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Writing For My Life

Traveling Down A New Path

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Railway Workers’ Contract…

The railway workers turned down their contract and now it is before our federal legislatures. The House wrote in one of their requests for 7 days of paid sick leave. Now it goes to the Senate. I wrote each of my legislators requesting that They make the railway owners grant some of the workers’ demands. Like not having to be on duty for 80 hours straight.

They’re on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, this is what their work life is like. They have no set schedule, they can be called in on a dime. Where there used to be 5 workers now there are 2 per train. Management is expecting more and more from fewer and fewer employees. This saves the Railroad Barons money. And makes their profit margins higher. Same old shit, different day.

Working conditions have become untenable. People are exhausted. They don’t have regular days off like most other employees have. So they can’t plan any healthcare appointments. They work short-handed because it increases the Railroad Baron’s bottom line. What really ticks me off is that President Biden ran on a platform to do more for the workers and allow them to unionize. Now he is saying that they must accept the shit contract, unsafe working conditions, no sick-time off, etc. And make it unlawful for them to strike. On that, I call b.s. These Robber Barons are making big bucks on the backs of labor.

I was on the bargaining team with my union and the State of MI and know how bargaining looks and it certainly doesn’t appear as though the Robber Barons are meeting in good faith. the Big Railway companies are bringing in a lot of money: 41% more than ten years ago. But they don’t want to have to share a piece of the pie with the people that actually do the work and make the income for them to share with their CEO, shareholders, and owners. Well, the employees are tired of being fed a few scraps at the bargaining table, They want a bite of the apple. In a way, I hope that they do strike. See what happens to these companies then. It would really bite into their bottom line, wouldn’t it?

I don’t really want them to strike, because they could get fired and possibly locked up. And that would really suck. These people have families, have a life(such that it is), have recitals, and sports games to take their children to. But as it is they cannot even take time off from work for fear of being fired. All of this causes stress and stressors affect every inch of the body. From weight gain to heart attacks. Stress is associated with a higher-than-normal death rate. I’m surprised that the employees are not dropping left and right.

I just called my legislators and left detailed messages on their answering machines. I sent a petition to them, and I sent an email to them. I’m not tooting my own horn, I just wished that more citizens would contact their legislators and write letters to the editor. Maybe I just want everyone to be an activist and that is quite unreasonable.

Children’s books and other things…

I was going to write a book for teens with a focus on the history of Ore Creek (back before Brighton was, well, Brighton). I got quite far with it before Clara was born but now I can’t find it. It has to be on one of my old computers/laptops. I could, and probably will start again if I can’t find it. I am still working on a memoir about David. I found it on a hard drive that I have which I did back my computer up to before it died. But l have been working on another book or series of alphabet stories for little ones. I have always wanted to do that. I need to focus on other things. Things that bring me joy, rather than upset. I am also going to start writing love letters to Clara. She has brought me so much joy in her young life. I just treasure the time that we have with her each week. She is such a little firecracker! Such a personality. For being so young, she is larger than life. I know that all grandparents think that their grandchild is special. I really do, but I have not met another child like her, except for David. Not that I think she is channeling David or anything like that… This little kid just amazes me. She isn’t even two (2) but she knows her numbers to ten (10). She knows her colors. She knows most of her farm animals and the sounds that they make.

Tomorrow, I am going to get out my tables and sewing machine and finish Clara’s quilt. I ran out of blanket binding last weekend. And made two separate outings to JoAnn Fabrics to pick up supplies. Plus all of the stuff that I ordered online. I’m out of control. But I did find the perfect sewing room material to make a cover for my sewing machine and other accessories. But first comes baby girl’s pajamas. I have the perfect flannel material and some fleece material. I need to find carbon paper to cut out the different sizes of the patterns. JoAnn’s does not carry it. The pattern is supposed to fit sizes 3 – 8 so I’m going to cut out the eight, six, and four on craft paper and store them away for later use. She is in a 3 right now, so I think I’m going to make her size 4 for this year and see how much she grows next year.

I really miss Michael, David’s son. We see him so infrequently now that it is like we go 6 months to a year without a visit. And Hailie, Sam’s daughter has been away at school for quite some time. I missed a lot of her childhood because of my illness and strokes. Michael, we helped raise. Especially after David’s death. We had him every other weekend, during school breaks, and a lot in the summertime (except for when he lived in Georgia). We used to take him camping with us on just about every trip that we took. I miss those days. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for what time we had with him. He brought us all such joy. Momma and Pops just loved him to death. That was another high point in my life. Sam and Hailie dropped by for a minute last week. I was napping with the baby so I did not see them. Bummer. I’m going to try to get Leo to take me over to see Sam, Felicia, Hailie, and Felicia’s kids before Christmas. I have been very antisocial, because of my illness, weight, and sometimes anxiety. Plus I have depression issues. And I had Val issues, but she moved out west with one of her sons.

