are still relatively small so they go to really cool venues.
Click HERE:  

They also have a Insta, so you can track them like I do, like the filthy cougar I am.  They are being billed as an "organic" band  (because they are just two guys that came together to write and perform really great music as opposed to be "manufactured" by the industry, I guess) and they have been on a serious tour of the South and the East Coast for the last six months with the equally cool Rainbow Kitten Surprise.  The next leg of their tour is West. Follow them any way you can.  They are worth it.  

Just give me street cred when they make it BIG!

And while I'm on the subject, make plans to sit on a lawn this summer, under the stars, while you listen to great music, but don't forget your blanket, or you will regret it, especially if you bring me.

Oh, and get a back alley massage, especially if you can find one in full view of the most popular pizza place in town.  Be sure to do it on a Sunday, too, when said pizza place has a line out the door.

And then post THIS to make it seem like the last hour never happened.
Just covering my tracks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

You have to PROCESS before you heal

Okay, so I have been wanting to post for a long time about the election and whatnot, but NOW I have just posted on every social media I know a rather political statement, even though I am not in the least bit committed to either of the previous candidates.

I got a bunch of LIKES, boo.  It's AAIIGHT.

B made me take it down on Facebook because he has "clients" and the like.  He said I could do INSTA and TWITTER, so I did.  That's a lie.  I just UNTAGGED him for like 6 hours, and then deleted.  RUUUSPECT!  To the middle class, y'all.  Am I RIGHT?

My friend, we'll just call her, Jen, and I were going over the election last week and we send each other GIF's and twitter memes all the time and shit and she sent me one that was as follows:

I can't wait to see the finale of America

Isn't that TRUE?  Our fucking president became FAMOUS by hosting a reality show.  He is an amazing businessman, I mean, that's what EVARAYBODY says.  But, ultimately we have now become a bonafide product of our fucked up society.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not mad about Trump and I do not stand with Hillary.  I'm NOT with her.  You know why?  Because I don't RELATE to her. But I sure as hell am not with HIM either.

My only hope is that Donald Trump realized a long time ago that the Kanye West promotion plan was the one that would elect him president and that underneath it all he has a "publicity side" and a practical side.  We will just have to see, I guess.  My glass is half full.  You have to go forward with what you have, and what you have been given, or you will drown.  

Okay, let's review.  Here are the things that peaked my interest during the election, especially right down to the end.  And so bare with me here because what I focus on, and what the media and most other people concentrate on, are entirely different.  I basically view the World through a SNL filter, and am constantly scripting skits I want them to do on the following week's episode.  My focal points were as follows:

The people in California and the celebrities that represent them have NO IDEA what is going on in the rest of the country.  

They may TOUR, or have Twitter followers from other states, but in general, and I just LOVES to generalize, they REALLY have NO IDEA that the REST of the country are all thinking, feeling human beings with various circumstances, opportunities and hardships that may affect our views on politics and human nature.

I mean, I would be MESMERIZED by incessant Instagram Posts and Netflix shows (Chelsea) that just made the ASSUMPTION that America was going to elect Hillary.

They underestimated the amount of rednecks that would crush their Budlight tallboy, throw it into the fire with the ball of asbestos they just found, to you know, "boost the engine" and peel out in their American made pick up with a mess of their friends and VOTE GAWDDDAMMMIT!

I can say this.  I was raised in Kentucky.  I just KNEW, like all of us rednecks know, that there was a shift in the air, and that Trump was gonna pull this off. Only,  I feel like I was just dropped into the middle of Ricky Bobby's dinner, only THIS IS REALITY, y"all!  

But, it was not just THIS group that came out in droves.  It is the silent Trump voter (many of them close friends and family) that also helped Trump surge in the election.  Thoughtful, FEELING human beings that I respect and value their opinions, that voted for Trump.  They just will never admit it in a public forum.  

They just whisper and nudge each other, trying to feel each other out at parties and games, and then they are either rebuked and slink away or they are bonded to those people, well, at least for the next four years.  I've seen it happen time after time, with my OWN friends even.  Silent Trump voters hated Hillary so much and were so sick of her bullshit that they were willing to roll the dice and see what happens.  Two terms of Obama have just sucked the life out of them and they are looking for a good time.  

It's kind of like the parties you have after finals week, where you made bad decision after bad decision, but you don't care because you are ready for a change and everyone else is doing it.  You are about to break up for the summer and everyone will forget how wasted you were the night before you went home from college.  

