Wednesday, November 23, 2016

(56 Months) - 4 Years + 8 Months

This last month included a lot: a visit from Stacy and Vivi, and then other WR friends Gretchen and Amy and their kiddos; her first viewing of MJ's "Thriller," and also the dance scene from the movie 13 Going On 30; Halloween parties galore, dressed as an astronaut; Presidential debates and the (surprising) election and the aftermath; many play dates, mostly with Mila; a visit from one of Grandma Nancy's BFFs in the Bay Area, Gina; a visit from the Franzke Fam; a few viewings of Frozen; hanging out with the Mennes; writing nightly "gratitude leaves"; spending a half-day at work with Mama; several good Daddy Saturday's including a full day at the Unified soccer tournament; and a Wonder Woman obsession.

For whatever reason, I didn't write down as many things that she said this month. I'm sure it is, at least in part, related to how caught up I've been in politics. So for posterity's sake I will again include some of those quotes or anecdotes here, too.

At the playground on the teeter-totter with friends, some boys ran up and said, "we're superheroes, we'll save you!" To which Francie responded: "we don't need saving."

"I'm the decider!" she exclaims this evening, her towel wrapped around her post-bath body like a judge's robe. "And tomorrow Hillary will be President!"

Francine, the morning after the election, comes to my room after eating breakfast with her daddy: "Trump won," she says, kind of sadly or stoicly.
Me: "I know."
Her: "That's sad. And scary."
Me: "Yeah, it is."
Her: "But I'm brave. We're brave."

And later: "Bravery is when we do something even though we are scared."

Sitting at the dinner table, I'm telling Alex about an article I submitted to, even though I was rejected last time, and then about the first American author who won the Booker prize, and how his book was apparently rejected more than a dozen times first. "Speaking of Elsa," she interjects, brilliantly, "... her long braid ..."

To Josie: "You can't have that. It's my dad's iPad. He uses it for going poop." #truthteller

WR 2.0: Vivi, Francie, and Kennedy

Vivi, Kennedy, Francie

Stac (and Gretch) reads to Vivi, Kennedy, and Francie, none of whom stayed in the bed long enough to constitute a "sleepover."

Francie and Vivi, crowned, for a day at the Children's Museum.

Stac, Vivi, Francie, and Jo

More WR friends: Amy, Evan, Peter, Francie, Vivi

Vivi's face = priceless

Frozen fever

Uh, but seriously, where did they learn that?

BFF's 4eva

PreK school photo

Francie got to go with Rachel to pick Logan up from "big kid school" before his Halloween party

VHFLC preK/daycare friends Addison, Francie, and Anders

VHFLC Halloween party - my family is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Photo boothing

Cutest astronaut ever

She trick-or-treated the entirety of our street, Logan Court, and 53rd; she got to choose "4.5" pieces of candy, like her age (but of course I let her have about double)

"Look, it's the president!"

Halloween through the years: baby bear, strawberry, puppy, marshmallow, astronaut

Our first annual "gratitude tree"

Likes to pretend she is Wonder Woman, and we even cut an old dress into her "bra"

She went to work at Cornell Estates with me one Thursday because she didn't feel well enough for school (or so she said)

Close Ladies take a stab at Pantsuit Nation

Just a few Wild Feminists watching the election result coverage

This is what a feminist looks like

Wise little Bean

Playdate with Max (and Finley)

BFFs Francie and Mila at the Hubbard's house

Coaching Unified soccer with Daddy

This month, it's all about Wonder Woman

Franzkes! They spent the day and then a date night taking awesome care of our girl

Breezy and Francie

Breezy, Josie, Gus, Francie, and Jo (early 5th bday present for G-Man)

Daddy-Daughter Day

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thank you, McMenamins, from an overreactive wife and longtime Lupe fan

Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, or maybe it's an emotional response to the recent uptick in the negativity and even hate I've observed online in the last two weeks, but the nice folks at the Crystal Ballroom last night made me feel a little more hopeful about humanity. It's not that they even did anything particularly special, but they were open and kind and that was enough. In this post-Trump era, I feel it is more important than ever to both notice and acknowledge the positive, and to say thanks when there is an opportunity. I sent this email to the general "box office" email address at McMenamins, so here's hoping whomever receives it might experience even a brief moment of pride or warmth or hope or something.  
To whom it may concern at the Crystal Ballroom:
I wanted to write and express my gratitude to some of the McMenamins Crystal Ballroom staff working on Friday 11/18, at the Lupe Fiasco show. 
This was a concert I was very much looking forward to attending, as I go to shows so rarely these days (being in my mid-30s with a professional life and a toddler and a house and a bedtime and all). Back in my (hay) day I enjoyed regular hip-hop shows - Atmosphere, J5, Lupe, Talib, Blackaliscious and many more. Last night, my husband and I mostly enjoyed the several opening acts, but it was getting past my usual bedtime (read: I'm an old lady) and I was eager to see Lupe himself. When he finally came on stage, I was super psyched to hear that he would play the nearly-decade old albums I used to listen to while skiing Telluride Mountain and Alpine Meadows. After the first song I looked at my husband, smiling ear to ear, and told him how much fun I was having. "I'm so glad we came!" I told him like a giddy schoolgirl. That it felt good to get out of the house and out of our regular routine (Netflix and chillin', but not the sexy kind) for a date night, our best friends babysitting our daughter. One of the side effects of adulthood that I'm not proud to admit is the paucity of having actual "fun," at least not like in the old days. Before Lupe even finished his fourth song, my husband surprised (terrified) me by passing out, crumpling at his knees and falling backward into the arms of a handful of nice fellow concert-goers. They could have been immature and dick-ish about it, like "duuuuude, what the fuck?" Or "cmon, asshole, pull your shit together!" But alas, they were not. They caught him (thank god, because I'd never live it down if he hit his head, as I'm supposed to be somewhat of an expert in traumatic brain injuries) and appeared to care about not only his wellbeing, but mine too, while I freaked out like the sober middle-aged lady that I am. "Babe. Babe! Oh shit, what happened? Are you okay? Answer me! I'm scared." My husband kind of came to, and we then made our way to the back of the concert hall to sit down. Some nice employee handed him a bottle of water along the way, but he still had a dazed and confused look in his eye. His skin was ashen and his pupils dilated almost to the size of his irises, and he was beading sweating in a patchy weird way. I continued to freak out, albeit it silently now, and wondered if I should take him straight home, or if maybe he actually needed medical care. When he fainted yet again - this time seated - while his eyes rolled back in his head and his eyelids fluttered, and I freaked out yet again, I frantically asked one of the security guard/bouncer dudes for some help walking him out (I was afraid he'd fall again) of the actual ballroom so he could sit for another minute away from the flashing lights and pulsing base. The security guy called for assistance on his walkie-talkie, and a nice brunette white guy in a red shirt sat down next to my husband, asked him how he was feeling, and then escorted us to the hallway one floor down. He again sat down with Alex, and made sure we were both okay before returning to the ballroom. I walked my husband to the car while I heard one of my favorite song's from The Cool playing from above. We made it home safe and sound, and while his sudden hypotension can't be easily explained, he's more or less feeling fine today.
I don't know about you all, but in the wake of Trump's election I have been feeling pretty cynical about human behavior and the general state of our social world. Which might explain why I am feeling particularly grateful for the brief but sincere kindness we experienced at the show last night, not only from some of the nice (and strong, with quick reflexes) concert-goers, but the McMenamins staff, too, who didn't make Alex or me feel like the amateur assholes we appeared to be (no, he wasn't over-served, and no, he wasn't wasted).
Long story short, thank you for being there and available to assist us as needed. And please pass along my gratitude to whomever the actual staff might have been (I think one guy was a brunette white dude in a red shirt, another was the bouncer guy at the base of the stairs up to the seated area, and another was the guy giving those glow-in-the-dark hand stamps to get in to the Over 21 section). I've always enjoyed shows at the Crystal Ballroom (dating all the way back to when my West Linn High School graduation party was there in 2000), but now the venue is also endeared to me thanks to the helpful staff. It's proof that just being nice and offering assistance can sometimes be enough to make another person feel better.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

