Love Stays

Mamacita says:  Love stays, you know.  If it’s real, it stays. It takes work, more work than hormones, if truth be told.  Without the work, the love isn’t real and it doesn’t stay, but with work, love stays. In a few days, it will be Valentine’s Day, and even though it’s really a man-made holiday that exploits the guilt feelings of both men and women and forces them to go forth (or fifth) and spend a lot of money on flowers that will die and candy that will be eaten, it’s also just one more excuse for people to tell each other how very much they love and appreciate each other.  These are things we should all be telling each other all year, of course, but we’re a reticent society, for all that we let it all hang out sometimes, and we sort of need a specific day to give us permission to bare our hearts.

During my annual re-reading of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s  A Lantern in Her Hand and its sequel A White Bird Flying (two of my very favorites and I highly recommend them to all of you) I was again struck and reduced to tears by the simple message etched on the stones in the garden path at the home of J. Sterling Morton (who gave Arbor Day to the nation) and his bride:  Hours fly, Flowers die. New days, New ways, Pass by. Love stays.

Love stays.

And in the book, Laura Deal is more touched and moved by the sight of one simple little china dish, a little china hen spreading her china wings, that Mrs. Morton brought to Nebraska with her so she would always have something of her old home in her new home, than by the grandeur of the governor’s eventual home. I am that way, too, for it is the small things that make a home, not any grand exterior or grounds. I love these two books beyond any ability to tell you how much.

Mrs. J. Sterling Morton's china hen

Mrs. J. Sterling Morton’s china hen

Mrs. Morton’s little china dish makes me remember Ma Ingalls and her little china shepherdess.  Most pioneer women had at least one cherished, impractical, often fragile item they brought with
them from their old home in the East, to remind them of that home, and to help them remember that there is more to life than dirt, sweat, and hard work.  Sometimes, we need a reminder, however small, that life also promises great beauty, music, hope, and a better life for our children than we can hope for, for ourselves.

Ma Ingalls' china shepherdess

Ma Ingalls’ china shepherdess

In A Lantern in Her Hand, each wife in each home in the middle of Nebraska nowhere had brought a little bit of a better way of life with her, whether it was Abbie’s pearls, Christine’s blue vase, Martha’s pink quilted bedspread, Sarah’s painting. . . most pioneer women had something to help them remember that there were better times to look forward to, no matter how poor and desperate they might be today.

Molly Ivins was one of my idols, and this motto of hers  is the motto I have adopted for my very own.

“… keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”

I have never been much of a fighter, but maybe it’s time to start swinging.

No, not THAT kind of swinging. Scheisse, I love the blogosophere.

I hope everyone’s weekend is full of love and Hershey’s Kisses. They’re called ‘kisses’ because of the sound the machine makes when it lays one down on the belt. How would you like to work there? “Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss. . . .” all day long. By the time those people get home, their hormones must be raw and ready to be salved. If you know what I mean.

“. . . all the oddities that freedom can produce. . . .” Why would we ever want anything else?

I miss you, Molly. But, love stays.

P.S.  Here’s a link to the free ebook version of A Lantern in Her Hand.

My So-Called Super Powers

My so-called super powers

Mamacita says:  I have super powers, but they’re not the super powers I would have chosen.  They’re not the super powers I wanted. If I had been allowed to choose my talents, I would have picked singing, dancing, and astronaut skills.   I don’t even have a green thumb – heck, I can kill a cactus in a couple of weeks just by walking past it.  However, like a talent for sight-reading music containing a lot of sharps, and the ability to perform mathematical calculations involving numbers over a hundred without a calculator, my super powers are real.  They’re just weird.

    1.  I can make the phone and/or doorbell ring by merely thinking about going to the bathroom.
    2. I can turn on the cable and the TV with perfect coordination three times, but the fourth time will involve an expensive house call from the cable guy and, for some reason I for the life of me can’t figure out, the landline phone.
    3. I know nothing about sports and care even less, but every year I put a few dollars on whatever team nobody else wanted, or the team wearing the colors that take my fancy, or the team that hasn’t appeared in the news for rape or drugs or booze, or the team on which nobody has smoked for years or, better still, ever, and every year I win something.  It’s to the point that I have to chase down and play hide and seek with the guy collecting money; people don’t even want me to have a look at the weird forky team matchup thing.  Last year I won sixty dollars, and I just PayPal-ed the guy ten dollars and asked him to put it on any team that was left over.  It’s a gift, but I have no idea what I’m doing.  We generally go out to eat on the winnings.
    4. All I have to do is step into the shower and before I’m even wet, someone will need me to drive them somewhere really important and they have to leave immediately.
    5. I am the only person in this house who understands the mechanism and righteousness of the toilet paper holder.
    6. I know where the light bulbs, batteries, scissors, and tape are “hidden.”
    7. I understand the philosophy and workings of clumping kitty litter.
    8. I can find the Christmas tree topper in under thirty seconds.
    9. I keep a goodly supply of spices and herbs, and I know how to use them.  I even grow them, thanks to my son’s Christmas present.