What I am saying is that the Silent Trumpers' reasoning was not that Trump was the OBVIOUS choice, he was the ONLY choice in their minds.  And I get that.  I do. She is a career criminal, like all politicians are, and that is why we elected Trump.  We are sick of the status quo.  We want to shake things up!  We are intrigued.  We want to be entertained.  And we are gamblers.

This is who we are.

I feel bad for Hillary, I do, because she's dedicated her life to becoming President and politics and public service and she is DONE. I would say for GOOD, this time.

Just don't forget that she has been in the public eye for a reason.  She has been not only in politics, but in Government, her entire adult life.  

I keep waiting for my kids to learn in school about Bill Clinton and the impeachment and the red dress and the cigar and Kenneth Starr.

That is when everything turned in America and paved the way for a voice over of Trump, our President Elect, to profess to a very nerdy, desperate Billy Bush, that he liked to "grab that pussy".

The cigar in the oval office paved the way for the media to report the bus conversation, in regard to politics. 

My point is that the media is to blame for how disgusting and nasty everything has become.  The media is the reason why we KNOW about Monica's dress and Trump's pussy comment, because they CHOSE to report it as NEWS.  And if they were doing it to inform everyone about the nature of a candidate's integrity, then I understand. But was it really that?  Or was it sensationalism.  Sex sells.  

It's no longer, if it BLEEDS, it leads.  It is a matter of if it tantalizes, it boosts ratings. Kennedy was a womanizer.  Our beloved Reagan had Alzeimers his last term.  These are FACTS.  But, they are immortalized and heralded.  

You wanna know why?  Because of their policies.  That is why.  

Sooooo, at this point, moving forward, how does America keep it KLASSY?

Any ideas?

I'm at a loss.

That reminds me.  Sully is a great movie.

Oh, WAIT, we have Melania, who is a dead ringer for Svetlana on Shameless.  (And if you don't watch it, you should.  It's on Netflix for Gawd's sake.  No excuses.)  

She, and her character are amazing.  I follow her on INSTA, natch.

Ol' gurl gonna GLAM that White House UP!  Apparently, Cyberbullying is her platform.  She is the silver lining on this whole thing. 

So funny.  I have a picture similar to that with each of my babies.  I just couldn't WAIT to put my heels back on.  I used to breastfeed in heels, with EACH one of them, I assure you.

I might just dedicate an entire four years of blogging about Svetlana, I mean, Melania.  Can you imagine Michelle Obama's garden next Spring?  Svetlana ain't gonna plow.  I hope she excavates it and creates a pond for exotic fish for her weirdo Droid-like son who wears monochromatic suits.  That's mean.  It's not HIS fault.  He wasn't BORN into this life.  Oh, yes he was.

AIIGHT.  She didn't choose this life.  She just thought the Don was a meal ticket out of Slovenia, not the President of the United States, Ruler of the Free World.  She just wanted jets and gold and clothes and a warm bath.

Now, Miss Slovenia will be hosting State Dinners and decorating the White House.  It's ON.  She no speaka da Engleeeas.

She's fat.

Here's ANOTHER point of interest, what about Alec Baldwin?  He was Trump on SNL for the last, like eight weeks.  He HAS to continue.  WE NEED IT.

Oh, Oh, here's another thing...Trump has had THREE baby mommas!  Remember when you could assassinate someone's political character because they weren't married or were getting a divorce?  Hilarious.  For some reason Trump is exempt from all of that scrutiny that his supporters and voters (they are two separate groups, see above) have previously subjected all other candidates in history to. 

Remember Howard Dean's red faced rebel yell that had him lose the election?

Remember Palin and how uninformed she was?  She would've been LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD, y'all, if something happened to Cain. 

What about Cain and his creepy Hersheys Syrup or catsup airess wife or whatever who seemed to me had not had a real conversation with each other in a decade, let alone a real marriage.  

Wait, I'm not done. Mitt Romney basically lost the last election because he was caught on video telling rich voters that the rest of the country isn't like THEM - the THEM being the rich and powerful.  Well, the rednecks HEARD that loud and clear and now the new THEM is the Trump supporter.  

CHANGE.  This is what Obama promised.  And this is what TRUMP promised.  And we crave it.  Everyone does.  It is the American way.  We get bored and tired and we need to change it up, beeaches.  

