Hi There!

(For my Dutch-English translating and proofreading business, please go to my D-E Translating WordPress site. Thank you.)

Welcome to my blog.

I’m an energetic, slim, reasonably pretty thirty-year-old. However, I reside in a rather shocking, obese, aching, apathetic 55-year-old body. I love living in Austin but I’m chock-full of criticism of America in general. The Rockies bring me to tears, but so does the health care system. I’ve adopted Thanksgiving, but not the Pledge of Allegiance. If I seem elated and unbearably grouchy in sometimes schizophrenically quick succession, this is why.

I love the usual: my husband, my children, my friends and our pets. I hate heat, willful ignorance, bone spurs, spiders, and walking or cycling in place.

I collect raft books and I’ve developed a weird obsession with the bottoms of bridges.

When I lived in the Netherlands, twenty-three years ago, I loved hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end, and I walked and cycled everywhere. Now that I live in a pretty darn hot part of the US, with kids who have to be driven everywhere by car, I love reminiscing about hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end and walking and cycling everywhere…

My blog is a crazy—some might say completely unhinged–collection of posts about any of the above-mentioned issues and then some. Nothing is sacred. I blatantly ignore all American no-nos. Which means I talk politics, religion, I don’t idolize  teachers and I swear (but not that much).

As you read my posts you might laugh, seethe, weep or shrug your shoulders. If you like a post, great. Let me know. If you hate a post, great, let me know. I’d like to think I’m always right, but don’t let that stop you from telling me if you disagree. We Dutch love a good debate.

If you want to know more about how I ended up in America and an overview of how that’s been, visit my About page.

Otherwise, have at it!

(In my posts, I refer to my husband as T, my 19-year-old son as B, and my 17-year-old daughter as R.)

Whenever You’re Ready

re-educationSo Charlottesville happened. Trump is to blame. But he was elected president; all those who voted for him are therefore to blame. Everyone could see this coming from the beginning. It was 100% predictable. The fascist marches in the streets, the gun nuts out in force, everyone who isn’t a red-blooded white American male the target.  And Trump doing nothing to discourage any of it. Those who claim they didn’t see this coming kept themselves willfully ignorant, and that doesn’t make them any less responsible. “Wir haben es nicht gewuβt” is not a valid excuse, and neither is not knowing what that means.

It’s anyone’s guess by now where and when this is going to end. Even this incident didn’t lead to unanimous, unequivocal condemnation of Trump by the Republican party. Sure, a few more Republicans have voiced their disgust, a few more CEO’s have left Trump’s manufacturing council, but still no unanimous call for Trump’s impeachment or for the application of Article 25. Maybe that will happen tomorrow and by next week this piece of slime will be in jail, or it could go on and get worse and we could have a civil war.

But at some point this will be over. Trump will be out of office, along with Bannon and his other thugs, and America will have to pick up the pieces. Americans didn’t learn the lessons Europeans learned from World War Two. They didn’t experience fascism firsthand, they didn’t learn how it creeps up. They didn’t know the meaning of the word fascism and they wouldn’t have been able to recognize a fascist if one walked up and kissed their babies. Clearly.

So America will have to be re-educated. Americans can’t do it themselves, because there never has been any real history education in this country, not in middle and high school. There has never been real geography education either. During the Cold War we in Holland learned that lots of Americans didn’t even know where the Soviet Union was, that lots of folks thought it was in Canada. That was hard to believe. Until a few days ago, when people were asked on the streets of Los Angeles if they could point out North Korea on a world map. Sure enough: Canada. Because of this lack of historical and geographical perspective, most Americans also don’t have a sense of their culture and how it relates to the rest of the world. And white kids in this country certainly don’t learn where African Americans are coming from, or Native Americans. Just look at the massive incomprehension facing the Black Lives Matter movement, or the nazis in Charlottesville chanting “Blood and Soil”.

America is largely Christian, and a lot of American Christians are extremely loud and proud about it, and go on and on about their moral compass, and how others don’t have one. For all the influence they have had on this country, as far as teaching people that racism is bad, that fascism is bad, that hating people in general to the point of wanting to hurt them physically is bad, they have done jack shit. To all those Christian Trump voters: I wouldn’t touch your moral compass with a ten-foot pole. The Christian influence on American public education has mostly been to avoid all talk of “controversial subjects” like slavery, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, European nationalism, imperialism, etc. We humanists call those subjects teachable moments. Those are the subjects you use to teach kids to think for themselves about what is right and wrong and how to recognize them. If you really have a moral compass. If teaching kids right from wrong is truly your priority.

The school textbooks will have to be rewritten and teachers retrained. The politics around the content of school curriculum and textbooks needs to go. It’s a lot. Where to start? It would all have to be addressed at once. Maybe the leader of the free world could send a few of her best folks to re-educate this country. And for those of you who don’t get the joke, that’s why you need history lessons–irony is so much fun.

 

Collective Stockholm Syndrome: The Reason Facts Don’t Convince?

Trump fansI come across this kind of thing all the time. People practically pull their hair out in frustration because they can’t convince others with facts. I do, too. I just can’t fathom why so many people in this country never fail to vote completely against their own interests. Continue reading

Open Letter To Livid Boy Scouts Parents

Trump at Jamboree 2017Dear Boy Scouts of America (BSA) parents, those of you who were shocked, livid, dismayed, appalled, about Trump’s speech at this year’s National Jamboree,

Tom Horneman probably spoke for a lot of you when he wanted the BSA to apologize:  Continue reading

The Myth Of Parties Of Ideas

Today’s conservatives and the GOP have no values. They just have talking points.

via The Myth Of Parties Of Ideas — This Ruthless World

A Personal Request

Akke en FlorisThis article is written by my cousin. If you live in Holland or in Europe and you’re able to donate to keep the magazine Lotje&Co afloat, please do. Parents of special-needs children can feel so isolated and this magazine helps them with support and communication.

Adrift in Books

007_edited-1Today’s writing prompt is the perfect excuse to revisit the post about my raft book collection.

I’m not big on collections. I used to be. I had all sorts of collections. If I saw something I liked, I would start a collection. Until I felt that I was surrounding myself with things just for the sake of surrounding myself with things, and I got rid of most of them. Continue reading

Followed By the Pound Key

water billSo I was brushing my teeth before leaving home to go work out. I had it all perfectly timed: I would get more than an hour and a half on the treadmill at the YMCA before having to pick up R nearby. I turned on the tap to rinse… no water. Continue reading