Monthly Archives: February 2017

Rockin the Mall of America

It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and what better place to kick it off than the Mall of America?   The mall was rocking with over 1,000 walkers joining the fight against eating disorders.  The stage area was jam-packed and the intensity was high.
There were some Disney characters in attendance (although I highly doubt they were Disney-sanctioned; since several of them looked a bit frayed around the edges). In addition to several princesses, there was a very tall lanky version of Jack Sparrow, the efemminate pirate;  Guzzy and several other young ladies took selfies with the Johnny Depp look-alike.
I had a quick flash-back to the first time I attended a Twin Cities NEDA walk.  It was 3 days after my daughter, Guzzy, had been discharged from the Minneapolils Children’s hospital for life-saving treatment of her eating disorder.  This was in September 2013, before the walk moved to February, to coincide with the start of Eating Disorder Awareness week.   There were probably 150 of us huddled around a small stage for that walk, listening to a very technical (and exceptionally boring) speech by Guzzy’s psychiatrist.   The registration was unorganized and the ‘walk’ consisted of wandering around the inside amusement park.
From humble beginnings, great things can (and do) emerge.  I’m sure the organizers of that first walk had no idea that the Twin Cities walk would grow into the mega-event of last Sunday.
Standing in the Mall Sunday we found ourselves surrounded by an incredibly diverse crowd, many of whom were there to support a loved one:  a child, a parent, a sister, a brother, a friend, a lover, a spouse; we all came together in a demonstration of support and caring.
One of the speakers, Matt, shared his experience of going on a ‘field trip’ with other teens from his residential treatment program who were  wheel-chair bound.  On the bus to the destination, a few of the teens were comparing notes about what they would tell people if/when asked why they were in wheelchairs.  The plan was to tell people they had a heart condition– to avoid the stigma attached to having an eating disorder.   Matt had an ephiphany; why SHOULD they lie about their disease?  How can we begin to fight or destigmatize something if we cannot name it?
I admire Matt, Guzzy, Monica Seles, and the many others who are brave enough to NAME their illness and tell their stories; in hopes that others who may be suffering in the shadows, will find courage and hope in their words.
The 2017 Madison NEDA Walk  will be on Saturday, September 16th.  We haven’t set the program yet, but, maybe I can see if any of the Disney Princesses are available on that day.

Profiles in Dishonor

By now it is hard to deny that The D is incompetent, bungling, delusional, and seemingly bat-shit crazy.  (Editorial note, I have decided to use the moniker ‘The D’, since it takes too long to type and to read “He who shall not be named’.) Yet, Republicans in Congress appear to be too cowardly and opportunistic to interject any level of accountability to the mounting evidence of significant national security breaches and other shenanigans from an Administration that ‘will not be questioned’.

In politics it takes one set of skills to get the job and an entirely different set of skills to do the job.  This has never been more true than in our current post-Citizens United reality;  where enormous sums of money are needed to be a serious contender for high office or appointment.  The D is a perfect example of someone who shines on the campaign and fund-raising trail, but is spectacularly unqualified for the job itself.

Only John McCain (so far) has the courage to break Republican ranks, and state publicly what is becoming increasingly obvious– The actions of The D and this Administration are uninformed, dangerous and threaten our very way of life.  In McCain’s own words–this is how  Dictators get started.

The process to confirm Cabinet members is designed to ensure that our country is served by qualified, experienced and dedicated public servants in important leadership positions. The process with this Administration and a Republican controlled Senate has become an auction and a farce.   Kudos to the two Republican Senators who voted against DeVos as Secretary of Education: Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.  DeVos is ridiculously and uniquely unqualified for her position–her one (and only) qualification was donating obscene amounts of money to those giving her the job.

We are in unchartered waters here – no previous president has so blatantly disregarded the other branches of government or long-standing protocols of the Executive branch.  How bad does it need to get before the Republican Majority calls foul?