It's just the Redneck's turn.  Truly.  They have fist pumped their way to the White House and they are enjoying their moment.  Let them.  They are fucking OPRESSED, y'all.  And they have a voice, a voice that demands attention...and it did.  

Baldwin has put a few things up on his Twitter about moving forward and shit.  I'm pretty sure New York City didn't have a clue about the unrest in this country, either.

At any rate, whether you were Pro Hillary, Anti-Hillary, Anti-Trump or Gawd forbid Pro-Trump, we are at an impasse.

We just have to adjust.  Daddy and Momma are splittin' up and Daddy got a new FIIINNNEEE FIANCE and they moving' into a NEW HOUSE, y'all.

I have heard from people that I respect that the Trump you see on TV and the private Trump are two different people.  Pence is one of those who professes this, for whom I have tremendous respect.  JK.

I don't know.  I am in AWE of Joan Rivers and she and the DON were TIGHT, right?  She won one of his seasons.  

My advice today is to learn to PROCESS, before you heal.  No matter WHO you are, but I guess if I am being honest, I mean hard core LIBERALS and hard core HILLARY supporters.

Obama shook EVARAYTHANG up, and the country is not ready for a woman president.  Not her, anyway.  If that were the case, then she would have WON because we women would have come out in DROVES to support her.  We currently represent FIFTY-FIVE percent of the total vote in this piece.  

She wasn't RIGHT.  Obama WAS right for the black vote.  It was the perfect match of intelligence and behavior.  And he was a STELLAR representation of what KLASS looks like in the White House, no matter how you slice it.  

Oh well...let's just hope for the best.  We're 'Merica y'all!

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Night of...and Feeling Uncomfortable

He is such a BABE.  Big, BIG career after this.  Amazing performance.

I've recently just diagnosed myself with GSAD.  Otherwise known as Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder.

I'm not sure if this is specific to myself, but I would be willing to bet, that it's not just me.  Again, you are WELCOME.

I am going to divulge something that you all feel at one time or another, but you can secretly read this and relate in the privacy of your own bathroom.

Anyway, with GSAD, there are definitely TRIGGERS.  Situations, people, some say outfits...whatever, PRIOR EXPERIENCES shape your consciousness and then BOOM, something is THRUST upon you and you just DEAL the best way you know how.  MYYYYY coping mechanism is inappropriate ANYTHING.  You name it, from  giggling to falling asleep... there are a plethora of reactions that I am not proud of when coping with GSAD.

Look, I am FINE, when I am with my people, but when I am subjected to being in a crowd of people I don't know very well, and don't know me-I have a hard time.

I tell my girls all the time that the most attractive thing about someone is confidence.  If you can achieve that, then you are golden.  But then again, if you have an insecurity, come sit by me, because I will instantly make you feel better.

How do you instill that?  Better yet, how do you achieve that?  Is anyone familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy?  If you studied Psychology, you do.  You see, basically he invented a PYRAMID in which you try and "climb the ladder" to self-actualization in order to be the best version of yourself.  The problem with all of this is that it is a universal model and we are all so different, aren't we?  Or are we?

When you live in a suburb, it feels like EVARYONE has the same set of circumstances, No?  But, we don't.  We couldn't possibly.

I still want EXPERIENCES, don't you?  Or do you?

HBO has a new series that makes me uncomfortable.  It is called "The Night Of".  I have actually read articles about it, it is so powerful.  It is a social commentary, at the very least, and at it's best, it is a work of art.

I know what you are thinking.  Seriously?  I have Netflix to get back to.  But, this is different.  And disappointing.  And UNCOMFORTABLE.

Now, look, I feel like a get a free pass, here, because I was a social worker in Denver for a year.  This was the TRENCHES, yo. My clients were literally the people that hold signs up on the exits of inner city belts.  I know this because they TOLD me that if they stood on the corners of inner belt exits to neighborhoods they could make the most money - more than I made, they would laugh.  They were mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, and grandparents, and children. None of which, and consequently, ALL of which, has influenced the way at which I view EVERYTHING and NOTHING.

I was there when the penal and justice system were at it's BEST, and also when it was at it's WORST.

It's just a great experience to have, though, because it gives you perspective.  Being a server at four Mexican restaurants impacted me about the same, I'll be honest, but I digress.

I quit when a sixteen-year-old heroin addict inadvertently killed herself.  That was the end.  I could take no more.  The telephone call with her father following the funeral was too much for me to bear.

