through all the noise and fury, we are one

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us…
There are many memories from this day we will want to forget, and many images we will not want to see again. But there is one image in particular that this House should keep. And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news…

photo credit: Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen, NV

We feel so deeply about the things we fight for and believe in. At times, our emotions can get the best of us…
For all the noise and fury, we are a family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire…
So before this House returns to its business, I want us to slow down and reflect, to think about how we are being tested right now…
I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come together…to lift each other up…and to show the country—show the world—that we are one House

I am not a fan of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. I am not supportive of his vision nor most of his rhetoric. But today, in the aftermath of the the attack on the GOP Congress baseball team, I found myself comforted, encouraged and inspired by Mr. Ryan’s speech before Congress. Not an easy task to accomplish in times of National troubles, nevertheless, it is something we look to our national leaders to do. Mr. Ryan did just that.

There was a lot of awfulness in Washington today. But, out of awfulness (almost) always comes some good. Mr. Ryan’s remarks today honoring the victims and the heroes; and urging unity very much qualifies .It’s easy to lose sight of our common humanity — whether you are a member of Congress or not. The tendency, particularly in our current national political environment, is to focus on what divides us, how different we are. Step back from that narrow focus, however, and you see we have much more in common than we differ on. Family, friends, food to eat, a place to live. Dreams and hopes. We tend, in circumstances like these, to remember the bad stuff. But, Ryan’s right. We need to push all that out and put some good images there instead.

Slow down.

Take a breath.

Realize that the goal of attacks like this is to highlight our differences. Allowing that to happen makes what the shooter did have real power. Coming together after such an attack neuters it of meaning.

It is that humanity which will win the day. It always will.

Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, members of the House and Senate, America, we must move forward and work together for better because enough is enough. No one should ever fear being gunned down while in the workplace or at the mall or in a clinic or at church or temple or in a movie theater or a fast food restaurant or at school or on a baseball field.

No one.

Ever.

Enough.

millennial misconception

In the Be Careful What You Post On Social Media files this week we have Harvard rescinding acceptances for at least ten students for obscene memes and then we have poor, young Katie McHugh.  

Oh Katie, you poor thing, you! Fired for your social media activity.

Crazy! You, a young up and coming ultra-Right Wing journalist tweeting something wholly not true because history and the Irish Republican Army and The Troubles and being called out for that by the Twitterverse because obviously you weren’t paying attention in Modern World History. Of course you react with racist taunts; which seems to be the reason you were fired? I don’t know. Life comes at you pretty hard sometimes it seems and so you react with crowdfunding for monetary support.

Speaking as someone who once was as young as you, dear Katie, and was fired for saying things wholly wrong and inappropriate, I have to commend you on your youthful resourcefulness and BALLS seeking handouts to support you while you recover from being fired. It would be  easy to blame your entitlement on your millennial-ness because everyone knows it’s millennials and their want for all of the avocado toasts and the ruining of all the Applebees that is what is wrong with this world today – and you, Katie, are part of all of that. At least it might seem to be so to the old people.

Katie, I’m going to offer you a little bit of grace for your youth and lack of wisdom that is hard earned through life experience and try not to judge you as entitled – not too much. Girl, you need to just suck it up, learn from this sour life lesson and move on, up and out. We all do. It’s adulting, Katie. Something every generation has had to learn – the lazy, self-absorbed, slackers that were the Greatest, Boomers and Gen Xers.

Yes, all of us, ahem, old people have been there and have done that – thank god it wasn’t on social media.

No, really. Thank. God.

With millennials in the news like Katie it’s easy to assume much – and assume wrong.

Millennials are a generation that is very much about owning and controlling their destiny in a way that other generations haven’t been. Like most of us, millennials are happiest spending time with their family and friends. Salary isn’t everything: They value finding a sense of purpose in their work more than their income. Though they are arguably the most tech-savvy generation, they feel that human connection is the best way to keep in touch. Most importantly they value happiness.

Those 18-34 years olds? Most of them are nothing like those Katies. Thank goodness!

The kids, they’re okay. Maybe they are even more better than us all.

does character even count anymore

In the current news cycle we have witnessed the character of men in positions of power and respect that almost compels us to shield our kids’ eyes and cover their ears. Someone tell me please, when did it ever become okay for a potential Member of Congress to grab someone by the throat and body slam them to the ground because they are tired of being asked questions? Is this really acceptable behavior, as some Greg Gianforte supporters stated today while exiting the polls in Montana? They want a Congressman who will react with violence? Members of Congress too? Paul Ryan and others stated today to the public that the gentleman did a bad thing and should apologize but they still support his run for office.

Nearly just as concerning is Gianforte’s aide Shane Scanlon’s statement of what happened; which certainly does not sync with the actual audio tape or the account of the Fox News reporter who was in the room when it happened. In other words, it was FALSE. This is okay?

Today we watched the man who is the current President behave so boorishly at the NATO summit that he proved to be not only a national embarrassment, but an international one as well. Mr. Trump represented our nation today as The Ugly American in Chief. Can someone please stop his European adventure now? Ivanka? Please? Liz Gumbinner is right – kids, don’t grow up to be like this.

