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I still choose love. Always.

I thought I had left this blog behind. And frankly, after a night of vomiting and ceaseless tears and no sleep, it’s probably not the time to dust off the keyboard. I’m not terribly articulate on the best of days. But here on the worst of days, I don’t know what else to do with all this other than to let some of it out. I know that I need to find something more constructive to do, but right now, I’m still just trying to keep my head above water in this sea of despair.

How long before the already desperately appalling rates of violence in this country against PoC and immigrants and Muslims will skyrocket?

How do I explain to my lesbian daughter and my autistic son why this country has declared them unworthy as human beings?

How long before my dear friend loses his much-needed health insurance?

How long until another loses her disability benefits?

How many more species will be lost forever? How long until there’s no more clean water to drink?

The list of questions is endless. Some of them are beyond my capability to even put them into words.

I know that somewhere there has to be hope. I know that there are so many good, kind, generous, loving, compassionate people in this world.

But right now, the endless string of questions is all my brain seems capable of focusing on.

I know that I can’t succumb to fear…but neither can I ignore it.

 

 

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one more go at this…

It seems to me hard to believe (and yet at the same time really not that hard at all) that I’ve been playing around at this blogging thing for more than a decade now. And over that time I’ve found myself in this same situation probably a dozen times or more. The “do I really want to do this anymore?” situation. But I gotta say it feels different this time. In the past, when I’ve contemplated walking away, there was always a piece of me that rebelled. A piece of me that just couldn’t let go. Even when I was 90% sure it was the right thing to do. But this time…I don’t know. I think that maybe I’d really and truly be okay with the decision to just give this up. I’m going to give it a few weeks…try writing here again…try writing in the way I would feel more comfortable writing if I do decide to stick it out. And see what happens. If I still feel this way in a few weeks, I think I can say goodbye to my blogging days with a true feeling of peace.

What do I mean by “the way I would feel more comfortable writing”? I’d be quite the happy, not-so-little, camper if I knew how to answer that one. It has to do with just being me. I do not lead an exciting life. I have no special talents. I am an anxiety-ridden mess who much of the time is afraid to speak even to the people I love most. None of these things make me unworthy as a human being. But each of those things does give me pause when it comes to taking up space on the internet. I have always blogged for myself. And while I’ve made the best friends through blogging and obviously wouldn’t change that for the world, to this day I sometimes find the idea that other people can read what I write a little unsettling.

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But I love life. And I get excited about so many things. Too many things. I have no one thing to write about. I’ll never be a book blogger, or a mommy blogger, or a homeschool blogger, or a garden blogger, or a crafty blogger…. I like to record my life, as unexciting as it may be to the outside world. But I could record it in my pen and paper journals or I could record it here changing the setting to private–and I really think I could be happy with either of those options. But first, I’m going to give this one last shot. Maybe in an effort to tease out whether I could really walk away without having any regrets.

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a hodgepodge of tidbits…

I stumbled across this cartoon called 8 Things You Were Probably Taught about Autism. I wish everyone would read it. I would add a couple things to it. Autistic people lack empathy–WRONG! Autistic people don’t have a sense of humor–WRONG!

*****

Been working on school prep for next school year. Got a book that I *thought* would work as a sort of base book for art. We never use just one book. I like to use several books for any given subject, but often appreciate having an overview book that gives me a sort of chronology for approaching the class. Well, this is NOT the book I want! If my arms weren’t suffering this current fibro flare, I might have thrown this book (Art: A New History by Paul Johnson) across the library. :/ I read the intro, and was made a bit wary by a few of the things he said, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and read the first chapter. Well, he lost me entirely (and led me to call him a few choice names) on the first page of that first chapter. He was talking about how body art and adornment was possibly the first form of art, and goes on to say:

Unfortunately, by its very nature, body art has disappeared. We do not know its salient characteristics or how it evolved. It is little help to study peoples who still practice it, as in Borneo, because these examples of Homo sapiens who have remained locked in the Stone Age self-evidently lack the dynamism which enabled primitive man, using his art-creating capacities, to break out of his predicament.

*angry bewildered sigh* So yeah, I still don’t have a good introductory art history book for us to use. Might anyone have any suggestions? Especially one that isn’t solely focused on Western art. I would be so very appreciative.

*****

For so long, mid-July has seemed soooooo far away. Ever since I learned months ago that Ana was coming to visit, I’ve been in this dual state of overwhelming happiness (and I do mean overwhelming, as in bursting out in happy tears and literally shaking with excitement at random moments) and denial (as in, “it’s just too good to actually be true”). The original plan was for Chris to come as well, but with everything going on his life, especially with his Dad, that end of things sort of fell through. But then, after his Dad’s death, his Mom did a little pushing and made Chris see how this trip would be so wonderful for him. I think it will be wonderful, for all of us. And with all the unbelievable shit that both Chris and Ana have been dealing with the last several weeks, they deserve exciting adventures. And we all, everyone in this whole world, deserve the love of friends. Thinking about the three of being together makes me tear up every single time (yep, like now). My denial, my stupid lack of faith in the idea that such enormous dreams really can come true, has departed. In less than a week now, Chris will be arriving. And one week from today, Rich, Gray, Chris, and I will be heading off on an adventure to the Big Apple. And that adventure that will culminate, in a week and a couple days from now, in meeting up with Ana at the Strand. After which we will all drive back here to spend a few days hanging out. Including some time with Eva. Possibly including a trip to Niagara Falls. There are times in life when I feel blessed beyond anything I could ever possibly deserve…this is one of those times.

