Wednesday, March 30, 2016

15 Thoughts I Had While Watching the #GOPTownHall

Last night, my city, Milwaukee, hosted the remaining three Republicans in the 2016 presidential race. The event was set up as a “Town Hall” format and I watched, not because I am rooting for any of these three and for sure not because a single one is my guy, but since a certain candidate's numbers are growing at an alarming pace and I plan on staying in America, I got to keep my eye on rhymes with Dump.

This morning, I am what can only be described as politically exhausted. The level of idiocy I heard from the stage went beyond astounding, jumped miles past ridiculous, and didn't even land in the territory of absurd.

More than once, I wanted to throw my garden clogs at the screen, but I kept myself in front of full view of what can only be described as two hours of proof that the only presidential candidate I saw on the stage last night was Anderson Cooper, the moderator.

I am in a confused fog as to who it appears America wants running our country, but in between the migraine that began to kick in, I managed to scribble these notes and tweet out my reaction to the words spoken by the three-headed TrumpKasichCruz behemoth.

Here are 15 thoughts I had last night while watching the #GOPTownHall. (other than the one that I kept muttering every 5 minutes, “I should run for president”)

1.)  It was a beautiful thing to witness when Anderson Cooper called Trump out for making a 5-year-old-child's argument, Trump was like, “No YOU have a 5-year-old's argument!” and then AC didn't even touch that one. Nope.

2.)  Let's hope that THIS TIME Trumpinators see what Trump is really like.

3.)  Why is Kasich wearing postal worker shoes? I mean, Sanders has confirmed gout and HE manages to suffer through the pain of polished wing-tips.

4.)  Will I ever be able to bring down my eyebrows that have now been up and raised for two hours?

5.)  Even my husband, the Republican of all time, is moaning.

6.)  Why didn’t I run for president?

7.)  Did Donald Trump just tell that dairy farmer that milking cows is SEASONAL?

8.)  How much longer do we have to endure this? November never seemed so far away.

9.)  I need Tylenol.

10.) I'm voting for Anderson Cooper. He's on that stage and I just made him a candidate tonight.

11.) We'd at least better get a T shirt at the end of all this: “I survived the f*ckery of the 2016 election season.”

12.) Note to self: never discount yourself from running for president again.

13.)  Checklist before next “Town Hall”: Tylenol? Check. Carbs for stress-eating? Check. Beer? Check.

14.) These candidates are just a scare tactic, right? To wake us up into voting and caring about our country, right? That saying, "I'm not voting if my candidate isn't the nominee WILL NOT CUT IT THIS TIME" won't work in 2016. *Damn good campaign tactic because IT WORKS.

15.) Those guys up there have me looking over at my husband like he's the most viable candidate of all time.
I don't know if I can take another session like the one last night. Two hours of the viewing and auditory pain in support of my country has left me unable to turn my head to the right from the two hours straight of cringing I did.
My reaction to who is running for president can be summed up in one action item: I shall be that woman, that one who knocks on doors and registers voters and carries a sign “VOTE OR ELSE YOU CAN'T SAY A WORD ABOUT WHO TAKES OFFICE!” Also, I shall be that woman who makes signs for her kids to carry along as they march behind her, “VOTE. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN!”

Bonus Thought #16:) Donald Trump is kind of a hot mess, isn't he?
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Time For The Annual Watching of Jesus Christ Superstar

If you haven't seen it, I cannot explain to you in a way that you believe me, about just how much you have missed.

Now, go on, you've got to watch it. You've got FORTY-THREE years worth of the world's greatest rock opera to catch up on. Need me to make my case? Here you go:

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Friday, March 25, 2016

It's Awkward, It's Uncomfortable: Death

People don't know what to say to someone after they've lost someone they love.

It's easier at funerals, and wakes, I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do.

But time passes, and the loss never disappears. It's acceptable and expected to express condolences and memories at the time of death, but what about in the years after? When someone has died and an anniversary comes up: a birthday, a life event, a milestone in their life.

