Last year on election day I stayed up with my cousins texting each other as we watched a train wreck in slow motion.
The next day I got this shirt.
I come from a long line of women concerned with rights and freedoms. We may not always agree on every point but that is ok if you come from a place of education. Unfortunately too many times there is no education, so, when my local community needed help I was happy to “Organize, agitate and educate” I was flattered to be asked and I am glad I got the opportunity to run a positive and educational campaign.
Walking that professional and positive line is difficult. It is so tough to not use the phrase ‘math is hard…’ because some people seriously can’t tell the difference between when the cost of something tripled v the total tripling. That would be like saying that apples are now triple the price, my grocery bill is tripled! no…. your apples did. Math is hard. So far so good with keeping professional and there are some people out there truly pushing buttons.
Polls opened at 7am and close at 8pm. I’ve been so happy to work with the team of fellow volunteers. So many times I was surprised by the kindness and generosity and willingness to go the extra mile. The people I’ve met during and on the campaign have made all the difference and I think I’ve found my people here. I’m keeping optimistic. I did my best. The team did all we could. Now we wait….
Yesterday was Monday, my well-documented love of Monday persists. It is the day to put things back together or start new things. The kids happily went off to school because, for them, this is a 3 day week. They have Thursday through Monday off for Minnesota’s best made up holiday – MEA (?) weekend. It is a conference, I think, maybe hunting opens? I’m not even sure but I am just glad that random school vacations don’t mean career limiting moves.
I’m cramming what I normally do all week into 3 days but I’m also plotting what we can all do together. Sometimes they are fantastic at helping, sometimes I don’t get anything done. We will have to see… I can say my goal is to get all the winter and summer stuff swapped and maybe, just maybe, make it so a car could park in our garage. Aim high you know.
The title works a little for last weekend too. While not actually a week long, Lars left for an event in way far away South Dakota (11 hours and an entire time zone away) on Friday morning. I had Friday solo and decided to take the opportunity to do one of the local hikes that I had been meaning to do for years. There was a set of difficult people on facebook (politics.. ugh) so a few hours outside taking pictures of fall leaves was just what I needed. I did try and do something responsible by replacing the lightbulbs in my laundry room fixture and I say try because while I did get them replaced I did it wrong and actually broke the fixture… oops put that problem on the shelf for Monday…
My solo weekend was well planned to NOT be particularly solo. Friday we had a long wished for sleepover with one of Zoe’s friends. It was more work than it should have been, who thinks bringing logs from the backyard into the bedroom is a good idea? Saturday morning was not up to par for sleepover fun because we all had early things to do, she had a soccer game and we had a vote yes event. The event went well, there was a great playground but don’t you know it Fiona fell and smashed her face. Not the best exit queue but gets the others going.
The kids were a bit terrible with fighting on Saturday after we got home and my nerves were on edge from dealing with yahoo trolls on the internet, so I was a bit shouty and separated them all but had a light at the end of the tunnel – we had an afternoon outing planned with our old daycare friends. They arrived after lunch and we all went out to the girlscout haunted camp event and it was really fun. The kids pulled it together and were happy and cooperative and Jon is one of those friends that it feels like no time passes. We left the camp due to rain but had been there for 4 hours already! They stayed for some pizza and it was a fun cap to the day.
Sunday everyone actually slept in, making up a bit of sleepover sleep debt. They also played together like it was their job. So well that I called a friend to watch them so I could grocery shop because they didn’t want to leave their game. I needed to tidy and shop because Lars’s cousin was coming to town and we have not seen her (in person) for 6 years or more. Vacation Mom also saved the day by whisking in and talking them all swimming so I could get in a quick workout and finish the cleaning. Everyone needs an extra mom friend on hand! Lars got home just after his cousin arrived and the visit was fantastic. We got all the family info and played a game and had a lovely dinner. She even showed us how to use snapchat, I can’t wait to totally figure it out but it really works well as a kid distractor. The kids were good and while they ducked a few of their standard Sunday chores I’ll take it for their generally great behavior.
It was a long 3 days, I needed my Monday yesterday. Instead of just getting ahead though I decided it was time to fix all the lighting issues in the house. That is a story for tomorrow where hopefully I have a happy ending to the saga but let’s just say if you want some customer service, just drop a giant fluorescent bulb in the store.
