Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving in Michigan... thinking of other bloggers during trip

I'm still grieving and upset, but I am actively choosing to avoid listening to or reading the news. I feel a knot in my stomach just by looking at email updates from Time magazine (we're still print subscribers) and thinking about their (now dreaded for me) "person of the year" issue. Sigh... My dear friend wrote very poignantly a couple of days ago about the thought of "empty tomorrows." I've always looked forward to future days, but right now it's hard to look into the unpredictable future that awaits those living in this country. OK, moving on from that, this is supposed to be an "Update" post and those are often cheery.

Last week we traveled to a place close to Michigan's Southwestern shore to spend Thanksgiving with K's cousin D who is finishing his master's degree there. D and his wife are expecting a baby girl (due Jan. 1st) and it was very nice to spend time with them. We did a quick side trip to Chicago on Friday and we played lots of board game. Their friends had a potluck Thanksgiving celebration at the house of their friend who is a pretty well-known Brazilian food blogger (I'm linking to her Christmas dinner "post" so you can see some of the decorations that were actually used in our dinner. I have photos, maybe I'll include some of them later). It was nice, and I was the one providing all of the "traditional" American Thanksgiving touches: cranberry sauce (I had made "only" 14 quarts of cranberry sauce for my son's elementary school banquet last week and I had taken leftovers), the Yams with Pecan Praline (a recipe I posted TEN YEARS ago!), roasted Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash "pudding" (crust-less pie).

What I really wanted to blog about, though, is that during the whole trip I kept thinking of the bloggers and former bloggers who live (or grew up) in places not too far from our route or from our destination. When we drove around Pittsburgh and into Ohio, I thought of Jenna who grew up there. Then, when I saw the sign for Fort Wayne I thought of my friend and former blogger Professing Mama. And when we went to Chicago I thought of Doctor Mama Esquire who lives there now, and of Jamie who is not that far away. I still want to meet these women! And I really miss all those who quit blogging along the way and who are one of the main reasons I'm on facebook a lot.

OK, gotta go because I have lots to do! I have one week of classes left (YAY!) and I have tons of grading to do. Hopefully I'll blog more in the coming days. 19 more posts to get to my "116" total for 2016. Yeah, I'm doing that, just to be cute. That was the main reason why I skipped "NaBloPoMo" for the first time in 9 years (with the exception of 2012 when I wrote only 25 times in November) -- very silly, right? In a way I'm glad I wasn't blogging daily. There would have been lots of anguish and despair about the election. Sigh... 2016 was a crazy year, that's for sure! :-(   

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Still Grieving and Anxious about this Unprecedented Election... It's Scary to be in Uncharted Territory!

A few things I haven't shared in the blog, if you're my facebook friend (which you're welcome to be!) you've seen the first one:
  • Last Wednesday it was tough to teach. I was stunned and upset and students were too. Students were crying. One Asian(-American) young woman cried non-stop for 10 minutes or more. I think she was trying to control herself, but I after I started the class speaking English to them, saying that I was going to let them speak about the election for a bit (and do some "therapy"), so I think that motivated her not to hold it in and just cry. I mentioned something about this kind of happening before when Al Gore lost and so they earnestly asked me what had happened in 2000, so I pulled information about that and showed it to them (it was heartbreaking to think about that too). And when I switched to Portuguese the review grammar lesson I'd planned was actually about the election too. In the second section nobody was crying, but they teared up when I mentioned the student who cried. It seems all of my students were in agreement, outraged, and confused. If anyone disagreed they were quiet and didn't let it show at all.
  • On Wednesday night my 12 year old was worried and asked whether the fact that we're not citizens yet (more on that in another post, my husband is now against becoming a citizen) meant that they could kick us out of the country. "What would happend to me?" he wondered. I suppose they could deny the renewal of our green-cards, but I feel that's unlikely, unless maybe we become activists or something -- which I totally wanted to do, not to be kicked out of the country, of course, but just because it would feel useful. Sigh... In any case, how many millions of children are legitimately scared about this possibility? And what about the thousands (700K) of young people on DACA?
  • My husband was so troubled, particularly on Thursday morning. He wasn't sleeping well and was very upset, like I have seen him very few times.
  •  I have been spending way too much time on Facebook -- thankfully a tiny percentage of people I'm in touch with there has unsavory things to say about the election. In a way it felt like a huge support group, but after a while the negativity builds up and it gets a bit toxic. I have to try to not be on facebook that much. I'm glad I was on and saw my friend Sarah mention that the opening of SNL had been great, so I didn't miss Dave Chappelle's great show.
  • It took me a while to be able to stomach listening to the news (I don't watch news, I only listen to NPR) and I am planning on avoiding as much as possible seeing or listening to the voice of that man. During SNL's Weekend Update I actually covered part of the TV screen so I wouldn't see his face. That's another reason why I should stay off Facebook.
I'm sure there would be lots more to say, but I just wanted to finish by saying that the worst part of all this is the "unprecedented" and "uncharted territory" -- it's impossible to foresee what's going to happen! Not only because this has never happened -- the election of a completely unprepared person who seems to be actually unwilling to do the actual work of POTUS, but also because of his unpredictable ways. Everyone is saying that they would "love to be wrong," but right now there is still lots of reasons to fear.

