Looming Dead End

A dead end makes no sound as you approach it. No death rattle, no warning shot, no continuous beeps until you stop. Even as you bump your head against it, walk parallel to it while running your fingers along its impenetrable wall, most of the sounds you hear are inside your own head. That frustrating conversation, trying to figure out how you got there again. Didn’t you take a different path this time? Adopt new habits? Make new friends? Read more books?

But once again, you’re no longer progressing in all the directions you’d like to go. As you blindly walk along, trying to untangle yourself from life’s interconnected web of bullshit that you unwittingly walked into while distracted by pursuing happiness, you inevitably arrived at your least favorite destination.

Do all paths lead to a dead end?

Even when you’re in constant, break-neck motion, pivoting left and right, still not going anywhere. Periodically, you fling your back against the wall to rest and wipe the sweat from your brow and happen to look up into the sky. The beautiful skies are the worst. Such a contrast to your inner turmoil. If the skies were dark and turbulent, you could at least delude yourself into thinking that the weather commiserates with you. In truth, Mother Nature doesn’t care about you.

So you look into the sky and see heaven. Even an atheist sees heaven, but calls it freedom. Blue, beautiful, idyllic. In that moment, your imagination takes flight. Soaring into the heavens, leaving the dead end behind. Weightless. Stressless.

As you fly above it all, and regardless of any sounds you actually hear, it’s all heavenly freedom. Every last drop of it. There are no walls, no boundaries, no binds, no self-doubt, no inner critic, no needy friend, no overbearing parent, no illogical boss, no crazy politicians, no archaic rules, no that-guys (y’know, that guy who emails the entire company about someone who borrowed his stapler without asking and still hasn’t returned it; so now he’s ready to pull a Saturday night special on a Tuesday morning? Yeah, THAT guy.)

At some point in your flight, something terrestrial and pedestrian beckons. You retain your lofty ideas as you return to Earth. Far too energized to place your back or bump your head against the wall. Instead, you throw your head back and laugh. Look at how far away that dead end is now. Way out there on the hazy horizon and here you are back in the land of opportunities. Ready once again, to pursue happiness down whichever paths it takes you.

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Project Row Houses

One of my friends sent me a call for submissions link, inviting Black female artists to do a voice recording of a famous Black writer. The recordings would then be played in one of Houston’s historic project row houses. On Sunday, May 21st, we made a 3-hour road trip to visit the installation.

By the time we found the place, we had about 45 minutes to view the houses. We first checked in at the main office both to use the bathroom and to speak to the artist who was on duty at the time. Just so happen that she had been planning to move to Austin sometime in the hazy future and wanted to create a similar project there. My friend exchanged social media information with her and I gave her my card and invited her to attend The Austin Writers Roulette.

The first row house installation we visited was dedicated to the Black women who were affected by police injustice. The sound recording played a Black female choir, singing about being their sister’s keeper.  The adjacent row house had been wallpapered with block print designs except for the wall, which had been painted black. A screen had been installed. A video that scrolled the words to the recorded recitations, which played on a loop. We sat on a lone bench, listening and reading the words to ourselves as the recorded voice recited the passage. When my recording came, I ran up to the screen to pose with my passage. I love that the only word that photographed clearly was “MAGIC.”

After experiencing the installation, I used my phone to find a nearby upscale cafe. Initially, I wasn’t in the mood for “salad and sandwiches,” but I figured since we had a 3-hour trip back to Austin and they had a wine menu, this would be a quick meal to get us back on the road.

For the most part, that happened. I ordered their signature salad with smoked salmon and a glass of Malbec. My friend ordered her entree and a glass of wine. Everything came out in a reasonable amount of time although I had to ask the other server for water since that’s the one thing our server forgot to bring.

And then it happened. During our conversation and dining, time ticked on and we became invisible. I noticed our invisibility sooner than my friend since she was animatedly talking while her back was to most of the restaurant. She couldn’t see how the two servers buzzed around, interacting with all the other tables except ours. Our server briefly noticed us when he had to rearrange the small tables where we were seated to accommodate a larger party. He removed my friend’s empty entree plate before moving our table over along with the other smaller tables that shifted to the right to accomodate another large party at the far end.

