How Do We Fight Washington Bullies and Still Retain Our Dignity?



I had an epiphany of sorts this morning while watching AM Joy. As I drank my morning cup of half caff listening to Joy Reid and a panel of mostly women discuss the Kavanaugh hearings, a young combative woman, who was defending Brett K, started shouting. She was talking over everyone else, spewing utter nonsense, blaming every Democrat on the planet. It suddenly hit me!!!! This belligerent behavior is being demonstrated by not only angry old white men, it has become the new acceptable temperament of right wing conservatives.

Now, this revelation may have already been figured out by most of you, but I tend to be stuck in La La land when it comes to thinking people have an agenda. I am naive that way and still back in a 1960’s frame of mind. (Where I think everyone believes in peace and love, and cares about their fellow man.)
So, it is difficult for me to think human beings, especially women, can just shout down and bully others to deflect opponents from presenting their truth. But, suddenly, when I realized this young girl (I originally wrote lady but her behavior was so uncivil that I couldn’t call her a lady), was pulling a “Trumpism” and saying anything just to fill in the space so the other women on the panel couldn’t be heard. I understood that this belligerent behavior is a tactic used by many Republicans. They shout, scream, blame any Democrat that comes to mind, deflect the issues to go somewhere else, and hope their accusations make everyone at the table so uncomfortable that they forget the real facts.
No wonder Lindsey Graham and Kavahaugh went full on Trump at the hearings. That kind of shocking aggressive behavior stops serious, mindful Democrats in their tracks. That is why Hillary ignoring Trump’s crassness was considered weak, instead of her taking the high road and just ignoring his brashness. If she lost her temper they would say she was just a female having a tantrum. If she ignored his ridiculousness she was considered fragile. If she confronted him she was told she was shrill. She couldn’t win because she wasn’t male.

We are now living in a time when reason is being overpowered by rude absurdity! Where adults acting like toddlers having irrational tantrums are applauded rather than reprimanded.

Apparently, now that John McCain is gone the truth doesn’t matter to the GOP. Kindness doesn’t seem to matter either. We all know it is considered by our President to be a weak strategy.

So what do we do next? Lose our dignity and become monsters as well? No, we don’t do that. But…
They want force? I say how about might instead? We liberals, progressives, whatever you want to call Democrats; it really doesn’t matter. Those of us who want the truth, who care about minorities, healthcare, and equality, and want all citizens to be as empowered as the white men currently making our laws, need to be united (NOT squabbling over minor particulars or how progressive we are).
We need to fight back barbaric behavior with facts, force, and fundamental reasoning.

We CAN overpower the GOP with the power of numbers at the polls. By reminding them what our constitution really says, and by standing for human rights and equality!

We can never back down. We must DEMAND justice. We cannot cower in the shadows because shouting entitled males in the majority think they can bully us into silence. NO! We keep repeating our truth to them over and over and over again!!! In numbers.

Forcefulness does not mean we lose our decorum, our integrity, or our kindness. We do not need to play the blame game or lose our souls by putting party over the people of this  great country. But, we do need to expose the truth. And keep throwing that up in the face of liars who were elected to represent us, not their pocketbooks, or the President.

We can do this! Get out and let your vote be your voice! Be heard! Let’s get back our dignity and our Country! Our fight is not new.  Women (and men) have always fought for change. But each time we join together we reach new heights.  Join me!!! #Voteblue


Make America Smart Again!

Future, present and past U.S. Presidents meet at White House in Washington

I turned on the TV tonight and decided to see what movies were on since I had a bad headache and was not in the mood for politics, which I knew would only make my head feel worse after the events of the past few days.

The movie “Olympus has Fallen” came on. A film I have never seen, but I knew it involved The President and the White House. Yes, The American President! Remember that guy? Once upon a time it was a person we all revered . Good looking, classy, intelligent. I started to cry recalling when I used to admire that office so much. Now, I am embarrassed by it.

The current resident of the White House is brash, uninformed, and a bully. In fact, it is his bullying tactics that have ruined this country. His bad behavior has carried over to the Senate and how our representatives now treat one another. This Trump “Thuggism” has taken over Washington DC and I fear we may never regain our decorum and decency again.