Politics…

I wish that I could get things off of my mind. My first thoughts upon waking, go to the politicized SCOTUS and the matters that are coming before it. Like the Indian Child Welfare Act and the possibility of that legislation being found unconstitutional and Native children being once again removed from their families, their tribes, their language, their culture, and so much more to be placed with White families again where they will lose all sense of who they are. That would be wrong on so many levels. White people took Native children away from their families from the time that we arrived on these shores. We wanted to whiten these children. It wasn’t until 1978 that the ICWA was passed giving Native people the rights that they should have had all along. I know I am repeating stuff from my last post. But it means that much to me.

I had a letter published in the Detroit Free Press concerning the Moore v. Harper matter. It was the second one that I wrote. I just fear SCOTUS giving state legislative bodies rights that were not conferred upon them by our founding fathers. Our founding fathers did not trust state legislatures, nor do I. We all see how they gerrymander maps to split Black/POC voters up so that they don’t have a voice or pack them into one area so they have a limited voice. Or they crack and pack the other party for the same reason. It doesn’t matter who controls the legislature, both parties are guilty, though I dare say when it comes to suppressing the vote of POC, republicans are worse.

Now my mind is on the potential rail road workers strike. The matter is before Congress. I have written my letter to my representatives in Washington, DC and I will probably make calls before I go to bed. The workers are asking for a pay increase, sick leave, scheduled days off, and better working conditions. The Rail Road Barons are getting rich off of the backs of labor and treating them unfairly. Why? Because they can. And they are counting on Congress to force the workers back to work or face being fired if they strike. They hope that Congress will pull a Reagan like when he fired the Air Traffic Contollers when they striked.

Maybe I need to sell my computer and shut out the world. I don’t listen to the news. I don’t watch T.V. news. I don’t read the paper. But I am involved with activism groups and I am an activist. I’m not one to stick my head in the sand, never have been. My granny was a union steward and so was I. Then I became an activist. I guess that is what happens when you care about people and want to see their lives made better or at least not be made worse by others. Like SCOTUS or big corporations. Okay, off my soap box. For now anyway.

So much on my mind…

There are political issues that have been weighing heavy on my mind and heart. I have been sick, so I guess I have had more time to think about some of the issues that I am concerned about. I had a sweet young woman come by and talk to me about the Clean Water Action committee that she is involved in. She told me that she needed some community activists to write letters to Bollin and Theis (our useless government leaders). So, I wrote one to each of them that I would have gladly sent out but she took them from me. I guess she is going to send them out herself, or take them to Lansing to our representatives’ offices.

I am trying to compose two letters to the editor. One (again) on the Moore v Harper matter that is going to be heard by SCOTUS on Dec. 6th. The other (which is being heard by SCOTUS this month) concerns the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. It was passed into law because as long as whites have been on this land we have been ripping Native children out of their parent’s arms, away from their culture, stripping them of their language, their history, and their spiritual beliefs. All so that they could be whitened.

I have friends and family who are Native. Many have a very strong resentment of whites because of the Trail of Tears, blankets infected with smallpox, stolen lands, reservations on the worst lands in America, and broken treaty after broken treaty. Oh, and let’s not forget the whitening of their children. Children as young as three and four years old were placed in orphanages and boarding schools. They died of disease, malnutrition, abuse, and neglect. They broke these little children simply to whiten them.

Finally, activists were able to have enacted The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in 1978. The Indian Child Welfare Act is a law that is aimed at protecting Native children from removal from their families, tribes, culture, language, and the preservation of tribal sovereignty. (ACLU News & Commentary Aug.18, 2022).

This law is recognized throughout this nation by Health and Human Service agencies, Courts, women’s protection groups, and child welfare agencies. But Brackeen v. Haaland is a case that challenges the constitutionality of the ICWA law. If the politicized 6-3 court sees fit to strike the law down we could end up going back 250 years in history. We are losing our rights, moving back in time. Civil Rights laws are being gutted, stripping away women’s rights as in the Dobb decision that stripped us of Roe v. Wade, and the voting rights act having the teeth ripped out of it.

It’s at times like this that I wished I had become a lawyer instead of a nurse.

