What Happened in Oak Creek

The violence in Aurora, CO made me sad – it made me pray for those who were affected, and it made me question so much about about the world, but what happened in Oak Creek on Sunday has me downright furious.

That’s my hometown. That’s where I grew up, where I graduated high school, where I had my first jobs and heartbreaks and triumphs. It is a place that I was proud to be from.

I still am – maybe it’s selfish to know that the shooter is not a native – that he is an outsider that does not understand our community and what kind of people we are.

But it’s bigger than that.

When animals eat their young, or kill their own species – humans are appalled. When we make dogs fight those of us with souls are horrified at making animal attack animal just for sport.

Killing people based on their beliefs or their appearance is just as disgusting. We are all one species – we are all the human race – and when we kill each other for no reason it weakens us all. When we are all the same it weakens us. Difference and change are a part of growth, and if we do not grow or change then we will not survive.

When things like this happen we always say the violence is “senseless.” I don’t think we really know what that means anymore.

I was lucky to grow up in a household where the only things I was pressured to believe were to value and accept others – to never judge someone by their appearance or condemn those who were a different religion/ethnicity/gender than I am. It’s something that I got from my mother who got it from her father and the strength of his faith. His Catholicism was one of love – loving all and accepting all. To him the idea that we were all God’s children was a reality, not empty dogma. While we did not necessarily stay Catholic, that’s a value that you cannot change when it is something that grows up with you. Everyone is worthy of love, of acceptance, and of respect.

There are plenty of people in this world that I don’t respect because they show no respect to others. There are plenty of beliefs that I disagree with on a deep fundamental level, but I would never kill them for those beliefs. I know that violence is not the answer – and that’s become such an empty saying that we have forgotten what it means to really take another human life for anything other than self defense. It is all arbitrary – it is all on the surface. That is what makes it senseless.

People are people and that’s all that matters. Every human life has value – we are better than the animals because we are gifted with speech – we are gifted with minds rational enough to talk things out, to seek answers and understanding, and to have the opportunity to know rather than assume. We are wasting what we have been given by embracing ignorance and attacking that which is different from us. Even if you do learn about something, and you know it will never be a belief for you, then move on. Let others believe, even solace yourself in the knowledge that they are wrong and you are right. Learn to leave it alone. There is no reason to attack. No reason to make human fight human when they have done nothing to hurt you. Right there, senseless.

Having an open-mind does not mean accepting all beliefs, it means accepting that others have beliefs that are different from yours. I hope this violence can have a silver lining – that it can begin the move towards tolerance, and eventually – acceptance.

July 20 – Friday Night Facial

Today I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at hair style ideas. This is mostly because I want to practice getting better at doing braids, especially French braids. The funny thing is, I can do all these super cute waterfall braids, but I can’t do a simple regular old French braid. And if I can’t do that, there’s all sorts of cool stuff I can’t do. Part of the reason I grew my hair long was so I could do this stuff! Argh! Plus it’s nearly impossible to do all of this stuff to yourself. I guess I’ll have to resign myself to teaching other people, or practice so much that I can do it all without looking. I have found, actually, that the best way to practice is by not looking in the mirror. It always ends up looking better when you can think about what your hands are doing instead of what it looks like.

Here are some of my experiments.

Super simple waterfall twist. I will be using this all the time – and it turned out this nice on the first try!

Another waterfall braid, only this one wrapped all the way around my head, ending in a side braid.

Major props to The Beauty Department for the amazing braid ideas.

After that I decided that I should really give into this pampering experiment mood and give myself a facial.

BF’s mom sent me this really amazing lavender facial kit. It smells great and I have been meaning to do it and take my time with it for a long time. I got it weeks ago, but there never seemed to be the time to actually relax and enjoy it. I was always so stressed out than any attempt to make time to destress would have created more stress. But not anymore! The insanity of the first three weeks is over, and now the second three weeks is going much more smoothly. So I pinned my hair up on top of my head and got down to business. I stripped off all of my make-up – which today was only mascara. I got the water running in the sink nice and hot, and whipped out my facial kit.

I thought it seems a little sad to be giving myself a facial on a Friday night. Then I realized that I can take my time off however I want. I love being social, but I’ve never been a partier. I don’t feel the need to go out and get wild in my free time. In my free time, I want to play board games and watch movies and make jokes, and have good conversations with people I like, and I don’t want to be doing it yelling over loud music. I like to talk, and I like to listen. If some beer or a few bottles of wine are involved, that’s great, but…let’s stay in.

