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!!!!....
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
No wonder, woman!
Wed, June 30, 2010 | link
Have you heard all the chatter about the new look of DC Comics’ Wonder Woman? Of course you haven’t. You don’t have time for that, so I’m
here for you. Up at all hours, two insomniac boy children chiming in my ear and twirling like tops, Hubby
plugged in to a hissing Darth Vader breathmask dreaming deeply through his newfound oxygen high about all the transfat foods
he will eat when I die. I’m all prayed out, so I can bring you the 411 on such things.
My initial reaction to the change
in WW’s new look was: You know it’s the End Times when even Wonder Woman no longer has time to do her hair.
But, do you think I am projecting? I mean, I don’t think I’ve had time to really “do”
my hair as society expects of a woman since, um, circa 1999. And secretly (and now, I guess, publicly) I don’t really
care. Maybe that’s why some of Hub’s recent new pet names for me have included “Medusa”
and “Swamp Thing.” I’m not sure. We’ll take that up at our next
monthly State of Our Union date night.
Here are some others’ reactions to WW remixed:
Comics Starves Wonder Woman, Then Drags Her To Hot Topic
--If instead of the choker she had like a chunky H&M necklace I think this would be kind of perfect, though
I guess I don't know why, exactly. She looks a little more ready to kick a**?
warned us about the prevalence of "The Yoga Look", now didn't she? "Desexualized, Sterile Athleticism"
know Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was my childhood hero. I was Wonder Woman for Halloween at age 5. And you, skinny hipster
goth chick on the right, are no Wonder Woman.
--Princess Coldstare has no time to
hit anybody. She's too busy negotiating her deal to become Smirnoff ICE's new gapemodel.
does the new version look so stuck in the 90s? I haven't seen chokers in 4-EVA.
get past the jeggings.
Yah, I mingle with some pretty opinionated snarks. They don’t
know but for MN Nice. When you start talking about a cartoon at 3 in the morning you may not at first realize
you are entering into discussions of feminism, haute couture, patriarchal hegemony, the deconstruction of art, historical
iconography, consumerism and…jeggings.
Personally I really just miss the wholesome Lynda Carter/Diana Prince Wonder Woman of TV. Sure, she was a shill for the 1970s radical feminist agenda, but at least she had a warm smile and some curves.
You could imagine her being a mom.
I guess I have nothing more to say except, get your sleep, forget your hair,
and go back to praying.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Solid effort, lads,
but I think this one is beyond help. Cause of death...er, uh...?
Tue, June 29, 2010 | link
Monday, June 28, 2010
You know all those fables by Aesop? The ones with the Fox and the Grapes and the Tortoise and the Hair and the Eagle and the Jackdaw
(or whatever)? You know how there's always one animal that's too scattered and butt-brain flawed to
get the job done? Yah, this week that's been me. I have been the Foxy-Harey-Jackdaw. There
has been no time, no finesse, I have not been exceptional. I take off my cape (which Toe calls my "super")
and toss it in, towel-like.
Mon, June 28, 2010 | link
But if you
want a yawn (or are using the free internet kiosk in your doctor's waiting room, killing time and distracting yourslef
before an invasive and unpleasant exam), here's the week in review from the BCD house. Revel in my mediocrity and
shortcomings. Puff yourselves up. (But do not operate heavy machinery while reading):
Monk Sightings: 3 (flowing orange robes up and down the streets, outside the DQ, kickin it with a soccer ball at the playground).
