Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekend



Weekend. I need one. Several, in fact.

Do yourself a favor and go see one or both of these local events this weekend.

“Into the Woods” at Oakland Mills High School, Saturday night. Info here. This production is a fundraiser for the OMHS Fine Arts Programs.

The String Queens performing at the Chrysalis on Sunday.

     3:00 Chrysalis Kids performance for kids and families
     7:00 Chrysalis Cabaret for the grownups

More info here. Be sure to watch the video!

See you here tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tired



I’ve been in school a few weeks now and I’m still struggling with crushing fatigue. That’s certainly having an impact on my writing time each morning. Thanks for sticking with me. I should be hitting my stride any day now.

I’ll tell you something else I’m tired of: the Old Boys Network. Watching the events unfold in Washington around Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS appointment hearings drives home the relentless power of men covering for men. Closer to home, UMBC is facing a crisis in how it has handled rape and sexual assault on campus. It feels like more of the same to me.

I am beyond exhausted under the weight of how little women are valued in our culture. Their word is not valued. Their experiences are dismissed. Their losses are counted as nothing compared to the potential of men who have harmed them.

Every time I bump up a group of men crowing over their superiority or demanding that women change to accommodate male directives I feel that familiar wave: first anger, then exhaustion. Some days it feels like it will surely grind the world to a halt.

Women have always been told that they must adjust to the way the world is. I’m tired of adjusting. I’m just so, so tired.





Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Can We Just Make Life Easier?

No blog today but some food for thought.

(a bathroom in my school library)

BOE candidate Vicky Cutroneo shared this report yesterday on Facebook. It’s about the American Academy of Pediatrics report on Transgender and Gender-Diverse children and adolescents.

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Policy-Statement-Urges-Support-and-Care-of-Transgender-and-Gender-Diverse-Children-and-Adolescents.aspx

Let’s talk more tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Arts in the Village

It’s Monday morning. Thinking about the weekend yet?

Make your plans for next weekend by treating yourself to a trip outside the Bubble. Pay a visit to historic Dickeyville for a one-man art show and an all-weekend arts event put on by Sam and Joan McCready.

On Saturday there will be activities for children and on Sunday there will be music from HoCo’s Ian Richard McCready. (Yes, it’s a family affair.)

All proceeds from the sale of art will go to local charities.

It’s worth the drive just to see Dickeyville, an old mill village which came back from near extinction to become a lively and supportive community. And the arts event is the kind of thing that Dickeyville does so well. Who knows? You might come home with a new painting for your home.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Appreciation



Today is my older daughter’s sixth wedding anniversary. Yesterday her cousin announced his engagement. Somewhere I have photos of the two of them playing together as toddlers but I’m going to restrain myself.

Today is apparently Wife Appreciation Day. If you have one, you know what to do.

Not all women are wives or mothers. It seems you must be one or the other or both to have a Day named after you for the purpose of appreciation and gift giving. To be a woman is to be defined by one’s relationship to others.

When we set defaults and choose what is the norm there will undoubtedly be those who are left out.  What if we didn’t.? What would that look like?

If marriage or singleness were appreciated
If childbearing or not were valued states
If bathrooms were for everyone
If schools welcomed and lifted up everyone equally
If the powers that be called dads as much as moms when a child gets sick
If different household incomes were accepted amongst HoCo residents

What would that look like? Some would find it frightening or uncomfortable. Is it even possible?

I don’t know. But I do know that we can do better than the same-old, same-old.



Saturday, September 15, 2018

Peak Toxicity



I have one more dance party at the Chrysalis this season. It’s today, from 10-12. It looks like my wish that it not be as hot as the last one will come true. If you have young children or grandchildren, pay us a visit. Come on over to the dj table if you have requests. (Clean language, please.)

I’m thinking a lot about how much I hate politics and election shenanigans. This week was a prime example of just about everything that I loathe. I know that the political process is crucial to a healthy democracy. Participation is vital. I just wish that participants would make healthy rather than toxic choices when stepping into the arena of free expression.

But often they don’t. There is anger, and selfishness, and there are conspiracy theories and an overall lack of seeing a bigger picture than one’s own backyard. There is the firm belief that one’s side is so right and the other is so wrong that it becomes permissible to use any means to achieve the desired end. There is plenty of turnabout but no fair play,

If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you had a far better week than I did.

My cure for the week’s ills will involve standing under the cool green shelter of the Chrysalis and connecting with folks who care nothing for politics and everything for how high they can throw a dancing scarf. I highly recommend it.






Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ask ALICE



Food for thought:

In wealthy Howard, 25 percent of families struggle to make ends meet, survey finds 

There are some inteeeting numbers and comparisons in the Baltimore Sun article by Jess Nocera. It’s really kind of amazing that the cost of living here requires a basic, no-frills income of $85, 500 merely for survival. The Federal poverty level for a family of four is $25,100 but in Howard County you’d need more than three times that amount. This information comes from the ALICE report from the United Way. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — the working poor.

Next time you are in a group of HoCo residents, look around. Just think, one in four of these folks don’t have enough to get by. 

And yet, it isn’t as simple as that. How often to we find ways to surround ourselves with people like us, so we don’t see those one in four? We can easily live in bubbles where our daily lives insulate us from seeing the poverty in our community. Our neighborhoods, schools, even where we shop can be islands of affluence compared the the struggles of others. 

It feels good to be in our bubble of like-minded people. It feels like home. If someone challenges our comfortable life by suggesting that we open our eyes (our neighborhoods? Our schools?) to that other twenty-five per cent we may bristle. It’s one thing to make a donation to help people who are mostly out of sight and out of mind. It’s quite another to invite them to dinner. To call them neighbor and friend. To make their priorities our priorities.

When the thrift store Second Avenue opened up my family went a few times. After a while I found that I’d come away with a deep sadness whenever we paid a visit. I realized that I was seeing people I never saw. People who didn’t have enough. People who were struggling. It made me sad and uncomfortable. It was easier to look away. 

There are plenty of issues on the table in local elections. I wonder if this one will get the time and attention it deserves. Fully twenty five percent of Howard County residents don’t have enough to survive in our community. Any platform or vision for Howard County’s present and future should include them.


They’re not influential. They don’t have a powerful lobby or matching t-shirts. They (obviously) can’t hope to influence policy through large political donations.

To paraphrase Malcom Forbes,

You can easily judge the character of a community by how it treats those who can do nothing in return.