Friday, November 18, 2016

The time to act is now

I have struggled over the last week how to channel my disappointment and concern over. Not only Trump winning the election, but more importantly, the policies he ran and won on, coupled with those he is selecting to work beside him, a calls to change the very fabric of equality and privacy protections guaranteed by the US Constitution. I have had difficulty fathoming the violence that has befallen a friend of mine's daughters. Feeling disspirited, I found ways to act and comfort among all of us who have joined by compassion. That relief was short lived.

I warn you, if you haven't heard this segment on NPR at the link below, it contains offensive words and thoughts. Do not listen unless you are feeling strong to just let it be. We must understand how latent racism got rebranded.

 We must understand how a "white" agenda (and let's me clear, Im a woke white woman who confronts my own bias as much as possible), became dressed in pseudointellectual garb with a message that resonates with a broader segment of our population. It's gaslighting. It's dangerous. And fighting it with normal outrage makes it all the more slippery than catching a greased pig.

At first I couldn't fathom how a nation that has yes, been slow to embrace equality and social justice, with miles to go, could simultaneously take not step back, but step forward into what represents dystopia.

Then it dawned on me. Years ago, my nephew snuck a peek at his Christmas presents. My sister understandably punished him by telling him how she knew he'd done it, since even though the presents were rewrapped, the tape was messed up and only his presents had been disturbed. I laughed with her, and pointed out that she had taught him not her intended lesson to not peek, but by telling him how she knew, he might have learned to make sure not to get caught.

Racism has been here, and for at least the immediate future, is here to stay. When white hooded KKK acted on its racism, it's violence broke the law. They went to court, some and not enough of them, and like the misshapen tape, they learned how not to get caught.

How the Alt-Right came to be is for sociologists and politician scientists and historians to tackle.
That said, racism grew exponentially this election cycle because that lesson learned over the decades: it was worth not getting caught. White supremacy is rebranded and accepted because many who would be horrified at graffiti, or assault, already live segregated lives. They don't want that "criminal element."

And this sells amongst non whites who are tired of being judged as if they were among the "criminals." The blatant racists were ostracized by being defined by what they are against. That wasn't done in polite company.

Racist learned to be defined by what they are for. This is far more seductive and palatable by those who now acquiescence in silent agreement, by voting on one issue or another, turning a blind eye. Never forget racism doesn't require intent. It requires racist effect and make no mistake, the alt-right entering positions of power, not just with the administration of our President Elect, but among our intellectuals, and pervasiveness in our culture, is here.

May each of us, act today.

Click here for NPR segment on Richard Spencer

If link doesn't work, here is the URL:

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


I'm 47 and voted for Bernie in the primaries and Obama in prior elections. Yesterday, I proudly cast vote for HRC.

This surprises a 20 something still within me, the one that feels more like my 20s was yesterday than 27 years ago I first claimed my second decade. It wasn't just that I had registered Republican a few years before, in 1987. I interviewed and was interviewed for a staff position in Senator McConnell's Louisville office out of undergrad, and took a better paying job at Maryhurst.  I considered myself fiscally concervative and socially liberal. Back then, I disliked HRC from the start of her entering my awareness of her after the first 60 minutes interview. I judged HRC through the Karl Rove spin machine of the 1990s, and faulted her for ambition. I judged her for overstepping the role I expected her to play. I didn't like her political expediency. I didn't like how she would misstep and was unforgiving.

I switched my party affiliation after 9/11. I no longer believed in a meritocracy, where the third sector could meet the gap from government safety nets and those at risk, our friends and neighbors, and their children. I had seen how Maryhurst did good work, and was a drop in. The bucket of the need of these kids.

I saw President Ge. W. hold what appeared to be a pep rally on Ground Zero, where the literal obliterated remains of victimes and debris had fallen. I saw him lead us into a vendetta against, not the perpetrators responsible, but the tyrant his Father, Former President Bush Sr., hadn't defeated.

I voted for Obama, because I liked his policy stances more and, looking back, I was still faulting her for her ambition and seasoned skepticism. I voted for Bernie, well, because his version for America is about as close as me getting back to when I was an expat living in Sweden as I may ever get here in the States.

I bristled at Gloria Steinem chastising anyone who didn't vote for HRC because of her gender.

Then I looked at the policies between she and Bernie, when Bernie backed her at the DNC.

Where he was 100% aligned with what I find important, she was 95%. In the unlucky event you're still undecided, try isidewith dot com. It's a good way to see which candidate's positions align with yours.

I decided after seeing how little the variance between Bernie and HRC was, to stop assuming I knew her and actually learn more about her. I stopped hating her and listened to the Wellesley commencement speech. I read not just about the emails, I read many of them. I read about her harshest critics.

Frontline has a good episode on both candidates.

I was, in fact, confronted with my own misogyny during his election. Now, the gender of a candidate is no reason alone to change my vote. My misogyny against my own gender was latent, but I had to let go of it to gain perspective on just how much of a bad ass HRC is.

This may be different for you. I share my thought process of why when I cast my ballot yesterday, #imwithher #togetherwearestronger

I went to bed not long after 2:31 a.m., when the AP released the news that Trump won the general election for the office of President of the United States.  There is a difference between giving President elect Trump our support and affording him the respect of the office to which he has been elected. Period. I respect the office; not the man.

I've heard and read many people saying, we can live through 8 years of Ge. W., we can do this. This is different that Ge. W. As some who know me know, I was living abroad, some of the time in Sweden, during his term and 9/11.

There is is the old adage: We are governed by those who show up. Elections have consequences. This Presidential election is no exception and the consequences will go beyond the four years.

With a Trump presidency, Republicans hold on the Senate and the House, the filibuster will be eliminated and Obamacare is repealed, most environmental regulations will be eliminated and Scalia V 2.0 is in the Supreme Court.  Roe v. Wade? Obergefell? Destroyed. Expect a recession, expect NATO to either be disbanded or crippled, expect that our involvement in the Middle East will be lead to troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq.  Expect the use of nuclear weapons by somebody sometime in the next four years. Japan is at risk. North Korea is thrilled. Expect a vast increase to the Security State and the deportation of millions of Hispanics as well as the ban of Muslims to the country. Expect a change in libel laws and dramatic reduction of our fourth estate. He will do nothing about climate change. Education will be "School choice" a euphemism  for making private school cheaper for the rich. All the things Trump has said he will do. He will. Congress will pass all of it.

