When The World Gets Your Goat…

Well, here we are. This month has been a blur of Election-fatigue and Turkey-fatigue. I think my husband and I have gone through the five stages of Election results grief multiple times by now, and have just entered mild acceptance/recovery mode. This means a lot of bubble baths, long hugs, comfort food (our version: slow-cooker tortilla soup, abundant gluten-free/sugar-free zucchini muffins, olive oil popcorn, cheese) and WINE.

It also means a lot of DIY projects, including:

  1. Learning to play LET IT GO on my Uke (fitting, eh?)
  2. Distressing my jeans (voila! trendy new jeans!)
  3. Making bath bombs (pretty crumbly and not very fizzy at the moment)
  4. Building terrariums (reading directions AFTER making them is not exactly useful)
  5. Cleaning like Marie Kondo (which I tend to do incessantly in times of stress or overwhelm)

 

On the Friday of election week, I moped about the apartment, between bouts of anxiety and sniffles, wondering what to do. Besides what I had been doing. First I posted articles incessantly on Facebook (only to denounce the platform moments later). Then I called our congress people and the DOJ (yes, you can do that). And then donated (more) to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. And posted more on Facebook. But it still felt like I wasn’t doing enough.

To channel my frustrations, I started researching things to physically do in our (new-ish) community in the Bay Area. Small actions that I could take to direct my angst somewhere besides Facebook. After much internet searching, I found a great website called Hands On Bay Area that provides a calendar of volunteer opportunities, with multiple activities ranging from meal prep for the homeless, to gardening, to sorting clothes to help low-income people find jobs.

My husband got home from work, and over our dinner prep, he mentioned (completely independently and in the midst of his own frustration that day) he had also been looking for local volunteer opportunities (and had found an awesome program to help African-American girls ages 7-17 learn to code*!)

Heart=melt.

We ended up finding a night that week we were both free and signed up to volunteer at the SF AIDS Society. DATE NIGHT! Woo! We weren’t exactly sure what we’d be doing, but we were happy to help in whatever way was deemed useful. We ended up packing containers of clean needles while learning about the people that might need them. We then rolled balls of copper Brillo Pads that looked a bit like Christmas ornaments, which help filter crack cocaine. (Also-new DIY rose-gold tree adornment ideas? DONE.)

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Our fearless leader, Kristin, hair full of the most awesome range of aqua colors I’ve ever seen, filled us in on stories of people she’s helped, and her day picking up dirty needles around the city dressed as a Hazardous Waste Bin (can I have that job, please?). She informed us her mom had been a drug abuser during her youth, leading to her involvement in helping other addicts after college. We met an inspiring young gal from Indiana who was taking a gap year before college, traveling with a group of students who are volunteering daily all over the US and India, who wants to join the Peace Corps.

That’s what hope looks like.

We came home with a new perspective on drug addiction, grateful to know that the containers we packed could potentially save a life. Or help prevent the spread of HIV or Hepatitis C.

Small actions. And Empathy. Which is really the word of the hour.

The night ended in takeout Thai and my husband staying up till 1am coding (it’s all Greek to me!), but we still managed to enjoy a bottle of our favorite “cheap” wine which we fondly call “Goat Wine,” delightfully priced at $4.99. We are big-time supporters of many local wine clubs, but we are also young and attempting to save money (and want to go on a Honeymoon before we’re 60). So sometimes a $4.99 bottle from Trader Joes wins! We’ve tried and failed to find another bottle as decent for the price. Read about Goat Wine here.

Our “Goat Wine” was a perfect way to end the evening. I fell asleep feeling utterly grateful next to my (already snoozing) husband. Small actions and Empathy. That’s all we can do, for now. And to look forward to the next opportunity to do something for small for others, again, together. Cumulating in Goat Wine.

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*my husband codes for a living. (And also for fun.)

Election Blues.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table watching an American flag fly over my neighbor’s apartment building. It’s been whipping in the wind all morning, but now it’s still. It’s twisted around itself, the red stripes encroaching the neck of the blue and the stars like they’re about to be suffocated.

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I haven’t showered, haven’t put in my contacts, haven’t eaten, haven’t stopped crying. I cried until 2am. I woke up crying. I cried again watching Hillary’s speech, so gracious, graceful, and full of courage. I’m going back and forth between texts with my loved ones, my Facebook feed, NPR, Hillary’s words, and that incredible map of Blue voters 18-25 that gives me a swell of positive feelings for our future.

I don’t think anything I could write right now could possibly be well-thought out, organized, or even coherent. This blog was created for personal happy-spacing, but I can’t find that in my heart today. I don’t care if anyone reads this, it’s for me. And if you disagree, kindly don’t tell me so today.

We were set to celebrate Election-night’s #pantsuitnation win with a bottle of 2007 Vintage Schramsberg Brut Rosé, a sparkler favored by the White House and poured by every President since Nixon. Again, fitting, like our proposition night’s Iron Horse Presidential-themed bubbly. How proud, excited, full of love and hope I was yesterday. Me, a #nastywoman, and my husband a #nastywoMAN.

