Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Death In the Family

Yesterday we had a dog. Today we don't.

Granted, he was sick, and had been for awhile. We knew this was coming. It was inevitable- we tried to prepare the kids and ourselves. And then when it came down to it- all the preparing in the world isn't enough.

Last night, I stayed downstairs with Darby, Darble, Darby Dan, Darby-Dan-Of-The-Funny-Dogs, until bedtime. He struggled to go outside that last time- this was a new thing. He ate his dinner and it was staying down- an unexpected thing. I filled his water dish and gave him the blanket to lay down on, since he had been shying away from his bed for the last few days. The bed was there, too. He flopped down a few times, looked suitably comfortable and I went to bed.

Around 2:30, something woke me up and I went to check on him. He had made it over to his bed- the first time in a couple days. He looked up and thumped his tail a couple times before flopping his head back down on his good leg again. I rubbed his head- told him I loved him- told him he was the best dog ever- promised this would end today.

I couldn't sleep- which isn't abnormal for me once I'm woken up at night. I read a few articles and plugged in my phone- worried the battery wouldn't last until my 6:00 am alarm. I kept trying to sleep, but there was an anxiety there about taking Darby in to be put to sleep- even though it was time. It just was.

At a little after five, I gave up and walked downstairs. Victor heard me coming down and whistled his tune softly. I didn't hear anything else. Turning the corner, I could see Darby still on his bed in the same position I'd left him in. And as I got closer, I realized he wasn't breathing. Touching him- he was cold. He'd gone. Those last couple of tail thumps were his goodbye, I guess.

Darby came to us in the spring of 2004 after a discussion with my neighbor about "that big black dog that's been hanging around town with all the kids". No one knew where he was from, and in a town of 200 people, if none of the kids knew a dog, it was a safe bet the dog was a dump or an escapee. Later that day, another phone call alerted me to his whereabouts, and Aimee and I managed to corner him in our mutual neighbor Ned's yard. He had a collar, but no tags. He was unaltered, who knows about shots- and he was absolutely brimming with parasites of every variety- fleas, ticks, ear mites, tape worm. And alas- his ear was swollen with a hematoma- an expensive thing to fix.

I called our vet the next morning and gave him the scoop. We already had two big dogs who were sort of a handful- could he help, though? Because if we took him to the shelter, they'd take one look at that ear and all the rest and he'd be doomed. Plus- they didn't like us bringing in dogs from out of the county, and our county didn't really have animal control or a humane society- we had the sheriff.

I wasn't going to call the sheriff.

Our vet told me to bring him in for a look over that morning, so I did. He decided to charge me cost. A potential $1200 vet bill suddenly was $250. "You're doing a good thing," he said.

We had no idea how good of a thing. In fact, we had every intention of rehoming him- but there was just something about this dog- he was happy and sweet, gentle- and a total nut. In short order, we fell in love. He wasn't going anywhere- we'd make it work.

We named him Darby after looking through the baby name book I would consult every couple of years. A Free Man, it said.- it seemed to fit. And he very much thought himself a free man, because every few days, I found myself chasing him down the street after he vaulted the 4 foot fence to go for a swim in the canal, or go across the street to see our neighbor John. After awhile, I realized he'd come back- usually smelling of fishy water and happy to be home wanting to roll around on the couch and make it smell like canal water, too, because why ever not?

He loved the kids. There was never a happier time for Darby as hanging around the yard with the kids. He loved the snow, the sunshine- wasn't crazy about rain. He had perpetual ear infections for years and then suddenly never had another. He never fought other dogs, just wanted to meet all of them all the time. He loved apples and peanut butter and cheese. He was a natural pointer and a wild baby rescuer. I have lost count of how many small rabbits and birds he would bring gingerly in his mouth and plop at my feet unharmed, and in the case of the baby birds- usually knocked out of a nest and in need of intervention. Darby Dan- Wildlife Rescuer.

Another quirk was his absolute enjoyment of vet visits. He would spring about, flirting and wiggling and end with a butt-up head scoot- just to show how much he cared, or something. Three separate vets have seen Darby do this on numerous occasions, and all have said something akin to "Well, he isn't afraid to be a dog, is he? What a goofball", they'd chuckle and shake their heads from side to side.

