Friday, June 20, 2014

Summertime Reading Memories

 (Post - and current listening choices - inspired by time of year)

In 2002, at the beginning of July, I lost my mom. My kids were at day camp every day and I found myself trying to deal with this new reality, as I stayed home alone.

I took an online course in digital graphics. I listened to "The Mikado" (on a loop!) while I learned more about how to create various effects, and use different techniques.

And I began to listen to audiobooks.

The first one was Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. I had gone into the library, and happened to have been carrying my paperback copy of the book (maybe I was re-reading it because my mom had first introduced me to it). Francine, a now-friend, was working in the library's audio-visual section and asked if I had ever listened to the audiobook.

Some background: The weekend my mom died, I had taken out a VHS film. I never watched it, as we spent every minute at the hospital. So I had not yet returned it the night my mother died. When Francine called me to tell me it was late (as a courtesy - there were big fines when films were late), I explained why I had not returned it. She had instantly assured me to keep it until I could come in, but I went in the day before the funeral; knowing I would be sitting shiva for 7 days, I didn't want the movie out for any longer than it had to be.

Francine wasn't there, but she had left a note on my file, waiving the charges (which, of course, I would happily have paid).

The next time I went into the library, she came out from behind the counter to hug me and give me her condolences. It was instant friendship.

A couple of weeks later, the day she recommended I listen to Memoirs of a Geisha on audio (cassettes, back then!), I eagerly asked her to put it on my file (it was not back from the previous borrower). She had raved about the experience, and I was hooked on the idea. As luck would have it, the next day it was returned, and I began to listen immediately.

That summer is defined by the experience of having listened to - no, being immersed in the story. It was read by a woman whose name I cannot remember, but whose version, sadly, is not available on DVD. I listened as I practiced my new digital graphics skills; I listened while doing the laundry, I listened while preparing my kids' lunches for camp the next day, I listened just relaxing on the sofa.

It opened up a world of audiobooks for me. And thanks to Francine, I have read books I never would have picked up on the shelf (Eragon, for example, was not my style when I first saw it on the bookshelf, but listening to it was an exhilarating experience).

(Francine also has a very keen sense for people and picked up on my tastes in reading immediately; she never steers me wrong, even though she's no longer at the library, but we remain friends)

I had begun to read the Harry Potter series. I got into them later than most, reading books 1, 2, and 3 first. I then discovered the library had them on DVD, so I began to take them out. I listened to the first 3 books, and from then on, would read the physical book, then take out its audio counterpart.

(In fact, the Eragon series was the first I had listened to without having read the paper-and-ink version first).

I loved the books - who hasn't? - and listening to the audiobooks was more of a completely-new-experience than listening to other books. See, they're read by Jim Dale, an English stage actor. Dale had never before read for an audiobook recording (but has since recorded other books - I just found out he is the reader for the brilliant bestseller by Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus -  and has become the first inductee into the "Audio Publisher Association's Hall of Fame"). With Harry Potter, he creates a completely new listening/reading experience.

Dale uses voices rather effectively. He uses his own speaking voice for Harry, but every other character has a unique voice. He is so talented, one need not wait till he reads the part where the author has written "Professor Dumbledore said," as the voice alone alerts the listener to exactly whose words they are (he is still loyal to the text, though).

Listening to Dale is like listening to a play - a play of a familiar setting and group of characters, one in which dimension is added through expression and tone, timbre and inflection, and a play about magic made more magical by its very execution.

I highly recommend listening to the audiobooks. Whether you've read the books or not, whether you've seen the films or not - the world of Harry Potter is exciting and limitless, and Jim Dale makes it that much more enchanting.

I am just loading the DVDs onto my iPhone so I can once again slip into my summertime memories of sitting out on my deck, enjoying the sunshine and immersing myself into J.K. Rowling's world as brought to me by Jim Dale.

Oh, did I mention I now own the set? So if you see me walking Theo and smiling happily, you'll know why.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Awakening - Part III: Enlightenment And Exhilaration

(Note: I realize that Blogger posts in reverse order chronologically, therefore if you are just stumbling upon this blog, this is Part III of a series. Please start with Part I and continue through; I rarely do serial postings, but this one had to be done in parts. Thank you!)

