We, the People, redux

I originally posted this piece on July 16, 2011, after watching a little too much CNN, NBC, PBS etc.  I am reposting it today, because I am struck once again by the audacity of the people who run this government.  I have edited the post a little bit to update things, but 98% of it is the same.

I promise to stop the political rants real soon! I’m learning to meditate….!


We the People,

….the American people,  are a really big group.  There are lots of us.  We tried, but we couldn’t all fit around the table at Dunkin Donuts.  There are so many of us that we can’t even fit in a big conference room. Or the Los Angeles Coliseum.   Or the Grand Canyon.

Do you get it?  We’re a big, big pile of folks.  We come in a whole bunch of colors, shapes and sizes, too.  If you could somehow manage to cram us all into one place, we would hardly recognize each other!  Some of us are chubby middle aged white women with plastic bifocals on.  Some are tall, skinny black men wearing three piece suits. We’re brown, we’re pink, we’re young, we’re old enough to remember when Truman was in charge.

We like baseball, except for those of us who don’t.  We adore country music, except for the huge group of us who hate country music and only listen to metal. We have PhD’s and we dropped out of the eight grade.  We have ten different words for a big cold cut sandwich on a long piece of bread.

We all live within these borders. That part’s true. But we are NOT a club. We aren’t all Democrat or Republican.  We aren’t all liberal or conservative.  We don’t all agree about the best way to solve the debt crisis, how to tax big corporations, how to fix Social Security, who will win the next election or the World Series, or how to grill the perfect steak.  Hell, a lot of us don’t even eat steak!!

So…..American politicians.  Please pay attention.  You really, really, really have to STOP saying “The American people” in sentences like “The American people understand that this health care law will mean the end of freedom as we know it.” (Yes, I did just hear almost those exact words from a member of Congress.)  Or, “The American people agree that we need to increase revenues.” (I heard something just like that from the President not long ago).  Stop trying to quote us.  Stop trying to convince us that we agree with you.  We can’t agree on one single thing!!

Wait, that’s not true.  Here is one statement that you can use in any setting, no matter which party you belong to:

“The American people are sick and tired of the sniping, moaning, name calling and finger pointing. The American people, the whole big noisy bunch of them, are overwhelmingly in favor of having government officials act like grown ups who actually know what they are doing. The American people want the government to stop shouting, start listening, make some compromises and get the damn job done.”


Karen, self appointed spokesperson for the American People.

Small town life

One of the best things about living in a small town is this: when you need people, they are right there.

They know you. They understand you.  Even if you haven’t seen them in two years, they remember the way your kid shared his snack with their kid in kindergarten, and they will always love you for it.

Small town life means that everyone knows who is fighting and who is making up. They know who has moved out of the house, and they rally around to support both the one who moved out and the one who was left behind.

Small town life means that when kids step out of line, their crimes will be discussed at “Wild Cuts” hair salon.  It means that when someone who isn’t yet married becomes pregnant, we all know the Momma, we all know the Dad and we all pitch in for a fabulous shower.

Life out here in a Small Town is filled with petty political squabbles and the strutting swaggers of ridiculous Big Fish. But it is also filled with gentle souls who have been here forever, and who welcome every new face.

Life in a Small Town means gossip and secrets and everyone turning out for the funeral of a local veteran.

It means that when a young man dies suddenly in a crash, there will be no shortage of flowers, prayers, mourners or covered dishes.

Small town life means that when a middle aged woman finds herself stranded at home alone on the third weekend in a row, she can put out the call to all of the other women in town. She can be honest and tell them that her husband is off on another jaunt and she is looking for some fun and some Saturday night company.

Small town life means that even though all of those women are busy with weddings, graduations, first Communions and baby showers, many of them will drop by to say Hi.  It means that after a day of cleaning, cooking and setting up the wine glasses, the middle aged lady in question can put aside her fears (“No one will come.  Everyone is busy. This was a stupid idea!”) and enjoy an evening in the company of friends who understand her.

Small town life means that we are all included. It means that when one of us sends up a distress call, many of us will answer.

Thanks to the ladies of my small town who came by tonight to eat, drink, be merry and share a story or two!!! I love you all.


Reincarnation, my way.

I’m not a traditionally religious person. My beliefs at this point in my life are a lovely stew of ideas from all around the world. I believe that there is a purpose to it all. I believe that there is a force for good which compels us to love each other and to take care of each other.  I believe that nature is filled with power and spirit, and that all human beings are a part of that natural power.

I believe in reincarnation and eternity and endless life. I came to this belief one cold November weekend, when I realized that after almost three years of infertility treatments, my son was conceived on the very day that his grandfather was passing on. The continuity and synchronicity of that timing made me think about life as an ongoing journey, with perhaps more than one stop on this earthly plane.

For quite a while after coming to my belief in reincarnation, I thought about how I would like to return for my next visit. I passed over the predictable ideas about coming back as a movie star, rock star, famous author. I mean, I have had a pretty great ride as a human this time around.  Great childhood, great parents, married my first real boyfriend and stayed that way for 34 years (so far).  I have wonderful kids and a job I really enjoy.  I’m surely not beautiful or rich or particularly talented, but it could be worse.  A lot worse! I’ve been to enough places (like Mohegan Sun Casino and Walmart on a Friday night) to see that there are lots of people who are even worse off than I am.  I wouldn’t want to take the risk of returning as a different human.

So, I thought for a while that I might like to make my next visit as a dolphin.  They always look so joyous and carefree, bounding through the waves.  I love the water, and I am mesmerized by the idea of having the power and grace to fly through the ocean with such abandon.  I would definitely enjoy the seafood diet, and I can totally see myself basking on the surface and soaking up the rays.

Wouldn’ t I love to be that athletic?

After a few years, though, I changed my mind, and decided that if I could have a choice, I would want to come back as a black bear.  Black bears really have a great life!  They wander around the woods while the weather is nice, eating, scratching, sleeping in the sun.  Their one goal is to gain as much weight as possible to see them through the winter. Now that is a job that was absolutely MADE for me!  They eat fruit and nuts and fish and seeds, and they just get fatter and fatter.  They have no predators, and they have no paperwork.  This sound like Heaven to me.  As soon as the weather turns cold, and the snow begins to fall, they curl up in a cozy den and fall asleep.  No shoveling, no plowing, no commute in the ice and slush.  They sleep until the equinox, and then they wake up refreshed, thin, and snuggling a baby! Sweet.

She’s so happy, just adding on those pounds.

Lately, though, I have come up with a new plan.  It’s been a somewhat trying school year, with a higher than average number of parental complaints. Generally speaking, I do pretty well with the moms and dads of my students.  After all, I have been around for quite a while, and I have some street cred.  I have taught literally hundreds of kids in my career, and have managed to raise three of my own babies into relatively successful adulthood. I listen to parents, and defer to them when I can.  I recognize the fact that they will always know and love their children far better than I ever could.

That usually counts for a lot.

But this year I can’t seem to strike quite the right note with a few of my classroom parents. I don’t know what it is, but I just haven’t been able to make a good connection with them.  Whatever the problem is, having me as the teacher just isn’t a good fit for these moms.  They haven’t felt comfortable or settled or secure with me.  And I can’t seem to shake off the disapproval, no matter how gently it is expressed.  I can’t seem to disregard the complaints or tell myself that they don’t matter. Even when they don’t say anything, just knowing that they are unhappy with my performance leaves me feeling bruised and sad.

So I have decided that I would like to come back to earth as a lovely, iridescent duck.  That way, everything can just roll off, like water rolls off a duck’s back.

Think its a good plan?