He also loved a car ride and would sit stoically in the front seat of my car, with the seat belt around his deep chest- always looking straight ahead. He reminded me of Jan Karon's Barnabas in the Mitford novels, and assorted James Herriot characters. He was a listener, a cat food junkie, and always patient with children, cats and the occasional starling who enjoyed preening on Darby's back. All of that isn't something you breed for- it just happens along.

Whenever I lose an animal, I end up thinking about what I could have done better for them, which is usually a lot of things. More walks. More sunshine. More table food, because good grief, how have dogs survived without a Science Diet regime for millennia? Could I have maybe not yelled at him the last time he ate that whole bag of cat food?

And inevitably- some idiot will say something like "well, it's just a dog dear.."

No, never "Just". Never ever.

In C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, there is this-

'What are all these animals? A cat - two cats - dozens of cats. And all those dogs ... why, I can’t count them. And the birds. And the horses.’
‘They are her beasts.’
‘Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.’
‘Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.’

Pfft. I think it's opposite. I've never known an animal that I can live up to in regards to kindness, humility, unconditional friendship and love. Darby- like others gone before him- made those who knew him better people. I'm more in line with James Herriot's sentiments- "If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." Yes.

I used to say to him- "You are the best dog- ever!" and this was his reaction-

Farewell, Best Dog Ever. Wait for us-

Friday, May 8, 2015


I put things off. I procrastinate. I avoid. These are issues I've long dealt with, and to be honest, have no idea why they developed into the problem that they have. I don't remember any adult in my life modeling these behaviors, but I certainly picked it up somewhere.

To be honest, the procrastination thing I've worked out into a sort of system. In fact, given the opportunity, I generally do better on some things with the adrenaline of having put something off until the last minute. Example- I write better under pressure. Far better. Think about something to long and it turns into the usual mush you find on this blog. Sorry about that.

But seriously, no matter how I frame it, it doesn't feel good. It feels really terrible, to be honest. Haunted by too many duties left unattended to will keep a person awake at night, and it has, far too often. The bags under my eyes will sometimes attest to that fact, and the thing is, I know a better way. It's just that I also know how to avoid the knowing-of-the-better-way a bit more intimately, so even the knowing is avoided.

I was thinking about all of this while cleaning out my bathroom this morning, thinking back to the times when I felt like I had finally gained some control and clarity over my life. I believe the first time I felt like I wasn't just riding some proverbial wave, against my will, but doing it anyway was when I was somewhere around 24. I lived in a little apartment across the street from the college I'd dropped out of. The thing with this apartment was that it already smelled like cat pee, so the landlord didn't much mind my two little kitties coming along on the lease. Plus, I promised I would help eradicate that problem- and I did. Moving into that apartment was odd, because suddenly- I had furniture. I also had a multitude of boxes containing odds and ends, old assignments, workbooks from first grade, and I thought: I am turning into my parents. This must stop. Now.

Instead, the boxes were shoved into the attic storage space and forgotten about until a bat dropped down during a momentary winter awakening- no doubt worried about some untended duty- and nearly was eaten alive by Hobbes, no longer a dainty little kitty. Sometime during the next 24 hours, between rescuing the bat with an old sweater, admiring it's devilishly sharp teeth on the way down the stairs and out of the apartment, placing it gingerly in a pile of leaves in the corner of the outer stairway to our laundry room, calling wildlife rescue, begging them to come out, waiting for them to do so, watching the bat climb up on a stick they placed in front of it- sometime in all of that, I looked at my attic and started wondering how many dead bats were mingled in with the old workbooks, discarded clothing, plastic caboodle, and used pencils that were the normal inhabitants of that space.

I started throwing stuff away. Even though I felt guilty, and wondered how I would feel if I were the three inch pencil, the half-used math book.

Maybe it had something to do with being an only child and attributing intelligence and feelings to objects that I spent a lot of time with, because I was alone too much. I didn't have siblings to fight with, so I played with crayons and married colors to each other. The yellow and red absolutely must be in the same corner of the crayon box with one another.

And the green and blue.

And the white and pink.

Lately, I have been trying to balance work and the life thing and I'm failing miserably. This has something to do with failed organization on my part- again- but on that of nearly everyone else, too. I find myself manically checking my phone for emails and texts, for the newest Instagram post, just to drug myself from the guilt of the dinners unplanned and all the laundry.

