Category Archives: Family. And stuff.

Whither the healing?

I’m with Bernie Sanders:


Funny thing is, the night after the election, a Trump-supporting brother called. He acknowledged that his candidate was flawed, but that he voted for him because business (he’s a businessman in New Mexico).

Do you go ahead and argue this one? The election is over, after all, though some people are taking it upon themselves to protest. In my family, we know where loyalties lie. We know each other’s politics and religion and we mostly disagree on both. So I got off a few nasty comments about Trump, we hung up laughing and then continued the conversation with vulgar texts back and forth — though they weren’t any more vulgar than our regular texts. I love my brother. I do not love his candidate. Can I still be friends with people who voted for Trump? Of course, provided they understand that I’m spending considerable calories organizing against his success in the next election.

Your grandparents don’t want you to vote for Trump

This? Is heartbreaking.

160822-aleppo-0302_f99cf07c0972e0b6131bd2989932a1b0-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000The New York Times had a story this morning about the children of Aleppo, Syria.

To say it’s hard to read is an understatement, but if felt important to share here.

Is this any way to treat a kid?

downloadEvery state has what amounts to debtors’ prisons for children, according to a report from the Juvenile Law Center.

From Youth First Initiative:

One of the most harmful, ineffective and expensive forms of incarceration is the youth prison, the signature feature of nearly every state juvenile justice system. States devote the largest share of their juvenile justice resources to youth prisons at an estimated annual cost of over $5 billion per year. While youth incarceration has dramatically decreased over the past decade, almost all states still rely on these costly institutions and the harmful approach they embody. If youth prisons were closed, tens of millions of dollars could be freed up for community-based, non-residential alternatives to youth incarceration, and other youth-serving programs.

Here are Connecticut’s statutes in regard to juveniles in the legal system.

And thanks, Leftover, for the links.

This? Is shameful.

downloadFrom Truthout:

Military service members on active duty spent $24 million in food stamps at military commissary shops from September 2014 to August 2015, and 45 percent of students in schools run by the military are eligible for free or reduced-price meal programs.

Sickened by the shooting of the NY imam and his assistant?

downloadIf you didn’t know, Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant, Thara Uddin, 64, were shot on Saturday afternoon near their Queens mosque, Al-Furqan Jame Masjid. It was broad daylight. The men were shot in the back of their heads.

While New York police are searching for a suspect, we who wish to see an end to violence (and hate speech) can do something. We can let our local Muslim communities know that we stand with them, and that if need be, we will walk them to their mosques so that they can worship and pray in peace. If you’re on Twitter, the hashtag is #IllWalkWithYou.If you know a mosque in your area, contact them. Most have emails.

Here is a list of Islamic centers in Connecticut.




Two cars, 11 people, 2,925 miles. And we’re still talking.

13718557_10155072539573957_784268504221153410_nWhen my son suggested we all take a road trip out to Iowa to attend my niece’s wedding, I thought he was crazy.

He has seven kids. I like my quiet. Not everyone likes long car rides and I don’t like to be in close quarters with people who don’t.

But flying all of us out from Connecticut was just too expensive, and everyone loves my niece so of course we were going if we had to hitch up mules. So in the wee hours of July 14, we loaded up and took off.

Reader, I dreaded it. I actually lost sleep over it, worried that I’d lose my patience and spoil my pretty-good record with the grandkids of not screaming at any one. I mean, with that many bladders and my son pulling a small trailer for the luggage, we weren’t going to make good time and as it turns out, we spent 12 hours each day in the car.

Reader, I had no occasion to scream. It was the best family vacation I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some great ones. People either slept, or giggled. I looked in the rearview at one point, and the 20-year old had the happiest face ever because he’d discovered that my back seats fold down. “This is a game-changer, my friend,” he said.

On the dance floor at the wedding, one of the grandgirls had the happiest, goofiest look on her face, so for the rest of the trip (and probably her life), I kept imitating it. Think Joker Meets A Bobble Head. Turns out, the two-steppers in the seed barn where the reception was held were more than happy to teach our East Coasters the moves, and the East Coasters were more than happy to teach — well, whatever their dance moves are. I wouldn’t know. I mostly just get out on the dance floor and jump around. I like to think of myself as an ice breaker because what I’m doing out there definitely isn’t dancing. My brother practiced hard so he could dance with his daughter, the bride, and my heart went out to him for trying. As far as dancing goes, we’re all really good singers.

We all then toggled south to the Joplin area to share our moves down there. I kept getting compliments on how well behaved are the grandchildren, so of course I pretended that all credit should go to me, all to me. I spent time with my big brother (that’s us at the rehearsal dinner) both at the wedding, and then down on the farm in Missouri. I got to be reminded how much I love my sister-in-law, my cousins, my Aunt Julie.

Man, I had fun. Man, I’m tired. And broke. And happy.