Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oh, My Eyes! My EYES!

A couple of days ago, I got another flare up of Blephoritis. I was so happy to be rid of it for a bit, despite the large chalazion under my right eye and the smaller one under my left. This time the flare up is really back. My eyelids are all red-rimmed and swollen, itchy and burning. It can best be described as feeling like you have abrasions on the skin where your eyelid and lashes meet. My eyes themselves are dry too. I made an appointment with my eye doctor to have the Chalazion removed this coming Friday.  A chalazion is a hard lump the develops in the eyelid, sort of like a stye, except it won't go away and it becomes hard. I've probably had it for at least two months now. Antibiotics to reduce it's swelling hasn't worked.

I just looked up how they procedure works. Big mistake. Boy, was that stupid. (Click here if you wanna be traumatized). I am NOT having that done on Friday. I know myself; I am brave, I am strong, but I have a very low pain tolerance. And I'll cry. I'll try to be brave but I'll cry, ad crying means I'll move around while someone is digging at the interior of my eyelid. That seems like a very bad combo to me.

Meanwhile, I'm reading about it and it says that diabetics can get chalazions easier than others. My doctor told me it had nothing to do with my diabetes! I asked a few times because I've seen two difference doctors int he same office (for scheduling reasons).

So I've decided to call the doctor tomorrow and cancel my medieval torture appointment...I mean.. the chalazion removal appointment, and then get in touch with Mass Eye and Ear. For the moment though I'm just going to put my computer down and cry in fear and frustration for a bit. That will help me feel better.

AND I DON'T HAVE A BOYFRIEND!!!!! Well, now I'm just being melodramatic. (It's factually accurate but melodramatic just the same).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Between The World And Me

Yesterday I finished listening to Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.  Prior to that, I listened to The Citizen.  The Bluest Eye was, as you might expect, a heart-breaker. As a result I can't say I enjoyed it, but I do feel it was beautifully written, and was important that I read/listened to it.

The Citizen was harder for me to follow because as the title says, it's a lyric. With it's semingly non-linear nature, I struggled to follow the narrative; who was speaking? Is this a black woman speaking or a white woman observing a black person in front of them? Or is it a black man? Meanwhile, it was read by someone who sounded white.

After I finished The Bluest Eye, I needed a break from the intensity. (How nice that I can do that - simply take a break from the stressful life of being a minority)

I logged into my OverDrive account where I borrow audio books from area libraries when they are available, and get in line to get ones which are not currently available.

I was then alerted that Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between The World and Me, which I had put on reserve, was now available. Knowing I would have limited time to listen, I downloaded it.

I am only half way through and it's accolades are warranted. The book is a letter to his son, telling him, among other things, that his body can be taken from him. I do not have the mental capacity or intelligence to properly explain the other things that stand out to me in this book, which should be a required read for every non-minority high school student in America.

Coates is reading the book himself, and one thing I've noticed (well, a lot has struck me about this narrative), is that when he reads the word "ask" he pronounces it "ax".  He says "thee-ay-ter" for theater, and "poe-lece" for police.  Born and raised in Baltimore, this is no doubt part of his accent, but what struck me, and I appreciated, was that his intelligence and education did not "re-train" his pronunciation, and as a result, it teaches me to remember that just because someone does not speak in the same manner as I do (not to say that I speak correctly, but you get my meaning, I think), does not mean they are not knowledgeable and educated.

Dark skinned people are different than I am. Before I get to know anyone, no matter their skin, they are a stranger to me, and there is a level of defense that I have up. But, with dark skinned people, when I think about Chicago or Baltimore, in truth, my first thought is, well, that's the world they know. As if they are used to it? Well, perhaps they are used to it (and by "it" I mean the violence that is so common in those cities), but that doesn't make it OK. Perhaps telling myself it is a world they are used to is a way to distance myself and be less uncomfortable with the fact that I could never wrap my brain around living a life so different than my own.

Thinking in passing that they are used to it, doesn't mean I feel it's OK, but it does, to me, translate them into "others". Not people I can relate to. There are many degrees of separation between me and them. There is a me and them.

During my drive I attempted to envision things differently. What if the predominantly white town I grew up in was full of violence? What if I lived somewhere where I couldn't wander to the park with friends at night in high school without fearing for my safety? What if I lived in a society where my parents had to teach me to be overly-polite to others for my own personal safety? That if I got pulled over in white Wakefield MA, I would likely be approached by a cop with a gun drawn. To know that, as Coates says, my body could be taken very easily, in an instant, and little would or could be done about it.