(Continued from Part II)

In the early days of discussing my political views on social media, I would turn to what I already knew and felt, I would turn to sometimes-frantic web searches ("Does the NRA support gun sales without background checks?") and would more frequently turn to frantic texts to J ("quick question - debating a leftist - need a source or an answer to why the Second Amendment exists today and is important - thanks!").

See, as much as I knew, I was a toddler in my newfound education. I knew what I believed. But I needed to be able to combat what I now know is rhetoric-without-foundation and was not yet comfortable on my own.

I got the help I needed. But something happened - I was internalizing the values, learning the background, reading in my spare time and familiarizing myself with the common arguments that would get thrown my way. It always helps to be able to counter ideological contrarians when you know the ways in which you will be confronted.

And it was quite amazing. I found that the same (to use a common phrase now) talking points were held up almost as shields against the Truths I put forth. It became easier.

But it also became easier as I became more confident in my own ability to discuss, debate, discredit the rhetoric.

The first time I held my own in a Facebook "debate" (using the term lightly - they tend to get heated, ugly, and downright mean), I felt yet another weight lifting from my shoulders. I had realized that the whole time, not once did I seek a website for answers, text my Spiritual Guru for help, or access past arguments I might have archived for the sake of reference.

I had held my own. In the true sense of that phrase.

I had a Helen Keller "Water" Moment.

Let me explain: Helen Keller has always been a hero of mine. Since I was old enough to understand, since hearing of her death when I was a child, and from having read every book by, and about her that I could.

My favorite moment - from the books, from the film - is the W-A-T-E-R moment. Annie Sullivan, her tireless teacher, was spelling words in Helen's palm. It was gibberish to the blind, deaf, mute girl. But something clicked at the moment when Annie signed "water" in Helen's palm, coupled with the coolness of water from the pump she had just shown Helen how to use.

That was the Moment. Helen began to understand the connection. The letters, the word, the water. And she went into a frenzy of hunger for more. She touched everything she could - the grass, the tree, the flower, her dog - and went back to get Annie to spell the word in her palm.

That was the Moment when Helen Keller transcended her blindness, the world of darkness that she'd inhabited, and emerged into light of a different kind.

That's how it felt for me, learning about this new world of politics from a different perspective. Craving more. Seeking everything I could in order to learn my way around this new landscape. Taking that new information and using it to speak with authority from an entirely personal, but fact-based position, feeling confident and aware, knowledgeable and smarter than I had given myself credit for, in this new arena.

It was exhilarating.

Election 2012 saw me working hard (blogging, tweeting, Facebook discussions and debates) for The Other Side. The side I had not wanted to win last time. The side I now not only believed in, but embraced as "my people". And I had confidence that, with the tragedy in Benghazi, the world - or at least the voters - would see how important it was to have someone in the White House who would address the issues, not hide from them.

The results of the election shocked and depressed me. I felt a heavy-hearted sadness I could not describe. I felt a deep sympathy - even empathy - with those in the USA who had fought for REAL change.

Fear set in. What would happen now that this administration got a second term?

Fear rose as, from acceptance speech to second inaugural, there was an overt nose-thumbing at all political opponents. "We won, we don't ever have to win again, you're going to regret ever having gone up against us and we have the Power."

As I have continued learning, the administration has continued its downward spiral.  As the months have ticked on, the administration is plagued with scandals. That word is now a source of ridicule on the left - usually prefaced by "GOP-manufactured" and/or "phony".

And with each one, I have hoped that THIS will be the one that brings the administration to account.

So far - it hasn't.

With the recent developments between the Taliban and the United States government, more questions have been asked, more issues brought to light, and the same old issues (the lawlessness of this president) reignited.

When it happened, I - as usual - began to pay keen attention to the stories. I followed them on both left- and right-leaning news outlets (it is in my nature to be aware of what is being said on both sides and always form my own conclusions).

This story has invoked emotions from anger to disgust on both sides of the aisle. It contains elements of terrorism, lawlessness, lack of transparency (from the administration that not only campaigned on transparency but recently referred to itself as "the most transparent administration in history" - a line that has even leftists shaking their heads), and military-oriented issues.

And as infuriating, frustrating and frightening as the story is, with all the implications for what may well happen next and how it will affect the ones I love, as well as my own country, being able to properly understand and speak from an informed point of view has strengthened me exponentially.

I have to interject personally again - because, though I have done this before, I have to do it here.

