Monday, February 20, 2017

No President's Day For You!

No President's Day for You. Because you're not nice.

You know who else wasn't nice? Your inspiration, P7. He called himself the “direct representative of the common man” too.

He was not 70 years old like you, but instead 67. He packed double pistols, and toted them. I'll even let you call him a double pistol packing insane dude who could almost be standing right in front of you today.

Are we talking about P45 or P7? I forget, one seems to be the tarnation reincarnation of one of the worst presidents our country has ever known.

Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson was the 7th president of the United States. He was called Old Hickory not for his craggly face as one would think, but because he'd beat you about the face and chest with his hickory cane, getting a good blow in on your spine too if you ever disagreed with him or he set a not- a- likin' to you.

Here's where else the similarities between these two get goose-bumpy: they were both - gasp- 6’2″. Though our modern recreation of Old Hickory states that his “doctor” using the quotes that our current POTUS likes so much, puts him at "236" pounds, the original Old Hickory was a frightening 140 pounds.

140 pounds of chihuahua weight frenzy.

P7's I- don’t- give- a- shit life began at age 12, when he joined a local militia and quickly became a prisoner of war for the British. When ordered to polish a British General’s boots, he told the requesting officer that he’d shine his boots the day the officer got to know a donkey biblically. The Brit General slashed an X on the young Jackson’s face with his sword, and Jackson again issued the invitation, “Go to your beast, sir.”

Hoooooooooooooly crap, what a mouth.

His mother and father were both dead by the time he was 14, and being an orphan meant he was dirt poor–and yet he grew up to be the 7th president of the United States. He often bragged about how he was a self made man, no help from others, with only himself to count on. He taught himself country lawyerin’ Matlock style, and thus began his political career.

The very first assassination attempt on a U.S. President was against Jackson, when an unemployed painter aimed a pistol at Jackson and misfired. Jackson whipped out his hickory cane and proceeded to beat the poor idiot of a man about the head so severely that members of congress had to pull Jackson off.

No gentrified country leader, Andrew “The Mob” Jackson had many organizational “ties.” He set a group of his “friends” (actually PIRATES) to defend New Orleans. The British attackers totally freaked at the undiplomacy of it all that they ran yelping away with their tails between their legs, not knowing what to do without the customary honor and decorum of a political leader.

Jackson was in over 103 duels in his life, fighting with someone almost DAILY.

The most famous run-in was for shooting a man who looked at his wife, Rachel. Oh, and Rachel? Whoo boy, he married her while she was still married to another man. I don't want to be sued since I know bloggers get sued so I won't say something about what I heard about someone being still married while getting married, I just won't say it. Even if many people are...

Old Hickory held his Presidential ball on the White House lawn, and invited the entire nation– because remember? He called himself “the president of the people.” His wife wasn't there, she stayed in a hotel away from the White House instead. Are these deja vus only freaking me out?? The White House was trashed inside and out, and Mrs. Jackson was nowhere in sight.

Jackson was the only President to leave office with the country in the black and the entire national debt paid off by strong arming other countries into paying back every cent they had ever borrowed from the US and for saying the US would be made a fool of NO MORE.

Like I said, it's not just me who sees the similarities between P7 and P45. P45 has chosen Jackson as his idol/inspiration. It is Jackson's portrait that he's chosen to hang square in front of his line of vision in the oval office.

To guide, inspire, and sing to while he looks up, We did it ourrrrrrrrrrrrr waaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

We All Just Want To Be Seen

photo Carrie Stuckmann
We tell our stories to find out who we are.
We tell our stories to remember who we've been.
We tell our stories to say we are here.
This past Saturday, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee gathered for the first time to meet as the 2017 cast of this year's show. 11 of us heard our stories for the first time, and we took in how our stories work together.
Our stories work together: as we sat around the meeting room table, an incredible serendipity began to rise. Every one of the 11 people in the room was a stranger. How is it that these 11 lives of people who do not know each other, so different and apart, make sense enough to fit in with the 10 stories shared before and the ones that came after?
It's because we are together in this life.

As hard as it is to believe right now, with the heartbreaking divide in this country that doesn't look like it can heal, what LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Milwaukee created yesterday, was evidence.
Proof and evidence, that was seen, felt, and heard, on the way we have the capacity to hold each other in our lives. We join our experiences and even though we don't know each other, we feel that we do because of our stories.
We share our stories and we see the cracked couch where you nursed your baby who is now leaving for college. We see you as you were when you were four years old and you hear that your mother has fallen. Tell us how you as a mother of five, work to find 28 hours in a day that has only 24, and we are breathless right along with you.
We are there, alongside you, and we are alive. What we crave when we share our stories, is to be seen. To not disappear without someone knowing that we were here, and this sense of presence is what we need when we sit down and write our stories.
We want to be seen, and we are seen when we speak, and we are seen when we are in the audience and hear someone at the podium speak a story where we finally feel understood. Our lives don't feel so separate and alone anymore. Stories connect us and have us looking to each other: when we listen and when we know you when you know us.
Please come to our LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show on Sunday, May 7, at Alverno College's Wehr Theatre.
Come take in the stories that are a hand held out to you and you, taking that hand and saying that we see each other.
No one is invisible when they are seen through someone else's story and when they are heard with the words they share.
I have a long list why I need you to be there on May 7, but let's say this:
I don't want to forget that the love we have for each other as human beings is something that will appear, when we do.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'm Sorry, I Thought ALL Children Had a Right

Due to realistic word counts, I could only cover one reason why Betsy DeVos cannot be confirmed as Trump's choice for Secretary of Education.