And then I have the luck to be able to snap back into my actual body and my actual life and society, and be perfectly safe driving to work in my car which probably won't break down, to the job that earns me (sort of) a living, to a city which is for the most part, a safe one, and to very simply, not need to worry about that.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday in the Park With Harlow

This past weekend was a busy one. I has three photos shoots on Saturday, went to the movie with friends in the evening (Fantastic Beasts and How to Spot Them was great!), and on Sunday organized the basement a bit, threw a lot away, got my plants into the basement as well as the lawn mower, and dusted the house too (the real way - with a damp rag!).

After all that was done I took Harlow to the park. Harlow, ever the nudge, has been a fairly good girl this week, aside from annihilating a box of tissues one evening while I was out. I felt she deserved a good solid running at Sheepfold. Once we got there, she ran like the wind, and I noticed an Old English Sheepdog. While that OES wandered, I chatted with the owner.

Harlow tried to engage with the sheepdog, but the sheep dog politely let her know that she wasn't interested. Ever-thick-headed when it comes to finding playmates, Harlow would revisit the sheepdog with the same result - A sharp "Leave me alone!".  I have zero problem with dogs telling each other to buzz off.

Then Harlow snarled at the other dog! Like, really snarled! I was shocked, and snapped at her "Harlow enough!" As I began walking towards the two, the gnashing started. I jumped in and grabbed Harlow by the collar with one hand, and by her back leg with the other. She yelped as I dug my fingers into the tender part of her inner thigh. That was the only injury of the altercation - the mark where I grabbed my dog.

I didn't care. She'd misbehaved and mortified me. I apologized to the woman who looked over her dog for marks which I knew she wouldn't find because neither managed to bite the other (and let's be real, if a dog really want to hurt another one, they do it and they do it fast). She complained to me that I didn't move fast enough to get my dog (this whole incident was no more than seven seconds) and I apologized again, and told her that she'd never done this before and I was a bit surprised.

She was annoyed and I certainly understand why.

I chewed Harlow out from the moment I grabbed her off that other dog, She was a bad dog! And shame on her! I slapped her collar on her and she stayed right at my side as I marched her out of there, fuming with anger and embarrassment. Even if I wanted to stay and let her get some more exercise, everyone there would be afraid of her.

I don't know what caused it, I don't know what triggered it, but I was not happy. Harlow knew it too, and she kept her distance from the the whole rest of the day.

I sure hope it was just a fluke.

In the meantime, I found this article which was really informative. Informative in that I realized I'm doing things wrong with my dog!  So, good to know that I shouldn't let her rough-house as much as I do (#11). I always ask the owner if they're OK with it, but still.  I also use the park to exercise Harlow (#2). In fact, that may have been a major factor in yesterday's altercation - she had too much pent-up energy. Harlow's recall skills (#10) are pretty lack -luster too.

Looks like I have some work to do. Ho hum.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dad and Facebook

"How do I remove (So and So) as a friend from Facebook? I've listened to their conservative bullshit long enough."

"Well there's a few things you can do. You can go to their profile page and "unfollow" them, and that way you're still friends but you don't see their posts in your Newsfeed, or you can just completely unfr..."


Thursday, November 17, 2016

White Priviledge

I am unaware of my white privilege. I try to see it but am aware that I don't much of the time.

Last night I communicated with Shannon about how I never noticed that she was a darker-skinned woman (taking after her Mexican born mom) with an Irish name. She responded with "That's white privilege"

Yup, it sure is. I think to myself, I just see my friend, but what is also true is that I am unaware of what her experience has been like and I cannot relate to it.

I want to learn more, so this morning I accessed two of my library accounts via the app I use for audio books. I did a search for books about race and found this to start... 16 Books

I first visited my Medford Library online selection where I found almost all the books in audio form, though had to put them on hold. I looked up the demographics of Medford and found that, unless I'm reading it wrong which is entirely possible, it's about 10% non-white.

When I did the same search via NobleNet which is the collection my hometown library of Wakefield pulls from, they carried, probably, three of the 16 books. It looks like 5% of people in Wakefield are non-white. 

