Wandering the SLU Saturday Market

Happy Saturday to you!  Nothing says weekend fun like going to a local farmer’s market so we were so excited to stumble upon the SLU Saturday Farmer’s Market which is now located by the recently renovated Denny Park.  Nice to see families and great music by buskers livening up what used to be a pretty sad green space.

The Farmer’s Market which used to be on a deserted street closer to the highway, now has interesting vintage jewelry/clothing booths AND lots of food that is both healthy and yummy including lots of various dessert items which I can totally support every weekend.  We had just eaten or I would have tasted my way up and down the line.  BTW, what the hell is Kombucha?  This tent seemed popular but not quite as busy as the Raclette food stand where they melt golden cheese from blocks of the stuff and then drizzle them over all kinds of good stuff-veggies, meat, potatoes and more.  I am DEFINITELY trying that next weekend.  Come hungry and leave happy!

While it was a cloudy and chilly day, as we say in Seattle “if it ain’t raining, it’s summer” so everyone was having a good time.   Nosh even had their sign board commenting on the weather, “Don’t let the clouds get you down.  Let Fish and Chips lift you up!”   One of the more unique items offered for sale was handmade record bowls for $5 made out of vintage vinyl.  So cool!  Thom and I decided we’ll try to explore a new Farmer’s Market every weekend this summer so more to come!

Late Onset Activist

I woke up at 5 a.m. wondering what bat shit crazy tweets had happened overnight from our POTUS. Had he started WWIII while I tried to sleep?  Thom is hoping for a Dr. Who moment where we wake up in a parallel universe and the biggest news story is a fashion feature on what color pantsuit our first woman President is wearing that day.  It’s nice sometimes to dream this isn’t happening to our great nation.  Retreat to a happy place.  But the reality of daily lies, law breaking, unlawful bans and more from our leader is our new reality.  Holy.  Hell.

Seriously, I have never in all my many years (the exact number cannot be shared) been frightened like this.  Should we have cash on hand to flee the country kind of scared.  Getting all my kids passports just in case scared.  But why should WE have to run away because less than the majority of voters thought it a good idea to place a pathologically lying, self-serving, racist, not-really-smart, dictator wannabe in charge of all our fates?

Unfortunately for me, I AM an informed voter who gets news from many different outlets not just the left or right.  That’s why I can’t sleep because I CAN see what’s going on and it’s a nightmare.  I can understand what is and isn’t fake news because I get the facts.  How do we reach the general population of America and educate them that “alternative facts” are just lies that leaders are using to scare the public to grant them more power?  That’s the question I keep pondering.  Is it too much to ask for our politicians to actually do good work that helps ALL people and not just worry about getting themselves re-elected to keep on doing nothing?

So, what’s a citizen to do besides running to our peaceful northern neighbor for a safe haven?  Get.  Active.  For the first time I marched and protested.  Thom and I took the time to make our voices heard in the Women’s March along with 150,000+ other peaceful Seattle citizens to demonstrate that we care about the rights of others.  I call our elected officials daily and encourage them to stand firm against tyranny.  I will send a post card on 3/15 to POTUS at the White House telling him that he works for me and I think he should be fired for his atrocious behavior while in office all of a month. We will give money to causes that are helping people like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.  I will back candidates for the DNC Chair like Mayor Pete Buttigieg that I feel will give us fresh leadership and organize the party to gain back the House and Senate in 2018 midterm elections so we can at least balance the power in DC.

I actually have official protest clothing now.  No joke.  I just ordered a “Nasty Woman” t-shirt from the Samantha Bee site that benefits Planned Parenthood.  I reached out to a fellow marcher and got a pink pussy hat for the Women’s March.  Thom’s “icky Trump” t-shirt drew lots of comments and he plans to wear it to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Auckland next week.  If you’re going to make a statement, might as well look good doing it and be a walking billboard for your beliefs.

I will persist.  I will resist.  I will pray.  I will never give up.  What will you do?

