Wednesday, November 28, 2018


I love rituals.

When Christopher is home we have a bedtime ritual. Still. At 50 and 26. It's a call and response series. I have no idea when it started, probably sometime after bedtime stories ended. But when he is home we will do it. And I love it.

I love that connective tissue that holds us now to us then. That keeps that something special mother/son feeling going. Because let's face it, he doesn't need me to mother him anymore. He's taking care of himself on a daily basis. When I chime in (and I do still chime in) it's not only not necessary I would guess it's not wanted most of the time. It's not going to stop me, I'm still his mother, but I do understand that it's not going to really make a difference in what he chooses or doesn't choose to do.

We also have holiday rituals. Traditions. They are odd ones, we always watch Christmas Vacation first and watch Scrooged on Christmas Eve after going to a movie out. There are other things we do, but those shift and change. The movies stay the same. At least for now. They might change at some point as well. But for now? I like them. I like that we can watch Christmas Vacation with half an eye and still know exactly where in the story we are and what the next lines are. It enhances our holiday spirit.

And as much as I am not a rule follower in my day to day existence I am ritualistic. I have seen it as I've been reading and sorting all of my blogs. I like goals, so I set them yearly. I've shifted them from my birthday to the traditional New Year, but that was just because it was easier to find things I needed. But I like to set goals. The goal setting is a ritual.

The things I set goals around are ritualistic as well. Reading and writing are almost always on the list. Picture of the Day as well for the past few years. And those things being on the list are part of the ritual but performing them is as well. Especially Picture of the Day. It's a whole deal. Seeing the prompt at the beginning of the month as I scan the list, then again when I look the day before. Thinking about my day and what might fight. Or what I could make fit. Or best option, what I can make fit in a funny way. It's all part of the ritual.

Which I'm pretty sure I'm dropping in 2019. But then again I always think about dropping it around November of the previous year. Maybe that's part of the ritual as well? But this year I think I will actually drop it and just go back to posting pictures when I choose. Because I'm not getting the enjoyment out of it that I used to.

That's where all of my rituals stem from and where they get pruned if they don't measure up. Does this thing bring me joy? Am I having fun with this? And if I'm not having fun with it  but need to do it anyway what do I need to change to make it fun? Going to the gym is never going to fun for me. But it's a ritual in and of itself. To make it stick I made it non negotiable. I go to the gym. It's what I do. It's part of who I am. The fun part for me comes in seeing how much weight I lift each week. It's a not insignificant number. I like it. Make the ritual fun or get rid of it. And for the gym getting rid of it wasn't a healthy option so...

I get push back from people here and there that I live in a rut. That I should do more things that are different. Leave my rituals behind. And when they do that I sometimes think about it a little. Then normally I decide that the constant changers are people who aren't happy with their lives. That are searching for something better. I am happy with where I am. I am happy with who I am with. I enjoy my life. I enjoy my rituals. My goals make me happy. I like to read, I like to write, I like to travel, I like to go to the movies, I like to spend time with my husband, I like to spend time with our son, I like to do the call and response at night when we go to bed.

What rituals do you do?
And do they still bring you joy?

Goal setting for 2019 in a month. Time to start thinking about them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Turkey...


"Oh shoot!" Julianne stood looking in the cupboard of her kitchen, "I totally forgot to buy cranberry sauce. Lauren, will you run down to the corner store and pick some up? The whole berry one, not the jellied one. Craig really likes the whole berries."

"Sure, I meant to grab some cider anyway so I'll just run to the big grocer and get both."

"No, don't do that! I mean, I know that the corner store carries it, and I'm pretty sure they have cider too. This way you won't have to move your car. You know how tricky parking can be. And Mrs. Naismith has her whole family come in for dinner they take over the entire garage practically. This way you can walk."

"Are you saying I could use the exercise?"

"Don't be silly. I just think this is easiest."

