A Crowded Elevator at the Hillary Fundraiser

When my husband I attended the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund Party after Secretary Clinton won the Democratic nomination this spring, we got the cheapest seats at Radio City Music Hall. Still. We were psyched to be there and were, of course, blown away by the performances of Elton John and Katy Perry and the words of Jamie Foxx and Chelsea Clinton.

at-radio-cityAnd after the concert, my husband Chris who has started using a cane/walking stick to get around, saw the open elevator and tried to moved towards it quickly, although due to his Parkinson’s Disease, he moves slowly. The doors began to close.

A girl, about ten years old, who held the hand of a woman who appeared to be her grandmother, put her other hand in front of the closing elevator door.

“We’re waiting for you,” the girl said to Chris. She looked around the crowded elevator and said confidently to the strangers near her, “We can wait for him. We can make room.” Her grandmother smiled patiently at us, then proudly at her girl. We made it.

These are Hillary supporters — a confident girl who holds the elevator for a disabled man, a grandmother who takes her granddaughter to a Hillary event, a semi-retired man with Parkinson’s Disease, a middle-aged woman — me.

I do not see the likes of us represented in the mainstream media. It used to be that popular media cared what soccer moms thought. And truly, in the past two presidential elections, I have literally been a soccer mom so I appreciated the attention. But this year, none of my darlings are playing soccer. So I’m moving up the demographics ladder — apparently to a spot where I’m not really noticed anymore.

In a way, it doesn’t matter. Because, although the media may be more concerned with the views of Trump’s deplorable white supremacists, I know — and that little girl knows, and that grandmother knows, and my husband knows — that Hillary and her team will wait for us. They will hold the elevator for us, even those of us with the cheap seats, and especially those of us who move differently or slowly. And they will make room for us when we get there. And our leader will not be an older white male who spouts hate.

No, our leader will be a good and kind, hopefully confident, girl who includes everyone. We may not be represented in the evening news, but we are looking out for each other. We will look out for you too. Take your time. We’re holding the door open for you.

How to Use This Issue (July/August 2016)

My summer column for response magazine. Collaborate. Cooperate. Build consensus. Do not seek to divide. Do not insult.

response: the magazine of women in mission

HowToJAG

As summer arrives I am finishing my first year as a teacher of middle and high school students. It has not been easy, and I have discovered I have a lot to learn. It is thanks to my connection to United Methodist Women that I took this career risk-knowing that I love learning, children and collaboration.

In our society, especially during the election season when it seems the loudest and most outrageous voices are the ones most frequently heard, how do we value collaboration? How do we cultivate the still, silent voices of consensus and community building? How do we keep our own identities when we collaborate? And what does collaboration mean for us as United Methodist Women members? Read this issue for examples of members of United Methodist Women sharing their true selves, collaborating and adding to the common good.

I was drawn to the idea of “To…

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4th of July Picnics

 

 

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What ever happened to our picnic table in Riverside Park?
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A while back, with my sister in law Nicole
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Last year with my nephew G, H, JCJ

There is nothing like a picnic in Riverside Park. The green on an early July evening. Central Park is for tourists, but Riverside is for New Yorkers.

For 20 years, my backyard has been the grassy slope in Riverside Park. We used to spend endless hours in the Elephant Playground. Then, the path between 79th and 96th, riding our bikes around that loop and taking in the garden near the Hippo Playground.

Although our recreation spots have changed, our picnicking spot has not. This field.

The girls are at camp. I miss them, but I console myself with friends and family. And picnics in the park.

For picnic recipes and to meet my Nicole, check out My Delicious Blog.

last night

How to Use This Issue (April 2016)

Sometimes growth happens, even when we yell at our seeds to grow! A lesson from Frog and Toad (and United Methodist Women).

response: the magazine of women in mission

AprHowTo

When my kids were little, one of our favorite story collections was Frog and Toad. In one story, Toad receives seeds from Frog and is surprised when they don’t immediately grow.
Frog tells Toad, “Leave them alone for a few days. Let the sun shine on them, let the rain fall on them. Soon your seeds will start to grow.”

But Toad exhausts himself, yelling at the seeds, commanding them “Grow!” Eventually so tired of exerting himself, he dozes off. And, while he sleeps, the seeds poke through the earth.

“And now you will have a nice garden too,” Frog says.