When Obama was elected, he was going to make gas prices $6 and take everyone's guns. They were wrong.

I may be wrong on some of my chicken little predictions tonight. I've never wished harder to be wrong.

At 2am and the race hadn't been called yet. It's such a close race. I think of it in these terms: we have all but a few state election laws making Electoral College decisions on winner take all election rules. As such, that means we have two viable candidates, typically from two major parties. I remember when the biggest burn you could lay against a candidate was that they were a centrist and compromised. :shudder:

Now? We have extreme positions and government shutdowns, and the biggest burn we have is they are do nothings.

If you are disgusted when government halts? Join the club. I am too. I have compassion for those who didn't vote or made a "vote your conscience" vote for a third party.

Here's the thing, and tonight's election is no different. With winner take all, and elections being won, after millions of votes cast, by 20-70k votes, that vote is indeed for the winner, and not for the candidate you voted for. We are governed by the winner.

The metaphor I use is, if you wouldn't hand your wallet to a stranger, and forego a grocery list saying "just give me what most get" - then don't do it with your vote. Others choose for you and that lack of choosing between viable candidates has consequences beyond your one vote, but for everyone.

HRC lost by 20K-80k votes. That isn't big everywhere. She lost in a horse race against a bull who tore through the infield, across the finish line and next? It's the grandstands.

I don't look forward to the morning. My five year old threw herself on the floor, bemoaning that a bully should win?!

I'm devastated that fear, bigotry and misogyny won tonight. I explained to my girls that elections aren't the end, but the beginning. Then I read to them - The Paperbag Princess- where a little girl survives destruction of her parents' castle, she dons a paper bag because all her princess clothes were burned to ash by the dragon, cleverly thwarts the dragon and chooses not to rescue the prince the dragon had imprisoned, when he insults her and tells her she looks shabby in the paper bag.

I read them The Emperor's New Clothes, where a child spoke truth, and change everyone's act motivated by selfish self-preservation.

Today is the beginning. No prince will come rescue us. We must be resourceful. I reminded the girls that they can be clever, clear headed, and choose how to put ideas into action. #wearenotalltrump

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When the pendulum swings

Usually the only factor to getting a photo with
the girls is their squirmy ways, factor in Leslie's lack of
strength, and this was a very lucky special moment.
Family has been one of the great constants in the lives of our girls, Greta Jo and Clara Lou.  My parents, sisters, JJ's parents, brothers and sisters, cousins.  It isn't the sort of daily interaction at all levels, but the love runs deep all the same.  The choices one person makes, to show love and support, to have the character of their choices demonstrate who they are, not just to themselves, but also within our family?  Well, there is no real litmus test for defining when that is.  It's born out over time.  We all face strife and joy, and face fears, over-come hardships and celebrate accomplishments.  We either show up, or we don't.  What I know is that we are the type of family that shows up for one another.

I've written about how Gammy Margi is facing a time of transition, wanting to be closer to her three sons, granddaughters, and making the necessary changes to make that a reality.  Below are some videos we took during her stay.

My sister Leslie had similar plans for change, what she hadn't planned was not having the immediate health to not be able to pursue it.  It's just three weeks after we and her doctors can only speculate was when Leslie suffered a stroke.  It's only 12 days after Dad was hospitalized for walking pneumonia.  Mom had her infection that put her in the hospital and rehab for a few weeks last February.  My cousin on my Mother's side facing their hardships and battles with the likes of cancer, and yet they have the courage and support to strive for a chance of being healthy again.  Then there's all those in my Father-in-law's family facing their struggles.  Cast the net a little wider, and throw in heart ache, and job loss, and financial hardships.  Life is just plumb messy and hard at times.

We all have stuff.  Just my stuff recently has been heart wrenching.  Dad's illness threw us for a loop, and yet, his ability to be resilient and find a way to maintain his and Mom's independence sets a high bar.  It's not just that he's 83 a two-time open heart surgery survivor and two-time (that we know of) vertebral stroke survivor, it's that who he is and the choices he makes are ones that put his family first.  His ability to do that is shocking when you consider that he grew up not knowing what it meant to have his own bedroom until he was 16, and even then, it was a cot in the kitchen of his parent's apartment.  His parents granted permission for him to join the navy at 17.  Now, I won't disparage my paternal Grandfather, but let it suffice, Grandpa was of a different generation, and wasn't always a stellar example in how to love and care for a family.  Even so, he managed to raise an amazing son in my Father.  My Dad's pretty terrific, all said.

Mom and Dad did a pretty wonderful job raising we four girls to love one another.  Heck, I'll go so far to say we like one another.  That's not to say that my family of origin always gets along, always shows up for one another in the way the recipient wants or needs.  Nope, we get it wrong all the time... it's how we recover when we're a miss that really defines who we are as a family.

My sister Leslie is an strong presence in my life.  Her name was my first word.  Our Mother was calling out to her and I repeated "LOSSH-LEEEE!"  Leslie doesn't have children of her own, save the litany of characters that have struck the page with all the force of freight trains only to swoop into the hearts and minds of her readers.  She has our little Greta Jo and Clara Lou.  She's that second-Mama sort of Aunt Leslie.  She hugs them, comforts them, feeds them, bathes them, clothes them, plays, and just plain loves them, loves on them (not sure the distinction, but I am clear there is one).  Even at their young lives, when such concepts are only mimicked, Leslie serves as an example of compassion and unconditional acceptance.

This has been the longest two and a half weeks since the girls were born.  They've visited with Aunt Leslie, at the hospital a couple of times, and have been to where Leslie is a house guest and convalescing.