IUI is not for Me Him Me

I had a difficult time last week reconciling Trump's Tuesday night win with my Wednesday fertility appointment. They aren't directly connected, of course, but then again, maybe they are. Isn't everything? This is what I wrote then ...  
... I cannot get past the juxtaposition that I am headed in to the fertility clinic where I can freely access healthcare and medical intervention to support a desire to grow a family, but our country just voted for President of the United States a man who vowed to eliminate much of women's healthcare access/reproductive rights. So what you are saying is that Trump wants to either grab women by - or legislatively rule over - pussy? 
In a nutshell, I'm pissed that I can get medical intervention to get pregnant again in an already overpopulated and environmentally-wrecked world, but my sister from a darker mister might not be able to get that abortion she needs in order to continue supporting her family as a single working mom. Or the teen who grew up in a religious home and was, sadly, never educated about the going-ones her own body, let alone sex or birth control. Or the college student who was wasted and was kinda-sorta-maybe-probably date raped and discovers she's pregnant with some predatory frat boy's baby. Or the mature, independent woman who tragically learns at 22 weeks that her baby has anencephaly and she can't imagine carrying to term. Or the married woman who becomes pregnant with her third child just before learning that her husband is having an affair and intends to leave her for a younger woman. Diverse and very personal scenarios like these, and so many more.   By way of a recap, Alex and I have been dealing with unexplained secondary infertility issues for 2.5 years now. Until recently, I have been very reluctant to pursue any medical intervention. I did finally complete all the required testing, and late this summer I started taking Clomid, a medication aimed to improve fertility by stimulating an increase in the hormones responsible for the growth and release of an egg. Last month my period was a week late and I wasted some $30 on pregnancy tests because the only times I've ever been late were when I had an eating disorder in high school and then that time I was pregnant in 2011. Turns out - thanks a lot for the thorough info, Kaiser! - Clomid can extend the length of your cycle. Would have been nice to know, just saying. I have now completed three cycles without successful pregnancy, let alone even a positive ovulation predictor. Kaiser recommends pursuit of IUI, or intrauterine insemination, as the next course of action. Essentially, IUI is the process of spinning semen in some kind of fancy centrifuge so that only the best and brightest sperm are selected with the hopes of impregnating me with something resembling a turkey baster. They use the fancy contraption to blast the Super Jiz past the Circle of Death (as I have come to call that part of the cervix that is the most "hostile" to sperm) to wait patiently at the opening of my Fallopian tube to fertilize the egg (god hope it's not two eggs).   As hot as all this centrifuge and Circle of Death sounds, don't be too jealous because there are some drawbacks. For one, it costs money. But not really that much. As an educated, healthy, and knowingly privileged white 34-year old woman with excellent health insurance, these procedures and their associated medical charges will cost us just $100-200 per month/cycle/attempt. Secondly, it costs me time. And really, my sanity. Now, I'm someone at risk of losing my mind after just a few back and forth texts or missed phone calls attempting to coordinate with friends. So imagine how distressed I might be at the prospect of having to anticipate and manage SO MANY variables in order to ensure my best chance at a successful pregnancy with IUI. WHich, for the record, is a mere 10% per cycle. Because I'm not getting any positive results indicating ovulation (although I have had several Day 21 labs  that "are indicative of ovulation), I would need to get follicle scans to determine the timing of ovulation. So sexy time would now look something like this:   - Day 1: call the fertility clinic/imaging to schedule a follicle scan for Day 12 - Day 6ish: start OPK anyway - Day 12: get follicle scan (an ultrasound) - IF I do miraculously get a positive OPK, call to schedule IUI for the following day -Day 12-14: depending on the follicle scan, give myself a "trigger injection" of something called Ovadril (which can cause ovarian hyper stimulation, whatever that is) - Days 13-16: schedule IUI for within 36 hours of trigger injection - Plan for "specimen collection" no greater than 45 minutes before the IUI appointment time; this can be done at home and then kept warm in my coat pocket or something, or done in some special clinic room where, explicitly, "only one person at a time is permitted" - Plan to wait at least 1 hour while the sperm is spun; wearing my best panties, I take them off in favor of a gown and they inject just a half-cc of sperm directly into my uterus; I lay flat for about 10 minutes and am then free to "go about my day," although I can't imagine how that would be possible after such an arousing and satisfying attempt to get knocked up, possibly without my Baby Daddy/husband even in the room - And then, fingers crossed, I wait about two more weeks to determine if I'm statistically fortunate, or simply in the 90% of women who do not get pregnant with each IUI attempt; of note, the average rate of pregnancy success in the typical female population is 14% per cycle; the average couple completes 4-6 IUI cycles to become pregnant - speaking of stats, now is a great time to remind you, my dear loyal 14 readers, that my risk of conceiving twins associated with Clomid is 10% - also, the clinic requires both Alex and I complete blood/urine labs for STDs YET AGAIN   Needless to say, nothing about this process appeals to me. Even the end result, at this point, is of little interest. Walking out of the appointment, my detailed notes for Alex in hand, I check in with myself to see what I might be feeling. Stress. Overwhelm. Maybe a touch of resentment? And I decide, before even discussing this all with the other half of this equation, that in my heart of hearts this IUI business is not something I want to endure. I'm already exhausted by the appointments I currently manage - with my therapist, for acupuncture, in the fertility clinic - adding to that sounds like a fulltime job. And that's all just to get pregnant. Never mind the work it requires to exist as a pregnant person, and then feed and nurture the new life, let alone care for the one I already successfully conceived, carried, and birthed. Fortunately, Alex is supportive when I tell him all of this, and he more or less concurs that it doesn't exactly sound worth our time or the money. We agree that we're not closing the door on a Family of Four, but that we'll keep at it the natural way for a bit longer, and see what the world may or may not have in store for us. Cynically, part of me doesn't even want to usher in a new Close in the Trump era.   Maybe it is simply a factor of my own on-again-off-again battle with ambivalence about reproducing again, but I feel particularly conflicted about the freedom I am granted to make certain choices about my own body and my own family. And on the very day our great nation has elected a misogynistic demagogue - one who has bragged about sexually assaulting women, insulted women's bodies, thinks that pregnancy is inconvenient to employers, has fathered several children with three different women - how is it that this man will be the leader of the free world, and also very nearly the boss of my body?!? In the meantime, I'll be proud to make my own difficult decisions about my fertility and family planning - and it won't be via IUI - and will keep in mind my privilege to do so while pledging to do what I can to defend the same reproductive rights for all women.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

