John Edwards case will come to Greensboro, NC

John Edwards can still make me swoon.  He is a vision of intelligence and vitality not seen in many politicians – present or former.  With the ruling of U.S. Middle District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles, he will now also be appearing in a courtroom near me.  Edwards, who went to court to seek dismiss the charges against him, now says “I want my day in court.”

Those are brave words.  I cannot imagine anyone on the defending side wanting their day in court.  Court is messy, emotional and the outcome is not assured.  John Edwards, from his days as a prominent attorney, knows this – yet he keeps a calm persona for the public.  I wonder, how does his former mistress Rielle Hunter feel about seeing the man she was so intimate with being brought up on charges that occurred over their consensual relationship.  Both parties knew they could be found out, Mr. Edwards certainly knew he was married and that his wife was cast in the role of saint for her on-going cancer battle.  Ms. Hunter knew about the marriage and yet she too ignored it and went along with the subterfuge afterwards.

I think they have both already made their shameful beds and have to lie in them.  I don’t see how spending thousands of dollars of public money to air the terms of an extra-marital affair does anything more than satisfy our collective urge to see the mighty stumble.  Neither parties will ever have a life without this shadow cast over it.  That itself is worth more than any money or slap on the wrist Edwards can face.

Sadly, I will still be watching this slow-motion wreck along with everyone else.


Autism and my family

Last night, I met a remarkable man who has autism and took the time to explain how the world feels from his point of view. He explained that for him to go acting “neuro-typical” required hours of rest and parsing his personality into one he calls Mr. Spock (that is an old Star Trek reference for those too young to know). He talked about how the sensory events of life were overwhelming to him – he can hear the whine of computers, lights and even snow falling. He also shed some light on an issue I have had in my family. My son would be fine until we approached the checkout counter at wherever we were. When we stopped moving, the lack of motion set him off. I never realized that the act of movement was soothing to some people with autism. Really, it should not have been surprising, since many people who are “neuro-typical” gesture with their hands, pace or seek the release of tension through dance and exercise. I have a small trampoline in my home, so that my son can use it to bounce off energy. It has helped. I like it too – who doesn’t enjoy the brief weightlessness of jumping?
Another thing I do is have a loud ticking clock in the hallway off the bedrooms. It helps my older son go to sleep. I found out this is called a metronome response – another would be rocking back and forth – that soothes the person. I am so thankful for this man’s willingness to share his story with our small group. If I can help my sons in any way, that will be a bonus.

Autism is a part of my family. My nephew has it and both of my sons. For those of you who don’t know, this is a spectrum disorder, meaning some people are more affected than others. Some great places to find out more information is the Autism Society. Our local chapter has a monthly support group meeting and it really does help.

Some opening thoughts on being low-income

I shouldn’t be this poor.  Not that I am entitled to anything more than what I have, but I could have done better for myself.  My life has been a series of choices, mostly bad, that have me sitting here on my mom’s old computer, hoping to find my voice among the millions.

I am part of the 99%, but I am not sure that taking from people who have made it into the 1% is really a solution.  I won’t lie, I would like to be up there, not worrying about things like rent or how my momma’s going to live when she can’t work anymore.  I am more fortunate than a good deal of the third world, which I try often to remind myself that I do having running water and flush toilets.  I don’t have to pick between eating or heating my home.  I am extremely grateful to have been born here in America – even if the milk and honey are served out disproportionately.

I grew up, lower middle class I guess.  My dad worked in textiles and my mom babysat children in the neighborhood, to have what she called “her money.”  I had what I would call a typically dysfunctional childhood – complete with domestic violence, molestations and being told every day I was not worth a half-penny.  I guess you would say I was the kind of kid who was told by her momma that if she hadn’t lost her virginity to that jerk, and knew about birth control, I wouldn’t be around.  I didn’t live without any joy, I suppose because I just thought all families had horrible secrets behind the shiny brass knockers.

I won’t say that hasn’t affected me, but now, at 43, I want better for myself. So, the quest begins….


Strep(ped) again

My family has a horrible record with strep throat since we have moved back down south. Right now, out of five people, three have it, and I am pretty sure tomorrow is going to bring the count up to four. Strep, according to the Mayo Clinic website, is most prevalent in fall and spring. Ok, it is fall and here we are.

I am not going to lie and say we are the cleanest family on the block, but I really want to know

Why is it so hard for schools to make time to have kids wash their hands?

  • Upon Arrival
  • Before Lunch
  • After Recess
  • Before Dismissal

and my favorite, after the bathroom breaks!  Let’s hear it for some old-fashioned soap and water.

Teachers and administrators want smartboards, iPads, laptops at every desk.  Hey, if the kids aren’t there because of illness – the fancy stuff doesn’t matter.  What I would like to see in schools?  More sinks.

“Houseof Sand and Fog” Andre Dubus III

Published in 1999 by Vintage Contemporaries, this realistic suspense novel was one of my most recent finds at a thrift store. It is an Oprah’s Book Club selection and a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction. This book is well worth the read.
The main storyline is about a wealthy Persian family, the Behranis, that relocates after the fall of the Shah to America. Reduced in circumstances, Colonel Behrani takes a chance and buys a house for sale at a county auction. He envisions selling the house for a profit and starting on his way to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the owner of the house has other ideas about giving up the property without a fight. Kathy Nicolo is a house cleaner, recovering addict and an abandoned wife. She sees the house as her last vestige of stability. A chance meeting with a sheriff brings things into a whirling vortex that will have you staying up late to finish the book.

What I enjoyed most was the description of the harshness of assimilation in a new country, the dynamics of the Behranis and the noir ending of it all. None of the main characters are loveable, but they are human to the last line.

Republicans: Herman Cain vs. Mitt Romney

Republicans are between a rock and a hard place.  Mitt Romney, who should be a front-runner is being brushed aside for just about anyone else.   I don’t know if it is his positions or what I consider the real truth – he is a Mormon.  Mormons still make people nervous, perhaps because the Church is growing rapidly, and makes several demands on being self-supporting, disciplined (no tea, coffee or illegal drugs), tithing, fasting and service work.   This is not a “feel-good” church, but a place dedicated to thoughtful prayer that expects active members to make meaningful contributions in and out of the Church.

For me, this brings to mind when JFK ran for office, not that any of the candidates are as charismatic as Kennedy, but because his Roman Catholicism was raised as a political issue.  I can still recall as a little girl, being asked by another child in dance class if I “was a Christian or a Catholic?”

As for Herman Cain, all I know about him so far is his 9-9-9 plan, which makes for a great soundbite if nothing else.  I don’t see that becoming a viable solution, since changing the tax code seems to be a larger issue than messing with the future of Social Security.  The other thing I know definitely about him is that he is black.  I think this could be a real game-changer for the Republicans.   It would effectively cancel out the arguement for voting on race.  Can you imagine a presidential race that has two black candidates? It would make it the voting about the issues we face as a country.

I will be watching the rest of the Republican debates with great interest.  I am sure President Obama will as well.