Small town boy in San Francisco

** Warning  Graphic  Content **  The following post contains language and event descriptions that some may find  disturbing, they were disturbing when they happened,  and beyond  and I have  kept most of the details limited to  innuendo but it is still a disturbing post – read at your discretion or bypass it altogether for some of my other more light hearted posts.  Continue reading

Suicide is Painless

– no it’s not! If you’re thinking about killing yourself  call 1-800-273-8255

The title of this post is  misleading –   “Suicide is Painless”  is a song title – it was the theme song to  the TV show M*A*S*H , loved the show and  I even used the song as an audition song in my acting days. Not because I was very good at singing it, but because it evoked emotion in me. But it is a misnomer. Even those of us that contemplate it  know that.  Wait,  WHAT?  Us?  You?   Yep me…..  I am a person who has contemplated suicide many times and may have attempted it a time time or two.  But  that doesn’t come close to defining who I am. I am not my mental health.  Continue reading

Patriotism, Democracy and the left side of history

On January 21st, 2017  I  exercised (in more ways than one) my 1st amendment, to the Constitution of the United States of America, right  to peaceably assemble as well as the right to free speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  This  was the  first time in my life that I  had participated in any kind of event like this.  I received quite a bit of  positive and negative feedback for my choice to exercise that right.  When I say  negative feedback, I really mean  insults, ridicule, name calling, told to leave the country etc…   I took  the negative in, mostly without responding. It was both online and in person. I’m going to talk a little bit about the negative but   if you know me well, you know I try to  mostly focus on the positive and will  definitely let that lift me up, but that ain’t always easy…

I was part of history and I know that history will show it was the right side when I participated in the  Womxn’s March on Seattle  even if you think it is on the left…in this instance left is right and right is wrong.

The day  started  – up before dawn,  a couple cups of coffee, not too much because who knows  what the latrine situation will be like today. Check the news and weather. It’s  supposed to be  in the 40’s with an 80% chance of rain, a typical  Seattle winter day.  Prep Suk’s  meals for the day and just after dawn go out and spend some time with him doing our morning routine .

Back inside to  shower and get dressed to go.   If you recall this day is “the day after”  the inauguration. Connect my phone to the Bluetooth speaker in the  bathroom and  turn on some music, my Pandora thumbprint station starts playing Van Morrison, singing along while I shower when suddenly the lights go out and the fan stops…. Uh oh.. my old military mentality takes over..  oh crap it’s an EMP.. I have a vivid imagination, couple that with the dread I feel about the new US administration and it’s not far off to think we’re already under attack… but  then I realize the music is still playing.. ok whew not an EMP just a power outage  (the speaker and my phone are battery operated) …I wrap up  the three esses and step out of the bathroom and the lights are on  in the bedroom..  I get a good chuckle at myself when I realize the power is just fine, the timer on the  light/fan just expired and turned off automatically.  Ok we’re off to an interesting start to this day, I get a  good chuckle at my own expense.

I get dressed in long johns and jeans, a tee-shirt and sweatshirt, pack up a few items like battery packs for my cell phone, a couple granola bars and a bottle of water, a bandana  in case I need to wipe away any water leaking from my eyes or snot from the  weather.. yeah that’s the ticket…  grab by heavy Carhart ,coat kiss my beautiful wife and pat the dogs goodbye, no  idea when I will be back,  get in the truck and hit the road.

I pull into the  train station in Tukwila at 8:15AM, park,  gather my things and head to the train. There are long lines for tickets, lots of people in coats, scarves and hats carrying signs and Starbucks.  I pay my 6$ for a day pass for the lite rail and head up the stairs to the tracks. About  5 minutes later the train arrives, we all board the already full train (there’s only one stop before us)  and it’s standing room only.  I squeeze in a spot and look around me, it’s a sea of pink.