I emailed my childhood library and was basically like, what gives? Shouldn't we have these books so white people can learn about why we don't have these books in our libraries?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I wrote the blog entry below this one at about 11am, and by 1PM I was leaving work and going home. Somehow, a cloud moved over and there was little point in staying. I got in my car and cried through the rain back to my house. I feel better now. Getting it out always feels better. I feel hopeless about our political situation, and for the first time in a while, I feel a bit lonesome

A Women's March on Washington has been scheduled for Jan 21, the day after the Inauguration. Shannon and I immediately jumped on this, booked us a hotel room and found shitty flights for cheap. It will be a strange experience I think, considering where Shannon and I were exactly eight years prior. 

When I read this column the other day, I reposted it on FB with the following words..

I understand where the author is coming from, but to be chastised for trying to do something when you simply don't know yet what would be remotely useful is annoying. Everyone has an opinion about everything and most of the time it's a negative one. And his thought in how Trump supporters will wear the pins (like racist Trojan horses or something)? I don't think so - if a person wants to be nasty to others they're just going be a nasty to others. You don't need to wear a pin to be an asshole.
At times, when I have wanted to get involved in Black Lives Matter or express my thoughts on issues like it I end up shutting up entirely, because I fear that I won't do it "right". I am learning to be more aware of my privilege and worry that my efforts to be supportive will simply end up seeming patronizing. You don't REALLY care though, right, white girl with a roof over her head and a steady job and a car that runs? Um, ok, I guess I'll just sit quietly and wish you luck inside my head.
I'm happy this author put a link to other ways one can help. THAT's helpful to me. Making me feel like an ass for trying? Not so helpful. Since Tuesday I have smiled at strangers more, I have been friendlier. Is it solving anything? Nope! And I wouldn't for a minute claim that it is making a difference, but as I said, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO and it is the only thing I know to do at the moment- be kinder, listen to my friends who call and text upset about the situation, read, read, and read about what is going on and try to make sense of it.
I would really like to hear others thoughts about this.

Some people did share their thoughts and from whatever point they shared I was grateful. 

I am so sick of words, so I'll just share photos from the Love Rally on Boston Common last Friday where little was happening aside from a feeling of community (which is perfectly fine!). Plans and action will come soon.

with Lauren!

Biden Memes

There is so much to say, so much to think about. It's too much to organize and write about. I am desperate to get away from it, so I'll just post funny Biden memes which are taking over the internet.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day One

It's been a day and a half since Tr**p was elected. Friends have been texting me and calling about their anger and sadness and hopelessness. I keep trying to solve it. Like if I say the right thing, their fear and anger and upset will wane. I can't solve it. Right now people are just...grieving, and I have to remember to just let them grieve. Let them be sad. You can't help them not be sad, Cydney, so just listen to them be sad so they can feel less sad.

Speaking selfishly, I am pleased that I have gone at least a week without crying. I am finally sleeping through the night, and my mind is on things other than who I have lost and how rejected and shitty that makes me feel. One thing of many that I have learned over the last five months (good god that was a long five months) is that when I feel compelled to cry my eyes out, it's just what I have to do.

I am at work right now and on the late shift. With little to do, I am on the interwebs. It's really not the best place to be right now - seeing articles like this one. If I didn't "get" before Trump was elected that, truly, anything is possible, this article makes me realize otherwise. I never thought I would see the day when so much hate rang out. Where does it even all come from?! I just don't know.

A coworker told me about this one though - a letter written by a fictitious character from a sit-com. At least it's worth a giggle.

Even Harlow was moping when I left for work this morning.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After

I woke this morning at 4:30 with a classic stomach ache. This could be because my fellow Americans just elected our worst nightmare personified, or it could be that I ate a shit ton of food, including my weight in pumpkin seeds, in a blind panic waiting for the results to come in last night. What I thought would be a fun taco night with friends ending in tearful celebration that a woman is in the White House ended quite differently.

I eventually fell back asleep and when the alarm to get up for work went off, I struggled to get out of bed. Then, I struggled to get out of the shower. Then I struggled to even decide whether or not to dry my hair before leaving for work, which I did 45 minutes late.

Election Night from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Yesterday I wore white in honor of the suffragists, today I wear black, tomorrow I will wear color again. I am only beginning to wrap my brain around what this might mean for me and my fellow Americans.

I believe that change will come. Some of it may be really bad at the hands of this new government, and some of it will be amazing, hard-fought triumphs in response to the bad that is entering the White House. I don't know how, but something big is going to happen. America is going to change and it will be because of Trump, but only because of those rising up against his hate.