That was the last time we had his attention. He flitted among the other tables in our row, especially the original large party to my immediate right and the newly gathered large party at the other end to my left. He even checked on the table to my immediate left, which was just a couple, but would turn on his heel away from our table, missing the few nonverbal attempts I made to get his attention by raising my hand and checking his eye.

I think it’s obnoxious to raise my voice to get a server’s attention.  Or tap, grab or otherwise touch servers as they’re hustling around every other table. Besides, as I observed our server’s interactions with the other tables, none of those people had to do that to get his attention. They were successful at nonverbal and nontactile gestures.

That’s when I started to play my least favorite game: Intersectionality. There’re two versions of the game: Invisible and Singled Out. In one version, the player tries to figure out why she’s been suddenly rendered invisible within a seemingly normal situation. In the other version, the player tries to figure why she’s been suddenly singled out within a seemingly normal situation. And when I say “seemingly normal situation,” I’m referring to how everyone else that the player sees is NOT experiencing the same treatment.

Whichever version of the game the player unwittingly finds herself in, she analyzes how she got there. So, in my case, was it racism, sexism, classism, a combination or something else? I easily dismissed classism since we were dressed better than most although I’m sure we weren’t the most moneyed people there.

The next thing I ruled out was mere racism. The café was filled with a rainbow of hues, including interracial couples and mixed raced tables. Even the parties where there weren’t any white people still had servers approaching them.

That’s when I noticed we were the only table without a guy. Even the two black guys who sat together at the bar hadn’t turned invisible. Since our server was an Asian male, I wondered if he had a predisposition to focus on men. Ironic because he had a female boss.

At one point, during a break in my friend’s conversation, I blurted out, “Do you notice that we’ve become invisible?” She readily agreed and volunteered to talk to someone about it. I thanked her since I’m normally the one who has to have the confrontational talk in such situations. Her response: “Well, you drove.”

She calmly arose from the table and confidently strode to the bar where the other server was. In the distance, I saw the polite smile on her face as his expression transformed. Then, just as calmly as she’d left, she returned to the table, leaving him to scramble to get a water pitcher and dessert menus together.

Essentially, she’d informed him that we were from Austin and we had not come to Houston to have a Black Moment. However, our server had not refilled our water glasses when he refilled the other tables to either side of us nor had he told us about dessert. We’d just overheard the description of it when he told the large party beside us about it.

The other server refilled our water glasses and brought us menus before I witnessed him approach our server and tell him our concerns. With much remorse, our server arrived at our table and apologized. He told us that he’d been very distracted by the two larger tables.

At that point, I held my tongue since the table to my immediate left was just two people, who had received the server’s attention, which I’d concluded was because at least one of them was a guy. While I had that inner conversation, our server described to us the delicious locally made ice cream. We both ordered the Nutella with studded marshmallows, which he comped.

I ate my free ice cream with less enjoyment than dessert usually brings me. It was a nice gesture, but I’d much rather had paid for my ice cream with money versus his embarrassment of rendering us invisible.

I realize this was an “isolated incident” only in the sense that the conflict was de-escalated and resolved peacefully and had not become an on-going protracted argument between the server or the cafe and me. However, that isolated incident has become the latest star in my personal intersectionality constellation. There are quite a few stars in that constellation. They vary in size and intensity. All the isolated incidents forming a pattern that’s easily recognizable to others who have similar constellations of their own.

When I look inwardly and mediate on a reimagined freedom, I see my constellation where no more stars have been added.

 

 

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Juneteenth Celebration & Wonder Woman