Lauren smiled and headed toward the spare room to get her coat. "Okay fine, I'll walk down to the corner store and pick those up." Julianne could be a little anal about doing things just so, it wasn't worth it to stress her out even more. Just the fact that she forgot cranberries showed she was already stressing out about something. She would have to make sure to ask later if everything was okay.

Right after Lauren walked out of the apartment Julianne's phone buzzed. "Sorry, was on my way and my brother's flight got cancelled. On my way to airport to p/u. Will call you next week." -A


"What? Do you need help?" Craig came rushing in to the kitchen with Emily close behind.

"No, Andrew just texted and he can't make it. And I already sent Lauren for the cranberry sauce."

Craig looked at her like she was crazy, "Why would you sent her for cranberry sauce? You made homemade relish yesterday."

Now it was Julianne's turn to look at Craig like he was crazy, "Duh, because I had asked Andrew to stop at the store and pick some up on his way here. I even told him he should park in the garage and walk to the corner store and I would have it waiting at the counter."

"Now I really am lost, you sent Lauren for sauce you don't need and you sent Andrew?"

"Oh my god! Julianne!" Emily started laughing, "You did not try and meet cute them!"

"Meet cute them?" Craig was even more puzzled.

"Technically they already met. I was just trying to nudge them a little."

"Mandy! Come in here, you have to hear this!"

Mandy excused herself from the livingroom and joined the party in the kitchen, "What's up?"

"So you know Lauren's "that guy" from the Halloween party right?"


"Julianne just sent Lauren to the store to get cranberries after trying to send him to the same store to get them as well so they would run into each other again."

Mandy started to laugh, "Oh Julianne..."

"No, seriously guys, you didn't see them together at the party. They were so cute together. I mean they talked all night and they were laughing and he covered for her being left by that asshole Tyler and..."

"But wouldn't it have been just as easy to have them both at dinner here? I mean, you could have sat them by each other and done the same thing."

"That would have been too plain. This way they would have had a funny story and..."

The light finally turned on for Craig, "And it would have been like that song. Now I get it." Why do something simple if you could add a theme song, that was totally a Julianne way to run the world.

Emily shook her head, "Well, that's where you went wrong. That's not a Thanksgiving song. It's called Christmas Rapping. You were too early."

"Well nobody tell her. I will try again!"

They all laughed. They could have tried to tell her no but it wouldn't have done any good. Julianne was determined about things turning out just exactly so.

"Oh! And you are eating the canned cranberries." She pointed at Craig.

"What? Why? I want the homemade stuff!"

"Because I told her that's why she had to go get it. You love it."

Craig sighed. "Fine I love it." It was just easier to let Julianne win.

Friday, November 16, 2018


I see you waiting for the apology.

The expectant look on your face.

You can already hear it in your mind.

But to apologize would be a betrayal.

A betrayal of my teachers.

A denial of the lessons.

 A loss of the learnings.

But I see you waiting.

Lips slightly pursed.

Eyebrows raised.

Waiting for that apology you feel you deserve.

But to say that I'm sorry?

I can't find that word in my mouth right now.

I can't imagine apologizing.

Because what you want me to be sorry for is me.

For learning those lessons.

For listening to those teachers.

For being who I am.

For not being you.

Waiting for that apology.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Working on the print and sort blog project. I just finished printing all of 2017. Now I will read them and file them away. Print 2018 and then I'm done.

It was a much bigger project than I had envisioned. But when I thought about tackling it I didn't think I would read every single thing I've posted here before filing it away.

But how could I not read it all? I'm a freaking genius...

In the blog archive there are three swipes at NaNo. The first one didn't result in blogs being posted THAT November, but it did a few years later when I did NaNo again. I posted all of what I had written towards that long story in October then wrote on it and other fiction in November. I posted the new short stories and ended up with 21 unique fiction pieces that year plus a chunk of words on the first story. Wow. I just printed the 37 blogs from the last time I did NaNo in 2017. That year I just wanted to write 50,000 words so I didn't care if it was fiction or nonfiction. Just words on the screen. It was a lot. And just like the other two times I did NaNo I swore I would never do it again.

