I know it’s Tuesday, which is usually Murray day, but I had to share this video of my crazy dog.
I’ve been training for the DC Half, which is on March 11th. I’d been doing really well. I added hills into my routine in hopes of adding some much needed support muscles. I’m also quite fond of running in the snow, so I bought a pair of Yaktrax. Not that there’s been much snow, but every time it has snowed, I’ve made sure to hit the streets. I love snow running.
About a month ago, the top of my left foot began to hurt. Nothing I couldn’t deal with, so I continued to run. Then it got worse and worse until and about a week and a half ago when I finished a 3-miler and was limping.
I haven’t run since.
I was pretty sure that my injury was muscular and therefore temporary and if I simply laid off of it for a while, it would heal. But it seemed to be getting worse. So yesterday I made an appointment for an X-ray. I had that done today.
The good news is, it is indeed muscular and should heal in time for my half in March. (I need to get some mileage in if I want to do any sort of decent time.) The bad news is? I HAVE THREE BROKEN TOES. WTF.
The doctor actually LAUGHED at me. She’d look over at the X-ray, put her hand on where the (very obvious) breaks were, she’d squeeze and say, “Doesn’t that hurt?” And I’d say, “Not really, I mean, I don’t know. They’re toes.”
So, yeah, THREE broken toes. Two on one foot. One on the other. Nothing I can do about it either. They are basically useless. They don’t bend anymore at all. One looks like a frozen miniature hotdog. I might as well give them to the dog.
But I did find out something even more upsetting: I have pre-arthritic feet. Now, she reassured me that it doesn’t point to rheumatoid, which is what BOTH of my parents have. But the metatarsals on my THIRD and FOURTH toe are longer than the second, which isn’t how it’s supposed to be. That is a sign of pre-arthritic feet and that just makes me want to explode into tears.
But I am not going to give up running. She suggested I start swimming. I didn’t go into the whole problem with my ears. Maybe biking. I don’t know. But giving up running is like asking me to give up my Prozac. Or food. Nope. Not a chance in hell.
So. That’s that. Stupid feet.
Ah, medical shit.
On Thursday, I have to go through another PDT treatment, which, for whatever the reason may be, was some of the worst pain I have ever experienced. I mean, I gave birth to three babies. I nursed them through bloody nipples. I had mastitis. I apparently run on three broken toes and have been for who knows how long. I feel like my threshold for pain is pretty high. But this? I don’t know if it’s because I have sensitive skin (freckles, pale as shit) or what, but it was mind-glowingly painful for me.
So I’m dreading that.
Sorry for the whiney post. I’m actually in good spirits these days—happy even.
But today? Beaten down a bit. And I’ve got some lyrics running through my head.
What a drag it is getting old
“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
I used to LOVE doing this with friends back in college. Usually we took a sheet of paper and everyone added a line to a growing story. We would order a pitcher of beer and pass the notebook or sheet of paper around the table and create some spectacular absurdity. I wish I still had some of them. We had so much fun.
This Twitter account uses the other method, which follows the “adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun”. I wish I’d known about this version back in college. We could have combined the two somehow. Anyway, thought I’d share.
Nearly two thirds of the economic power in this country is against Donald Trump. Let’s show him how angry we are in a language he understands: the language of MONEY.
On February 17th, the Friday before Presidents’ Day, don’t go to work. Talk to your bosses, your colleagues, your managers, your friends. Talk to anyone you need to in order to stay home that day (without being fired). Stay with your kids, your pets, your loved ones. Keep your kids home from school. Don’t drive. Simply exist. Pretend it’s your last day on earth. What would you do? Would you show up for that last meeting? Take that last commute? Would you go shopping? Or would you stay home with the people who matter the most.
Turn America into a ghost town.
Spread the word. Stay home.
I read the news. And every day something new seems to pop up that makes me scream inside. It seems to be getting worse. Now, I’m not sure if that’s because it’s piling on and I can’t process it quick enough, or if it really does seem to be getting more and more autocratic.