I have apologized, profusely, sheepishly, shamefaced, to J for the insufferable Obamaniac that I used to be. I look back at that person I was (from Part I of this narrative) and I am deeply sorry for having been that person so loudly. He'd never held it against me - those we care about cannot sway our feelings no matter our ideological differences - but I've still felt the discomfort of having imposed that person on our friendship. He's already absolved me. He'll probably shake his head when he reads this.

But it is important for me to acknowledge that - just now, because having gone over this evolution, this conversion, this awakening, in writing, and in revisiting those times, I am even more keenly aware of how I used to be.

However, I also owe him a debt of thanks - for, among other things, having been there to support this new journey, to help me understand, to explain to me exactly what was happening (out there, and within my own soul), and for being a Guide along the way - steady, informed, willing to take the time to teach me, and encouraging me every step I take. And so here, publicly, I thank him for all of that, and more.

My journey is by no means complete. No journey in life ever is.

But I was compelled to write this down this way because if I'd waited any longer, there would be even more to write and I will tackle those events as they happen now that the genesis is down in words.

I know it isn't the popular side to inhabit. But looking around - in my own ever-expanding circle, on social media, in blogs, in media, and even in parts of the world beginning to see the Light - it is becoming less of a vilified position to take.

Part of that is due to the continuous news cycle of neverending "missteps" (in quotes because it is an understatement and the crimes to which I refer will be addressed in future entries on this blog). The government is messing up. It is happening more often, more publicly, and more egregiously than before. Perhaps there is hope that the media (at the very least) will experience an awakening of their own.

At this point, I'm not hopeful. I see some members of the Fourth Estate opening the other eye to begin seeing depth to the surface stories they're filing. But not yet.

However, I remain the eternal optimist.

And even if not - I am proud to be this person I have become. The one who shed the idealist blinders and faces truth no matter how frightening or unpleasant it is. Because one can never go wrong - in politics, in friendship, in love, in life - when one espouses the Truth.

I will end here - but only the narrative. The journey continues. The growth, the quest for more, the enlightenment, and the exhilaration (and the sharing thereof) continue.

My thanks for having stuck with this - and with me;  I extend to you an invitation to comment no matter what your leanings.  I've never shared my views in order to try to change someone's mind. But if I could help one person to stop and think - as was done, and continues to be done with me - it can be the beginning of harmony, shared enlightenment, and true change in a world that is fraught with challenges.

So, let's talk.

Awakening - Part II: With A Little Help From My Friend

(Continued from Awakening - Part I: The Beginnings Of Political Fascination)

By now, you've figured out that the girl in Part I is me. But I hadn't figured it out till I got a good look from a different perspective.

Let's go to 2010, about a year after the election of the young senator from Illinois to the Highest Office In The Land.

I had been enjoying my inclusion in the world of politics. I talked about how great the president was, how smart and how eloquent his speeches were. I collected magazines that featured him on the cover. I bought a Special Edition that featured all his speeches. That was mostly what I was seeing. I was still not as interested in policy, and was definitely not interested in any other Party but the Dems.

When the Tea Party began to emerge as a movement, I was aware of it, but I scoffed. It sounded so trivial. So not-serious. So rebel-without-a-cause.

{Personal Interjection: All along, since well before my peripheral interest in politics, I had "met" (using that term in quotes because the face-to-face hasn't yet happened but the friendship had) a man (to protect his identity, I'll refer to him as "J") whose political leanings were not really that important to me. We had other things in common and were enjoying the things we did. Everything from art, to music, movies and books, common mindsets and complementary values - those were what defined the friendship.

We never talked about politics.

Correction - I did. I would (I realize now) go on and on about this exciting new development. The election was an emotional time, the inauguration had me watching my television in tears of awe, and this man listened to me prattle on without ever opposing my views.

I think I knew he was not a Liberal. But because there was so much more to what we ever discussed, it wasn't important. So as much as I do know about him, it's odd to not have been aware of his political leanings.

This is important because in my Awakening, he plays a key part. THE Key Part.

It should be noted that he is a hunter. And that from the beginnings of our discussions back in the early part of 2000, I was learning about hunting; how it was not illegal, immoral, or cruel. His philosophy of hunting is not for sport; his Native roots have guided him all his life, and learning about how HE hunts, how he thanks the animal for giving its life, how he uses every part of the animal in every way possible, and how he does NOT hang the Trophy on some macabre man-cave collection wall, I began to not only accept, but embrace hunting as a practice. 