The changes in the girls can be striking, one moment to the next, not to mention one day or week.  Leslie noticed immediately and it was hard to witness the pang of loss from not having had the regular contact with the girls the way she had.  Clara Lou is quite the talker recently, kind of like Boo in Monsters, Inc.  Her spark from baby to toddler is complete. It's clear she understands us, and the little wordlets are positively irresistible.  Her quick smile, and giddy laughter are positively the best cure to a down day.  Greta Jo's spark from toddler to a little girl is accompanied by a greater awareness of her world.  She makes up games and jokes, but is also aware of plot in books and stories.  This increased awareness also includes what's going on with their Aunt Leslie.  After saying good night to Leslie who's voice must have been familiar, but was, well, laboured, she turned to me and said "Aunt Leslie's hurt."  I told her, yes sweetheart. Aunt Leslie's hurt, and healing.  That takes time.

I am deeply proud of my sister Leslie.  She is just three weeks after her stroke, and has enough awareness to know what abilities are challenged, and just how much she has to overcome.  She feels abandoned by bits and pieces of her characters.  We've described her stroke as if the connections from her brain to her body were roadways, some highways, other side roads, and still some dirt roads.  The strides in improvement to her health, dangerously elevated blood sugar and high blood pressure now in check, is accompanied by a greater awareness of her world.  Just like Greta Jo, it's a great time of opportunity for thinking things anew.  It's hard to think on it that way for Leslie, but being hurt, sometimes the sting serves the purpose of slowing us down enough to allow for our bodies to recover.

We don't get to keep what we start off with.  I look at the sweet little bodies of our girls.  They are no longer infants, and not only have their minds expanded, but their bodies have lengthened, and skin, although sweetly soft, not the same paper thin skin of infancy.  They leap into their hugs, and jump into laughter.  Every hurt can be healed with a proclamation of "muah!  All better!"

Everybody has stuff that keeps us from enjoying that freedom of being toddlers and little kiddos.  They experience life with a wide range of unchecked emotions that aren't necessarily proportional to the circumstance.  Whether alone or part of a family, however you define it, we impact one another, our health, our choices, and how we show up for one another.  This week, the stuff on my family's plate is waiting on news from Dad's doctor visit tomorrow when we hope to learn whether he can be off the oxygen, and his heart is healthy, and whether he, like Mom, won't be able to drive, and the adjustments to his and Mom's independent living.  Today, I pray for the patience to sit and wait while Leslie musters the courage to face a life forever changed.  Today, I marvel at the girls love of playing, grass between their toes, fingers dirty with mud and sand.

Today has been another day.  I pray that I have another like it tomorrow.

There were many wonderful moments today, whether Leslie working and laughing, or Mom holding both the girls when we stopped by for a surprise visit to pick up some mail for Leslie.  By far, my favourite was when Greta Jo was in the swing in the back garden after lunch. She was wanting more.  "More swing Maman!"  I would wait and she would cock her head, and say "plaît"  -- her abbreviated "s'il te plaît."  Well, time crept up and it was nap time.  I let her know that when the swing stops, it is time to go inside. She just cried and cried.

I told her: Greta Jo, you can either cry over your time in the swing coming to an end or let yourself enjoy the rest of the ride.

I wasn't even trying - but it was that maternal moment that I realized that crying myself to sleep last night when I was worried I wouldn't find the recording of Leslie reading The Paper Bag Princess By Robert N. Munsch, and the gush of all my fears overwhelmed me... it was then that I realized the pendulum swing I was on, my life.  I could either let it continue to overwhelm me and and that moment when you choose to step beyond feeling feelings, and being them?  That moment when health experience and acknowledgment steps into wallowing?  I had to stop so I could enjoy the rest of my time on the swing.

Gammy Margi's Visit from Nancy Moïse Haws on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Happy isn't a constant state. I can honestly say, I'm happy here.
 I promise you the very millisecond
before and after this picture were a comical combination
of frustration and determination to wrangle two
uncooperative girls.  
Today was the best Mother's Day.

Mother's Day was something that meant going to church, making sure Mama had her corsage.  I remember her being tinged with sadness, when she changed flowers, to represent she'd lost her Mother.  Looking back, this would have been in 1974, when I was just five.  After that, we would visit the grave sites for Grandmama (Louise Morgan Gault) and Grandma (Betty, Mary Elizabeth Bradley Moise).  I can honestly say, I don't remember a solitary gift I gave my mother growing up.  I don't recall making her breakfast, or anything we ate that day.  I don't think my Dad ever bought her jewelry, or what, aside from going to church, and being extra nice.  What were were, though, every year, was together.

Today, was just that sort of day.

Let me back up.  I married, with full disclosure, that I would either have to travel with my husband or be separated from him, on many birthdays, holidays, and such; the extent of which I'm still discovering.  There are four quarterly horse sales, and they don't always occur the same time every year, like the Kentucky Derby's First Saturday of May.  There's an art to picking the dates for each quarter's auction, but each always occurs in February, in May, in August, and in November.

In February, since we've been dating, JJ and I have yet to spend both my (Feb. 7) and his (Feb. 13) birthdays together.  Inevitably, the Sale days take him away either for mine, or for his.

In May, the Sale is always, the Monday after Mother's Day.  This occurred without too much notice that first year, but once we were married and I was expecting Greta Jo?  Believe me, I noticed.  I was so bummed out not being with JJ that year.  Last year, I went to the May Sale with my sister Leslie, but we traveled on Mother's Day... and well, traveling, even if just for three hours, wasn't all that fun, though getting to be a family at the end of the day, was a great reward.

The Sale in August will be, for the next six years, held during the girls' first day at school.  Now, for some, this is no big deal.  My heart aches for JJ though.  He's an amazing Papa.  He takes the girls to school with me, and although we know that we can't both keep doing that, for now, it's a real joy to share.  For him to miss this "first", and then the firsts of each year?  Owie.  Good thing though?  Greta Jo was right there with a smile and a kiss, followed by her parrot of my "all better!"

The November Sale happens, again, it moves about, but usually the week before Thanksgiving.  It's not a big deal now, to take the girls out of school, but this is the biggest, and therefore the longest of all the Sales.  I have yet to make it to the November Sale and am itching to.  I so want to go!  AND, chances are, I won't.  For one, it's the longest, and well, to take the girls out of school the week before Thanksgiving just isn't the best time.  Add to it, Poppop Jerry shared in my reiteration of this at dinner - everyone comes home sick with "the Sale Crud" in November especially, but also in February.