So here I am, Friday night facial.

This comes from a really amazing place called Olivu 426. They have a store where BF and family are, but otherwise you can order online. I really really recommend the Avocado Oil that is the first step of this facial. It feels AMAZING – you wipe it off with a hot wash rag and I swear I could feel it opening my pores. My skin felt like it was breathing. Then I combined the lavender, oatmeal, and buttermilk powder with the shea face wash. It was crazy thick and creamy, so I left it on my face for a bit, soaking in.

Oh yeah, me all done up on my Friday night.

So then I spent a lot of time just wiping it all off, soaking my skin.

Here’s the rub: I love make-up. I love playing with it and experimenting with it. I love looking at other people and imagining in my head what I would do to them if they would let me. Or I look at them and think that they are trying too hard, or overdoing it, and it is so easy to overdo it with make-up. Make-up is not supposed to change your face, it’s supposed to accent the good things. For example, I know the color of my eyes is unusual – I also know that because of this I can pull off almost any color eyeshadow. On the other hand, eyeliner is not always a great look for me. Still, I love make-up.

But once I wiped the goo off my face, I really looked at my skin. My skin is not great, especially that on my nose. The heat of the summer always makes me break out. However, I wonder if the world would be better if we all went around looking like this all the time.

No make up, no caffeine, no nothing.

I have bags under my eyes, I am splotchy. My skin is tight because I forget to moisturize a lot. But I feel clean and fresh, and I wonder if I would feel like that more often if I didn’t wear make-up. One of the other interns, Tia, doesn’t wear any make-up at all. It probably helps that she is a black woman with beautiful skin (also, I’m in deep envy of her fingernails), but she prefers people that way. Unadorned, nothing on you.

I worry about how many people in the world hide behind make-up. I don’t think I ever have – I think I’ve always been so low maintenance that it was really more about enjoying the way I looked, rather than “fixing” something or “hiding” something. I like wearing mascara because I have really long eyelashes. I like wearing lip gloss because I have big lips…however, I know that lipstick is not a good choice for me because my top lip is awkwardly shaped and lipstick points that out. I like to do crazy colors on my eyelids, and I love glitter on my face way more than I should.

But there are some people who think they need to put on layers of make-up to hide bad skin, when the make-up only makes it worse. People who won’t leave the house without putting on full eye stuff. There are all those criticisms on the internet about girls who come to school in sweatpants but still have their hair and make up done – I don’t want to criticize those girls, I pity them, I fear for them. I fear that they think if they spend one day undone it will ruin them forever. I fear that it is so a part of their routine that they do not know how to deviate from it. That they wear that mask forever, and are never really themselves. I had a teacher in high school who wore lipstick every single day. One day, she didn’t. I said something to her – I said she looked different without it, and I thought she looked really pretty. She, on the other hand, was nervous about. She genuinely felt naked without her lipstick. I saw her a few hours later and she must have found some, because the armor of it was back on her face.

I hate that the world makes us believe that. Make-up and girly things and our hairstyles and all of that should not be about other people, it should be about ourselves. I do what I think is pretty, not what someone else does. Do I like it when BF likes how I look or what I do? Of course. But will I change my whole life around it? No. I’ve been in that relationship, never doing that again. Sometimes people can’t see past the layer of make-up to the person, and they never get to know them. I’ll admit it – I judge people who fake tan. For the most part make-up I can ignore, but honestly, fake tanning creeps me out.

I dunno. I’m thinking about maybe trying 30 days with no make-up, and see what happens. See how I feel. Make sure that I’m wearing it because I want to and not because I feel like I have to, because society tells me I do.

Whatever, we’re all better off naked.

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July 18 – q.uote.it

It is the duty of men to judge men only by their actions. Our faculties furnish us with no means of arriving at the motive, the character, the secret self. We call the tree good from its fruits, and the man, from his works. (sermon, October 15, 1826)
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Can good work make up for the ills already done? I wonder about that all the time. Does making someone work off a mistake or a debt, really make up for the debt? Even if they complete the work – we do not know their motives or their morals – a person might do the work and then repeat the same mistake. Then maybe they’ll do work to make up for it again. How does it balance out?

