Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome 2017!

2016 was a weird fucking year. Consider the following things that happened just in my little corner of the world:

  • A neighbor crashed his car into my car while it was parked in my driveway
  • A con man posing as a landscaper stole nearly $1,000 from me
  • On-going health issues with BMG led to two long hospitalizations and one surgery 
  • The Downton Abbey series ended on PBS
  • "He Who Must Not Be Named" was elected president of the U.S. in a weak victory in November
  • A dear friend was raped and murdered by an apparent stranger on Christmas day

Reflecting on this list, I can see why I'm feeling so vulnerable today. Many of these experiences are big. And largely out of my control. Ugh.

I want 2017 to be a hopeful year, a year that offers life-affirming adventures, So, I also want to look at the bright spots from 2016, to see where I can draw power. These include:
  • Losing (and keeping off) nearly 25 pounds through hard work, a healthier diet, and a new found commitment to exercising
  • Learning I have only an ulcer, and not heart disease or stomach cancer
  • Being reminded of how great my community is when a retired neighbor took pity on me after the landscaper con and helped me finish a major gardening job
  • Purchasing a kayak rack after six years of kayak ownership, finally widening my boating circle exponentially
  • Taking a BMG-free trip to DC in October to visit with family and to be reunited with two dear college friends
  • Receiving multiple forms of recognition at work for excellence on the job, including be nominated and accepted into a regional women's leadership program
Analyzing this list I see that my power lies in making life affirming choices, working hard, and connecting with the positive people around me. 

Tonight, as I raise my flute of champagne in honor of the earth finishing another trip around the sun, I'll be wishing for another year of adventures, made possible with the strength I find from within, and from the people who help make my life complete.  

Welcome 2017!


Smart. Neurotic. Devoted. Quirky.

This is my Twitter bio.

BMG and I have been talking about the definition of quirky. Does it imply a value judgment? Is it about personality characteristics, or could it simply be description of a mannerism or habit?

I cheated and looked at and found this definition:

       a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality;mannerism:

In calling myself "quirky," I'm primarily thinking about my:

  • Zelig-like way of moving between different crowds of people, without actually being part of any particular human tribe, perhaps a function of my sun, moon, and ascendant all being in Gemini
  • Habit of taking off my glasses nearly every time I use the toilet
  • Routine of rocking myself when I'm having trouble sleeping, even as a nearly 50 year-old woman
  • Precocious and life-long love of archeology, which includes an ability to almost conjure up the living, breathing human who lived in pre-historic and other ancient environments
  • Spooky ability to remember people's names
  • Extreme introversion, combined with an insatiable curiosity about other people which manifests itself as friendliness
  • Particular brand of intelligence, which often causes me to see and interpret ideas and scenarios unlike most other people (and, conversely, causes me to be unmoved by circumstances that typically move others)
When I started my most recent job, the Chief Administrative Officer described me to my boss as "different." While I've long labeled myself as :quirky," nevertheless, the comment originally caused me to feel disconnected. Over time, I've come around to seeing the moniker as a recognition of the value I bring to my work, to the world. Why? Because in economic theory, the rare commodity is typically the more valuable one. 

Would you describe yourself as quirky? Which of your actions, behaviors, or mannerisms help set you apart from others? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rest in Peace and Power Tricia McCauley

I am not so naive as to believe violence only happens to other people.
  • Domestic violence claimed the lives of a friend's mother, a friend's sister, and another acquaintance's sister.
  • In my younger life, I was acquainted with two separate people who shot themselves to death. 
  • The son of someone with whom I briefly worked was murdered by a serial killer.
  • The mother of one of my sister's high school friends was murdered in her own home.
  • Two old friends, now acquaintances, each discovered a body of someone who apparently committed suicide.
  • A colleague recently lost a teenage friend of the family to a car accident caused by another friend of the family. 
  • Another colleague knows two people who were perished earlier this month in the Oakland warehouse/artist collective fire
  • Shoot! I worked in a juvenile prison for 2.5 years, where many of our inmates were the perpetrators of violence. 

But never has violence affected my life directly.

Until today, when I learned a friend from college, a woman with whom I'd reconnected only 2.5 months ago, was murdered on Christmas. Tricia is dead at age 46. Life is so weird.

Here we are, with our pal Christy (left, holding the full-ish Corona),on the last day of freshman year. Tricia is the perky one in the middle.

And here we are, again with our pal Christy (with glasses, on the right), on Columbus Day weekend 2016. Tricia, an accomplished actress, herbalist, small business owner, farmer and yoga instructor, is still the perky one in the middle. 

As soon as I read the news, at 4:45 this morning, I woke up BMG and cried as he hugged me. Right now, I feel numb, afraid to feel what I imagine is likely true. Afraid to feel that she likely suffered in her death - emotionally and/or physically. Afraid to feel angry that her death is such a waste - a death by someone desperate enough to murder someone in exchange for a Scion IQ and debit card. Afraid to feel the anguish I can only imagine her parents, her brother, her closest friends are feeling as they begin their grief journeys.

Whenever someone I know experiences a death, I share the same message of condolence: "The grief journey is the weirdest and most unpredictable trip we take in our lives. I trust you will make it through yours safely, buoyed by the love of family and friends."

BMG, who never met Tricia, is grieving in his own way - he stayed awake for the entire 75 minutes I was at the gym the morning, wanting to be sure I came home safely. And he's asked me to call him every 10 minutes while I'm at work today, so he can be sure I'm still alive.

Me? I've never been on this violent death journey. So I don't know where it will take me. Right now, I know I feel a little afraid, and resolved to make every moment matter, because life is unpredictable.

Rest in peace and power Tricia McCauley.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Closer

BMG sarcastically refers to me as "The Closer" because I never close packaging, doors, or drawers. Sitting here, (I'm aware there is a kitchen cupboard open, ready for me to reach in and grab the ancient grains/oatmeal package for my breakfast.)

This moniker is ironic because my number one motivation is getting things done, closing out projects. Nothing is more satisfying to me than crossing something off the list. And I won't let myself cross something off the list unless it is done completely. If I want the pleasure of knowing that a task is in process, even if it isn't quite done, I'll circle it on my list. This gives me the thrill of knowing I'm just a little bit closer to the beloved "crossing off" task.