But man, that is so impressive to see. All of that output in one month. I mean, wow. I dug in and found words and then found more and then some more. I really like that. I mean look at them all lined up over there on the right. Year after year with number after number of blogs. So I see why I get tempted with NaNo every few years. But I SWEAR never again!

Yesterday when I was getting the car filled up Mitchell (one of the three different guys who tends to be working when I am getting gas) asked what I do. After the whole "Retired??" conversation he asked what I did to keep busy. I told him I write. He asked if I wanted to get published and I told him not really. You all know I've had this battle for ages. There is a part of me that wants ONE thing that I can hold in my hand that someone else deemed worthy of publishing, but that it's not the biggest part of me. That's not why I write. I didn't think Mitchell was really interested in the long esoteric discussion of why I write, but it got me thinking.

I write because it keeps the voices in my head from spilling out and scaring the checker at the grocery store.

I write because, even though he loves me very much, there is only so much ranting Brent should have to listen to.

I write because I am pretty sure I'm good at it and I like doing things I'm good at.

I write because I don't want to ever feel like I am alone in this world and writing brings other people around. Real and imaginary.

I write because I don't want other people to think they are alone in this worlds and my writing gives them a place where they can do the amen nod and know that somewhere there is somebody who agrees with them.

I write because I have stories I want to share.

I write because I have too many words crowding in my head.

I write because if I don't I get really maudlin.

I write because there aren't very many places you can just use a word like maudlin.

I write because it helps keep that pendulum swinging the right direction. Because even though maudlin is a great word, it's a lousy feeling.

I write because I enjoy writing. Except when I hate it. And then I write because I refuse to let writer's block win.

I write because I am a writer and that's just what we do.

Who Are We?

I watch some reality TV. I used to watch more but I only watch a few things now. One of the things that is always interesting to me is the contestant who gets a bad edit and wants you to know that who we saw on TV is "not them."

Yes, that is them on the tape, yes that is something they said, yes that is how they acted, but that's not them. Okay...

You see it out in the world now. In our every phone is a recording device world if someone has a racist meltdown it's getting recorded and shared and you are on blast. And the first thing they want you to know is that's not really them. That's not how they think or feel. They are so sorry, but that's not really them.

Yes, it's them in the recording, yes they really said all of that, yes that is how they acted, but that's not them. Okay...

You see it in the United States. A lot. After each mass shooting. After every publicized hate crime. That's not us. That's not what we believe. That's not what we think.

Yes, that is another mass shooting. Yes, that is another hate crime. Yes, it keeps happening. But that's not really us. Okay...

You see my problem here right?

It is who they are. Who you are. Who we are. The collective we. We cannot argue this anymore. Not when it keeps happening.

What I think we mean to say is this isn't who I want to be.

At least I hope that's it.

It could be this isn't who I want you to know I am.

I'm going to go with best thoughts here and say that it's this isn't who I want to be.

When the recording happens and you see that ugliness played back to you, you see yourself being something you don't want to be, you say "This isn't me!" But it is. And you have to deal with it. "This isn't who I want to be!" So now you get to change. You get to watch that video and hear those words and understand that you did that. And now you get to change.

 I've written about this before, that it's on those of us who aren't that to make a difference. To speak out. To teach. To show a different way. Because if it really isn't who you want to be you need to see a different way of being.

And if you find yourself saying something that you would be horrified to have other people hear, you need to own it. To understand that yes, that is who you are.

But you don't have to stay that way.

This doesn't have to be who we are.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bottoms... UP!

I will have a better year. Because Disclaimer #5, I refuse to believe this is just who I am now. Because she's a real drag and I do not need that sort of nonsense in my life.

That was the last part of my annual birthday blog in 2016. The beginning of the end of the worst.

Forty seven just sucked. It did. There is no way around it, it was a lousy year.  I'm aware of it, I had it in my head that it was bad, but re-reading it through my blog sort, ugh.

