Thursday, November 19, 2020


 Gentle reader.

I know what you are thinking.

It's been a while.

And it has, I know it has. Too long. But you see, things changed. I am no longer in paradise. At least not the traditional sort of paradise. This one has falling leaves and fresh apple cider donuts. Roaring wood stoves candles glowing in windows. Explosions of daffodils and that smell of warm dirt. Lobster rolls and lazy days lying on a dock dangling a strict in the water with a piece of chicken attached, hoping to catch a crab for your bucket. And sub zero temperatures followed by mud season.

Yes, I have relocated. And for the past three years I have been in New England, definitely not writing.

You noticed?

I'm sorry. It was rude of me to ghost you like that. But I ran out of words, and I needed to do some things that were hard, and some things that were sad, and some things that were humbling. And now I'm back, baby.

But why now, you ask? Why today? What would prompt my return?


Or to be clear, two hundred and fifty days.

Two hundred and fifty days have passed since March 13th, 2020. That was the last day before....... everything.

My last night at work.

My last weekend separated from my husband (more on that later) (promise).

My kids' last day of "normal" school.

My last dollar, spent at Walmart, buying cold medicine and kleenex and whatever else had been suggested in some article I read somewhere about what to buy to prepare for Covid-19.

And while things in my home were feeling pretty dire, I had it good. Because it has also been two hundred and fifty days since Breonna Taylor was killed in her home. In the hallway outside her bedroom. By a police officer who had just broken down her door. And whether he knocked first is irrelevant.

I survived March 13th 2020, and every day since. And I would be remiss if I didn't use my voice to speak up and speak out. Breonna should be here too. I never made the connection between her death, and everything in the whole country falling apart at the fucking seams like it did.

For two hundred and fifty days, I have been in a state of suspended animation. Scared to make any big move. Or little one. But not anymore. This is me pulling the plug, and letting it out. The anger, the sadness, the hopelessness and fear, the frustration and also the celebration. 

I. Am. Still. Here.

(So are you. I am glad for that.)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

How to help in a disaster situation

You want to help. I get it. These people have lost everything. SO!
What should you do to help the victims of natural disasters?

You know, it is different in every situation, but there are a few things they always need.
And a lot of things they DON'T.

Please, if I see one more "praying for Texas" I am going to Lose. My. Mind.

Those fine folks do not need your prayers. I mean, they do, go ahead and pray for them. But that won't help them find dry socks.

They need dry socks.
And new underwear.
Diapers and wipes.
Tampons and maxi pads and toilet paper and shampoo.
They need boots. Not just boots on the ground - they need those too - but they need BOOTS because those folks are about to be spending serious quality time slogging through some MUD.
They need reading glasses and cellphone chargers.
They need fans and extension cords and shovels and garbage bags and gorilla tape.
They need blankets and pillows and sleeping bags and rubber storage bins and sharpie markers.
They need shelf stable food that does not require refrigeration.
They need baby formula.
They need pet food.

And the best way for them to get these things is NOT to send the items into the disaster zone by mail, UNLESS an organization has specifically put out a specific request to YOU for specific items, and YOU send those specific items.

DO NOT respond to a public shout out on social media by collecting and then mailing things. It will arrive too late. And they will undoubtably be inundated with other people responding simultaneously - all of it delivered 3-7 days AFTER they needed whatever they asked for. And if word gets out that a shelter needs blankets, and it spreads on Facebook, and that shelter receives thousands of packages of blankets in the next few days, then not only do they have too many blankets, but they have a whole lot of cardboard, and no space to put the OTHER THINGS they need. Like, you know, food and water.

Same goes for sending used stuff. No one needs your discarded bling or your ratty tshirts or mis-matched socks. And the post office and UPS and FedEx have other better things to do than deliver boxes of shit you didn't need any more.

So, gentle reader, you may be sitting there flummoxed right about now. You want to help, I am listing the things that are needed and then telling you not to send them.
What the hell is wrong with me? I am wasting precious time!

Exactly. I am here to SLOW YOUR ROLL. Stop. Look. Listen. Respond in an organized manner with calm intention. Don't send boxes of stuff people needed four days ago. They probably got it already.

Send money. And send it to reputable organizations.
Don't want to send cash? They need gift cards to box stores that they can redeem where ever they end up once they are evacuated.
There are also Amazon wish lists that can get items where they need to go in live time.

Let's review.
Cash is good. Gift cards are good. Amazon wish lists are good.

Random boxees of your old shit? Bad.

I know some of you are going to send boxes anyway. You want to help, your church is putting together a collection. It's being driven down there this weekend.
Let me clarify, in case you are unsure.
Here are some things they DO NOT need:
old shoes and used underwear
anything that needs refrigeration
anything that's broken or missing pieces
So if you are going to send things anyway, against my advice and the numerous links I am going to share here, well..... the best rule of thumb is find an organization you want to support, and send EXACTLY WHAT THEY ASK YOU TO SEND. Don't editorialize. Don't send "whatever fits in the box" unless it is stuff they need and asked for specifically.

The last thing they need is a box full of crap they don't need and didn't ask for. So don't send that.

Really. Just don't do it.