Being "a closer" definitely motivates me. I'm a finisher, not a starter.

Now, I'm in this uncomfortable place of wanting to start a business, and I'm having a hard time getting motivated.

This week The 52 Lists project is asking "What motivates you?" This is a question I want to explore precisely because I'm having a hard time finding my mojo on this project of creating the task list for starting my business.

Theoretically, I know what my motivation for starting a business "should" be:
1. Professional freedom
2. Notoriety as a result of my success
3. Financial success

But, "shoulds" rarely work - at least not for me - in the long run.

So, I need to dig a little deeper and figure out what truly motivates me, so I can transform the pile of papers that sit at my elbow into a business plan.

What motivates me?
1. Knowing that I've made a positive difference for someone
2. Being kind and helpful
3. The feeling that I've done something life- or health-affirming for myself
4. My family
5. The adventure of learning, experiencing, or seeing something new
6. Accountability - following through on my promises or commitments

I'm also motivated by some fears - fear of breaking the law, fear of being hurt both physically and emotionally, fear of being homeless and alone.

Fingers crossed this list I can find something in this list to get me off my butt and into planning mode so I can start my business in 2017. And if it doesn't, I'll be looking to YOUR answer to the question "What motivates you?" to help me. So get writing.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Unity Starts With Me

As a liberal, the world feels like it is unraveling:
  • On-going conflicts in the middle east
  • Syrian civil war and resultant refugee concerns in Europe
  • European unity in crisis as a result of Brexit
  • Impeachment of the South Korean president
  • Black lives matter and the many other components of the cultural wars in the United States
I acutely feel the polarization of Americans on issues like reproductive rights, gun rights and transgender rights. And this feeling extends far beyond me versus those who hold opposing viewpoints to include other liberals. At least once a week I see a comment like this, which causes me to feel guilt because I'm not doing enough:
On my Facebook wall yesterday, I made reference to feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of these crises. In the ensuing discussion, I was reminded that we all can't do everything for everybody.
Which got me to thinking about unity, particularly here in America.
I propose that each of us find one or two issues that light our fires, and put everything we can towards those issues. Let people know what those issues are, and what you are doing to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Here's the unifying part.

While we are each doing our good work, try to celebrate the good work of others, rather than denigrating those who aren't fighting side-by-side. Recognize the others as soldiers in the same "Make the World a Better Place" army, who are simply engaged in other battles that are just as important as your battles.

For me, this might look like:
  1. Thanking people for their advocacy - in whatever form it takes.
  2. Refraining from sharing/repeating content that derides people for not caring about the same issues I care about.
  3. Positioning the asks I make of people as an option, instead of an ultimatum. Rather than saying, "Not making a donation makes you no different than the Germans who did nothing as the Holocaust was starting," I'll try this: "There are so many issues demanding our attention. If ending the refugee crisis in Europe is one of the issues that lights your fire, please consider making a donation."
  4. When I need to say no, say it in a way that honors the passions of the other people. For example, instead of ignoring an ask made by a friend or acquaintance, I'll try saying something like, "I honor your commitment to ending the refugee crisis in Europe. Thank you for all the work you are doing. For my part, I'm dedicating myself to addressing the policing crisis here in America. So, I'm not going to give today."
  5. When I feel overwhelmed, consciously remind myself of the value of the work I am doing, rather than feeling guilty about whatever it is you are NOT doing.
I believe that honoring my individual efforts and those of others will help me feel more unified with my sisters and brothers fighting the good, liberal fight. And by working together, we can make a greater difference than we would working alone or in our issues silos.

Will you join me in making a pledge to be a little kinder in the way you position your advocacy work?  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Who Lights Up My Life?

I'm an ambivert, with strong introvert tendencies.

So, when The 52 Lists Project asks me, "Who are the people who brighten your day?" my immediate response is "No one." 

Hmmm. Let me re-position the question for an introvert. How about this: "When I want joy or comfort from another person, to whom do I turn?"

Okay, THAT'S a question I can answer. 

Always and forever, there are two people on my list:  
1. My husband, BMG
2. My mother

Neither of these people are *always* able to provide me with the comfort and joy I'm wishing for, but they always try. And even when they don't get it right, I'm left with the feeling that they love me. (And a feeling that I need to be better at both knowing and articulating my needs.)

There are also three more people, or groups of people, who I frequently find myself wanting to connect with on the rare occasion I want to share my stories of aggravation or triumph. They are: 
3. My three sisters 
4. My gal pal, Dillard57
5. My gal pal, @lardito

Typically, when I want to reach out to these people, it is because something big has happened that I need some sort of response to, either to validate my experience or to help me sort out a problem. But, I've had to learn that I can't always reach these loved ones because they have busy lives, balancing work, children, spouses, community.

So maybe I'll send a text, or a tweet, and hope for a response.

And, because I have great coping skills, when that doesn't work, I tend to turn to Twitter. There I might share what I originally wanted to say to a loved one. Or I might do a search to find people, tweets or news stories with a similar theme to my own news in an effort to find that validation I seek.

I'm curious, when you need to connect with another person, to whom do you turn to light up your life? Who gives you hope? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I Need a Little Christmas

I vividly recall the host of feelings I experienced as a child during the season of advent.

  • The feeling of excitement as my siblings and I counted down the days until Christmas. 
  • The feeling of hope as I carefully crafted my letter to Santa filled with my wishes for the year.
  • The feeling of love as I thoughtfully chose gifts to make or buy for my family members, to help ensure they knew how much I loved them.
  • The feeling of joyful community embedded in the Christmas traditions of caroling and the exchange of greeting cards. 

I love Christmas and the deep and positive memories the season conjures up for me.

As a childless adult, my celebration of the holiday is vastly different. But each of the items on my list of my favorite things about Christmas can be directly traced back to those childhood feelings:

Lights - on my home, my neighbors' homes, and in town squares
Beacons, letting Santa, or maybe the wise men, know that there are believers nearby, who are excited for the arrival of the 25th.