These days when I think of the Presidency, I see a crass old man with a bad comb over, who snorts and sputters incoherent phrases that do not connect, or even make sense. He can barely read speeches that were written for him, and his tweets are middle school inappropriate. Intelligence is still cool where I come from. Dumbing down America is NOT ok with me.

Yesterday, an interview for the highest court in the land revealed temperamental tantrums from Brett Kavanaugh, showing the public his arrogant entitlement and lack of control or respect for our elected representatives. He too was thuggish, just like the bully in charge.

So now we have “Trickle Down Trumpism”. (And people wonder how the Nazis took over Germany?) Evidently, bad behavior empowers weak insecure men and makes them act out against their peers.

The TV movie reminded me of why we have to bring back respectability to Washington, along with intelligence and decorum. That should help in giving us back some worldwide respect.  We as a country need to Make Intelligence Great Again. Because stupid is just not working!!

We need to vote in kindness and caring back to DC. And “We The People” must remember how to be compassionate again. NOT great again, but kind again.

And somebody needs to explain that to the President. I know he thrives on chaos and anger. But,the rest of us don’t want to live that way anymore. And we sure as hell do not want to see a panel of old angry white men yelling at each other.  We have had enough of that nonsense.

I sure miss the Presidents of the past.


Do Self Help Books Really Help?


Do Self Help books really help people?  I don’t think so.

Last night I was watching “The Great American Read” on PBS, and thought what could possibly be better? An entire show dedicated to exceptional novels and reading! That’s right up my alley being a teacher. And I have to admit; it was simply delightful hearing ordinary people, from all walks of life, sharing their relationship with some of the best books ever written.

In the middle of being enthralled with a myriad of viewpoints, one of the women being interviewed said something I found to be truly profound. It was so inspiring that I literally jumped up from my chair and shouted, “YES!!” Usually that kind of animated response from me is reserved for the likes of Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Barach Obama, or Benedict Cumberbatch.

But, last night what she said, (I am paraphrasing) was something that I have always found to be blatantly true. She stated, “People get a lot more out of reading a novel than any self- help book on the market. Because a novel allows you to use your imagination and create possibilities. It forces you to think and come up with alternative solutions.”

I so agree. So much so, that I had to wipe away a couple tears after she expressed her thoughts. I know I am a geek, but I get all weepy when it comes to good literature. Why? Because when you read a good book, you become “one” with the main characters. You jump into their heads and feel what they are feeling. You temporarily live through, and react to what they are experiencing. The world in a book seems to be happening all around you, just inside your head.

You laugh when the protagonist laughs. Cry when she or he is hurting. In essence, you become the characters, or at least transform into a fly on the wall observing all the action in the story.

When I open up a book it comes to life! Be it through actual pages or my iPad, it doesn’t matter.  The people, places, and events in the narrative take me to the past, the present, or even into the future. The possibilities are endless!!! I am taken away on an adventure. And often, while I am on that reading journey, I’m taught lessons in life from the stories I have read.

I learned way more about internal strength and survival from the likes of Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, Jane Eyre, and Scarlet O’Hara growing up, than I ever learned from a self-help book. I was inspired by each of those female protagonists during my youth, and I drew from their characters unique and powerful qualities. I discovered the standards I wanted to live by and see in myself. And I understood the steps I needed to take to over come diversity simply because of how the women in my favorite books prevailed.

They were strong and independent, even when society frowned upon it. I admired the authors too. For only through such determined creative spirits could these  brilliant characters have been created.  And as I lived my life, I mustered up my own inner strength and creativity from what I learned from my favorite literary heroines and the writers who conjured them up. They were the best role models a girl could have. Perhaps, that is why I still have each of those novels on my shelves today. Some are quite dog-eared, but all well loved, and read dozens of times.

So, the comment this one particular woman on the PBS special made, was something I could easily have said myself in my own classroom. That there is nothing quite like a well-written novel to change or affect an individual’s thought process and behavior. A book can inspire and uplift you. It can motivate and teach you lessons. Or help you understand the human condition and find compassion for others.  It can introduce you to other cultures and those less fortunate. Reading books allows a person to feel a gamut of emotions that one doesn’t necessarily get to experience in real life.