What do we say, when we don't want to make the wound fresh again?

I know that the last thing I want to do is re-fuel the pain of their loss. I fear that I will remind them of what they fight every day to live through. But my sister, Lee, who lost her son three years ago, told me, "I am so scared people will forget him. I worry no one will remember him and when I die, no one will know that he lived. He was here."

Today is my nephew's birthday. I remember him, I will always love him.

Lee, I promise you, I will always say his name:

Tomas Rosas Garrett.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I Am Not a Conservative. I Am Not a Republican.

I am not a conservative. I am not Republican. But last week I was overwhelmed by the pain in Marco Rubio's voice as he spoke about witnessing the results of who the America people are trying to put into office.

I sobbed, I didn't expect his words to hit me so hard. My family was sitting next to me on the sofa, and I had only seconds to cover my face with my hands.

I am a child of immigrants, as Marco Rubio is. His family fled a country where a “strongman” took hold, and he has seen the destruction to a country from someone voted in to "shake things up." Rubio's family left, as my family left my country, Colombia, when a civil war – that is still going on 50 years later – began.

America wants a man in office who has spoken about immigrants, in a way that cuts deep. The polls attest to the people's choice. Americans think they are voting someone in who will get things done and they risk not being able to get him or his changes, out. “Roman democracy fell when a strong man took hold and made himself emperor. People need to know their history,” my 18-year-old son relays what he's just learned in his History class and shakes his head. "People don't know that someone can be elected in, and they don't have to do what they promised."

"Vote with love for our country, do not give in to fear, hatred, anger.“ I listened to the words from Marco Rubio and cried.

“It's going to be OK, mom. It won't happen, mom,” my 13-year-old leans into me, looking into my face, his forehead creasing with concern. “People won't let it happen, mom,” he holds my hand and keeps repeating the words he uses in hope to reassure me. His hand moves and rests tense on my arm, he wants me to look at him. But I keep my face covered because I don't want to look back. I am overcome, my heart is cracking, and I try to explain it's because I know the dreams of immigrant families -- why they come to the United States.

How do you explain the light that surrounds the words "United States" when they're spoken through an immigrant's mouth? We don't come here to have this man, the one who belittles and despises the countries we immigrants come from, we don't come here for him as our president. We come here to flee this hate, violence, inequality.

“They won't let it happen,” my son wants me to see his eyes. He finally kneels in front of me, "Mom, I promise. We won't let it.”

I want to answer him back, I try to hold my voice steady, trying to explain all the reasons that the words I hear from Marco Rubio are different from the ones my American born children are hearing.

I think of what I need to say, I feel everyone looking at me.

I tell them about the summer, a few years ago, when I had to see a Dr. for a medical procedure. "Remember how you were worried? And you needed me to tell you over and again, I would be OK? It feels like it's me who now needs to hear what you're saying. That we won't lose America."

I'm looking to my children for their hope and trust now. In the America they know, in the overwhelming good in us to bury the bad that Trump is calling forward.

It's their turn to promise me now. “I believe it, mom. We all do. The reasons your mom came to America are still here."

I finally look into my youngest son's eyes. He stares back, wide-eyed, trying to read if his words have been heard. He wipes the tears from my chin. "I won't take back my promise, mom. My job is to keep it."

His head is so close to me I smell the morning's shampoo. He pulls in to me and whispers his promise again, “We'll make sure we tell everyone the truth. Good always wins."

“You'll see, mom. It will be OK.”

"Ours is a special nation. Where you come from doesn't get to decide where you go." ~Marco Rubio

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Traveling Physical Therapist and Sports Doctor Would Be Nice

It was early Sunday morning when I threw my back out. Not while shoveling, not while carrying too-heavy Christmas boxes to the basement three months too late. Nope. I threw my back out while reaching my arms up to shampoo my hair. Because of the inefficient stream of a water-saving shower head we installed, in order to rinse any suds out since the laughable droplets that come out overhead are zero help, I have to s-c-r-u-b my scalp like someone's punking me from above and adding in more Pantene Revitalize. I had gotten to the third bar of the ABC song when I felt a tiny mouse stitching my shoulder blades together. Our family's effort to conserve water had wrenched my back. I've never googled it, but I don't think saving the environment should result in medical complications.

