Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Thanks to strangers

Sorry to be MIA again. Depression sucks, and it's hard to write when you're depressed. I'm sure a lot of writers get that.

We lost two people recently who vastly improved the quality of my life, and, I imagine, countless others. Sheila Michaels single-handedly led the campaign to use an acronym/prefix, Ms., that didn't indicate a woman's marital status. I emailed my dad, who is the first feminist I ever met, her obituary and he replied: "Why haven't I heard of her?"

Like so many others, she was lost to history. I hadn't heard of her, either.

When I was little, I asked my grandmother, "What does 'ms' mean?"
She replied, "That's if you can't decide if you want to be a 'miss' or a 'missus.'" I found that pretty amusing, but then realize now that in her generation, those were the choices. Period, end of story.

Sheila Michaels created a movement nothing short of revolutionary - the idea that a woman had an identity outside of her legalized romantic relationships.

To children's book author Michael Bond I owe much. I read the Paddington Bear books as an adult during a time when my world was so stressful and chaotic that I could only handle reading something light and fluffy - or so I thought. There is a gentle humor in these volumes and a deep emphasis on lasting friendship. And, the idea that you can accidentally flood a house, or cover important papers in marmalade and still be loved is a pretty damn decent one.

A few months after I started reading those books, I was hospitalized for a week. Paddington - a stuffed one - was the only bit of cheer in my room.

The Paddington books create a safe, happy place, one that we can sometimes only find in our imagination.

Distraction can be a lifesaver. I imagine that isn't just the case for me, but for many others.

 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Love and resist

This is going to be a raw post, because the mood here in and around Portland is raw. Bear with me. I have to get this out.

How are you? has become a loaded question. No one here is asking, How was your weekend? Because I live near, and work in, a city where senseless hate claimed two lives and impacted so many others last Friday.

It's not OK. We're not OK. And it feels personal when it happens where you live.

I rarely get angry, but I am angry. Sad, raw, and angry. It takes the White House until Monday morning, and being nagged on social media by a member of Congress and Dan Rather, to respond and say this is wrong? Any previous president in the past couple of decades would be here, meeting with the families and the survivor, calling for unity and condemning the hatred and violence.
Not this one. This one had to be badgered into condemning senseless hatred and violence, and even then, didn't respond personally, but did it in a staff account on Twitter.

This one and his ilk bear responsibility for inciting the hatred and violence that has become a pattern, that has emboldened those want to live in the America of 100 years ago.

What is heartening is the fact that I believe most of us don't want that. We may disagree politically, but most Americans are, I feel, reasonable. We don't think it's OK to shout racial or religious slurs at teenage girls on the train. We don't think it's OK for people to be afraid just because of the color of their skin, how they choose to worship, or who they choose to love.

Some people chimed in immediately, saying this guy must be mentally ill. As someone who lives with major depressive disorder and some other things, I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of the time, people living with mental illness are more likely to be crime victims, not perpetrators.

I saw a great headline from a column: "Racism is not a mental illness."

It is heartening to see the outpouring of love from the community here. More than $1 million has been raised for the families of the victims; more than $20,000 has been raised for the girls, in case they need mental health and/or counseling services. I know I would.

So maybe, as John Lennon says, "Love is the answer."

I say, love and resist.

Friday, May 12, 2017

I do not have a fix for you!

I've been waiting to do another good rant, and here I go!

As some of you know, I'm in charge of a several-thousand person event this month. I love my job. I love being paid to agitate at work, and since I work in mental health advocacy, it is a very scary time right now. People are worried that they won't have coverage or won't be able to afford it...don't get me started.

Anyhow. I do some policy work as well, but the event I am in charge of is the largest mental health event in the region of the country where I live. Our organization is leading the fight to protect coverage and this is a civil rights issue. However, I do not want to be leading the charge to be the IT-person-in-chief for all of the people who try to sign up for this event.

And apparently there are quite a few people who just realized that 1. the event is in 10 days, and 2. have no computer skills, and 3. don't know how to read, and 4. expect me to fix #2 and #3.

Bloody hell, people!!! One woman has emailed me literally 20 times, and called two of our organization's offices, trying to fix things on her team page, including her own name, which she misspelled when she signed up. Lady...I do not have a fix for you.