Train to Seattle

The train  speeds down the track towards the city, twenty minutes later we are at our stop – Mt. Baker station.  We spill out of the train cars and head north  toward Judkin’s park  about  a mile and a half away.  I learned a long time ago not to pass up a  bathroom opportunity so I duck out of the crowd and into a store along the way.    Back outside  there is still a steady stream of people on both sides of the street heading to the starting point of the march.  I arrive at the park at 10:00 AM, it is awash in  pink and rainbow, men, women and children by the thousands fill the park and surrounding area. Signs saying everything from  my uterus is not your political playground, Women just want to have FUNdamental rights, Veterans for peace, You belong,  etc… etc…  thousands of different signs and messages.  No really, thousands, tens of thousands actually.  I have seen some large crowds before at sporting events, like Daytona or the Indy 500,  but nothing like this. Nothing in my history compares to this collection of people.  People so diverse, every color; creed; gender; sexual orientation; citizenship, all there to peaceably assemble and voice their desires for change by the administration that was inaugurated one day prior.

Entering the Park

Why did I feel like an outsider here? Most likely it was because of my gender, my skin color, my status as a veteran, my white privilege. I  feel like I look  like a DJT supporter which is horribly embarrassing (yes, I am stereotyping myself)  It felt odd, like I was an interloper, a spy in the ranks of  the liberal movement.  But I wasn’t and I certainly didn’t feel that way for long. Once  people around me saw me nodding, smiling and clapping and crying  at the speeches I could sense them relaxing and welcoming me into the crowd. One kind eldery lady offered me her box of kleenex, I showed her my bandana with an awkward teary smile and thanked her.   Yes I have voted republican more than I have other parties in my life,  but I have always been  a middle of the road  voter, a centrist. I’ve voted for  independents, democrats even a green party candidate or two for various positions. When someone was in office that I didn’t vote for, I was OK with it. The system worked and there was usually some  balance. Not perfect, but a working system.

Water is Life

a small glimpse at crowd size – 100% PEACEFUL! <3

The system is now broken, there is no balance. There are clear signs of  fascism and desires for full on  dictatorship.  It’s not even a blurring of the lines, it is blatant hate spewing forth from the  White House and it’s spilling out into the streets, I see mosques on fire, I see immigrants and refugees threatened and blocked from returning  to their established homes.  I see the Christian religion being promoted as  the National religion.  And I see so much more…. Hate masked as nationalism, hate  masked as religion, hate masked as self-preservation, hate masked as caring, hate hate hate.   And I see too many people jumping up and down cheering at the hate. Thinking it’s  love, thinking it’s patriotic.  Blind and deaf people  shouting how they won, how they are  making America great again and how  everyone else needs to get over it, move on, give him a chance…. It seriously breaks my heart. My country is already great, it never became  less than great… we need more love, more caring and kindness,  and a whole lot less hate and fear.

A sign I can relate to!

Back to my day marching.  I worked my way through the crowd towards where the organizers were putting on their speeches and making announcements. I listened to speeches, songs and prayers. The speeches were good, peaceful and  respectful.  The speakers were:

  • Lindsay Zae Summers – performing “Rise” by Maya Angelou
  • Colleen Echohawk – Executive Director of the Chief Sealth Club
  • Rebecca Saldana – Washington State Senator
  • Christine Charbonneau – CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands
  • Aneelah Afzali – Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Project

At about noon  I finally made it onto the streets from the park for the march, as I set foot onto the pavement  two bald eagles flew overhead and the crowd roared in awe and a deep sense of patriotism, true love of country  washed over me as I saw those eagles in the sky.  This is what patriotism feels like.  I have  always been patriotic, anyone who knows me knows that. I stand in my own living room for the national anthem and ask others to respect the moments in silence. I fly  the flag, I served my country in the armed forces, I served in war and in peace.  I held an elected public office. I served my community as both an elected official and as a public servant. But this is the  most patriotic thing I have ever done.   I have  exercised many of my rights, but never this one, I never before felt the pull to fight for my country as I did on this day, and every day since.  I am a patriot of the United States of America and I am fighting for our country. It just so happens that  on this day I fought with my feet.  I stood arm in arm, heart to heart with my sisters and brothers,  American patriots in peaceable assembly to speak out against evil and to stand up and speak up against the wrong being committed in our country’s name.