Heading the dishonorable nominee list is Paul Ryan–who tried to grow a pair for ten minutes last summer, as he oh-so-briefly withheld his support for The D; eventually succumbing  to a tsunami of greed and power lust.

My second nominee for exceptional dishonor is the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz: who continues to be deaf and blind to his constituents and to the very purpose of the committee that he chairs by declining to investigate extremely serious allegations of blatant and treasonous security breaches within The D’s inner circle.  Apparently, he is too busy obsessing over Hillary’s emails.

The Democrats are not blameless. Recent events  have shown that they have lost touch with the concerns of many Americans–who feel disenfranchised and under-served. Cries of elitism and power-mongering are not undeserved or untrue for either party.

I won’t even go into my dismay at the millions of tax payer dollars that we are spending on security for the First Family to enable their lavish lifestyle.  Although — just maybe,  I would feel a little better about it if The D paid taxes too.

The silver lining in all of this is SNL…   I hope I remembered to record it this week!

Thank you, Mitch McConnell

Who would have thought that Mitch McConnell would be the one to provide a great summary of women’s progress and a new feminist rallying cry:

She was warned, she was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted

For those of you that may have been in a coma for the last couple of days:  This was McConnell’s ‘mansplanation’ for invoking an obscure and bizarre rule to ban Senator Elizabeth Warren from reading a letter from Coretta Scott King during the nomination hearing for Jeff Sessions as Attorney General: a decades-old letter which urged against naming him as a Federal judge due to his track record of blocking civil rights and voting rights.  Although Senator Warren was banned–multiple male colleagues were inexplicably allowed to read the same letter.

I admire so many women for their ability to rise and persist in the face of adversity.  In my own lifetime I have seen sexism become  less institutionalized; yet it is still pervasive.  In many ways I think it is even more difficult to raise a strong, confident woman in these days of hyper-sexualization and a social media that is both brutal and 24/7.

There are times in everyone’s lives where they face a decision as to whether to take a stand or submit to the prevailing winds.  In my own life, I most regret the times I have not persisted in doing what I felt to be right.   I recognize that not every issue is worth the fight – sometimes the ‘juice isn’t worth the squeeze’.   Yet, at some point, we need to say enough is enough. I will not let your sexist or racist statement go unchallenged; I will not allow my daughter to be treated that way; I will not allow my co-worker (or myself) to be treated disrespectfully; and I will NOT stand by quietly while our ‘so called president’ ravages our country.

I have long held that the definition of courage is standing up for what is right — even if the odds are against you.  It is that brand of courage that won women the vote, desegregated our schools, gave us a 5 day work week, did away with Jim Crow and more.  People have suffered, people have died.  Nevertheless, we persist.

Pong Time!

We moved into our current home a little over a year ago.  It has been my experience  that the ‘stuff’ that doesn’t find a place in a new home within the first month or two will most likely languish in the obscurity of a basement for a long time; with a high probability of being tossed into the trash versus getting promoted to living quarters once ‘rediscovered’.

In our case, one of the items languishing in our cellar was a folded up ping pong table. The only option for setting it upright in our new home is the unfinished basement; but a significant portion of the necessary square footage was, until very recently, completely obscured by random crap.

Shortly after our move, I counted no fewer than 12 tool boxes lined up against the basement wall with even more tools and man-toys hibernating in its various nooks and crannies.  We also own an extensive collection of lighting equipment. Dan is a light junkie –  constantly tinkering with different kinds of bulbs, dimmer switches and fixtures in his on-going mission to improve the lighting in our home.  This requires an extensive inventory to be at the ready for any possible lighting-related emergency.

We also have the normal ‘stuff’ that one stores in a basement: Christmas decorations, extra blankets, photos and memorabilia, cables that don’t fit anything, crutches, bowling balls, 30 year old crochet needles, and so on.  Last week, Dan finally got tired of my griping and spent several days re-organizing the basement and set up the table!

We are looking forward to playing – just as soon as we can find the damn paddles.