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See you at the next funeral


Image result for casket

Ain’t no drama, like family drama, cause family drama, don’t stop!

Color me hopeful.

My father died when I was six years old and my brother is nearly a generation older and didn’t appreciate my existence. There was one man in the family who took me under his wing. My uncle would take me fishing and camping and include me in family events.

This was nine billion years ago, when Stations Wagon with fake wood roamed the earth. It was back in the day, when department stores had a husky department for chubbinel or fat boys. My uncle had a bushel of kids all near my age. They were like sisters and brothers to me. I would take the bus, some 17 miles away to his home, a place I felt welcome. My cousins and I would dance to the latest 45’s records on their Sears Silvertone Stereo.

Image result for sears silvertone stereo cabinet

He was the most important male in my life. I wanted to be like him, have a house full of loving children. I think my love for station wagons and minivans today is due to my admiration of this man . As I grew older, cracks appears in the relationship with my uncle.

Whisper’s from family members hundreds of miles away. He would interview me about the cost of my clothes and this news made its way to the Pacific Northwest. I learned that I was spoiled,took advantage of my mother. At thirteen, I was larger and taller than my uncle. When I was 18, he did something unthinkable to my side of the family. When I challenged him, he hit me in the chest. (my body didn’t move) I didn’t hit him, but I think this scared him.

From this moment forward, I became a pariah.

All contract between me and my grown cousins ended. It was like a death. Then the rumors began…….. My uncle created a number of false stories about my life. It didn’t matter he didn’t know I where I lived or what was actually happening in my life.

From that point forward, my cousins and I only saw each others at funerals. At the meetings, I always felt a spark of days gone by at the sad events, leaving me hopeful . But it wasn’t meant to be.

Days, years, decades. Marriages, Divorces, Children, Grand Children.and of course Death. None of our parents are alive.

Last summer, I learned about the death of one my cousins. The last time we’ve seen each other was at the funeral of her mother. I called her older sister to get the date and time of the funeral. She said, she didn’t know. Other relatives from out of state asked if I had information, because they wanted to attend. After a couple of un-returned calls, I Googled her name.

I learned the services was being held at Funeral home less than three miles from where I live. We actually lived an hour from each other. The downside, the services was taking place the very next day. I contacted my niece and and asked her if she would join me. A grandmother, she was a teenager the last time she’d seen this side of the family.

While it was a sad occasion, I was actually looking forward to seeing this side of my family, my niece brought her son.

Entering the building, I noticed the elder sibling. As children she and I were close and I was greeted with a smile. From there it was downhill. Our reception was chilly. Nice to see you and why are you here!

Although, the services began at two. Most of the people arrived after three. I could feel the divisions within the family. Children, and Grandchildren. Not the loving family, I remembered. Perhaps it was all in my mind back then or perhaps we all too young to develop resentments. Even though I was an unwanted guest, I was happy being with my family.

Forever hopeful, I exchanged telephone numbers with the family and announced that we should make an attempt to stay in touch. I could feel my niece and her son giving me the side eye, like please!! The two of them teased me in the car! A couple of weeks later, I contacted a couple of the cousins and Melba Toast had more moisture than the conversation. It takes two people to have a relationship so…….

Guess, I’ll see you next funeral.

I think its normal to hold on to those special times/memories. However, those memories, moments in time that can cloud our realities. Forever hopeful, we sometines stay in fruitless and sometimes painful relationships too long because of a memory .

If my uncle was alive, I would tell him about the positive impact he had on my life. Those memories make me smile today. At the end of day, we have to accept what is. Not what could be. It takes two to build a relationship. Angry, I’m not and resentments are a waste of time.

My uncle was highly regarded by his children which is to be expected. What he said about me may have irreparably damaged any possibility of relationship with my cousins. My love for them is there and that has to be enough.

CityFella

“Lizzo” Time Magazine “Entertainer of the Year


Photograph by Paola Kudacki for TIME

Surely, in the year of our lord 2019, you know who Lizzo is. I mean, even if you don’t think you know, girl—you know. Her song is in that Walmart commercial with the dancing cart people, and another one is in an ad for GrubHub, and I swear I was watching a football pregame show and heard strains of the piano riff from her song “Good as Hell” twinkling in the background. She’s on the soundtrack at your Zumba class, her voice is blaring from the headphones of the guy across from you on the train, and your daughter is locked in her bedroom scream-singing, “I just took a DNA test/ Turns out I’m 100% that bitch,” from Lizzo’s No. 1 hit, “Truth Hurts,” in her mirror right now._______________________________________________________________________________