I also began to ask him to teach me about guns. I became aware that there were many people blaming the guns for all the evils in the world. It didn't sit right with me. I have known people who have died in car accidents, in terrible falls, and the headlines - though peppered with gun violence - also speak of drunk driving deaths, pool drownings, stabbings, and every other method of death one can imagine.

I began to understand that guns are merely an instrument, not an evil. And I began to defend law-abiding gun owners.

Operative word: began. This was very early in my awakening but I was seeing the Other Side a little more clearly every day; and it was no longer the Dark Side, but becoming lighter with everything I learned.}

Okay, 2010 - floating along in Obamaniac Mode. Defending why I, as a woman, did not pull for Hillary. (Looking back I realize my then-fellow Liberals slotted - either you wanted the woman or you wanted the black guy and you wanted them BECAUSE of that, not for any other reason).

In 2009, Obama made a speech in Cairo, essentially condemning Israel for building settlements. Stating that the USA did not recognize or accept the legitimacy of those settlements. And I was unsettled by that. It wasn't enough to sway me but future events would.

Israel is an integral part of my soul. Having visited, the land and the spirit of the country are inside me emotionally. As a Jew, I am an automatic citizen of Israel. I have always stood up for the rights of Israelis to live in peace. And I have always had a deep-seated fear that Israel's enemies would seek to destroy all she stands for, and more.

In 2010, Obama began to make announcements that a Palestinian State would be achieved within a year's time. I could see this was naive and next to impossible; without Hamas being ousted as part of the Palestinian government, without the Palestinians outright declaring they would accept a Jewish State, how could this happen?

And I began to question the Administration's position on Israel. Because how could he stand for Israel AND be advocating for a Palestinian state the way things were?

Disillusionment was knocking at my door.

At the beginning of 2011, tragedy struck in Arizona. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in a mass shooting at an outdoor event she was holding. The world watched yet another Live Event as it unfolded. News stations rushed to announce Rep. Giffords had died of her wounds. Updates brought the welcome news that she had not.

But it was the immediate fallout that began to nag at me: Sarah Palin, the oft-ridiculed (shamefully, I was one) former Governor of Alaska, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in the 2008 election, was suddenly on the hot seat. Palin, it was said, was directly responsible for the shooting as she had used the graphic of crosshairs on a map to "target" the "battleground" states. Being the Democratic Representative from Arizona, Gabby Giffords was in Palin's crosshairs, and therefore MUST have been targeted by Palin who must have encouraged the shooter in some warped way to actually shoot Rep. Giffords.

It didn't make sense to me. There were others on that "map". There were other states, other candidates. And how did anyone draw a line between a map with a little graphic on it to a disturbed shooter opening fire on men, women, children even if his target had been the Congresswoman? Just how closely were people watching the tiny details like these? And...could it be true?

I began to discuss my questions. I began to see that not only was it ridiculous, it was malicious. Palin was no more responsible for this shooting than I was. It seemed that my friends - the Liberals with whom I had freely, actively, and happily exchanged political discourse, were viciously attacking Sarah Palin for her part in this shooting.

I definitely took my courage in hand when I began to swim against the tide on a friend's Facebook page. I argued that it was not only premature to draw any conclusions, it was utterly illogical.

I then faced a deluge of hostility. It rose until my friend's husband posted, "It should be noted that Lissa is Canadian. A hike should be taken."

I was taken aback.  I was shaken. I was humiliated. And then I saw red.  I blasted him for his short-sightedness, told him I would no longer bother him or his wife, and did what I had not done to date on Facebook: unfriended and blocked them.

But I was feeling a stirring sense of realization. I was no longer who I had been just some short months earlier. It began with my discomfort over how the administration was treating Israel.

It continued with the illogical accusations being made against a woman living in a remote State that wasn't even part of the lower 48.

And I began to emerge from what felt like a groggy nap.

It made me start to question everything. What is the problem in this picture? Why are people so hostile when all I did was point out the facts and the illogical direction their arguments were taking?

And who was I?

Here is where J comes in - I told him what had happened on that Facebook page, and how it had made me feel. I was confused as to how I had been treated. How is it suddenly my nationality made me a pariah? How is it, when never before, my opinions are being vilified - and me with them?