(Stuff Alex Knows) - Hope, By Mr. Close

Alex posted this on Facebook last night, when I was already sound asleep:

For those of you who read my rant last week... here is the follow up:
Report from Public School: Part 2   Today I found some hope.  I did not find it by turning off my Twitter feed, or by taking a break from reading the news.  I found hope in my students.  Last week, I wrote about the jarringly rapid shift in culture at my school. About how, literally, overnight my school changed from a positive, largely welcoming place to an gauntlet of antagonism and intolerance. For a week I was hopeless.  How was I supposed to combat the vitriol and hate I was hearing about from my students when our new Commander in Chief was the primary model for such behavior.  How was a goofy English teacher supposed to say otherwise? Thankfully, my students said it for me.  And they said it in a way that I could not.  I struggled to speak back against the bullying and harassment without seeming political.  Despite being as delicate as possible, I knew that in speaking up I was also threatening students from Trump supporting households.  Something I am willing to do in the name of safety.  But my goal is not to marginalize, it's to educate. Today around 200 students from my school staged a walkout.  They wrote up a statement of intent and purpose. They organized and they walked out.  They spread the word that it would be a peaceful, non-political display against hateful and hurtful language and behavior. They were adamant that it was not about the president but about basic human decency and support for one another.  It was about being unified instead of divided. While many conservative students still felt marginalized and threatened, they were explicitly welcomed and encouraged to attend.   At 1:30, in the middle of my prep period, I got to watch as hundreds of students calmly and collectively stood up and walked out.  They didn't pressure anyone or harass, they just walked out.  They gathered in front of the school, holding signs bearing messages of love and unity - not of politics.  Half a dozen students spoke to the crowd, sharing their stories.   A senior student spoke about being transgender, about how much it meant to him to feel supported by so many people.  A Latino student spoke about how no human being should be illegal.  A Muslim-American girl spoke about how hard it has been in the last week to go from being accepted - albeit with some naive curiosity - to being fearful and antagonized, afraid to come to school.  Forced by her mother to carry pepper spray.  Black students talked about coming together, about unity and togetherness.  They kept on their message of love, unity, acceptance and support. In their demands, they asked that the school push for more diversity training and culturally diverse curriculum.  Through peaceful collective action they made it clear that they would not accept a school full of targeted antagonistic hateful speech and behavior. They cheered for each other.  They supported each other.  They listened to each other.  They spoke about the world they want to see, the world they want to live in.   They pledged that this was not the end, but the beginning.  That with this coalition of support, they would move forward in this new world of ours to maintain the learning environment they need.  When they said what they came to say, they went back inside the building and went to class. In the grand scheme of protest, it was very small scale.  In fact, it was overshadowed in the media by student protest walkouts in Portland's larger urban district where hundreds and hundreds of students marched throughout the city, shutting down traffic and garnering large scale media attention.   However, our protest was different because it ignored the president-elect.  For a change, it silenced him completely.  For that, it was amazing. I walked away feeling hopeful for the first time in a week.  If these kids could channel their fear, anxiety and anger into something so dignified and positive, why can't we all?  I thought that, perhaps, if our kids were running the world we would be doing better.  