Number of meals made with a vegan meat "substitute": 4
Number of times I caught Hub drooling
while watching the Food Network: 3
Number of dangerous bacteria currently attempting to devour my child: 2
Number of bribes made to child to encourage ingestion of vile antibiotics: 7
Number of threats made to coerce
child to ingest vile antibiotics: 3
Number of times we changed antibiotics: 2
Number of times a PCA
let Toe wander around a random house neighboring our church during VBS: 2
Number of PCAs fired: 1
of new PCAs coming into the house: 2
Number of Giant Microbe bacterial plushies Roo now owns as "survivor" gifts from pediatrician: 3 (staphylococcus
Times I have had to postpone surgery due to my children (infections, babysitters, etc.):
Times I have been bummed about postponing surgery: 0
Times this week something in the news made
me want to punch a wall: 15
What I punched instead: my deluxe fluffy Pink Panther pillow (poor Pinkie!)
Number of biological sisters who have encouraged and loved on me this week: 2
Number of sisters-by-choice who
have encouraged and loved on me this week: 8
Number of sister-in-the-LORD praying for me right now: countless
Number of times I've thought I could ever get by in this world on my own: 0
Friday, June 25, 2010
Our Autism Odyssey: In the end there was Adam
Hub and I must have rented and returned the movie Adam at the local library at least 3 times. We'd bring it home, let it sit like a paperweight on
our hall table. Day after day, accruing fees, waiting for us, unwatched.
Fri, June 25, 2010 | link
Despite the rave reviews and prestigous
awards, it's not easy to sit down to fictionalized glimpses of your autisitc child's possible futures. There
is so much that is unknowable with Aspergers and high-functioning ASDs, and anyway, who can really say how life will
unfurl for any child? We were scared. We were hopeful. We never know what seemingly tiny nugget of
truth will fall into our lives, possibly crumbling the fragile peace we've built with our angel child's autism.
Toe, oh. We wanted to see it for you.
With a whole week of lad-less evenings (see "Vacation
Bible School: It's Not Mexico, But It's Free"), we couldn't put if off any longer. We saw Adam.
We devoured it, actually, in one sitting, not moving, hardly breathing. Even our bladders didn't motivate
us from our seats (well, mine's part robot so it does what I tell it to, but whatever).
All I can
say now is this: if you love Toe, watch Adam. If you want to understand better what it is to be inside
the beautifully strange mind of our adorable little walking idiosyncrasy, watch Adam. If you want to know how
lucky we are and how tortured and how blessed and confuse all at once, just watch Adam. There is some of our
whole little family in about every scene.
Then go tell other people who love someone with an ASD to watch Adam
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Jesus the Kid
Vacation Bible School ain't what it used to be. It's
not all cutout apostles hanging morosely from a felt board in some dank church basement, or questionable crafts
like burnt-matchstick crosses and empty tombs made out of a hollowed potato and a tealight, no. Nowadays VBS is
kind of like a Broadway production. It's larger than life, sparkling with props and elaborate direction
and complexly choreographed musical numbers. VBS has "themes."
Thu, June 24, 2010 | link
Here are some actual VBS themes
from our church and those of our neighborhood rivals: VBS Tropical Luau (those Baptists will do anything for a good
BBQ), Galactic Blast SpaceAdventure VBS (the Universalist heathens, who else?), Payne Free Evangelical Wild Wild VBS
(the cowboy hat and horses suggest a sort of Buffalo-Bill-Cody-Comes-to-the-Blood-of-Christ feel), VBS Under the Sea (yes,
we Nazarenes like to spend summer evenings lazy by the pool), VBS Dinosaur Romp (some freelove, floaty new-agey church called
"Emerge"), Small Soldiers A.R.M.Y. of God (Annointed Ready Mighty Youth)--complete with camo and everything---from
Contender for the Faith Church (I am not sure of their denomination, but their sign has a picture of a very Mohammed Ali Jesus
in boxing gloves ready to fight the powers of darkness!).
Whatever. All I remember of VBS as
a child was
1. that I could tell my mom was already having a party in her head, planning all the summer reading
she'd get done on the chaise lounge while I was away
2. warm KoolAid, and always green Lime--always green!
the holograph eyes-following-you picture of Jesus creeping me out on the teacher's desk
I was a very unholy child.