I used to like laundry. I don't like it anymore. It's needy and insistent and I'm tired.

There are about a million things I want to do. They always get put off for chores and sometimes just because I'm in the habit of drowning sorrows in procrastination and it's many devices. And also because I'm waiting for things to happen for me, rather than making them happen for me- and for everybody else. I'm in the waiting place.

The Waiting Place
by Dr. Seuss

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, 
or a plane to go or the mail to come, 
or the rain to go or the phone to ring, 
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow. 

Everyone is just waiting. 

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. 

Everyone is just waiting. 

Excerpt from Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Monday, February 16, 2015

Minimalist Panic episode 2: That really small space I'm always yacking about

Click the play arrow. Go ahead- you know you want to.

Gypsy caravan.

I could live in one of those. Easy. If I didn't have all these other people to think about, that is. I don't want to go for the whole gypsy/traveler stereotype thing.  And the minivan already looks like a clown car when we all pile out, so my dream of caravan and piebald pony are probably not the most realistic.

So, I settle. Before, it was the entry-way/walled porch of our old house. Now it's a too-large walk-in closet. No joke. In my efforts to clarify our spaces and minimize the damage to organization that only children can demonstrate, I found myself staring into an artery so clogged it was impassable. Too late for daily aspirin, too late for Lipitor- what this space needed was an angiogram in the form of a total repurposing. And a couple very large trash bags. Five trashbags. It was five.

Look at it. Just look at it.

Notice that most of that looks like it might belong to me. What was I saying about children before? Well, the old trampoline is theirs. They rolled that in there. There was the pile of one child's missing clothing. Right in the foot of the doorway- I literally was standing on it when I took this photo. I didn't do that. Broken bench. Check. Box of homeless game pieces. Yep. That broken window thing, that was there too- and I DIDN'T DO THAT EITHER! I threw my yarn in there. In old ugly boxes. How inspiring. I hung up all the clothes I could wear except that I am usually in a uniform. So I don't wear them. So why do I have them??

This brings me to an awful realization. I am a terrible minimalist. Unless being a minimalist has something to do with keeping a lot of junk that you might use some day. When you catch up on all the requirements of daily living. Then you'll get to it.

I suspect that is not the definition.

But all of that aside, I have always had a tiny space. As a child, it was a basket underneath the table beside my mother's display at an art show. It was the lilac jungle behind our garage. It was the teddy bear room at Play&Learn. It was underneath the branches of the blue spruce that bordered our yard. In the interiors of my mind, it was the wheel of the year. The colors of the seasons, the months, the days of the week. It was knowing that if I was standing on February 16, if I stepped slightly down and to the right, I would be standing on tomorrow, and getting a bit closer to the sun. It was in favorite books and television shows- oh, those were a biggie for me. The Mayberry Jail, the yorkshire fells, the stairway on Leave It To Beaver, The Ricardo's apartment, Mr. Roger's house, the front stoop of Reuven Malter's brownstone, Calpurnia's swept yard, the garden behind Ella Bembridge's cottage. All of these places constituted home, place, nest- comfort- to me. And that's what this is really about.

Comfort, contentment- being the person I wish to be, and not the insane, hyperactive squirrel I tend towards.

Minimalism is a tool, an ideal- a good one. It is a bit austere at times, which is what I tend to run away from. I think I'm looking at a balance between minimalism and boring old organization. When I get rid of things I don't need- I feel good. When I organize the things I really love- I feel even better. I feel so great I actually get things done that I need to get done. Not a usual occurrence.

So the closet was repurposed.

Everything is organized, I know where it all is. Weird. It's my own strange little caravan. Maureen the Closet Monster stands guard, and in place of the piebald pony. 

I just need a new tea kettle.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Minimalist Panic, episode one

Today's mood music-

For the last several years- well, for the last 17 years, roughly- I've been throwing things away as a winter practice. I think this might have something mildly to do with my synesthesia, but also because I don't think that hanging out in the basement going through things is a warm-weather activity. Short of basement flood of severe magnitude, I haven't had a good sort-out any time other than the colder months.

Except for last year. There was no sort-out last year. Last year I think I might have been suffering from SAD or possibly just short on Vitamin D and money. Or just short on money. When I am depressed, I stop functioning, except at the most basic levels. Work, I'll show up for that. Choir? You betcha. Lunch with a friend? I'll be right there. That part of the month when the bills get paid? Yeah, I'll avoid that, because it's depressing paying for two houses, particularly when one is empty awaiting sale. It's also depressing paying for an extra, empty house when you're trying to be a minimalist.