And then on 11/21/2016 The Oregonian published this from Alex:

Dear American Parents: Before you put your children on the school bus this week, they need you to do something. They need you to remind them what it means to be kind. They need you to tell them that it is never OK to bully, intimidate or scare people. They need to hear this from you.
Our current political climate has had a frighteningly dark impact on our nation's children. Last week, in the largely kind, well-meaning and safe suburban school in which I work, students reported many instances of intimidation, bullying and antagonism. It was an overnight shift, from Tuesday to Wednesday. Suddenly, things that were previously not said were said -- and even deemed by some as acceptable. The discourse of intolerance and vitriol presented to us through the presidential campaign was legitimized and now suddenly emulated in our youth.
Unfortunately, most of the incidents at our school targeted already marginalized groups: Muslim American students, Latino students and LGBTQ students. Some students who openly supported Donald Trump with clothing or insignia were targeted. It became a dark, frightening and tumultuous environment.
As a teacher, I can control my classroom. I can enforce rules and maintain a safe space. I cannot control what happens when students leave my room and roam the halls.
They will learn nothing if, on the way to class, a student is told that he will be deported (because he has brown skin); that she is a terrorist (because she wears an Islamic headdress); that he will be forcefully converted (because he is gay); that she is ignorant or racist (because of a GOP shirt).
All educators understand a fundamental truth about learning. Scared, anxious, angry and upset people do not learn well. When we are distressed, our thinking brain stops functioning optimally.
We struggle to focus attention, to process and store information and to recall prior learning. We struggle to reflect, evaluate, analyze, synthesize and problem-solve. In short, we cannot learn new things and illustrate what we've already learned.
As a professional educator, we need your help. If you want us to do our jobs, and do it well -- to help prepare our children for college or career or family -- we need you to support us. Tell students they need to be kind to everyone. Tell them that even when they disagree or cannot understand another student, they still have to be nice. Tell them that just because adults on TV are mean to each other, that doesn't make it OK.
Share your opinion
Submit your essay of 700 words or less to Please include your email and phone number for verification.
Remind your children that they are powerful, their words are powerful and their support is powerful. Remind them they can stand up in positive, supportive and compassionate ways to antagonistic or condescending behavior. They can choose not to laugh, and they can tell their friends to stop. They can support those who have been hurt and who are scared.
This is not about politics; it's about basic humanity. It's about showing each of our kids that they matter. It's about creating and maintaining an academic environment for our children to maximize learning and about developing a diverse array of future citizens.
Our children are scared right now. They are anxious, upset and angry. They require reassurance and explicit direction to practice kindness, compassion and love. As teachers, we need help spreading this reassurance.
Our children need help. They need this help from you.
Alex Close is a high school English teacher and a resident of Portland.
Suffice it to say, I'm pretty proud to be this man's wife ;)    

Trump Supporters, What Are You Thinking?!?

