One of my favorite paranormal romance novel series - Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole - begins with this line in book #12, uttered by the put-upon mother of the eventual main character "What fresh humiliation does this day bring?"
I've thought that phrase first thing every morning since Monday.
After feeling mildly optimistic after the beautiful, positive, powerful marches on Saturday afternoon, I got to watch those opposed regroup on Sunday and declare equality to be bad, women to be "fat bitches who should be walking to work," (um, it was Saturday; also, without strides in women's equality, most of us wouldn't have our jobs. I certainly wouldn't be able to be a lawyer), and the First Amendment to not be a thing the government should support. On the upside, my facebook feed is less crowded now.
Later on Sunday, I found I still had the capacity to be surprised when our new White House Press Secretary flat out lied to the press in the administration's first ever White House press conference that was called solely because our president, who is the specialist of snowflakes, got his feelings hurt when not enough people came to his party. So, as happened in Harry Potter and Nazi Germany, our official government press office has become a propaganda machine and just lies to the press and the world when our president's ego needs it. Excellent! And the week hadn't really even started yet.
But it got going quickly. Now, six days into the Trump administrative we have a flurry of executive orders (executive orders are cool now) and memoranda ensuring America will spend a bunch of money and goodwill to solidify its new position as a backward, totalitarian country that will fall behind in science, education, safety, and basic morality and human decency. We're silencing and de-funding science, because countries who turn away from science generally do well in keeping up with the rest of the world. We endured a meandering, frequently nonsensical, always narcissistic first interview of the president on ABC Wednesday night (at least these recaps are funny). More seriously, his sore winner mentality now has him trumpeting absolutely false and fabricated claims that 3-5 MILLION people illegally voted. Because undermining trust in our entire democratic system is a thing strong presidents do and will definitely Make America Great Again. And more dangerously, those claims will be used to create even more restrictive voting laws, which are the actual voter fraud. And we weren't done.
On Tuesday Cora completed her first worksheet at school. She's about to move up to the primary class (the final step to Kindergarten, something I can't really think about), so she's doing higher level work. If you know Cora, you know she takes her work VERY. SERIOUSLY. That evening, while I was chopping up a hundred vegetables for dinner and praising her worksheet, Cora told me, "Bob touched my work."
Bob is her classmate- I haven't met him, but I love that there is a 3-year-old named Bob. "Oh," I said, distractedly, "okay."
There was a moment of silence and then I heard her princess shoes click-clacking across the kitchen to where I was standing. "MOM. Bob TOUCHED MY WORK."
Oh! I'm sorry?!" I replied, upping my emotional commitment to the conversation.
"Yes. I tell him, 'I NO LIKE THAT BOB.'"
"Well, good!" I responded, finally properly engaged.
"Yes," she nodded, adding gravely, "He no do it again."
And then she marched back to her princesses.
For the rest of the night James and I yelled "I NO LIKE THAT BOB!" any time one of us did something the other didn't like. It's very versatile.
Back on the national scene, we've got a symbolic repeal of the Affordable Care Act which insures more than 15 million citizens and provides important benefits to employer and private plans (like mine!) held by tens of millions more, without any clear plan for replacement. Wednesday and Thursday brought us the news that Mexico will suffer and American will pay for a 2,000 mile wall that will do nothing but stand as crumbling symbol of hate and higher taxes. Literally no one who knows anything in the security space thinks the wall is a good idea and in many parts of Texas it's not even physically possible (John Oliver did an excellent segment on the wall during the campaign; it explains why a wall isn't feasible, and also why, even if it was, it won't do a single thing to slow down illegal immigration). Not to mention that the flow of Mexican immigrants over the border has DECLINED every year since 2008 and is currently at the lowest point since 1973; in fact, currently more unauthorized immigrants leave the US than enter it. This is a fake problem with a fake solution that makes America look stupid and will cost American taxpayers (i.e., not Donald Trump) approximately 35 billion dollars. I NO LIKE THAT BOB.