I started looking with a particular longing at all the tiny house blogs out there. I read stories about mortgage-less couples who had killed their student loans in three years living in their (very cool) tiny houses with their three cats. I read of people being able to work in areas they really enjoyed- for less money- because they had no mortgage, no debt, just their little house and freedom. I read of families traveling in an old school bus- totally refitted as a living area- and unschooling themselves across the country. I became a radicalized minimalist in my mind- while I tripped over eight million legos and swished my finger across my phone and kindle in a hypnotic trance, hoping for something to change.

The house sold. I got a full-time job. Things are changing- but I still, mostly, feel powerless. Because I'm meant to. This powerlessness- this waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop- is what we're raised to feel as normal. This is it, our lot in life, and learning to deal with that is, apparently "the dream" or something. Like in school- those who follow the rules and accept the expectations usually do better on this particular path.  The contrarians, those afflicted with any sort of defiance embedded in their character usually suck at it. That last category is where I have always found myself.

At work the other day- New Year's Day, actually- a thought crossed my mind watching people bound in for the third, fourth time for meaningless, silly things they just couldn't live without for one day. Potato chips, usually. With more and more businesses staying open on holidays, people are being trained into entitlement, and trained out of the ability to plan, to share, to sacrifice, to weigh the importance of their purchases. Why? Because our economy is driven with just these values.

Industrialization has had it's positives- but our complacency is not one of them. So many factors are built into these discussions- the religious influence and ultimate acceptance and defense of the business ethic, the reality of "better" technologies requiring a step-away from self-sufficiency in the home to obtain cash to pay for these technologies, the loss of skill through the generations, as children were raised with outside work as the norm. In her book Radical Homemakers; Reclaiming Domesticity From A Consumer Culture, Shannon Hayes writes,

The industrial economy altered nearly every aspect of home life. The rearing  and education of children was reoriented with the assumption that they would become employees, rather than owners of their own homesteads or enterprises. To hold a good job was the aspirational force behind their childhood training. The family's eating patters changed as well; traditionally, dinner was served midday, enabling the cook the benefit of working during daylight hours, and supper was a light repast, taken just prior to sundown, before the family would head off to bed. But once men were gone to factories all day and children were off to school, this pattern changed, and dinner became the principal meal, pushing the daily work of house-wives later into the evening. Most importantly, families came to think of "work" and "home" as separate places, with "work" most typically being the realm of the man, and "home" the domain of the woman. Before long, "work" also came to mean the "real world," where one's labors had value, leaving the home a site for thankless toil. 
And a place for powerlessness and pathetic meandering through an unplanned and yet, entitled, existence.

I don't get it.

I don't like it much, either. And I'm really good at feeling powerless, pathetic meandering and failing to plan, and yeah, entitlement, too. I just recognize that this status-quo doesn't make me happy.

Living in the world requires a lot of compromise for some people. I'm a changer in my core, but I get tired and I lack motivation. And of course, I know that change isn't easy, and sometimes what you begin, you don't see the results of. So- I get rid of things. I give them away, I throw away, I recycle- and I try hard to be thankful for what I have- because that's the real key.

We live in a place where having too much stuff is our burden. Imagine what that looks like to the outsider without enough food to eat, or clothes for her children? (Reconciling the protestant defense of capitalism during the Industrial Revolution and knowing a particular passage in Matthew 25 nearly by heart is an impossibility for me- and a frustration, because it does drag on.)

So, I plan to keep thinking about having too many things and working through that. I plan to keep my focus on ever-smaller- and yeah, I've seen the looks I get from some of you. Mom- talking to you here. The world is in need of balance. I have too much stuff, I know that it isn't sustainable, so I get rid of it and shift the balance toward an equilibrium I can feel decent about.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


He who angers you conquers you.- Elizabeth Kenny. 

Oh, bull pucky. 

He who angers you is going to get his ass kicked, that's what. 

I've been thinking a lot about anger over the last few weeks, because it's been the dominant emotion I've been displaying- if not outwardly, certainly within my very rich and, apparently caustic, inner life. 