Lizzo wearing a Thong at Laker Game Causes a Stir https://sacratomatovillepost.com/2019/12/10/lizzo-how-you-feelin/

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But right now, Lizzo, 31, is with me—literally—tucked away in a studio on a dead-end street on a warm December afternoon in Dallas. I didn’t get dressed up, because what does a regular person wear to meet Lizzo? I don’t own any diamond-encrusted booty shorts or full-length feather coats. Is it even legal to introduce yourself to Lizzo while wearing yoga pants you bought two years ago at Kohl’s? She, meanwhile, is head to toe in Gucci, hair laid and lips glossed, flanked on either side by her gorgeous glam team. Lizzo is everything you want her to be: loud, fun, effervescent, all the synonyms you can use for the words loud, fun and effervescent.


Lizzo’s Juice

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And I want to know everything: Can she still run to the store in her pajamas to buy groceries? (No, but she’s always had them delivered, even pre-fame.) Can she walk through an airport without a dozen giddy wine moms throwing themselves in her path while shouting her lyrics at her? (She travels with security now. People can be weird.) Also: How do you ask someone, Why them, or Why now, without making them want to punch you?

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Click on the link below for the full story @Time Magazine

Why some people are always late


BY:  Laura Clay/BBC

Confession: I am a late person. At least, one in recovery. In fact, I’ve repeatedly, and embarrassingly, missed the deadline for this article. I’d love to pretend this is some journalistic form of ‘method’ acting. It is not.

I know I’m not alone. We all know that person: there’s the child minder who is always late, the colleague who misses every deadline, even if just by a few hours, the friend you must tell to arrive 30 minutes earlier than she needs to for your lunch reservation.

There are few habits as infuriating as someone making us wait. But, despite what may be running through your mind as you’re kept waiting again, it’s unlikely your friends and colleagues are just being selfish. A look into the psychology of lateness offers a glimpse into a mind that that may be malfunctioning. But there’s also more than one fix.

Being mindful of habits that cause lateness can help improve behavior. Credit: Getty Images.

No, Late People Aren’t Rude and Lazy

Perceptions of unpunctual people are almost always negative — even if misguided.

“It is easy to perceive them as disorganised, chaotic, rude and lacking in consideration for others,” says Harriet Mellotte, a cognitive behavioural therapist and a clinical psychologist in training in London. “Outside of my clinical practice, others being late is something that can particularly get under my skin!”

But, many late people are at least somewhat organised and want to keep friends, family and bosses happy. The punctually-challenged are often excruciatingly aware and ashamed of the damage their lateness could do to their relationships, reputations, careers and finances.

“While there are those who get a charge out of keeping others waiting, if you’re typical, you dislike being late,” Diana DeLonzor writes in her book Never Be Late Again. “Yet tardiness remains your nemesis.”

There are many reasons for lateness, but excuses often don’t get much sympathy. Credit: Getty Images.

Excuses, Excuses

Some excuses, particularly for acute lateness, are fairly universally accepted —an accident or illness, for example. But others aren’t so easy to swallow. Some late people will pass it off as a symptom of being big-thinking and concerned with loftier matters than time-keeping, as an endearing quirk, a mark of doing one’s best work under pressure, or having the body clock of a night owl rather than a lark.

Joanna, a teacher in London who didn’t want her surname used, says her reputation for being unpunctual can sometimes be attributed to a difference in opinion. “A friend will ask me to come over, and they’ll say ‘come any time from seven,’” she says. “But if I do turn up at eight or later, they’re annoyed.”

Being consistently late might not be your fault. It could be your type. The punctually-challenged often share personality characteristics such as optimism, low levels of self-control, anxiety, or a penchant for thrill-seeking, experts say. Personality differences could also dictate how we experience the passing of time.

In 2001, Jeff Conte, a psychology professor at San Diego State University ran a study in which he separated participants into Type A people (ambitious, competitive) and Type B (creative, reflective, explorative). He asked them to judge, without clocks, how long it took for one minute to elapse. Type A people felt a minute had gone by when roughly 58 seconds had passed. Type B participants felt a minute had gone by after 77 seconds.

A 2001 study suggested personality differences could dictate how we experience the passing of time. Credit: Getty Images.

You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

Late people often have a “bizarre compulsion to defeat themselves,” wrote self-proclaimed late person and TED speaker Tim Urban in 2015. He gave these poor souls a name: CLIPs, Chronically Late Insane People.

Of course, there are other reasons for lateness, but many remain self-inflicted. For starters, there’s the anticipation of being late, or even too much attention to detail.

For Joanna, the most distressing example is writing school reports. “I never make the deadline, which looks like I don’t care,” she explains. “I think about [the reports] for weeks, and put so much angst into really assessing each child. But the fact that they are late undermines that.”

