Tag Archives: Activism

Finding the Light in Dark Times

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” — Edith Wharton

It seems timely — that on the eve of the New Year and the eve of the January Supermoon — I take a look back at the past year and look ahead to the New Year, while I search for the light to give us hope in what can only be described as dark times.    Continue reading

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The Toilet Zone: Unhappy Anniversary

Note: This is the sixth installment of The Toilet Zone, a commentary series on the Trump presidency.  

“You can’t move forward until you look back.” — Cornel West

First, let me go on record. I resisted writing another opinion piece about the Trump presidency. This past week marked the year anniversary of the election — and for many of us — Trump’s startling, shock-wave inducing, tear-filled, head-shaking victory, followed by intermittent denial, and expressions of WTF!  Every day since the election, I’ve consumed more than my fair share of news and commentary on Trump’s presidency and the state of the world. I’m more awake than I care to be most days. Continue reading

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Battle of the Sexes Redux

It’s just really important that we start celebrating our differences. Let’s start tolerating first, but then we need to celebrate our differences. — Billie Jean King

“I wanted to use sports for social change.” — Billie Jean King

“You’ve Come a Long Way Baby.” — Virginia Slims cigarette slogan, first sponsor of the women’s tennis circuit which later became the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association).

Each generation experiences firsthand a series of events which become mile markers and touchstones for our lives. The past two weeks, I was reminded, while watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s riveting PBS documentary series, The Vietnam War, of being a baby boomer who came of age from preteen to young adult during the Vietnam War. Beginning last year, and continuing this year, I watched documentaries and narrative films about the anniversaries of Civil Rights protest marches, riots, and tragedies, most recently the film Detroit. On Friday, the reminiscing continued when I saw the new film, Battle of the Sexes, chronicling the $100,000 tennis television spectacle between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, billed as the “battle of the sexes,” women’s libber vs. chauvinist pig.  Continue reading

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No More 9 to 5!

It’s still winter in Wisconsin. After a week of record-breaking temperatures of spring-like weather — a hopeful tease of things to come — then came the rain, sleet, ice pellets, followed by snow and howling winds. We’re reminded that winter remains for a few more weeks before spring arrives. Spring is a season of hope and new beginnings. So is my life today, as I cross the threshold of my third act. Cue up Dolly Parton, no more “9 to 5.”  Continue reading

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Drinking from a Glass Half-Full

“Every last one of us can do better than give up.” —Cheryl Strayed

Looking back at 2016 with gratitude and ahead to the New Year with optimism.

Before you jump to any conclusions — I’m not crazy — 2016 sucked!  I’m not going to rehash all the reasons why, because we all know why, and we’ve talked about it around the virtual, social media water cooler from glasses half-empty for the past year and more.  As we’ve all been reminded by a quote from Albert Einstein (who knew he was the first to say it?), “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Continue reading

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The Toilet Zone: First Flush

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.” — Anonymous

It’s time to say good-bye to 2016. As a recovering person, the Serenity Prayer has been playing an endless loop in my mind; it’s my leitmotif for 2016. It’s reminded me —again and again — that there are many things happening in my world — and the larger world we share — that are outside of my control. In an effort to address them I’ve created this new Mixed Metaphors, Oh My! series, The Toilet Zone. Continue reading

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Red Letter Days (and Nightmare Nights)

Red Letter Day

Definition: a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable

Like most of my left-leaning, liberal, tolerant, and progressive friends, family, and neighbors the days leading up to the presidential election were bright. In fact, in the words of friends Pat and Barb MacDonald of Timbuk 3 from their song,The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” the lyrics echoed the optimism that though the race was close, most prognosticators predicted Hillary Clinton had over an 80% chance of reaching or surpassing the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the election. It was a Red Letter Day that then turned into a nightmare night.  As we all know now, she won the popular vote and lost the election. We were shocked and stunned. Continue reading

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A Book Is Not A Gun

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” — H. P. Lovecraft

A book is not a gun. The event that triggered this statement is still unfolding. Since Tuesday of this past week, the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte, North Carolina police is still being investigated and cell phone videos recorded by Scott’s wife, Rayeiya, plus dash cam and officer body camera videos do not definitely prove that Scott was wielding a gun. His wife claimed that he wasn’t carrying a gun, but instead a book that he was reading while he waited for his son to be dropped off by the school bus. Police reported a book was not found on the scene, or in his car, and further allege that Scott did not follow commands to drop his gun. A book is not a gun.

Continue reading

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Ode to Blue-Collar Working Class Heroes

“There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill”
 —John Lennon, Working Class Hero

In July both the Republican and Democratic Presidential Conventions concluded. Each party, their supporters, speakers, and candidates have driven stakes, describing in detail— some more than others — their position on the issues, their plans for the future, and identified who their party represents, or not. The Republicans embraced fear, law and order, and promised to “Make America Great Again.” The Democrats expressed optimism for the future and reaffirmed that America is already great, in fact, in the words of Michelle Obama, “This right now is the greatest country on earth.” And as a people, we are “Stronger Together.”  Continue reading

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The Power of Circles

“I get by with a little help from my friends.” Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Last weekend I attended a recovery enrichment workshop at Edgewood College presented by Fred Holmquist of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Dan Anderson Renewal Center. The experience was a powerful reminder of the role recovery circles have played in my life. Over the years I’ve sat in many circles in outpatient treatment, aftercare, 12-step meetings, and retreats.  Yet this is simply one sphere of my life where circles of friends and peers have empowered me. Continue reading

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