I could see it coming in my writing. Now, granted, I knew it had happened so I was pretty much forewarned, but it was still really interesting to see it starting to settle in. And to see that I knew it was happening.

I've not been myself for so long now that I'm worried that this is actually who I am now.

Let me backup for anyone who is new here...

I do not have capital D depression. I don't medicate for chemical imbalances. I don't see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. But the only reason why I don't is because I do not want to be medicated. I don't want to be flattened. I don't want to not be me. And for the most part it works out fine. I would imagine that the clinical diagnosis I would get would be bipolar. But I prefer the old school manic-depression. Bipolar seems like a line. You are here. Then you are here. Manic-depression feels more like a pendulum swing. And that's how I feel. Like I have a pendulum. Now, the swing in my case isn't as broad as it is in others, but there is a definite difference when I am manic and when I'm depressed and when I'm hanging in the middle.

Most of my life is in the middle.

My manic phases are generally really fun. I've only had a few where I've had to go back and fix things that I've "wrecked" afterwards. Those stages where you spend a little more money, eat a little more food, drive a little to fast, but for the most part my manic phases are really just awesome. And I love them the best. More than the life in middle. It's why I would have a really hard time getting medicated. Because the medication they give you flattens out your pendulum.

But at 47 I was really close to going to the doctor for help.

My pendulum swung to the other side and I couldn't get it unstuck.

Being aware of it just added to the misery.

There were reasons. I had a shoulder injury that kept me from working out and I workout to regulate mood. For a lot of us that have small d depression a good workout can actually keep us from big D depression and can keep us from needing medication. It works for me. And I wasn't able to do it.

Brent was traveling for work 3 days a week. He had been doing 2 and for some reason that added 3rd day was just really hard. Normally, not an issue. But during that stretch? It was. Knowing at the end of every weekend that he was leaving again? It was rough.

People were being awful to each other. This hasn't changed. Not at all. But I was just not able to cope with it. I had a few people in my life that surprised me, and not in a good way. They had some really horrible beliefs that I had never been aware of and to find them out during that political cycle? It just made me sad. Or sadder.

And back to the shoulder injury. Chronic pain. Daily chronic pain is a disaster for people. It really is. You don't even realize how much it's taking out of you. But it is taking a toll. Every. Single. Day.

So what changed? Well my circumstances did. I'm not going to lie, that was a big part of it. But even more than that I decided I was done. And I clawed my way out of the pit. That birthday post was a start. I added the #selfiesaturday the next day. It was dedicated to 48 WILL be Great! I've revived it for #fiftyisnifty. And I want you to see the difference. Forty-eight will be, Fifty is. Because I needed to make a choice at 48 to get that pendulum moving again and by 50 I had it swinging, baby...

That first step was saying enough is enough. And then some things helped. My shoulder. My ortho accidentally fixed it. I have a tear in the socket, or a hole, no telling if it is a genetic thing or an injury. But after repeated exams and two MRIs they found the issue, the socket lacked integrity and so the labrum had folded over itself in the joint. While working through an exam there was a *Fwolp* and ahhh....instant relief. My doctor felt it move. I felt it move and felt the pain go away and told him so and he said, "I didn't do it on purpose, but I will take credit." No more daily pain.

Then I could work out again. So no pain, plus happy time chemical release from the workouts. Ahh...

Then Brent changed jobs. Still had a lot of travel, but it was a week here or there, not every week. And it was easier to deal with. Knowing he was going to be gone for a week and then home for three was just easier. And I will say that I don't know if the three day a week travel would have bugged me if the other stuff hadn't already gotten to me. But he is my safe space and when I was feeling so beat up not having his calm self next to me made it all seem much worse. But that changed. New job, new travel schedule. Much better.