We likely won't go to February - because, I'm sorry, until it's easier to travel, and just plain easier on them, taking the girls to stand in a cold unheated sales arena isn't my definition of good family fun.

But why go?  Well, JJ started working for the Sale (when was it?)... well at least 10 years ago?  Possibly longer?  He started off in the equipment sale, I think, moved to the Sales Office and cashiers.  His Dad did something similar, and by 1979 was an officer filing documents and such.  His Grandfather did the same before that, working for his Uncle Bob, who founded the Blooded Horse Sale, after having worked with his father, who'd been a horse trader, with auctions for thoroughbreds, standardbreds, and livestock in Lexington, Cincinatti, and Atlanta.  They all worked for several years, sometimes for other sale companies, as in the case of Uncle Bob who worked for Tattersall's, where his father's auction was held, before taking the lead.  Poppop Jerry doesn't want to do "this" forever, but it doesn't take long to tell, he loves it just as much as JJ does.  As much as I have come to love it.

Given all this, Papa/JJ will be away from his girls, doing what he loves mind, and a work that will make the difference in when we get a house, and other necessities for our family, and continue a tradition in the trade of horses that goes, at the very least, five generations back.  JJ asked me why it was so important to me that the girls come to the Sale, every year.  I told him, several reasons: I want them to appreciate where Papa goes, when I don't get to bring them. I want them to have pride in the hard work of those before them.

This isn't to say that they will be sixth generation.  There's the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. To which I quip, you can feed him a hell-of-a-lot of salt though!  Well, there's a fine balance between exposure, such that kids can choose, and enforcing a parent's desires.  I can't help but think of the movie The Joy Luck Club, where the little girl is struggling to play the piano, and throws a fit under the pressure of her Mother.  I was lucky, and had the opposite in parents.  I was exposed, supported in my interests, urged to see things through, but guided through redirecting or focusing my time.  For example, it was my choice at 14 to stop playing five instruments, and focus on riding, training, and competing.  By then, I'd already started riding ex-racehorses.  . . why?  They were the ones my family could afford!  But I'm already well into one digression, so let me finish with this: the girls can't love, what they don't know.

JJ went to the Sale as a kid, but it was also something that wasn't all that big.  He had to come to love it as an adult.  He'd wanted to do his own thing... which he did and still does.  He started his own business, Memetech, undercapitalized but full of gumption, savvy and determination. In fact, the first year or so working for the Sale, his Sale salary sometimes went to, not putting a roof over his head, but to keep his business afloat, while he lived on the sofa he kept there.  He's grown that business over the last fifteen years into one that keeps crew on year round, where most in his industry lay off in slow season.  Memetech has grown to have loyal customers, and many wonderful crew, both present and past.  It's hard gruelling work, and the reward is the pride in having run it successfully is all those Memetech supports, whether the hundreds of churches and charities that have a vendor that donates most of his profit, or the crew that get the flexibility to pursue their art, or for us, the family that relies on it for both income and flexibility for JJ to be ever present in our girls lives.  Working the Sale has a utility, and makes the same difference, for many of the 60 or so staff and crew that work it every quarter.  At Memetech, family is crew.  It's the same at the Sale, it's a family.  It's a family not just in its founding, and the history in the trade of horses, but in who come and gather at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

The girls can't love the Sale, if all they see is how it takes their Papa away.  On his or Maman's birthday. For Maman's Mother's Day.  For their first day of school.  Or driving him to distraction in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, including Halloween.

As much fun as the girls have had going to the Sale these last three years?  Well, it's Greta Jo's third sale (four if you count in utero), and Clara Lou's second (three, again, if you count in utero).   They're going to be just fine.

Thing of it is, I got stuck each of those years, over how I thought my Mother's Day would be.  I am ashamed to say, my panties were in a bunch.  Today was very different.  In part because of JJ and I getting each other better.  Also because, well, my own attitude shift.  Also, I wasn't even aware I had expectations, but I did.  I wanted a card made by the girls, a brunch, and relaxation.  I didn't want a day where I stopped being a Maman, but I wanted one where the four of us were together, as our own little family.

I just decided to get over myself.  All I really wanted was to be together.  Really. In the end, I mean you know, the end, that's all that really matters.  All the strife, struggle, blow-ups, mistakes, hurt, anger, none of it matters, in fact, it's worse if we let it take us away from being together, being connected.  We are social creatures.  I, despite what I may claim from time to time, am a social creature, and I love my little family. So yes, Mother's Day - together.  There will be plenty of times, soon enough, when our little ones are into their own lives.  While they are small, relying on us to get to and from, and peak their interest in this or that?  These are the holidays for us, and the foundation through which they may create their own traditions later.

Last year's solution of traveling on Mother's Day, meant a good chunk of time was spent something I don't enjoy, road trips with little ones.  Hell, I'd be hard pressed to find ANYONE who enjoys that.  So that day last year was not so much a "relaxing" treat that every Mom deserves. I was crankier than my girls by the time we arrived.

So this year, and I have no idea why it took me so long to come up with this, I suggested that I come up with the girls the day before.  If we left in the morning, we might even get to do something fun.

What you plan and what happens are rarely the same, and we left during nap.  Worked fine, and the girls, in their infinite wisdom, decided that napping was a bad idea.  They watched a movie, they played with toys.  They read books.  They played with their toes. We ate fast food.  We indulged in just being together.  I got one of my favourite things - car conversation with JJ.  (I don't know why, but have my suspicions, but he opens up most when we're taking road trips).  Check off a new Mother's Day tradition: travel day before.

There was a mix up with our room reservation in Delaware, so we stayed in northern Columbus.  It was just a 30 minute drive, down a gorgeous stretch of country road, the Olentangy River Road.  We were near where yet another part of JJ's family is from, Worthington (see Thomas Worthington and ).   I took this road last year, and adored it. JJ didn't recall whether he'd travelled it before.  I think this road in from Columbus to Delaware is part of my new tradition for Mother's Day.  Right along traveling the day before.