I didn't go to the funeral.  I found out after the fact.  She had gone off of my radar and my caseload was immense.

They had struggled with her for years.  She was what they call a "Dual Diagnosis" which means that she self-medicated because she struggled with mental illness.

When I met her at intake, she was in the Psych Ward at a local hospital because she had tried to commit suicide with a pair of dull scissors.

She didn't stand a chance.

But what if this was YOUR child? Hallie is about to turn 15 next month.

Her father was remarried and a surgeon.  They had had subsequent children.  She was unsafe, volatile.

It seems a world away now.  But, I bet it isn't for him.

She made him and his family UNCOMFORTABLE.  And so was I.  You never knew what she was going to do.

Given this social psychology experiment in my mid-twenties,  it gave me great empathy with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Almost ALL of my clients were on the take, but then there would be that ONE or TWO that made your job worth it. I am not judging the ones on the take.  It was learned.  And they were SURVIVING.

While I was a social worker, my boss's teenage daughter was in a car accident with some friends in the mountains when she thought her daughter was staying at a friend's house.  In her defense, not that she needs one, she had just been fired because apparently she was "inappropriate  at the office."  (We were social workers.  No less than 10 inappropriate things happened or were said on my watch.)  She was also a recovering addict - 15 years sober - and was probably "looking the other way" during her termination when her daughter asked to stay the night at a friend's house.

I'll never forget HER former boss expressing concern about her sobriety during calling hours.  She'd just "been through so much" the asshole lamented.  She looks "medicated".  This coming from a woman with zero children and zero addiction experience, with the exception of text books and seminars.

When I think back upon it all, it makes me sick.  But it also makes me STRONG.

Because that is what adverse experiences do to you.  They make you stronger.

That is, if you choose to internalize them.  And if you don't, then I can't relate.

So, if you have the chance to watch "The Night Of" on HBO.  Do it.  It will make you uncomfortable.  And not in the way that Parent Night does at the middle school, where I can't figure out if I should do a clasping wave or a prom queen wave in the hall to the other parents, but in a way that life can turn on a dime, and people change, and adapt, no matter what their upbringing or specific set of life skills.

It is a WhoDunIt with a message, so don't miss it.  You just never know when life will take a turn and the repercussions reverberate outward, and then each person with their own special set of circumstances are then affected, and it is up to them how they will cope.

This set of coping mechanisms defines us, and thus, creates a trajectory upon which we internalize and then project our feelings about a specific situation.

To dumb it down, and it is what I am always telling my children when they approach me with some bullshit (again, THREE GURLS, here), I ask them to consider the source and where the person is coming from.

We are all very complicated beings.  With all of the hoopla and the posturing that goes on society today, it is difficult to discern what is real.

"The Night Of" is not only an exploration of the judicial system, but an exploration of Mankind, and how we are so quick to label people based on the situation they are in.  There is a big bad World out there that is absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. I would rather explore it and examine it for all of it's horrors and ecstasy.

Looking back, I wish I had been a better social worker, better equipped to deal with what was thrown my way, but at the same time, I am so grateful for the experience.  Not a "through the looking glass" type of experience, but a REAL one, where I got to have a real understanding of people and what makes them tick.

No matter how different we all are, we are the sum of our experiences.  You may embrace them or reject them.  That is your choice.  It basically is about what you are willing to let in, and what you need to protect yourself from.  Everyone's thresholds are different. And that doesn't make anyone better or worse for the battle.

I try not to throw stones when I live in a glass house, and I prefer that you do the same.  That is, if you are being honest with yourself.

Insert MIC DROP here.

Coincidentally, posthumous, Gandolfini produced the series.  I hope
Turturro isn't up against Nas for a Globe, because Nas will lose.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Writer MOM

Brad and I took her to Cleveland, just the three of us to see 1D.  Super fun.  Did y"all know that Harry cut his hair and gave it to charity for children with cancer?  Brad does.
SOOOO. I know this is going to sound uber GAY, but I am going to post something that SEEEEMMMMS like I'm bragging...and I AM.  So, full disclosure, assholes.