In another devastating move, ironically made the day before World Holocaust Remembrance Day, we've suspended the admission of all refugees. So people whose homes were attacked by terrorists, who've lived in resettlement camps with nothing, who have been through a TWO-YEAR incredibly thorough vetting process, were literally turned away on planes finally heading to the US on Thursday. All because it sounds good on twitter and Trump knows none of his supporters will actually read how refugee asylum works. Never mind that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than native born Americans, and refugees commit crimes essentially never-- of 745,000 refugees resettled since 2001, only TWO have ever been linked to an act of terrorism. And of the 10,000 Syrian refugees we've accepted (less than 0.01% of the total number of Syrians fleeing the terrorism that has destroyed their homes and lives), 77% are women and children and none have been convicted of a crime. But let's turn away the boat and send those seeking asylum back to Nazi Germany. Except, wait, that's what we did in 1939 to Jews we sent back to die in the Holocaust; now we make refugee women and children wait 18-24 months, conduct a vigorous vetting process, put them on a plane with their meager belongings and hopeful hearts, and THEN turn them away. I have friends who work so hard in that space and they have those women and children's faces branded in their hearts and they are devastated. It is shameful. I can't even yell at Bob about it. (And even if you don't care about the humanity of it, national security experts from past Republican and Democratic administrations issued a statement that the move hurts our allies, strengthens our enemies, and "weakens our core objective of combating terrorism.")
I'm leaving out like a dozen other things, but it's too overwhelming. As I told James in a moment of optimism last night- this is all just a big first-push and stuff has to stop blowing up, right? Yeah, he replied, until he actually starts blowing stuff up.
I NO LIKE THAT BOB.
On the upside, the National Park Service rangers are leading the resistance with alt-twitter accounts and I did not see that coming. I do know that if we privatize national park land, I will be truly devastated. I don't even think I'll be able to be mad anymore.
On the personal side, we got a $20,000 estimate to replace our dying HVAC systems on Wednesday and had to replace both our hot water heaters Thursday. Also, my student loan repayment, one of my benefits and part of my compensation, has been suspended per the new hiring and spending freeze (though, if we want to trouble ourselves with facts, the federal workforce has shrunk every year since 2010, so we do not need to "counter the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years" because the federal workforce hasn't expanded at all), so I won't get the final $10,000 payment on a loan I was counting on to finally eliminate one of my larger payments. Not big in the overall scheme of things, but a big Lag Liv family disappointment nonetheless. Then on Wednesday night I found out that a little Kindergartener at our school was struck and killed by a truck after exiting the school bus. She was 5 years old. I can't even wrap my heart around it. We told the kids Thursday morning before they went to school and I kept crying. I simply cannot imagine what that family is going through.
So it's been a week. Big stuff, little stuff, and the deeply tragic and heart-breaking. I am at least enjoying my new hot water heaters as my baths can now be much longer and hotter. We also finished watching Man in the High Castle, which is a relief because while I really liked it and highly recommend it, watching the US under Nazi rule was no longer quite the escape it used to be. I also made some great new recipes and exercised a lot and ate really healthy until Thursday night when I made 7-layer bars and then ate half the tray today as my breakfast and lunch and after-school snack. Balance!
Sunday: Crock pot chicken cacciatore with whole wheat penne, roasted carrots, my new favorite salad. (We liked this, but ultimately prefer a saucier sauce over pasta. Flavors were really good though.)
Monday: Chicken enchiladas (from chicken thighs I put in the crockpot with verde salsa and shredded, combined with cheese and black beans and then rolled into whole wheat tortillas, topped with a little sour cream and shredded cheese and baked at 350 for 15-20 mins), Mexican rice (leftover rice sauteed and simmered with onion, garlic, tomato sauce, and seasonings), sliced avocado.
Tuesday: Sloppy joes (Claire's favorite meal), roasted cauliflower, salad.
Wednesday: Chicken Schwarma (recommended by one of you!), Greek salad, pitas, homemade tzatziki sauce (LOVED the chicken, the Greek salad is a Lag Liv family stample, tzatziki was good, but I'd like to try another recipe before I decide what my go-to is).
Thursday: Salmon with Avocado Salsa, Black Bean Cilantro Lime Rice. The salmon recipe was SO good. So simple, but the rub made a deliciously amazing crust on the salmon (I broiled it 5 mins each side in the oven; James gets home too late to grill). Highly recommend. The rice I made by combining a drained can of black beans, about 2 cups of cooked white rice, juice of 2 limes, and a whole bunch of chopped cilantro. Delish.
Friday: Homemade pizza, raw veggies and Ranch on the side. (still on our no eating out plan; 13 more days...)
Saturday: Jambalaya, corn bread.
Sunday should involve a trip to the rodeo and sadly will not involve any trips for margaritas. But we're almost done with January and February has Valentine's Day AND my birthday and the end of my credit card diet (probably a temporary lift, thanks to the HVAC situation; you don't need air conditioning in Texas right?), so I'm looking forward to it. Bring on the chocolates and champagne and cookie towers. We need it.
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