For the fourth year, we three came out to read excerpts from a newly emancipated slave’s narrative. We took the usual group photo in our costumes and then… had the sheer delight of having our pictures taken by a professional! I didn’t have the bandwidth to memorize the few lines of Mattie Gilmore’s narrative, but felt very comfortable emoting the lines to the museum visitors.  When I’d volunteered to participate this year, I had no idea that I’d be in the midst of studying for my property and casualty license. Nonetheless, sacrificing a little study time was totally worth it to remember the people who came before me, who never once dreamed of being an insurance agent. Before leaving, we had another group picture with all of the historical character interpreters although the seated woman entertained everyone with one of her family stories that had been passed down for generations about the KKK coming to one of her relative’s house to kill him and a mysterious pack of wild dogs confronted the Klan. They’d never seen those dogs before or since that night.  After changing out of our costumes, we dashed over to the newest dinner/movie theatre to see “Wonder Woman.” I asked the guy at the ticket counter to take our picture since we were two Black women who’d actually arrived early. That was so silly, we asked the bartender to take our picture as well. Then we watched “Wonder Woman.” That movie was so much fun and she’d done so many capoeira kicks, I nearly wanted to start training capoeira again. But not sparring. I never have to spar again! At least not physically.

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Elements & Math

In the beginning of scientific thought, there were only four elements: air, water, earth and fire. Alongside those elements developed a very precise philosophy, founded in observation and used for prediction and abstract logic, called math.

 

Air

(Deep inhale and exhale)

did you experience that

not the scent, but the air

breathe in the fresh

breathe out the stale

breathing in

properly called inspiration

that delightful tickling

of lots of oxygen to the brain

answer me this

do we yawn so much when sleepy

to stimulate brain activity

or to wake ourselves up

enough to find a good place to sleep

 

Water

From our watery birth

Into our watery world

The most important liquid

Reacts unlike others

Expanding when frozen

Becoming less dense

So vital, it’s a part of two

Biogeochemical cycles

Respiration and photosynthesis

One breaks down sugar with oxygen

While creating carbon dioxide and water

The other captures the sun’s energy and uses water and CO2

To build sugar and release oxygen

 

Earth

In and around the most complex substrate

Called Earth

Lowercase earth reminds us

It’s nothing exotic

Like being down to earth

Uppercase Earth reminds us

It’s unique

Supporting life like no other

Known planet

To think

We live on a slowly cooling

Dynamic and massive

Ball of gas

 

Fire

Just like a passionate person

Not only is the fire inside

But can be recreated

By many methods

Springing forth from the earth

Piercing down in lightning bolts

And every heated thing in between

 

Math

We all know it’s just numbers

There’s no need to rant

There are only three types of people

Those who can count

And those who can’t

 

 

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Just Sightseeing

One reoccurring thing Mom said when she took us girls out shopping to a new place and made a wrong turn was, “Kids, we’re not lost. We’re just sightseeing.” Now, the first time Mom used that line, I fell for it since I was the youngest while my two older sisters helped her navigate. Back then GPS stood for “girl-perceived sightings” as my sisters looked for familiar landmarks or read the names of streets. Counter to most people’s approach to driving while lost, Mom never slowed down. If anything, she drove a little faster.  After several sightseeing trips, Mom’s conclusion morphed into, “We may be lost, be we’re making great time!”

And that’s pretty much how I’d describe the journey our country is taking: we’re lost, we’re sightseeing, we’re speeding through and we definitely need more girl-perceived sightings to navigate us to a desirable destination.

Hold up, this isn’t Freedom. I believe you just passed Accountability back there. Wait, I think we made a wrong turn on Ethics. Hey, shouldn’t we be on Constitution instead of Constitution Bypass? Ok just make a left onto American Way. No, your other left.

Wait, why are we at the military-industrial complex again? We’ve already spent a tremendous amount of money here. We can’t get everything on our agenda by spending most of our money here. We need infrastructure, education, healthcare, the environment…

What? Why of course I’d love to take a drive by the river. Which one? Really. The Rio Grande. Let me warn you: if you even say the word “wall,” I will beat your ass. Just keep that word outta your mouth. We could spend less money by helping those countries build their economies than by building that useless fucking wall. Increased trade creates more sustainable jobs here. But you know what? Don’t take my word for it. Why don’t you talk to the Chinese president again? He explained the complexity of North Korea to you in ten minutes. I’m sure he can explain how useful a big wall is for preventing unwanted immigration.

I’m not torturing you. It’s called enhanced interrogation. Well what do you expect? You got me back on this military-industrial complex again.

Yeah, I can eat. Oh, but don’t you take me back to Mar-A-Lago! I wanna go somewhere local. What do you mean you don’t know where else to go? You know what. Move over. I’ll drive.

