Category Archives: Current events


“It’s morning in America again.”
— Ronald Reagan

I shot all the photos in this post when I woke up on this beautiful fall morning with the New Mexico sunshine streaming in my living room. That hopeful light matched my mood.

I will have more to say about the election after the votes are all counted, but for the moment, it appears our Constitution has weathered yet another challenge. Our government is an operating system with fatal errors written into its .exe file, despite the best efforts of the coders to prevent them. The hard drive has crashed twice — once in 1861 and once in 1929 — and nearly crashed several times since (Vietnam, Watergate, the Clinton scandal, and two elections in which the candidate who came in second was declared the winner under the Electoral College). The Fourth Estate has come under attack by people who would rather not have the public know what they’re up to. The basis of government itself — the counting of votes — is under attack right now. And yet, against all odds, the system prevails.

It’s morning in America again.


If Joe Biden prevails — which seems likely at the moment — I will be celebrating something I’ve wanted since 1984. 

We still have, in the immortal words of the late Helen Reddy, “a long, long way to go.”

But today, I have hope.

It’s morning in America again.


I’d almost forgotten how that felt. 


P.S.: If you share my feelings, please be nice to those who don’t. You know how it feels to have a close race fall apart at the seams and leave you wondering whether the hopes and dreams you’d pinned on your candidate were just air castles, destined to blow away on the winds of politics. After 20 years of division and acrimony, we have had three days of collective uncertainty that ought to endow us with a little more empathy. This is a unique opportunity for us to unite around a shared experience. Don’t squander it by being smug. Celebrate with like-minded friends. Gloat all you want behind closed doors. But be gracious to your acquaintances who don’t share your views and are feeling lost and scared right now. You know how they feel, and the Golden Rule is still better policy than anything any politician ever dreamed up.

Just what the Doctor ordered

“An N95 respirator is the safest thing to put between myself and a virus, but it is by no means the most interesting.”
— The Third Doctor, probably

As a courtesy to everybody he interviews this week, Ron has been following the governor’s advice and covering his face.

With a bandanna.

Which makes him look as if he is planning to rob a stagecoach after deadline.

I couldn’t let him run around like that, so I rummaged through my craft closet tonight and let him pick through my fabric stash to find something he could handle wearing. He chose a blue fabric with Our Lady of Guadalupe on it. He could do worse than to have the Mother of God standing between him and everybody’s cooties, I suppose.

I, of course, insisted on geeking it up. It would take a pretty audacious virus to try to get past twelve Doctors. (This fabric predates Thirteen by a couple of years.)



P.S.: Ron also has an N95 respirator to go with his stylish cloth mask. I found it in my craft closet tonight while I was searching for elastic. I think I bought it to ward off migraines while I was painting the kitchen in Cape, so if you see him in it, don’t side-eye him too much. I’m pretty sure the people fighting the pandemic didn’t want a slightly used mask that’s been rocking around in the bottom of a craft bin for three years. o__O

Par for the course

When I was 12, I was told I couldn’t run track because I was a girl, and we had only a boys’ team.

When I was a teenager …

A classmate attempted to stick his tongue in my mouth without permission on the way home from a school dance.

I got called into the principal’s office for circulating an underground newspaper protesting our school’s sexist homecoming practices.

I had to bite my tongue while a couple of jerks stood at the walk-up window at the restaurant where I worked and loudly discussed my backside the entire time I was making their dinner.

In my 20s …

I was told by someone prepping me for future job interviews that the plain, modestly cut top I was wearing was “too sexual” and might disqualify me in the eyes of a prudish hiring manager.

I walked into a big-box hardware store and watched incredulously as three different employees ignored me while going out of their way to wait on men who’d come in after I did.

I slept with a tonfa under my pillow after a creepy trucker spent an entire day staring at my bustline and making sexual innuendoes while I was volunteering at a fundraiser.

I sat through a job interview where a manager told me if I got the job, I would be supervising a difficult employee who was “like a wild filly that can’t be broke” and “seems to have a problem with men.” I would learn later that Wild Filly’s “problem with men” hinged on her distaste for creepy middle-aged men who enjoyed sexually harassing women half their age.