We got to see Grandma Billie and Poppop Jerry, briefly, as they, like Papa JJ had to get to work.  The Sale happens at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.  It happens here, from what I understand, because Uncle Bob (the girls' Great-Great-Uncle, on their maternal Grandmother's side), started the Blooded Horse Sale company where one of the biggest races for harness racing, The Little Brown Jug.  Oddly, JJ and I have yet to go to the Jug, but this year, I'm not waiting for an invitation.  Asa told me tonight, how the Morgan's have held onto the tradition, and are proud to have the box that Uncle Bob had for the Sale company.  I don't care if I have to hot walk horses to get on the grounds, I'm coming.  Which mean, finding a sitter.  I'm not bringing the girls here twice, and with that crowd?  That would just be asking for trouble!  But, again :rolls eyes at self: I digress.

The girls had a ball running around the Colosseum/arena where the auction is held.  Equipment was being delivered.  The girls took time to explore the chairs, the office, the grounds. They gravitated to the auction ring.  

I took them to church.  I took them to St. Peters, a church founded in the 1800s, gorgeous, and the parishioners even more lovely than I could have hoped.  There's a story about Greta Jo, but let it suffice, she was her fiery self, and not a single person left that sanctuary without knowing her and her name.

Afterwards, we picked up Papa again.  We were there for about an hour.  He had to get to a stopping point.  I got lost in conversation too. We went to Tim Horton's for a casual quick bite before checking in to our hotel.  After nap, we joined everyone for dinner at Bun's.  Poor Greta Jo got her finger smashed, but it was nothing a balloon from a nice Wesley graduate couldn't assuage.  There was a green space where the girls could run.  We came home, and the girls were high octane.  It's a little before midnight now, but they didn't fall asleep until 9:30 or so.  Papa was asleep about the same time.

My mind's a whir.  I am flooded with thoughts, so many more than are actually finding their way to the page.  I feel so loved.  I am filled with love for all the Mamas in my life, whether sister, Mother, friend, or even if just a Mama-wanna-be.  I had to share how wonderful today was.  The only thing missing was being able to see my own Mom (or Mama, as I call her on Mother's Day, as that's what I called her when I was small).    I love my family.  We are rich with story and character, flaws, and wonderment.

The Rector at St. Peter's took today's scripture, and made the lesson of love being one that we can crush, if we aren't careful, with our expectations.  Crush is exactly what I did to myself these last few Mother's Days where they didn't happen according to plan.  Today, the message and lesson I took away, was that to effect change in my life, to let God in, is to let go of how we expect life, how we expect God to show up in it.

So, I can unequivocally say: today was perfect.  Just the way it was.

After corresponding with some cousins from the Worthington side, we are, if at all, only distantly related to that Thomas Worthington. They start with Roger Worthington 1544-1604 who beget (Cousin Hendy, I like that word too!) Thomas Worthington 1570-1626  who beget Roger Worthington 1593-1649 who beget (maybe the word is indeed begat) Francis Worthington 1616 who begat John Worthington 1650-01701 who begat John Worthington 1650-1701 who begat John Worthington, Jr. 1688-1763 who begat Samuel Worthington 1734-1815.

Samuel Worthington was born in Maryland.  He was married to Mary Tolley & they had 11 children.  She then died, probably of exhaustion, & he married her niece, 13 years younger, & had 11 more. (Cousin Theresa discovered the relationship herself when doing Mary Tolley's family).

We are descended from one of the first 11--James, who was a twin. He & his twin came to Mercer County around 1800. Charles T Worthington, (senior) was his son. Charles T. Worthington married Joanna Theresa Gill.  They had 10 children but the first 2 or 3 died.  James was the first to survive. After that, the rest survived except maybe one--the cemetery stuff a little unclear. Well, Charles Jr. was one.  Union was as well although HE was named before Rebel-- that Cousin Theresa's found the relative birthdates herself when the issue arose. Mary Worthington was the last child & only the second girl to survive.  Seven in all made it.  Charles Sr. was born in KY, probably still around Mercer & studied law in St. Louis.  He developed lung problems & was told to leave St. Louis & he went & bought the land that gave rise to Happy Valley. Charles Jr. married Molly Evens who died in childbirth with Molly Worthington. Cousin Theresa's great grandmother was given her to raise as her own but Mary raised the others as well as long as she was at Happy Valley.  She took Molly with her when she went to Bloomfield, but not the others.

Of note, I don't know how Mary, also known as Mary Hen, mother of JJ's maternal Grandfather, Asa Hickman Jewell, who was pictured in my last post, is related to this sort.  I thought her father was Charles Worthington Jr, but need to check.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

Have you seen the tv program, "Who Do You Think You Are?" Where celebrities trace their family roots, fleshing out their stories, and learning some insight into who they are, and the whys of unasked questions?  Well, when telling his own story, JJ often refers to himself as the poor kid, when he attended Lexington School.  When I was growing up, I was the girl with no friends.  These stories we tell ourselves, when internalized, are taken as truth.  Neither were true, as it turns out.

By truth, what do I mean?  Well, permit me to dip into some personal philosophy.  Truth, is elusive.  No matter how firmly we hold these truths, some held as self-evident, they are but grains of sand. Each facet of truth impossible to describe fully.  Each, dry grain of sand, slips through our fingers, the more tightly we ball our fist.

These truths JJ and I told ourselves were true, to the extent we held them to be so.  Fortunately, the truth we were told and held, has slipped through our fingers, and in picking up the next handful of sand, I believe I've found a better vessel than a clinched fist with which to carry it.

I found last night, some clarity on JJ's family.  I had such fun compiling the information.  I have, ever since the mid-1990s when my Father met his half-sister from his Father's first marriage for the second time in his life, had an interest in family history.  I wanted to know who these family members were, how they lived, the character of their choices.  I wanted them to be more than their name, date of birth and death, and if they married, divorced, had children.  I wanted their stories.  I wanted them alive in my memory.

My family was fun to explore.  Just one interesting fact to wet the appetite is that I can date from my Father's side, back to William Wallace, my Greatx20-Grand-Uncle, (1272-1305) was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. You know, the one Mel Gibson played in the movie Brave Heart.  It's a crooked line to get to him, but the thread of defiance courses through my blood.