I’ll admit that, at first, I was one of those holier-than-thou liberals who threw all Trump supporters into the same basket of deplorables. I did not do this on social media, for the record, but I did make such comments to my husband in the privacy of our own home. Which I acknowledge was still bigly ungood of me. However, I now understand that the 25% of eligible voters who did cast their ballot for Trump are a diverse group with a whole slew of explanation/justification. 
I’m in a place now where I feel like I understand the explicitly racist Trump supporters much better than the “non-bigoted” ones. Like, of course the white supremacists voted for the candidate whose rhetoric mirrored their own. And the single-issue anti-abortion zealots? Their votes make total sense to me. They don't even have to care whether they like or support Trump, they just have to believe that he’ll influence the Supreme Court to protect all bundles of human cells - regardless of viability or any other very personal and likely distressing factors - as promised. Their politics are myopic, of course, as is true for anyone who votes based on a single issue.
These racists and these zealots, I get them. I can appreciate that these supporters followed a logical decision-making process when casting their vote for the 45th President of the United States of America. I disagree with them, fervently, of course, but at least their political affiliations directly reflect their self-proclaimed values. But also, I don’t know these types of people, and I truly doubt that there is much room for the kind of discussion that changes any minds. Mine or theirs.
It is the rest of the heterogenous group of Americans who helped elect Trump to office (via the electoral college, NOT popular vote) that have me all kinds of anxious. These are the ones I might know. They seem to be in hiding, sure, but maybe it’s just because I’m a well-read opinionated nasty woman
There are the Trump supporters who simply voted for their party, as they have always done. And will always do. They weren’t well-versed on the issues. They didn’t pay attention to the campaign. They ignored the media circus. They certainly couldn't have watched the debates. These are the same ones who also aren’t reflecting on their vote, nor thinking about or commenting on the current state of social-political affairs.
Then there are the ones who are afraid. And while I don’t understand precisely what you are afraid of, I do understand the universal experience of fear. I understand that you might feel threatened.  Disenfranchised. Worried that your loved ones are not safe. Maybe you face mounting financial stresses, have unaddressed medical issues, feel displaced from your job or your home or your life. And then this rich, famous, white man instills in you hope. Hope to be not only heard, but truly listened to. Hope for a better “economy.” Hope for a piece of whatever pie he’s eating. I feel for you, I really do. And while we may not agree on a whole lot of things, I do think your situation and your life and your voice - especially your feelings and your fears - these matter.
There are the Trump supporters  who are angry, enraged even. I won’t assume to know your individual experience. But I do know that anger is usually a secondary emotion, precipitated by fear. See above.
There are the “religious ones.” Mormon. Evangelical. Some non-denominational Christian faction. Likely not Muslim or Jewish, as Trump did not have anything nice to say about your people. As I don't identify as a Christian myself, I have only a superficial understanding of your particular brand of faith. All I do know is that Jesus was supposed to be a good and righteous man. One who spoke for those who could not speak for themselves. The poor, Lepers and the like. He espoused kindness and compassion and love and selflessness. So WWJD? I simply cannot imagine that is would have voted for Trump.
There are the ones who hate Hillary. They’ve always hated Hillary. To them I say, “why bother? why so much vitriol? what did she ever do to you, in her 30 years of public service?” And then, inside my head, I assume that you just don't really like or respect women. At least, not strong women. Not bold women. Not brave women. Not women who challenge the status quo and the gender norms. You don’t see that she “stood by her man,” that she’s a mother, or a loving grandmother. Never mind her experience, skill, and expertise in many facets of what I imagine would be essential to be president. Because she’s a woman and she’s not “likeable,” you simply hate her. But you’ll never admit this to yourself or anyone else, instead offering more pragmatic explanations for your hatred, about emails and donor dollars and her husband.
But then - and these are who get me - there are the ones who say that they want “change." To “make America great again." Or to do away with the two-party system. These are the ones most likely to be in my life. Maybe they serve my coffee or deliver my mail or are a patient at my hospital. Maybe they are my best friend’s mom, a random Facebook “friend” from high school, or even my aunt. Maybe, but hopefully-not-and-I-seriously-doubt-it-but-just-in-case-I-have-a-chance-to-reach-them, maybe they are a friend of mine.
So to the latter faction of Trump supporters - what is it about a (suspiciously vague and otherwise empty) promise for “change” that has you all twitterpated? So much so that, although you don’t identify - and likely adamantly deny - as racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic or discriminatory in any other way, you are willing to prioritize “change” over humanity? A “great America” ruled by a hateful demagogue? 
And to all supporters, how are you more Republican that you are human? More afraid of your current situation than of an unknown future governed by a man who might have promised you things that he likely never intended to follow through on? More angry at the status quo than at bullies and bigots? More aligned with the parts of the Bible said to reference homosexuality or a woman's "place" than the parts about loving your neighbor and serving the poor? How do you have more hatred for Hillary than hatred for racism, sexism, or injustice of any kind? How can you defend putting your desires for “change” ahead of your fellow American’s human right for safety? For shelter? For the autonomy to (peaceably) do and say and be who they want to be, in a country who prides itself on being founded on personal freedom? 
So ask yourself (and feel free to explain to me and any other “leftist liberal"), why although you adamantly deny being discriminatory yourself, you appear okay with so many others, including the next leader of our country, not only promoting and normalizing bigoted rhetoric, but even bragging about behaving in such ways (remember that "grab em' by the pussy" thing?). It seems to me, being a-okay with hate speech is basically like being a hater yourself.