This last week, I witnessed first hand questionable character in some that, well, disgusted me. Daniel’s graduation day was fast approaching and we found ourselves short just one ticket for Daniel’s sisters and parents. Just one ticket – how hard could it be to find one more ticket? Hard! After asking classmates and teachers with no success, I took to local social media and the results really surprised me: just forge a ticket, it’s no big dealsneak in either by lying or waiting until after ceremony has started. I was also lectured about my family’s size and the over-population of the planet. Daniel, upon hearing some of this offered that this is not who we are. It isn’t. Of course, there was much kindness, encouragement and support from friends, a member of the PTA, a former teacher and Daniel’s principal. We managed to find one ticket more and yes, Daniel’s dad, myself and his four sisters all got to be in that auditorium as he graduated from Middle School.

A very good thing because Daniel, his parents and his four sisters all were very pleasantly surprised as he was called forward for a special award recognizing his character.

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness. Yes, we all cried a little because this is the young man that is our son and our brother. It really was a Wonder moment right out of the book. Character DOES count!

Watching Daniel and his classmates up on that stage, hearing some of them speak and their teachers speak, I believe that the kids will be better – so much better.

Meanwhile, we must continue to persist and hold on. Hurry up kids!

most honorable

So much heartbreak happened last night and in the light of day today in Manchester, UK and pretty much everywhere around the globe. Personally I recalled concerts past of bubblegum pop stars I might never include in my own personal playlist; but I would go to with my own children because there really is nothing better than making memories with your kids and music and dancing and singing together with your child and several thousand of your now close friends. I’m not a super fan of Ariana Grande – sorry, none of her hits are in any of my playlists – but I can imagine the magic and joy shared last night in Manchester followed by the unimaginable that I try so hard to push away while holding on to my own as tight as I can.

I’m not alone in this as we all try to process again terror; terror that targeted mostly children and young teens with their families as I have read so many heartfelt, emotional thoughts on my social media timeline. Jessica Gottleib’s on Facebook this morning struck a chord with me:

And the sharing began of the most honorable – teachers, bosses, mentors, priests, children and more – all which accomplished just what Jessica wanted. It warmed my heart, made me smile and feel gratitude because there are honorable people out there in the world, in my world:

  • a doctor who often breaks that therapeutic bubble that is the doctor-patient relationship taking the time to be on a first name basis with his patients’ families understanding that on some of the worst days of their lives a little bit of warm familiarity can be just as healing as the medications and treatments he prescribes.
  • a dance teacher patiently teaching a small group of children on the autism spectrum hip hop; patiently accepting where each and every one of her students is at on that spectrum because not one of them is the same. Her kindness, sensitivity and PATIENCE made it fun for that small class and for the audience who would watch them.
  • that Target lady, the one with the warmest smile and the kindest eyes framed by snow white hair that practically glows like a halo. Retail work can and is often a thankless job but she is one who does her job with so much kindness and gratitude and care that customers like me will gladly stand in what is often a long line just to bask in her genuine care and service.
  • a friend, recently retired pastor, who radiates so much kind positivity in his music, his thoughts on fractious current events and who on occasion will use his wide influence on social media to try and find just one more graduation ticket so a family can celebrate their son and brother’s day.
  • that one co-worker who is so much more than a skilled, kick-ass, rockstar NICU nurse because they make it look so easy and fun even when it is not. No, my colleagues, I am not going to name them. Just imagine that it is you, because it likely is. I do work with some of the most amazing people.
  • that one son of mine, who has shown us all a resilient strength that has been well-documented in this juggling adventure of mine. Truly the most kind, patient, fair, honest, honorable human being I have ever known is a young man who calls me Mom.

Tonight our hearts still break thinking of so many families in Manchester right now who are living the unimaginable; but at the same time, at least for me, I know that there is still good and it is so good and warm and bright.

the kind of day no quote can fix

And so how is everyone’s day today?

Really?!…Mine started with a call to my congressman. Check that, many calls…many, many calls dialed

yes kids, I said dialed

no kids, I’m not going to explain what dial is

Google it, okay

Anyway, I tried to get through to my congressman starting at 6 AM West Coast time and dialed repeatedly unable to even connect until finally:

Honorable Jeff Denham is not answering.

 

CLICK!

What the fresh hell???!!!

And so while I watched and listened to our Republican-controlled House ram this Trumpcare Bill through before their next seven day recess, along with so many other Americans, I did my very best to reduce all of the anxiety and stress.

Of course my form was as exquisite as Adriene’s. Of course it was! And it helped. At least I stopped screaming at CSPAN imagining that my congressman could hear me since his Washington and Modesto offices stopped taking constituents’ calls. But all the Nadi Shodhana and Downward Dog and Cobra and Warrior poses wasn’t going to stop my congressman and his GOP colleagues  from completely ignoring the will of their constituents, from their vote and from their post-touchdown end zone celebration in the Rose Garden because we have a POTUS that needs to be happy and smiling; nor was it going to stop me from thinking of how this could potentially harm my family – the ones who won’t get to stay on their parents plan forever.

What a day!

A day that calls for ice cream and laughter and singing along to pop songs on the radio and hugs and after they go home to mommy, wine

And no apologies for run on sentences. Not today.

I’ve had the kind of bad day no quote can fix ~ Richelle E. Goodrich