If you’re constantly late, friends and colleagues may think you don’t respect their time. Credit: Getty Images.

For some, lateness is a “consequence of deeply distressing common mental health or neurological conditions,” says Mellotte.

“People with anxiety diagnoses often avoid certain situations,” for instance, says Mellotte. “Individuals with low self-esteem are likely to be critical about their abilities which may cause them to take more time to check their work.” And depression often comes with low energy, making mustering the motivation to get a move on all the harder.

Fix your brain, be on time?

Dr Linda Sapadin, a psychologist in private practice in New York and author of How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age says, says some persistent lateness comes from “an obsessive thinking problem.”

In short, she says, the procrastinator focuses on a fear attached to the event or deadline for which they are running late. Rather than figuring out how to get beyond the fear, the fear becomes the excuse – usually expressed with a ‘but’ statement. For instance, you might tell yourself, “I wanted to be on time for that event but I couldn’t decide what to wear; I started to write an article but I was afraid my colleagues would find it not good enough,” she explains.

“Whatever comes after the ‘but’ is what counts,” says Sapadin. She tells people to change the word ‘but’ to ‘and’. ‘But’ denotes opposition and blockage; ‘And’ denotes connection and resolution, she explains, so “the task becomes less daunting, the fear less of an obstacle.”

If you’re sick of being left waiting by tardy friends, set boundaries and consequences for missing appointments. Credit: Getty Images.

DeLonzor started on her path to punctuality by identifying, and adapting the very thing that seemed to always make her late. That was only after she failed over and over again to improve her timeliness, she says. And then she realized it was the thrill of being rushed that she craved. Changing what she craved was the only way to improve.

“As I worked towards the goal of being more timely, I began to see the importance of being a reliable person,” DeLonzor says, “Developing that side of myself soon became a priority.”

Then there are the friends and loved ones who simply can’t take it anymore. Some of Sapadin’s clients arrive after a frustrated loved one has bought them a session or course with her.

For those left waiting, there is hope. You, too, can dictate what you’re willing to put up with.

“Instead of getting angry or upset, you can take a stand and set boundaries,” she says. “Talk about what you will do if the other person isn’t on time.” For instance, tell your late friend you’ll go into the movie without them if they’re more than ten minutes late. Tell that colleague who never turns his part of the project in on time that it just won’t be included next time — and the boss will know about it.

For me, a turning point came when a good friend drew her line in the sand. I was an hour late for a run in our local park. That was it, she said. She wasn’t going to make any more plans with me. And so she set in motion the best thing for me: accountability and identifying and addressing underlying problems that led to my perpetual lateness.

As the adage goes, old habits die hard, and the agonizing over this article is a deft illustration of that. But the next time I find myself keeping someone waiting, I’ll be looking at my thinking, and I’ll try to change it, even just a little.

Hopeless Helpless: Impeaching the President


At one point in my life. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, ,George H Bush, Bill Clinton and George W Bush and Barrack Obama were my all Presidents.

A Look Back

I remember listening to the Watergate hearings in school.   I remember when Manson member, Squeaky Fromme tried to take out President Ford at the State Capitol in Sacramento with an unloaded gun and Sara Jane Moore shot at him on the Post Street side of the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Gas lines when Jimmy Carter was President. Ronald Reagan saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” George H Bush didn’t know what a Gallon of Milk Cost the average american.  Bill Clinton saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”.  George W saying “He” Saddam Hussein ” “Tried to kill my Daddy!” finally I remember Obama crying as he was talking about the children being killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.

I don’t remember any of these Presidents choosing the word of a Russian or a leader of another country  over US intelligence or abandoning an ally.  Calling members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Scum.. Mistreating Immigrants.

Richard Millhouse Nixon and Donald John Trump

People connected to the Nixon Campaign broke into the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Office Complex in Washington D.C.    Donald Trump intercepted money allocated by Congress to the Ukraine to ask for Dirt on the Bidens to help give him a leg up on the 2020 Presidential Election.

President Nixon asked the CIA to disrupt the FBI investigation on the break in.  Nixon refused to release tapes to an independent council subpoena. He released them after being ordered by the Supreme Court.   Donald Trump has ignored every subpoena sent by Congress.

The fight over the tapes grew intense by the hour.  Nixon ordered his attorney general, Eliot Richardson, to fire Cox. Richardson refused, resigning instead. The new acting attorney general, William Ruckelshaus, refused as well, and resigned. The third in command at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork , finally carried out the order to fire Cox. The office of special prosecutor was abolished, and the investigation was sent back to the Justice Department proper.  This was considered a major abuse of power.

