Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's been a long time. So much change. Boys are in college, creating their paths, making their way. I still see their tiny faces in flashes of the past from infant to toddler to tween to teen. Snapshots of smiles, faces warm with love. Films of generosity, kindness and beauty. Josh is in radio television and film, following his passion into the arts with no arrogance, embracing the opportunity to start at the bottom. He is a TA and manages a specialty pizza joint. He is beginning to network with those in the trade which is possibly the most difficult part of what one must do when entering the world of the industry in which one wants to make one's mark. Cody is working toward a degree in Petroleum Engineering. Knowing who he is, his intense empathy, his deep kindness and compassion, he will not be able to embrace the culture of the oil and gas industry. I know for a fact that he will do something that will help the world and not threaten the environment. He is living in an apartment in the city, working at an indoor soccer establishment which allows him to be around the sport he loves. They are both in loving relationships. Slowly but surely, they are moving towards independence. I revel in the joy of their accomplishments and feel that my goal as a parent is coming to fruition. I continue to work at the City of Missouri City in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I love it. Honestly, I love every part of it. There is always something to learn, always something challenging. We moved out of the suburbs and into a historic home on 8 acres. What a crazy trip that was. The home is owned by a development company and we are caretakers. Every day, I get to drive down a dirt road with large old oaks crisscrossing overhead. Deer, hogs, rabbits, possums, raccoons, armadillos, birds of every imaginable type and color, snakes, the occasional alligator. At night the quiet is breathtaking. After any stressful event, a walk amongst the trees and bushes and flowers and birdsongs changes everything. We have access to over 3000 acres of land. I have no idea how long I will be able to be here before they start moving closer and closer to tear it all down to create ugly cookie cutter subdivisions. I am grateful for every single second I am here. I have begun growing my own veggies and herbs. I researched growing from scraps and have managed so far to get some tomatoes, garlic and potatoes underway. The parsley, rosemary, sage and lavender have moved on to different containers. My veganism has moved towards organic, local and seasonal. I am cooking more and with access to a local veggie/fruit stand, I am able to create fresh dishes with wonderfully fresh produce. I try to a week's worth of lunches done on Sunday - be it a cauliflower/kale soup, shepherd's pie, enchiladas, whatever. I am making a lot more traditional dishes - just subbing in vegan options. I have started using chia seeds, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, flax seed to get some of what I've been missing. My husband and I take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day as the benefits are staggering. As a meat eater with Crohn's, his digestive system has balanced out and he experiences much less discomfort than before. I rinse my hair with it to get it shiny and free of buildup. I am actually using it on my face as a toner. I turn more and more to natural remedies as the benefits and cost are significant. And then there is politics. Leading up to the election, it was hard not to worry. I live in a state that is the ultimate conservative utopia. Open for business is our slogan. Fuck the environment and the people who live here. Fuck the little tiny lungs filled up daily with petroleum toxins. Screw the woman working two jobs desperately trying to sustain her family. Screw the immigrant that tears his hands, breaks his back, toils in the driving heat to live in a constant state of fear that he will be forcibly removed for being an illegal human being. I try desperately to understand why these people believe what they believe. I get that they want to keep their money. I get that they don't want to be kept from fulfilling their dreams. And the information that they receive terrifies them. I have listened to it. It is terrifying. Much like one of those awful movies where one is forced to cut off one's own arm or another's foot to gain freedom, the idea of it is horrifying. But it is not reality. Well, actually, there is a little bit of reality. Which is what makes it so dangerous. So, there was a lot of energy here - angry, frustrated, tea-rage energy that threw me. But with the republicans/conservatives constantly SAYING WHAT THEY THINK OUT LOUD it became increasingly evident that what they believed did not fit in with the people of this country. What worried me most was the actual vote. Would all these efforts culminate in voter suppression? What was completely and totally unforeseen by those trying to keep people away from the polls was the adamant resolve of the average person. Especially the average person of color. They would not be deterred. They would not be thwarted. They would not be hindered. Their voice would be heard. Joy. And we won. All the "see you in November" sign offs by conservative bloggers, who wholeheartedly believed that their side would prevail went dark. Do you remember that time? When we had Kerry v Bush? Do you remember the day, the weeks after and the complete darkness? I do. It was devastating. I believe that was how the right felt. So, I couldn't gloat. I understand to my very core that disappointment. But the relief was amazing. Thank God. The people are now being represented on the federal level. Know this. We will not get everything we want. Not now. It will take several more elections to get the people in that actually represent us. And we will need to continue to hold them accountable. We will need to keep a steady pressure on them to do what is right. Blocking Keystone. Moving towards sustainable energy sources. Protecting our oceans. Protecting the defenseless. Granting full rights to all human beings. ALL of them. Encouraging growth that doesn't destroy but involves balance and sustainability. It is possible. We are resourceful and clever. And adapting is what we do best. We must work towards cleaning up our messes. All of them. From breaking up the banks to strengthening the job market to simplifying our tax codes. Forcing the individuals, the entities that destroy with no conscience to do the right thing. How can we possibly be a morally balanced country when we incarcerate millions of poor, underrepresented individuals to feed the private prison system? How can we call ourselves compassionate when we rip babies away from their mothers, test on tiny defenseless beings, beat, torture and destroy sentient beings? It's a huge undertaking and anyone expecting it all to change in a matter of one presidential term is not dealing with reality. We are strong in the federal arena and gaining strength. But where are we on the state and local levels? The right has that locked up. We need to get governors, mayors, council members, assembly members, boards, representative from our side into office. There is a huge effort to turn Texas blue. Go here to like the page and get involved. Don't wait for someone else to do it. Don't wait for an election to be heard. Start now. Run for office or help someone else do it. The right has worked for decades to gerrymander districts to lock in their dominance. If we work together, we can change that. But it takes perseverance and consistency. It takes doing something every day. What have you done to make your world as you wish it to be?