I'm gonna tell you a little more about Hallie, my eighth grader.  She is like soooooo NOT athletic.  She danced for years and years and years and we were almost about to pull the trigger on Dance Team, or whatever and I just couldn't DO IT.  I persuaded her to try out for team sports her 7th grade year, instead.  It was so cathartic for her.  She was not the BEST at the shot put, or field hockey, but she learned so much about herself and met friends that she would never have been introduced to otherwise. She morphed into a confident 8th grader, who is completely competent in EVARY aspect of her life, with the exception of her hygiene and her room.  The girl friendship thang is fluid and as a great neighbor of mine once advised me, "Those girls will fall in and out of love with each other for the next ten years.  You better get USED to it now, or you will drive yourself insane with three girls."  (PREACH, Bev!)  Regardless, I CANNOT get that girl's hair clean and she resides in filth and chaos.

But, I love her MADLY, and she is the only Schell descendant to graduate middle school, so I am just  "over the moon" as my Mom would say, filled to the brim with a contradiction of emotions this last month, to say the least.  Nowadays when I need to give her advice, I try to be thoughtful before I approach her with an idea about her future, because I just found out that she is a better writer than I am.

When I finally got over my seething jealousy, I came to the realization that I need to embrace her talent - not squash it. I said to myself, "Self, you need to not only nurture her gift, but You need to CAPITALIZE on it."  I have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor, y"all.  What do you call a "Momager" in the literary World? A "Meditor", a "Magent", if you will.

Anyway, I want to have a guest blog on here today, my daughter, Hallie.  She wrote this for school.  The assignment was to pick an identity card from the Holocaust Museum (This is a card with the description of a Holocaust victim, in about a hundred words or so.)  You then were to journal as if you WERE that person and describe what your life was like during that time.

Hallie THINKS this is a gift for her, but REALLY it is a gift for me.  Now I don't have to buy her an ACTUAL 8th grade graduation present and I can just show her her STATS on blogger and tell her that THAT should satisfy her more than some stupid Urban Outfitters peasant dress with cutouts.  Am I right?

Anyway, thanks for reading us both.


August 12, 1925
Every morning, Benny Budny is the first to get the paper. He skips through the door and bends down to meet my eyes with his. He’ll hold his breath for a moment and then he’ll shout, “Cendorf! Get your nose out of that book!” His shouts are but a contribution to the men arguing about religion and politics and impersonating the cantankerous Mrs. Schurwan that works at the bar down the street where the older men go out after work.
Benny tosses me a nickel and gets a fresh newspaper off the printer. And the boisterous young man who seems he could never keep his mouth shut sits beside me for hours reading every word of the paper while I find my place in my book and study the tales my own imagination could never fathom.
Benny asked me this morning why I sometimes found myself falling asleep by the printing press. My parents convinced themselves that their boy who had always been interested in literature and writing would become a rabbi, but I rebelled and found myself applying for my current job. I have told the Lord that our lives are short.
Father,” I began, “A bird with its necessities given on a silver platter longs to be freed not because it is never satisfied but because it fears it will spend eternity looking for purpose trapped in a cage.” I can not trap myself in my religion when religion is meant for one’s strength and happiness. I find my strength and happiness through Him, through my family and Benny Budny, through the peonies that come up in the Spring and through my collection of torn pages and broken spines.
I will pick up a pen and never put it down if it meant I was working toward a young man opening a book with my name written down the spine and reading tales his own imagination cannot fathom. The caged bird has been working tirelessly, but the caged bird has been working tirelessly in the direction of interest.
I have begun to comprehend a novel is never a tale. Every word was chosen by an author for a reason, and every writer’s work comes from a brain attached to a human being that lives and loves and faces problems. Inspiration can come from anywhere, but it has to come from somewhere. I am beginning to understand the writer’s struggle, for my best poem tells of a young printer in hopes of writing good poetry.