The House Judiciary Committee approved three articles on impeachment against President Nixon. 

The second article charged him with a variety of abuses, including attempting to use the IRS to investigate political enemies, using the FBI to do illegal surveillance, overseeing the break-in to Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, and allowing the plumbers to work in the White House in general.

 concerned his failure to comply with subpoenas from Cox, Jaworski, and the Senate Watergate Committee.

Richard Nixon Resigned before the House voted to impeach him.

December 2019

After the GREAT shock of 2016 there was a sigh and resolution.  Donald  J Trump is my President.  I told myself to take a step back.  It was an election and during a typical election, the goal is to convince us that the other guy is hopeless and horrible and that they (the opponent is the clear choice.

The woman’s march was exhilarating.  It gave me hope America was wide awake.   Like an avalanche our President was rapidly dismantling America by Executive Order.   He was signing orders and laws he didn’t understand the ramifications or seem to care.

  He is hopeless and horrible! and it seemed he was unstoppable. Where, was Congress? Where were the leveled headed Republicans?  Many of the orders ,were cruel.

2018, brought hope. I didn’t want President Trump Impeached. I wanted balance.  I was disappointed with some of the freshmen members of Congress who’s goal was to impeach the President, I was hoping some order would be restored.  The President separated immigrants, opened parks for mining.  American is up for sale.

He is a master of the media.  I realize he has limited audience in Kentucky, Mississippi,  Alabama and a few areas in the Nation but its disheartening.  It seems people were buying the tonic despite the evidence that its just water.

I know its a little premature, and I trust Nancy Pelosi, I want the President impeached. This may slow his belief that he is King.   I realize it is unlikely he will be removed. ( unless his approval rating within his party drop 30 points) .  It may be sad, even petty, but I want a win, I want the checks and balances restored and perhaps, he might for the first time, realize their are consequences for ignoring the constitution.

The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles             on the impeachment against President Trump

Article II, Section 1

The first article alleges an of abuse of power stems from Trump’s decision to withhold roughly $400 million of congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine until the country announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival..

In a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Zelensky to investigate Biden, and his son, Hunter, who worked for the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings. The “favor,” as Trump described it, was made despite a lack of evidence that Biden or his son had engaged in corrupt activities, according to the House Intelligence report.

The second article alleges obstruction are based on Trump’s lack of cooperation with the House inquiry, including defying subpoenas for documents and testimony.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in an Oct. 8 letter to Pelosi and other House leaders that the inquiry is being conducted in a manner that “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”

The White House prevented a number of mid-level and top staffers from testifying, in part because the process wouldn’t allow the president to call or cross-examine witnesses. Trump tweeted last month he wanted people to testify but was “fighting for future presidents and the Office of the President” by not letting them appear before Congress.

In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”

 

 

CityFella

Lizzo how YOU feelin?


Image result for lizzo lakers game

Being the topic of conversation is good thing if your entertainer.  There are some who believe any conversation is good, as long as someone is talking .  Some performers use fashion to create conversation and controversy, Lady Gaga ,Madonna, Cher, Jennifer Lopez come to mind .

On Sunday, Lizzo, was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, supporting the Minnesota Timberwolves.  During half time, the Laker Girls danced to her music and Lizzo joined them and revealed her backside of her outfit.

Some people lost their minds. After all they’re families there!

The world has seen, Gaga’s Madonna, Cher and J-Lo backs side.  Lizzo’s a normal women, a full figured women with curves.

Tweeter was all the tweeta.  Filled with how dare she? Does she know what she looks like? and the other side defending her right to be her.

 

Its Tuesday, December 10, the Laker, Timberwolf game is history.

And were still talking about her…..

Lizzo, Baby how your feelin?

Probably, Good as hell……

CityFella

George Zimmerman part 10,001: When you cant get out of your own way


Image result for george zimmerman

I have written more than a dozen blogs about George Michael Zimmerman.

Florida’s Stand your Ground law, that prevented  Mr Zimmerman from prison caused me to re-think traveling to the Sunshine State.  My sometimes intimidating extra large black presence could generate fear to an Floridian who might shoot me because they were fearful for their life.

 In my home state of California, Mr Zimmerman would likely be in one of our many fine correctional facilities today.

One would think after being acquitted in one of the highest profile cases since the OJ trial ,Mr Zimmerman would want to simply put his head down and disappear. In an ideal world he would have left the state where he was receiving hundreds of death threats daily to a state where he might disappear.