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How Not to Be Smug

In an effort to reach across the aisle, I’m working on my smugness. But it’s hard. I read a lot and from a wide variety. Not just to be a know-it-all, but because I’m a writer. I like researching to broaden my understanding of things, even to the point of watching The Hannity Show after watching The Rachel Maddow Show. I progress through my ever-growing booklist, especially for materials that concern the third book I’m writing.

I’ve always loved learning, which is why being a teacher was such a logical choice for me. Although I’m no longer in the classroom, I still have a need to educate people and love that I can now do it through narrative and spoken word. Yet, I must work harder at not sounding so preachy or condescending toward those who initially seem allergic to facts or receptive to alternative facts.

The most empathetic way to interpret this phenomenon is, when people are desperate, they are more susceptible to fall for the machinations of con artists. Once they go down that path, they’re committed to the journey because they want the promised result come true. And the more religious the person, the more that person is prone to put their faith in the con artist or toxic leader. That’s what my research has told me so far. For those who’d care to fact check, please read The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians–and How We Can Survive Them by Jean Lipman-Blumen and The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It…Every Time by Maria Konnikova.

I read those two books over two years ago, long before Trump rode the escalator down into the Republican presidential candidacy. (How prophetic it was the DOWN escalator!) I’d taken notes on these books because one of the characters in my upcoming novel is a charismatic, power-hungry con artist or psychopath who uses people by charming them and saying what they want to hear, but only serving himself in the end.

To be clear, I write fiction. However, living through this election cycle and new presidency has given me the best examples of how to write the fictional character I have in mind. I have learned that no dialogue or action is too outrageous for my character to say or do as long as the other characters, who are his followers, believe.

No matter whether you’re a firm believer in real facts or alternative facts, everyone loves a good story. Here’s one I’d like to call my prediction of what will happen in the near future if the One Percenters get their way.

In the near future, the only people who’ll have the freedom to choose their own doctors are the rich since other people who cannot afford insurance, won’t have any. Instead of society paying for poor people to have health, including mental health and chemical dependency coverage, we’ll pay for the penal system to incarcerate them instead. There will be a rise in suicides, including death by police.

The One Percenters will continue to hoard both the wealth and natural resources to purchase politicians who will pass legislation to accelerate the concentration of both wealth and natural resources to the small number of superpredatory rich families who control the planet.

Simultaneously, technology will advance to make the colonization of other planets possible. At the same time, technology will continue replacing unskilled labor with machines, requiring fewer people to run society, especially to serve the needs of the superpredatory families. When those families leave planet Earth, they will only take the educated civil servants necessary to maintain their own status and comfort. Whatever life left on this mostly barren planet will give rise to the hardiest species since the toxicity of the atmosphere, water and soil will have reached levels not seen since the planet’s creation.

Over thousands of years, the Earth recovers. Doomsday religious texts will have been rewritten. Instead of fearing the second coming of a messiah to end the world, they predict the return of the One Percenters. The revelation is: humans never needed god or the devil. We had both inside us the entire time.

 

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Black Hair Products

Are you a white person with thick, curly or unruly hair? If so, now’s the perfect time to try mixed race and black hair products. Shampoos, conditioners, various hair dressings and oils marketed to black people may be just the thing your uncontrollable hair is screaming for. Just imagine being able to control the frizzies. Comb or brush your hair more effortlessly. And the best part is, since “race” is a social construct and not a genetic one, you may still identify yourself as “white.” Only now, you can do it with much better-looking hair. So, go ahead, experiment with either black or mixed raced hair products today! For people who identify as “white” who have hair that clearly does not.

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Lloyd’s Survey

Below is the text portion of the survey that I filled out for Congressman Lloyd Doggett. 

Dear Congressman Doggett,

I am currently a health insurance agent and I wish I could play some of the heartbreaking recorded conversations that I have with sick and/or poor individuals who cannot receive affordable healthcare coverage due to preexisting conditions or prohibitive premiums. Healthcare insurance isn’t a luxury item, like a cell phone or even a car, but an essential part of the infrastructure of our country. It is absolutely dishonest for any politician to suggest that Americans will have their choice of healthcare coverage when the cost is prohibitive to access that coverage. When people cannot afford health coverage, especially people with mental disorders and chemical dependencies, then society will pay for it via the penal system rather than the healthcare system.