February 28, 1933
I had spent my last two weeks in Poland trying to fit my last eighteen years into the small, yellow suitcase at my feet. It was announced Adolf Hitler was the chancellor of Germany and his intentions for the Jewish were cruel and frighteningly achievable in power. I hadn’t seen my father cry until January 30th, when he told me it wasn’t safe to be in Lodz anymore.
My mother had met the suitcase at a flea market when I was only eight years old. The suitcase had a personality of its own. It was the only bright suitcase at the stand and grew flowers of pinks and violets that spilled over the side onto the old, brown suitcases it consorted, which made it impossible for it not to catch my mother’s eye. The suitcase-selling-women wore bonnets on their heads, and had big, wrinkled noses and friendly smiles. My mother paid the women and carried the yellow suitcase home. On a rainy day like that, the yellow suitcase was the sun and my mother and I held the sun in our hands, singing and giggling as jumped in puddles on the way home.
I had felt like the Baltic Sea. A deep blue storm reaches the mainland in the dead of night carrying waves the size of skyscrapers that disintegrate against the shore. Seagulls frantically fly across the sable skies, and lightning and thunder join to warn the fishermen of the ocean’s ugly temper.
I had spent my last two weeks in Poland watching my mother cry on my father’s shoulder while my father goes mad trying to sell a shoelace factory to a community trying to sell to him. A raincloud found its place above me and has rivalled me these last two weeks, and my whole world had turned blue.
The Bundy household was red and made of brick, and towered above its neighbors. I knocked on the door and waited for someone to excuse themselves from the breakfast table to greet me one last time. I had said goodbye to the old men at the printing press and bought one last paper. Small, black print told stories of Lodz; stories I would hope to return and read. Perhaps Benny would read the paper with his father that afternoon, yelling at the men in the photos for the audacity of their political decisions as a newspaper should be read. My heart fluttered as footsteps filled the house. I had grown up with the Bundys, the loud and opinionated bunch, but in my last two weeks I hadn’t even stopped to bid them hello. In fact, I grew more anxious every day I didn’t see Benny, and I wouldn’t want anything more than to sit on the bench by the printing press and read with Benny for hours. I had never thought I would have to leave my best friend. The door swung open and Benny’s blue eyes met mine in seconds. His father yelled from inside the house, and Benny stared at me with pity. He slammed the door. I was blue.
The train was jet black. The monster grew louder as it came closer to the train station where my father, mother and I stood in a straight line with our suitcases held tightly in our hands. I could not comprehend how we had the money to buy these train tickets. I didn’t ask my parents, for I knew they were just as pensive as I. My parents sat across from me in their own red velvet seats, my father’s arm around my mother in attempt to keep her warm from the morning’s rain. I opened my book and felt the wheels had begun to turn.
“May the men at the printing press sell a million copies today,” I prayed, “May Benny Budny find the paper I left at his doorstep and spend the entire afternoon reading it with his father, may my torn pages and broken spines become the favorites of the children at the orphanage in which I donated and Lord, may my yellow suitcase, my mother, my father and I travel to Paris safely.”

August 15, 1940
Marthe’s house was small and well-decorated. Her mother painted every wall a new shade of green, and I was surprised that the large family with two cats kept white furniture clean. The house had dim lights, and every room had a piece of artwork that told a different story. In fact, when I met the artist her hair was tied back and a thin, splattered paint brush tucked behind her ear. Marthe was older than I was, but not much older. She was taller than I was, but only when she wore high heels. Her dark hair fell onto her shoulders in loose curls, and her eyes were a unique shade of green; a forest of everlasting pine. She kneeled over a canvas and was painting a room of heartbroken people. I sat down beside her and admired the painting. “Why do they grieve?” I asked.
“I can only paint frowns these days,” she sighed. “My father left for work one morning weeks ago and hasn’t returned.”
The meetings were held in the basement. They were very quiet, but I could not get the thought out of my mind that inside every person sitting around me wanted to scream at the world and break into tears. Smart people argued of the idea of a fascist government system and everyone contributed to possible solutions. Everyone but Marthe, who silently wept. I asked her to dinner. (
But Marthe told me not to worry, so I didn’t. I took her to a troupe with marble floors and high ceilings. A grand piano sat elegantly on a stage that carried no entertainment for the wealthy crowd it accompanied. I hadn’t played piano since I was ten years old and hated to practice, but when Marthe lay in a long, satin dress and the cluttered and vigorous theatre fell silent in amazement of the sounds of the grand instrument, I wanted to write her a symphony. She smiled at me with crinkled eyes and told me for the first time she loved me as she took my hand to take a bow. She embodied Paris so perfectly; beautiful, creative, so full of excitement and energy. Marthe had spent two years making me feel like life was a photograph and she and I would spend eternity at the grand piano.
She sat at a mirror in the dressing room smoking a cigarette while I struggled to fully understand a good book written in French. “Les loups sont ici.” I looked up from my book and stared at her profoundly until she clarified. “Les Allemands occupĂ© Paris ce matin. As tu entendu?” “The wolves are here.” She said. “The germans occupied Paris this morning. Have you not heard?”
I remained in denial, waking every morning to peddle wood and support my family. I had become more involved in the Writer’s Union, reading my poems to all who would listen and making friends with those who shared my interest. My mother certainly didn’t seem to be bothered by the company of the Nazis either, as she walked the streets of Paris confidently alongside petite women she had befriended when we moved here. The women here wear big, colorful hats and have intelligent minds and my mother has finally found herself. Although I had to work harder for my mother’s happiness, it brought me joy seeing her giggle alongside her girlfriends.
But with time, the energy of Paris depreciated. Jewish men, women and children were being taken, and everyone was being affected in one way or another. Maybe it was their mother, maybe it was the milkman with the handlebar mustache that waved to everyone he passed on his route. But everyone was affected and everyone could only wait to see what would come to renew their faith in humanity. I had stayed out of trouble and kept Marthe in my heart.
With a German man’s hand on my shoulder as he led me into prison, I kept Marthe in my heart. Preparing for my own imprisonment, I had begun to associate my yellow suitcase with terrible sorrow. I packed lightly and carelessly, for what was most important to me couldn’t be packed into a suitcase at all. I could not pack memories at the grand piano or at the bench by the printing press. I could not pack the million torn pages and broken spines I have not yet read. I could not pack Marthe’s beautiful paintings, and I could not pack the Baltic sea.