Rainy Day in Seattle

The grey skies are endless in Seattle in the winter but that doesn’t stop us from exploring and having fun.  No way does rain deter true Seattlites-wet is the norm.  So hoods up and off we went!wp_20170204_13_25_12_rich

First up, fueling up on Marionberry Pie Greek Yogurt at Elenos at Pike Place Market. Yum with a capital “Y”.  Okay, so not exactly diet food but Thom and I endulged in a small container, perching at the counter at the market with a view of the ferris wheel all lit up in pink.  Too soon the yummy, creamy treat was consumed and it was off to the Seattle Art Museum.  Taking in “Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series”, this journey illustrates through 60 paintings the mass exodus of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in the decades after the First World War.  Stunning.

Artist Jacob Lawrence made Seattle his home and was a professor at UW, actively painting up until his death in 2000.  The MOMA in NYC and The Phillips Collection in DC jointly own his series.  They decided to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacob Lawrence by coming together for the first time in two decades on the West Coast to present this special exhibit.  Check it out.  Thought-provoking artistic experience.

Reading the story behind each piece, I was struck that our society has not radically advanced from this time in history.  We still see discrimination and the struggle to be treated equally.  We must keep up the fight for equality for all.

After a quick walk through the rest of the second floor, we hopped on the C bus to West Seattle to indulge in another one of our passions, music.  If you haven’t checked out Easy Street Records yet, GO.  Not only for the vinyl selection on the 2nd floor but just to soak up the vibe of good music, good people and good food.  Our old car doesn’t have Bluetooth but it does have a CD player so we have been indulging in buying some music to listen to with the top down this summer should the rain ever stop.  With CD’s from  The Clash and Jonny Lang in hand, we also got a “Greetings from West Seattle” t-shirt for me to wear to the Springsteen concert in Auckland, NZ.  Two more weeks and then we’re off to the South Pacific for rock and beach time.  YOLO!

 

Women’s March Seattle Rocked!

Everyone now has had a chance to see the phenomenal turnout of passionate protestors at the Women’s March yesterday but let me tell you firsthand what it was like in Seattle.  AWESOME! Families, men, women, old, young, gay, straight, black, white-diverse as Hell-all walking quietly and peacefully to make a statement.  We care.  And what a statement we made with our pink hats and colorful signs.

Yes, perhaps I wouldn’t want small children to read some of the expressions on the signs but our new POTUS forced our hand to have the whole “pussy” and “golden shower” conversations with our elderly parents and our children.  Shame on him.  Not just despicable but deplorable and icky too.

 

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Thom on his soapbox, literally, along the March route.

 

But the March wasn’t about him or even Hillary on the whole.  It was about protecting our hard-fought rights for affordable medical care, the right to make decisions about our own bodies, to offer a safe refuge for immigrants, quality education and support for those in need and so much more.

As far as logistics, with little time and no money, the organizers of the Women’s March did a great job.  I was surprised at the lack of Seattle City support in the way of facilities and the police presence was underwhelming at best.  Thank God there were no incidents because I didn’t basically see any police support until we got to Seattle Center where groups of bike cops played with their cell phones, pepper spray cocked and ready to go.  They didn’t even clear the March route of vehicles-pity those who cluelessly parked on 4th Avenue.  Hope they didn’t need their cars all day as the crowd exceeded 100,000+ and dominated the streets for hours.

Pink pussycat hat purchased from a fellow marcher in advance and Thom resplendent and quite popular in his “icky Trump” t-shirt (people kept taking pictures of him), we made friends along the way sharing advice on how to get involved and encouraging each other to make a difference going forward  As voices raised and the silence ended, sporadic waves of joyful shouting rippled up the route, all of us rejoicing at just being together.  While there weren’t any formal refreshment stations, restauranteur Tom Douglas joined in with his staff by The Dahlia Bakery to hand out free water and cookies.  What a nice guy!

 

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Tom Douglas handing out water and cookies near Dahlia Bakery at the Women’s March

 

This will not be my last protest but it was my first with Thom.  Surprised?  Those who know Thom will not be surprised that this was just one of many protests he has attended through out his life.  Outspoken he is and fearless in his strong liberal ways.   I have been more moderate and less active.  But that all changes now.  It has to because The Resistance has only just begun.  We will not go silently into the night.  Affordable health care saves lives.  Our leaders should not lie or get elected with help from Russia.  People being kind and working together will make the difference that saves us all.  March on!