My Gosh! It has been years

It has been years since I have written here. I have been very politically active leading rallies, writing my legislators, writing letters to the editor, writing on social media to try to counter the Big Lie and disinformation and misinformation, and going to rallies. In other words, I’ve been busy

Add to that my youngest son and his wife had a baby in March of 2021. My husband and I have been watching her 9 hours a day, three days a week since shortly after she was born. She is now almost 20 months old. It has been quite the experience! It has been trying since we are both in our 60s and we don’t have the strength and stamina that we did at my child’s age, who will be 41 next month. But it has also been a blast! Watching her learn to crawl, walk, run (and boy she can run), learn colors, and learn to count. What a wild ride! She is growing, and learning so quickly. We are simply amazed, and in awe. We missed a lot of these things with our own children because we were both working full-time.

It is almost like being a parent full-time. I quit my job, quit my volunteer activities to take care of her. I am not complaining. It was truly laid on my heart, in a spiritual way, to do this. And as tired as it makes me, I am loving it. We are so one on one with her, giving her our undivided attention. She is very secure and knows that grandpa and nana love her deeply. She is the light of our lives. We helped raise Michael, my second grandchild, especially after my oldest son took his life. Michael is busy now and is grown (21!) and has his own life. And we were much younger then.

For me, it is so different now than then. Not that we didn’t love him with all our hearts. It’s just that she is a girl. I wanted a healthy baby but in all honesty, I prayed for a girl. I wanted a granddaughter to teach her needlepoint, sewing and maybe crocheting (if my hands and fingers still work) when she is older. I want to instill in her good values, spirituality (not necessarily mine), morality, and other valuable lessons about life, the future, and on and on. I want her to know that her life matters, and that just because she is a female that should not be an issue. Even though we do not have the ERA that she should not be subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, a glass ceiling, etc. I want her to be built up, educated, not torn down and ignorant.

Anyway, that is where I have been.

Working on my house…

My house is in disarray. I started doing things in my house again and I have made a bigger mess than it was. I am trying to work on it at night while Leo is at work but I had to make a big mess in the living room before finding out that there is absolutely no room to do laundry downstairs in the basement. So he is going to have to deal with my mess until I move some stuff around and get my closet organized enough to put some clothes in it. I am going through and getting rid of clothes that I have outgrown, but I am finding it difficult to let go of the things that are just one size too small… Are all women this way. or just me???

I don’t think that it is just me. My sister is the same way. We hope against hope that we will lose the weight that we gained last year, this year. I’ve gained some weight back since last year and I had to buy a size up… So that means weeding through my size medium and large and keeping the larger ones that aren’t too terribly tight on me but tighter than what I would like. I have to get real with myself. I am up to a size 16/18. Which mean that my 14/16 have to be packed away. Bummer!!!

I’ve just come through my toughest time of the year. From mid-December to mid-January I get into a depressed state. That is when David took his life and then the holidays, then his birthday in January, my granny’s birthday and death day is also in January. So for whatever reason, I fall into this deep dark pit of despair and can’t seem to climb out of it. Losing David the way I did does not make it easy. I feel his loss every day just like it happened yesterday. I have been told that I will never get used to it and it will never get better; it will just get different. And I am starting to realize that this is true.

Anyway,  when I get depressed the way I do, my working around the house gets worse. My ability to function suffers. And then I finally have to force myself to do something, anything to get myself motivated again. I am motivated. I know what I have to do. It is just a matter of having the strength and energy to do it. I’ve been carrying things from my bedroom to my spare room upstairs. When I get that done I have to carry clothes up from my basement and put the ones that will fit back into my closet and the ones that don’t will be carried upstairs. The new ones will then have to go downstairs to be washed and dried and then brought up to my closet in my bedroom. Sound fun? It isn’t.

My carpal tunnel surgery went well and is healing well but it really isn’t liking what I am doing right now. And my new knees are rebelling climbing up and down the stairs. I don’t mean to be complaining. Just stating it the way it is. And my back is killing me so I have to keep taking breaks. Meaning is that it is taking much longer than it would have ten years ago. I will keep plugging away at it until I either get it done or my husband throws me out to the wolves… Thank goodness there are no wolves out back and the coyotes out back scare off pretty easily.

I hope that you don’t mind me writing about my boring life. If you do, let me know and I will find something more interesting to speak about. For now, it is time to crash, it’s been a long night. Thank you for listening.

A Year’s Gone By…

It has been almost a year since I last wrote anything. I haven’t even written in my gratitude journal or my journal. I don’t know what has been wrong with me. I don’t think that I have had writer’s block. I know that I have been going through periods of depression and periods of high stress dealing with my brother and his issues. And I have been pretty busy with my volunteer positions.

I have had a CASA child. She is a living doll. I have come to love her. I am trying very hard to be impartial with the foster family and the mother of the child. Sometimes it is easier than others. The foster family is very likable and you can tell they have a great amount of love for the child. On the other hand, the mother just doesn’t seem to want to do what she needs to do to get her children back in an expedited manner.