Politics got worse. Trump got elected just a few months after that birthday blog. And it made me angry. Really. I went from sad and disappointed and this hurts my heart that you all could do this to flat out angry. What the hell is wrong with you people angry. And that actually helped snap me out if it too. Sad people let the world roll over them, angry people roll on their own. The tone of my political posts shifted. That was interesting to see. I went from how could you to how dare you. And I've pretty much stayed there. I do not agree that we (progressives) needed to change to see them (conservatives). I hate when people try to lecture me about economic issues when the studies show that it wasn't economics it was fear. And when people want to tell me that for THEM it was economics I still have to say that they let racism, sexism, and bigotry not be an issue for money. Of all the lousy ways to save a buck...

Anger works for me in this area.

Which seems odd considering how much I choose happiness. But I am happy. I have a good life. My shoulder will never be 100%, Brent will still have to travel for work (though he has another new job right now and it's been no travel at all so far which has been awesome, and will be right up to the point that he loses his airline privileges and we have to board with the pack 😉 ), there will be bad days, but I choose happiness.

I went back to Daily Gratitude because it helps me. And it helps other people. Science bitches.

I went back to #selfiesaturday because I really like having that record of our Saturdays and what we were doing and how great we look. 😉

But I also know that right now the pendulum has swung in to the middle bordering on the manic, which is a great place for it to hang out. And in a few years when I reread this blog it will make me happy to know that I am happy right now (or then, as the case may be).

But here is a weird secret, those horrible blogs made me happy too. Even though I didn't write much that year, even though what I wrote was just dripping with black ooze, I still wrote. I still told you all that it was bad. That I wasn't doing well. That things were rough. And you all listened. And that's what most of us want. To be listened to. Even when we are saying, I'm just not myself right now.  So thank you. Thank you for listening to me no matter where the pendulum is swinging.

And thank goodness that #fiftyisnifty and choosing to be happy works for me.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Election Day Hangovers...

Lauren sat down at the table, "Am I late?"

"Nope, we were early." Emily passed her a menu.

"So, don't take this the wrong way, but you look really tired."

Lauren laughed at Mandy, "Well I would be offended, you look tired is normally code for you look like shit, but I do look like shit and I am tired."

"Were you up watching election returns? I finally gave up. There are going to be too many late ballots to count to know who all really won for awhile. But it looked good for the blue team. Not as good as we wanted, but good."

"No, I didn't even pay attention to that for long. Tyler and I broke up."

"Yeah, Halloween right? When he ditched you at Julianne's party..." Mandy paused then, "Oh don't tell me you took him back after that!"

Emily rolled her eyes, "Seriously?"

"He left you at the party and walked out with Candy, or Misty, or Sunshine or whatever the fuck her name is."

"Suzi. And she had a family emergency and he helped her out and then he was gone for much longer than he had planned and by the time he got back I had left."

"And he couldn't call or text you to tell you that?" Emily asked.

"He lost his phone at the party and didn't realized it so he couldn't."

Mandy smirked, "Right."

"No, really, I didn't believe him either but Julianne vouched for him."

"Seriously? I can't believe that."

"Yep, her exact words were, 'OH my god, I so don't want to tell you this, but I totally did find his phone on the floor in the bedroom where we were storing the coats. It was kind of half under the bed, you know? And so yeah, he left it there, but you could still be mad about it, right? I mean, this doesn't mean he still didn't walk out and leave you there. So you could still be mad.' So yeah, she vouched for him losing his phone while still not really vouching for him."

"Why would she still want you to be mad?" Mandy was confused.

"There was a friend of hers at the party that I talked to for a while that she wanted me to be dating. So, Tyler and I still together she doesn't get to pretend that she was some sort of matchmaker in a meet cute story."

Emily and Mandy laughed. "Okay, that sounds like Julianne. But she was right. He still left."

"He did. And he did it because Suzi needed him and he really likes to be needed. But he didn't sleep with her, or anything, it was not great, but at the same time, if he had had his phone and could have let me know it wouldn't have been that bad."


"Okay, yeah, it still would have been, I guess. But I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt."

"And since you two broke up last night I'm guessing he didn't deserve it?"

"I just can't be that girl, you know?"

Emily shook her head, "What girl?"