There is something about government that I have always liked. The important buildings full of people doing important things. I’m sure that if I looked behind the curtain it would be a lot like any other business, but, a business that is GIANT and dysfunctional full of rules on top of rules and nobody is actually in charge.
In school, I learned plenty about how government worked and while I learned plenty from my text books, I learned as much from my professors. One said that elected officials absolutely love to see the people that elected them rather than a paid lobbiest, not only do they hear a more genuine opinion, they have the ability to directly do something for someone that will return votes. Just like in business, the best advertising is positive word of mouth. Not that the world does not need lobbyists – they actually know all the players and get more done overall, could not get anything done without them.
So when my school district had to find 2 million dollars to cut for the 7th year in a row I decided it was time for me personally to be that parent/voter that goes and shows up and says that we need help. Our Forest Lake district has a few things working against it;
- It is geographically giant! to pay the bus costs for this area exceeds the transportation allowance by 1 million dollars. So, we start with a million in the hole.
- Not as many bigger businesses to contribute, and, medium income housing overall contributing property taxes
- The state asked to freeze for a couple of the really bad years, but, then they didn’t cover that debt later so it’s snowballed. The per pupil ratio is fairly sad now.
I woke up early, put on a suit and heels and makeup and went with a group to visit all the people possible. We ran all over, we accidently (sorry-notsorry) blocked hallways, we skipped lunch to maximize time and I think we actually did some good. I had a feeling lunch would not happen so I packed food, I was not alone, the business manager for the district had cheese sticks in his suit pocket – score one for women, pocketbooks hold more and better food.
The day was interesting in general. The capital is grand and large and a mix of beautifully old and oddly outdated. It is full of people in suits, every person in a suit. It is mostly full of men, mostly white men, but there were plenty of women too and in positions of influence, 2 of the 6 elected people we talked to were women. Just as interesting was that the secretary/assistant/aid crew seemed to be a mix of men and women too. I fit in there with my mask of makeup and costume suit but I’m not sure I would want to become a person who needs to go often. Visiting was fun though!
To make the most of the day I used every scrap of knowledge I had about influence. I stood up when someone came in, I shook hands, I sat at the table or in the front row. Eye contact, lean in, speak in the ‘compliment sandwich’, speaking in general; something not many people actually did. I told them I was a parent, I am a voter, I am someone who wants to help but needs help. I was respectful and also straightforward. I’m proud that after every meeting I got the business suit high-five (a nod and a ‘good job’/thanks’)
Unsurprisingly I learned tons from the day. I went in with a decent understanding of our problem and left knowing what was in the works from various people. Some people are working on things I didn’t know even existed as issues, others were looking at it a totally different way. There is no perfect formula but I have more of a concept of the whole picture now, of all the pressing things that are crying out for attention. On the bright side, I left more confident in the fact that education does seem to be on everyone’s mind and they are at least saying they are working to help. I also heard that they need suggestions on what would honestly help – there were times whey they flat out said “tell me what to do specifically”
My next step will be to follow up with the people we met to thank them for their time because they were all listening and present. I will also send the info on to the parents in my groups so they can send notes on specific bills to specific people so they know that the parent sitting in front of them was representative, not just a lone voice. …I have a feeling this is how lobbyist begins…
Looking past my short term follow up I have no idea what is next but I’m open and hopeful.
because I have none I want to share.
bathwater – blue, we actually did a ton of hand washing for a big cooking event, however, Fiona did paint herself blue but then used half a bottle of mint soap to get clean… so technically not a bath but yeah, blue.
Pennsic production – I’ve moved backward! I put the sewing away in favor of a big work area for cooking.
Cat – doing well actually, moved him to a higher dose of his supplement and its helping.
nap – no nap nooooooo!!!!! (direct quote) I, however, put myself in a rest for 20min including headphones and they were all alive when I came back out.
Workout – my hopping social life should count right?
Today was a busy day with unusual happenings. First, we went to visit a local production facility that makes playground equipment. I’ve seen a ton of production in my time and this shop was in the middle. They had some very impressive machines and paint line but a not so impressive work flow. I held back all questions my former self would have grilled them one and one telling glance at the process engineer mom in our group told me she was biting her tongue too. The kids had fun though and so did the moms so that is what counts!