There are plenty of reasons- PLENTY- for this. I'm just not going to tell you, because then this will become one of those tiresome complaining things that I have no time for. 

I prefer passive aggressive hinting.  So here goes- 

I'm angry at people who don't now which cashier they were talking to before, because they DIDN'T FREAKING LOOK AT THEM. But that cashier. They know what they did. I'm not a cashier (right now, anyway, but I'm still angry about this).

I'm angry that the new guy got a brand new desk and the last two women in that office used a beat-up piece of plywood over two non-matching file cabinets, so it was always a little slanty. 

I'm angry at the bastardization of the word family. The way some people make it this thing to be practically worshipped if it meets some impossible standard is bad enough. What really gets me is when cliques of people use it as a way to badger you about being late, or whatever. And never miss a rehearsal, because we're a "family". Riighttt… And GAAGGG- for good measure, anyway. 

I'm also angry at Vesicoureteral Reflux and the way doctors don't care about it unless you're almost dead. Reading the comments and posts in that particular support group is an exercise in righteous indignation. Get it together, medical community! You should be doing better here. My child doesn't deserve the current standard of "care"- and neither do any of the others. 

To make it less tedious at this point, I'll just make a list of everything I'm angry about/at. I'll even throw you a bone and be a little more specific (complainy and fingerpointy).

Loans. And grants, for that matter - which just make the loans look more palatable- somehow. 


Musak and especially that woman who sang that 'I don't wanna wait, for our lives to be o-ho-veh-her' song. Yeah, I don't wanna wait, either. 

That dark muddy purple color. 

The WTO. The FDA. The USDA. The World Bank and the IMF. For that matter, WF, BoA, and the DMV. 

Chris Christie pandering to Iowa's pork producers (weird, yes?).

Pork Producers (of a certain variety). 

Pork consumers (of a certain variety). 

People who only buy donuts and red bull with their EBT card. 

People who stereotype EVERYONE with an EBT card as being the type of person to only buy donuts and redbull with it. 

Whoever it was that stole my Teddy Bear when I was 8. 


Really large parts of my education. 


Damage to the environment. 

People who put pictures of dead starlings they've shot up on Instagram.  

Absence of enough time. 


Rape culture. 

People who mess with my kids. 

People who mess with other people's kids. 

Animal abusers.

Oh.. I could go on and on and on. 

Except that I'm tired and it's been a long day and now I'm angry for sitting down to make a list of things to complain about out in the open, which is what I didn't want to do. 

Of course, alongside my anger, I have been quietly lecturing myself. Telling myself that this is all a season- it isn't the whole story. There is beauty here, even in the anger. All the things I deeply believe, but like all fragile people, have such trouble remembering in the thick of feeling. 

But you know, anger is okay. Anger is necessary. Father Bede Jerrett, the greatest preacher in Catholic England during his lifetime (a very limited biography of the man tells me) said, "The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough." 


I've made some of the above seem less serious than they really are, which is how I handle telling people about my anger. Some of them are very difficult. People have been hurt and for no good reason. Justice hasn't appeared in these situations, and I can't provide it- another reason for me to be angry. 

Colin Powell said "Get mad, then get over it." Which is what I'm working toward. 

What I won't do once past is to totally forget. I'm the elephant of angry memories- not a good thing to be unless those memories are used as a catalyst to make sure those things don't happen to other people. Which is part of my plan. You can't just get over it if you haven't done something about it, Colin, you should know that. Speaking of which, I'm still mad at you for that ridiculous WMD talk you gave to get us into another war. Remember that?? Huh? HUH??

Friday, October 10, 2014

Demographic Discomfort, or Get Over Yourselves Mi Amigos

mood music-

One of my favorite moments of a work day is when the Mexican Restaurant across the highway runs out of something and sends one or two of the kitchen guys down to restock- usually tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, avocado- and I get to practice my iffy Spanish greetings on someone. They've only laughed at me once, but they persist in their instruction. They haven't lost hope in me.

The younger of the two came in today and was obviously entertained by my coworker's hat, which is something of a tradition here. For the entire month of October, she wears her witch hat- and people actually come in to see it. He smiled, he said something none of us understood, and he paid- cash- for his purchase. He shouted a "como estas?" at me, and I answered, "bien!"

I got a big smile in return.