This was only three weeks after I gave myself a frozen shoulder while trying to build weight-bearing deltoids that are supposed to be saving me from the injuries of daily life.

I don't mind this getting older part, except for this part of it: the resultant inability of my body to keep up with movements that are part of being ambulatory.

Who would think that you would have to pause and mindfully stretch in preparation before bending over to tie a loose shoe lace?

Or how if you have to choose between your favorite sloppy joe mix on a too-high shelf that threatens to pop your shoulder out or the too tomato-y one that is not your favorite but it's right there effortlessly before you on the chest-high shelf, that you would have to go with Mr. Tomato.

Muscle tendon cartilage turning on you is not something your complimentary issue of AARP that arrives years too early in your life ever details for you: “The Road Ahead: What You Can Anticipate  in Mid-Life.” Their pages focus too much on your 401K and not enough on your Latissimus Dorsi.

Life is becoming an extraordinary mission of muscle injury avoidance. But as I sit here icing my left knee because I stood up from the toilet too fast, I think I have an idea—one beyond the obvious hydration-honey-hibiscus tea plan of attack.

I can do this if I have an entourage. If I travel with a physical therapist and a non-sports injury specialist (I just made up that occupation, but it's a good idea) life is do-able. I'm not able to afford payment in the traditional sense of money because I never have any, BUT in the old tribal way of bartering for services, Why not do this? Give me a minute, I'll think of something I'm good at.

I just need to do daily life, I'm not going for 40 marathons in 20 days, just someone to help me come back from the rigors of what was once routine, like bringing in the garbage cans. I'm going to subtly put out a call, see if anyone I know knows someone who might be interested in such a position. Until I hear back, I'll experiment with pacing and speed. Maybe slowing down before reaching up to re-do my pony tail, a few hammer-lifts with Chunky soup cans before attempting to bring in the UPS package from the front steps.

Movement has become a challenge, but I cannot wave the white flag. You can look for me walking around the neighborhood, not chasing any English walking speed records, but moving, one painful knee cap in front of the other. You'll know it's me, wearing my team jacket with the logo, “Sponsored by Tylenol.”

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

That One Time I Was Nature Mom

 Exhibit A:

-Black bean and brown rice crackers with sea salt for snacks.
-Gelatin without artificial color for safe jello jigglers.
-Wax paper bags (unbleached, take note) so plastic doesn't touch their 100% whole grain bread.
-An activity book for healthy outdoor play.

I have been feeling so disillusioned and depressed and blueblueblue over the state of our union, that I turned to what helps me heal and feel like I can breathe again. Because we have a long way to go in this election year and I need oxygen.

I turned to decluttering. Productive, visible results from my labor, the peace within of a cleared out shelf. But as I began to pull and shuffle and discard, what I found buried within white cabinets wasn't clutter as much as bearing witness to a woman who once held on to the ideal of the highest level of conscious parenting.

All natural, all chemical free, all healthy and wise and 100 percent in earnest.

Souvenirs of when I was Natural Mom. Natural mom , the one who wouldn't buy anything unless it had the word natural written all over the natural container in soybean-based ink at least five times. Seven if you count the back.

Natural value 100 percent natural waxed paper bags made with all natural ingredients that are natural from a natural environment using a natural process for a natural lifestyle! Great for packing natural snacks! (There's eight here, what a beautiful thing)

Not pictured in the photo above because they didn't fit are the GoGreenMama silicone ice cube trays for freezing home made baby food along with the 25-pound Happy Healthy Baby acid-free pages cookbook for making my own preservative-free baby food, and the baby food mill with BPA-free blades for making the baby food.

I am not poking fun at anyone who chooses this lifestyle. The endeavor and hope comes from a place of sincerity: wanting the healthiest world for our kids but but but... guess who won't go along with it? Guess who spends just one freakin' afternoon at a playdate where they have their first hit of cherry red kool-aid and my friends? THE HEALTHY HOME HEARTH IS OVER.

It's impossible to forget that summer weekday afternoon when my four-year-old son ran in through the front door, fresh with the first mustache of his life: a red one. Still licking the lifetime supply of powdered sugar off his lips, he cried, "I had something delicious at Jeremy's house today and I drank a whole container of it and all I can tell you is I was wishing so hard that Jeremy's mom was you!"

"Oh yeah? Yeah? Well, does Jeremy's mom hand-shred your co-op carrots on a bamboo grater?!"

Pffft. Most assuredly not.

If love can be this easily bought, then why the heckhellheck am I doing this Organic, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher Vegan Raw Handmade production of your lives? Why am I working two part-time jobs for the sole reason of Trader Joe's? I ask you, where are the brains in that?

So, dear children, if you ever find yourself wondering if your mother ever had any other chef than Chef Boyardee and Little Caesar's Friday into if it's Monday then it must be $5.00 20-piece chicken nugget night, please consult Exhibit A above.

*Also not pictured above: the Essential essential home oil-making kit every mom of a newborn needs.

Living Lavender was my favorite.

* * *

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"Because Parenting Never Ends... "

When my first baby was born, I was desperate for company. I had to find a space where others looked like and walked around like me, dazed-confused-befuddled-panicked. I found it in my birthing hospital's Diaper Bag Club. Sweet mother of God, those women saved me.

Now that first baby is away at college. Cue the ugly cry. I miss him and I'm not a fan of people telling me, "YOU NEED TO LET THEM GROW UP YOU SICK SICK SICK WOMAN." I want to be with others, who fall apart at the grocery store when they pass the Dr. Pepper on the shelf because it's his favorite soda and you don't have to bring it home any more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have found such a group, Grown and Flown. "Because parenting never ends." They've got a great community and are a fantastic resource for those like me, with children about to launch.

My friend, the brilliant haiku-ist (how cool am I that I know a haiku master) Peyton Price and I collaborated on a piece for Grown and Flown. We write of  "The BlurbText," when you have to parent from a distance. With the promise of a 3-second text, there's a 50/50 chance your kids will read it.

And if not, well, at least you know you did your part to warn them about the importance of eating 5 baby carrots a day. *it's true*

I hope you click over and read our BlurbTexts. We've included a starter pack of beginner's texts for you.


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Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Inside Voice Podcast: Hear it, Here

A year ago, I read one of the funniest posts on lice. Lice can be funny, if recounted with a deft hand. Such was the job of humorist, Jennifer Scharf .  I had to find more of what this funny woman had written, so I googled her name. The first link that came up was "symposium to be held on quantum mathematics this Friday..." and I read no further, I mean, not to undersell humor writers, but probably not the lice-writer I was looking for.

I tried again, "Jennifer Scharf+Lice."


It took me to her house.

It was late at night, but I sent her an email. Not too gushing, but definitely to let her know how much I had enjoyed her writing on the universal subject of childhood: lice. I hit send, and went to bed, trying hard not to scratch my head. Five days later, she got back to me, we liked each other and one year later, she's invited me on her newly launched podcast, Inside Voice, where she hosts humor writers from around the web.

Life, like lice, wait -- no, not like lice. But, life: very funny

You can listen to us talk back and forth on humor, storytelling, and hear us bond over the shock of childbirth and the shared love of  good, twisted humor.

I'd love to have you drop in and give us a listen here.

Subscribe to Inside Voice on iTunes.

You can also follow Inside Voice on Twitter and Facebook.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Try a Blog Hop for Writer's Block

When you've been blogging for awhile, it's easy to fall into a phase of "I have no idea what to write about anymore." I know, I know, there's always Trump but what if you are tired of what seems like the same topics again and again.

If you find yourself stumped for an idea and feeling like you've drifted away from a blogging community, try a blog hop.