Since his court appearance Mr Zimmerman has experienced  hundred of threats, physical attacks and extreme road rage where he was shot at by someone who  recognized him. He has been banned from online dating sites.

His life is littered with many self inflected wounds too many to mention here.

 

Its a Family Affair

In the months after his acquittal, his wife called the police saying he threatened her with a gun.  No gun was found.   Two months later his girlfriend called the police saying he threatened her with a gun this time a gun was found.

His parents sued Roseanne Barr, after tweets revealed their address and the couple went into hiding.  The courts threw out the suit, it wasn’t Roseanne, it was one of her followers who posted their home address.

Spike Lee, did post their address and settled with the couple.

In 2015, George Zimmerman tweeted a police evidence photo of Trayvon Martin’s dead body. Twitter removed the photo.

In 2017, he was accused of threatening and harassing a private investigator who was working on a documentary about Treyvon’s life.  Zimmerman reportedly called the investigator 55 times, left 36 voicemails, sent 27 emails and texted him 67 times over a nine day period.  The Seminole Country court allowed Zimmerman to use a public defender after filing documents indicating he was 2.5 million in debt and had zero income.

Lights, Camera, Law Suite.  Zimmerman’s Latest Chapter 

Last year, a six  part documentary  called Rest in Power : Trayvon Martin Story premiered on the Paramount Network..

Another documentary titled ” The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America .  The story is reportedly told from Zimmerman’s perspective. The film is produced by Jay-Z.

On Tuesday , which was coincidentally the day the film was due to  shown in Coral Gables Art Cinema is the same day George Zimmerman filed a one hundred million dollar lawsuit against the Parents of Trayvon Martin,  attorney Benjamin Crump and others .

The lawsuit alleges evidence presented in the homicide trail was false. The accuse the Martin Family of falsifying testimony.  The lawsuit also alleges that the prosecution’s key witness in Zimmerman’s 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was “an imposter and fake witness.”  Jeantel testified during Martin’s trial that she was on the phone with Martin as he was walking home from 7-Eleven on Feb. 26, 2012, and noticed a “creepy” man watching him.

Zimmerman is represented by Larry Klayman, an American right-wing activist lawyer and former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor.

CityFella

 

 

 

Desert bloom: My wedding day, inside a California prison


Image result for wedding in prison

The prison has been the third person in my relationship for years, and now it’s the third person in my marriage

 

 

Today is the day. I run my fingers across the fabric of my dress. It’s almost too perfect to take off the wire hanger. I knew this was the dress — long and white with eyelets all over — as soon as I saw it in the window of Lane Bryant. It ties behind my neck, leaving my back exposed. It’s not traditional by any means — it’s not a big frou-frou beaded wedding dress with a train or veil. The eyelets, a perfect detail, make it feel like something you would wear in the country, walking barefoot in the grass.I touch the fabric as though it has always belonged to me. In this dress I am perfect. Instead of a veil, I wear a shawl of burgundy silk, the color of the cherries I used to eat with my cousins on my granny’s porch in the summer. It’s big enough to cover the back of my dress and drape over my shoulders. I’m tired. Since age 15 I’ve been not a human being but a human doing — always taking care of what needs to be done, without time to just be — since my oldest son was born and I jumped into instant adulthood. Now I’m 24 and I’m weary. I’ve been working and raising a family for a decade. But in this moment, in this dress, I can breathe.

 

Everything changed in 1994 when I started ninth grade and met Jason. At 14, I thought I was so mature, flirting with boys and acting grown, but in reality, I never got serious or physical with anybody. I was set on going to Spellman and becoming an obstetrician, until I got pregnant with my son Tre, and Jason and I became an instant family. Now I had to go to college. Jason tried to make quick money on the streets to make up for everything he never had, staying out all night selling dope, stealing cars, whatever it took. He couldn’t say he was going to college with me, but he felt if he put up enough money it would show he was all in. For him college was something on TV. He was homeless, a high school dropout, a gang member, and drug dealer. He didn’t have the words to tell me he cared — nobody ever taught him — so he showed me with money instead.

About eight months after Tre was born, my mom was out of town for the weekend, so I posted up on her good couch, laughing at Steve Erkel, eating Hamburger Helper, waiting for Jason to show up. He was late, and I was worried. We didn’t get to kick it often just the three of us, with the house to ourselves, and he was passing up a rare family moment.

My phone rang before the sun was up. Too early to be anything good. The second I heard “collect call” I knew. He’d been arrested for attempted carjacking. Later he would tell me on one of our first visits while he was in county that he had been on the run for over a year for a shooting.