 

David Sedaris Delights

“This will be the last decent day we’re going to have.” David Sedaris reflecting on the day before the Inauguration.  Glad Thom and I got to share a fun evening with this smart, diverse, witty guy instead of watching that narcissistic, lying, cheating racist prepare to destroy our democracy.   But enough about the rosy future of our nation…

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Waiting for David Sedaris

 

Billed as a chance to help David Sedaris edit his next book, we quickly bought tickets and looked forward to time with this genius writer and keen observer of life.  Used to seeing David in a large venue like Benroya Hall, it was nice to get cozy with David and about 200 other hard core fans at The Broadway Performance Hall at Seattle Community College.

“Theft by Finding” will end up being 2 books based on David’s 156 volumes of diaries from 1997-2002.  Because “books get ugly when too fat”,  David was editing the 630 pages he currently had for volume 1 before sending it off to his publishers next week with an anticipated May release.  His next book will be coming out a year after that and will be a collection of short essays, a few of which he shared, giving us all a much needed laugh to the point of tears streaming down our faces.  Much to look forward to, at least in books.

David opened his presentation by introducing two locals looking for jobs:  Aaron and Julia.  Peppering them with questions that HR could never ask like “are you gay?”  “how old are you?”, he encouraged the audience to consider helping these fine folks out, including a recommendation that Julia appreciated sexual harassment and would never sue.  Oh, David.

He has broken down his diary entries into categories:  animal, people, drugs, assholes, travel, hard luck, asking for $, IHOP (a place he goes to observe people), etc. Needing to edit clumsy passages if “There’s no music to it”, the book will be a culmination of the best that the diaries have to offer and thus the enormous size of the books as they stand now. More pages are good for me, David, so don’t edit too much!

Looking back on many dairy entries of his travels including his forced visit to a Johnny Rocket diner where the waitresses put smiley faces on your hamburgers with ketchup but David requested a swastika instead and the reaction that elicited, his tales of his family really stand out as both relatable and hysterical.  With a dad who is mostly angry and ridiculing, David related that when he recently fell off a ladder and hurt himself, he was amazed that his dad instantly turned caring after just having an argument prior to the incident.  Family is family.  Or his dad’s aversion to candlelight at the dinner table that his mom favored and his own aversion to the harshness of overhead lighting.  Even a 15-year old David appreciated the softness of afternoon light and favored lamps covered with scarves to reduce the glare.  Doesn’t every 15-year old boy?

Hugh is David’s partner and is featured in many of his diary entries.  Relating when, after many years together, they finally had THE discussion of how many people they had each slept with, Hugh just kept counting, “moving on to a population of a small town”.  David reflected that it was a miracle that they both didn’t get AIDS and when Hugh finally got around to sharing his “total slept with” number, David couldn’t help but state the obvious:  “Whore!”

Always a fashion statement, David favors culottes and modelled a smock from Japan that had snaps up the front AND the back, though he couldn’t fathom why the snaps were needed in the back.  I always look forward to his unique outfits befitting his personality.

In the Q&A, David was asked about his writing process and if he would ever write a book about it.  Writer’s write and the only way to improve is to keep on writing but as far as writing a book about it:  “No, it’s boring.  Writing seems so dull to me” but David takes his observations of the world and shares them with us so we can laugh even in the darkest of times.  Thank you, David.

 

 

Turning my back on politics for a day!

When the craziness of the political landscape is driving me to drink and getting me down (and how could it not?), then I turn to art and music to lift my spirits.  Okay, whiskey and wine work too but art and music are better for my soul AND my health. So, off to the museum we went for a day away from the madness of politics.

After waking up just in time to witness a tweet storm of epic proportions in real time on Saturday morning when “he who must not be named” thought it would be a good idea to take on esteemed Congressman John Lewis, I felt a need to disconnect from the nightmare that is about to begin.  So, taking advantage of a sunny, not-so-freezing day in Seattle, we set out to experience the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Set in a gorgeous location in Volunteer Park near Capital Hill, we were blown away by the stunning collection in the 1933 Art Deco building.  Originally the site of the SAM, it now houses classic Asian art pieces and special exhibits like the contemporary Japanese artist Tabaimo Homage with thought-provoking video installations.  One made me think WTF but the piece set in a women’s bathroom was interesting and the crows were subtly freakish.  Art!