I hope we're wrong, but something tells me, deep down, that it won't be good. I can't be good. And... what if this creature is reelected? What if? :-(

There are just too many worries and concerns. It's hard to stop grieving and move on. What about the environment? Foreign relations? the Middle East & Syria and the refuge crisis? What about the immigrants (including me)? What about marriage equality and access to contraceptives and Roe vs. Wade? And the Affordable Care Act?

Let's all hope we're wrong, that our fears are unfounded, I'm sure everyone would love to be proven wrong. Sigh...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Dystopian Future is Here :-(

Although I hope I may be wrong. I'd LOVE to be wrong, really!! I never hoped so much in my life that I may be wrong about my gut feelings and impressions about "this man" and his upcoming "regime" (which is what he called the current presidency). This hasn't been funny for a long time, but now it's downright despair-inducing and terrifying.

This is what I wrote on facebook at 1:52 am on election night. I tried to post this from my phone multiple times yesterday morning, but I think the Blogger app is broken:
The dystopian future that literature has been warning about for years and years is here. The Brave New World of 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid's Tale, Parable of the Sower, and, more recently, The Hunger Games is closer to reality. Go read those books if you haven't and let's prepare for a new reality in which facts may not matter anymore and prejudices speak louder than reason.
(I taught these classic "dystopian fiction" books multiple times as a teaching assistant and I learned to love the genre, these books are important, especially now! It's just kind of sad that they make me realize all that could happen if extremists ideas are carried out to their full extent.)

Thankfully most people weren't online, or I might have gotten a handful of negative comments, so that didn't happen. In any case, I with I had received more comments from like-minded people, but I decided not to re-post my thoughts yesterday. Just because I have a few people as "friends" who disagree with me and because I feel very unsafe on facebook, although I've spent many many hours there in the past two days.

I stayed up to the bitter end, on election night. I took screenshots on my phone of the unbelievable progression of NYT's graphs and charts. I also took photos of the TV screen, as it was so unbelievable -- Trump saying his victory speech while most of the networks hadn't still called his victory (not even Fox, at first). It was very surreal.

I didn't have a chance to finish watching Hillary's concession speech from yesterday (my brother- and sister-in-law facetimed us from Canada as we were watching the broadcast online and K spent a long time talking to them and explaining it). I haven't read many pieces on the elections, I have, though, read what most of my friends on facebook had to say.

I unfollowed a few people during the election, a couple of which ended up commenting back to me on other people's threads recently. I have spent some time trying gently to tell some people to be more sensitive (this one woman I know was saying the protesters should "grow up and get over it."

Sigh... There are too many thoughts in my head right now. I hope to write a couple more posts to share them and do "cheap therapy." Oh, yeah...

Last, but not least, if you're a Back to the Future fan the way our family is, you'll know that yesterday we woke up on the alternate 1985 and Biff Tannen is in charge, check out the image in this tweet. Sigh...

We need to find a way to fix it, too bad we can't travel back in time!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Oh no! Is she going to lose?????

What some people are saying is that this countryside INCREDIBLY sexist, even more than it is racist. 


Unbelievable. And the two third party candidates seem to be doing real harm. :-(

10:20 NYT says 80% chance of Trump winning! :-(

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


I guess that maybe I'm going to try blogging daily in November once more, although that will defeat this recent idea I had of maybe posting 116 times this year (to look cute, since I can't possibly reach 216). Writing every day in November will take me to 123. ;-P

Oh well, maybe I'll change my mind so I can do 116 posts.

More tomorrow!