Since they don’t have any of their wares to show on site, we had to take ourselves off to a local playground they produced and run around. The moms were definitely more impressed with the tour pointing out things we saw in process that were in ‘play’ on this structure and the kids were just happy to be allowed to touch the stuff.
Part 2 of the day was my contribution to the camping event this weekend that I am not personally attending (mom guilt). Since I wanted to be helpful I volunteered to do the food shopping and invited over the troop to help with prep. Seriously I didn’t need help beyond Lars (who is fantastic at making pork loin) but we wanted the kids to be aware of the process of food because girl scouts is supposed to be a fun learning experience. The moms who came were super helpful and made the tasks fly and I’m happy to have organized our way to success.
Part 3 of my day was a fun little jaunt to the board of ed meeting. I had some questions about possibly running and was very encouraged by what I heard. It’s some work, but, it’s work for something I care about. My kids are in this district and I care about them and their friends and all the kids, they need people looking out for them at every level. From what I’ve seen the current board is doing a really good job, it is a team I would be glad to join to keep the ship going in the right direction. The fact this is an elected position is a bit scary, I have no idea who else will run, but Lars is supporting my bid so I’ll be moving on the first real step soon.
And now is part 4. Lars is out – we high-fived in the driveway trading off parenting baton. He gets a night with the guys and I plan on giving my neglected house some love while listening to my current Laundry File book (hint, it has nothing to do with laundry). Fiona is asleep, I have leftovers calling my name, and my sights are on a 10:30 bedtime for myself.
I feel like today is a full day. I’m going to sleep well tonight.
I know three are people out there blogging a theme for the entire alphabet. I’m just morphing what I would normally write into alphabetical format 🙂 Today I’m going to pretend that that its 3 things thursday because I like the exercise of a list of things that make me happy, and, I’m going to do it with the theme of the letter O. In clicking around I found an insightful post about the Gratitude movement and how it is galling in many ways. I tend to agree with some of her points, I’m more of an optimist and a bright side looker rather than ‘at least I’m better than…’ comparison person. I think the differences in those are probably subtle but for me, counting the positives really does brighten a situation and that is what 3 things thursday is about for me.
#1 – Open door weather. Open door, open window, open toes! It is 72 degrees, sunny, slight breeze and a perfect style day. Weather does make a difference and I’m so glad the perfect not too hot, not too cold time is here
#2 – Oreo. I try to bake all the treats as a way to cut down on how many I eat. Oreo’s are a notable exception because I have no idea how I could make one and I love to eat them. Most days we have a cookie break around 3, post nap – pre bus, and we call someone on facetime to have our cookie break with. This is so regular that my one nephew calls me Aunt Cookie because he gets a cookie when I call (and maybe I gave him a bunch when I visit). Oreos have held a special spot over the years but right now they mean taking to my mom or sister and a little sweet break.
#3 – Opinions. I might forget names but I tend to remember dates and April 17-19 will always be a time I remember the start of the American Revolution. It was fought for many reasons and the right to have my own opinion is one of them. The Unites States has evolved in a good way where people feel free, sometimes obligated, to express their opinion on all things. I like to listen, my mind has been changed, usually I get a better understanding of things and sometimes I get utterly confused on the issue because of too many conflicting yet logical opinions. Right now cultural appropriation is the one I’m most conflicted on. Its in the news and on facebook and causing good discussion but I honestly DO NOT KNOW what is right. For me, in my opinion, if I do something from another culture it is because I like it and it works. Why do I have to stay in my tiny box? The world is out there! There is a youtube on how-to anything from sari draping to polish sausage making. I don’t particularly identify with being Irish since I grew up in the US in the middle of Long Island where you don’t have to look far to find some other culture/religion. Things I thought were absolutely normal, like lox on a bagel, are foreign concepts here in the midwest. Apparently I have a huge chunk of yiddish in my vocabulary that I had NO IDEA was anything but normal slang until I moved here and nobody had a clue. I’m glad that I have the right to talk and listen, but, it would be honestly easier if there was some ‘decision’ on what was the ‘right’ way (but then someone would be mad I’m sure)
The O words that make me happy, or at least thoughtful, this week~