Secondly, I was very disappointed that Betsy DeVos became the Secretary of Education. There is an anti-education movement that has taken hold of education by entrepreneurial-minded people who want nothing more than to profit off education through for-profit charter schools. Not only do they divert funds that should go to public schools, they advocate for vouchers as well to pay for their for-profit educational businesses that are in the guise of schools. If taxpayer money goes to any educational institution, then the student body should reflect the demographics of the immediate surrounding neighborhoods.

Lastly, although I accept that Trump is currently the president of the United States, I do not accept the free reign he has been given thus far. The American people did not elect a dictator, but Trump has thus far monetized the White House for both himself and his family, fired experts and replaced them with his incompetent cronies, and the controlling political party, the GOP, are allowing these things to happen just so Trump will continue signing what they want to pass before Trump is unseated. If Democratic leaders are too cautious to pursue impeachment, can they at least encourage Trump to resign? He’s already confessed that the job has been much harder than he expected and that he misses his old life. I think Democrat leaders should circulate a memo with easy-to-understand steps about how a sitting president can resign. You can even throw him a bone of giving him  the biggest farewell party the country has ever seen, using the leftover money that he raised during the inauguration.

Cheers,

Teresa

Here’s his response, well-written form letters:

May 19, 2017

Dear Teresa:

Thank you for answering my survey and expressing our shared strong opposition to the disastrous Trumpcare bill. I voted against this bill, which would destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions, bring back lifetime and annual caps on care, allow states to remove essential health benefits, like maternity and mental health care, and take almost a trillion dollars out of Medicaid. You can watch my remarks on the House floor here or read them below. I also spoke at a rally against Trumpcare at the U.S. Capitol, which you can watch here. Sadly, the Pied Piper of Trump Tower is playing a tune and Republicans believed they must dance.

Nearly every healthcare professional group has come out to condemn this travesty. Trumpcare is still just a scam—a trillion dollar tax cut for the superrich and some big corporations cloaked as health care reform.  I stand with the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, and families around our Nation in opposition to this terrible bill. As the AARP knows, Americans too young for Medicare by a few years will get socked with unaffordable premiums, as this bill allows insurers to charge them an “age tax” and raise their premiums to five times or more than that of a young American.

While Trumpcare takes away your coverage, it provides over $28 billion to drug manufacturers, with no strings attached—even as the price of prescription drugs skyrockets. It provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest few and to large corporations.

If you think you are safe because you are covered by a large employer, watch out, these changes will hit you too in the policy’s fine print. Not only does this bill remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions—more than 4.5 million people under 65 in Texas—in the individual market, it also takes away protections for people with employer plans. This Republican bill brings us back to that sorry state of affairs before the Affordable Care Act, because if even one state chooses to cut essential health benefits like prescription drug coverage, mental health care, or maternity care, a large group employer could impose lifetime or annual caps on coverage once again.

Let’s pull together to resist yet another backward step upon which Trump is insisting. I also hope that you will take this opportunity to visit my Facebook pagefollow me on Twitter, or send me an e-mail at Lloyd.Doggett@mail.house.gov.

Please keep me advised of any federal matters with which I may be of assistance.
Sincerely,
Lloyd Doggett

Rep. Lloyd Doggett

Rally Against Trumpcare

May 4, 2017

“Thank you, American patriots, for being here today. I’m Lloyd Doggett, from deep in the heart of Texas.  And way down there on the other side of the Red River, you can hear today the great Pied Piper of Trump Tower playing a tune. When these Republicans hear that Pied Piper, they think it’s time to dance. Well, it is a dangerous dance of indifference to the needs of families all across our great country. These Republicans, they talk about a “high-risk pool.” The real high-risk pool is the one they are voting for us to dive into. And when they swim with sharks, they’ll no longer be serving in this Congress.