We've stayed countless times with his Father, Jerry, and his wife Billy, at the farm in Wilmore on Pekin Pike.  The farm, the six bedroom house, their life allowed it.

This past weekend marked the very first time we'd stayed with Margi, JJ's Mum.  It was shocking to realize this half-way through their stay.  Jarring in fact.  His Mother's life, with Bill, her aging husband and the care involved, didn't permit such extended visits with our little ones in tow.  Short visits would just wear her and Bill out.  Sadly, Bill passed last year, and I still love him so.  It really does take at least a year to get through grief and recover from the hardships of having someone near and dear in and out of hospice care.  One thing about Bill, you never knew, no matter how hard his body was on him, because who he was was joy and had a wry playful sense of humor and sharp wit.  Margi and I have had our share of trials, and to both our credits, have created space to find our footing.  I'm proud of her.  I'm proud of me.  We could have left the rift, and had not only ourselves to suffer for our shortcomings, but also the ones we both love dearly, my husband JJ and our two little girls.

It is so common that what is left undone by one generation is left for the next to address.  For example, my Mother's paternal Grandmother, Rose Gault, made her son choose between herself and his new bride.  He chose the new bride and never harkened his Mother's door again.  My parents acquiesce and defer not only to my husband, but to his family at every opportunity, to avoid putting me and him in the unpleasant position of having to make that impossible choice.

We didn't get to stay at Rolex
 as long as we did when
the girls were less mobile last year.
Here's Anna with Clara Lou
in 2011.  Below is Greta Jo from
last year too. She was far too
on the go go go! to catch
a snapshot of her.
So, to Lexington we went, under the annual family tradition of volunteering for my sister Ellyn, who organizes volunteers for writing on the official scoreboards around the Rolex Three Day Event.  The first event was in 1979, and our attendance and involvement followed not long after that.  Me, I had just started riding, and my sister Leslie was studying at riding school that year.  I competed on the Kentucky Horse Park ground for Ha'Penny Horse Trial, the Mid-South Combined Training Association (MSCTA) Dressage Finals, and the MSCTA Team Challenge, and many more.  The grounds felt like a farm.  

Today, the Horse Park echos to that rustic past, and to keep pace with the crowds necessary, it has grown and the course become more like a golf course than grounds of a horse trial, suitable to test the war worthiness of a calvary horse.  

The Rolex Kentucky has become a time when we Moise sisters are connected with the horses that once defined much of our waking thoughts.  It's not just a time to see horse and rider compete at a world-class level, but to share the fun for a sport that has learned to evolve and keep pace with its enthusiasts.

When JJ and I started dating, we didn't realize we shared a thread of horses.  I, was a new comer, not having had a family member ride a horse or drive a carriage, as I had as a hobby, since horses were used as transportation.  JJ's family had "The Sale" - but that was a new world of Standardbred trotters and pacers.  I tried to grasp what that meant, as I got exposed to it.  Keeping track of the horse-side of his family though had its challenges since there is an Asa named in every generation, and so many men named John, and women named Elizabeth or Margaret, I got confused and gave up for three years.  That is, until last night.

Having just spent the weekend with JJ's Mum (that is what he chose to call her on his own, by the way), I arrived home, still curious for more.  One photograph, in particular had caught my interest.

Can you tell these folks kept a practice of "toddy time?" I think you can!

This was taken 1942 at the  The picture of my grandparents was taken in September 1942. It was taken at the pre-cocktail (toddy) party at their home before the rehersal dinner at the country club for their daughter Elizabeth's, Davis-Jewell wedding). That sofa has been in their Grandson Charles Davis' possession since his mother, Elizabeth Berry Jewell Davis downsized and moved to an apartment. It is now in his living room. His Moma's story is that Moma Jewell would not allow "Old Pappy", as he was affectionately known, to have his toddy until the photographer took the pictures. He was not pleased.

JJ's Mum told me the who, but the following details I found when I got home, all on the internet. This is Mary Henderson Worthington Jewel and John Berry Jewell, JJ's Great-Grandmother and Great Grandfather, given who had the photo, as you may have guessed, on his Mum's Jewell side of the family. John Berry Jewell had hundreds of acres in Jessamine County and a "small horse farm" on Paris Pike, two doors down from Lexington Country Club, and a home at 221 Woodspoint Road, near JJ's Mum's house and Henry Clay's Estate, Ashland. He was President/Treasurer of Jewell Tobacco Warehouse Co., Inc. with warehouses in 340 9th Avenue North, Franklin TN, at at 566 McClelland, Lexington, and President of Jewell Oil Co. of Ky., Inc., located at 525 S. Mill St., Lexington Kentucky. No small wonder too.

His father, was Asa Hickman Jewell.  According to the 1900 census, he was a "horse trader"  You could say he was a horse trader, but there was much more to him!  He owned the horse sales firm, Harbison, Jewell, & Co., which conducted sales of horses at Tattersall's Mart, S. Broadway, and also in Cincinnati and Atlanta. There are family stories of "Cousin Asa" as he was affectionately known to not just horsemen in the Bluegrass, racing friends and rivals up and down what is now Broadway/Harrodsburg Road, before there was Tattersall's and The Red Mile. (Perhaps that's why the tracks were built around there?) Yes folks, that is the equivalent of drag racing, in his day. That said, Asa was a typical Kentucky Gentleman: suave, smart, always polite and considerate of friends and business associates. He was described as one of the finest characters to grace the harness horse field. His father, John Jewell, had been born in High Bridge, near Wilmore, Kentucky in 1812. It was his father, John Moses Jewell, born in 1776, who had moved from Maryland to pioneer Kentucky.

