5 positive parts about America that the citizenship swearing in ceremony will make you realize

Loverpants got to pledge allegiance to the United States of ‘Merica last week, and the whole morning was just pretty keen. My hubs has his own immigration story to tell, but he and his family have endured a lot to call this place home. As for me, I just get to take the pictures and wave the star spangled banner. Here are a few things a swearing in ceremony will either highlight or reaffirm about this great nation:

1. The immigration process is still a careful one. From the biometrics to the interview to every piece of paperwork, the bureaucracy is boss. The process for letting the good guys and gals in is still pretty stinking thorough. I’m sure there are a hundred different ways to outsmart Uncle Sam, but his gates strive to be ironclad and the gatekeepers aim to be good flaggers of criminality.


2. Your new neighbors bring a ton of wealth to this country. So maybe they’ve been here 5, 10 years. They speak Yoruba, Farsi, Spanish. They celebrate high Hindu holidays. They braid hair and weave baskets and practice law and medicine like bosses. Maybe they are bosses. We just don’t always see them gathered all at once on a happy occasion in one room. The swearing-in ceremony will remind you of the riches of language, culture, religion, and racial diversity that the wave of recent immigrants represents. Total jackpot.

3. The Daughters of the American Revolution are still a thing. They make cookies and wave flags and celebrate citizenship at swearing-in ceremonies. Civic engagement for the win.

4. Hamilton the Musical is sold out indefinitely for a reason. The convergence of hip-hop with the brilliance of Lin-Manuel Miranda and colonial petticoats is all pretty cool. But so is our history as a young nation of zealous freedom seekers. It still resonates. I have to believe this is why Judge Susan Lee got all verklempt swearing in these new citizens last week. She says it’s her favorite thing to do.


5. There are now 50 more immigrants-turned-citizen in Chattanooga who will be eligible to vote in November, who likely are against building a wall along our border with Mexico, who don’t believe America needs to be made great again, since the best is surely yet to come 🙂


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Fieldtrip: What we found in the Sculpture Fields #CHA

There’s a new sculpture field in Chattanooga, even though it advertises itself as plural. Maybe that means there might be more. I hear an amphitheater is coming, adjacent to the field o’ sculptures. Right on top of a landfill. Isn’t that great? We could be singing along to “Cheeseburger in Paradise” while Jimmy Buffett performs (wearing a parrot hat, obvi) all the while an actual cheeseburger is decomposing underneath our very feet? Living in the eco-kingdom is phenomenal.


I don’t know if sculpture fields are the new cupcake shop, the new pop-up shop, the new record players for old vinyl albums. Are they the latest hipster movement or are they old news? Despite the fact that Chattanooga enjoys the fastest internet in the nation (so fast that it should be making me younger and lighter simply by the velocity at which I am downloading gigawhatevers), I’m really behind the times. I’ll have to watch some Portlandia tonight and see if they spoof the Sculpture Field Craze that is now so played out.

I think my favorite sculpture is this one. From one vantagepoint, it reminds me of a guy desperately trying to hail a cab (Uber wasn’t around when he was sculpted). From another angle, it looks like he’s waving to Lookout Mountain.


When I made Little Man pose for this one, I thought, this would make a great bridal backdrop. Just hand me my megaphone because I became a minor prophet that day. I’m seeing it on the ‘gram like you would not believe.


Parents in usual places: “Stay off that rusty rail. You’ll get diptheria or tetanus or something!”
Parents at Sculpture Fields: “Oh, you guys look cute. Let’s take a picture for the ‘gram.”


If you go on a swelteringly hot day, you can pretend to be Bowe Bergdahl running from the Taliban in an arid wasteland. This is not, as it turns out, what our kids were playing here. They can’t get into Season 2 of Serial, I guess.



This one is called Granite Windows. It spins. That’s way beyond my sculpture wheelhouse. Hahah. Wheelhouse.



Little Man

To go:


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What I plan to do with my lack of Powerball winnings

The doorbell rang at 9 o’clock yesterday,
Our neighbor Jordan
who always calls me ma’am,
could have knocked but he rang,
our children long in bed.

Jordan asked for some sugar
in order to make Kool-Aid.
Because maybe that’s too much to go without
at 9 o’clock when you’re in the fifth grade,
enough to force you out the door
into the darkness to ring a neighbor’s doorbell
whose name you only know as ma’am.

I was so happy my husband was home
so I could hide, bra-less
and he could fetch
a literal cup of sugar to give to Jordan
for all of his Kool-aid needs.

And that is how I always want it to be:
to be asked and tickled to death
able to give out
from a sweet supply.

Which is why I have not bought a ticket
to match my numbers to the queue of balls
to watch and wait and see tonight if
I should arrange for the U.S. Mint
to pour some sugar on me.


Because the thing about scarcity and abundance is not
in how much it depletes or enriches but
in how quickly and easily it comes to give or take away.

Don’t be a killjoy they’ll say
Here’s to your loss and our gain,
But for now I can meet my neighbor’s gaze
the Kool-Aid mustache isn’t asking
for a cut of what I have
not whatever I can give.

To know my neighbor’s thirst and to be known
as one who can can sweeten the deal,
that is my billion dollar winning.
My life stands to lose much more
than it stands to gain from a powerball,
a power fall from wealth for me.


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