Eagles and a  cheer erupts as we start the march

The route

We’re all in this together….

The march was nearly 4 miles long.  The marching  started, for me, at noon and it took  until 3:30 PM to get to Seattle Center for the end rally.  I stuck to my plan, to honor the wishes of the organizers and  I was silent once I started marching.  I took in everything  I could, reading signs, listening to the speakers along the route, crying at  some of the things I saw and felt, smiling at others. Looking at the  spectators, most of them were encouraging and supportive. There were a few groups protesting and condemning the marchers, but everything was  peaceful. Once we passed the final speaker, there were chants and yells and I cheered and chanted and cried along with the crowd. It felt good.  I was sore already  but it was  the good kind of sore that you have after a hard days work.  No it wasn’t particularly hard work, it was walking but  it was hard mentally  and emotionally. To see so many people,  the reports said anywhere from 130,000 to 170,000 people participated in the march in Seattle. Knowing that similar sized and larger ones  were taking place across the nation and even around the world. If that doesn’t  speak to you and say that something is horribly wrong with our government, I don’t know how to get through to you. I truly worry about you  if you cannot see what is happening.  You know what, if you’re one of those people –  I’ll pray for you, no really I will, trust me it’ll be a yuge prayer..

A brief break from the silent march to counter protesters of our peaceful march.

The rally was still going on but  I’d  accomplished what I came to do, I felt that I sent my message for this day. My first act of defiance against hatred, bigotry and so much more. My first, but not my last.  I walked the mile and half  to the train station alone again in a crowd.

Allies after the march

Boarded the train and actually had a seat, the first break, off my feet in about 7 hours.  As most of my readers (both of you) know, I had to retire from the  fire department due to  a heart condition. As I sat down on the train I noticed extremities were swollen, hands , feet, ankles..  ugg swollen and throbbing.  I hadn’t even realized that I was not feeling well. The energy from the day  had kept me going and distracted me from my  body.  I also have a bad back and  a pain in the ass condition called colitis ( I’ve never mentioned that publicly because ew….) if anyone suffers from that  they know what a chore 7 hours on your feet and  no bathroom in sight  can be….I am supposed to be on medication for it, but it is $900 a month on our new insurance plan  so we can’t afford it until  we meet our $6500 deductible(my mistake at open enrollment) So needless to say I am wiped out, hurting and in need of medications.  I was  completely overdressed for the day…  it turned out to be sunny and in the 50s! The train pulls into my stop in about an half an hour and I exit and hobble  to my truck. I fall into it and text my wife that I made it and am on the way home.

I’m with her

I drive the hour home, during the drive things have stiffened up, though I can only image what some of the other people that were marching today feel.My issues are nothing,  I saw people  of all ages, there were all kinds of people  with various physical (and I am sure mental, like me) disabilities. There were people with scooters for one leg, wheelchairs, crutches or birth defects that didn’t allow easy walking.  I felt for them, what I “endured” was nothing compared to what they did  to stand up for  this cause.

I know how strongly I felt I needed to do this march, and it was for those with disabilities, , immigrants, LGBQTIA, women, minorities etc… But I also marched for the environment, for education, for wildlife and wild lands, for our national parks, for science and nature. All of those people, animals and things are under direct attack from  our government! If you don’t believe that you’re are  completely blind or willfully ignorant. If you cannot see what terrible things are being done to those  people and things why are you reading this? So you can attack me, like so many others  and call me names?  Make fun of me, try to ridicule me for standing up for something I believe in?  don’t waste your breath or either of our time. Unless you are willing to  listen, to change the state of our government back to a place of balance please leave me  in peace.

I never gave 45 (that’s what I will call the  evil thing in the oval office) a chance, nor should I have, nor should anyone have…. I am thrilled that I marched on the 21st. Just over a week later, everything that I marched FOR has been proven true, sad but true.  I wish that I had been wrong,  I really did. I was hoping that maybe I was overreacting, many people told  me that I was, that I needed to give it some time, let the system work itself out.  I’m not happy that I was right, I am not proud that I saw this coming.  I’m heartbroken watching my country implode, watching friends and family tear each other apart over things that really should be complete no brainers:  human kindness, respect, dignity, equality.