Please, please tell me how you can sit there and say much of what is taking place right now is OK? Please. I beg of you to make sense of this for me. If you voted for Trump, or if you voted AGAINST Hillary Clinton; if you’re a registered Republican, please help me understand what is happening and how any of this is OK.
Every hour there seems to be something new that makes me question HOW and WHY this can happen. Right now it’s the fact that Republicans are suspending the committee rules because the Democrats are boycotting the confirmation hearing.
What if it were the other way around? Would you feel totally and completely impotent and outraged? I can’t even imagine what I would be reading if the Democrats were pulling this shit.
How is this even a democracy anymore? Please help me to understand. I’m begging you.
I read an article the other day about Big Data and what took place last year. It plays in really nicely with all the dystopian literature I’ve been consuming lately. And I swear I am not losing my mind. I feel pretty solid as of late. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m worried about the future of this country. This administration scares the shit out of me. And I feel like there is absolutely nothing I can do to slow it down. I feel totally powerless. I haven’t ever felt this politically powerless before. I always felt there were checks and balances and that “bad guys” with agendas could only go so far within the Federal Government before someone decent stepped up to say, “NOT SO FAST! You can’t do that! That is wrong.”
But that doesn’t seem to be happening anymore. And we the people, we have these voices and we can take these voices to the street and we scream and we can chant and stop traffic but it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t change anything because the people we are asking to change, well, virtually ALL OF THEM seem to be who we’re screaming out against. They are all in charge.
I feel completely impotent.
I have always wanted us to discover extraterrestrial life, but now more so than ever. Perhaps if some third party steps in and says, “Wow, you people are right fucked up!” We’ll change. I mean, clearly we can’t rely on God stepping up and saying anything; we’ve given that dude like 200,000 years, six or so million if you want include our ancestors. It’s been idle silence from that bloke. I’ve given up on hearing from that bloke.
So, yeah. Alien invasion. Let them set our asses straight.
But that’s not what this post is about. Not yet. I have one in the works, but it requires actual research and I need to get my head in that space first.
This was about deleting Facebook.
I deleted Facebook because I found the article I linked to above deeply disturbing. And I can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out had Facebook (and Twitter) NOT played such a massive role in our recent election. (Brexit, too.) I feel like a toy, like a puppet, a pawn.
It’s all been very upsetting to me.
All those fake articles I saw being passed around all over Facebook. Total madness there. Plus, no one seems to be reading a thing anyone says anymore and instead they’re just becoming outraged or, worse, they have the opposition hidden from their timeline. (Guilty.) It’s becoming an echo chamber. So a few days ago, I re-followed every last person I had unfollowed and within a day I was thoroughly upset again.
This morning, when I stopped back by one last time to download my archives (yes, you can do that on Facebook!) and delete pictures of my kids, an extended family member was on there calling people idiots for protesting again and chanting “IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE.” She went on to say that if we truly believe that, then we should invite them into our home. And so, I responded. One of my very last comments left on Facebook was one letting her know that I was one of the idiots chanting that very slogan on Sunday. I went on to reassure her that I absolutely would welcome a refugee/immigrant into my home. And I mean that. I am not sure if Toby would be onboard; we would have to discuss it, but I absolutely would open my home up to Syrian refugees. I have stated as much on Facebook and I am doing so here and now as well.
It’s the right thing to do. We are all in this together. Compassion and gratitude. I repeat these words to myself over and over again nowadays. I’m trying desperately to show more of both.
We aren’t idiots. And my extended family member probably wouldn’t have used the word idiot had we been sitting around a dinner table. (At least I hope not?) But Facebook has this way of allowing us to forget that there are people reading our thoughts and the more you take in, the crazier the thoughts make you feel. This is ON TOP of the fact that Facebook continues to gather information about us, information WE GIVE THEM and then uses it to manipulate us in return.
So, I’m done. I’m gone. I did post a note saying as much and a few folks reached out to me with email addresses and phone numbers so I can keep in touch. And I plan on writing a LOT more over here because this is a safe place, more or less. My data here won’t be used against me and no one can force me to look at any ads. And I won’t force anyone who stops by to read any ads. I won’t sell you anything. And I won’t gather any of your information and use it against you.