How's that for bluntness?

But it's one reason that comes with an unacceptable cost to our children with special needs/disabilities. It's her incredible stance on educational opportunity and resources for ALL children, which is this: "Eh. Let the schools decide who they want to take. Or not."

Do you know how frightening this is for families who have fought for education's necessity and place for their special needs children since their lives began?? It's pretty damn breakdown close to tears scared.

Thank you, Scary Mommy for taking the bold step of not hiding behind silence, and allowing me to speak out on what is at stake to all of our country's children, if Betsy DeVos is confirmed into Trump's cabinet.

"My husband tells me I'm going to give myself a heart attack. But I can't help it. I'm breathing hard, I'm sweating and my heart IS pounding. I'm scared... [read more here]"
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Saturday, January 7, 2017

INSIDE VOICE: Podcast Episode 38: Because 2017 Needs Reality Denial

My Christmas lights aren't coming down.

The tree is up and the ornaments still sit on its branches.

I am not going gently into this new year, and what helps me cling to the beauty of the season of this past holiday, shall remain. Times that brought light, magic, mirth.

Shared laughter. Oh my God, shared laughter.

Jennifer Scharf has put together a special edition holiday podcast from her series INSIDE VOICE. In this episode, funny women tell their funny holiday stories. If you want to stave off the year for awhile with me, give it a listen.

You'll like what you hear, and that begins with Jennifer's expert and stress-destroying vocal silkiness.

I hope to see you there, giving her podcast a listen. You'll recognize me, I'm the one wearing the wreath around her neck.

Adds timbre to my voice.

INSIDE VOICE: Podcast 38:Holiday Edition


Thursday, January 5, 2017


LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER MILWAUKEE is entering its final season. We will hold our fifth anniversary show on May 7, 2017, at Alverno College's Wehr Hall.

We are excited about the stories we will bring to Milwaukee's audience and trust me, you don't want to miss this last chance to see a LTYM show. Our shows are happening in 32 cities nationwide, and they are an experience in witnessing what looks to be ordinary lives are anything but, when told through the eyes of motherhood.

What we need is you in our audience. What we need for our show to happen, is YOU TO TELL YOUR STORY.

So get your stories ready because Milwaukee LTYM is excited to announce that we are now open for auditions for our Grand Finale Listen To Your Mother Show!

Auditions for our Grand Finale show are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Saturday, January 28 at the East Side Library in Milwaukee, and Saturday, February 4, at the East Side Library in Milwaukee.

We will not be able to accommodate anyone without a scheduled audition time so please contact us for your time slot by emailing ltymmil at gmail dot com.

If you’re wondering what to audition with, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER MILWAUKEE is looking for a 3 to 5 minutes in length, original and non-fiction piece of what motherhood means to you.

We don’t look for tributes or “eulogies” but something that represents the diverse and expanse of motherhood – as long as motherhood is the focus of the piece. We welcome submissions from everyone, and you don’t have to be a mother, a parent, or a woman, to audition. We just want to hear what motherhood means to you.

For an idea of the pieces that work with a LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SHOW, please view our LTYM youtube channel. There, you’ll find essays, poetry, prose on the heavy and the light on the theme of motherhood. As Ann Imig, creator and national director perfectly puts it, “LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER features live readings by local writers on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood in celebration of Mother’s Day.”

What we hope you share with us is what motherhood means to you.

You don’t need to have stage or public speaking experience.

You do not need to be a professional writer.

You just need to have a story that is yours to tell.

Here’s an easy checklist on what LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER MILWAUKEE looks for when considering a piece for our shows:

*Motherhood is the star focus of your piece.
*Your story must be true, yours, and original. No fiction, please.
*Your piece cannot be longer than 5 minutes when read aloud, and shorter is better.
*Poetry is welcome!
*Your piece should not be memorized for this show. All scripts will be read on show day from a show binder.

If you’re *this close* to deciding whether to audition or not,  let us offer you some encouragement by watching the LTYM youtube channel. But please believe us, we want to hear your story!

Whether you decide to audition or not, be sure not to miss this final season of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SHOWS.

Reserve your audition slot online by emailing the Milwaukee LTYM production team at ltymmil at gmail dot com.

And if telling a story isn’t your thing, but you happen to know someone who is perfect for this amazing opportunity, please share this audition information with them.

Follow us here for LTYM Milwaukee updates on our 2016 season, to include our local charity announcement, cast announcements, our wonderful sponsors, and details on our venue!

Come share your story with us, Milwaukee, and come Sunday, May 7, to our Grand Finale Show to hear your community’s stories!

Listen To Your Mother – a national series of original live readings shared locally on stages and globally via social media.”

Save the date! Sunday, May 7, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER MILWAUKEE’s Grand Finale Show!

We hope to see you there!

Your Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee Team,

Jen, Rochelle, and Alexandra
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