March 12, 1942
Two thousand winter coats that remained in the closet, and four thousand shoes that remained at the back door. Maybe two hundred pairs of reading glasses that remained on the nightstand beside two thousand books with a bookmark holding place in the middle of a story that will never be finished. Two thousand families that will sit around a candle or two and two thousand prayers will be said for two thousand different people. Two thousand families will try to ignore the empty chairs at the dinner table and two thousand plates will stay untouched in the cupboard. There were two thousand men, women and children beside me. They held two thousand suitcases. There were two thousand very different lives and two thousand minds with the exact same thoughts of fear and confusion, but there were not two thousand screams and cries. There was not a sound.
There were not two thousand cells. The cells were aligned down a long, dark hallway. There were not two thousand beds. The bastilles were small and uncomfortable. A family was shown to my cell shortly after I was. The father, a cobbler from Austria smiled at me pitifully behind large, round glasses. His wife followed close behind him, a newborn child resting peacefully in her arms. Another child tugged on the end of her skirt, asking her an abundance of questions. “Regine!” The woman whispered, irritated. Were the families that were imprisoned together the lucky ones? My mother was probably walking the streets of Paris now, perhaps on her way to a cafe with her friends. My father put a pencil to his temple in the earliest hours of the day, doing finances under a dim, reading lamp. But were they lucky?
I had not tried to sleep the first night in the prison. A German guard came in to check on us.. It was odd to think he too had family and friends and thoughts and ideas. He groaned and the door slammed behind him.
Three days imprisoned and I had learned the names of many prisoners of those around me. Avi was a tall, skinny fellow that loved to read even more than I. He was placed in the cell across from me, and made me laugh daily as he badgered the women in which he shared the cell with. Long, monotonous days I spent swapping literature with Avi, and taking inspiration from Avi’s broken spines and torn pages and the men, women and children. As the prisoners finished every novel they had and every novel their neighbor had, my poems became well known in my locality. I began to spend my afternoons going from shack to shack, introducing men, women and children young and old, poor and rich, to poetry. It is times like these that bring me the most joy.