This week for the first time Toe and Roo are both taking part in the long-standing summertime ritual of VBS.
Since for our church VBS is an eveningtime supperclub for kids arrangement, Hub and I are enjoying some blissful kidfree dinners
without neither ketchup nor peanut butter on the menu. There has been some summer reading in lounge chairs, but mostly
just frantic practicing with the take-home DVD for the "parent" part in the VBS Closing Ceremonies chorale
extravaganza come Friday. Imagine Hub blowing in a conch shell and a sea of swaying little sea creatures singing "Love
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Ode to Papa Bear
Fathering boys is no picnic in the Hundred Acre Wood. When
the boys are more grizzly than Pooh-like there is an added element of challenge. Add to this that the forest
can sometimes be a dark, dangerous and hostile place, that the weather there is unpredictable, that the bugs are annoying
and the constant campers are trampling your berries and snagging all the fish, that the 3rd ring suburban clone home strip
mall developments are encroaching on you lair and that a lot of your buddy bears have decided to join the circus for a better,
more reliable gig. Suddenly life as a Papa Bear can be quite a survival dance.
Sun, June 20, 2010 | link
And if that's not bad enough,
try doing a Google search for "Daddy Bear" sometime and see how modern culture has stripped away some of the wholesomeness and child-centered fun of
that title. Grrrrr.
Still, no matter what comes, our own Papa Bear is a loveable, formidable beast, and we
pray thanksgiving for that. Defender of the family, soft, cuddly shoulder to cry on, forager and provider, a protector
who can dance a jig and make laughter out of tears, a compassionate and giving fellow-bear to others, a playful
and inspiring example to his adoring, naughty cubs.
True, he could keep his nails and beard more closely
trimmed, and possibly snore less, but these are small things.
Papa Bear, we love you. This day and every day!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
back to the po'house
Thu, June 17, 2010 | link
Can’t make the rent in this tough economy? Would you like to live in this picture?
I don’t know how I missed this week, but thank goodness for Joan Carter’s Daily Kos piece
that linked to it yesterday.
Minnesota—and in a few other “forward thinking” states like Arkansas and Arizona the spirit of the debtor’s
prison is back. Can you believe we are in such good political company? Yah, me neither.
According to the STrib, Richfield woman Joy Uhlmeyer was picked
up in a squad, booked, fingerprinted and held overnight in Anoka County jail this past Easter for defaulting on credit card
payments. And she is one among many.
wonder what kind of violent crime goes down, by the way, while local law enforcement officers are busy cuffing and transporting
the unemployed or financially-struggling people who can’t make the Visa payment in my neighborhood? Huh).
The STrib reported
It's not a crime to owe money,
and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in
jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of
arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009… The laws allowing
for the arrest of someone for an unpaid debt are not new. What is new is the rise of well-funded, aggressive and centralized
collection firms, in many cases run by attorneys, that buy up unpaid debt and use the courts to collect.
Minnesota law allows creditors to have a warrant issued for a debtor’s
arrest when the debtor has received a court judgement for unpaid bills (as little as $85 in some cases), but when the creditor
has not received financial disclosure information and/or payment from the debtor. In MN, approximately 1 in 6 folks
who fit these guidelines is currently being hauled off to jail, but an accurate estimate is hard to make since no one
is keeping statistics in any state on the number of debtors being arrested.
I don't curse, but really, what the..., Minnesota? Why are we are allowing
regressive 19th century legislation that is so hellbent against the poor?
Historian Michael Katz
of the University of Pennsylvania talked to Minnesota Public Radio about the historical significance and future possibilities of incarcerating the poor:
Katz says the idea behind
the poorhouse was simple - discourage people from asking for help by forcing them to work for food and shelter… many
people were at the poorhouse because they couldn't work. The poorhouse was the most stigmatized of public institutions,
and it's one we seem to want to forget. Maybe,that's why most historians have ignored the poorhouse. For some reason,
it seems to offend our sensibilities - and our image of what this country was - so much, that we have suppressed it. [I] still
see shadows of the poorhouse, and hear echoes of the thinking that created the poorhouse system.