But I was  right, or wait am I left?  Nope, I’m still centered but maybe leaning a little to the left as I mature.

Since the  march, I have written several letters to my representatives in congress, I have signed a plethora of petitions, I have made calls and left messages with  voicemail systems for legislators.  I am not sitting  on my hands and  letting the momentum of the march wane.  I am continuing and will keep on  taking actions that I believe to be right to fight against the tyranny I see coming that will lead us into  world war and oppression on a massive scale.  I am a patriot.

I am glad to see today (1/28/17) that the ACLU  was able to get a stay on the unconstitutional  ban on Muslims and other immigrants. If I weren’t laid up  with an injured back again I would be at Sea-Tac airport right now  protesting this ridiculous, cowardly, sick and illegal act!

So for those of you out there feeling alone, scared, marginalized – I want to say to you that you aren’t alone.  You have millions  –  seriously,  millions of people fighting for you, fighting with you. We won’t give up, or give in until we have our country back!   I am NOT saying when a democrat gets in office – we just have to get  45 OUT ASAP and then I could give his  VP a chance,   though  I do NOT agree with his attempts to tear down the wall between church and state, I do think that he would  be slightly more tolerable than 45. If we can get them both removed from office , I’m fine with that too… at this point the devil we don’t know would be a hell of a lot better then what’s there now destroying our  country.  We need to all reach out to our representatives on all sides to  get them to stand with us, to fight back against 45!

Now I know I  said I’d be positive, and I  will now.  I have seen a lot of activism  lately,  people are really starting to understand what being a  democracy is  and many more are standing up  and being  patriotic.  That is  fantastic!  It stinks that  this had to happen for that to happen, but  hey it’s what we have so let’s use it!   So let’s keep the momentum up, for love of country, for your fellow humans, animals, wildlife and environment.  Make a difference, do it peacefully, do it often and share it with others to  show them (show us) that we’re not alone.

I marched. It felt good. It felt right. It made a difference. I wasn’t alone. It was my first. It won’t be my last.

Throughout the march and beyond I still try to live up to my mottoes:

Stay Safe, Be Kind, Keep the Park Clean, Pay it forward, Make a Difference and One Love  –  http://wp.me/p2RcFA-3Z

 Home to Mikey’s Ramblings

Flaming

I cannot sit idly by. This is not a political post, this is not a bleeding heart liberal post for I am not a liberal, I am not a conservative. I am a human being that has common sense, eyes, ears and a heart. You have to be missing one or more of those things to not see, hear or feel the division and  the outright hate, bigotry and  lack of empathy,compassion or even common sense coming from the alleged president-elect.   Continue reading

Ripples – Edited and updated for 2016

**WARNING –  Seriously  this is  a real WARNING**  –  the below  post contains some  very graphic language, and  depictions of traumatic, tragic  and disturbing  events including death and destruction.  Please  read at your  own  discretion** Continue reading

Self doubt

We all go through bouts of  self-doubt.  Did I handle that right or  did I behave the way I should have for my  moral compass or belief system.  It’s part of being human, it’s  part of growth and  maturing.   Even the most confident of people have these moments, though  a lot of them would never mention it.  The exception  is probably true narcissists but I’m not going to  waste my  fingers ( well maybe one of them) on  them. This is post is for/about  the rest of us. Continue reading

My Sochi Boycott

I love the  Olympics… I was  brought up  watching them. Passionately rooting on  the USA and our  Athletes.  As you all know I’m patriotic….  And while I don’t  think the Olympics  should be used for political purposes it’s  a  fact  that   they always have in modern days. I’m no  Olympic  Historian  but this year,   I have to take a stand….   I am boycotting  the  Sochi Winter  Olympics 2014  including  any coverage  or sponsors of it…  Continue reading