When I was in my 30s…

I was accused of having an affair with my boss because I got along with him and earned stellar evaluations.

I was passed over for a management position because “you certainly have the resume, but I’m not sure you have the personality for it.” (I’d been a manager at another organization a few years earlier and was universally praised for my performance.) The person who was hired lacked both the experience and the temperament to do the job effectively and drove off several talented employees.

At 41 …

I watched my country pass over a woman who absolutely had the resume for the presidency, because our society is so profoundly misogynistic, it would rather hire someone who appears to lack both the experience and the temperament to do a job effectively than see a bright, outspoken woman in a position of power.

Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I knew this would happen. Forty-one years of living in this country have taught me to expect the worst where its treatment of women is concerned. But the Cubs won the Series this year. Miracles happen. So I dared to hope a little bit.

I expected to be disappointed last night. I just didn’t expect something this predictable to hurt this much.


Gather ’round, people.

We got the news.

Admit that the waters around you have grown.

This is the best news I have heard in a long, long time. As the former sponsor of Daniel Webster High School’s first-ever Gay-Straight Alliance, I cannot begin to explain how happy I am today. This morning, my kids — ALL of my kids — can marry the one they love, and would-be theocrats have nothing to say about it.


Don’t panic …

… if you see otherwise ordinary-looking people carrying towels everywhere they go. They are simply celebrating Towel Day, a holiday created in 2001 to honor the life of the late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

As Adams explains in his most famous book:

A towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta … wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have ‘lost.’

I decorated a special towel just for the occasion:

At least one of my students will be utterly delighted. The rest will think I am crazy, but they think that anyway. I’m hoping to teach the Hitchhiker’s Guide next year if time allows. I have the books; I just have to make the time.


Another cause

I really hate my hair when it’s short, but at the moment, I think the planet needs it a whole lot worse than I do.

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to Supercuts in Glenpool to have my stylist, Jon, take off a few inches to send to the folks at Matter of Trust, who will stuff my split ends into somebody’s old pantyhose to make a hair boom.

Songdog doesn’t know this yet, but he and Walter will also be contributing to the cause. I take the equivalent of a Pomeranian off of Song every time I get out the shedding blade, and Walter’s big, fluffy tail is basically a giant dustbunny farm. I’ve always thought a resource that abundant must be good for something. As it turns out, it is: When you’re mopping up an oil spill, animal hair is as good as human hair.

If you’re thinking of having your hair trimmed or your pet groomed, please make sure the clippings find their way to the Gulf. Many salons are already collecting hair for this purpose; if your favorite doesn’t, please ask your stylist to save your clippings so you can ship them to Matter of Trust yourself. You have to register online — which is free and takes only a few minutes — and then you’ll be placed on a mailing list to receive updates about where to send your hair. (The organization relies on donated warehouse space, so locations change frequently.)

While you’re at it, head over to the Sierra Club and strike a blow for the good guys by participating in the Best Fundraiser Ever. I sweetened the deal by using my Nature Conservancy credit card to make the donation, thereby helping TWO environmental organizations.

I’d like to see a lot more of this type of fundraiser. Positive action is the best antidote to ignorance and hatred.


Aug. 5 Daybook


For today…

Outside my window… a quiet morning.
I am thinking… it’s been a long time since we went to Tahlequah.
From the classroom… shopping for party lights and a couple of other odds and ends.
I am thankful for… my job.
From the kitchen… nothing yet.
I am wearing… jeans, Crocs and a Woodstock T-shirt.
I am’s list of Oklahoma attractions to see where we can go today.
I am hoping… that my latest classroom idea works.
I am creating… a fun space for learning.
I am praying… to remember that others’ fears aren’t my own.
Around the house… a mischievous kitten and a husband who isn’t doing a very convincing job of sounding mad.
One of my favorite things… my car.
A few plans for the rest of the week… trip to Tahlequah this afternoon, classroom photos tomorrow, finishing up some projects later this week.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


I made this chart for the kids to track their “mileage” (grades) this semester. It’s sort of a parody of this old postcard:


I thought it turned out kind of cute. I needed a map of Route 66 for the kids to use in tracking their “mileage,” or points earned. Basically, we’re taking an imaginary journey down Route 66, and the kids can earn one mile per point, with a total of 2,448 miles available for the semester, corresponding to the length of the road. Kind of gimmicky, but I think it will be a fun way for them to keep track of their grades.