Here are some of the things that friends and "friends" are posting on FB. Some sad, some uplifting and encouraging. I want it recorded here for my own records. I may keep adding

Yesterday I told my daughters that history was being made that day while we voted together as a family. Today they comforted me while I cried. They are confused about their country and so am I. My brother told me to tell them about the diversity of the country that they live in. My best friend told me to tell them that this is what it feels like to be in a minority. My sister worries about our collective safety and the safety of our girls.

For my friends in the field of education...
I can't sugar coat this one. This is bad. Like, worst case scenario bad.
Our country has suffered a major setback, the ramifications of which we'll be dealing with for at least the next four years. We're still in shock and fearful of what this means for ourselves, our families and our students.
It's natural for us to take a beat while we come to terms with the results of this election. But the time will come, and soon, for us to get up, dust ourselves off and get back in the fight.
Too many of our students are counting on us to support and stand with them, and they're going to need us now more than ever.
Make no mistake, this new president will rescind executive orders and DOE/DOJ directives that protect undocumented students, gender nonconforming students, students of color, and so many others. And then there's SCOTUS, where he'll name at least one alt-right justice taking aim at Roe v. Wade.
Like I told you, worst case scenario.
But there are few better positioned than us to fight back and resist these measures. Those of us with a social justice pedigree have always known that systemic oppression was real, but what right minded person can deny it now?
The fact is, many will continue to deny this reality, and it's up to us to challenge them. It's up to us to amplify our students' voices and advocate for more inclusive environments. It's up to us, because that's just what we do.
I, for one, am not running off to Canada. I'll be right here, resisting, speaking out and standing up for those who need it most. But none of us can do it alone. Let's stand together, my friends.
The resistance begins today.

Something Lin-Manual Miranda tweeted struck me: "We are all still here." This is really comforting, on a day when I feel like the country took a dark turn. All of us who wanted something better for our country are still here for each other today; and as long as we continue to be in the face of whatever comes next, our beliefs and hopes, and the possibility of those things coming to fruition, are still here, too.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

"If you believe in the truth, there’s only one response: Get up and get back to work.
Just because the worst thing happened, doesn’t mean that what you value is meaningless. Instead, it means that the job in front of you is a lot harder than you thought it would be."

To those claiming Hillary Clinton was a "Bad Candidate": don't forget please that 1. Turnout was low, and 2. Clinton WON the popular vote. The majority of Americans who did vote voted for her.

13 mins
TL:DR After the election, I’ll be fine. Most of the important people in my life, maybe not so much. I have hope though because all of those people are really strong and talented and woke.
I woke up today fearing for the health and safety for our nation. I look to history when trying to understand the state of the world. I, admittedly a little dramatically so, look at the conditions of Germany in the 1920s and see the same fear, anger, and scapegoating that propelled such a dictatorial regime to enter. My mind smacks these thoughts out of my head and I rationalize my situation.
I am a 40 year-old Caucasian heterosexual male that lives in an affluent neighborhood that is 99% just like me who I feel strong sense of community with. I have an awesome house, a stable career that puts me around the 1% of top incomes in the nation, I’m Catholic, I have the requisite 3 healthy children that are involved music, sports, PSR, volunteering, and a myriad of social clubs. I have an amazing wife who runs the family who is also a PhD level psychologist. I have advanced degrees myself and get amazing opportunities to keep me engaged in my career. I have stocks, bonds, mutual funds, rainy day funds, saving accounts, an accountant and financial manager. I have an amazing person that is basically a family member that takes care of my kids and runs the house when my wife and I are at work. Most of the people in my life enjoy many of these same things.
Frankly, I’m going to be fine. We have a government that was built for just my demographic. I’ll enjoy the tax breaks and change in financial laws that will come for the affluent. It will increase the sphere of religious influence over government enforcing my patriarchal status over female productive rights and the LGBTQ community. It will militarize our police force and funnel money into security to protect me. It will ensure that I continue to have all of the perks that I’ve always enjoyed. So yes, I’ll be fine.
When I write this I am not sad for me.
I’m sad for my daughters and son. Their country is now teaching them that women are expendable, one dimensional objects useful only for sex or supporting the men in their lives. They deserve less pay. When they speak for themselves they can be ridiculed and marginalized, and that women are less than men. For my Latino family and friends, who are scapegoated for seeking a better life are told they are reason for our financial woes and joblessness, not the government supports the rights of corporations over people. Corporations that care only about minimizing cost and maximizing profit over community and people which drive jobs out of our country. To institutionalized racism by instilling in everyone an us against them mentality. I’m sad for my LGBTQ friends who will see rights stripped from them removing their human dignity. The working poor, for all of those tax breaks that I will get, you will pay for. What is left of the middle class will disappear and the education that has supported the existence and escape from being poor will be so unaffordable that it be all but inaccessible to those not already in the upper class. I’m sad for the police and African American community. The path will continue to diverge leading to more conflict and death on both sides. I have loved ones on both sides and fear for them both. To my many Muslim friends who live in the states and abroad. Fear will continue to rise and we will funnel that fear into war. For those with mental illness. Under the current powers, just has repeatedly happened, funding for support systems and treatment will be diverted away leading to a greater downward drift resulting in further marginalization/criminalization. The children I see and treat will have even less. To my parents and all educators who will see the continued corporation of education so that teaching our children will be dependent on financial needs and not the child leading to the expansion of a two tiered system where privately schooled children will keep up with international education while the public school children fall further behind.
I feel sad for all of these people in my life because their lives will be harder and these people are really what make my life meaningful, ot the money, or job, or opportunities. It has always been the people in my life.
I am hopeful though. This election has made me sad but has not broken me. It has not broken my friends, my family, my communities, or those that are scared, lonely, and feel that they are not part of this amazing country. I look through my feed this morning and I see you. There are many of you. We are all feeling the same things. When I see your faces I see such amazing, powerful, generous, and thoughtful people and I think that we are not alone. We have made choices that that allowed us to share wonderful experiences together. I am thankful and humbled. I was taught by my parents and my wife and her parents that you don’t always win but you get out of bed, you put on your big girl/boy pantsuit on and you persist. You outlast fear and hatred and bigotry, and greed. We do it together every day. We do it together but being the people that you are. I find strength in you. Hopefully you see the same in me. And, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. You…eh maybe. At least I’m with you.