"The one that lets herself come second. Tyler constantly said that he liked how smart I am, how independent, how strong, but this wasn't the first time I was left behind while he took care of someone else. Suzi for sure, but others as well. He likes being the hero. I don't need him to be one. So he keeps finding other places to be heroic."

Mandy and Emily shared a quick look.


Emily smiled, "Well, we are just glad you finally realized that. He was trying to make you his damsel in distress and you never were. It was tiring to watch him do it."

"What do you mean?"

"Didn't you ever notice he would try and make your problems his problems? Or tell you how to do things and then get mad when you explained why that wouldn't work?"

Lauren stared at Mandy for a minute thinking, "He wasn't mad, he was just..." she trailed off. Her friends were right. For how much Tyler had talked a big game about like a strong, independent, woman, he really never did. He wanted to be in charge and she wasn't that girl.

"Oh well, it's done now. What are you ordering?"


Andrew sat on the couch flipping through channels.

"You know you could actually stop and watch something for longer than a few seconds."

"Sorry, just bored. I've been feeling restless lately." He tossed the remote to James, "You can be in charge."

"Why don't you call that girl from Halloween, ask her out?"

"I don't think so."

"Why not? You two hit it off really well right?"

"Yeah, we did. But she went back to her boyfriend, the one that ditched her for the Playboy Bunny that night? I just can't date a woman with that low of an opinion of herself. You know? I want a woman who is strong and smart and independent and would kick a jerk like that to the curb."

"You could convince her, you know, ride in on your white horse and whisk her away from all that!"

"No way, I'm nobody's hero."

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Flying in from Michigan on Sunday I watched out the plane window for the first glimpse of the Cascade Range. It never fails to make me happy. Even when we are flying in to Seattle and not Portland so I'm more likely to see Rainier than Hood. My favorite is flying in to Portland on a clear day and seeing Hood to Sisters and beyond. All in a row. Volcanic mountain to volcanic mountain.

Even when it's cloudy, like it was on Sunday, the tops of the mountains often are above the cloud line. So you have a sea of white cotton clouds and then the peaks of the mountains. Always a little snow or ice on them, they still have glaciers though they are getting smaller each year.

I don't know why it makes me so happy. I don't know why I try to capture a picture almost every time. I don't know why I nudge Brent to look as soon as the first one comes in view.

Wait...I do know why.

Because it's home.

I say it all the time. We live in a beautiful part of the country. I love the Pacific Northwest. We have trees and waterfalls and mountains and valleys and the ocean and in the Fall the leaves are gorgeous. I was actually disappointed when Christopher was in college in Vermont and we were there in the Fall one year. I had heard how spectacular their leaves were and they were...well...okay. Mostly one color. Which can be pretty. But when you are used to getting orange and yellow and red and purple all on one street, not even having to hike out anywhere, it's a little bit of a let down.

Flying in to New Mexico I am always happy to see the Sandias. Sometimes I'm shocked at how green the Rio Grande Valley is, or how brown, depending on weather. But I'm rarely struck by how pretty it is. One time flying out at sunrise I got good shots of the mountains at their best. Because I do love the mountains. Albuquerque gets great sunrises and sunsets. But other than that it's mostly just miles and miles of browns. I'm usually bracing myself for the bad landing, a lot of crosswinds, and then whatever is going to come next after we get off the plane. Being the black sheep means a lot of tongue biting and a lot of letting it slide. Things I'm not really great at, but I do it when I'm home to keep the peace.

And I say home in referring to New Mexico out of habit. Because it's where I come from. Michigan is Brent's home. We go back home for visits and for football, depending on the time of year and the state. But it's different, going back home versus coming home.

Flying in and seeing the Cascades, that's coming home.

I live here. I raised my child here. I feel like I belong here. Something about it speaks to me.

And that first site of a volcano above the's home.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Adult Education...


"That is a racist thing to say."

"Explain to me how it's racist please so I don't make that mistake again."

Explanation follows and both walk away feeling better about each other.

Or at least this is how I think it should go.

It usually goes more like:

"That is a racist thing to say."


