Dear Verizon Guy

I’m coming for you.

And by that, I mean, I will politely enter your store, sign away half my life, and come out with a shiny new phone, with your help.  I would be a horrible horrible customer.  I actually say please, thank you, and excuse me- even if a sales person is ignoring me (and subsequently their jobs), because I too worked retail.

But this kindly customer girl is in need of a new phone, and my upgrade came up like weeks ago.  So now, I just need to drag Mom and Dad down there.  Because my phone was old before you gave it to me, two years ago.  Dad’s going to be annoyed at being in a retail establishment.  Moms going to be annoyed with the cost of phone service in the modern world.  Also, we’re going to get Mom her very first smart phone- so I’m sorry, but we may be the only customers you see that day because we take so long.

See you soon!

-Sarah Mae

I’ve committed to writing 30 letters in 30 days, according to the 30 Day Letter Challenge.  To learn more about my project, check out my introduction.


Dear Mom & Dad

Mom & DadIt is a rarity in this world to be married this long.  30 plus years is an example that you set that I intend to follow.  Happiness, and cooperation, and love governing every choice you make for years and years and years means more than just showing up and faking it until you make it.

I’m sure there was some of that- back in the early days.  Back in the first ten years, when you spent seven of them apart.  Back when wars and politics and a random assortment of nations security meant not seeing or speaking for days and weeks.  Back when CNN was just becoming a thing, and you watched half horrified, half thrilled that you might catch a glimpse of the person you loved.

In all those years you’ve done a lot.  You’ve raised children, you’ve built a family.  You taught me to cook, to clean, to drink.  How electrical and plumbing work (or don’t work, as those lessons usually begin).  How to drive, how to hike, how to get a fish hook out of my sister.  You’ve taught me putting your family first sometimes means not getting what you, or what they want, so everyone has what they need.  You’ve taught me to hold my panic in, to ask for help, to admit my weaknesses and own my strengths.  That dry feet are the most valuable thing you can have when everything comes to chaos, what to do in crisis, even if its just to come home to you.  You taught me to think with others, of others, and for others if necessary.

But most of all, you taught me how to be in a family.  How to bring the people who love you close, and to learn to love them.  How to let go of the hurt of those who don’t love you.  How to acknowledge that which the law will not, the marriage and union and parenting that paper cannot validate.  And you taught me to do all of this freely, and carefully.  Because my family is our family.

And for that, I am grateful.

XOXO Your Mouse

I’ve committed to writing 30 letters in 30 days, according to the 30 Day Letter Challenge.  To learn more about my project, check out my introduction.

Don’t Kiss Me- I’m Scottish American

Today may very well be the Holiday I most despise.
Now if you don’t live in American culture, you may not know today is St. Patrick’s Day. I say this because this holiday seems to really blossom here, in the land of cultural bastardization I mean the great melting pot.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for a good party (or at least, this geeky girl is all for your right to have a good party and for me to stay home with my book).  I’m good with copious amounts of food colouring, if that’s what you’re into (I mean red velvet cake, anyone?).  I even like the sort of community event where there is a marathon, a parade and a street faire all on the same weekend (we don’t live downtown, and Portland has an okay transit train- so what’s there to object to?). 
My problem with St. Patrick’s day is this:

Not everyone is Irish.

I’m not.
My friends aren’t.
My co-workers aren’t.
In fact, most people I know aren’t Irish.  Or if they are it’s like 1/32 and their Irish ancestors came over in the Potato Famine and they don’t even know that Great-Great-Great-Grandma’s name.
I’m not prejudice against the Irish- they’re lovely people, history and politics aside.  In general they have a warm, welcoming culture, not terribly unlike my own Scottish American upbringing.  They have good beer, and decent food on the Celt scale, and the perfect genes for amazing hair (and if our recent-immigrant neighbors are any indicator they also make the most adorable babies).
I think it’s demeaning to pretend we’re all something we’re not, both to our own families ancestral cultures which are being belittled and ignored by this claim, and to the Irish culture, which is being co-opted by those who have no interest in engaging in the thousands of special rites, rituals, and norms that fully embody the rich heritage.
I’m proud to be the daughter of Scots.  I’m proud to have a mother who gave up her family and career and life to marry the man she loved and immigrate to a new country.  I’m proud to have Grandparents who brought their son, my father, into the world while immigrating- intent on building a brighter city, and a new home church (my grandfather was an engineer, and an elder in our church).  
I’m as proud to be Scottish as my Irish neighbors are to be Irish.  They are proud to have come from families that fought for peace during The Troubles (Protestant/ Catholic unrest from the 1960s to the late 1990s), proud to teach their children the step dances that once protected revolutionaries in their homeland, proud to call a mystical fairy-tale laden homeland their own.  
The trouble is, Saint Patrick’s day (when celebrated as Americans do) isn’t about that culture.  It isn’t about the pride, or sharing the history, or supporting the many current, historical, or ancestral immigrants.  It isn’t about Saint Patrick and his kidnapping, or priesthood, or his long work in Christian evangelicalism.  It isn’t even about that weird snake story (that National Geographic explains is a big fat lie).
Saint Patrick’s day (in America) is about getting drunk, dirtying waterways, sexually harassing others,  and gleaning fake “luck.”  And these traditions in “celebrating” Irish heritage cheapen the Irish people.
The Irish, contrary to 19th century American ideals are not drunkards who suck down green beer daily, in fact alcohol and alcoholism are serious issues often discussed in Irish homes and communities.  They do no go around dying rivers, canals, and fountains with often environmentally damaging chemicals like Frat boys during Rush- they have many centuries worth of conservation and environmental protection efforts, and they are a leader in eco-building and tourism today.  The Irish do not go around pinching a girls butt based on her shirt colour.  And they certainly don’t believe you will magically gather luck from the kiss of a person who happens to have been born or have ancestors born on an island with the Blarney stone (never mind if that person has actually ever seen, or touched this stone).  In fact, like most cultures- Irish fathers would really rather you keep  your drunk paws off their daughHolidaers.
And my father, like the Irishman next door, would rather that too.
So don’t kiss me- I’m Scottish American.
And don’t pinch my butt either- because you may very well end up with a green and black and blue eye when I prove my heritage.
And that would be a sad way to celebrate a sad holiday.