You have my word on that.
So, here I am. Full circle. I started writing here back in 2001. Kept it strong through 2009. Then social media took over and I ran off to embrace that, just like everyone else had. Well, I’m back. My thoughts will go here. And if no one reads them, that’s OK too. Because quite honestly? At the end there? I think half of my Facebook friends had unfollowed me anyway.
I dragged my family to Elizabeth, NJ yesterday to protest Trump’s Immigration ban outside the Elizabeth Detention Center. My dearest Elliot held this sign above his head while sitting atop his daddy’s shoulders until his hands felt numb. (Yeah, his dumbass parents forgot his gloves.)
My plan is to remain as active as possible. We need to keep up the momentum until this stops. This is NOT what America is about. Shame on us.
Last night, I started my sixth dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel. I used to read books like this as a kid, maybe not as gruesome and terrifying, but I was really into science fiction and the supernatural. I don’t know why I have a strange obsession for the post-apocalyptic world. I’m happier than I’ve been in decades. I was a pretty happy kid, too. And I’m relatively healthy if you overlook all the skin cancer spots on my face. (Stupid sun. Never much cared for the sun.)
So, why am I obsessed with the end of the world? Why do books about nuclear warfare; viruses that take out entire continents; deranged killers left behind after most all of the good people perish; why am I interested in reading darkly comical tales about an infinite library, a book that is frankly so bizarre, captivating and weird, I can’t possibly sum it up for anyone—why does all of this appeal to me when we’re facing some pretty dystopian shit head-on?
What’s taking place around me on a political front is downright terrifying on its own. And this shit is REAL. Our current administration is waging war against women. I mean, I can’t even comment and/or write about that. And he actually IS going to build a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico. An expensive wall that will do JACK SHIT to curb illegal immigration. But he said he’d do it! And, by golly, his supporters are holding him to that promise! And as it turns out? We ARE actually going to be paying for it. A fucking wall, y’all. Quite possibly the most useless BUT expensive wall ever erected.
This isn’t make-believe. This is real life. And it’d actually be muy cómico if it weren’t so damn loco.
So, yeah. All of this information has been entering my brain and before I can make any sense of it, it’s forming one MASSIVE pileup, like one of those colossal car wrecks that take place along major highways during an ice storm. One car can’t stop, it starts sliding, then it hits another car and that car can’t stop and before you know it every single car, truck and van on that particular roadway turns into one magnificent ball of crunched up metal.
In just one week’s time, all the headlines, the Facebook posts, the Tweets, the NPR blips and bleeps, they’ve all piled up. Holy wreckage point. I can’t keep them all separate right now. It’s one of the worst car wrecks in the history of my brain.
So, I am running away from it. I can’t even rubberneck anymore.
One might assume I would want to read about flowers, or bread, maybe even something about birds, maybe pick up a couple of cute comic books, you know, something simple and concrete and not at all upsetting.
Nope. I am diving right into dystopian literature. Just like I used to do as a child. It’s good to be back here. I have missed this child.
Why am I sharing this with you? I don’t know. I don’t know why. Maybe I want more literature suggestions? Maybe I want to start a post-apocalyptic bookclub?
Maybe I’m trying to escape the fire by running straight through it.
I headed into the city with Corie on Saturday to take part in what was to become the largest protest in U.S. history. There simply aren’t words to describe what took place that day. Kind of like those thoughts you have right before you wake up, the ones that exist just outside of the part of your brain responsible for making sense of things by way of language—you know, all those things that help us to explain how and why. What happened on Saturday sits right outside that part of my brain.
These thoughts are like dandelion wisps, they move on their own, along undetectable currents. They are unpredictable in the most beautiful way. And the more you try and keep an eye on a single wisp, the more free-flowing it becomes before it disappears entirely. Try and capture a group of them, and more arrive.
Saturday felt like one of these moments. It was unpredictable, yet beautiful.
A dandelion wisp among millions.