 I posted this image and wrote: "So proud to be raising a daughter who has the freedom to 'cast her vote.' Or even be "the boss of the whole country." "I'm the decider!" she exclaims this evening, her towel wrapped around her post-bath body like a judge's robe. "And tomorrow Hillary will be President!" Let's hope the Bean's got a little prophet in her."
I have been rather silent on this blog lately. In part, because I'm trying to participate in NaNoWriMo for the month of November, which basically uses any extra time I can cobble together, particularly anything that requires the writing part of my brain. But also, I haven't been able to get my head back on straight since the election last Tuesday, November 8th. I have lost hours of my life to Facebook, using the social media platform more in the last month that probably cumulative in my life. Except maybe for those first three months of breastfeeding, I can't recall. It's safe to say it has been a passionate roller coaster of emotions and opinions at our house. I actually am a bit sad that I haven't been writing any of my political two-cents on here, for posterity, because it will either be embarrassing or interesting to read with a bit of hindsight bias someday. So I am going to try and pull from what I might have said on IG or FB and put in here, for safe keeping.
I was so very excited to not only vote for a female president, but for Hillary Clinton herself. The morning of Election Day, I was giddy and emotional about the prospect of my daughter getting to witness history in the making. Her growing up in a time where girls really could do anything. I was inspired by this "pantsuit flash mob" video I saw in the morning, and felt excited and light on my feet and had a hard time concentrating all day. In the spirit of "pantsuit nation," I made Alex wear his suit to school, I wore a corduroy suit jacket from Alex's grandfather, and Francie wore something more like a pea coat. That afternoon I busted out of work quickly and hit up Wild Fang, in downtown PDX, to buy each of us a "Wile Feminist" shirt. Originally, I was going to buy some Hillary merchandise from her website. But because Alex couldn't actually wear that to school anyway, I was leaning away from it. But on Election Day, I felt like we needed to wear something to show our support. But something timeless. And these shirts were perfection.
I posted this and wrote: "You better believe we dug through our closets for anything that approximated a pantsuit. I'm excited to be a witness to this momentous occasion. Although I feel awkward in public in this corduroy jacket from Alex's grandpa's suit, it's a good reminder that I voted for and support a presidential candidate who aims to support a diversity of people who are made to feel some version of awkward and uncomfortable for things far more significant than their clothing."
I posted this image accompanied by this: "I started my morning with this brief but wise exchange with my articulate four-year-old daughter, a "nasty girl" in the making. I assumed the sentiment was inspired by conversation with her father over breakfast. In fact, these words came from her very own mind, heart, and soul. "Bravery is when we do something even though we are scared." You are so right, my sweet Bean. There are lots of people in this nation, in this world, who have always felt scared, and are feeling even more afraid right now. I truly believe it is our job, our responsibility - as educated, healthy, well-supported, and privileged white folks - to practice bravery. Compassion. Advocacy. I'm grateful that it feels safe for me to live and move comfortably through my world, let alone freely express my thoughts, feelings, and opinions; and while that freedoms has never been experienced by everyone (as I wish it was), it seems in an even more precarious position today. Though I'm tremendously disappointed Francine (and I) won't see the first female president this year, I will continue to try and instill in her a keen sense of kindness, empathy, tolerance, activism, and bravery. And to be mindful of more opportunities to practice these things myself."
This was something Alex wrote on FB:
A Post from Public School

A five foot tall teenage Muslim-American girl is shoved into a wall by a group of boys and told she's gonna have to go home now that Trump's in charge.
Latino students entering the school are told they will be deported soon.
A gay student is told that hopefully they enjoy conversion therapy.
That same Muslim-American girl is called a terrorist in the hallways at school.
A different Muslim-American student is told that her father's going to get his terrorist ass deported.