A blog hop is a great idea to feel the energy and the fun of blogging again.

You can read some great ideas to help you get started with a post I am proud to have up on BlogHer today, "Got Writer's Block? Try a Blog Hop." And while you're there, check out their clean, sleek new look!

I hope you'll click on over and find out about giving blog hopping a try, it really is a good time.
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Monday, March 7, 2016

Introducing: The Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee Cast of 2016!

Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee is proud to announce our cast for our fourth annual production of Listen To Your Mother!

We are thrilled to introduce the 2016 LTYM cast:
Rochelle Fritsch (co-producer)
Angela Fellars
Liza Kessler
Joyce Tang Boyland
Megan Nazaret
Brittany Bettendorf
Chris McLaughlin
Meghan Wielebski
Meadoe Hora
Alexandra Rosas (co-producer)
Congratulations to our 2016 Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee cast!

Thank you to all who came to audition and for sharing your stories of the humorous and the harried, the heartfelt and the honest. We feel honored that you shared your truth with us.

More details of our show to come. Ticket sales will be announced here. Remember to save the date, Sunday May 1, 2016, 3PM at Alverno College’s Pitman Theatre.

Milwaukee, you are in for a treat when you come to hear the stories from our cast of the 2016 Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee show!

We hope to see you May 1!

Listen To Your Mother/Milwaukee

Sunday, March 6, 2016

In Case You Missed It

Up early, yawn omg yawn, but need to catch up on that which I bookmarked to read, well, before the next batch I bookmark to read.

Here's a great list of 10 Things To Do When You Need Ideas

If you've got the winter sloths, some encouraging ways to get off your butt, by - get this - women 66 and over.

This, so much this: a color thesaurus. If you're tired of writing "daisy yellow" and "creamy white", thanks to this brainstorm, you can butterscotch Dijon dandelion mustard your way to crisp images.

And this gem, from my friend Tarja Parssinen, a powerful read on How American Individualism is Destroying Our Families

Happy reading, everyone!

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

18 Unhealthy Food Favorites

Whipped cream. I dream of it.

Unhealthy eating, I know, I know. I've been warned about it. Chocolate filled croissant warmed in the microwave. A tablespoon of butter in coffee.

The hot, the melted, the chocolate. Gooey cheesy burgers. Toasted bagels with slathered cream cheese, double loaded mozzarella on pizza, chocolate drizzled over anything.

I do have unhealthy favorites, and I give in to them. Also, thank you so much for asking, they do make me feel good. Because, here they are:

A bowl of microwave melted Hershey's kisses and mini marshmallows.

Graham cracker S'mores, 23 seconds in the microwave.

Hot cocoa with a 5 second squirt of Reddi-Whip.

McDonald's will mix half and half of any flavor shakes for you. A half Arctic Orange with half Chocolate.

Sliced apples smothered in melted French Vanilla frosting.

All cupcakes.

All cupcakes. Again.

Hot dogs sliced down the middle and filled with shredded cheese, then wrapped in bacon and put under the broiler for 4 minutes.

Doritos sprinkled with taco seasoned shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, crumbled turkey meat, microwaved for 1:25, then dolloped -- twice -- with sour cream and guacamole.

Guacamole. Period.

One scoop of chocolate ice cream with maraschino cherries on top. It's OK because I said one scoop.

Girl Scout Thin Mints.

Boy Scout Cheese Pop Corn.

Instant brownie in a microwave with a surprise for you slather of raspberry preserves.

Lay's Thick Cut Vinegar and Salt Potato Chips stacked delicately atop sloppy joe meat.

25 27 crumbled crackers floating on top of a home made bowl of chili, heavy on the tomatoes.

A baked potato, nuked, and stuffed with bacon bits, sour cream, cheddar cheese and a touch of salsa.

A tall glass of Fanta orange soda served over a big fat scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Close your eyes. Romance.
I wish you the occasion of joy and food, friends. In the way that hot fudge sauce warms me from the inside out.
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