Making and sharing homemade Christmas treats
I give them to as many of the people who bring joy and comfort to my life. This year, there are nearly 30 people on the list, including the mailman, my pharmacist, the security guards and cleaning staff at my office, the cat sitter... The list goes on. I'll be making five different types of cookies: peanut butter blossoms, peppermint blossoms, double chocolate snowballs, cranberry orange shortbread, and eggnog whoopie pies. I'll also make Christmas muddy buddies to give to the gluten-free people in my life. Planning, baking and distributing cookie platters helps me express my gratitude for joyful community.

Admiring the display of packages artfully arranged under the Christmas tree
Every year, I try to pick a theme for my gift wrapping. I choose paper, and construct handmade tags that convey the theme. On Christmas morning, I try to intersperse the gifts I've brought in with the many others under the tree..Combined, these activities help me feel both hopeful that the gifts I've carefully selected and lovingly wrapped will delight the receiver, and excited about the packages I'll unwrap later in the day.

The results of this year's presidential election in the U.S. has left me feeling dejected. This holiday season, I need a little Christmas more than any other time I can remember. Because I need love, ope,  In 2016, more than any other time in my adult memory, I need a little Christmas. Because I need a little hope, joy, and love as I gear up for the start of 2017.

This blog post was inspired by my participation in The 52 Lists Project  in collaboration with BMG. This week, we're both making lists of our favorite parts of the holidays.

I'm curious. What are your favorite parts of whatever December holiday(s) you celebrate? What are your plans to make sure you get however much of the holiday spirit you need this year?

Regardless of your response, please know you have my wishes for a happy holiday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Potential, Not Position (or, what makes me a leader)

Let's play a little word association. When I say the word "leader," what comes to mind?

Specific people? Like Angela Merkel, Nelson Mandela, or President Obama?
Or maybe your list is dominated by qualities? Like integrity, charisma, or decisiveness?

I've never thought of myself as a leader. My work history is marked by several lateral changes to explore new industries and develop new skill sets. As a result, I haven't climbed a traditional career ladder, and have never held a position with any significant power.

However, as a member of the 2016-2017 Women's Leadership Program offered by the Boston Chamber of Commerce, I've started to explore what makes me a leader. At a recent two-day course taught by faculty at the Simmons College School of Management, I've identified the following abilities that make me a leader, regardless of what professional position I hold:

  • Understand, through focused and empathetic listening, what motivates people (and what demotivates them)
  • Build and articulate a shared vision by focusing on what ties groups together
  • Enable others to take action by creating frameworks for getting work done 
  • Enthusiastically and authentically celebrate small victories and create a spirit of community 
  • Identify points of frustration in a process, and then build and execute a plan for mitigating them
This list is built from the five-part leadership framework developed by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner:
  1. Model the way
  2. Inspire a shared vision
  3. Challenge the process
  4. Enable others to act
  5. Encourage the heart

What I appreciate about this model is that is defines power not as an outgrowth of one's position, but rather in relation to one's ability to help others realize their potential. This is in close alignment with my professional mission statement, which I developed in partnership with BMG. It reads,

"I get things done by engaging teams in collaboratively developing compelling goals and strategies, removing obstacles to their success, and achieving positive and measurable outcomes."

Understanding what makes me a leader is inspiring me to begin making some strategic decisions about my career path. As I uncover my own potential, I look forward to sharing it with you on here The Journey of Clownface.

Have you uncovered your own potential? What is it, and how did you uncover it? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Favorite Foods

Hello! My name is Clownface and I'm a bulimic.

I think of my bulimia like many people think of alcoholism. While I've been in recovery for more than 20 years, my eating disorder will be with me for my entire life.

I actively and regularly binged from age 16 to age 21. It was only after I finished college and was living on my own that I figured out the magic of purging. I stopped purging at age 25, at the same time I stopped living by myself. I knew I couldn't keep my behaviors a secret, and because my shame about my behaviors was so great, I knew I couldn't bear being confronted about them. So I quit. Cold turkey.

Twenty-one years later, I can read my emotional triggers when I start to crave my favorite binge foods. These were:

  • Anything from McDonalds or Burger King: I used to drive home from my part-time job in college, motoring through every drive-thru window along the way, eating a complete meal. In the 20 minutes it took to get to my house, I'd easily have consumed at least 2,000 calories. One of the few memories of my dad involves him bringing home McDonald's for family dinner. I've since come to realize that the McDonald's binge is about daddy. 

  • Cookies: When I was a little girl, I thought people who ate store-bought cookies were rich. (We always had homemade cookies.) Nevertheless, my mom would occasionally have a secret stash of Oreos or other store-bought treats. As soon as I figured out where they were, I'd have my way with them. And at Christmas time, my mom always made more Christmas cookies than one family needed. She'd store them in weathered holiday tins in our front vestibule, which was so drafty that it functioned as sort of an icebox for us. I used to sneak into tiny "room," sit down, and eat. As an adult, I love to bake but I also know I need to get the food out of the house as quickly as it has cooled to remove any temptation to binge. I've since come to realize that the Oreos binge is about my longing for my mom and the feelings associated with material goods being out of reach.
  • Ben and Jerry's: In college, I could toddle down to the on-campus convenience store, purchase a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, and eat it all within 10 minutes. All of it. Several times a week. Luckily, I'm now lactose intolerant. Unluckily, Ben & Jerry's dairy-free ice cream is as good as the real stuff. When I want ice cream now, I know this means something is up on the feelings front. 
  • Ground turkey mixed with mushroom soup and white rice: This was an easy and quick family dinner we called "glop." In my early twenties, I would make and eat an entire pan of it in one sitting - pound of ground turkey, two cans of soup, heaps of rice. I've since come to realize this binge is about longing for family. And I still make this recipe. But, when I crave it, I'll restrict myself to 1/4 pound of turkey from the butcher, a dairy-free soup, and I'll add green beans instead of rice, making a comforting mash-up of "glop" and green bean casserole. 
Bulimia will always be with me; I definitely still feel the urge to binge today. On the rare occasion, I give myself permission to this, I try to control the caloric intake by eating things like popcorn, salted, steamed vegetables (e.g., broccoli, carrots), or raw cucumbers. 

This week in the 52 Lists Project, BMG and I are blogging about our favorite foods and treats. What are your favorite foods and treats? Let me know in the comments section below. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things (about myself)

What would you say are your best qualities? This is the question posed by the 52 Lists Project this week.