All of these things have happened at my school this week.  All of them have happened since it became apparent that Donald Trump would become our next president.
None of these types of targeted, direct and overt instances of bigotry and dehumanization happened before. Literally, on Tuesday, my school was business as usual.  Kind, somewhat sheltered and naive children, laughing and joking and doing school... together.  The very next day, literally, the next day a storm of vitriol and intolerance for humanity plagued students from every single specific group targeted by the Trump campaign.  Starting at approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday and continuing through today Muslim students. Latino students. LGBTQ students. Black students. Members representing each of these demographic groups were specifically and overtly targeted with harassment at my school.

This whole election has been shocking.  But working in a well meaning, empathic and generally kind high school has given me a tragic view of Donald Trump's effect on our children.  His election has green-lighted hate speech and intolerance in a very real way.  I knew that racism, homophobia and general xenophobia existed.  But I thought that it had been deemed unacceptable in mainstream, professional settings.  I thought it had been culturalized as no longer appropriate to vocalize.  It certainly had been in my school.  Trump changed all that.  To watch our children emulate and intensify the rhetoric that he used to get elected has made for a truly terrifying week. Watching the speed at which the general culture of acceptance and safety at my school evaporated has been tragic.  In a span of 12 hours the positive and nurturing environment I worked in flipped into a den of fear, anxiety and depression fostered by antagonistic, dehumanizing and hateful attacks directed openly at minority students.

As I tried my best to explain to my classes that we are all human beings.  That we now have to decide how we will treat each other.  That our school has to be a safe place, because people can't learn when they are threatened.  That adults cannot control them, they do not have to follow our lead and it is ultimately up to them whether or not they want to study in an antagonistic and hateful environment, or a peaceful and collaborative one.  That they must support each other, they must see each other as human beings, regardless of all else.  As I tried to inspire them with hope and positivity despite not feeling any myself, I saw them looking back at me.  I saw Latino students crying.  Muslim students crying. Girls crying.  Gay students crying.  Trump supporting students crying.  I saw shame.  I saw fear.  I saw panic and distress.

And then I had them write.  I read true beauty from my students this week.  I learned that almost all of them are compassionate.  That they are afraid because they don't want to live in a world where some people are treated as less than.  Their friends.  Treated as less than, cast aside and dismissed.  They want to help.  They want to show kindness and acceptance.  They want to help but they don't know how.  So many students wrote about not knowing what to do.  About being paralyzed and helpless and lost.  These children look to the adult world for safety, for stability, for comfort and we have given them the opposite.  We have deemed it acceptable to discount, disgrace, defame and dehumanize.  They are in free fall.

Every single voting age adult in the country right now should know that we have cast our children into chaos and fear.  Whether you feel vindicated and victorious, depressed and disheartened, or dismissively righteous - we have all failed them.  I don't say this as a liberal democrat.  I don't say it as a teacher.  I don't even say it as a concerned citizen.  I say this as a former journalist.  I feel a moral and civic duty to try to objectively report what I have seen in a public school this week. This is important because as adults, we see and process the world through our own lens.  We interact with each other in adult terms.  But when you drop your kids off at school, they are free from you.  They experiment and exercise their developing identities.  The acute effect that this election's outcome had on our youth is something we should all take pause to consider.  As a nation and a people we are at an unprecedented precipice.  This week I saw a fundamental shift in the way our most innocent treat each other.  Whether you believe in the change Trump promised or not, the shift in humanism and resultant change in atmosphere I observed this week is not one you want for your children.

In a few short weeks our electoral college will make official this decision.  A month later this person will be sworn in.  Somewhere in the recesses of my being I cling to hope.  As someone who witnessed the effect of Donald Trump being made official on our youth, our future, I cling to a hope that it's not too late to reverse or alter this course.  Not for us, but for them.

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