At the time I was checking- taking my turn with the awful lotto machine and cigarette shelves. An older couple came into my line with their purchases. Dapper and charming and normal, a cart full of organic milk, bananas, bologna, cereal. I went through my auto-speil- Hi there, did you find everything okay? Do you have our rewards card?

This is approximately when it fell apart.

"Rewards card, huh? How will I be rewarded? I mean, with Obama the illegals coming over the border get plenty of rewards." He motioned towards the door that my friend had just exited through.

I couldn't stand it. So, I said-

"Actually, if you work in a grocery store for awhile, you'll see who get's most of the rewards- and it isn't our neighbors to the south. It's mostly white Americans, like you and me. And that guy that just left works hard everyday- legitimately. He isn't on any assistance."

The memory of earlier in the day and a conversation I had with another customer jumped to mind. White, like me. She often comes into the store and shops for her family with foodstamps and WIC, none of which I have a problem with- until she follows up her foodstamp purchase with $75 of alcohol- in cash. Today, she was upset because the rewards system kicks the WIC purchases off-line. In other words- you don't get points for WIC purchases and you won't get free milk/bread/eggs without points.

Oh, there was going to be hell to pay if I didn't fix that! She was convinced I had masterminded the entire problem, and that I was an anti-government-aid-conservative. Like her. Because she isn't one of "those people" who abuse the system. She needs all the help she can get!

Har. Yeah.

Back to the older couple- the man told me that I should probably learn to speak Spanish, since that's what we'd be required to speak, soon.

I ignored his prophetic psychosis and answered in the affirmative- "Yes! I really do want to learn to speak Spanish!" Smile, smile, happy smiles.

And then he signed up for the rewards card. Because, of course he did.

Over the years I've noticed- and handled- a number of these kinds of conversations, and the fears expressed within them are always pretty evident- and as most fears go- faulty.

The brown people are taking over. The brown people are coming. The brown people will take your jobs. The brown people will disrupt *our* Way Of Life™.

My way of life has always included a certain amount of ethnic diversity. By the time I was an early- teen, I was the only white kid of my age in my neighborhood. And it was fine. No one bothered me. There was one incident in eighth grade that I handled pretty well- and here I am. Alive and well.

In fact, my predominantly white, private, Christian school was more difficult, on average, than a walk through my neighborhood ever was.

Our Way Of Life™ on 5th Street in Greeley, Colorado went something like this. People woke up and went to work. The kids went to school. Buses streamed through, cars drove by, neighbors worked on their lawns and cars. We had garage sales and played our music too loud. Dogs sometimes went on long walks and cats were sometimes hit by cars. The couple on the corner had fights that brought out the cops. The old man down the street hoarded Fingerhut boxes in his windows until they faded to white in too many years of the afternoon sun. Jerry's Market started stocking more "ethnic" foods alongside the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Red Delicious Apples. The Bait Shop painted itself purple and started selling candy to pull in the after-school-kid demographic, rather than relying solely on the local fisherman. (Really? Where did these people fish? The mystery persists.) People moved in and moved out, moved on and moved up and did the things that all Americans do- bought too much crap, and went into too much debt.

And none of that was dependent on skin color or ethnic origin, for pity's sake.

In the last several years- particularly the years since 2008- I've been surprised by the things that older people are comfortable telling me to my face. Me. Me with the mixed- race family. Me with the children who aren't considered "white" by any domestic standard.

You must have adopted your kids, right? They don't look anything like you.

Answer: Actually, they do. You just don't see it, because your eyes only see color and stop there. I'm sorry you have this affliction.

I don't think a black man should be in the white house- this isn't their country.

Answer: Oh please. This wasn't "our country", either. I don't remember asking to be born here.

I don't think it's right that blacks marry whites.

Answer: Okay. So feel free to abstain, idiot.

English is our language, people shuld lern (sic) it!

Answer: It's our language insofar as it's what we most commonly use, but the United States has no official language. Deal with it, and learn something new. Better yet, learn English!

The thing is, immigration has always been an issue here. And probably everywhere. It's what people do- they tribe-up and fend off the advancing hordes. The advancing hordes win, and then it's their turn to fend off whoever the new threat is.

Are we over that, yet? I think it's time to accept that we are becoming more diverse- and this can be a strength if we pull it together and stop labeling each other as simply "other".

Read this.

And for a little reality-