Like many of you, I've been reading a lot, having many conversations and emotions, contemplating what action steps to take and orgs to donate to but I want to say this: anger, fear and rage are appropriate responses to grief but don't let them burn you out. Take a media break, get some sleep, do whatever it is you need to do to nourish yourself. We have a lot to fix in this country. Let's be in this for the long haul.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
- Wendell Berry

A letter from the pres of BU

Dear Friends,
We have been witness to one of the most extraordinary presidential elections in our nation’s history. We are, from various individual perspectives, contemplating changes in policy and philosophy that we anticipate will take place at the federal level and affect our lives. Some in our community will celebrate the outcome. Many are very disappointed. Many also are deeply anxious because of the corrosive and disrespectful statements about women, racial and ethnic groups, religions, and nations made during the campaign. In the months and years ahead we will learn where our newly elected government stands on the critical issues that will shape the future of our republic, our society, and our world.
In the aftermath of such a contentious election, it is understandable that there is a desire to discuss our dreams and fears as we contemplate the future. Associate Provost and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore and the staff of the Howard Thurman Center have organized an election discussion for today, Thursday, November 10, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the College of General Studies, Room 505. Our faculty have also organized additional discussions and will continue to do so, as needed.
There will be change in our country. Boston University was founded in 1839 by a group of abolitionists who abhorred slavery. They secured a Massachusetts charter in 1869 in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. The searing lessons of the Civil War were reflected in our founders' commitment to open the University’s doors to all students, regardless of gender, race, religion, or place of origin. This exemplary inclusiveness—at a time when such openness was extremely rare—is the bedrock on which we were built and on which we must continue to build.
Like our country, Boston University will flourish if we adhere to enduring principles that have defined our community for 150 years: respect for all people and their right to free expression, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for reasoned arguments and scientific findings. Finally, the strength of our community also depends on our commitment to civility in debate and discussion which can lead to mutual understanding.
I believe that Boston University has these values deeply embedded in its institutional DNA. No matter how we are tested, we must stay the course—holding fast to these values—so that Boston University can always be a beacon for others. I hope you will join me in this journey.

Robert A. Brown


Monday, November 7, 2016

24 Hours

It is November 7, 2016, 10:30 at night. 24 hours from now, what will our country look like? It will look the same, but it will feel different. We will either try to wrap our brains around the reality of a woman in the White House, or we will wonder what will become of us as a nation with, to put it simply, a terrible person at the helm.