      Thank you for this awesome Christmas gift, son!


    10. The trash truck comes around every Wednesday morning, so on Tuesday night, I gather up all the trash in the house, bag it, put it in the bin, and wheel the bin out to the curb.  This is not rocket science, but apparently I am the only rocket scientist who lives here.
    11. I have mastered the art of “spring forward” and “fall back.”  My only slightly OCD need for a clock on every wall makes this something that takes a little time (TIME. Get it?  I am so witty.) but twice a year, I get it done.  Other people who live here are just confused about whether or not they’re going to be late because the clock in their vehicle is only correct half the year.  I am too Monk to have a clock that isn’t exactly right, but I am also more than a little bit adamant that other people’s things are their concern, not mine.  This is why I always knocked before entering my children’s bedrooms.  Little kids have rights, too.
    12. Due to the necessity of earning a living and feeding/clothing my children, I have become the master of getting up and going to work even with migraines so blinding I have to crawl around the house on my hands and knees, feeling for the walls because, literally, the migraine has blinded me.  I can pack lunches, feed and dress small children, get them and myself to school, teach all day, work a ball game or dance after school, get everybody home again, bathed, and to bed before crashing and weeping on the floor of the shower stall.  My students always knew when I had a migraine because a vein on the side of my face throbbed.  Apparently it was pretty funny to watch.  When I think about this, my first thought is always “Thank goodness there were no camera phones back then.”  Some autotune and a soundtrack would have been hilarious only if it wasn’t me.

These super powers are not glamorous or spotlight-worthy, but they got, and get, me and other people through many a difficult day, which, when you think about it, is what super powers are supposed to do.

Hypocrisy 101

Mamacita says:  Today I wish to discuss hypocrisy.  The hypocrisy of some people’s ancestral pride.

Oh, the hypocrisy of some people’s ancestral pride!

So many people are interested in and curious about their DNA origins, paying out good money to be analyzed and labeled. . .it’s a fad right now. I just saw four commercials about it this afternoon. People are excited to discover their roots. . . and so many people interested in keeping out the people with that same DNA lest they contaminate the nation. This seems more than just a little bit hypocritical, yes?

We are all descended from immigrants. Where would we be if those immigrants had been denied entrance? You. Where would you be? You would be speaking another language, probably one you profess to mock today. You would be wearing different clothes, clothing that might set you apart from the crowd you hang out with today. You might be eating different foods, ETHNIC foods, that you either claim to dislike or that you pay a lot of money to experience. “Hey, let’s go for some Thai/Mexican/Chinese, etc, but let’s not admit that the cooks or servers are on our level.” “Listen to that guy with his broken English trying to check out at Walmart!” says the guy who can’t even manage to speak ONE language properly yet he mocks a guy who speaks two.  High school dropouts mock hardworking guys who stayed in school and are reaping the rewards of it.

Rich people advocate deportation because they fear, oh, I don’t know.  Being outclassed?  Being outsmarted?  Somebody else earning some money?  A nickel coming in and them not there to squeeze it?

Poor people advocate deportation because they fear, oh, I don’t know.  Someone else getting a job?  Someone else getting, well, anything?

It all smacks of people kicking away the ladder after they and theirs climbed up it, and they don’t want to share whatever they found at the top.

The atmosphere in our nation disturbs me greatly.  This atmosphere of intolerance and bigotry and selfishness and being afraid of what we don’t understand.  Hey, a little education might help with that last one.

No one race is better than any other race.  We are all human beings, equal in the sight of whatever God, or no God at all, any person believes, or doesn’t believe, in.  We all share this one planet.  There is room for everyone.  Everyone.  Not just you.

And how would you like it if you were treated as you treat others?

Remember, I taught about the Holocaust for over twenty years. The similarities are frightening. Horrifying.

Then again, if some people’s ancestors had been denied entrance all those years ago, perhaps some of those people would have embraced education anyway, finished school, gone to university, become doctors, surgeons, scientists, educated people and clear strong thinkers. Some would do that, and some would not.  Every day people defy the odds. It’s just easier to do so here.  Some of your ancestors did that, and some did not.  Did you?  Are you an educated person and a strong thinker or do you just follow the crowd?

Are you a person who does what is easy, or what is right?