Collections firms and credit agencies should be glad nice Minnesotans
worked so hard to keep the Ramsey County Poor Farm on the
National Register of Historical Places--it’s been maintained in great condition and may be open for business soon if
laws like these continue. I think with legislation like that proposed Tuesday by Senator Orrin Hatch (requiring welfare and unemployment beneficiaries to pass a drug test to qualify for programs under amendment 1885),
we may soon feel more and more like we’re living in Dickensian England rather than 21st century America.
UPDATE: Daily Kos published an "Open Letter to Senator
Franken about MN Debtor's Prisons" this afternoon. Read it here.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
First it was the birds, then the bees. Then the stars
started to die, next the oceans. Now it is that iconic little light of childhood in the summertime: the firefly.
Wed, June 16, 2010 | link
If you grew up MN you might call them lightning bugs (or out East maybe "glowbugs"), but wherever you lived,
if you had any time in the big green woodsy as a child, you loved them.
Join the effort to track and save them
by joining the international Firefly Watch.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
the man date
What do you get when you mix a rainy day with 6 boys...
Tue, June 15, 2010 | link
...and a lot of toys...
...with sugary snacks...
...and consdierable noise?
Friday, June 11, 2010
pint-sized pomp and circumstance
Toe is officially a graduate! His matriculation from
pre-school was a highly energized affair, complete with world music, floor show (including scarf dance) and mind-bending
demonstrations of pre-K academic acumen. On the presentation of honors and degrees, Toe paused hamlike on stage to give
himself a lonnnnnnng and hearty round of applause.
Fri, June 11, 2010 | link
A delightful rootbeer kegger and Kool Aid cocktail hour
followed, during which graduates mingled to discuss their future endeavors and kindergartens of choice. While other
parents sniffled at their growing children's rite of passage, I have to amit, my mind was mostly lost marveling
at how attached I have become to the term pre-K'er. Way to go, Toe!
The graduate, pictured here as 40-going-on-5.
The wooden ruler knee whack: practice for the future self-inflicted battery of graduate school?
Saying a sad goodbye to fair Miss Claire (soon to be in the Book of Missing You).
Roo, inexplicably distressed during his brother's ceremony, performs his own drama:
SEE NO EVIL...
LET NO EVIL DROP ON MY HEAD...
...and expire in Mommy's lap.
Toe with his "chosen" family.
"Toe and Noe" (BFF Noah).
Daddy, I'm kissing this school goodbye!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Our Autism Odyssey: a day off
Tue, June 8, 2010 | link
Cancellation Poem (By BluecollarSeuss)
Cancel Carly, cancel Jan, cancel tuna in a can
Cancel blogging, cancel tweets, cancel marinating meats
Cancel research, housework, rules
Cancel fixing things with tools
Cancel preschool and exercise
Cancel raining from the skies.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The holey Twible
Tweedle-de-dee, I know I blah blah blog too much about Twitter.
If you are already yawning, you should really cut out now and read something else.
Sun, June 6, 2010 | link
But you'll miss something **really cool** (that is, unless you think the Holy
Bible Word of God is a great big yawnfest, in which case I have the perfect bunkola blog for you to skip off to and enjoy with the other heathens).
Just us friends now?
I now heart something called "Twible" (rhymes with Bible, as in a contraction of Twitter
and Bible..hmmm, see where I am going with this?). Let me tell you about it, pleeeeeease?
So Jana Riess, writer/blogger
extroadinaire (check it out, she's fun: The Review Revolution: Improving Culture Through Kvetching), has taken it upon herself to tweet the entire Bible. Yes, less than 140 characters at a time,
and she estimates it will take her until sometime in 2013. Not only that, her bible tweets come with clever commentarty
and an occasional smidge of social snark. Here are a couple of examples:
#Twible 1 Sam 2: Hannah croons rock ballad to G: “Finally, a son! A coming king! A G who listens!”
She can’t fight this feelin’ any longer
#Twible 1 Sam 1: Is Hannah a) drunk in the temple, or b) praying like gangbusters for a son? It’s B,
& she gets one. Names him Sam Adams.
#Twible Ruth 4: Ruth & Boaz marry & have Obed, David’s g-pa. If king comes from a foreign g-g-ma, maybe God loves EVERYONE,
not just Israel?
Follow her tweet stream for a punch of the Word with a little side of sass!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
This Sunday Hub and I will celebrate 13 years
of wedded bliss. Here we are as chipmunk-cheeked and cheerful young-ish newlyweds, back when a leotard-wearing
wrestler lived in Minnesota's big house. Also about that time, Princess Diana was killed, St. Peter got picked
up and spat into the Minnesota River by an EF4 twister, Mother Theresa flew away to Jesus, Hong Kong got handed heartlessly
over to China and Dolly the damn sheep got cloned. Monica Lewinsky, the Unabomber, Posh Spice, Swiss Air, massive quakes
in Afghanistan, Bolivia New Guinea and Iran. I could go on and on. In a lot of ways, a tragic time. A time
for Titanic love.
Thu, June 3, 2010 | link
Here we are now, Pa and me. Oldyweds. The children have aged us some. We still like the big green
woodsy, books, funny people, politics and beer. We follow Jesus (not just on Twitter) to the best of our abilities,
despite that the world has thrown us our fair share of wrenches. The attack on America, illness, Autism, two
Bushes, war and strife among nations. Losing family, losing Paul and Sheila, losing Snoopy, losing The I35 bridge, "losing"
the election of 2000. Y2K, Whazzup? West Wing and Hyperemesis gravidarum.
Biscuit, Skeeter, Birdie.
Toe. Roo. Hallelujah, amen.
Thu, June 3, 2010 | link
In my defense, I didn't listen to ALL the lyrics of "Damn
it feels good to be a gangsta" before I downloaded it.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Sleep Study
Hubby left me. Okay, it is just for one night, and it is
so he can be given a sleep study exam to test for sleep apnea, but still. I feel the abandonment. Last night poor
thing was wired up (much like this crabby and poorly-rested looking gentleman--Hub wouldn't allow me to share his
photos with the world wide web) and ushered into his own private little hostel of rest complete with flatscreen, sleep number bed, reclining lounge chair (apparently ideal for reading) and mini
Tue, June 1, 2010 | link
Hub's communications to me from Chez Bonne Nuit:
p.m. Ramone is wiring me up like a Fluke meter while we watch Andrew Zimmern eat bugs on
Bizarre Foods. This is how I imagine a visit to the beauty salon must be for women.
8:30 p.m. They
won't let me have caffeine. I really need a Pepsi. I want to
come home and have a Pepsi.
p.m. I'm not sure, but I think the chair in here was designed for extremely obese people. It's
as wide as a loveseat. What are they trying to say?
10:00 p.m. They're making me
go to sleep now. Thank God! I have been exhausted since 2004.
Here at home things were less conducive
to rest. There was a night-long chorus of Where'sDaddyWhere'sDaddyWhere'sDaddy? and a thwarted
attempt by the pre-K forward guard to overthrown the Mommy Government in a coup of disobedience. Somehow telling
the lads that Daddy was having a sleepover at the doctor's struck them as an artful lie. Thank God the
dawn has come.
According to sleep study results,
Hub stopped breathing an average of 80 times per hour during rest (moderate-severe sleep apnea). So, from now on he will
be wearing a
Darth Vader C-PAP mask every night. Can't wait to see how the lads like that...
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aUpdated August 2009
©Angela R. Braun, June 2009 test