Luckily, I've had nearly 20 years of therapy and introspection to figure this out. So here goes my list of the Top Ten Things I <3 about="" i="" me="">:

1. My honesty and "transparency"
What you see (and hear) with this girl is what you get. For better or worse, if there is something you want to know about me, I'll typically tell you. On the flip side, I don't always have patience for people who obviously lack self-awareness or who deny parts of themselves.

2. My intelligence
Is this a quality, or just luck of the draw? I think the latter. Regardless, I appreciate how smart I am, even if I occasionally temper myself in the interest of not wanting to be perceived as a smarty-pants.

3. My love for my family
This is particularly true for my nuclear family and my siblings' families. I feel lucky that, having grown up with only each other, we still (mostly) want to spend time together. 

4. My deep empathy
Particularly for those who I perceive or who I know have been oppressed for reasons beyond their control (e.g., gender, sex, nation of origin, skin color, sexual orientation).

5. My dislike for overt brand devotion
I grew up poor, which meant brand names were largely out of reach for me. And I experienced them as impregnable walls between me and the "rich kids." As a result, I eschew overt brand devotion as crass braggadocio.

6. My spirit of adventure
My brother-in-law asked me on Friday night if I was truly adventurous, or if I liked the idea of calling myself adventurous. Maybe a little of both, in that I'm selectively adventurous. I won't typically try something I believe will cause harm to me or others, and I'm not always adventurous (sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name). But, I'm typically willing to push my boundaries in the interest of having a good story or discovering something new about myself.

7. My quirks
I am grateful the many ways in which my personality and my style falls outside of the lines of my particular station in life. My love for gnomes,my lack of disgust for nose-picking (everyone does it), my constant willingness to brake for squirrels, my enthusiastic style of dance not unlike that of Elaine Bennes, my nearly daily hula hooping - I could seriously go on. I embrace these things because they make me unlike anyone else I know.

8. My laugh
I don't laugh a lot, but when I do, it is loud and unabashed.

9. Parts of my physical self
I have long struggled with loving my body. Those 20 years of therapy, yeah, they were A LOT about that. But, I'm happy to say there are some physical qualities I have that I like: my breasts, my hourglass shape, my smiley eyes, my skin tone.

10. My generosity
I give 5% of my pre-tax income away to charity, and I give with intention. I love to bake, and I tend to give (nearly) all of it away to my neighbors (see #9 above), I am often willing to compromise my own needs in the interest of helping someone in crisis. BMG sees my generosity as a flaw, as an unfettered doorway to misery and exploitation. But I don't. I am glad to bring a little peace, joy and/or justice into the lives of others, and value this quality in others.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Numbers and Letters

"Let's play the numbers and letters game," I would declare. Then whichever of my siblings wanted to spend an hour dreaming of a better life would pile onto the couch and the fantasy would begin.

It went like this:
  1. The person sitting in the middle would hold the J.C. Penney catalogue.
  2. We would claim a letter and a number. "A" and "1" were the best.
  3. We would then flip through nearly every page of the catalogue, identifying which outfits, toys, and home furnishings would become "ours" based on the numbers and letters we had chosen. If you picked A or 1, whichever item bore that letter or number in the catalogue would go in your fantasy home. 
We would play this invented game for hours, going through nearly the entire catalogue, skipping only the men's fashion and tools. 

Numbers and letters was complemented by other games my siblings and I played together. Games that involved creating 2D architectural renderings of our dream homes, or building elaborate homes out of wooden blocks and Fisher Price toys. We would set up our tableaus in places where they could live for days at a time (i.e., under the dining room table, in the attic), because building a home took more than one day. 

As an adult who has had more than her fair share of therapy, I know now that, at least for me, the Numbers and Letters game helped satisfy the longings I had as a poor kid living in an increasingly wealthy and materialistic world. 

This week, The 52 Lists Project asked me and BMG to make a list of things we would do to rejuvenate our space, My brain immediately keyed into my own longings about the tiny space in which I live today, particularly the cluttered office and our pantry.  

The spare bedroom, aka the office, that I share with BMG today

The pantry/cat box space/utility storage/laundry room at The Tiny Bungalow

So let's play the grown-up version of the Letters and Numbers game. And instead of using the J.C.Penney catalogue, I'm using

So, if I had all the resources in the world to rejuvenate my current space, I would:

1. Create a tidier, lighter feeling office space. Maybe something like this?

2. BMG uses the office almost entirely for storage. Which means he's ALWAYS in the living room - working, playing, relaxing, napping. If I could, I would add comfy seating to our office, so I can have a space to which I can retreat when I need some alone time or want to escape the inevitable sound of snoring on weekend afternoons. Maybe something like this?
Atlantic Archives Images

3. Moving on to the utility room, rejuvenating this room means creating a space that doesn't put food in such close proximity to cat poop, and doesn't require sweeping every day in the fight against the our cats' desire to pave the floor with cat litter. Something like this? 
Laundry Room

4. I would also like to have a utility space with exceptionally efficient storage, solid shelves, and maybe a and a tidy counter, a place that doesn't overwhelm me with the constant need to rearrange things to make it look less cluttered, to make the food being stored more accessible. Maybe something like this:

5. While I'm dreaming about rejuvenating my space, I'd also like to request a tiny meditation space, where I can go to breathe. This would be a space that is all my own, a space where I don't have to share or compromise, where I don't have to navigate my husband's clutter, where I am not confronted by housework I have to do, bills I have to pay, obligations I need to meet. Maybe something like this:
Park Hill
Photo by Sheri Kaz Designs - Search Asian home gym pictures

I know I'm solidly middle class, living a life of privilege. BMG and I have enough money to shelter, clothe, and feed ourselves without having to struggle. By all accounts, mine is a good life and is typically one without complaints.

But, I still have longings. There is still a 10-year old self inside of me, who longs to have the finest things that she can possibly imagine. 

Thanks for the dream time, 52 Lists

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Not My Circus

"Not my circus, not my monkeys" is one of my favorite tropes.

Often described as a Polish proverb, to me, this saying acknowledges that drama exists in every person's life. And the drama from other people's lives can be very entertaining. But, at the end of the day, we can only responsible for directing our own circus. 

Which brings me to this week's 52 Lists Project writing prompt, which invites me to: 

"Make a list of the things you will try to ignore."