April 25, 1942 (final)
I still have hope for Benny Budny. I hope that as he is welcomed into the world of business he still remains the same goofy, young lass I grew up with. I hope he doesn’t find himself in the earliest hours of the night doing finances under a reading lamp. I hope he will still have the time to sit down with his father and argue about the politics in the newspapers, as the papers should be read.
I still have hope for the suitcase-selling-women, the Polish men who print the newspapers. Suitcases are still made in great detail at the market and every morning a different story is printed despite the circumstances of the pale, skinny men, women and children that deteriorate behind these closed doors, the living secrets that Germany has kept. I still have hope for the Baltic sea as there will never come a morning when the fishermen discover the sea is still and the waves no longer crash against the shore.
I still have hope for Regine. I still have hope for the children that will crawl into bed with their mothers not because of the monsters under their bed but the yells of German soldiers that will be memorialized their whole lives. I still have hope each child will be able to draw a line on their kitchen door frame and see that they have grown. I still have hope that Jewish children will be able to have children of their own. I have to. For without hope, there is no strength.
I still have hope for the milkman. I still have hope that one day he will knock on his front door and when his wife answers the door she will jump into his arms. I hope that she still has hope; I hope that she knows that he still says hello to everyone he greets.
I still have hope for Marthe. I still have hope that the subjects her portraits will one day reveal a smile, and Marthe will stop using all of her blue paint. I hope that I can once again meet her to play another scale, and once again all will be still but the grand piano. I hope I can hire the most skilled musicians with gold instruments and velvet suits to play her symphony, and I hope that she will accept when I ask her to dance.
I still have hope for my mother and father. I assume they are in hiding, and I refuse to imagine them anywhere but somewhere safe. I hope they do not lose hope. I hope that my mother does not weep into my father’s arms each night and I hope my father doesn’t go mad in a confined, cluttered space. I hope my mother could bring her hats with her and I hope she wears them even if she is not on the streets of Paris. I hope my father does not think that he is a failure. I hope they do not worry too much of me. I hope that I can see them again, perhaps when we are older and wiser, and I hope I can buy them a house on a beach that displays a sunset of a million colors.
I still have hope for my yellow suitcase. I watched as the soldiers scour my things, saucily stuffing my gold watch into their pocket and throwing my yellow suitcase onto my bed before shuffling to the next captive’s belongings. I still have hope that I will never pack my yellow suitcase in fear, and I will never associate yellow with sorrow. I hope my yellow suitcase will take me on a trip to the Rocky Mountains, to a sandy beach, to a successful job interview, to the Baltic sea. I still have hope I will never pack my yellow suitcase for a destination that will keep me from returning home.
I still have hope for society. I hope that these disastrous events are but a commencement of a resolution to humanity’s complication of diversity in religion and race. I hope that mankind will never have a peculiarity, that children in schoolyards will swing on swing sets next to children of different ethnicities and different faiths. I hope I never see a blonde-haired, blue-eyed world. I still have hope for Germany, that someone under Hitler’s rule is silently rooting in our favor. I like to believe our Lord is receiving prayers for us from all over the world. An African woman remembers to include everyone outside Hitler’s malevolent mold in her evening prayer. In France, a man steps out of church with tears in his eyes as the minister had mentioned his friend who was taken by the Nazis earlier in the week. An American Jew writes for a newspaper; he publishes an article on the crisis and donates to a soup kitchen later that night. He still has hope.
I still have hope for the future. I believe that once again I will rely on the sun to awaken me. I still have hope that there will be a book with my surname down the spine. My efforts are limited, but I still stay awake with my pen on paper. I have picked up a pen and will never put it down, for my achievements have been recognized by those who need it most. The caged bird hears the other caged birds sing his song. The caged bird would rather every other confined bird freed then released alone.
There was a book on a shelf in Poland with a broken spine and torn pages. There was a boy who worked late so he could spend his mornings reading this book, admiring the author’s brilliant perspective. The book was a series of poems written in Paris, a place that would soon become far too familiar to the boy. The man who sat on the park bench was not much different than the boy, but the boy would not realize until he saw a canvas colored every shade of blue. The boy would quote the man with the mustache on the park bench when the boy kissed the girl who painted blue for the last time. “No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger.” The boy watched the girl walk away, the first time he did not walk her home since they met. Rainer Rilke sat on a park bench. I sat under a dim lit lamp and finally noted my apprehension of my given circumstance, embarrassed to have cried for the first time since I left my shelf in Poland. I had written a work of “I still have hope” and slipped it through the space in Avi’s cavity. He wakes the next morning and grins in my direction. I still have hope for Avi. I still have hope that one day he will have enough room for a desk and he will be able to spend his days writing and not worrying. I hear him recite my words to the women in his cell, who had grown unhopeful and inattentive. Avi did not nag them anymore. “Our courage is not broken, our courage is not shackled.” He paused. “Life is marvelously beautiful.” My words begin to echo through the shack’s long, dark hallway, and through illness and discomfort, through madness and sorrow, my words bring the caged birds together. The caged birds began to sing. Jewish men, women and children sing my words down the long hallway, now a scintillating beam of light. And with a sigh of considerable relief I relax, for at last, in very bold, imperative letters, I have seen my name printed down a long, dark broken spine that holds together two thousand torn, withered pages.

GUIDANCE: When your daughter asks you if you will read something, and you sigh and pause your stories and put down your laundry, while you feel around for your readers, DO IT, because you might just be surprised to learn something new you didn't know about someone you live with.

Oh, and this is my previous post about Hal. She was a sixth grader then. If you care to read up on my first born.