Now, I am not saying that if you enjoy self- help books to stop reading them.  If they motivate you and you enjoy reading them, then by all means, continue on. After all, happiness is created when we do what we enjoy. And that’s all that matters.  Do what works for you. If self-help videos, books, or blogs are your thing, then go for it.

I just have a different point of view.  It seems to me that everyone these days is writing a self-help book or blogging about how to be happy and live an amazingly, fulfilling life. And goodness knows now a plethora of people are making self help videos on youtube. And quite often, most of these people are not qualified to tell anyone how to live their lives. Sometimes they are out of touch with reality or have no life experience to draw from. Other times, their comments may be relevant, just not for me. I am an out of the box thinker, so lists of ordinary solutions don’t work for this gal. They never have. Just this morning while searching for something interesting to read, I came across half a dozen self-help blogs explaining how various writers could help everyone on the planet become happier. (Perhaps these authors really do know the secrets of the universe), but, I highly doubt it.

In fact today, even though I usually never read that sort of thing, I decided to be open-minded and peruse one of these blogs. First, I burst out laughing. (The advice was something my 7-year-old grand daughter could have given me.  She is very logical.) The outline/ lists were categorized and so lengthy that I almost fell asleep trying to read all that nonsense. And doing that made me very unhappy!!! It wasted my time! (I could have been reading a novel or writing a new chapter to my newest book.)

The funny thing is, I was happy BEFORE I started to read HOW to be happy. By the time I pored over this particular blog, I was miserable! Plus, I was annoyed at the gall of the author deciding she knew what would make ME happy. How could she? She doesn’t know me from Adam. I don’t like to climb mountains. (I have vertigo.) I don’t want to sky dive, I am afraid of heights. How is that going to make me happy???? ICK! Let me read a classic novel. Give me a lesson to create. Hand me Shakespeare and I will be in seventh heaven. So, no way would anything on the list of this professed guru of inner peace, give me contentment. Let me listen to Jimi Hendrix or dance to Harvest Moon’s “Dancing In The Moonlight.” THAT will make me happy.

The thing is, I wake up every day smiling. (Especially after a cup of coffee. LOL) I am basically a very happy person. I have always been a glass half full kind of girl. My life hasn’t always been easy, but, I have enjoyed it so far. In fact, I consider myself pretty darn lucky. I have two amazing sons and three fabulous grandchildren. I’ve been married twice and for a certain duration of time, I was very happy in both my marriages. I think that is an amazing feat in itself. LOL Is that the norm? Probably not. But it is for moi!

My parents and one spouse have now passed away and I remember them with kindness, love, and am grateful to have had them all in my life. I had an amazing 36-year teaching career that I cherished, and I still remain in touch with a huge number of my former students while in retirement.

I have been an actress, a dancer, and a model. I have played guitar in an all girls’ rock and roll band when I was a teenager; I’ve been a teacher, a mother and a grandmother.

During difficult times to make ends meet I pain stakingly drew calligraphy for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, and I created watercolor paintings for baby’s rooms that helped pay for my son so he could be on baseball and soccer teams after school.

My first job when I was in middle school was going to the local record shop and being hired as a go go dancer to help sell Beatles and Rolling Stones albums. Yep, I got to dress in white go-go boots, a mini skirt, and wear a John Lennon hat. It was totally GROOVY! (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)

I have been vibrant and healthy and I have had some challenging health issues and a couple of car accidents. But, I am still here, smiling and kicking and looking pretty okay for my age.  So why on earth would I need to read a self-help book on how to be happy?  I don’t get it?

All I have to do is wake up every day and realize that I can still walk and talk, I can see and hear, I can think, and I can create. I can even still wear cool embroidered jeans and enjoy my life. I get to see my grand children and children whenever I want to, and above all else, I can read! And download a book on my iPad Pro which lets me make the font as large as I want! AND boy do I love technology. I have an iPhone, an iPad Pro, and a MacBook Pro laptop. And I continue learning anything new in technology that comes out. I love staying current. I just got a Ring Doorbell and have fun talking to my cute UPS guy from my phone telling him to just drop off my package from Amazon. It doesn’t take much to keep me smiling!

So, you see, this groovy grandma thinks life is pretty damn awesome. Sure, I have some crummy days now and then like everyone else. But, I AM happy. So why would I want to read a self-help book/blog? Help for what?