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The more classic art pieces featured such intricate details that you could look at just one piece all day to appreciate the artistry to make it.  Carvings, pottery, tapestries, etc. from ancient times to contemporary pieces are just for viewing but the cement replicas of Ming Dynasty camel statues that grace the entrance are meant to be climbed on by the kids and serve as a backdrop for fun photo ops.  We didn’t take the tours offered but there were two  on Sunday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. which would probably be very informative.

While you are there, cross the street and check out the water tower observation deck.  Challenged by Thom, I chugged up the 107 stairs to enjoy the 360 degree view of Seattle.  Gorgeous!

We are SAM members but if you aren’t, the museum is open free on the first Thursday and Saturday of each month.  Tear yourself away from social media, turn your back on politics at least for a day and take advantage of the museum and the park-both gems in Seattle!

Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza Rocked!

Experiencing the Boise music scene at the Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza hosted by Curtis Stigers at the Egyptian Theater was an eye opener.  Who knew there was so much local talent in little old Boise??  Now in it’s 11th year, this musical holiday journey featured Curtis, who is an amazing talent I was unaware of until lately, and loads of other Boise solo artists and groups. Not a bad note in the bunch and lots of moments that just made you smile.   It was sold out both nights and now I can see why.  WOW.stigers-2

This fundraiser benefits Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services that supports the homeless in Boise.  I got to meet Dan Ault, Shelter Director, in the lobby while on a break and promised my future support.  How can you not?  We volunteer every Sunday in Seattle when we are home to feed 300+ homeless at Shared Breakfast.  For those of us blessed with so much, helping others with life’s basics of food and shelter seems to be the least we can do.  Stigers’ rendition of “Burden” by Foy Vance was so relevant and gave me goose bumps.  Foy is one of my favorite artists that we just got to see in Seattle at the Columbia City Theater, a small venue that won’t hold the crowd for Foy’s next concert swing as he gains in popularity.  Go see Foy if you get a chance.  Oh, and Curtis, please come to Seattle soon and allow us to enjoy a full evening of your music.  The Moore or The Paramount would be ideal venues for your big voice.  Please.

 

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Curtis sings Burden with back-up from many talent Boise artists

 

From an Irish band that I will have to check out soon at the local downtown Ha’ Penny Bridge Pub to Pengilly’s Saloon which seems like “the” place for local artists, we need to challenge ourselves to explore all this great Boise talent.  Trooping up to the stage, The Divas of Boise, a group of talented female singers/musicians started by Rocci Johnson in the mid-90s to showcase their skills and lend a helping hand in the Boise Community, brought it with big voices and loads of talent.

Silly us.  We have never fully explored the Boise music scene when visiting our home here because we are usually so busy with babysitting the lovely Miss Mia or doing home renovations.  Busy, busy but finding time to listen to great music is essential to a happy life, at least for me.

Lucky for us, Eilen Jewell who lives in our North End neighborhood was on the stage with her husband rocking out with some other local musicians.  I would love to see Eilen give a concert in this spacious theater.  The last time we saw her we were packed into the Tractor Tavern in Seattle.  Her heartfelt tunes and excellent band make for a fun evening but I would prefer not to stand the whole time.  Yes, I’m getting a tad older and like simple creature comforts like a  comfy padded seat.

 

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Eilen Jewell and friends rocking it out.  She’s AWESOME!

 

Curtis and his cohorts did a great job balancing the request for support with music and frivolity.  Even in bleeding red Idaho, the liberal taunts of Trump were woven into the evening and it felt good to be among fellow people with brains who could laugh and cry together at the state of our country.  The 3+ hour show went by quickly and raised a lot of money for those in need.  On a cold and wintery evening, we felt the holiday spirit loud and clear.  Happy holidays to all and to all a good night!