Now ignore is a tough word, because, by definition, it calls on me to pretend something isn't there. 

Perhaps a result of my commitment to honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every thing, but there are very few things one can actually ignore in the world. On the short list, MAYBE:
1. Paranormal claims, including sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and other mythical beings
2. Conspiracy theories espoused by people with documented and severe mental illness
3. "No-see-ums" and other pesky bugs that potentially annoy, but can't hurt me
4. Dogs barking and other animal noises that are an innate part of their species' behavior
5. Noises - usual and unusual - made by cars either driven by me or near me; I am masterful at simply turning up the volume on the radio

However, I think the spirit of the writing prompt is seeking a different kind of list. I believe this prompt is inviting me to consider making a list of things that distract me from my true north, from being my best self, so that I might try to become impervious to their meddling influence. 

At the top of this list is people and their drama that neither hurt me, nor offer me any discernible opportunity for growth, insight, or other benefit, including:
  • Men at work who constantly undermine my success by redoing or challenging projects other men have called "done" 
  • Anyone who's last name is "Kardashian" 
  • Fights between friends of friends of friends
  • Friends who do not have the self-awareness to get unstuck, and have neither requested nor seem receptive to loving feedback
  • Co-workers' trials and tribulations with their friends and family
  • Bad drivers
  • Judgments made of my weight, my housekeeping, my style of dress, my car, my cooking, or any other immaterial aspect of who I am and how I present in the world that comes from a position (conscious or unconscious) of malice or jealousy
This is the list of things I will try to remain immune to, so I can keep my focus on achieving my goals and living my values. 

What is on YOUR list of things you will try to ignore? Of things you will strive to be impervious to?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Words to Live By

What are your favorite quotes?

This is the question the 52 Lists Project is asking this week.

I'm a words person. I keep printed quotes around me - hanging on the walls of my workplace, my home office, even my bedroom and laundry room. I surround myself with inspiring words to help me stay centered, and remember how I wish to be in the world.

I have quotes I wish I remembered and lived by, like the one I keep at the top of this blog:

And then there are quotes I actually remember and often use to help me stay centered.

The most frequently used quote is this:

The first time I heard this quote, it was referenced as a Quaker saying. Since then, I've learned it has been attributed to great thinkers like Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson. As someone who has long struggled with giving myself permission to enjoy life, I use this quote to remind myself that it is okay to sometimes let go of my manic control of life in the interest of having fun.

A new favorite is one I discovered while on vacation in Sanibel, FL. I found it printed on the cover of a journal in a tchotke shop.
I love this quote. It gives me permission to be be my best introspective and introverted self.

The last quote is one I use in my work as a writer and strategist. I've seen it Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, and the Roman philosopher Cicero.
I use this quote to remind myself that thoughtfulness takes time, and to give myself an excuse when the work I've done is sloppy. Like this blog post.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

I'm No Fun

"Make a list of the things you do for fun," instructs the book 52 Lists.

My heart sink. "Dang it," I thought. "This is going to be hard."

There isn't a lot I do for "fun." This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with BMG, because he is all about the pleasure principle, and balances my instincts to dedicate my time to "getting things done."

I said to BMG, as we talked about the exercise, "There are things I do to relax. There are things I do because they are satisfying. There are things I do that make me happy. But FUN? I'm not sure there is anything I do for FUN."

"And you see how that's a problem, right?" he replied.

So I thought a little harder. And tried to recall activities that make me throw my head back with laughter, or cause me nothing but joy. I came up with this meager list:

1. Road trips with my husband
2. Going to the movies in a theater, particularly matinees
3. Watching good comedy
4. (Sometimes) shopping, especially for Christmas gifts or in foreign grocery stores
5. Playing console video games, like Zelda, which I haven't done this since at least 2012
6. Going on amusement park rides, which I haven't done since maybe 2011
7. Whitewater rafting, which I haven't done since at least 2004

What is the lesson learned from this 52 Lists post? Maybe I need to be doing more to have fun in my life. So if you are looking for me today, I'll be shopping.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dream Girl

What did you want to be when you "grew up?" For me, the answer was always "an archaeologist." Sure, I went through the stereotypical little girl "ballerina phase", and the "veterinarian phase." When I left high school, I was certain I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. But I never lost my love for archaeology.

Unfortunately, to be an archaeologist, one also needs to master college-level chemistry. This was not in the cards for me, no matter how hard I tried (three times, to be exact). So, I turned away from the hard sciences in favor of the social sciences, and went down the path to Sociology, and eventually Social Work and Public Health.

Today, nearly 30 years after I declared my intention to be President, I work as a writer and marketing strategist for a financial services company. A good job, but not my dream job. While I don't really have a ton of time to develop a dream career, I still have time to get a dream job.

My list of dream jobs is eclectic. It includes:

  • Travel writer
  • Prop master
  • U.S. park ranger
  • Museum curator
  • Landscape architect
  • Political strategist
At this moment in time, professional stability feels more important than dreaming. A stable paycheck, stable health insurance, stable place to go every day. So, for now, it feels likely that my path involves continuing my current work, maybe moving into middle management, and eventually retiring with a stable corporate retirement package.

Once I'm retired, I'll let myself dream again. I have a fantasy of becoming a National Park volunteer, which would allow me to taste what is is like to be a park ranger, and help me achieve my goal of seeing every National Park in the U.S.

If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be? Are you doing it now? Or do you have plans to achieve your dream sometime in the future?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Almost 60"

This week's blogging prompt invited me to make a list of the things I'd like to be doing in 10 years.
"In 10 years, I'll be 56. What do I want to be doing when I'm 56?" I mused.
After two minutes of thinking, the answer came to me. "I don't want to think about being 56. About being almost 60."
Yup. I don't want to make this list, because it makes me anxious.
I'm not typically a "hate my age" person. I love celebrating my birthday. I have an annual ritual of reflecting on the year I've left, and thinking about my goals for the next year.
But I don't want to think about being 56. Why not?
  1. I'm a late bloomer who is just coming into her own as an adult today, at 46. Thinking ahead to almost 60 makes me anxious about all the adulting I want to squeeze into the next 10 years.
  2. I still feel like a (nearly) newlywed to a husband who is (a) five years older, and (b) managing a chronic disease. Thinking ahead to almost 60 makes me anxious wondering how much of our lives will be taken up by the evolution of his condition.
  3. I am grateful to still have my mother with me on this earth, although I am nearly 350 miles away from her. Thinking ahead to almost 60 makes me anxious wondering about her overall health and capabilities when she is 10 years older.
Until I get into right relationship with my almost 60 year-old self, my list will remain blank.