I think a lot of folks are too consumed with all the negatives and that is their problem. People need to think for themselves, be who they want to be. Or just be who they are. If they want lists then they should create them for themselves rather then trying to copy someone else’s ideas. What’s the commercial say? Just Do it? That is great advice! Come on people, just do it! Or at least do what you CAN do. I have limitations some days. But so what? There’s no reason to be miserable. Do your best. Give happiness a try.

I say, forget about self-help books and just help yourself. Be happy. Look outside and see the beauty in everything around you. Be grateful for what you have and don’t obsess about what you don’t have. Self-help to me means help yourself. And THAT is Lesley’s self- help advice for today! Take it or leave it. Just be happy. Or don’t. It’s up to you. I’m going to download a good book to read and get happy! Why don’t you join me???









Sharing a beautiful piece by my friend poet lady universe…


One by one
They left this world

I didn’t know my grandfather
Heard he left on dad’s birthday round about 1950
Leaving dad
White as a ghost

Simon was next
Another grandfather
Didn’t know much about him neither
Except he was a big imposing man
With a strange resemblance
To a WWII hero

Mother’s mother, mother’s sister, dad’s aunt, dad’s mother, dad’s brother, a brother in law, a sister, 2 uncles, another aunt
Each one quietly slipping out of this world
The only traces left behind
Vague memories
A saying or two

Yet surrounded by ghosts
I live my life
As if they are all still here silent, approving, disapproving

Hah! They can’t touch me now
How I wish they could

Copyright M L Schaefer 2018 All Rights Reserved

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Rain Rain Go Away…


What a gloomy, rainy day it is. It has been raining, (thundering and lightning) since the wee hours of the morning and now way into midday. Not that I mind the rain, its rather cozy and a nice way to spend a Sunday.

However, I must admit that last night before the huge storm began; I got a text from my oldest son saying that he was taking his family up the state to enjoy the Labor Day weekend and give my grand daughter a LEGOLAND Birthday. (LEGOLAND is my grandchildren’s favorite place in the entire world!) And he wanted me to know he was not going to be in town and to stay safe.

He is so sweet. I know he worries about me because when he leaves the local area then both my boys, (I mean men) will be gone, and I am alone.  I have to admit that it IS a strange feeling. I have gotten used to my youngest son living in Georgia but it IS an odd feeling to think both my sons aren’t around the corner any more. I suppose moms always want their children close, no matter how grown up they get.

In any case, I was awaken this morning with a face time call from my younger son in Atlanta, who was off today, showing me his organic garden and was very concerned because his home grown cucumbers that were a delectable treat last week, were now filled with little worms. We had a discussion about organic gardens and he said he had to get an organic spray that wasn’t harmful to the soil or humans and animals, but would drive away the worms. (Yes, that is what we really discussed.)

I shared with him my time in California where young hippie- Lesley was living on a farm in Sebastopol and I had my own organic garden. I returned home one afternoon after work only to discover that the cows from a neighboring farm had jumped the fence and eaten all my sunflower plants that were almost ready to eat. We then had a long discussion about how fragile crops were to the elements and how difficult life must be for farmers. But the best thing was his literary reference. (Keeping in mind I AM an elementary school teacher who has a vast Children’s literature collection and read to my children endlessly when they were little.)
He commented,” You know, this experience of growing my own food makes me much more sympathetic to Mr. McGregor and his garden and less understanding of Peter Rabbit and his pesky sisters, Flopsy and Mopsy!” I got hysterical laughing. That kid!!!! Kiddie Lit. humor is right up my alley!

Son, Johnny then proceeded to take me on a face-time tour of his garden and one of his neighbors (Who I met during a visit last summer) came out to say hello and she wanted his opinion about plants to use for her newly built front porch.
I left them chatting and felt like I had been virtually with my son. And before I could even get into the shower my other son text a group of photos of the grandkids having a blast at LegoLand. And several comments checking on my well being.

It’s nice to know that even on a rainy, gloomy day when my grown children are miles away, they are still thinking of their mom and sharing their lives with me.
Gosh,I feel very, very lucky. Let the storm rage on, because I feel enveloped in love.

                        My sons and I                    Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor