A Letter to the Youth of Today Who Deserve to be Heard

Feb 21 2018

Young friends, there are things you need to know. Things that must be said. Things you’ve hopefully heard, but just in case… just in case…

You’ve heard it said that you’re the leaders of the future, friends. But I need you to know that’s a lie. You are NOT the leaders of the future. You are the leaders of NOW. Your time is NOT still to come; it has ARRIVED. You already know this, or you sense it inside. You are ready to join the ranks of the resistance. You already have. You are its soul. You are ready to persist, and you will. You are fierce and on fire, and you have a perspective our world desperately needs. 

There are those who will tell you to slow down in the days ahead. They’ll tell you that change takes time. They’ll tell you there are more polite ways to protest. They’ll tell you to use your nice words and to be content. They’ll tell you it could be worse and they’ll ask why you can’t just be happy with what you have. Guess what? They told Martin Luther King, Jr. the same thing. And Sojourner Truth. And Malala Yousafzai. And Adam Rippon. Every great Change Maker has heard the same message. And every great Change Maker ignored it in favor of Justice and Equality and the Wild Call to be more Fully Free. 

There are those who will tell you you’re simply pawns, that you don’t know your own minds, that you’re patsies and proxies and being used for causes you can’t possibly understand. They’re wrong. They’re attempting to quiet you. They’re afraid of your voice. They’re eager to undermine your senses of agency and  conviction. Know why? Because you are POWERFUL, and when your generation speaks together, you will CHANGE OUR WORLD. You’re changing it already. 

There are people who will try to belittle you. They will try to undermine your confidence. They will try to shame you. Dare to speak anyway.

They’ll say you’re reacting out of trauma instead of truth, as though trauma isn’t an author of understanding. They’ll say you’re being manipulated. They’ll tell you your political opinions are worthless because you’re too young to know better. They’re wrong. Dare to speak anyway, friends.

They’ll say you’re undeveloped and immature. They’ll say you’re responding to strong emotions as though strong emotions don’t tell us Important Things. They will do whatever it takes to maintain a power structure that benefits them. Dare anyway. Dare and dare and dare again.

You will face hard things in the days and weeks and months ahead, and you are up for the task. You can do hard things. People will be mean. Ugly words will be hurled at your entire generation. They will be wrong, but you will feel discouraged at times. Dare anyway. Your world needs you to.

You will lose people in this fight. There will be those who cannot stand to let you speak. But there will also be those who encourage you. Those who champion you. Like Mr. Rogers said, “When things are bad, look for the helpers.” Look for the helpers. We’ll be here, daring with you.

You will make mistakes along the way. Hooray for mistakes! Mistakes — failure, even — means you’re in the arena. You’re trying. And it’s only by striving for positive change that it’s ever happened. This is the meaning of persistence. We try. We fail. We try. We make mistakes. We try. We LEARN. We make smarter mistakes next time. And then we succeed. We succeed because we DARED to persist. We dared to stay in the arena and damn the booing crowd.

Here’s what you must do — TRUST YOURSELF. You feel it in your gut, the things that are Right. Listen to that voice. Question what you’re taught and what you’ve been told; the things that are Truth can always withstand the questions. Always. 

Listen. I will follow you. I will follow your lead when you say enough is enough. I will sign my own youth and children out of class when you say it’s time to take to the streets. I will back you with my words, my money, my time, and my actions. 

I will believe you. When you say you’re being harmed, I believe you. When you say our schools aren’t safe — physically or emotionally— I believe you. When you sound the rallying cry, I will amplify your voice. And when you tell me it’s time for boots on the ground, I’ll cinch up my laces. 

And I am not the only one. Those of us who BELIEVE IN YOU are legion. In the thousands. In the millions. Look for us. We’re your support troops.

You know things we no longer know. You hear the Polar Express bell, and we’ve grown immune. Hardened. We need you to hear the clarion call. We need your passion, your energy. Your knowledge of right and wrong. Your clarity. Your wisdom. Your strength. 

You, friends, are of deepest worth. You are worthy of our respect. You deserve to be heard. 

 

With love,

 

 

I Love You, and I Have a Wonderful Plan for Your Valentine Life

Feb 14 2018

Dear Friends,

I love you, and I have a wonderful plan for your Valentine life. Now, USUALLY Greg and I like to have the flu on Valentine’s Day. Or watch Demolition Man because we’re die hard romantics. I know, I know — #relationshipgoals. It’s just, as I’ve said before, the problem with Valentine’s Day is it’s in February, and the problem with February is it’s trying to kill me. As much as I WANT to buy into a culturally manufactured holiday to prove we love each other, I JUST DO NOT HAVE IT IN ME. I’m tired. Exhausted. ALL I WANT IN ALL THE WORLD IS TO SIT ON MY COUCH WITH PIZZA. 

This year, though, my friend Bryan Erwin solved Valentine’s Day, and he didn’t just solve it for me, he solved it for US. The thing about Bryan is, we can trust him 90%. He’s been a stay-at-home dad, he has a wicked sense of humor, and he GETS IT. He is AS TIRED AS THE REST OF US, friends. He UNDERSTANDS IT ALL. In the interest of full disclosure, I assessed the other 10% on the fact that Bryan is his kids’ PTA president, so he’s an overachiever who occasionally makes the rest of us look bad, but we shall forgive him for this lapse in judgement because none of us is perfect, yes? Yes. I knew you’d understand.

Bryan made us a movie! It’s called FIXED, and it’s the story of Allan, a father of three who, as is wont to happen, finds himself with an appointment for a vasectomy and an epic midlife crisis. Oh, bless Allan’s sweet heart. (It’s gonna be OK, Allan. I’m on, like, my 6th midlife crisis, and it gets better after every one.)

Bryan met his cowriter, Alonso Mayo, in the yard of his son’s preschool, and they developed FIXED from their desire to show marriage and parenthood as “the raw, loud, sticky, scary mess of hilarious human emotions that it is.” Um, yep. Right up my alley, man. Magic and mess; I’m always in.

BEST PART, though? YOU CAN ONLY SEE FIXED SITTING ON YOUR COUCH AT HOME. Preferably with pizza. BRYAN GETS US, y’all. It’s available on Amazon Video, iTunes, YouTube, and cable-on-demand.

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! And if you screwed up and made plans to go OUT tonight, never fear… you can still watch FIXED this weekend. 🙂 

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. No, this is not a sponsored post. I don’t do those. I received zero compensation for this post. (Blah, blah, blah.) I just think sitting on my ass with a funny movie on V-Day is a good idea, and I think my friends are cool.  

 

Greg Said I Can Have a Domesticated Fox

Feb 12 2018

Greg said I can have a domesticated fox. He also says he did not say I can have a domesticated fox, but he’s wrong about the second one.

Specifically, our conversation went like this:

“Hey, Beth, did you know the Russians spent the last 60 years selectively breeding wild foxes to create a domesticated version? They actually did it. The science is amaz…”

“OH MY GOSH, WE’RE GETTING A FOX?”

“No, we’re not getting a f…”

“We’re getting a fox! WE’RE GETTING A FOX. KIDS?? Listen up! Dad says we can have a FOX.” 

**kids cheering**

“Beth. Beth! We are NOT getting a fox.”

“Of COURSE we’re getting a fox. You JUST SAID there are DOMESTICATED FOXES in the world. What POSSIBLE REASON do you have for NOT GETTING a fox?”

“Well, they make terrible pets. They’re only domesticated. Like, they can’t survive in the wild, and they’re happy around people. But they’re not necessarily good at living in the house, and they tend to mark their territory, including indoors.”

“OMG. That’s the stupidest reason EVER, Greg, not to get a fox. Our children are all feral, and we keep them. One of them peed on the inside garage walls. Several kept a poop collection under the front porch. God knows, we’ve cleaned urine and feces off nearly EVERY surface and textile in this house, thanks to myriad small creatures, human and otherwise. And I pooped the closet. Marking his territory is just a reason why a fox will fit in perfectly with this family.”

Greg rolled his eyes. It’s how he flirts with me. “You can’t just import a fox to the States.” 

“According to Google and PBS, though, you CAN, Greg. You CAN import a domesticated fox to the States for just $9,000.” 

“Right. NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS, Beth. Nine THOUSAND.”

“I hear you, Greg. I hear what you’re saying loud and clear. Got it, kids? We just need to raise $9,000 and then we get to have a fox. A WHOLE FOX.”

“And they’re specifically outlawed in Oregon…”

“So noted. Step 1: Raise $9,000. Step 2: Change Oregon State law. Step 3: WE’RE GETTING A FOX.” 

In conclusion, Greg made sure to let me know there are domesticated foxes and then helpfully outlined what I need to do to procure one of my very own, which is pretty much exactly the same as saying I can have one. Yes? Yes. I knew you’d understand.

With love (and great excitement),

 

 

 

P.S. FYI, I think we’re going to start with a girl fox. I shall name her Megan (obviously). Then we’ll get a boy fox and name him Michael J. They will have sweet baby foxes. We will keep one of the boy kits and name him George because George Fox was a weird weirdo who was weird and counter-cultural and founded Quakerism because he radically believed there is that of God in every person, made, as we are, in God’s own image. I cannot think of a better reminder of the tenets of our faith than a baby fox named George. Next time Greg panics even though he said I can have a fox, I’ll remind him it’s because it’s what Jesus wants for us, else why would he have brought the article to Greg’s attention in the first place? WHY are we getting a fox, Greg? DIVINE INTERVENTION is why. And also, it will remind us of our FAITH. Don’t argue with me about this; argue with GOD.

P.P.S. OMG! GUESS WHAT? I JUST REALIZED WE’LL NEED TO SELL THE OTHER KITS. To good homes, of course. But the average litter for a fox is 4-6 kits… and it’s not uncommon to go significantly higher… up to 13 (!). THAT MEANS I’VE ALREADY SOLVED THE $9,000 QUESTION. I just need to buy Megan and Michael J. for $18,000, have one litter of minimum 4 kits, keep one, and sell 3 for $27,000 total. I JUST MADE US $9,000, GREG. You’re welcome. 

P.P.P.S. While we wait for our foxes to arrive, our next Golden Retriever foster dog is coming. Her name is Nikki, and she’s 3 months old. I CAN HARDLY STAND HOW ADORABLE SHE IS. 

P.P.P.P.S.

 

 

I Accepted on Behalf of All of Us. Also, I’m Going to Need a Trophy Case.

Feb 1 2018

There’s always a fine line to walk between celebrating one’s success among friends and tooting one’s own horn. I’m going to go ahead and call this the former as I tell you I WON A LOT OF AWARDS THIS WEEK. 

A lot, a lot, friends. 

But I want you to know, as I accepted these and had my moment behind the podium* to speak to the masses**, I made sure the crowd understood I was accepting them on behalf of ALL of us. All of us mamas. And all of us parents. And all of us HUMANS who somehow ENDURE and BEAR WITNESS to each other again and again.

I was nominated*** in myriad categories, and I won a bunch of them, but I’m only going to give you a quick tour of my favorite hardware from the ceremony because I don’t want to brag too, too much. I’ll save the rest for another time.

…..

Award #1: SMOTHERED ZERO PEOPLE WITH A PILLOW

Lots of humans have smothered zero people with a pillow, and I am one of them! Huzzah! I accepted this award with a lengthy speech to itemize All the Things for which I COULD HAVE Smothered People but DIDN’T. It was very passionate. Also, loud. Also-also, some of the crowd put on headphones and Stopped Listening, and there were a few who Rolled Their Eyes****, but I don’t feel like any of that undermines the fact that I both earned and deserve this trophy which so beautifully memorializes my excellent Self-Control. 

…..

Award #2: TOOK MY MEDS

It’s true! I did. 

…..

Award #3: INJURY FREE WORKPLACE

 

Sixty minutes, friends. Sixty WHOLE MINUTES injury-free around here. I’ll be honest, we almost didn’t qualify, but somehow, at the last minute, we pulled it off. 

…..

Award #4: HA HA JUST KIDDING

Awarded for all kinds of Ha Ha Just Kidding situations, this trophy only symbolically says Made the Bed, which is obviously not a thing that happens around here because science, thank God, has put the kibosh on bed-making. I mean, I was given this trophy for Making the Bed (Ha Ha Just Kidding), but I also qualified for other categories of Ha Ha Just Kidding, including Showered Today, Found Clean Panties on the First Try, and Drank My Coffee While It Was Still Hot.

….

In conclusion, I’m going to need a really big trophy case, because there are more***** where these came from******, and I’m bound to keep winning and winning. 

With love,

 

 

 

*Podium: aka, the kitchen table.
**The Masses: Several children, all apparently mine, some sans pants, two muddy dogs, and Greg.
***I Was Nominated: with special thanks to Me for nominating myself.
****A Few Who Rolled Their Eyes: Greg Woolsey.
*****There Are More: OF COURSE there are more. There are more already made, AND there are more to come. For example, I am currently reading Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach and have decided my next trophy ought to be for Not Coercing Greg into Having Sex in Front of a Medical Audience for the Purposes of 4D Research like Mary, my hero, did her husband, Ed. I mean, YES I made Greg believe we were getting a miniature horse, and YES, I’m blessing him with a house full of Golden Retrievers, but it turns out I HAVE NEVER, EVER FLOWN HIM TO ENGLAND TO PARTICIPATE IN SEX STUDIES. I am a Paragon of Virtue. Now to make that concise enough to go on a trophy. I’m open to suggestions.
******Where These Came From: My friend, Shelley, who, for reasons I don’t understand, was getting rid of trophies, instead of awarding them to herself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Also from our local trophy store where the receptionist was very, very confused and troubled by how I intended to repurpose these. On the bright side, I think that lady prayed for me when I left.

 

 

I know what to do now! All is not lost.

Jan 23 2018

Sometimes Greg asks me weird questions. I mean, I think he means well. He’s just not always logical. 

Like, when I told him we were getting a free piano last week, Greg said, “Where are we going to put it?” Which is also what our kids said. I can only assume it’s Greg’s influence on them.

I think a more appropriate response is, “Oh my gosh; YAY! How did you manage to snag a free piano, Beth? Are you made out of MAGIC?” Or, “That is the BEST NEWS EVER. How soon can we pick it up?” 

Instead, I got, “Where are we going to put it?” Followed by, “And who exactly do you think is picking it up?” Followed by eye rolling and sighing and what basically amounts to All the Cues of Grave Reluctance. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s OK, though. Greg I have been married a Very Long Time now, so I know he responds this way to Good News. He just needs time to realize my plans are the Best Ever. 

Last month, just in time for Christmas, I told him, “I Know What to Do Now.” And, “All Our Problems Are Solved!” And, “Even Though Our World Is Absurd and Sad Right Now, I HAVE A PLAN FOR UNLIMITED JOY.”

“WE ARE GOING TO HAVE ALL THE PUPPIES, GREG.
Did you know the Golden Retriever Rescue organization in Oregon
LETS YOU FOSTER DOGS?
UNLIMITED GOLDEN RETRIEVERS.
(Well, they might have limits, but, still…
DOGS FOR DAYS!)”

Greg said, “Hooray!”

Except minus the word hooray and plus the word no. 

ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING.

Then he looked at me disdainfully for a while. 

Then he sighed for a couple weeks.

Then he said, “Fine. You have to pick up all the poop.”

YAAAAAYYYY!

So our free piano is lovely…

… and we’re on foster dog #2, the handsomest, sweetest, funniest, hugest, FARTIEST Golden Retriever in the world. (Food transitions are hard, man.)

In conclusion, I know what to do now. Or, at least, a teeny, TINY bit of what to do, which, mathematically speaking is INFINITY TIMES more than what I knew before. I mean, YES, our world is all effed up. And YES, the news is discouraging Every Single Day; devastating on the days it’s not discouraging. And YES, sometimes it’s really, super extra hard to put on clothes and to know how to exist in a world like this. BUT WE CAN FILL OUR HOUSE WITH GOLDEN DOGS, SO ALL IS NOT LOST. All is not lost when we spread compassion wherever we can.

With love to you, friends, and extra dog hairs if anyone needs some,

 

 

 

P.S. What are you doing that brings you joy these days? ‘Cause I could use a longer list. 

P.P.S. The gigantic baby above — a 90 lb. bag of awesome — is moving to his new home on Friday which means ANOTHER GOLDEN IS ON THE WAY TO OUR HOUSE SOON. YIPPEE!

P.P.P.S. This is pretty much Greg and me, where Greg plays the role of Karen:

 

 

I DID IT FOR US, GREG. 

I Got Dressed Today (and I Don’t Think That Bar Is Particularly Low)

Jan 17 2018

I don’t want to brag, but I’m a big goal setter, and I usually accomplish my goals, too. Last night, for example, I thought about what I really wanted for myself today (it’s important to plan ahead, you know), and I decided I’d set a goal to Get Dressed. Friends, I DID IT. I got dressed today! All the way dressed, including panties and shoes, because when I do goals, I do thorough goals.

I realize this sounds like a Setting the Bar Low piece, and it is, I guess, but it also isn’t. It’s been hard lately to get up while it’s still morning, to wash my face, to brush my teeth, to shower more than once/week, and, frankly, even that often feels like a chore. I mean, I like being clean, it’s just that that’s becoming more of a memory or an ideal at this point and not so much a reality. 

I’m not worried, yet, about depression rearing its head. To be clear, that’s exactly what it’s doing, but I’m still winning, and this is just part of it. A new skirmish in an ongoing war, but I have depression outgunned for now.

Last night, I just wanted to lay on my couch, face down in smashed Cheerio shards and wispy dog hair, prone and unmoving, breathing through the corners of my mouth. I managed to make it through yesterday, but barely, and I wanted today to be better.

Now, if I had my druthers, I’d wave my magic wand and be All the Way Better, Right Now. Like the magician who reappears after her trick in a puff of smoke, a slinky sequined dress, and stilletos, hair perfectly coiffed and hand upraised. TA DA! Sadly, though, my wand is on the fritz, so I have to try for better the old fashioned way. Incrementally, which is a real bummer. 

So I set a goal. One thing about today that I wanted to be different than yesterday. I picked Wearing Clothes. I wanted to pick wearing clothes, grocery shopping, writing, actually responding to emails instead of reading them and intending to respond, showering, scheduling, budgeting, and cleaning my room, but I know better. One thing at a time, Beth, for sustainable change. One thing at a time for a lot longer than I would wish. One thing at a time because, in a shocking twist, Something Sometimes is often healthier than the All or Nothing I prefer

In conclusion, I got dressed today, friends. I planned it, I prepared diligently, and I achieved my goal. Rejoice with me! And feel proud of yourself, too, please. Sometimes, reaching for the goals that seem small to others are, in fact, making a choice to live. 

With love,

In Case You Need Thumb Seeds, Tiny Watermelons, Or A New President, Which Are Basically The Same Thing…

Jan 12 2018

You know how sometimes you wish you had more than two thumbs to give? Like, when you’re all, TWO THUMBS UP to your friends but then you wish you had three thumbs because they brought cookies? Or four because they said your kids probably won’t all grow up to be serial killers? In those moments, I’m all, “I REGRET THAT I HAVE BUT TWO THUMBS TO GIVE, friends.” They deserve so much more. 