Jumping back to the last century, John Berry's brother, Robert Berry, assisted their father Asa in managing the family farm, Pleasant View Farm, and started breeding Standardbred harness horses in 1922. "Uncle Bob," as the Haws boys have referred to him to me, but who is their Great-Great-Uncle, took on running the farm in 1937. He was the State Fair Manager in Louisville, and also had a hand in running Pleasant Hill in Shakertown. It was at this time that Uncle Bob was Director of the United States Trotting Association.  He owned one-half interest in the sale company, held in partnership. I believe that this is when the Sale would have moved from being in Atlanta, Lexington at Tattersall's and Cincinnati to Delaware, Ohio, home of the big race, The little Brown Jug. I don't know who the other partner was, but the office was at the family farm, Pleasant View. Was it his father? Was it someone else? I'm guessing Cousin Francisw will know. :smile:. When Uncle Bob hired and then partnered with his nephew, John Berry Jewell's son, named for their father, Asa Hickman Jewell, who would keep his promise to his Uncle, as I understand.

This Asa Hickman Jewell, II, b. 1910, was JJ's Grandfather. He worked the Sale in Delaware Ohio. Clearly, it has a history beyond the years ticked off most calendars from a date of incorporation. Grandfather Asa graduated from MIT, worked in as a stockbroker in New York. His Aunt, Therese Worthington Grant, his mother's sister, had the first fried chicken restaurant in NYC. Asa and his wife Margaret Loring Jewell worked together at their restaurant, which was located near the Waldorf Astoria, in NYC, and eventually owned it. He contracted TB and moved to Franklin Tennessee where, at some point, served as Mayor. When his Uncle Robert was ready to retire, he asked Asa to learn the Sale. He bought out his uncle, as promised. In the years he first owned the Sale, the office was in Wilmore (don't know where, but would like to). When the house on Pekin Pike was built, Grandfather Asa moved the Sale office to what was then his 200+ acre farm on Pekin Pike, where it currently is run by his former son-in-law, Jerry Haws, JJ's Father, with an eye of having a fifth generation in the horse sale and trading in one of Grandfather Asa's three grandsons, who were just 19, 17 and 14 years old when Asa passed away in 1989.  

There aren't many old timers at the Sale that remember Grandfather Asa, let alone Uncle Bob, or the I'm sure wild stories of Asa Hickman Jewell, I.  What's fun to envision is that in the years that Grandfather Asa worked at the Sale in Delaware Ohio, Grandfather Asa wore tweed jackets in winter and linen in summer.

His toddy of choice was copious quantity of gin.

JJ carries on the family tradition. His favoured toddy is modicum of bourbon.

So, I have friends as it turns out, I have friends.  All I need do was figure out I had to risk holding out my hand.  And JJ, he wasn't the poor farm kid.  He came from a family rich with history, as we approach the May Sale, his what?  thirteenth or is it fifteenth year working in Delaware?  He goes there knowing he's fifth generation in the horse industry, from a family as diverse as the horsemen who go there.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

For want of $80

The below was first published on - an organization that since 2006 has been working to bring together millions of people who share a common concern about the need to build a more family-friendly America. The members are bringing important motherhood and family issues to the forefront of the country's awareness. Together, they are working to create both cultural and legislative change, on both the national and state levels.  Here, with a few additional photos, is that story.


My name is Nancy, and these are just the highlights of my story. I am one amongst many.

A family of my own almost didn't happen.

I spent my 20s married to a wonderful man, but the relationship had gone its course by 2001. When we parted ways, he kept the house and the fragments of our life together. I packed up and moved to Europe with a one-way ticket.

I figured, if I was going to create a new life, I might as well be in a place where if I fell in love, it'd be in a country that took care of its constituency, particularly women, better than I could ever expect back home in the States.

I first moved to Paris France, and then on to Stockholm. There, I explored love - anticipating the wonderful family-friendly approach there in Sweden. Nine months maternity/paternity leave. Tenth month use it or lose it for the Father. 100% Healthcare DELIVERY (no talk of insurance which is NOT the same as healthcare actually being administered, more on that later). Childcare. Phenomenal schools. Five weeks minimum paid vacation. All state-funded. Not enough? There even were private insurance policies that covered sick days, should a parent need to take a day off for a sick child, leaving their own paid sick days for :shudder: for when a parent was sick. All this, and so much more. The cost was about the same in tax rate. In the US, when one combines the local, state, and Federal taxes, adds in what we pay to have similar services and benefits, we pay more - and still get less.

Love in Stockholm didn't work out, and for me, well, that's a prerequisite for starting a family.
When I returned to the States, my timing was off to be re-entering the workforce. It was a time of high unemployment, and with a two-year hole in my resume, I wasn't all that marketable. I couldn't get work in my field (lawyer), so my vagabond years began. I went from comfort, to living paycheck to paycheck, and lived amongst the uninsured for the first time in my life.

I moved back to my hometown of Louisville Kentucky, and explored a broader approach to finding work. I had to; none of the work I would choose could be found. I founded an arts organization, determined that what I did for a living wouldn't define who I was. I worked all sorts of jobs, but was wary of being insured while I looked for work in my field, which with it, would come insurance.

In 2006, I worked at White Castle (remember, I have a law degree). They were great. It is, to date, the best job I had, because of the life lessons I learned there. It made me live what I believe - what one does for a living isn't who we are.

Sadly, a month before I was to qualify for paid sick leave and health insurance, I had a miscarriage and missed work, which was unpaid. Medical bills on top of making just $7+/hour and a smaller paycheck because of missed work meant that when I had what I thought was the stomach flu shortly afterwards, I toughed it out. It happened just one day after I'd handed in notice for having found a "better" job as a bank teller (remember, I'm a lawyer, who was willing to do what it took to makes ends meet). I didn't want to just not show for my last two weeks, and also, $7/hour or not, I needed every one of those dollars because I (1) liked to eat, and (2) still had those medical bills from the miscarriage. I got more and more fatigued. Worked every day of my last two weeks. Two days into the new job, I finally scrounged up the $80 to go to an immediate care center. They rushed me out the door with strict orders to go to the ER. That stomach flu had been my appendix rupturing. Those abdominal pains I felt after that "flu" weren't a result of the miscarriage, but a result of the peritonitis and other resulting damage from the ruptured appendix.