What is on your list of the things you want to be doing 10 years from now?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Not in My Wheelhouse

A wage earner since I was 11, I often describe myself as a Jane-of-All-Trades.


Here's the list of jobs I've held over the last 35 years:
1. Newspaper delivery person
2. Babysitter/Mother's Helper/Live-in Nanny
3. Cashier and blue light special operator
4. Window shade and mini-blind cutter
5. Dining hall supervisor
6. Pizza joint/bar manager
7. Research assistant
8. Housekeeper
9. Gardener
10. Dorm front desk monitor
11. Cancer lab assistant
12, Women's health advocate
13. University administrator
14. Gas station attendant (and late night sub maker for drunk college students)
15. Prison administrator
16. Community organizer (multiple positions)
17. Community service learning coordinator
18. Membership association program manager
19. Sexuality educator
20. Grant writer (multiple positions)
21. Executive director (interim only)
22. Community health program manager
23. Public and community relations manager
24. Director of development

My last two positions have leveraged my work experience in the interest of developing and executing B2B corporate sales and marketing strategy.

I've worked all levels of government, and I've served on nonprofit boards of directors, twice.

I'm an accomplished professional.

And while I've had many different jobs working for many different types of organizations, I'm also aware there are some jobs I am exceptionally unsuited for. Jobs that are NOT in my wheelhouse include:

Air traffic controller
I have terrible eyesight.

Crime scene investigator
The gore wouldn't bother me, and I like the idea of helping to solve a puzzle. But, terrible eyesight coupled with my tendency to be five steps ahead of myself most of the time, which means sometimes details fall through the cracks.

Prison warden or parole officer 
My empathy is too deep to be hard enough to do this job well.

Snake handler 
I hate snakes so much I've googled "What's the point of snakes?" on more than one occasion.

Make-up artist 
I don't do make-up on me, let alone on someone else.

I don't manage divas very well. (I'm surprised I did as well as I did when I worked in community relations.) As a result, I KNOW I would throw food at the first diva who had a fit on my shift.

What jobs do you think you would be terrible at? Why?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Soundtrack

BMG and I are in week four of a year-long project to write and reflect together, using the book 52 Lists as our guide. Each week we read a writing prompt, have a conversation about how we might approach the topic, and then we write.

The question this week is "What's the soundtrack of your life - right now?" 

Week three's prompt asked us to reflect on the "happiest moments in our lives." During our conversation about this week's prompt BMG claimed "It is unfair to make this the next prompt because we're already thinking about being happy, and therefore we're more likely to think of peppy songs."

My retort? "Don't take the easy way out."

The soundtrack of my life has NEVER included taking the easy way out. I grew up in a lower class family, without much measureable privilege. However, I've always been smart and a hard worker, and this is how I learned to make my mark on the world.

Reflecting on my life, right now, I can say that I'm at the mid-point in an erratic career, fairly newly wed, and trying to find balance - between my efforts to care for my health, to nurture my career, to strengthen my relationship with my husband and my family, and to make a meaningful contribution to my community.

When he isn't making me crazy, BMG, inspires me. Not because of his semi-charmed kinda life, but rather because he joyfully lives by the bumper sticker philosophy, 'No one ever said on their deathbed, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office.'"

With that said, here is my soundtrack:

Track 1 - Sunny Side of the Street, as performed by Ella Fitzgerald (my goal)

Track 2 - Fatso by The Story (part of my struggle)

Track 3 - All For You by Sister Hazel (I think of this as "our song," and it always reminds me of my inspiration, BMG)

Track 4 - Work That by Mary J. Blige (sometimes it feels like I'm pushing a rock uphill)

Track 5 - Working 9 to 5 by Dolly Pardon (I've decided to abandon my ambition to have a career in favor of having a life)

Track 6 - God is Trying to Tell You Something from the soundtrack to The Color Purple (I'm struggling between having fun and listening to the my call to community)

Track 7 - You Are the Universe by The Brand New Heavies (my goal)

Track 8 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow, as performed by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (when I reach balance, I hope it will feel like this song)

Sunday, September 4, 2016


What are the happiest moments of your life, so far?

When I asked my 91 year-old neighbor, she said, "Having my three kids." Then she paused. "I've had times when I've felt happy, like at weddings and things. But my happiest moments were having my girls."

My list includes:
  1. My wedding, every single moment of it
  2. Nearly every memory of playing as a child
  3. Unwrapping the plush version of Camel with the Wrinkled Knees and "Angely" at two separate Christmases long long ago
  4. Seeing Rodin's "The Thinker" in real life for the first time
  5. Seeing Half Dome in Yosemite National Park for the first time
  6. Driving with BMG to Sanibel Island from the Fort Meyers International Airport in the convertible with the top down
Happiness, for me, feels like being full - of emotions like delight and joy. So full that I'm on the verge of being overwhelmed, and can't possibly take in any more.

Like my neighbor, there are many moments of my life when I've felt happy, but these are the moments, today, when I remember feeling happiest. 

