Now THAT got your attention!
As my brain begins to wake up from the 2 year-long fog in which I’ve been, I am blessed with the most random of thoughts which I feel compelled to write about. That means you the reader have some access to my dementia. You’re welcome.
I was at a garden center with my sister and feeling the joy of mingling with the “plain people” or Amish. I wondered something though for the first time: If 10% of the population is LGBTQ, there have to be some queer Amish. For my hetero friends, I apologize in advance. It is getting harder and harder for me to think “straight”. It’s been refreshing in the past several years that there is no longer a gay look or dress code to adhere. I’ve never had the best “gay-dar” but it is tougher to tell anymore who’s a lesbian and who is not. And looking at some Amish women walk by I wondered how they know of someone in their community is a dyke or not. It’s not like Subaru makes buggies. And the Amish can’t wear camouflage cargo pants. Do they secretly watch Ellen when none’s around? (on a wind powered TV. I have seen some Amish girls playing softball. Who knows. It’s not like I’m looking for a nice Amish girl to settle down with. It’s just one of those things that my brain has decided to ruminate upon this trip. And if I see a Uhaul hitched to a horse I’m gonna stoke up a conversation just for kicks.
Perhaps I will open an Amish gay bar. I’m trying to think of a creative name so if you have any ideas, leave some moments below.
Back to relaxing on the porch!
School’s out! It’s exciting every year, The anticipation and build up of the last few weeks and then the final countdown. Did this really pass this quickly?! So I have decided after many changes and upheaval in my world, that I am going to spend most of the summer in Pennsylvania around family and old friends. My dogs are with me. Grayson is still in Milwaukee but I told him the summer will let me recharge and re-direct. My compass is reorienting and I’m gradually starting to find my way. I’ve been restless and bored and feel as if I have been going in too many directions. I have it within my super hero self to slow down and really look.
On the road to Pennsylvania I remembered, as I always do, how much I need my Vitamin T or travel. It’s a long trip but it was a bright sunny day and I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get anywhere. Windows down and wind in my hair, I didn’t even turn on my radio. It was enough for my soul to be moving. I even enjoyed Indiana where in the past I dreaded the long drive through the countless fields of corn, dairy farms, and crosses by the side of the road. Ohio is still pretty monotonous. (Sorry if you’re from Ohio)
My spirit always wakes up when I hit the PA border and mountains start to rise up out of nowhere! I’ve spent a great deal of time in other places. I’ve been happy, content and have felt at home a lot of places. It still always comes as a surprise how the turnpike feels so familiar and comfortable. By the time I get to the eastern part of the state I know I’m home. I know I’ve been in the midwest too long when I come upon curvy roads and have to slow down because I’ve forgotten how to drive on anything but flat, straight roads. The trip took much longer than usual this time but I finally made it to my sister’s home.
So I’m sitting here on the porch with a most excellent breeze blowing and my senses are finally awake again. I’m almost enjoying the smells of the Lancaster farms. Roadside produce stands are taunting me but I finally want to cook again! After the stroke I had no appetite and cooking was just too much of a chore either way. I’ve gotten better at one handed chopping and cutting and don’t worry about OSHA stepping in for safety violations.
I know I continue to improve when I offer to make dinners for my sister and family (since they still work over the summer).
I’m sure I’ll have a lot to wrote about over the summer, so keep reading. For those of you who are regulars here at the blog, thank you for your continued support and nice comments. I am glad that the posts are enjoyable. Who’d have thought I’d grow up to be a writer.
School’s out! Summer is officially happening. I had the distinct honor of attending a live performance of “Precious lives”:
Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a weekly podcast about gun violence and young people in the Milwaukee area. Who are the victims and the shooters? How are the weapons obtained? Explore the impact on the community at large and how to stop the violence.