I have gotten texts about event shirts on weekend nights. I have had my name incorrectly listed in a news article as person who signs people up for this event (I don't - see the part about how we have thousands of people?)

Here is a typical email: "Do you have five minutes before 11:30 a.m. to help me figure out X, Y, and Z?" (Sent today at 10:55 a.m.)

But my favorite email came from someone who asked me for help planning a mental health event to be held on the same day as our event.
"It would be great if people from your organization could be there," she wrote.

Yes, really.

Every previous person who had this position and ONLY did events and fundraising had an assistant. For better or for worse, I have OCD tendencies (yes, that is the official diagnosis), which makes me extremely organized.

My boss: "You are organized enough that you don't need an assistant."

Me:

Friday, April 21, 2017

You will not, will not, run my show!

Ever deal with a micromanaging control freak who doesn't actually do any work? Wait, that's redundant.

This is a Seussy ode to one such person who shall remain nameless, except to be known as the Bitch of Vancouver. This person tried to control the seating at an event of mine that she wasn't even attending - the day before it - among other things. Enjoy.

Dear Bitchface -

There is no time for sentiment,
You aren't controlling my event!

I'm so tired of your bleating,
trying to control the seating.
You can't rearrange a chair
if you fucking won't be there!

You never do respond
until crisis and beyond.
You blame things on your staff,
but it's really simple math.
Your inbox is jam packed,
and you really should be smacked!

You're really quite a pain - 
you point fingers and complain,
claiming others shirk, 
while you don't do any work.

It won't be quite so funny
when your group runs out of money.
But then you'll probably blame us,
throw up your hands, and fuss.

The character that suits you best?
The green-faced Wicked Witch of the West.
Is it triggered by dementia
that you complain in absentia?

So go ahead and whine,
and if you find this post unkind,
I think you're a miserable hag,
and I won't be left holding the bag!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Spring had better fucking spring

Sorry for the long absence. I've been trying to get my life back after something traumatic. I'm involved with another writer, who reminded me that I need to be blogging, so...

Universe, help me out here. We are living in the apocalypse, and this has been the winter from hell! We have had no sun breaks here in the land of the dark, and vitamin D and intense workouts can only go so far.

Throw us a bone, will you? I stitched this years ago...it sums up my current attitude.
In the meantime, I have yet another event coming up and once again, I need a shirt that says, "I'm not your mommy!"

To wit:

If you attend my free luncheon, don't complain about the food. It's from a hotel, after all. And, you didn't pay for it, or donate!

If you sign up for advocacy action, and I let you know the goddamn minute we hear from the Legislature about a hearing, don't complain that you "didn't have enough notice." Particularly if you don't have a job to go to.

If you want to sell ice cream at my event, get my fucking name right in your email.

Likewise, if you want to play music at my event, get back to me, or I will book another band.

This all brings to mind the comment a fellow event manager got a few years ago, letting her know that it "was hot at the walk, and there should be more trees for shade."

I told her to tell that person, Start planting!!

 I will visit you all very soon.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The winter of my discontent

Sorry for the absence. I've been drowing in snow and interesting dates. I will visit your blogs very soon!

I must ask, is it so much to want to meet at guy who doesn't want to pee on me, or want me to call him Daddy?

So anyhow...our area got socked with more than a foot of snow in one day about 10 days ago. To give you an idea of how unprepared we were, we typically average four inches of snow in a winter.
Things I have learned regarding snow in Oregon:

1. If you share a driveway with neighbors who have four-wheel drive, they have no fucks to give, and no impetus not to create PILES of snow that trap your car.

2. It's good to have a shovel. I own one now.

3. Shoveling snow is a hell of a workout! And it impresses people. One friend from the Midwest said I was a badass...another asked if I stretched first...and another sent me a text warning me of potential muscle, back and heart damage. I told him that I merely shoveled the driveway, I didn't fuck it.

 Things I have learned about dating as a 40-year-old:

1. "I want to be exclusive" right away = "I am needy as fuck and I want to smother you."

2. "I've gotten kinkier as I've gotten older" = "Please pee on me."

3. "Do you want to get married again?" = "I can't be alone. Ever!"

And, most recently, 4. "I just met this girl I'm going to be focusing on" = "She slept with me on the first date and you wouldn't."

For those of you who are single... you're welcome ;)