Friday, August 26, 2016


Make a list of your favorite characters from books, movies and television shows.
This is the directive in the weekly blog post from The 52 Lists Project, a journaling guide from which BMG and I are drawing inspiration this year.
Here goes:
1. Raggedy Ann and Andy from the books by Johnny Gruelle
2. Melissa McCarthy's character in Spy
3. Matilda from the book by Roald Dahl (and the movie, and the Broadway show)
4. Aloysius Pendergast from the series by Lincoln Child and Doug Preston
5. Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie books and tv series
6. Owen Meany from A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
7. Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings series by JRR Tolkein
8. Sophia and Celie from The Color Purple by Alice Walker and the movie by Stephen Spielberg
9. Sherlock Holmes, particularly in the modern day tv series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC) and Jonny Lee Miller (CBS)
Are there any commonalities? I see two.
1. Many of these characters are quiet or unlikely heroes, or individuals with extraordinary but hidden talents.
2. Many of these characters are clever, and find ways to make their lives, or the world, a better place by using their pluck.
Now it's your turn. Who are your favorite characters, from books, movies or television shows? Do you know why?
I struggled with this exercise. Which isn't a surprise to me. At Halloween, I've always struggled with coming up with a character or "thing" I wanted to "be". As an adult, I've said, "The only thing I've ever wanted to be is myself."
This may be because:
  • I read voraciously, and largely for entertainment's sake. Remembering specific characters requires a great deal of mental energy.
  • I've never put much energy into remembering movie names, TV episodes or dialogue, or even TV characters. And, like my issue with books, I tend to remember this type of visual entertainment for the feeling they create, not necessarily for a specific character or memorable incident.
  • I tend to be a big picture thinker, so I have books and movies that strike a chord with me, but not necessarily individual characters with whom I connect or identify. Over the last week, I've been scanning my favorite books from my Goodreads account, and trying to remember, "Did I love this book because of the story or the experience of reading it, or was there a specific character with whom I connected?" For example, I LOVE the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. I have long said I wished *I* could go to Hogwarts. But, there isn't one character I am rooting for over another.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Energizers

What are the objects, activities or qualities that help you feel energized? This is the question in Week 32 of The 52 Lists Project.

As I considered the question, I found myself confusing "feeling energized" with "being soothed." While there may be overlap between the two, there are substantial differences,

On my list of things that energize me, are objects, activities and qualities that legitimately cause me to feel excited and motivated to spend time with others, or to continue to the next "to do" item on my list or turn the page to the next chapter in my book.

This list includes:
  1. A delicious cuppa coffee
  2. Healthy, delicious food in just the right portions
  3. Exploring - through travel, reading, discussion
  4. Researching new ideas and learning new things
  5. Crossing things off my list (because they've been completed)
  6. Honesty and authenticity
  7. Crying
  8. A great workout
  9. Healthy and respectful debate
10. Anger
11. A good night's sleep
12. Weeding
13, Grocery shopping
14. Helping others, although largely on my terms
15. Dancing
16. Binge watching or reading a great mystery or thriller series

And what about the converse? What depletes my energy?
  1. Engaging in social niceties
  2. Fried food
  3. Uncontrolled emotional expression, if it isn't paired with an effort to try to understand oneself better
  4. Managing others' irrational thoughts and behaviors
  5. Hoppy beer
  6. Nagging

What's on your list?

Saturday, July 16, 2016


I remember learning a unique verb tense in my high school Spanish class - Ojala. It is used to mean "May God grant that..."

As in: "Ojala que mi madre tenia un viaje seguro en Alemania" - "May God grant that my mother has a safe trip to Germany."


I've long forgotten most of the Spanish I learned all those years ago.

But I remember "Ojala que."

In those moments when other might pray, I find myself using the phrase in a unique form of meditative Spanglish.

"Ojala que mi pais can make a rational and safe decision in the 2016 Presidential election."

"Ojala que la gente de Turkey remain safe and under Democratic rule."

"Ojala que mi esposo is no longer so sick."

Feel better BMG. 


Friday, July 1, 2016

The Cherry Pitter

I live in a tiny house. A tiny house with a tiny amount of storage space.

This tiny amount of storage space, combined with my natural propensity for simple living, are the reasons why I tend to shy away from single use kitchen gadgets. Things like egg slicers (knives work just great), grapefruit spoons, and spaghetti servers. Yeah, nope. Don't need 'em. Don't want 'em.

But, I *do* have a cherry pitter.

This is a tool that expels the pit of a cherry into a small chute, and then with a poof, pops it into a waiting vessel (like a hand or a bowl). The sound of the pit being forced out of the fruit sounds like a gnome-sized nail gun to me. And the part of device that presses into the cherry to push out the pit looks like a gnome sized pick-axe.

The result of the pitter's work is tiny piece of stone fruit with a gaping flesh wound that looks as if a bullet has passed through it. While it is no longer gorgeous, but it is also free of the tiny pit you need to awkwardly and ungracefully dispose of every time you consume one cherry.  

I've owned mine for three years. And I've used it maybe four times. It takes up precious real estate in my limited drawer space. By all rights, it is not the sort of thing I would ever own.

But I'll never get rid of it.

Because every time I use it, I'm reminded of my father-in-law.

In the short time I knew him, he introduced me to the magic of the cherry pitter.

It was a weekend day, long before BMG and I were actually married, and I was visiting with him and my mother-in-law. As I chatted with them, my father-in-law was discreetly flexing his hand and causing a small popping sound.

"What are you doing?" I remember asking.

And he explained the cherry pitter, even letting me take the reins of the device and giving it a squeeze.

I may have scoffed at the need for a cherry pitter, perhaps extolling the diverse virtues of the knife or asking "How hard is it to eat around the pit?"

I remember my father-in-law laughing and telling me the cherries were much more delicious when they were pitted. And that was that.

A couple of years later, after he passed from this earth, BMG and I were planning our wedding. I insisted on putting a cherry pitter on our registry. BMG raised his eyebrows at me (he knows me well), but I insisted. And that was that.


I much prefer to infuse everyday objects with meaning and memories, rather than holding onto other types of mementos. Doing so gives me regular opportunities to reflect on the person or event that I associate with the object. The size of my home makes it harder for me to display or interact with other types of memory devices, like photos stored on Facebook or in print albums or souvenirs from trips,

And I don't need them. I don't need a photo of my father-in-law to remember what made him such a special person. I don't need to hang onto every gift he ever gave me to make I don't forget him. Nope. All I need is to pit a few cherries and boom, I'm reminded of how much I hold him in my heart.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I Killed My Cat (Was it Just a Dream?)

I dreamed last night that the fur ball I was trying to remove from the hindquarters of my faux Himalayan cat was in fact a hernia. And as I gently tugged on the mat of long white hair, I started pulling her innards out. She screeched and ran away, leaving a trail of kitty blood in her wake. Panicked, I searched for her in all of her favorite hiding spots. Instead of finding a trembling cat, I instead found pools of flesh and blood, evidence that she was leaking from the inside out. 

In my dream, I remember weeping.  

And I never found my cat. 

Care to interpret? 