And then, because I’m apparently really spoiled, right after Chris and Ana leave, Karen (my absolute best friend in high school) is coming to visit! In the most amazing coincidence, 5 years after we graduated from high school, we ended up living just 5 miles from one another, in the complete opposite corner of the state where we grew up. But after a few years of spending most of our time together (we even worked 2 different jobs together in those years), we moved when Rich went back to school. We saw each other a handful of times in the years following, but then as sadly happens, we drifted apart for a while. We’ve been in contact again over the last few years, but we haven’t seen each other in 20 years. 20 years! She’s never met Annie or Gray or Max. The last time we saw one another, her youngest was a wee infant, just weeks old. She was in my wedding, I was in hers. No one in all my life has ever made me laugh the way she does. And if ever I need a role model for getting through tough times, I need look no farther than Karen–strongest woman I’ve ever known, hands down.

*****

My reading has been slow this summer but ever so enjoyable! Well, I’m not sure if I’d call my reread of Frankenstein enjoyable. Ha! No, seriously, I actually enjoyed it ever so much more than the first time I read it. But aside from that, I’ve been reading the Gaither Sisters trilogy. I’m on the last book right now. This makes me sad, because I don’t think I could ever get enough of Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. But I’m eager to read everything else I can get my hands on by Rita Williams-Garcia. I’ve also started the second Marti McAlister book (Slow Burn) by Eleanor Taylor Bland. And thus far am loving it as much as I loved the first. These books are mysteries, of the police procedural variety. (I don’t believe I’ve ever read another mystery series by woman of color, and would very much love any suggestions for other authors I might try.)  In some ways, I guess some might feel these early books in the series a little dated, as they were written in the early 1990s. You know, no cell phones. But I’ve been sort of enjoying that fact. Marti is such a wonderful character. And I love the focus on social issues that has shown through in these first two books. Sadly, Eleanor Taylor Bland died a few years ago. But I’m grateful that there’s about another dozen books left for me to read in the series.

*****

I suppose I should stop my blathering on now. I have much work to do…due to the yucky weather and yucky invisible illnesses, I haven’t been getting a lot of prep done for my impending weeks of heavenly bliss. I know that neither Chris nor Ana nor Karen will give a crap if my house is not clean and I choose to play our meals and whatnot by ear…but still you know that nagging, annoying voice of guilt…yeah.

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a few super quick words on a DNF, and on one I did finish…

It’s sort of rare thing when I don’t finish a book. But I think Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me about a Parent’s Expectations by Ron Fournier is going to be one of those books. This surprises me. I love the parts where the author talks about his son Tyler, who like Gray was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of twelve. It’s sort of impossible not to fall in love with Tyler. Unsurprisingly, Tyler reminds me so much of Gray. Also unsurprisingly, Tyler and Gray are very different in a host of ways. But the further into the book I read, the less time we got to spend with Tyler. For in actuality, the book is really about the expectations parents have for their children. But I hardly recognize these parents he speaks of/speaks to. The author is very much upper-middle class, as are most of the people he speaks to. I don’t mean to say that all wealthy people foist ridiculous expectations on their children, and I don’t mean to say that you have to wealthy to have these expectations. But frankly, I could only read so much of this. It’s a mindset I just cannot comprehend. Even though I know I’m far from perfect in being free of expectations, the things some of these parents said and the lengths some of these parents go to, well, it was almost nauseating. One hundred plus pages of this has just strained my annoyance level to the breaking point. I fully anticipate a turn around here, a point were the author will actually talk about how he’d been looking at things from the wrong perspective and how Tyler helped him see this. But life is short and there are just too many books that I want to read, so I’m just going to set this one aside for now.

I finally finished American Slavery, 1619-1877 by Peter Kolchin. This book sort of straddled the line between being an academic book and being a book for the everyday sort of reader. I fully admit that I tend to shy away from heavy academic books, both because I sometimes get impatient (I’m a slow enough reader even with a typically quick-moving book) and because I tend to not trust my ability to comprehend weightier sort of reads (this is a very bad habit, I know). Anyway, this book was extremely accessible, and while it’s tough for me to judge it against other works on the subject because I’ve read so little, it seemed a good overview.

*****

Projects progress:

13. Read 100 non-fiction books about human rights or social justice issues. American Slavery, 1619-1877. (1/100)