 

The trial took almost a year to complete, all while I was trying to finish high school with a baby. I was a minor with no car and no babysitter. My mom didn’t like Jason at all, and his absence made everything more palatable for her — I still made the honor roll, and remained on track for great things. Jason didn’t want me coming to court anyway. I think deep down he was ashamed.

One night, Granny handed me the cordless phone in her kitchen.

“What happened?” I asked anxiously. “What they give you?”

“22”

“22 what?”

“22 years” he said, still calm.

I left my body and sank into the kitchen floor. My one-year-old son saw how sad I was and put his hand on my shoulder, his face on my face. I kept crying.

“Stop crying.” Jason said.

I couldn’t.

It’s July, and I’m melting in my perfect white dress. The line to the prison is always long, but today seems even longer. Calipatria State Prison is in the middle of the Southern California Desert, less than 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border and almost 200 miles southeast of Los Angeles, far from anything familiar. The prison is surrounded by alternating patches of dirt and fields that aren’t fruitful. You can’t escape the sun out here, and being below sea level makes it even hotter. In the middle of all this heat and dirt, cars are lined up bumper to bumper for miles. It looks like the beginning of a disaster movie — after the evacuation notice but before everyone starts to panic. Through each car window you can see people taking naps, changing diapers, brushing their teeth and waiting to move forward even an inch. I pull past car after car until I get to Chastity’s, where she’s saving our spot.

Chastity greets me with a glistening smile, the metal in her braces reflecting the harsh desert sun. We met through our boyfriends. We’re both regular visitors and over the past six months we’ve become super close. She’s developed a hard exterior over the years but this morning her smile gives her away. She tells me and my family—my two sons, my mom, auntie, my cousins Kawai and KaNesha, my friend Shanise, and my granny—to pull our cars in front of hers. Usually getting in line takes all kinds of planning; someone needs to leave their car in line early the day before. Inexperienced visitors show up early in the morning or late the night before and sleep in their cars, but Chastity and our crew have a system. Someone drops off a car the day before and gets a ride back to town, so when we show up on visiting day we’re not waiting at the back of a line of cars three miles long. After three hours driving from LA out to Calipatria, not having to worry about the line is like hitting every green light with no traffic.

Even with the best spot in line, I’m impatient. CO Davis, who passes cars through the gate every Saturday, is late. I don’t want no bullshit today. It’s 7:45 a.m. and we’re still not moving. The Justice of the Peace is arriving at 9 a.m. and my family still has to get through security. I get out and walk to my family’s car to try to ease their impatience, even though they should be trying to make me feel at ease today. I tell them to be ready and pay attention, looking back at the cars stretched forever into the desert. Davis, the thin dark-skinned officer in aviator glasses, waves for us to pull up to his booth. “How many visiting?” he with a joking laugh in his voice. I’m a regular, and he knows I’m here with my whole family. He checks my ID and gives me a visiting pass, then waves us through to the parking lot. I give everyone a once-over to make sure they’re dress code compliant. No slip-ups today.

Now the next round of waiting begins. The waiting room is super full today, and not much to look at — it’s a generic room filled with hard folding chairs, a couple of vending machines and a desk for security. Nothing is comfortable; everything is designed to ensure visitation is temporary. The bathrooms never work right. You can’t bring any bill larger than a dollar for the snack machines. There’s a vending machine to buy picture ducets — the tickets you give to the porter in the visitation room so they can take Polaroids of you during your visit. 2 dollars a ducet, one ducet per picture. The porters aren’t photographers, just someone in the prison they assign to take pictures for the day, and there are no do-overs. Luckily for us, Jason already handled the picture arrangements. All we have to do is wait for our number to be called, and then it’s showtime.

But here’s where things can go good or bad, depending on who’s working. Luckily I’m a regular and I know just about everyone. And even if I don’t know them, I know how to talk my way through, how to finesse the guards and the rules. But today I have to get nine people through. Plus, I’m wearing a dress with no back — that’s a violation. No backless, no sleeveless, no spaghetti straps allowed. I’m trying to be slick with my shawl to cover it up, but if the officer behind the security desk wants to make a big deal out of my dress, it could make for an even longer day.

Of all the dreams for my wedding, watching my whole family go through a security checkpoint was never one of them. Prison security is a degrading experience. It’s not like an airport, where the pat downs might get on your nerves or add a hassle to your day, but you get to move on. A TSA agent isn’t going to tell you to change your clothes or shoes, or tell you after you go through security that you can’t go catch your plane “just because.” In prison, they can stop the whole visit because they feel like it. Plus they can talk crazy, make little cutting comments, interrogate you like you’ve done something wrong or you have something to hide. You’re at the mercy of the state for wanting to see the person you love. At any moment an intimate and humiliating search could become part of my wedding guest’s experience.