J explained that I was starting to see that Truth, and Facts, are not always popular.

Here's where details get fuzzy.  See, if I could, I would recount exactly how he helped me to navigate being on this side of the Divide. But I can't - the details run together because just as suddenly as I was wildly unpopular, I was also beginning to feel a lifting of the veil. And it began to speed up, taking me with it so that the former mindsets I embraced were becoming blurry as they passed behind me.

J would encourage me to explore. He never told me what to think, or where to find my sources. He knew that the educator, researcher, and critical thinker that I am would find the credibility in what I read.

And I did. I was able to separate out the extreme viewpoints - on both sides (yes, there are right-wing extremists and no, not all conservatives hold them near and dear). I was able to cross-reference the more credible, reliable sources by the "About" tabs on their webpages (a skill I urge everyone to do, no matter whether you are researching politics or how to keep chickens in your yard).

Did I lose friends on social media? Yes. I lost one so-called friend when I posted on my own wall, and she somehow believed I had posted it on hers. She actually blasted me for making her friends uncomfortable. (While this is not a piece about social media, I will take a moment to assure you that it doesn't work that way - what one posts on their own wall stays there unless there are tags involved - in this case, there were none)

She "unfriended" without much fanfare after her tirade.

And while it bothered me at the beginning, I now smile in full knowledge that those who leave my milieu due to political discord were never people I would have enjoyed outside of the political arena either.

But as I continued in what J terms my "Awakening" (and truly, the visual fits), I began to see things palindromically. Things that had happened while I was still in the thrall of Obamania, believing what the mainstream media was feeding me, understanding now that it was a spoonfed, poisonous ideology that somehow the rest of the world was not catching onto as such.

Frustration set in.

I was suddenly seeing Liberal mentality everywhere. Like the optical illusion that, once seen, cannot be unseen, I was recognizing the Liberal Mindset in media, in friends, in commenters on websites.

I began to wonder if people really do believe what they are spouting or if they are toeing some collective line out of habit.

I began to watch Fox News, ever defensive of those who scoff at it as "Faux" and accuse the network of making things up (in defense of Fox, I found statistics conducted by objective researchers who found that it is not Fox that manufactures news but that this very accusation is what is manipulated to discredit the network).

I changed my homepage from to (that was a proud moment for me).

I began to shed my previous skin which had become too small, too constricting, too unbearable to wear.

And I came out as Conservative, proud of it, speaking up with truth, facts, and logic. I got *gasps* from the leftist friends I shocked, questions from many who believed I was going through a phase. And newfound respect from those friends who are not leftist but who suddenly revealed to me that they, too, hold to the values I was now embracing.

(Never mind the reactions I got from people who found out that I was now a card-carrying member of the NRA - that was fun!)

Scandal after scandal began to rock the administration. I expressed the relief and belief that finally something would be done, finally something would give, finally someone in the White House would be held to account.

When none of that happened, my frustration grew. My disconcerting fear of "what will it take?" overtook the exhilaration of enlightenment.

I began to express the tongue-in-cheek theory that liberal media's sole purpose of existence was to see to it that my head exploded on a daily basis, à la Kenny McCormick.

But in all the frustration, discord, outright vitriol I encountered in traversing the Internet and spreading the Truth, and bewilderment at said vitriol, I began to feel something else.

Something positive would grow.

(Part III)

Awakening - Part 1: The Beginnings Of Political Fascination

Once upon a time, there was a Canadian girl. And she grew up in two countries. In the fall, winter, and spring, she grew up in Canada, where she was born. And in the summer, she grew up in the United States. See, the little girl's family used to go across the border to Cape Cod every summer, and spend 6 weeks in a house near the beach.

The girl grew up understanding the accents of people who didn't speak like she did, and she learned that there was money that didn't have all the pretty colors, but that was just as valuable. She learned that the grocery stores in the United States had lots of cool things they didn't have in Canada. And that the border guards were really nice when you told them you got a new doll on your summer holiday. And what a "declaration" was when you crossed the border.

And she learned a little bit about the Kennedy family who lived on the Cape. Even though President Kennedy had been killed when she was just a baby, she had a crush on the handsome brothers who had been so tragically killed by people who didn't agree with their politics. She saw these bigger-than-life Kennedy family members, who flew out of the same airport the girl's father and grandfather did, and who were just like regular people instead of the royal family she thought they were. She met them. Shook their hands. Even sat at the same coffee shop counter with the matriarch of the family as they both had some time to spend over cool drinks, albeit separately (for years, the girl would brag that she had had drinks with Jackie Kennedy Onassis).