These Republicans have been unable to hear the advice of almost every major group of healthcare professionals, physicians, nurses, and hospitals across this land. They’ve been unable to listen to those who represent people with disabilities like the March of Dimes, or diseases like American Heart Association or American Cancer Society. They can’t hear them. They can’t hear AARP, who is concerned about all those younger people who are not quite old enough to be eligible for Medicare, and who will face an astronomical increase in their premiums. But you know, they hear some people. They hear the price gougers from the pharmaceutical lobby, who have been on a rampant spree of price gouging pharmaceuticals across the board—and what do drug makers get out of this bill? A $28 billion windfall in their taxes, with no strings attached, just like the no strings attached to the superrich, who get a windfall from this bill as well.

We know it’s wrong, and what we can do in response is what we’ve been doing, and that is to resist President Trump, in every day, in every nonviolent way. To never give up, never give in, keep hope alive, and defeat this travesty.”

House Floor

“The harsh indifference of these Republicans to the well-being of so many Americans is startling. Trump may temporarily bury the lie central to this plan with a tweet storm, with fake news, but these Republicans who follow him, they will not be able to find an excuse, as one family after another suffers.

Today’s surprise attack on American health care has been widely condemned by health care professionals across the country and those who represent the disabled and sick like the American Cancer Society and March of Dimes.

Jimmy Kimmel – know that your baby was fortunate, but others born with a disability will face the barrier of pre-existing conditions. And they didn’t listen to the AARP, which knows those Americans too young for Medicare by a few years will get socked with unaffordable premiums.

They don’t know what this monstrosity of a bill costs to the taxpayers, they don’t know how many families will lose coverage, how many jobs will be lost; they don’t really know what’s in this bill.  They know only that the Pied Piper of Trump Tower is playing a tune today and they must dance. There is much talk about high risk pools—the real high risk pool is the one that everyone who votes for this outrageous proposal is about to plunge into.”

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Free Movie Passes

Although Cinco de Mayo merely reflects the Mexican state of Puebla’s defeat of their French invaders, the American food/beverage business industry has elevated it nearly to the level of a St. Patrick’s Day libation party. This year, Cinco de Mayo landed on a Friday. Another piece of evidence that I’m middle aged is that what I normally like to do on Fridays is exercise, then sip wine with dinner and chill since I survived another week of corporate America.

Yet, due to the Cinco de Mayo celebration, my apartment complex had a free taco bar and margaritas. Perfect timing for someone who’d just worked out. I met a few of my neighbors and spoke with the ladies in the office as I ate. Even in the presence of other people, I still finished my food in the same amount of time as I would have in my apartment, watching TV.

Last month, I’d received a pair of free movie tickets to see a biopic about Emily Dickerson. The friend who I invited to join me originally wanted to go at a 9 PM showing since he wanted to clean his house after work. Then he was invited to a margarita birthday party, which we went to prior to the movie.

The spacious house with hardwood floors brimmed with children playing and adults drinking. In the corner of the room, yet another taco bar awaited. Not the least bit hungry, I made a small sampler plate, starting with fried rice. The real treasure lie in the crock pot. A childhood favorite: spicy cheese dip with stewed tomatoes. Mom always put ground beef in hers, but the meat was in a separate dish.

Then I dove into the margarita bar. I followed the recipe of the night: 1 oz orange liqueur, 1 oz fresh lime juice, 1 oz tequila, splash of water. Seemed more like a tequila shot than anything else. I added a splash of ruby red grapefruit juice for sweetness. I began to feel my alcohol, thanks to the second margarita of the evening.

The birthday girl had turned 40 a few days ago. I welcomed her to the club. I’d never met anyone there before, but many had met one another playing kickball.

After eating, I ventured outside. If I’d thought the inside of the house was child-friendly, the the back yard was paradise. Most of the children were jumping around inside the enclosed trampoline, but there was also a homemade swimming pool, a homemade seesaw, but my personal favorite were the goats.

I forget the kids’ names, but they were both males, had budding horns and occasionally the black one kept mounting the white one. One partygoer made the observation that they had no upper teeth, only bottom teeth, which were very straight and long. I happily explained that some animals who groom themselves had what was called a “tooth comb.” My friend observed that the kids cleaned themselves like cats. Yet cats use their rough tongue and not a tooth comb.

