#444

I voted yesterday.  Four hundred forty-fourth in my ward.  Maybe my new lucky number?

I remember learning about civics and government as a middle schooler. I was a nervous student of the social sciences; I recall my teacher imparting, with what I perceived to be immense gravity, the import of what we were learning. I wanted to get the facts right.  I mean, sure, I constantly pursued the ‘A,’ but how could I let down our founding fathers? Or worse, the suffragettes?

I’d perform poorly now on tests of the subject matter that captivated and awed me as a young teen. This is not a point of pride, but fact. I’ve arrived at the juncture of life where I have forgotten more shit than I’ll ever learn from here forward.  Also not a point of pride, but fact.  My short term memory is breaking up with me, and it’s getting ugly  She doesn’t even want to be friends.  *sigh*

I distinctly remember my seventh grade teacher telling us that participation in the democratic process allowed us to keep the biggest, most important secret we’d ever have.  She told us that no matter what, no matter who, no matter where, no matter nothing! that no one, NO ONE, could make us share the names of the candidates for whom we voted.  You could be thrown in a torture chamber, held at gunpoint, but no one had any right to force you to divulge your vote.  Being able to vote elevated you into a secret society, and the secret was yours to hold forever.  Pinky swear, cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye.

Pre-teen lack of guile, middle school innocence?  Call it what you will, but her lesson stuck.  I thought it was so, so, so what?  So neat that one day I would get to vote, and you could ask me, but I’d never have to tell you who I voted for.  Even if you said please.  “Neat” is how I came to think of my little secret.  I still kinda do.

You know how I voted yesterday though.  I can invoke my nifty privilege to keep mum, which I intend to because middle school social studies class, you guys!  But you already know.

I hope you voted yesterday.  Social media and 24-hour news networks allow few secrets to be kept these days. You don’t have to share on which side of the aisle you sit, stand, or filled in those little Scantron circles–you too get to keep that private.  Forever.  I slept poorly last night–want to watch/can’t watch/have to check/don’t want to know election returns returned–stole my sleep, but I woke today with a smile.  And the teensiest ray of hope.

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One of my heroes, HEROES, Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, sharing reason 348,734,992 why you should vote.

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Sunshine

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.  These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

–Joseph Addison

Sunshine and smiles, that’s me today!  I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, which is “peer recognition for bloggers who inspire positivity and joy.”  I can hear you laughing, and if eye rolling were audible, I’d hear that too, you guys.  The irony is not lost on me.

I was nominated by one of my favorite bloggers and author Suzanne at My Dang Blog.  She’s clever as hell, she’s an engaging writer, and I am sure if we were neighbors, both we and our dogs would be best friends and share a bottle of wine at least weekly.  Alas, the heroine of today’s tale lives in Ontario, and I only pretend live in Toronto, which makes the weekly wine date somewhat of a trick to manage. Also, no wine for the dogs.  I mean, that was pretty much understood, right? But I don’t want you to think I’d booze up my Rawr-Rawr just to get him off the couch once in a while.

With her nomination and my acceptance, because I am nothing if not one for sucking up to the universe for praise, I agree to answer some questions she has posed, and because it wasn’t an even ten from her, I’m throwing in a few of my own just ’cause.  See if you can guess which are legit and which come from my own Ask Alexa.

1) What country do you come from?  Born In the USA, just like Springsteen, except more Great Lakes Region-y

2)  Political advertisements: Persuasive or Divisive?  Lies.  Lies.  Lies.  Twisted and manipulated from every angle, but the most menacing are the ones from the nut jobs not sharing my ideology.  Obviously.  Hey, it’s my blog and it’s my award. I tried, y’all, I tried to listen to the other side, to remain open and objective, and use those conversations to inform and educate myself on opposing views, to understand why and how people think it’s OK to mock disabled people and shove LGBTQ individuals back in the closet.  I’ve yet to see the advertisement that convinces me otherwise–“Oh really?  So he’s in favor of sex offenders you say? I better check the other box.  Thank you SO MUCH for this clarifying ad.”  Divisive.  What?  This is the Sunshine Blog Award??  Oh yeah. OK, moving on. . . PS–no one is in favor of sex offenders.

3) Left or Right Handed?  Both, actually.  I have answered this before, so read down to #4 if this is old news.  I consider myself a lefty, as I write with my left hand.  I also bat lefty, lead with my left leg, and use a chef’s knife using my left.  But I throw a ball, cut with scissors, and cut food with my right.  The tasks I do with one hand can absolutely not be accomplished with the other.

4)  Last Song You Listened To?  Soooooo late to the party, but I just downloaded the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast recording.  I don’t know the song’s title, but I think it’s called Cabinet #2.  Everyone in the world knows what I’m talking about except me here.  Last week I went to see the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton smash.  He is an unparalleled talent, but you already know that.  I’d have been a much better student of history if I could have sung it instead of read it.

5) What is your dream destination?  I don’t know that I have one.  In his youth, my husband was in the Air Force Reserve, and had a sortie that landed him in Italy.  From the day we met, he has said he wanted to take me to Italy to revisit what he experienced as his happiest days (I mean his happiest days before I came into his life, obviously).  So there maybe?

6) Why did you burst out laughing in a meeting on Thursday?  This question was directed to My Dang Blog in response to a specific post, but I’ll answer it too.  I burst out laughing twelve times a day, at minimum, at work.  Why?  Because my sense of humor is inappropriate and only marginally safe for work.  But this time there was a specific catalyst: Thursday marked the fifth annual South Toronto Day celebration.