I spend an hour a week with the girl and I try to do something fun with her each time I am with her. I either initiate a craft to work on with her, play a game of her choice (she likes to play with dominos), she likes to put together puzzles, and she loves the crafts I bring for her, and she loves playing with her dolls with me. She reads at a full grade higher than her age level. She is simply an awesome child.

I just wish her mother would comply with the court’s orders so she could potentially get her kids back (her son lives with his biological father, my girl lives with her uncle and aunt). They are both growing and thriving in their respective home placements. my girl doesn’t want to go back to live with her mother if she will never see her uncle and aunt again, which is a possibility.

Anyway, I am going to try to write as often as I can. If only about my volunteer work and my CASA child. That could become pretty boring if I write exclusively about those things but at least I will be writing again, even if I have to force myself.

For now, it is 0300 and I am going to hit the rack or sack. Until I write again, make each day count for something. I know I will.

 

I am so excited…

We are traveling to Georgia today!!! We are going to see my sister!!! It has been almost a year since we have seen her and TJ. And I have missed them so much.Cyndi and I talk as often as we can on the phone and it feels like she is with me, but it isn’t the same. I can’t touch her or hug her or comfort her when she is having a bad day.It is so frustrating that we live so far apart. It is a 900 mile trip by car which amounts to about 12 hours drive time.It will be Leo’s birthday, so we are going to have an unbirthday party soon after we get there. This is an old picture of one such unbirthday party that we had. Of course, this is a very old picture, before I gained all my weight and got old. lol…

img113

 

I wish Cyndi and I were next door neighbors. She offered us the property behind her house, but Leo does not want to have to start over at his age. I guess I don’t blame him. It would be difficult clearing the land and putting in a drain field, pouring a slab and blocking in the under-skirting of a modular home. or building a home. Plus we have out buildings that we would need when we moved as well.And moving is hard work, especially with all my stuff. And I have a lot of stuff!!!

Craft room redo Feb 21 011

.She does too, but her’s is more organized than mine.She has been busy organizing it so it is easier for her to get things she needs and to be  to see what she has available to work with. I wish I had her determination. I have so much to do, too. But my rooms are in such a state of disarray that I become so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed and give up. I can’t wait to see the progress she has made. I am hoping that it will give me the incentive to get organized myself. If she can do it from a wheelchair, then I can certainly do it with arms and legs that work.My sister has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She has been having a hard time. I cant’ wait to get down there so we can do crafts together…I have been missing sister time. And there is so much that we want to do together, sewing, collaging, beading. I don’t know if we will get to it all, but we have three weeks to try. I wish her pool was open, I would help her with her water therapy…

two women doing crafts together

They got a special van so she can get to her doctor’s appointments.and to get her out of the  house but she does not go out much. It is a cool van. It’s a modified Grand Caravan. The ramp is in the back so she can drive up the ramp and into the van. Then it dips down so she has headroom and maneuvering room. It has straps to keep her secure in the van.and she a seatbelt in her wheelchair to keep her in safe.

02-2011-dodge-grand-caravan-opt.

..Well, I have to finish packing last minute items. So until next time Make your days good ones…

 

It’s Official…

I am officially a CASA! I am so excited and feel so honored to be an officer of the court. We were sworn in by Judge Cavanaugh and she even teared up during the proceeding. We had photos taken with her to commemorate the event. Afterward, our instructors, who are also our Supervisors, had us back at LACASA for cake and more photos. It made it such a special day. It was a happy ending to the intense training we went through, making it all worthwhile.

For those that do not know, a CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect. Children who have been removed from the home are generally placed with a family member (outside of the home), if at all possible, or a foster care family. When this happens two separate cases are opened. One is for reunification with the family, handled by Protective Services, the other, handled by an Adoption Worker, takes steps to allow for the adoption of the child.

The hope is that the parents of the child will do their best to correct the problem(s) that led to the removal of the child. If they fail to do that during the course of time allowed by the Child Protection Act then the favored course is the termination of parental rights and adoption of the child.

The court wants the child to not remain in foster care indefinitely but to be placed in a permanent home as soon as is possible while still giving the family every reasonable opportunity to correct the deficits in the home.

There are many people involved in this process. The police, Protective Services, Attorneys, Adoption Services, Foster Families, the parents, the child, CASAs and many others. The CASA volunteers sole responsibility is to look out for the child’s interest and advocate in the best interest of the child.

I am delighted to be involved in this process. While I do not want to see any child abused and/or neglected. I look forward to being assigned to my first case. It is very rewarding to be able to make a difference in a child’s life. If I can make a difference in the life of just one child, I will feel that that is the reason that I was not allowed to die, when many believed my time was up…

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