If all sins have the same weight – when a person does both good and bad things, by which do we judge? Which matters more? If a bank robber is also a good father? If that same bank robber secretly donates the money he steals? Does that good outweigh the theft of money from others? We always love stories of people who do bad things but have hearts of gold – what does that say about us?

I know that I’m not perfect. I know that I swear a lot and I take the Lord’s name in vain, I know that sometimes I’m needlessly catty about people and I enjoy it (my co-conspirator, you know who you are – we also do that annoying thing where we text while sitting right next to each other – that is its own sin). There is a small part of me that enjoys being mean sometimes, that says something that sound sarcastic but I really mean it. And I mean small in both ways. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s still there, and most of the time I regret it later, or try to redeem the catty sarcasm by saying something nice or positive. Does that really make up for the cruelty? Even if the person never knows I said anything bad about them, I still feel the need to be nice to them later. If people are judging me only by my acts, they are judging me only by the acts that they know of. On the surface, I probably seem like a pretty nice person; I hope that’s the person I am. The positive, cheerful, encouraging person that I like to be 97% of the time.

What I’m trying to say is that despite what I see all around me every day, especially in the job that I am, I want to believe that every person has a heart of gold underneath all the bull crap and behavior that society pushes on them. I know that because of things like Jersey Shore people act like idiots. I really do think that reality TV has ruined a lot of lives. I want to think that they glean the few useful lessons from those shows: be loyal to your friends, stand up for yourself, stand up for what you believe in. I hope they learn how to do it without being a wiener, but I think that’s a sort of high hope.

I’ve been thinking lately about most TV shows and movies and book series that are about the battle between good versus evil. The lesson those things teach you is that it is easier to be evil, to turn to the dark side and give into the simple emotions. Being good is hard work, being good is a commitment, and being good is never easy. Those things tell you that being good hurts. It’s not just true for fiction, that’s true in real life. Forgiveness, compassion, kindness, and love can hurt, but in the long run it’s worth it to fight to be good. It’s worth it to love.

Today I’m grateful for the website q.uote.it because when I go to the cloud of words I like to find whatever word hits me that day, and read through the quotes. I like where they take me and I like how they make me think. I doubt I will ever say anything worth a quote in that cloud on those topics, but I still like connecting with the words.

I’ve gotten my hope back in what I do, since last Friday, and that is a very good feeling.

I’m also grateful to Doctor Who for helping me reclaim the word “sweetie” in my life.

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July 16 – Planners

I like keeping a schedule. I like color coding. I like remembering things and documenting their existence. I like my planners because then I know exact dates for things that matter.

So at the request of a friend I made a video to try to explain how I keep a planner and why it’s important and stuff.

It turned out to be something really weird, in my opinion. And scattered. And I have no video editing program, so it’s not very well done. But whatever – it’s here, this is the secret to my planner keeping success.

How to Keep a Planner

I really do love them, and I really am grateful for them too.

July 13 – Communication and Consequence

The last few days have been difficult, but have also been a big part of the reason that I came to work at Cornell for the summer. Wednesday morning I was meeting with the associate director in charge of summer programs, and she asked me if there was any experiences I hadn’t had yet this summer that they could provide; in the back of my mind I thought: well, it would be good experience if a major incident occurred. I didn’t say it out loud, but the thought did cross my mind. Now I regret that, because an hour and a half later I got a phone call stating that a major incident had occurred. Of course.

Deciding what to do as a result of this incident has been a little crazy. What resulted is that for the first time in my student affairs career, I had to meet with a student and tell them they were dismissed from the program. This was…terrifying. If I could go back and do it again I’d probably say everything entirely different, I would probably do things in a different order – the same thing that happens after every first time experience; you decide what you would change. Well hey, at least I know that I can do it now – I know that I won’t chicken out…which was a distinct possibility given the level of butterflies occurring in my stomach.

Some students that come to this program sacrifice a lot to be here – they receive scholarships, they fundraise, they drain their savings to be a part of this. Deciding to terminate a student is heartbreaking. Even this morning I woke up wondering if I was doing the right thing, if this was too harsh of a decision, if what I was doing was fair, if the student should get another chance.

In my experience, the whole point of the conduct process in universities is not to punish the student – we are not the law (although we deal with it) we are some sort of middle ground. The purpose of our process to educate. What would be the best option to educate this student for what happened?