My doctor is an immigrant. Perhaps yours is, too. Your child’s life may lie in the hands of someone for whom English is not the first language. You. You are not a surgeon. Stand back and let the trained professional work or your child, left in your untrained hands, will die.

Now, march, march, march, and demand that this surgeon be deported because he is not as good as you and does not deserve to live in a nation where his skills just saved your child.

Your ancestors arrived here and were admitted. That you would dare to presume that you or anyone else has the ability, the unmitigated gall,  to say who will go and who will stay is mind-boggling. How dare you draft yourself to be the judge.

How dare you.

I’ve had many foreign students in my classes, and most of the time their English was much better than most of my other students. Their essays were about gratitude, and education, and pride. Not one of them wrote about gettin’ it on with a little filly a’standin’ yonder at the end of the bar, or LOLing at the bowling alley that one time.   You know, like you did.

Choose goodness.  Choose mercy.  Choose honesty.  Choose nobility.  Choose generosity.  Defy all who would encourage you to choose otherwise.  Defy.  All.

I speak too much. I am not on your side. I am on their side. Bring it on.

The Challenger: Never Forget

Challenger CrewMamacita says:  I repost this every year on the anniversary of the Challenger explosion.

My school was excited beyond all measure about the Challenger. A TEACHER was going into space, and this was unheard of. The students were thrilled to think of the possibility that perhaps some day, mean old Mrs. HagTeacher might be launched out into the vastness of space, never to give a pop math quiz again.

My community is proud to boast several astronauts, and there are billboards with their pictures and names in several places all over the county.  My students were familiar with the concept of “astronaut,” but Lawrence County astronautsmost kids really knew next to nothing about the realities of being one.  A teacher, on the other hand, was someone they were familiar with. They knew what a teacher actually did on a daily basis – or thought they knew.  That a teacher might also be an astronaut, of sorts, was a brand new concept. If a local person could be an astronaut, maybe it was a possibility for the students, but if a teacher could go into space, then the chances that a student might someday go into space suddenly got even better odds. The next astronaut might even be someone from our school. My school took this enthusiasm and ran with it.

The principal rented a big screen TV. Remember, this was back in the days when most schools, especially tiny ones like mine, did not have vast technological or media resources. We rented a big-screen tv, and big screen TV, 1980'sscheduled a big convocation. The whole student population was going to watch a teacher go into space via a big convocation in the gym, all eyes on that one big screen. This seems ludicrous now, but back then it was cutting edge.  BIG SCREEN.  (45 inches, mind you.)  BIG.  One 45-inch TV for a gym full of kids to watch.  There was no television access of any kind in the entire school, so one of the teachers brought in a satellite dish just for the afternoon.  This was a huge deal.  Huge.

We had essay contests about it. Trivia contests about it. We sent home newsletters with at-home things that parents could do with their children, about it. It was the biggest deal of the semester.

This is the newsletter that was sent home with all students a few days before the Challenger disaster.

This is the newsletter that was sent home with all students a few days before the Challenger disaster.

I had hall duty that day, and couldn’t go with the students to the gym, to watch the teacher go into space. But as I sat there, and watched the children file past, in twos and threes, to the gym, I was filled with awe that they were going to see something never seen before: a shuttle launch with a teacher aboard. An ordinary person was going into space. A teacher. For the rest of their lives, they would realize that all things are connected, even outer space, to what we learn from a teacher in a classroom. And that teachers have courage, and are willing to do things most people will never be able to do.

I sat there in the hall and watched them go into the gym, giggly and happy and full of anticipation. Each child had a blank sheet of paper in his/her hand, and a pencil, to draw what they saw. There was going to be a big contest.

Only a few minutes later, I sat there in the hall and watched these same students file back into their classrooms. They were quiet, and their eyes were big. Nothing had changed for me; I was still sitting there in the hall, but for those children, a lot had changed.

I don’t even remember what we did in my classroom for the rest of that afternoon. I know that I did not envy the elementary teachers. What could they possibly be telling the small children about what they had seen? I just do not know. My own children were down there in the lower grades; they didn’t have much to say when we got home. My little son was affected the most, I think; he had always been obsessed with rockets and loud things that went “boom,” but this was a loud “boom” that occurred before his very eyes, and the rocket blew apart, and he was old enough to realize what it meant.

Later in the afternoon, I looked out my classroom windows and saw the men loading the rented big-screen TV into a truck. It drove away.

A few parents were upset that their children had been shown the explosion in school, but they were completely out of line, and I think even they knew it. But upset people are often illogical.

The media played up the ‘teacher’ part of this tragedy. My children knew all about teachers; both their parents were teachers. Teachers were no big deal to them. My children, small as they were, wondered why none of the other people on board that shuttle were mentioned much, on tv or in the papers. I wondered that, myself.

