One week later…

It’s been a week since my birthday, but I thought I’d post a few happy photos so I can remember it.

First off, I received an email from Charles The Boss that Monday morning telling me I needed to come to a mandatory meeting at the clinic. I was all, No! On my birthday? But the topic was one of my ongoing concerns so I dragged myself there. Charles’s door was closed, and he wasn’t back from an off-site meeting yet, so Morgan, our Rescue Team Lead, said we could start the meeting in his office without him. I AM SO CLUELESS.

There was no meeting. It was a set-up from the foster, rescue, and medical teams who were at work that day and even some people who came in on their days off with cake and birthday love for me. I WORK WITH THE BEST PEOPLE. But as I later told Charles, now I know that he and everyone else WILL LIE TO ME.

I forgot to take a photo of the cake before we all fell on it like starving lunatics, but it was SO GOOD.

Also a few little goodies from people who know me too well.

That night, Tom and I met Debby, Tim, Lynne, Rhonda, and Lindsey out for (at least in my case) a steak dinner at one of my favorite casual restaurants. After dinner, we split a couple of pieces of decadent chocolate cake (I was good and only took a small bite of my second cake of the day!), while I opened a few of my presents.

This is a super cool organizer Lindsey’s been giving her friends who like to color. It’s for those times you want to take your coloring book and colors out with you, but you don’t want to be burdened with your 5,023 pencils, pens, and markers (wait, maybe that’s just the number in my collection?). The ones in here now mysteriously showed up with my coloring supplies long after the flood, and I think they may have been some Lynne purged when she was moving. She’s very sneaky. (And no, Lynne, I have NOT put that one particular set of pencils back in that coloring book set in an OCD frenzy–unless it was Debby who forbade me to do that, but I think it was you).

Those cards for coloring came in a letter I received from Marika some time back. I LOVE MARIKA’S snail mail. Her letters are like getting creative little gifts full of thoughts and humor, tales of Mighty Monte and adventures in writing and St. Pete, and reminders of inside jokes that leave me cackling. They never make it home from the post office unread. As soon as I get to my car, I have to open and devour them.

Speaking of Lynne being sneaky, these dachshund sheets she gave me are a cool addition to Houndstooth Hall.

Unfortunately, they came with a price tucked among the folds.

Yep, the coasters are home. FORTUNATELY, Timothy cancelled them out with these he picked up while on a trip to Maine.

Thank you, Tim, and you’re welcome, world, for your daily cow.

This was one of the things I had wanted, and a little bird told Lynne, who delivered it.

Yes, we all know I’ve never been a big fan of Bush, but I admire his second act. He has devoted himself to learning a new creative passion and to honoring people whose Commander in Chief he was. I think often of those who serve. People who thrive on creating discord on the Internet love to “speak” for our service members and how they feel about the White House. But searching photos will show you many, many occasions under all administrations of our leaders surrounded by smiling members of the military. I can’t envision a world without the Internet anymore, but I can sure envision an Internet without comments.

On the matter of former presidents, one of my favorite things during Obama’s eight years in office was the Flickr White House account that featured Pete Souza’s photos. Thanks to Lindsey and Rhonda, I now have this book that I failed to get before it sold out before Christmas. So grateful for its success and its second printing, and for the trusting relationship between a president and his official photographer that provided unprecedented access to the executive branch and families.

Related to the executive branch families, I’m delighted to add these to my collection. I always follow the children of presidents with interest and hope they find fulfilling lives beyond the White House years. So many parents and teachers are using these books to encourage the aspirations of young girls.

In the Department of Shiny, here’s a brooch from Lynne.

And what do you see in my new crystal ball from Debby?

I’m hoping it’s more good things for all of you reading.

Thanks to all for many fantastic birthday wishes!

Button Sunday

Everyone is flawed. Thomas Jefferson, a great thinker and statesman, was no exception. But some people work to be their best selves, to see beyond their own pettiness and smallness, to push us all toward greatness as they strive for it themselves.

We should want better for ourselves, our fellow citizens, and our country than hate, division, cruelty, greed, and intolerance. When we are told and modeled to fear and hate and mock and bully, when we see it being institutionalized, even, and the most fragile among us targeted, then for our love of country, we must dissent. They knew this in 1776. We must remember it in 2018.

At least for now, Becky’s little helper

At night when I’m trying to sleep and will attempt to focus on anything so as not to think of sick rescue dogs and what work is facing me the next day, I mentally write long, infuriated blog posts about politics.

And then the Melatonin kicks in. Apparently you can’t take it forever, but until my home is enough in order than I can log some creative time to process a world that’s too much with me…

Getting serious

When I was in high school, the parking lot was full of pickup trucks driven by students. Many of them had gun racks, and often there were guns in those racks. It was the South. The students were hunters, and depending on the time of year and the athletic event schedule, hunting could happen early mornings or maybe on a Friday night.

Nobody ever took a shotgun or a deer rifle and turned it on their classmates on either of the high school campuses (very open, no security guards, no metal detectors) where I went to school. Such different times. I only ever heard of one student who was caught with a handgun in her bag, and we understood and were probably mostly compassionate about the reason she carried it. It sure wasn’t to use on her fellow students.

I’ve long-understood the perspective of hunters and gun enthusiasts who like to target shoot. I even understand a person’s desire to keep a gun for self-defense (like the girl in my first high school). But from the time I was a sophomore in college and researched and wrote my first paper on gun control (and did this with lots of discussions and consensus with my gun-owning, hunting boyfriend and friends), my belief has not wavered that there is something fundamentally wrong with our need to stockpile weapons that are meant for the sole purpose of killing humans. The second amendment allows: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

We have a well-regulated militia. It’s called the National Guard. Even they make fatal mistakes (Kent State, 1970). Still, as mentioned in the amendment, I don’t call for the “people” to give up their hunting guns, their self-protection, or even their hobby. But there is nothing in that amendment that says there should be no limits to what you own or its deadliness, or its ability to wreak mass carnage in a short amount of time. There is nothing that says you shouldn’t be a certain age, or be expected to be educated in gun safety, or be licensed, or be a registered gun owner. Your vehicle is documented. Your right to drive your vehicle is documented. Your voting right is documented. Your educational achievements are documented. You can’t drive or vote or get certain jobs without that documentation. And there you are, driving, voting, and working.

Stop crying like little babies when you’re expected to follow some regulations to possess guns. Babies shouldn’t have guns. Act like an adult.

And “leaders,” stop being held hostage by a group that has lots of money but not nearly the power you ascribe to it. You work FOR US. Year after year, in poll after poll, a significant number of your constituents have expressed their belief that we need to do something about the gun problem in our nation.

I never thought I’d live in a country that other countries have on their travel advisory because of our gun violence. That I’d read how people all over the world feel sorry for Americans because of the society we live in. We are SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS. Our children and students and fellow citizens deserve that we adults behave as our best selves.