Finding Hillary

The quest to find the woman who would be President of the United States.

I decided last week to find Hillary.  Prompted by a couple of my friend’s entreaties to vote for someone to keep someone else out of the Oval Office, I have decided to challenge myself.  Because frankly I just could not come up with a concrete reason that wasn’t informed by the media.  I have never read any of her books.  And I haven’t read any books written about her.  I have seen her on the news but I know very little about her life and career.  I never listen to radio talk jocks and I rarely watch television shows with hosts who interview “celebrities”.  It’s all too boring.

But there are two things I can confidently say that I think about Hillary Clinton.

  1. I admired the way she handled her husband’s public philandering.
  2. Her voice annoys me.

So, for me this is a quest.  I am going in search of a leader.  I believe a person’s truths are echoed in their writings, so my goal is to read at least two of her books, probably  Hard Choices  and “It Takes a Village”.  Because enemies help define all of us, I will read two books from among those who find fault with her, “The Case Against Hillary Clinton”, by Peggy Noonan “The Final Days” by Barbara Olson.  (All of these books have been chosen because they are available at local libraries)  I’ll interview a couple of my friends and family who will not vote for her and I’ll also continue to listen to two of my friends who are ardent supporters.  I’ve read some articles in the N.Y. Times but I usually prefer the Washington Post, so those will contribute in my search to find the reality behind this iconic woman.   And maybe I can catch a video or two, including  Clinton Cash.

During this journey I would like to find the answers to the following questions? 

Do I agree with her ideologically?

How was her job performance as  the Secretary of State?

What part does corruption play in her leadership?

What role does misogyny play in my perceptions of her?

I am prepared to accept that I might not find the leader that I would like to find.  But I am also prepared to find a leader that I have neglected to give a chance.  My journey begins…join me.
Expect a new post every week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday.  And I invite appropriate and respectful referrals and comments.


Risking Your Heart at Christmas

Estrangement of a loved one is an awful thing this time of year when relationships, especially with family and friends are celebrated and reflected in every moment of every day. Christmas or Hanukkah can’t fix a relationship that has floundered or failed.  And somehow the holiday  “magic” can illuminate regrets.   

But if you believe in the hope and faith of love, you can reach out in spite of  your trepidations and trembling heart. It’s a big risk, laying yourself open to the possibility of another wound. But in the gamble, you also open up to the possibility that love will prevail and that you will experience  the “happily ever after” ending.

 Of course there are cautions about taking the risk of opening your heart, especially when you have been hurt. Here, the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies perfectly.  Unless you have been abused or mistreated acknowledge your own responsibility in the failure.  Then initiate a little step:  a note, a private message, an invitation for a cup of coffee or tea. Relationships require tending, not construction.  It’s a give and take of time. 

 Be aware that sometimes, even with a valiant effort a relationship cannot be recovered.  Not all relationships were meant to prevail.  Accept the loss acknowledging  that it takes two people to create the bonds of love.  And when you can open your heart to another.


A Teen Sleeps In

I’ve been spending  time with a boy in my family.  Like many of us in our teens, he has his struggles, particularly with social skills.  And now he’s in a school where many of the kids have problems: neglect, drugs, alcohol, abuse, mental health.  It must be a lot to handle because when I go to pick him up, he’s closed down; his arms stuck close to his body, his eyes darting place to place on the school grounds, or looking straight ahead.  It’s almost as though he is hunted.  I wonder what it’s like to be in a setting where you feel uncomfortable for 6 hours straight.  It takes him about an hour before he loosens up and starts talking.  I don’t push it and I do let long minutes of quiet lay between us.

Yesterday, he said, “you live a pretty peaceful life, don’t you? You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want.  You don’t have to get up, or go anywhere or anything.”

“That’s true but there are other things that keep me from doing everything  I want to do” I said.