Conversation over.

I've talked about this before, but I see it still so it still bothers me so much. If you say something offensive, and you might, almost all of us do at some point in time, then don't get so defensive about it. Ask why it was offensive. See if you can understand. And you might not agree at the end of the discussion. But at least have the discussion. Learn something. Practice a little empathy. See if you can understand a different point of view.

I also hate the people who take the stance that it's not their job to teach you. And I get it, it's tiring. It's frustrating. It can piss you off when you've had the 20th conversation that week about the same issue. I see your point that it's not your job. But it's not a job, it's a gift you are giving. And on the flip side if you have knowledge and you don't share it then you are partly responsible for the ignorance in the world.

I will give you an example in my life. I don't know much about the trans community. I mess up ALL THE TIME in what I say, or how I refer to people, or questions I might want to ask but don't know if I should or how. I'm not familiar. But I have friends and family who are. The other day a friend posted an article and in the comments friends of theirs were talking about TERFs and the problem that transwomen face because of them. I had no idea what a TERF was. Now luckily in the article they posted TERF was defined (trans exclusionary radical feminist) so then I knew. But if the article hadn't defined it I would have felt comfortable asking them to tell me what TERF meant. I wouldn't have even hesitated for a second.

Because they teach. In fact their wife teaches as well. I've talked about Cami before in these blogs. We went to highschool together and she and her friend Stephanie allowed me to ask all of the questions while I was figuring out what I thought and what I believed. Cami stayed in that teaching mode and does so much more now. And her spouse with her. They are a teaching couple. And I'm grateful for that. I've learned things that I wouldn't have known otherwise. And I cannot imagine where I would have ended up if the answer Stephanie gave to me to the first question I asked was, "I'm not your teacher! Figure it out yourself!"

(Full disclosure on learning and continuing to learn, I don't know what pronouns Christian uses so I sent a message before I started writing this asking. I haven't heard back yet so I'm using they/them and will change if I hear differently. EDIT: he/him or they/them works for him so I'm leaving the they/them but will switch back and forth when talking about him in the future if he makes another blog appearance. Just because I want to keep you all on your toes.)

And I've seen the argument out there about the world of knowledge at your fingertips. And I see how that might work, if you could dictate where people got their information. But just imagine you don't want to answer questions about race or gender or sexuality or religion or whatever it is that you are being asked and the person then goes to the internet for that knowledge. How comfortable are you that they are getting 1. accurate information and 2. helpful information. I think it's just as likely that they will find reinforcement for why their idea is the right one and you are full of shit.

If you don't teach them, someone else will.

And for those of us who end up on the other side of the conversation, be willing to learn something. If someone is giving you the gift of their time and their experience take it from them in good faith. Listen. And not only listen, but hear them. Do your best to understand what they are saying.

Again, you might not agree. I've had those conversations. I've talked about it with cultural appropriation conversations and some things I just don't agree are wrong. And I usually explain why. I also have knowledge and experience; my culture and my ethnicity don't match. Add my New Mexiconess to being raised by parents who fully believed in the melting pot theory of America and so adopted traditions from friends and neighbors their whole lives. So my DNA results came back "Damn, your are white!" but my life is much more blended than that. I don't consider it offensive that I absorbed the culture where I grew up and consider it part of me. I don't consider it offensive that I do some oddly Catholic things around the holidays even though I'm agnostic at best and was raised Protestant. It's part of who I am. And if you are offended by that then I can only try to understand why you would be and try to explain why your offense will not change my core. And when I get recognized as being New Mexican by my chola lean I can only give a half smile smirk and say, "It's all good, no."

So basically it's just a reminder blog today. If you know more, teach more. If someone is trying to teach you, let them. Don't get so defensive if you are being asked to learn and don't give up if you are being called to teach.

We keep talking about how the world needs to be more civil. How we need to find common ground. How we need to come together in the middle. This is how we do it. By learning more. By listening more. By understanding more.

Give it a try, okay? It's really not so bad.