Monday, June 27, 2016


Is there something you love to do, that, either due to laziness or fear, you never do?

For me its dancing. But not any kind of dancing. I love a type of dancing known as "trance dance" or its cousin, "ecstatic dance." There are no steps to memorize, and no rules to follow. There is simply deeply rhythmic music and occasional structures to help guide the dance.

Trance dance is a form of meditation for me. I nearly always dance with my eyes gently closed. It helps me shut down my consciousness and simply feel. When I'm trance dancing, my consciousness falls away and I just become a mass of body and spirit. It is deeply spiritual in a way that no sermon or Bible story or memorized prayer or mass can ever touch for me. I love this type of dancing so much, I've looked into becoming a whirling dervish, which is a sect within the mystical branch of Islam known as Sufi. 

I learned about trance dance through the magic of Kripalu Danskinetics, and its spinoffs Journey Dance and Shake Your Soul. I used to Journey Dance once a month at a Unitarian church about 30 minutes from my home.

And then I moved an additional hour away from the class.

And then the instructor moved. To Canada.

That was more than six years ago. And I haven't danced since.

I recently met a woman who leads monthly ecstatic dance sessions 90 minutes away from my home. On Friday nights. Starting at 8:00 PM. Ugh.

To get to a session I would need to:
  • Overcome the sluggishness that I put on every Friday when I get home at 3:30 PM; my typical end-of-the-week sluggishness is compounded by the fact that I get up at 4:30 in the morning to exercise before I'm due at my desk at 7:00 AM. 
  • Once I actually make it out of the house, fight weekend commuter traffic for 90 minutes to get there
  • Manage the exhaustion I predict I'd feel throughout the weekend after being active for at least 19 hours of the day (see "overcome sluggishness" note above)
  • Overcome the fear that I would put all the effort to get to the class, and it would be a bust. Either because the music or energy weren't right, or the other dancers were too handsy or geeky, or cliquey. 
Laziness? That I can overcome. But that social fear can be paralyzing. 



Take a step back.

If I can remember that the WHOLE POINT of dancing is to have the experience of being filled with the light of God. And then if I can remember that the worst that can happen is I waste an entire evening at an event that does not fill me with the light of God. And the best that can happen is I have an amazing experience and feel light enough to float home when it is over, and inspired to go back the next month. 


I can probably will the fear away. At least long enough to get myself to try. 

Luckily, Ecstatic Dance Providence has been on hiatus all summer, so I've had months to perseverate on this. The next dance is on the third Friday in October. My challenge until then? To focus on the possibility of love, rather than fear.

Wish me luck. 

Cookie Monster: An unrequited love story

I love cookies. Chocolate chip cookies to be exact. In fact, I love them so much, they made my Facebook list of 10 foods I would want with me if I were stranded on a desert island, (The others are turkey, eggs, olive oil, rice, spinach, lemons, coconut, cheddar cheese, and coffee,)

But chocolate chip cookies don't love me back.

Consider this checklist of qualities that the Kelley and Thibault model of relationship commitment, as described by Psychology Today, suggests are essential to a successful long-term relationship:  

Both consistently meet and do not frustrate our needs
FAIL. Chocolate chip cookies DO meet my needs for the delicious combination of sugar and fat, particularly when I'm feeling sad, hormonal, or have low blood sugar. HOWEVER, they do not care enough about me to minimize the way they frustrate my efforts to be fit, sleep well at night, and not feel like an out-of-control pig. 

Are more attractive than other potential relationships or ways of spending our time
FAIL. I love chocolate chip cookies. But, they have not done enough in our relationship to prevent me from cheating on them with potato chips, dark chocolate-covered anything, or commercially prepared peanut butter. And none of the Ashley Madison foods I have in my Rolodex are doing me any favors. In fact, if I were to cheat on chocolate chip cookies, I'd be better off cheating with a trip to the gym, a brisk walk, or a phone call to one of my sisters.

Would lead one to lose valuable resources if the relationship were to end
FAIL. Again, What am I going to lose if I were to leave my love affair with the chocolate chip cookie? I would guess about 15 pounds.

This checklist makes it clear that chocolate chip cookies are doing nothing but hurting me. For more than 45 years, I've continued to turn to them in times of joy, sorrow and anger, only to have my short term needs fulfilled with no promise of a fulfilling, long-term relationship

So, chocolate chip cookies, in the interest of my health, I am breaking up with you.

(Unless, of course, you'd be willing to hook up every now and again, maybe at parties or other special events. I mean, I'd be open to that.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

An Even More Perfect Union

I leave work at 3:00 on Fridays, which means instead of being getting my evening news fix from my pal Robert Siegel on NPR's All Things Considered, I'm forced tlisten to PRI's The World

Today, on my 25-minute commute, I heard global perspectives on the outcomes of yesterday's Brexit vote. 

During the drive, I stared out the front window of my station wagon thinking not about the predictable traffic and roadways between me and my home, but instead thinking about the 17 million Britons who decided yesterday to leave the EU. 

The reasons for this too complicated for me to understand and certainly too complicated for me to explain. If you don't understand the Brexit vote, I invite you to read coverage in the New York Times and The Economist for two among the thousands of media perspectives on this historic decision by the people, for the people of the United Kingdom. 

One of the rationales given for the "leave" decision was the EU's demand that member nations comply with an open borders policy, making it possible for residents and workers to easily migrate between countries to live and work. And for older, less educated Britons who, like their American counterparts are suffering professional and economically, immigration became the easy scapegoat. One commentator on The World said a "leave the EU" campaign slogan was "Make Great Britain Great Again." 

This is a familiar refrain here in the U.S.

Which got me to thinking. 

What if we simply swapped voters? 

Think about it. The "Leave the EU" voters are kindred spirits of Donald Trump's base of support, while the "Remain in the EU" voters might be compared to Hillary Clinton supporters in their rational appreciation for the benefits that come with a nation state's investment in the collective whole. 

What if we invited the "Leave the EU" people to come live in America, hassle-free, and gave the Hillary supporters the same hassle-free option to move to the UK? 

Don't think about it. Just react. If you are a Hillary supporter, would you take the free pass to Europe? I know I would. 

Post your vote in the comments section. As with Brexit, we'll figure out the details later.