I put my shawl in the bin, and the officer looks at me: “You know you cannot have your back out.”

I put on my slickest voice.

“I have this shawl, it covers my whole back,” I say. “And I’ll wear it the whole time, I promise.”

If she decides the shawl isn’t good enough, I’ll have to change my whole outfit, or wear a t-shirt over my beautiful dress. I get lucky — the officer lets me live, and we are shuffled outside into the heat to wait for the gates to the prison to open. The shooters in the towers give the all clear and we walk through. Visiting room C is a good five-minute walk from the gate, in 115-degree heat, surrounded by cement, in heels. We show the officer our pass, the guard confirms the number of people in our party and shows us to our pre-school sized table. We pull up in hard metal folding chairs, which are too tall for the tables — a tactic to make sure guards can see our hands at all times.

The windowless white room feels more like a storage container than a space for humans. Rules for adults and children that dictate how to touch and how to talk are the only art on the walls. Any kind of meaningful interaction is strictly controlled. More vending machines line the walls. According to the pamphlets available at check-in, Calipatria’s visiting rooms are meant to maintain connection between the people who live inside these walls and their loved ones on the other side, but really this room is designed to chip away at everyone’s humanity. Even visitors are controlled by the state. You have to stay focused on why you’re here, because it’s easy to sit in this space and never want to come back.

Guards will walk my groom down the aisle to me. The door they’ll escort him through is solid white, no glass, so I have no idea what’s happening on the other side. Sometimes men are searched before coming into the visiting room and sent back for petty reasons, for “attempting to bring out contraband,” which could be anything — something he made out of yarn, a perfume sample from a magazine he ripped out, little notes to read after visiting is over. There’s always a possibility that the person you’re coming to see won’t show up.

But today Jason does, and in our little corner of the room, we have our wedding. I always pictured my ceremony as an intimate affair with a few close relatives and friends as guests. But here there is no privacy: We also have to invite the 60 other people in the room — no control over who’s watching, listening, making themselves part of the ceremony just by being there.

It’s time for our vows. I start with, “I’ve loved you ever since I was fourteen,” and I start crying. I feel overwhelmed by the moment, the space I’m in, the lack of privacy, the expectation that I pour out my heart in front of a crowd of people I don’t even know. The excitement and anxiety I’ve felt all day, added to this hostile prison space with its strangers, is enough to make my emotions overflow. When I don’t stop crying immediately, the Justice of the Peace turns to Jason and asks him to recite his vows. Even when my sobs of joy stop, I’m in full sensory overload and can’t focus. I have no idea what Jason said, but we exchange rings.

“OK. I pronounce you husband and wife. Kiss the bride,” the Justice of the Peace says plainly. She’s more like a Justice of the Peace-out, ready to be done. The second she stops talking she’s headed for the door.

The next couple of hours in the visiting room are our honeymoon: we share a drink from the vending machine and reflect on how the day went. Jason’s time in prison has been as much about keeping me out as keeping me in. Visiting him consistently for the 10 years he’s been inside is a challenge to the prison itself — as is our marriage and my commitment to the next 10 years ahead of us. Staying connected to Jason is an act of resistance, of not letting the prison or the system change who I love and how I live.

“Visitation is over.”

And with a brief, state-approved kiss to end our visitation honeymoon, my wedding day ends. Crossing back from the prison grounds into the visitor’s center snaps me back to reality. The gate closes behind me and I’m brought back to the present with the guards, shooters in the towers, and all the ambient noise of the prison that reminds me where I am. The prison has been the third person in my relationship for years, and now it’s the third person in my marriage. I didn’t just marry Jason. I had to marry the prison too. Prisons use family as leverage — the threat of restricting visitation is an easy way to make people inside behave — and it often ends up punishing those on the outside as well. My husband and I can’t make decisions on our own: It’s a constant consultation and struggle, with arguments, compromises, and agreements between all three of us.

I walk alone back down the pavement from the visiting room, back through the reception area to the parking lot. I think about what I won: I had my wedding and my day, and nobody stopped me. Chastity and my homegirls visiting the other yards meet me in the parking lot. We pile into my rental minivan to go to Golden Corral for my wedding reception. Tomorrow I get to do it all over again. Back to the line. No dress this time. No shiny shoes. No makeup. No family. Just me, Jason, and Calipatria State Prison.