Closer to the time we needed to leave for the movie, I took out the pass I’d printed out. For the first time, I noticed the disclaimer. We could only use it Monday-Thursday. I called the theatre, explained the situation and he told me that it was OK. After hanging up, I told my friend the good news, but admitted I felt that a 16 year-old had given me the green light.

I was right.

The situation turned out to be a little more complicated in person. The teenager working the ticket/concession stand didn’t know how to process the pass.  She showed it to another teenager with more seniority who had to get the guy who was around my age to approve it. Originally, he tried to give us shit, pointing out the obvious disclaimer. My friend and I both calmly explained that I’d called ahead to see if it would still be honored and had been told that it would.

The guy told us he’d honor it that one time and walked away. (So, on an extremely slow Friday night, we were probably interrupting his secret porn watching.) We got our drinks and walked into the vastly empty movie theatre. After all, how many people are going to clamor to watch a movie based on Emily Dickerson at 9:10 PM on Cinco de Mayo?

We were two of about twelve people there. The B-movie had some funny, interesting parts. I’d known that Dickerson had never married, but I didn’t realize that she died of “Bright’s disease,” a kidney disorder, which caused her to have back pain and seizures.

What amazed me was even though she had the resources of a rich family, she seemed very leery of marrying since she didn’t want a future husband to take away her writing. Amazing how, after all this time, that’s still a very real sentiment among women, artist or not.

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Community Art Sunday

I love spending gorgeous days outside. Although this Community Art Sunday centered around kids, I nourished my inner child as soon as I walked in by blowing bubbles.  At least I started off by blowing them. After a few seconds, I just held up the stick and let the strong wind do most of the work. Next stop was designing my own art advocacy postcard. My heartfelt message was far better than my so-called design: Only cool thing about that card was the juxtaposition of my finger shadows. Nonetheless, I’ve learned from experience that I can seldom go: 1, 2, 3, DRAW!  I’m much better at writing on the spot than drawing on the spot. I normally start off overly ambitious. So I drew very simply, which wasn’t at all interesting to look at, but at least I didn’t spend a lot of time drawing a hideous mess.  Of course, I had to photograph the homemade mermaid costume. Still not sure what her cause was, but I liked the effort.  Here’s another mom of the year, “holding” her son’s pet lizard while he was off playing.  Great day to hang out in the sun.  This display made my day since I’d previously thought all bees lived in hives. I’d never heard of solitary bees that made nests.  I participated in a short field trip to visit the Sustainable Food Center’s sponsored community gardens. Now, if only I had the life-giving touch to grow food or any plant for that matter. I thought I’d be more successful with a nearly indestructible plant, but it lasted about 18 months and its dead potted stem has sat on my balcony for much longer than that.

Those raised beds were for people who wanted to garden without bending over.
I discovered a few years ago that I wasn’t, in fact, allergic to bees; so, I left the tour group to go closer to the aviary. Although the glass walls may have given the bees a sense of being enclosed, there wasn’t a ceiling.  This flowered bench was my favorite and actually made me wish I could grow plants. Perhaps when I retire–if that fine day ever comes–I’ll make a sincere gardening effort. I probably would have left after the garden tour, except I’d heard a designer cake was on its way. These two cake decorators have their own TV show on Food Network. I’d love to catch a glimpse of myself in this episode, which will air some time in July. At first, I thought they had a parachuting wombat on the cake, which made no sense at all since there aren’t any calico wombats and clearly it was a parachuting cat.  I knew since the whole afternoon was dedicated to kids, I’d have to wait until they and their parents received cake first. People swarmed the table worse than bees. After a while, I noticed that people who had cake remained milling around the table. One of the women in charge of the event also realized that phenomenon and gently shooed them away. That’s when I made my move. I’d only seen one episode of their show, but the cake designers oozed passion and joy as they sliced and served their creation. I had to slow my roll just to take a picture of what I had left of my piece of cake.I asked a friend who happened to stroll by to take our picture.
Next thing I know, the TV cameras swarmed him. I would have loved it if he had broken out with one of his memorized poetry slam pieces right there on the spot. Instead, he enjoyed both the cake and frosting-covered rice Krispy while answering questions.

After dancing forro with a friend, I called it an afternoon well spent and went home to do some art on my own.

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