On a completely unrelated note: I love you, Bill.


Life could be a dream


Today was amazing. Five of my classes wrote research papers about Route 66 this quarter, and the kids had been pestering me for weeks to let them watch Cars in class, so I decided to reward their hard work by showing the movie after they finished their finals.

There is a scene in the film in which all the broken neon signs in town are restored, and all the cars go cruising along Route 66 to the tune of the Chords’ “Sh-Boom” while the signs glow and flash above them. On this — the last day of the semester — I watched that scene five times.

Tonight, after the sun went down, I headed down to 11th and Peoria to see the live version of that scene. Organizers threw the switch tonight to relight the historic Meadow Gold sign, which has been the focus of a five-year restoration project. By the time I got across town to see it, more than a dozen people were milling around, looking at the sign and photographing it from every imaginable angle.

Words really can’t do it justice, so I’ll just let the pictures tell the story:










It’s been a pretty spectacular day on the old road. This morning, the Rock Cafe reopened for the first time since it burned last May. You can’t get a chicken-fried steak there just yet, but Dawn and her crew were serving beignets, hot dogs, and tea to anyone interested in signing the bathroom wall and taking a look at the new interior layout.

What a way to kick off my summer.


History lesson

I don’t normally discuss politics on my blog, but an acquaintance has picked up an unfortunate habit of copying me in on his mass distribution list for snotty diatribes denigrating Mexican immigrants, and his most recent offering touched on one of my pet peeves.

Without getting into a long, complicated, and potentially divisive discussion about immigration laws, I want to point out a historical fact that seems to escape most of the anti-immigration crowd:

English is not this country’s native language.

Nothing irritates me any faster than to hear somebody start beating the “welcome to America — now speak English” drum.

English is no more native to this country than Spanish — and both languages found their way to North America through European immigrants who certainly didn’t have green cards.

Anybody who’s worried about immigrants from some other country coming in and mucking up the status quo would do well to remember that if such a thing happened, it certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented. I’ve yet to meet anyone who can explain to me why it was OK for Europeans to come in with guns and smallpox and take over an entire continent, brutalizing its inhabitants, stealing their land, and forcing them to speak a language that was not their own, but it’s not OK for Mexican immigrants to come to the United States with empty hands and ask for nothing more than a job — and perhaps a little patience with the fact that they are speaking a language that was imposed on their country by one group of European settlers, while we are speaking a language that was imposed on our country by a different group of European settlers.

Unless you are a full-blooded American Indian, at least some of your ancestors were immigrants who did NOT speak the native language when they came to this country. 

Welcome to America. Now speak Cherokee.


Follow the Leader

Yesterday’s Sand Springs Leader included a special section on homebuilding that features a thorough article about life here at the House of the Lifted Lorax, where sustainability reigns supreme. The article isn’t online, but if you happen to be in Sand Springs in the next couple of days, the paper is available on newsstands. (And if you happen to be my mom, yes, I picked up an extra copy for you this evening.) I particularly liked the lead, which gives a spot-on description of my compost pile and my backyard.

Speaking of compost, I turned it this evening after work, and it’s really broken down nicely. We timed it just about right: By the time the tomatoes go into the ground in a couple of weeks, we’ll have finished compost to put in the postholes, which should give them a boost.

Gotta run. I have one more ad to scan before I start working on the Trip Guide layout. I’m debating the merits of going to bed early tonight and just hitting the Trip Guide work hard tomorrow, as I had only three hours of sleep last night and am pretty wiped out, but we’ll see….