My coworker Christine decorates my work and life with Canadiana and Barenaked Ladies-themed Photoshopped works along with other, more traditional birthday paraphernalia to celebrate the birthday of Ed Robertson, my favorite singer.  Yes, it’s a bit over the top, and no, I DON’T KNOW if the guys in the band think I’m crazy.  Stop asking me!  Christine contributes the swag–no small endeavor–and I supply the treats:  maple leaf cream cookies (naturally), all-dressed potato chips, and an extra special find for SoToDay 2018: maple-bacon chips.  If only they made a poutine flavor!  I have a new boss this school year, and she probably thinks I’ve got a few screws loose, but she did play along and wish me a “Happy Canada, what? your favorite singer? what’s the plane about??” Day.

7) What is your favourite movie? (See, Suzanne’s Canadian, so the “u” stays)  I have a few favorites, but if I’m made to pick just one, it’s Singin’ In The Rain.  It’s not the favorite I’d choose to watch most frequently (that would be The Hangover), but Gene Kelly?  Donald O’Connor?  Come on!  I can never walk away from or turn off That Thing You Do! or The Replacements.  Why is this not a top five list?

8) What crazy thing did you do on Friday night?  Last Friday night was off the hook, yo.  After I recovered from an eternal work week with a small fermented beverage, my husband and I shopped at Sam’s Club.  For those not in the know, Sam’s is a warehouse wholesaler, known for its 50-lb. sacks of rice and 2-gallon drums of olive oil, you know, what every household of four needs.  So yeah, Team Weir crushed the livin’ la vida loca Friday night.

Oh, and also there were showtunes. 

9) Are you happy with your current life?  Yes.  I bitch a lot, but I consider myself a generally happy person.  Positivity is quicksilver these days, which makes the timing of the Sunshine Blogger award especially ironic.  I struggle mightily regarding work issues–of the million things I want to go well or right for our department, I am unable to effect the change I want to see happen, and that frustrates me.   As my number one son navigates the world of high school, I wince as I watch him try so damn hard to accomplish tasks that for his peers come easily.  His classmates don’t even ever have to consider the effort going into activities like walking or holding a drum mallet, but mine does, and I find myself playing a dangerous game of comparisons these days.  I have a number two son for whom most things come effortlessly, and I’m relieved and elated for him.  I have a husband who loves me, a roof over my head, a car that starts when I hit the button every time, and enough to eat that I’m about 8 pounds heavier than I’d like to be.  I’d be a jerk not to be happy about that, right?

10) Do you have any new and interesting bathroom stories?  New and interesting?  Ummm. . .  There was that one time I was in the midst of doing the thing at my favorite breakfast restaurant.  Though my door was latched properly, a woman, apparently new to how public bathroom stall doors work, bashed and bashed on the door until it popped open.  She had the, I don’t know what, nerve? naivete? to look surprised to see me sitting there.  But watch me turn this around.  Ready?  I’m happy to be smart enough to know how bathroom stall doors work.  Go, me!

STOP THE PRESSES!  THIS JUST IN–And I swear on all I hold dear that this is entirely true:  Someone pooped on the floor outside my boss’ office today.  Like turds.  In my office building.  Left (is that the correct verb?) between 8:10 and 8:20 AM.  Am I really happy with my current life????  Maybe I rethink #9 above.

I need a moment.  Or maybe a new job.

Now, according to the rules, I’m supposed to nominate other people for this award. To straight-up plagiarize Suzanne, “Frankly, I follow a lot of people, and you all make me happy, so it’s really hard to narrow the list down without me worrying that I’ve left someone out, but here are some people who are very positive and would probably never throat punch anyone.”

To play along, should they accept my nomination, they’re to refrain from throat punching, answer these questions and pay it forward (or feel free to create your own questions) (or feel free not to answer any of them at all) (or feel free to continue ignoring me because most of these  bloggers/sunshine purveyors don’t know I exist).  But hand over my heart, Suzanne, I adore you and Titus and your Dang Blog, and I’m touched you think that for one hot second I spread sunshine.

Jim, at Random Writings On the Bathroom Wall always has a little something nice or sassy or thoughtful in his posts.  They’re quick hits, and I like ’em.  I believe I read recently that he doesn’t share in the blog awards, but I like the quick read = smile thing.

Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess, is an all-star.  Even when her team loses as many games as the World Series champs win in a season, her spin is funny and sassy, which to me is a ray of sunshine.  And I say this not only because she featured my kid in her blog.  Honestly.  She’s been featured in some pretty big press too!

Gemma, at Wheelescapades, savors tea as she explores the UK, reporting back on accessibility from the driver’s seat.  I especially enjoy her interviews with other bloggers.

Oh, to be a visual artist!  I grin madly every time a new Wrong Hands is published.  Clever word play elevated by terrific illustration.  Love.

Another Jackie, this Jackie writes at Disability & Determination.  Like my son, Jackie also has MD, and shares observations and determination in the every day as well as some of the big picture stuff.  Every post isn’t 100% sunshine, but every keystroke is keepin’ it real, and a good 99% of her posts are, in fact, facing the sun.  When I began blogging, I searched for MD-related posts and writers.  Lucky find for me!

The Bloggess changed my life. Not 100% sunshine, but if bravery and candor and holy crap, the funniest woman on the planet aren’t sunshine, I don’t know what is.  Jenny Lawson is the first blogger I ever followed before I knew that one “followed” a blog. Suzanne’s a fan too! xoxo