I didn’t stay at the march for too long. I took in everything that I could. But at a certain point I felt a little stuck in space and so I detached myself from my group and moved against the crowd. I marched along 42nd Street, past Grand Central and under the bridge. I took some pictures. I chanted. I cheered. I yelled.
And I watched.
As the crowd turned and moved toward Trump Tower, I continued straight and entered the first subway station I came across. I wasn’t sure where I was going. But that seemed appropriate somehow. I hadn’t really known where I was going from the moment I got up that morning. And for a mother of three with a pretty typical schedule, this felt so right.
I moved down and around and somehow I ended up boarding the 42nd Street Shuttle, you know, that little gray line that connects Grand Central to Times Square. NYCT Rapid Transit Operations refers to it as Train Zero, which kind of makes me want to adopt it. But I’m told you can’t adopt train lines.
Usually I walk everywhere when I’m in the city. But having run 2 miles earlier that morning and having walked another 5 for the march, I was pretty beat up. I’d also worn the worst possible pair of shoes and all but one of my fingertips had turned bone white.
So, I opted for a subway. I didn’t even care which one.
The 42nd Street Shuttle can seem a little silly as it only has two points. It goes back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. And I can’t fathom being a conductor for that line. It must be mindbogglingly boring. It’s the shortest line in the entire system. It runs 2,700 feet in under two minutes and then turns right back around again.
I have lived in or around NYC since 2000. I have been on The Shuttle probably three times in my life. One of those times was Saturday.
It is a bit odd to find me on The Shuttle.
It was full, so I couldn’t sit down. I walked to the end of the car, past an African American man playing a huge, old school keyboard, singing sad songs to no one and everyone who wanted to listen. It occurred to me that it’s probably a pretty great subway line to make money on. You sing a two minute song, people give you some change, they all leave and a whole new group of people board the shuttle for another 2 minute song.
As we sat in the station waiting to move, I listened to him play. His lyrics were haunting and his notes equally so. I closed my eyes and leaned against the subway doors.
As our train started to move, the singing man finished up one of his sad songs and started another. I opened my eyes just in time to make eye contact with an older woman sitting down across the way. She looked to be Middle Eastern or Eastern European. She had long, jet black hair, highlights of bright silver fell in all throughout it. She was beautiful. And the wrinkles on her face made her even more so. Her lips were a deep red. Her eyes dark as a moonless night. She was weeping.
And she didn’t look away from me. She was shameless in her emotions and I admired her so very much for that.
I took my arms and wrapped them around my shoulders. I took my right hand and pointed back at her.
“Do you need a hug?” I didn’t say.
She began to weep some more.
“No.” She didn’t say in return.
She gave me a sweet smile. The singing man and his notes had brought tears to her eyes. He didn’t know as much.
But I did.
She made a fist with her right hand and held it up to her chest, tapped her heart twice and held it out to me. A tear fell onto her lap. I put my hand to my lips, kissed my fingers and turned them toward her.
We didn’t speak a word to one another, but I heard her voice.
The singing man kept singing. Another dandelion wisp on a metal tube moving back and forth, setting into motion two more.
Two minutes were up. We had arrived at our station, directly beneath the busiest, most vacant place on Earth. Above us sat Jumbotrons the size of a large NYC apartments; billboards selling shit that no one needs; tourists handing over their hard earned dollars for snowglobes made in China. Above our heads, her tears and his sad songs stood dozens of grownups confined to a metal barrier, dressed up as Sesame Street characters and superheroes. And surrounding those characters are chain restaurants with hour long lines consisting of people waiting to be served mediocre food by woefully mistreated waiters.
We were beneath Times Square, the least humane place in all of NYC, and there I was experiencing one of the more meaningful moments I’ve ever had.
The doors opened. Everyone spilled out onto the platform. Our two minutes came to an end. The train would head back again, back to where it came from, with the singing man, his sad songs and chilling notes. He would have a whole new group of passengers.
She went her way. I went mine. Two dandelion wisps moving away from a train called Zero.
I have so much more to write about this. I will be back tomorrow (Monday). Love you all. Love to everyone.