 

Expect nothing, appreciate everything

Expect nothing, appreciate everything” is my go-to life motto that I have embraced for years.  Too often I’ve seen people who feel entitled and are unappreciative of the blessings they already have heaped upon them-good health, loving family, a stable job, etc. and instead are always looking for more, more, more because that is what they think will make them happy.  MORE.

Wake up, folks-no one is guaranteed anything.  I used to volunteer at Gilda’s Club in Chicago and hang out with cancer patients, serving dinner among other things.  They coached us to just say it like it is, “Cancer sucks and shit happens.  Fight it as hard as you can and appreciate each day we are given.”  Having been widowed at the ripe old age of 21, I can definitely  say that this tragic experience taught me to not sweat the small stuff and appreciate life.  As I reminded one of my bosses when we were discussing a challenging situation,  “no one died so let’s just chill and work it out”.  Many variables can affect our lives that we have no control over.  A 23 year old man is not supposed to die but he did.  So I’ve always tried to work hard, love big and expect nothing while appreciating the hell out of everything I do have and cherishing every day the little things in life like exploring a new city, reading a good book, warm socks, or dinner with friends.

Today as I served hundreds of hungry homeless guests at our Shared Breakfast, I was once again reminded to appreciate everything.  We were lucky to have received a donations of hats, gloves and socks for our guests that we will share throughout December.  Our guests were so thankful not only for the hot, nutritious meal we served to them at their table but the added bonus of these hats/gloves/socks which will help them stay dry and warm while living on the streets of Seattle.  Coming home to drawers full of socks, I imagined how it would feel to own only the socks on my feet.  I am so thankful for my ability to have a job that allows us to have not only socks but a warm home with food whenever we are hungry.  Others do not have this luxury.  If you feel so inclined and want to assist this great organization that is 100% volunteer-driven and where all donations go to buying food, you can go to this site and give to  Shared Breakfast.

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Shared Breakfast in downtown Seattle, serving hundreds of guests in need

 

As we travel to Boise to spend the holidays, I will love being with my family.  And I will  appreciate the lovely meals we will share and the gifts we will give.  But mostly I will appreciate our health, our love and our happiness to be all together as a family for even a short amount of time. That’s my true gift.   And I will never, ever take it for granted.  I will appreciate everything, every day.  Happy holidays all!

Holiday Shopping that makes a difference!

In an effort to put our holiday $’s to good use, we visited the Giving Marketplace at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today.  From handmade jewelry to cranberry-orange chocolate bars to coconut body lotions, various non-profits highlighted their good work and offered their products to purchase, all with proceeds going towards making a difference around the world.

First stop for us was, of course, Theo Chocolate with free samples and an interesting story to be shared.  I have seen their large chocolate bars in the local stores for purchase but had no idea that they were made locally in Fremont (free factory tours!) and that they also support the growers in East Congo enabling a better life.  Win-win!  Theo Chocolate

Alaffia was founded in 2004 to alleviate poverty and empower communities in Togo, West Africa.  Their creamy and fragrant body washes and moisturizing locations were amazing-I took advantages of samples so Thom and I could experience the shea and coconut-based products that are handcrafted to nourish the body and spirit.  Sold!  Someone’s getting an Alaffia gift in their stocking for Christmas.  Shhhh…..  Alaffia

Thom stopped by the Bike Works table to discuss how they promote bicycles as a vehicle for change to empower youth and build resilient communities.  Launched in 1996 by a local Seattle group, volunteers provide services for over 2,000 adults and youth each year.  If you think about it, lack of reliable transportation can have a huge effect on our lives.  By providing a bicycle to someone in need, you can change a life.  Bike Works

If you haven’t checked out the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation yet, go.  There are exhibits that interest adults AND children.  Very interactive and thought-provoking.  In this crazy time where all we can talk about is hate and unrest, it is refreshing to go and see all the good work that this foundation provides to the world.  Taking on the real problems that affect lives, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is tackling the big issues of water, poo, natural disaster response, etc.  Wouldn’t it be cool if our government cared about this as much?  Bill or Melinda Gates for President!!!