This isn’t just me. It can’t be. I mean, I know it’s just anecdotal evidence, but Facebook added a love button because sometimes like simply isn’t enough. I think they still need to add a vomit button and a rolling-eyes button given our current political environment, but still, Facebook is at least attempting to allow us to share the scope of our emotion, and I appreciate that.

I texted my friend Kasey a four-thumber the other night…

“Four Thumbs Up <- That’s if I had 4 thumbs.”

…and right away, she understood not just my approval but my deep desire for additional thumbs. 

If you cut off your big toes thumbs might grow in their place.”

Kasey gets me. She really does. I like her because she’s not just a problem solver, she thinks of practical solutions. Still, I had a few questions, for clarity, you know?

Do I cut them off with scissors? Or a knife? Or pull them off? Like, does the cut have to be straight and even for the thumbs to grow? And do I have to put thumb seeds in my empty toe holes? Does it only work with my big toes? Or can I cut off all my toes and have 10 thumbs down there?”

I’m so glad I asked, friends. Kasey initially assumed a certain level of Toe Thumb awareness on my part, but I’m a true Toe Thumb novice. 

For sure a knife. A really really big one. Make sure you cut from the bottom up if you want the thumbs to be up. Thumbs down on your feet would be embarrassing. Yes you need thumb seeds in the big toe holes. Make sure it is centered and not wonky. Very bad things happen if your seeds are placed wonky. You can get thumb seeds at Home Depot. It only works with your big toes. I highly recommend not cutting off all your other toes.”

Conclusion? ASK QUESTIONS. Nobody likes a know-it-all, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say the very last thing you want is upside down Toe Thumbs.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. If you’re looking for toe seeds at Home Depot, Kasey offered some advice on where to find them. 

Thanks! Do you know where at Home Depot the Thumb Seeds are? I assume not with the vegetable seeds; that would be weird since thumbs are obviously not vegetables. I just need to know where to tell Greg to look. I thought maybe with the pipes and/or screws since those are the parts for making robots?” “Defs not by vegetables that would just be inappropriate and disgusting. I believe they are near the screws and you should probably tell Greg to pick up a couple of those screws just in case too. They can be helpful in the rare case that they fall off.”

P.P.S. I also looked up “Thumb Seeds” on Amazon, as one does, hoping to find out whether I can have them shipped to my door and save myself the trip to Home Depot. 

I have several take-always from the search results, as follows:

A) Amazon verified Kasey’s advice by providing product info for a prosthetic thumb in case growing your own thumbs from seed proves too difficult, a pocket knife for toe severing, and thumb seeds. Well done, Amazon. Well done.

B) Clearly the seller has to call these “thumb watermelon seeds” because the selling of human body parts is prohibited, presumably even in seed form, but, by looking at the picture, one can see they are, in fact, advertising the thumb.

C) Microscopic watermelons are also a thing, which I didn’t know prior to this search. I presume these watermelons, each of which must be peeled separately in order to eat them, are for people who are exceedingly bored and thus can allot time to tiny watermelon peeling. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I know not who these people are, but I would like one afternoon to be them, please.

P.P.P.S. Following the horrific “shitholes” comment by President Trump yesterday, one of you (I’m looking at you, Mehera) suggested we elect Jed Bartlet president, instead. I’m in favor. Also acceptable, in no particular order: Jean Luc Picard, Michelle Obama, Mike Rowe, a bag of chips, my Golden Retriever Zoey, Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Warren, a rock, The Rock, that one flight attendant who had enough of his job and pulled the emergency exit door on the tarmac so he could escape via life raft slide, my favorite barista Ian from the Coffee Cottage, Stampy the Minecraft YouTuber, Boss Baby, Gayle King, Ira Flatow, or these teeny, tiny watermelons that look like thumbs. Sheesh.