What happened was really serious – the student broke the law. But what does that mean? These are teenagers – they are acting out because most of them are on their own for the first time, they think things are easy, sometimes they forget things have consequences. Getting into this situation is a really brutal reminder: there are always consequences.

But I’m also potentially holding a student’s future in my hands. This program is competitive – you don’t just sign up, you apply and get accepted. Getting into and completing this program can mean the difference between a student going to the college they WANT to and going to the college they HAVE to. It means losing money, it means losing face, and it can mean getting in a lot of trouble with your family. You also have to worry about the student’s ability to cope – how will this decision affect their ability to be resilient? How do they cope with failure?

This can come out in all sorts of ugly ways – in harming themselves, in drinking, drugs, in hurting other people or in repeating the behavior that got them here in the first place. Where is the line between having a consequence and causing harm to the student? When is it no longer educational?

The experience of failure is one every person should have – if you have never failed at anything you don’t learn resilience. You don’t learn to overcome, you don’t learn how to adjust your plan, how to innovate. Innovation is definitely a product of failure. But, how much is just destruction and how much is teaching them to accept consequences and move forward?

At the same time, there are some situations that no matter how sorry you are, there is a consequence. You can’t just apologize your way out of things. What is an acceptable consequence to make up for the behavior besides dismissal from the program? What is enough to compensate for what happened? What is enough to show that you’re sorry and that you’ve changed? If the behavior was easy in the first place, what makes a difference now?

When is education punishment? When are we missing the opportunity to help a student change? While one side of me sees it in black and white: something happened, this is the consequence; another side of me thinks: wouldn’t it be better to keep an eye on the student and facilitate change? How can this experience positively alter the path the student is on?

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, I might never have the answers, and the answer will always be different because every student is different. Do I buy into the notion that every student is a beautiful unique snowflake? Not so much. But do I think I shouldn’t make assumptions going into the situation in the first place? Absolutely. I want to help students – I want to make them think before they go out into the world unprotected, and maybe they can check themselves before they wreck themselves – which is exactly what a lot of them do. I want to walk the line between teaching and a reality check. We can’t avoid reality forever, even if we’d like to.

Today, really, I’m grateful for technology. This situation needed to be handled quickly, and without the wonder that is telephones, cell phones, email, and the internet…it would have been so much harder to figure out. I’m hoping that nothing else like this happens over the course of the summer so that while this experience was valuable, its the only one this summer.

I need a vacation, and advice on how to get rid of fruit flies.

July 9 – Chewing Gum

I love gum. If I didn’t chew gum, I would be walking around in a constant of migraines and headaches and jaw aches. I have a bad tendency to grind my teeth – it’s another stress reaction. Unlike many teeth grinders, I don’t do it when I’m sleeping. My mom did and had to wear a mouth guard at night – it took her headaches away. I, on the other hand, only grind mine while I’m awake and doing…anything. It doesn’t really matter if I am in a stressful situation or not, it’s just the default setting that my mouth is on if I’m not smiling or talking.

If I didn’t chew gum, I probably would have had a lot more dental work. Which is not in line with what our parents told us as children – that candy and gum would rot your teeth – but I know that most gum these days is sugar free. The sugar is not the problem, once you get older and mint gum becomes the best thing ever. I love wintermint and spearmint, and occasionally peppermint when I can’t get anything else. It’s gotten to the point where just the taste of mint can relax my jaw – it gets ready to chew and and the tension in my muscles is released.

I wish I knew where that came from.

Anyway, gum is awesome. There are cool brands like Dubble Bubble that does genuinely let the chewer blow bubbles double the size of any other gum. There’s the gross gum you get out of the cool candy machines that has flavor for about 30 seconds and then the sugar in the gum makes it taste like butt.

Sugar in gum is what gives you bad breath, by the way. I started my gum research before the teeth grinding started, because I heard that the sugar in mints can make you breath smell worse because the sugar ferments in your mouth. So that was how I switched mints, and that’s how I started chewing only sugar free gum. Most minty gum you find these days is sugar free, but I still check. It doesn’t keep your breath minty all the time, but it actually evens it out.

Whatever, I am really tired and I really love gum because otherwise I would have a monster headache right now. Thank you, gum.