The story goes that prisons are places for people who made the wrong choices. But consider that Jason and I didn’t choose to grow up poor. Jason didn’t choose to get lost to the system, to lose his mom to addiction, to be left to family members who were supposed to look out for him and instead took advantage of him. We didn’t choose to be born in the United States where punishment is valued over education. I didn’t choose who I fell in love with. But I did have a choice about living on my own terms and how I’m going to love. I took what I could control and I chose that. Getting married in a prison wasn’t my dream, but I choose to get married in Calipatria because I refused to let the prison system dictate how I would build my family. I had my wedding, regardless of what I had to do to have it.

 

KEEONNA HARRIS

Keeonna Harris is a 2018-19 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University, where her research focuses on gender, motherhood, and incarceration.

Congratulations Vladimir


You have to be congratulated in your well orchestrated plan to disrupt the West.   The United States of America is in disarray.  Its creditably on the world the stage has been shattered.  Countries who once looked to the West for guidance are looking elsewhere.

The growing economies of Africa and South America are looking toward China and your country for assistance.

Your choice of a failed Real Estate Developer and Reality TV Star was brilliant.   You groomed him for years.  When no American Banks would lend him money, you used your influence to guarantee loans for his Golf Courses and other projects.

Image result for donald trump and vladimir putin

Your countrymen invested in his properties, paying prices considerably above what they were actually worth.

Your timing was incredible. You chose a time when Americans were unhappy with their elected and was hungry for something different and your choice gave an Emmy Winning Performance.

Getting him to withdraw from Syria was absolutely brilliant ……….

Syria, confirmed to the world, the United States of America doesn’t keep its word and can not be trusted.

For decades, nations considered it to be highest honor to have an American President visit their countries.  Today, few of our allies invite him.  Due to his unpopularity on the world stage, leaders of other countries get bonus points from their countrymen if they challenge him.

Few want to sit next to the American President. Despite his immense popularity with  small percentage of Americans who adore him.   Leaders of other countries are rapidly distinsing themselves from our President, further fracturing a once close relationship.

During the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the leaders of Canada, France and England can be seen on video making fun of our President.  They know he is keeping a campaign promise by insisting nations pay their fare share.   They also he hasn’t a clue of what happening in the individual meetings. Humiliated, he’s returning to the United States early. Where is very important that return to an region of America, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama to participate in an Rally of supporters who love him unconditionally.

It doesn’t matter if your apry is re-elected next year, the damage has been done.

Job well done! Where do we send the gift?

Would you prefer a traditional gift or a gift card?

CityFella

 

Clarence Thomas takes aim at liberals, Joe Biden in new documentary


Clarence Thomas thegrio.com AP
Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits as he is introduced during an event at the Library of Congress in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

 

By: Dawn Onley/TheGrio.com

U.S. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas has a bone to pick with the “modern day liberal.”

In a new documentary entitled: “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” he slams Democrats and particularly presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, for the way he was treated during his 1991 confirmation hearings.

“There’s different sets of rules for different people,” Thomas says in the documentary,  according to ABC News, whose reporters were allowed an early view of the documentary, set to air in select theaters early 2020, and on PBS in the spring. “If you criticize a Black person who’s more liberal, you’re a racist. Whereas you can do whatever to me, or to now (HUD Secretary) Ben Carson, and that’s fine, because you’re not really Black because you’re not doing what we expect Black people to do.”

Then Thomas goes on to slam liberals in general.

“I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me. We were told that, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it’s gonna be the Klansmen; it’s gonna be the rural sheriff,’ ” Thomas says in the documentary, according to ABC News. “But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern day liberal.”

 

“Do I have like stupid written on the back of my shirt? I mean come on. We know what this is all about,” Thomas says in the film, according to ABC News. “People should just tell the truth: ‘This is the wrong Black guy; he has to be destroyed.’ Just say it. Then now we’re at least honest with each other.”

Thomas said the Anita Hill sexual harassment allegations were an attempt “to get rid of me.” But after he was confirmed, the thing was “to undermine me.”

 

He never mentions Biden directly by name in the documentary, but when filmmakers ask him to discuss Biden’s questions during his confirmation hearings that deal with natural law, Thomas said: “I have no idea what he was talking about. I understood what he was trying to do. I didn’t really appreciate it,” Thomas said. “Natural law was nothing more than a way of tricking me into talking about abortion.”

Bill Russo, deputy communications director for Biden, told ABC News: “Then-Senator Biden voted against Clarence Thomas in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he argued against him on the Senate floor, and he voted against his confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. It is no surprise that Justice Thomas does not have a positive view of him.”

“Created Equal” was produced by Michael Pack and Manifold Productions, conservative filmmakers. Thomas reportedly sat for more than 22 hours of interviews last year and the documentary is being sold as a way for Thomas to tell his story “truly and fully, without cover-ups or distortions.”

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