The sorrowful Sparkling Rosé bottle sits, unopened in our fridge, like a woman who spent countless hours fancying herself up to the nines for a date, only to find herself stood up and sitting alone at a bar. The hot pink lines that trace the label on the black bottle now look gaudy in the daylight. It’s staring at me as if to ask “so what are you gonna do now?”

What are we gonna do?

Last night, when the red started creeping across the map of the states, I proceeded to stress eat sugar-free-wheat-free zucchini muffins, then a bag of olive oil popcorn, drank 5 day old Sav Blanc, and then, as more and more states were lost, we broke into a 3 day old red we were about to pour down the sink. I couldn’t taste anything. By the time he took Idaho, I couldn’t watch anymore. I got in the bath, let the water run up to my ears in an attempt to drown out the fear slowly creeping through my veins. After the bath, by the dismal look in my husband’s eye, I knew things weren’t getting better. We watched two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I think I laughed once, my enthusiasm most definitely curbed.

After the announcement in red across the top of CNN, it was eerily silent in our neighborhood. Our dog, Oliver, felt it, too. In a very rare occurrence, as we were attempting to fall asleep, he jumped up to the bed with us, and sat there, shaking.

It’s hard to find the words to describe the stages of grief that I feel, what the women I hold so dear in my life feel today. My Mother is devastated. My Auntie is devastated. My Grandmother, 93 years of age, is devastated. My Godmother is devastated. Her dear friend, 83, is devastated. My best friend is devastated, devastated for her 2 year old daughter. We all feel this devastation, heartbreak, despair.

But for my second-mom, who is gay, this is her worst nightmare come true.

I ache for my LGBTQ friends and their children. I ache for my non-white friends. My friends in any type of minority. I ache for the rights of women, our bodies, our choices. It feels like a slap in the face, a punch in the gut for all the progress that’s been made. Were we indeed living inside a bubble? My Facebook newsfeed is generally like one of those colorful Chuck E. Cheese ball pits, flying balls full of love and hope and forward motion. We didn’t think it was possible. He was a joke, and Hillary was going to be the next President. Case closed.

But it turns out, he wasn’t a joke.

What are we gonna do? We have to keep on keeping on. I honestly don’t know how to today, but we have to do it tomorrow. We are gonna have to love one another FIERCELY. Hold each other up. Spread love. Find our Personal Happy Place. Invite others in. That’s what we can do, for now.

I hope I have sufficient cause to open that bottle of Schramsberg in my lifetime. Until then, it shall remain unopened, a corked and chilly reminder of my bubble being burst.

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Date Night Proposition

The eve of “Date Night” was upon us. My husband and I decided to open a bottle of bubbly and get down to it.

Now, hang on…I know where your mind is going…SO DON’T GO THERE! Let’s be clear: this date wasn’t about anything untoward, so get your mind out of the gutter! It was actually a date to read through California’s 17 Propositions and discuss them.

Sexy, right?

Spread out before us on our kitchen table were our ballot tools: black Stabilo pens (husband’s favorite), our California Election Guide (slightly wrinkled from the rain last week), and my computer open to two websites. His choice: an NPR Station with brief snippets of information on each prop, and my choice: an emoji filled easy-to-understand-for-the-masses voter guide. Last but not least, some homemade crock-pot chicken noodle* soup (truly for our election-weary souls) and a bottle of Bubbly (of course). Which paired awfully well with the Proposition-studying if I might add (but maybe not so much with the chicken soup.)

I said it was sexy, yes?

We decided on an Iron Horse Russian Cuveé from 2007, which seemed fitting in that it has a long history with the White House, being served there through five consecutive  Presidential administrations (and was originally made for the meetings that ended the Cold War.) It was a rich and yeasty bubbly, with a nose veering on slightly stinky Red Hawk cheese, and I think in it’s age it lost some of it’s fizz. But it was a welcome and complimentary supplement to the night’s ballot activities.

Studiously, we went through each Prop, listening intently to the radio snippets, discussing and debating them, chuckling at the emoji’s (and the Porn Proposition…how is this even a thing we are voting on?), flipping between multiple sources of information to eventually arrive at our own conclusions. We stayed up past our adult bedtimes, laughing, talking, bellies full of the historically-styled Russian Cuveé…and all because we decided to make something pleasurable and fun out of what could have been just another ordinary evening.

And now here we are tonight, on the precipice of the election day that will surely change history. I’ll beg my husband one last time to whisper in my ear his nightly sweet nothings about how a certain slightly orange-hued man will not possibly be named President. Ask him to tell me we’ll go to bed Tuesday night with hope of inclusion and forward motion for this country.

That’s pretty sexy, too.

And lastly, she may not be perfect, but what an enormous thrill to fill in a certain Nasty Woman’s name on that Presidential ballot.

Let’s make history tomorrow. I’ll toast to that.

*Not noodles, quinoa. It’s a no-wheat thing. 

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