July 7 – Coca-Cola

Today’s post is brought to you by pictures. This is how I wrote the first draft of a novel in 9 days.

ALWAYS Coca-Cola.

I come from a Coke family, I was super excited in Las Vegas to buy my Coca-Cola bag.I just don’t enjoy the taste of Pepsi, I like my soda sweet and Coke is wonderful.

I’m going to continue to drink it while I begin my second draft.

A real post tomorrow, promise.

July 6 – Folding Chairs and Tables

Uh…work got in the way…so I’m publishing this blog on central time, because it’s only 11:00 there, and still July 6th.

I talked to a kid today who has every time on his watch and sets them differently depending on what he needs to do. Right now he’s going on San Francisco time all the time. I have no idea how he makes his life function. The cooler thing was that his first and last name meanings combined together made his name mean “summoner of fire.” We had a cool conversation about it after talking about the Higgs-boson, and how he told me he’s going to get two degrees in physics and computer science so he can design models of the universe. There are some times when this job is cool.

So, today I’m grateful for folding chairs and tables.

Some of you might know this about me, but I keep a lot of stuff in my car. This is a habit I picked up from my friend Todd – who kept everything but the kitchen sink in the trunk of his Mitsubishi Lancer. This car took us on many marvelous adventures and things accumulated – we always found what we were looking for. From a sweatshirt to a Ouija board to our middle school yearbooks. The Lancer had it all.

This meant that when I got a car, everything just went into the trunk. In my first car, my totally bomb 1990 Toyota Corolla in baby blue, the trunk wasn’t that big so I had to be picky. I had all the emergency stuff – jumper cables, flares, a blanket, extra scarves and gloves. I also had a pair of shoes, random clothes, way more window scrapers and brushes that I would ever reasonably need with a car that size. Regardless – when I moved into a different apartment I had forgotten to take a bunch of nice dresses on hangers out of the trunk. I was in Milwaukee for a wedding and accidentally ripped the dress I was going to wear. What did I do? Went in the trunk and got another dress. Like a boss, friends. I loved this car. I still love this car. It had no blind spot.

Now, what does my car have to do with folding chairs and tables? Well now I drive a different car that my dad talked me into getting. This car has been both a blessing and a curse. It gave me a lot of expensive repair trouble at first that was unexpected, and it’s a HUGE wuss when it comes to real Minnesota winters. However, I can store a lot of crap in this baby.

Yep, that’s my swagger wagon.

What it comes down to is that because I have so much room in this convenient little hatchback not quite a station wagon thingy, that I keep a folding table in it at all times.

This comes in handy times like now, when I temporarily have to live in another building and I don’t have a lot of furniture. Guess what I’m using right now? Yep, that folding table that everyone thinks is super weird to have in my trunk. Forget you people, it’s handy. I’m grateful for folding furniture.

My mom and stepdad have a ton of folding chairs and tables. Assorted family members borrow that stuff at all times of year – rummage sales, parties, whatever. We use them ourselves at gatherings and parties, and they are nice folding chairs, real cushioned and comfy. You just can’t fight the convenience of furniture that you can hide. So I’m grateful for the convenience of folding furniture. Hurray!

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July 5 – Air Conditioning

When we sweat, it’s really gross.

I don’t enjoy it. I really don’t enjoy it because when I sweat, I sweat from my forehead. Under my arms, for the most part my back, my neck, any other crevices – for the most part these places do not get all that sweaty except when I am intentionally trying to sweat. Those places I might not mind so much, but when the majority of your sweat is dripping down your face because it starts at your forehead it’s really uncomfortable. I find myself constantly wiping my face and ruining a day’s worth of mascara because by the time I get to work, even the waterproof stuff is smudged beneath my eyelashes.

My office this summer is not air conditioned. This means that I sit in the dark and creep students out when they come to meet with me because keeping the lights off keeps it cooler. I am also lucky that the sun does not come in through my window except for a few hours in the morning, so the shade helps too.

However, my room in the Ecology House has it’s very own air conditioning unit and I keep it brisk in there. I’m a person who likes to sleep cocooned in blankets and snuggling with my pillows – when it’s hot I can do none of those things and therefore do not sleep. I don’t like waking up where I am so sweaty and gross that my hair face feels like I took a shower. I love that my room in Eco is FREEZING, and that sometimes I need to crawl under more blankets in the middle of the night. Studies have shown that people sleep more deeply when they are cold.