The girl grew up and she learned that it was good to be Liberal. See, Liberals believe in all kinds of things that the Others don't. They believed that guns were bad and that no one should have a right to own one. This made sense. Guns kill people and no one wants THAT.

They believed that abortions were good and that every woman should have a right to have as many as they wanted. This was important because NO woman should be forced to be a mother if she wasn't ready to be. Unwanted babies never have an easy life and no one wants THAT.

She even learned that they believed paying more taxes was a good thing. It was expensive but taxes were good because that improved the lives of citizens. Citizens who don't have happy lives do bad things and no one wants THAT!

Liberals believed that government agencies were there to take care of them, and to make sure they were happy and healthy and did all the right things. Because the more people in government who are part of people's lives, the better people's lives will be. And everyone wants THAT!

Liberals wanted people's lives to be better. It was good to be Liberal.

And the girl didn't think anything was wrong with that.

The girl grew up and she didn't pay too much attention to politics. In fact, she was more put out by the proceedings on television that would interrupt her summertime soap operas. When Oliver North was testifying before Congress, she was bored, frustrated, and downright mad. "Young and the Restless" was pre-empted for this drivel? Okay, so she felt badly when they made Oliver North get tears in his eyes, but "Young and the Restless" was SO much more interesting!

She grew up even more. And suddenly, she began to pay attention to politics. Sure there were the fun stories. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer who became president. Ronald Reagan was an actor who became president. Bill Clinton became a scandal-ridden philanderer while he was president!

And there was the frightening stuff. The Iran hostage situation. The Gulf War. 9/11.

As she became more involved in watching the newly formed 24-hour news cycle, she became more familiar with some of the terminology. She learned what Congress did (well, sort of), what the Senate did (well, kind of), and she became even more familiar with some of the names in the news that weren't movie stars or television actors or pop singers.

And she watched CNN because it was "the most trusted name in news!" and sported "the best political team on television!." (well, if James Earl Jones said it, it had to be true, right?) And besides, when she was in Paris, that was the only English television station to watch. If it's good enough for Parisians, it was good enough for her back home.

One summer night, with nothing else on TV, she watched with interest as a young black senator took the stage at the Democratic National Convention. The man had a name that was hard to forget, and when he started to speak, she leaned forward and paid attention to every single word. He was articulate. He had cadence. He seemed really intelligent.

 And just like that, she was enthralled by politics. This young State senator was going to become Somebody, she could feel it. She joked with a friend in Chicago, asking her to please "put in a vote for me too" at the ballot box when the mid-term elections were held. When the senator was elected as the junior senator from Illinois, the girl was over the moon. She bought his books. She looked up his life story. She even predicted it in an online venue she frequented: "you guys, we've just met the first black president of the United States."

The senator did, indeed, announce his candidacy just a short while after taking the seat in the Senate, and even as he did, the first potential female candidate announced hers. An embarrassment of riches!

The girl took part in many discussions online. She defended him against accusers who liked to drag out the "not enough experience to be President" line. Who cared? Surround himself with good advisers, and the guy would make a GREAT president! Right?

There were many people who felt the same way as she did, and suddenly, it was like a party for her: like-minded individuals who not only agreed with her but who helped her learn more about the new political scene upon which she was embarking as an involved spectator.

There were those in her life who did not agree. But because she had other things in common with them, it did not make a difference to the relationships.

Being part of the pack - the popular senator's followers - felt right. She was learning about politics because this candidate was successfully reaching out to those, like her, who had never cared about the details before. Hope! Change! A catchy motto filled with 3 words of Determination and Inclusion!  Things were going to be different now, hipper and cooler and probably really interesting! Besides, he would make History!

She was an exhilarated, engaged and educated participant on the political scene, enjoying this new role and feeling like her horizons were ever-expanding steps to enlightenment.

And no one seemed to care that she was Canadian commenting ad infinitum on American politics. She had an opinion, it mattered, she was being validated in her discussions with Americans about their political scene, she was part of a huge wave of Transformation upon the world. And it felt great!

Little did she know she was going to have An Awakening...

 (Part II...)