The Holiday About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther KingMamacita says:  Why is Martin Luther King Day a holiday in most communities?  Why does Martin Luther King, Jr. merit a holiday?

This day is a holiday because intelligent, sensitive, educated people understand that today deserves respect because a man who dedicated his entire life to peaceful means of acquiring freedom for all people fully deserves to be recognized, and there are still, shamefully, communities that do not consider this of any importance. Making it a holiday forces people to look at his name on their calendar, if nothing else.

If he had advocated violence, it would have been different. Violence does not deserve recognition. If he had advocated “something for nothing,” it would have been different. Bums do not deserve recognition.

But Dr. Martin Luther King advocated equal rights for all people, not just for whites and not just for blacks and not just for whites & blacks. He dedicated his life to gaining equal rights for EVERYONE.

And I can’t help but listen to a speaker with such beautiful grammar. His grammar enhances his message.

May we all have this same dream.

Careful, grammatically-correct language and an almost poetic speaking style will always get my attention.  It’s an assumption on my part, of course, but I associate good grammar with people who actually know what they’re talking about.  In fact, I am convinced that this is so.

Martin Luther King, Jr. definitely knew what he was talking about, and he knew HOW to present it.

====Martin Luther King, Jr., hate, let no man

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many thanks to Norm Reeves Hyundi Superstore for creating this graphic.

Many thanks to Norm Reeves Hyundi Superstore for creating this graphic.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quotation Saturday: Democracy and Government

quotation saturday, mamacita's blog, jane goodwin

Every Saturday: Quotations to feed your soul.

  • Mamacita says:  Democracy and government are much in the news these days, so Quotation Saturday is focusing on them.
  • 1) America needs fewer laws, not more prisons. – James Bovard
  • 2) War is just one more big government program. – Joseph Sobran
  • 3) Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. – John Adams (1814)
  • 4) They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
  • 5) One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation. – Thomas B. Reed (1886)
  • 6) If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all. – Jacob Hornberger (1995)
  • 7) Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. – P.J. O’Rourke
  • 8) The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates. – Tacitus
  • Scheiss Weekly: Democracy and Government

  • 9) Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. – George Washington
  • 10) No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain (1866)
  • 11) There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. – Robert Heinlein
  • 12) The true danger is when Liberty is nibbled away, for expedients. – Edmund Burke (1899)
  • 13) Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none. – Thomas Jefferson
  • 14) The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society. – Mark Skousen
  • 15) A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson (1801)
  • 16) The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it. – John Hay (1872)
  • 17) Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. – James Bovard (1994)
  • 18) The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. – Thomas Jefferson
  • 19) Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson
  • 20) None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. – Goethe
  • Quotation Saturday: Democracy and Government

  • 21) When the government’s boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence. – Gary Lloyd
  • 22) Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. – H.L. Mencken
  • 23) The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken
  • 24) It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve. – Henry George
  • 25)  Where morality is present, laws are unnecessary. Without morality, laws are unenforceable. – Anonymous
  • 26) Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. – Barry Goldwater (1964)
  • 27) Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end. – Lord Acton
  • 28) The power to tax is the power to destroy. – John Marshall
  • 29)  [On ancient Athens]: In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again. – Edward Gibbon
  • Excellent. It should be like this today.

  • 30)  Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. – C. S. Lewis
  • 31)  Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property. – Lysander Spooner
  • 32)  In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, and cruelty. – Leo Tolstoy
  • 33)  There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws. – Ayn Rand
  • 34)  If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams
  • 35)  If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too. – Somerset Maugham
  • 36)  A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. – Alexander Tytler
  • 37)  A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. – G. Gordon Liddy
  • 38)  The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced. – Frank Zappa
  • 39)  Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. – Justice Learned Hand
  • Scheiss Weekly: Democracy and Government

  • 40)  It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. – Charles A. Beard
  • 41)  A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. – Edward R. Murrow
  • 42)  The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. – Thomas Jefferson (1781)
  • 43)  The desire to rule is the mother of heresies. – St. John Chrysostom
  • 44)  Can our form of government, our system of justice, survive if one can be denied a freedom because he might abuse it? – Harlon Carter
  • 45)  It is not the responsibility of the government or the legal system to protect a citizen from himself. – Justice Casey Percell
  • 46)  No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words “no” and “not” employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights. – Edmund A. Opitz
  • 47)  The government was set to protect man from criminals – and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. – Ayn Rand
  • 48)  The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. – Mark Twain
  • Career Politician: Yesterday and Today

  • 49)  What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. – Edward Langley                50).  A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

I think we would all do well to remember these things.