I do say though, I used to get the worst colds from air conditioning. My nose would stuff up like crazy for days, even from just spending one night in an air conditioned hotel room. I grew up in a house with no AC…the contrast just killed my senses. I am decent at dealing with the heat though. Some of my best memories are reading Harry Potter sitting in a laundry basket in our basement. So it has its purposes.

Tomorrow it is supposed to reach over 100 degrees here. I know that everyone back home in the Midwest has been dealing with this kind of weather already and I feel for them – I feel for anyone who has been trying to sleep in the heat without AC. If I was at home in my apartment this summer I guarantee you I would be suffering through a lot of sleepless and sticky nights. Even though I’m sleep in a room without air conditioning for the next 3 nights covering one of the HRs vacations, I know that worst case scenario I can hide out in Eco for a bit and cool down.

My ultimate goal with this weekend is to finish the first draft of my YA novel so I can start a way better second draft. I already want to start making changes but I promised myself I get the whole story out and a whole first sequence of events before I go in and mess it all up.

Regardless, this summer would be a lot worse if I didn’t have a frozen haven to retreat to. Thank you AC, you are a wonderful invention.

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July 4th – The Constitution as a Fluid Document

Alright, so here is the rant in which I’m going to get a bit liberal.

I want to start by saying that I do love the country I live in, I love and appreciate the values upon which we were founded and that there really is no democracy quite like the United States anywhere else in the world.

However, as much as I love those ideas, the Constitution was written in 1776. For people that are strict when it comes to the interpretation of things as they are written in the Constitution, I really wonder if they want things to be like they were in 1776. For example, African-Americans, or pretty much anyone who was not of British origin was not protected by the Constitution. Therefore, anyone in this country that is descended from other European origins is considered a lesser being. Women didn’t even count at all – women were subject to the whims and wants of the men around them. They were not protected.

Because we have advanced as human beings since that time, we now see all people as actual people, not 3/4 of a person and not as property. If we had not adapted our view of the Constitution, this could never have happened. I am not a second class citizen, I am not a piece of property, I am a human being. I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me that, but it is nice that we can let this document grow and expand to include all people, and not just the privileged.

I believe in the first amendment especially, which is why I have no problem talking to people who believe differently than I do. As I told a conservative friend recently, I try hard not to get frustrated, because I would rather have a friend who actually thought about where they stand even if it differs from me than have a friend who didn’t care at all.

I believe in the right to privacy, the separation of church and state, the right to respectfully demonstrate. I believe that when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman’s body is her own, all they were doing was stating the obvious. I swear if all this crazy legislation about women’s reproductive health goes toward government control I am going to lose my mind. If conservatives are afraid of big government and regulation…what exactly do they think monitoring every single woman in the United States is going to involve?

Personally, I am extremely proud to live in a country where an African-American man is president, where our Supreme Court made the difficult decision of deciding to try and help and protect all of its citizens by offering them health care, where I have a right to protest and express the way that I feel, and all of this is protected by the document upon which we were founded – which, by the way, probably made those guys kinda liberal – and the fact that the Constitution is a fluid document, one that changes as it is needed for this country, as we grow and expand and face new issues. We cannot live in the dark – we were given a fire and we must use it to light our way. We cannot live in the past – time does not stand still and we have no choice but to move on and move forward.

As Hairspray says: yesterday is history, and it’s never coming back. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Seriously though, if you ever want to learn the beautiful power of the freedom we experience in this country, Hairspray is a good reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. Men and women are still not equal in this country, people of different ethnicities are still not equal in this country, there will always be hatred and anger and a fear of difference; however, we have a foundation that allows us to change and grow so that we can do our best to try and protect our citizens and protect the less fortunate and the less privileged. I know that I am one of the privileged simply by being white; but I have experienced sexism in the workplace and in my relationships. I cannot speak from a position of poverty or of racism, but I know they are out there and I know that it’s wrong.

We will never live in a perfect world, but I’m glad there are people in this country willing to try. I am grateful for a founding document that says we should keep trying, and we can keep trying. That living and being happy and equal is an INALIENABLE RIGHT.

God Bless the U.S.A.


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The Paradox between the Sacred & the Profane

A Word in Your Ear

Stories and Photographs of my travels, Tales of friends, family, animals and my life