Raised to Profess Social Justice and Faith!
108 years ago, my ancestors came as strong-willed, hardworking and God--loving intellectuals from Europe. They came
to pursue the promise of land, freedom and education for their children, and a brighter future than they fear they faced
in the political and social climate of Germany. Here they encountered the lies and broken promises many immigrants
to America faced. My family largely worked themselves to death in the squalid conditions of the packinghouse industry,
bluecollar workers who broke their hearts and backs for my white-collar future.
My BlueCollar Beloveds and
I desire to live a life exemplifying the Christian walk, a walk we feel is entirely
compatible with intellectual endeavor, good humor, and activism.
We consider ourselves "blue sheep" of the Religious Left and embrace
a fiscally liberal, pro-labor, egalitarian philosophy which values an active
fight for social justice. Our faith in Jesus Christ emboldens us to fight against poverty, injustice, discrimination, ignorance, intolerance,
arrogance, greed, racism, sexism and oppression in all its institutions.
Our family lives an afflicted victory thruogh which we seek to encourage, enlighten and bring hope and joy to others
through Spirit-led works of the hand, heart and mind. We invite you into our family and welcome you to join us in our
endeavors for the good!!!!....
Saturday, October 31, 2009
...in a handbasket.
Spooky. We are under a curse of household brokenness.
Or maybe crap just doesn't last anymore. These are the things which have busted in our household since last we "spoke"
Sat, October 31, 2009 | link
aThe laptop (duh).
aThree--THUH-REE!--of our set of 20 new (clearance)
tumbleers and juice glasses, all within 2 days of purchase. Just FYI, we decided to replace all our plastic with glass
now that the lads are so dexterous, and glasses were not broken by children. Or dogs. Or author. (Mr. Pepsi
aOur nexta new license plates
with the serendipitously cute "CYA" ("see ya" or "cover your...") which we had to replace
with unpoetic "BJR" ("Braun Jr."? "Bonjour"?).
blue porcelain dolphin with gold filigree Roo insisted on buying from the $1 clearance cart at an antiques rummage
sale (not antique, definitely rummage).
glasses (by Hubby)
(by the sands of time)
"junk drawer' hinges (one paper clip too many can harm you).
aAll--yes all--of the childproof doorknob covers in the entire house
(Roo now has run of the whole place, and without glasses we can't find him anywhere).
aOur dryer (sometimes even a marathon athlete goes down).
And, obviously, the camel's back.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Clean HalloweenWhat do you call a skeleton who won't work?
Lazy bones. What's a skeleton's favourite
A trom-bone! Where
do baby ghosts go during the day?
Dayscare centres. Why don't skeletons like parties?
They have no body to dance with. What was the favourite game at the ghosts' birthday party?
Hide and shriek. What do the birds sing on Halloween?
Twick or tweet. Why do mummies make good employees?
They get all
wrapped up in their work. Who did the ghost invite
to his party?
Anyone he could dig up! Who did Frankenstein take to the prom?
His ghoul friend. Why did the game warden arrest the ghost?
He didn't have a haunting license. How can you tell if a vampire likes baseball?
The night that he goes
into a bat. Where do spooks water ski?
On Lake Erie. Where do mummies go for a swim?
To the dead sea. What kind of streets do zombies like
Dead end streets. What
has webbed feet, feathers, fangs and goes quack-quack?
Count duckula. What's a monster's favourite Shakespeare play?
Romeo and ghouliet. Who does Dracula get mail from?
His fang club.
Fri, October 30, 2009 | link
Friday, October 23, 2009
Word for today...
MANPOO: Any of the newly exploding haircare
products scented and designed to appeal specifically to men. Bottles typically claim outdoorsy machismo aromas such
as "arctic blast" or "ocean surf" and promise scalp-arousing sensations such as "deep tingling"
and "refreshing cool."
Fri, October 23, 2009 | link
Fri, October 23, 2009 | link
Temporarily computerless. Must maintain site from timed terminal in questionably clean public library. Hard to
be thoughtful, funny under scrutiny of hairtwirlers, manga-reading middleschoolers and grumpus elderly having trouble figuring
out "the email." Will be back in the comfort of own writing sanctuary (tiny inner-city home with raucus preschoolers
now akin in mind to serene and remote mountainside chalet) by next Friday. Until then, one-word posts on the fly...
Monday, October 12, 2009
Our Autism Odyssey: Day 3
Head Swede was here today, arriving with the snow
at an ungodly hour of morning. Toe was bright-eyed and awake as always, and in this way embraced head Swede's presence.
This was my first experience with "hosting" play therapy between another adult and my child, while I was virtually
uninvolved. Severe Head Swede emerged as a silly character who bopped about my house like a preschooler, interacting
with Tovi in ways that I can only one day hope to understand. Meanwhile, Roo and I made apple-walnut bread inthe kitchen,
water-colored, and scheduled Mommy for a mid-November surgery on the nerve that controls her bladder.
Mon, October 12, 2009 | link
time, when Toe grew weary of Head Swede and began to realize she had a "school lady" air about her (his words, not
mine), he ran to my bedroom, brought me my pajamas and asked me to put them on. Apparently he figured if it was "sleepy
time," Head Swede would get the hint and leave.
Tomorrow there will be video-conferencing as other Swedes
observe Head Swede, Mommy, Daddy, Roo and Toe all at play together from their castle somewhere in the unknown (Stockholm,
St. Louis Park, who knows...).
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (circa 1931)
Sun, October 11, 2009 | link
it's early, but in this economy Mom says it's a good idea to place orders early and expect disappointment.
Seeing as how you are "balanced and fair" (being a saint and all), I'm sure you will carefully consider my
requests. This year I don't want anything for myself, but instead would like address some hardboiled needs down
here in MN.
First Dad says to tell you he really appreciates the extra 7.5 weeks of unemployment insurance.
However, he is wondering if he needs a receipt to exchange this for one of those secure living-wage jobs he's been looking
for? He thinks that will fit him better. Thanks!
For my mom and brother, I'm wondering if you can
send some gluten-free food vouchers, seeing as the Governor took back our money for that? (Oops, mom says not to write
that 'cause I'm stepping on her blog.)
Speaking of Governors. We could sure use one.
I think ours was named Arnie or Rudy or Timmy or something, but he just up and moved away to New Hampshire (I heard).
Last of all, please send a lot of that "affordable housing" stuff I keep hearing about. Especially
send some tothat Phalen Corridor area where the planners who tore down our houses welsched on their promise to set
up a bunch of affordable housing in exchange (Oh, sorry Welsch people! Mom says that's not polite to say and I should
apologized). Anyway, with the housing market in crisis, I know you'll need more some staff and money around to get
this big project going, but I heard there were poor people all over the country living in tents just like when Grandpa was
a baby, and that's just not American Christmasey.
(Oh, and Aunt Bernice said to throw something in here about
getting her some affordable health care, but frankly I'm sure you are sick of hearing about that!)
a bunch. And if this letter accidentally gets to that Dutch Santa guy who comes to your house with thugs and drags kids
off to work in his coal facotry in Spain, please forward this to the other Santa. My dad is a union man.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Ruby & Roo
Roo is in love with a dragon. It's
not puppy love either, but the real thing. He can't sleep at night without her by his side, nothing has any joy
when she is not around. Also, he shares his dinosaur fruit snacks with her, which is an unmistakable sign of pre-K devotion.
Even his T-Rex and Trieceratops have taken a backseat at the cold lonely foot of his bed. There is room in the sweet
spot only for Ruby.
Fri, October 9, 2009 | link
In just under two weeks my baby boy heads off to preschool. It's only 3 hours a day
and a few blocks away, but I get a little sentimental. It seems just moments since Roo was the size of a tiny gourd,
balanced on my knee, hairless and helpless as a hard-boiled egg. Now he gets up before the dawn and runs his own bath,
tells me "No way!" when I try to ban the bloody graphic killer dino books he chooses from the kids' science
section at the library. Soon he will be singing songs with offensive lyrics in Spanish and lying to me about his math
How did I get so old?
Well, at least when he goes I will have Ruby to keep me company. Cast
aside, we will both become hazy mythical figures in the brooding poetry of his future, or maybe, if we're lucky, the subject
of humorous anecdotes he tells in the Democratic Cloakroom.
There are lulls in life. Doldrums. Deathlike calms. Back when the illiterate son of a Spanish swineherd
was battling the Incas, sailors used to toss his special delivery battle horses into the surf when they hit
a windless stretch, scared they might just run out of drinking water sitting around endlessly like a bobber on the sea.
Ah, the 16th century. Bet horses are happy they live in the modern world.
Fri, October 9, 2009 | link
Hubby and I have started talking to each other with puppets. Yah, it doesn't
bode well for us, but as an overburdened parent I have to tell you--it's an easier slide than you think.
First you get the puppets. Kids love them, they're good for teaching. You perform a little for the
lads. The puppets are funny--you discover you can do characters and are pretty good at throwing your voice.
You start picking up the puppet when no one is around. It chats with you while you are vacuuming.
Then it gets dicey. You name the puppets. Giving anything a name is really just a way of legitimizing
it, don't you think? You call the stray dog "Hobo" and suddenly she is parking her carcass in
front of your fire for the next ten years. You want to believe you aren't really going to repaint an
entire room "off-white" so you choose the color "air on a wikiup." You want so much to
believe your government is fair, you keeping throwing around the term "checks and balances."
Next thing you know the puppets have personalities. You start thinking in puppet. Your puppet may make
running commentary on the challenges of your day--maybe he starts to mention your spouse's need for a shave or inabiloity
to hit the hamper with a pair of dirty socks. Perhaps the puppets are no longer just acting silly and talking to the
kids but instead to each other, perhaps they are having puppet arguments. Perhaps one trying day the puppets look out
at the gray October sky and start talking to themselves.
So, you know, the cautionary tale is, when when
things get slow, that's what can happen with puppets.
Our Autism Odyssey: Day 2
Toe, a drooling lump of lad beneath a blanket, racing
through epic dreams all late this day after a marathon of insomnia last night. No therapy on this unpredictable, exhausted
Thursday. Even Swedes surrender.
Fri, October 9, 2009 | link
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Our Autism Odyssey: Day 1
Tue, October 6, 2009 | link
It is begun, the Swedes have
arrived. Yesterday was our first official session of in-home ABA therapy. In the beginning,
they only come a couple of times a week. Then they come more and more, ramping up gradually,
Day one was no therapy and a lot of talking with Head Swede. And signing documents.
We felt as though we were entering into a contract with mercenaries, or perhaps the federal government.
There were clauses absolving the Lovaas Institute of blame should Toe implode, explode, spontaneously combust, disappear
or otherwise alter states in any way. There were vows of silence and issues of trade secrecy.
Little did Head Swede know I had my fingers crossed behind my back the whole time.
On Thursday Head Swede returns, this time with minions.
All I can say is that they will never make my boy wear a Lichtenkrantz in service of Saint Lucia. God
Gale Warning! A BlueCollar Family Vacation
Tue, October 6, 2009 | link
We are just back from a week in Castle Danger on Lake Superior...sob. Alls we want to do is go back to picking rocks,
reading by the fire, knocking around in the pines, staring at the surf, chatting with the Finns and watching the lads get
blown over by straight-line winds. When we were driving home, Toe howled, "Ohhhh! I lost my brown circle
house!" (his word for log cabin). If nothing else, he now has learned the abstract concept of "vacation"
and its antonym, uh, "not vacation."
Some of Toe's faves: endless rocks, endless
walks, "stuff stores" (gift shops), big waves on "the Hippo Lake'" (big gray Lake Superior), nightly
baths in a whirlpool tub the size of his kiddie pool, charming Tante Linda into induldging his every whim, "yellow
macaroni and cheese trees" (the turning poplars), "pink shirt friend" ( a lovely young woman who rode around
the resort on a Cushman delivering towels and supplies to cabins and picking up laundry--she always had time to listen to
Tovi's endless tales of what he did that day, and to let Roo "drive" her cart).
Some of Roo's
faves: staring--gaping really--in wonderment at the birch fire crackling in the stone fireplace (completely unconcerned
that Mommy had to pop benadryl and breathe out the window through a snorkel to accomodate the presence of said fire), coloring
at the table on the deck at all hours of day and night--despite tornadic winds, lying on his back looking at stars with Mommy,
hiking to the main lodge with Daddy to "get a zero" (Tootsie Roll)--usually coming back with another overpriced
stuffed lizard, iguana, dinsosaur or other scaly animal, backgammon (who knew?) adirondack rockers on cabin porches,
sneaking into bed with Tante Linda in the middle of the night and stealing all the covers.
Some of Hubby
and my faves:
Meeting the locals: There was "Buddy," the old dude who runs
Buddy's Emporium in Two Harbors. He's about 90, tried to make me kiss a stuffed "Minnesota Snow
Monkey" (which looked more like a missing link between a badger and Sasquatch) mounted on the wall of his cavelike shop
for good luck--even showed me a picture of himself kissing it (I refused). He tricked Steve into pulling out
a drawer for a "free sample" of maple candy which instead was a spring--loaded rubber rat that popped
out and "bit" Steve (Buddy and Wife-of-Buddy responses: "Heh heh, I gotchoo!" "Yah,
you sure gottem there, Hun!"). Atypical fare: Neon signs in bar windows proclaiming: Cold
Leinenkugel and Fresh Herring! Menu items such as Lefse, Torsk, deep-fried peanuts in-the-shell, chokecherry and gooseberry
everything. Cute kid encounters: Tovi dancing with glee on a chair in the picture window over-looking
the lake--just becasue he was happy, Roo finding "T-Rex rocks," Toe asking me to please turn off the wind, Roo attacking
a stack of pancakes with famished abandonment, Toe coming in from a hike and saying, "Mommy, the cold is in my mouth!"
becasue his teeth were chattering. Rocks: Gales are bad for ore boats, but good for
rockhounding--we found a huge piece of beautiful sea-green lintenite, a chunk of Thompsonite, Zebra and Sunset agates and
many many more. Yay!
The Best Chicken in Town
Move over, Bobby Fischer...
Toedance 1, An Ode to Joy
Toedance 2, "Kickin' It"
You breaker my heart!
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aUpdated August 2009
©Angela R. Braun, June 2009 test