“It was very hard work,” Toad says.

Are we a little like Toad? Working hard? Exhausting ourselves by yelling and encouraging growth and then finding things grow without us, or even in spite of us?

In this month’s issue you’ll find many calls encouraging us to grow. The…

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How to Use This Issue (February 2016)

My latest column. We are more than a spot on the map.

response: the magazine of women in mission

FebHowTo

“The map is not the territory.” This quote reminds me that while maps, like the ones in this issue, can be seen, there is more to a place and a person than meets the eye. We use our sense of sight when we follow a map. But the reality of a place is experienced through our wider senses—our senses of touch, taste, smell, sound, intuition—all ways of experiencing places beyond our vision.

If you were to visit the territory described by these maps, you might feel rain on your face, smell baked bread, hear children’s laughter, hug away tears, taste a cool sip of lemonade, feel a soft blanket against your face or experience some unforeseen joy.
Don’t get me wrong. I love maps. When I traveled by car in my 20s from college in New York City to my family home outside Chicago, I followed a route outlined by…

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White Dresses

white dressesWe read this White Dresses by Mary Pflum Peterson with my book club. And then Mary came and chatted with us, her readers.

The book is written by a Catholic Midwesterner journalist named Mary — See where I’m going here? How can you not love her?! She tells the story of her mother, a former nun, who had a hoarding disorder.

The white dresses are the markers of our girl Mary growing into womanhood.
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The real-life Mary is a super charming, authentic Upper West Side mother. She listened to us as we asked questions about her journey — Why did she never seem to get angry at her mother? Why did her mother not value her daughter’s work as a TV producer and journalist?

Mary loved her mother unconditionally. I loved the way Mary loved.

Eventually in the story of Mary’s adulthood, there was no room for anyone to visit the family house — only newspapers and mice could fit in a home where people should be. The book definitely made me think about my own relationship with stuff. I always want room for bodies — big, small, old, young.

I related to Mary’s mother who was a teacher. As a fairly new teacher, I wondered, How did she keep track of all the essays, papers, quizzes? I recall one scene where her car is littered with fast food bags and lesson plans.

We no longer have a car. Yesterday I decluttered the laundry area and I found one jug of anti-freeze and one jug of car window washer fluid. Big jugs taking up space. We live in a Manhattan apartment. What was I doing hanging onto the car paraphernalia? It’s been four years since we had a car. Ugh.

I was mad at those jugs, mad at myself. Mad at Mary’s mother who saw no difference between the jewels of her students’ work and McDonald’s wrappers in her cluttered car.

The things we save have value. Collect memories. Not things.

 

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me and my girls

This book is a keeper. But friends matter more. Through this book I made a new friend.

I hosted a party recently and one friend told me she’d never seen my apartment so minimal. That’s how I like it.

Incidentally, this week the book is offered for .99 cents on Kindle. white dresses on kindle

A Piece of Me

I love to run to the Britney Spears song “Piece of Me.” But I haven’t been running lately.

Like Britney, everyone wants a piece of me — a piece of ass or a pound of flesh. No one seems to add to me. No one but chocolate and wine and cappuccino. They give without asking and I love them for it.

My kids want the $20s in my wallet. I’m the bank. My husband wants me to replace the ink cartridge in his printer — because now that H. has gone to college, I’m Tech Support. Yes and when H. comes home, he wants clean laundry; I’m the laundress. He also wants a dinner bigger than Trump’s ego. As for work — my writing job wants my stories written last week and at my teaching job, my students want to be entertained and given straight As.

Don’t they all know I could be fricken’ Hemingway if only I had the time?

Well, let them extract their pound of flesh, I could use to lose a few pounds. But take from my hips, not my brains or heart. Not my wallet. Go ahead, take. I still have a lot to give. I am not a placemat. Do I mean doormat? In any case, I am not a mat that you put dirty dishes or dirty boots on.

I am a doily — a small, pretty, lace thing. Delicate and grandmotherly. I survive this period of my life because someday, I’ll be a grandmother. By then, maybe my kids will no longer pick my wallet or expect a meal or clean laundry. They will see in me the things I am really good for. And do really well. Play. Tell stories. Make jokes. Sing silly songs. Write poetry. Walk (not run) in the park. Sit on a park bench.

I do look forward to growing old and returning to my childhood. A second childhood when no one extracts a pound of flesh.