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As I’ve decided this year to make a difference with my holiday shopping, our annual Christmas PJ’s will come from Sudara, founded in 2005 to assist women in India trying to escape the sex slave trade.  Hundreds of women are trained and provided with a safe work environment to heal and prosper.  I can’t wait to wear my punjammies with pride on Christmas morning.  Sudara

I also want to support small businesses at home.  Instead of driving to the mall and shopping at the big box stores, I’ll be seeking out those little independent stores in Seattle and Boise to fill out my shopping list this year.  Yes, it may cost a bit more but it’s worth it.  Happy shopping and happy holidays to all!

 

 

Holiday Road Tripping

Taking a road trip on the dreaded day before Thanksgiving, declared the WORST travel day of the year by the media and anyone who has ever been silly enough to travel on this day, I keep reminding myself why this journey must take place.  The rainbow at the end of the trip.  Mom.  She’s worth it.  She’s our pot of gold.

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Living in Seattle, far away from my family, I haven’t spent a holiday with my Mom and Sister in ages, perhaps 20 years or so.  This is the year to break that spell.  While spending Thanksgiving away from my kids for the first time will be tough, off to Indiana we will go.  Planes, trains and automobiles lay ahead of us today and I’m not just quoting a fav holiday movie title.  LITERALLY, we will Uber, fly, hop on the local C line from Midway to downtown Chicago, drag our asses and luggage through the streets of Chicago to the South Shore Line and tonight at 9 p.m. arrive at South Bend airport where my sister will pick us up, if and when we arrive alive.  Our travel day will take as long to go from Seattle to South Bend as what we experienced travelling back and forth from Seattle to China, which was an easy 14-hour day at most, spent in Business Class being wined and dined with a nap in between and some movies throughout to keep me entertained.  Ahhh…I miss those travel days for sure. 

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But, I surely don’t have it as bad as the fellow traveler observed this morning at 7:30 AM at the wine bar at SEATAC sipping a champagne tasting flight while waiting for her journey.  How bad do your relatives have to be in order to do that?  I walked by, did a double take and told Thom to sneak a picture.  WTF!  Not a wee nip to get you going or a gentle hair of the dog to get over a bad night but 3 full glasses of the bubbly for breakfast.  Wow.

Reading news articles about the apprehension many people face over the possibility of interactions with dysfunctional family members, not often seen or heard from but present at the holiday dinner table, always makes me appreciate our family more.   We don’t fight over who cooks the meal or what is included in the menu. Thom and I will both be very happy to just show up and enjoy what is beautifully presented to us by my sis and her husband, both very good cooks.  We will let them have it and instead go see my Mom and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade the morning of Thanksgiving before the big meal.  It will bring back great memories of our time spent in NYC during the holidays, wandering the parade route in 2012, seeing the ginormous balloons up close and personal.  Everyone should do that one time in their lives.  It was special.

We spent this past weekend cooking up an early Thanksgiving feast so that our son and his girlfriend could partake in our family favorites of stuffing, corn casserole, green bean casserole, yeast rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and, of course, turkey.  A carbolicious buffet that sent me straight into a coma after watching the new Ghostbusters movie with the kids.  Not the best movie I’ve seen lately but at least it didn’t have any embarrassing scenes that weren’t family friendly.  Even at 23, my son is very protective of me and filters what he considers “appropriate” material to watch with his mother.  When I expressed that Sausage Party looked like a fun film, he shuddered and declared that there was NO WAY we should watch that together.  What could be so bad about a film featuring a party where you cook and serve sausages?  In speaking with a co-worker who experienced the film, she had to agree with my son.  Apparently, I was spared an embarrassing and tragic movie-watching experience.

During and after our hectic travel day, I am concentrating on being calm, relaxed and tolerant.  Here’s hoping the Trump supporters and neo-Nazi confederate flag-waving Midwesterners stay out of our paths.  I grew up in Indiana amidst the KKK so I’m just being realistic of that demographic being real, not that I’m saying that of all Hoosiers, though they are a conservative bunch in general.  Blinders on and diligent to avoid politics at all costs this weekend, Thom and I both need at least a brief respite from the despair and terror we experience daily reading Twitter or watching the news.  Now, it’s all about family and love and kindness.  Happy Thanksgiving all!