Although shared nationally via NPR, this production was made in Milwaukee with real stories from real people. I got to see this brilliant performance after a friend offered a ticket in exchange for giving some neighborhood kids a ride to the theater. When I say “neighborhood”, I don’t mean mine. I am in a privileged enough to live in a “better”, “safer” environment. I consider this my neighborhood though, because I know the children in this neighborhood. The were my students and I’m one of those teachers who believes, they are ALL our children. And I know the kids to whom I provided a ride to the show. I’ve only recently gotten to know them but they are all brilliant young people whose family moved here from Rwanda. Their main desire is to find a way to move out of their current “hood” because it is so dangerous. Bullets fly readily and frequently. And they are scared. Maybe you’ve heard a little about Rwanda. An estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during a 100-day period of civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi April 7 to mid-July 1994, 20% of Rwanda’s total population.500,000–1,000,000 people killed. And these kids are afraid in their Milwaukee neighborhood.
Now the Precious Lives performance put faces to the violence in these neighborhoods in a way that made it impossible to turn blind eye. But I wanted to, really. Perhaps the culmination of the weeks made my heart a little fuller but I found it impossible to not unleash tears at the resilient stories of these “our” children. And so often we are hearing the negative stories about youth. In fact, there are some amazing kids out there who need our support.
So go to Precious Lives, NPR Podcasts and listen. This is happening in your city too.
Love always wins!
I did not expect to be this angry. Truly. Orlando’s events should have been just another blip on the radar. Gun deaths are a daily event in Milwaukee. 51 total in 2016 so far, including 9-year-old Za’Layia Jenkins, a 4th grader from the school I used to teach. I started off in a good place. When the news of the horrific event first broke, I decided to choose peace and love. I went to Milwaukee’s Pride celebration to prove that fear doesn’t beat love. I was proud of the many people, straight and gay who turned out to celebrate love, not hate. With every show of support, (local churches marching proudly with signs that told of all that were welcome in their places of worship. I was proud to be a part of this family, this community that chose love over hate, peace over violence. But I found myself tearing up with each new parade participants; school students who were showing their pride in who they were despite the danger of being out in their community, at school, in a bathroom, I wept. Members of the Peace Corps that carried sign saying, we are Orlando. My fear of being noticed crying kept me from sobbing when clergy and church members marched to show support of the LGBTQ community because, Jesus allegedly said “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. I nearly lost my shit when pictures of teens and other who have been killed or killed themselves because of fear and ignorance. For such an advanced culture, we sure have some archaic beliefs among us. Then today in an excruciatingly boring work meeting on seeing the education system through the lens of “Equality”, I thought I might have to leave the room when the speaker suggested we take a moment of silence to honor the victims in Orlando. Silence?!!! Isn’t that what’s led to all of this violence? We stay silent. When fellow citizens in our city are killed. When 9 year olds are killed, when Brown people and “those people” are killed, we stay silent. I am guilty of this too. But as I felt the tears well up in my eyes at the mere mention of Orlando, it occurred to me that instead of silence, it would be more of a tribute if we screamed instead…”ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” I know that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But people aren’t using sticks and stones to kill others, they are using guns which are readily available because a minority are afraid that gun control equals loss of personal control, which is showing their weakness either way.. There was no “good guy” with a gun to stop this recent slaughter despite all 50 states currently allowing concealed and open carry laws. Let’s ban these guns that have no purpose in our society. Let’s stand up against hate and fear and smallness. I am still surprised at the depth in which this latest horrific event has gotten to me. I can definitely relate to feeling like my house was infiltrated. If you are straight and white, you never worry about having a safe place because the world is your safe place. Gay bars and Pride festivals are the places where we can be unguarded because, these are our people. And offer a place where I can exercise my freedom of speech and my indisputable American inalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But no more. So I find myself pissed off…but mostly sad, so very, very sad. Because I know there are so many other Americans who believe it is their inalienable right to keep guns readily available in case you disagree with my rights or think my right interfere with your right. Who believe, from a place of privilege, that violence in the name of the amendment du jour is justified, and finding differences takes more strength than finding our common ground. Yes, I am sad. I am angry and I am honestly evaluating my right to feel all of these things.
So I ask you, if you are saddened or angered by this latest killing spree, instead of silence, choose voice. We are Orlando, or is that just to have a trendy profile picture?
Love, acceptance and joining together are the only cures for this uneducated, fearful position that allows for violence to thrive.