Friday, November 27, 2009

Holly M. White 1966-2009

Things about Her Hollyness: She had a wicked, quirky, dark, sense of humor. I may miss that the most. I don't have that many people in my life who can go there with me. When she was newly diagnosed, she told me her biggest fear was how embarrassing it would be if she didn't die. She loved the Cubs. Damn them for not giving her the joy of a World Series win. She took forever to order in a restaurant, even if she had been there dozens of times. And in the end she would order the same damn thing she always did. "I'll have won-ton soup and an egg roll." Really? That takes 15 minutes to decide? I bought a house with less deliberation. She had tattoos of the paw prints of her beloved pets that had died. Hope you're running with Maddie and Taylor now. She adopted Trinity, a cat who had been terribly injured, and had had one of her legs amputated. Holly spent hours, shut in a bedroom, laying on the floor while Trin hid under a bed. It took her a long time, but eventually she won Trinity over. It was an act of true love.

Befriending Holly required similar dedication. She was sometimes bristly or brusque, which I originally mistakenly identified as rudeness, rather than the wariness it really was. But the rewards were significant. A loyal friend, who thought to do things for me that I hadn't realized needed doing. The first Christmas after my father died, Holly called, telling me she had bought a wreath for my father's grave, and was it ok for her to put it there for me? The day I entered my mom into hospice, I looked up and Holly was there with a Pepsi and SpongeBob Square Pants candy.  A few years ago I was recovering from a long illness, and temporarily needed a walker. My ex told me she had asked Holly to find one for me. I groaned, because I knew what was coming. Indeed, she showed up with the walker later that day. A gaily festooned walker. Stickers all over it, streamers on the hand grips, a bicycle bell in front. So I was happy to be able to return the favor this spring. I purchased vomit bags for her to use during chemo that had a huge picture of a stick figure puking on the outside.

When Holly was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer this spring, she accepted her diagnosis with stunning grace. She didn't whinge on about "Why me?" She said, "Why not me?" As our friend Tammy said, "This has been her finest hour." Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hoekstra and Stupak; Doin' Michigan Proud

Last post I was all, "Yay, Kalamazoo!" (Michigan!) This post I write with cheeks aflame after the Hoekstra/Stupak twofer this week.

Let me kind of give you the run down. Stupak represents Northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula. The UP is mostly white, rural, (forested anyway) and is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Independent minded Yoopers are a stubborn bunch. Absolutely nothing would surprise me from a UP native, which Stupak is. Hoekstra represents Grand Rapids, about an hour north of Kalamazoo. Southwestern Michigan has a strange Jekyll/Hyde thing going on. Grand Rapids is about as conservative as they come; lots of Dutch Christian Reformed Church types. Move south, and you run into Kalamazoo, home of the fine folks who brought you "equal protection under the law" for gays and transgendered people. Leave the cozy confines of Kalamazoo in any direction, and you immediately trip over the Republicans. In other words, in a Michigan game of Hide and Seek, Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor are "home."

Our governor, Jennifer Granholm, is a Democrat, and was Biden's Palin stand in while he prepared for the VP debates last year. This is doing our Governor a great disservice. She is smart, fiscally minded, and hot. Hoekstra wants to take her place. With the prevalence of anti-incumbent voting, an R may very well take her vacant spot. And, if it helps the rest of you, perhaps Michigan could take one for the team, elect him and keep him stuck in Lansing, where he can do less damage. We are a generous people.

"Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice" is our state motto: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you." What, had Florida already taken, "Look, Water!?" No "Live Free or Die" here. No, just a "pleasant peninsula." And with our sights set accordingly low, we offer the country Hoekstra and Stupak. You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Kalamazoo Wins!

Did you hear that? I'll play that part again...

Cleve mentions Kalamazoo! You may remember my last post about the ordinance here in Kalamazoo that extends legal protections, re: housing and employment especially, to people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation.

This was the press release from tonight from One Kalamazoo:

November 3rd, 2009

Kalamazoo residents approve nondiscrimination ordinance

“Our campaign started with a very basic idea, and today voters confirmed that we are One Kalamazoo,” said Campaign Manager, Jon Hoadley.

With only absentee ballots outstanding, 65 percent of Kalamazoo voters have approved Ordinance 1856 by a vote of 6,463 to 3,527, adding protections for gay and transgender people to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. This margin is larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots that are currently being counted.

“I am elated with the outcome of the election,” says Yes on Ordinance 1856/One Kalamazoo Steering Committee member and local resident Janice Brown. “This vote reinforces what our campaign set out to prove – that our fellow residents of Kalamazoo share the belief that all people should be treated fairly and equally, including gay and transgender people.”

The outcome of today’s vote confirmed that all hardworking people in Kalamazoo should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families without fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

“Kalamazoo is a great place to live and the passage of Ordinance 1856 makes the city an even better place,” says local resident Rev. Matt Laney, Pastor of the First Congregational Church. “I am proud to live in a city that recognizes that all people deserve fairness and respect.”

The Yes on 1856/ One Kalamazoo campaign in support of the nondiscrimination ordinance involved hundreds of local volunteers and contributors, and had the endorsement of over 30 local religious, social, business, and political organization. The campaign would like to thank the Kalamazoo community for asserting their belief in the inherent equality of all Kalamazoo residents, and the countless volunteers for their hard work and dedication in recent months – and in some case, years – to ensure the passage of the ordinance.

AND, my friend Terry Kuseske, a gay man, won a seat on the City Commission! So with that good news to report, I apologize again for the infrequent posting. I will do my best to post more often in the next few weeks.