It’s a simple conversation that reiterates a common teen theme,  “I want to do what I want to do.  This is my life.  I want to own it.”  He’s individuating and starting to recognize that he wants to be in control of his minutes, hours, and days.  And he doesn’t want to do anything he doesn’t want to do.  It’s like the 2 year old toddler who says, “no” to everything because he’s practicing making his own choices.

I want to talk on and on about every choice you make being a choice that eliminates other choices, or how we need people because we’re social beings and every time you include someone in your life, you enjoy the benefits of love and companionship but limit some of your freedom.

But I decide to keep it simple and keep the conversation on a literal theme; sleeping in.  He can sleep in on weekends and I can’t even though I wish I could.  He doesn’t understand how it feels to ache from being old, and how it compels you to stager into the dark mornings.  But he recognizes that part of his “freedom” is sleeping in on Saturday mornings.  Hopefully that is the beginning of an  appreciation for his personal freedoms and an opportunity for us to talk more about “freedom” in the future.



Safari Hunts for Memories

This morning with coffee, my husband read from a book he kept when our two younger kids were toddlers. It’s his book of occasional writings, funny little things the kids would say before they were grown up. He read a dinner prayer where our youngest daughter thanked God for “trees, family and forks”.  And then a question from our youngest son, “… why don’t Cousin Larry and Balki have kids?” We both chuckled and shared our dismay. How in the world could we forget such precious moments? It’s bewildering.
This morning’s reading of his little book of remembrances sits in contrast with my pride for getting rid of stuff. Last year I attempted to delete 50% of all my stuff. Yup! clothes, books, buttons, dishes, fabric, mementos, out the door. “How did I do it?” you ask. I decided that organizing and taking care of stuff was taking up too much of my time. I wanted freedom! I was sick and tired of hunting for anything and everything. No more household Safari Hunts for me. I was done!
But I have to admit after this morning’s reading, that I’m a little concerned. It’s possible that with some of this “stuff” I tossed, I also tossed some of my grey matter. Because maybe it’s not just that we are driven by a capitalistic, consumer culture to buy, buy, buy. But that these “things” cause in us a reflection; a moment of feeling. And when many things cannot be remembered at the age of 62, seeing something that has been cherished or thrown on the heap is just enough to cause us to remember.

Life 101- Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

The other day, a friend said to me, “none of us are getting out of this alive.”  Wait…really?  Oh yeah, there it is that nasty little truth that we are all going to die.  It’s just a matter of time.  Life can be so fucking hard but we still cling to it as we carry with us life’s many “bloodbaths”.  Time is our committed companion during these times.

I read a good piece by Tim Lawrence, him fussing and fuming about people who in the midst of someone elses crisis  provides the platitude, “Everything happens for a reason”. In his writing I could hear his anger, his reproach of these “do-gooders” and I started to reflect…how do I feel when someone attempts to comfort me using passages like:  “This will make you stronger”, “God has a plan”, “God never gives you anything you can’t handle”.  Of course sometimes what is offered is the blistering comment of a person who is trying, but who without knowing what to say, says the absolute wrong thing for the situation.  And this is where I disagree with  Mr. Lawrence; to discard them because of my own pain, is MY limitation.  “Everything happens for a reason” is an attempt to say that sometimes we just don’t know why tragedies happen and their might be a “bigger plan”  that we are unable to fathom.  It is a statement of faith.  It gives me hope.

After my grandson was shot and killed at the age of 18, there was nothing anyone could say that provided  comfort. I was grieving, I was angry, and I felt like God had abandoned me.   “I don’t know what to say,” turned out to be the most comfort I could get.  So many scenes of my life had already included what I assumed was my fair share of cruelty and disappointments: an abusive mother, a biological father who didn’t want me, an alcoholic step father, sexual assault, and a failed first marriage.  But my grandson’s tragic death taught me that there is no limit to the amount of sadness or grieving you might experience in a life.  Better to expect it without limitations; “shit happens”.  And it happens to everyone.  And anyone who has the courage and care to attempt comforting me when it does, is not anyone I want to “get rid of”.