My story appeared in a Velocity article
on the uninsured.  (This was the actual state
of my desk and the bills).
(c)2008 Courier-Journal
A few years before, I'd been flush, and being able to afford my share of medical expenses had been an inconvenience, but not a bar to my receiving the care I needed. But at the time, for want of $80, I nearly died. My organs had started to shut down, causing that fatigue that I had "worked through."
Fortunately, I was okay, but faced over $20,000 in medical bills after emergency surgery and a week's hospital staty for IV antibiotics. I was earning about $9/hour at the bank, had missed work, again. The new job? I was just 2 days into the insurance company mandated 30 day waiting period for coverage. Nice.

I did the best I could pecking away at those bills. I worked hard and liked being a teller. There's pride in a job well done. While at the bank, I met my now husband. I had another medical complication, which we later determined was the cause of that miscarriage, and we struggled to get together my share of the deductible.

The condition had gone two years undiagnosed because I hadn't had the money for an annual exam.  Fortunately, it was treatable by surgery.  Unfortunately, it might cost me my ability to carry a child. When I had the surgery, the surgeon advised me he would do his best to not have to take my entire uterus. He cautioned me that even if he was successful in saving enough of my uterus so I could carry, he warned that the infection from after my appendix had ruptured was likely to have compromised the function of my fallopian tubes. Nice. Again. Thanks medical "system" in the States responsible for my care. I'd busted my hump to NOT be a burden, and ended up nearly costing me my life, and then, nearly costing me the ability to have children. Just great.

I'd gotten what I thought was a better job, in my field of law, after working at the bank. Well, as it would happen, my husband and I conceived and I was able to carry. Fortunately, again, I had health insurance. Or so I thought. (Why insurance is tied to our place of employment, with as often as people change jobs, many of whom don't earn a living wage is beyond me.)
I was laid off, not long after I found out I was pregnant; a "pre-existing condition." But wait, if you can't get new coverage, you say, there's COBRA. I'd still be insured, right. Well, yes, IF you can afford the COBRA payments, that's your catch, isn't it Nancy.
Oh no. There's another hitch. Small businesses are not included in COBRA. Therefore, the unemployment relief of paying 60% of the COBRA payments that was being offered at the time, was not extended to me. Fortunately, the state did mandate that I could continue my health insurance, IF we made the payments. I boggled at the full cost - and somehow, we made those payments and the deductibles and copays.

We've since had not just one, but both of our girls. Greta Jo and Clara Lou. At the time of writing this, Greta Jo is 2-1/2, and Clara Lou is 18 months. I was on unemployment, unable to find work. I'd worked in corporate all those years, and used the time to be admitted to practice law, to broaden my job opportunities. Even if I had found work while pregnant those two consecutive years in 2009 and 20010, it frustrated me to think that a maternity leave would be woefully inadequate, in my humble opinion. Six weeks just doesn't cut it. And in a new job, the minimum is what I would get. That is IF I had been successful in finding someone to hire a pregnant new attorney.

So, 2009, there I was, laid off, and pregnant. Waddle Waddle into an interview and they know I'll be asking about a six week maternity leave.


And even those were not a maternity leave, but cobbled together between sick pay and short-term disability. Really? A disability? Was no one who wrote these policies that became law aware that they too had been BORN to a mother?

Barbaric is what my friends in Europe, but particularly in Sweden, men and women alike, say about us here in the States. Not all women struggle with going back to work. A new Mama facing those first few months where a child is so dependent, I understand how, perhaps conflicted, som jump at the chance to leave babies for the familiar demands of work. I'm not starting a fight, between stay-at-home Moms. We women are all wonderfully different. I just believe all babies deserve the right of having a parent at home with them longer than is our cultural norm. I would suggest that either parent, like in Sweden, be able to use the maternity/paternity leave - and that leave ought to be longer than just a few short weeks. That said, having just gone through those early times in recent memory, I do appreciate the lure and trade-offs of not being a full-time Mama. Me, I just wanted the chance to work.

So I went to work for myself. The market is flooded with attorneys, and my practice is not only the only place that would have hired me pregnant, one year, and then kept me when immediately pregnant again... it's also the only place I know that wouldn't have FIRED me thus far. Babies get sick. Many childcare can't or are insufficient to care for sick children. Parents miss work as a result. FMLA or not, it's unpaid. Well, between my husband and I, when the girls are sick or something comes up, and Mamas you know how something ALWAYS comes up, it's me that does it. Something has to give, and it's the time dedicated to my law practice.

Having to figure out whether finding work is even worth it is part of the calculation. If we had gone the day-care route, it's a trade-off from our attachment parenting approach. That means family, and a nanny (found on with its criminal background checks), have partnered with me in watching the girls when I do manage to make it into the office. The nanny, to make ends meet for her household, has taken on not just a second job, but three - so she has gone from watching our girls four to just one day a week.

We have cobbled together childcare. The nanny watches one day, my sister for one morning, a Parent's Day Out program for two half days, and another sitter as back-up, all gives me one full day in the office, and two half days. That's it. Now it's summer, and I'm scrambling between two sitters and a camp for twos for our eldest, to be able to maintain my law practice, while having the girls tended when I'm not with them.

So, although I love the States. I love raising my girls here, in Louisville Kentucky. I sure do wish we had a few of the sensible public policies that make Sweden such an ideal place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

We must have a change in our priorities. We settle for what we have, because so many don't even fathom that it doesn't have to be this cobbled together broken system. I am committed to do whatever I am able, to gain the ears of those with spheres of influence, to change public policy, legislation, not to make it easier but make our lives make sense, if not for me, for our two girls. No one should have to risk their lives, their fertility for want of $80.
—Nancy Moise

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shepherds Pie Snack

I try to do organic, from-scratch everything, particularly when it comes to my girls.  Even more so when it comes to feeding their friends.  Not so for tomorrow.  This is, Maman's in a hurry- gotta-get this-done, sort of recipe.  Hopefully there's enough cheese and good stuff for them to eat their peas.  I know my girls will... question is, will anyone else's!

Shepherds Pie Snack
Makes 2 dozen

1 package of Jiffy Mix
1 egg
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup grilled corn (left overs from dinner)
1 lb ground beef*
1 lb/package of sage pork sausage
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
6 large Yukon Gold
whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/8 cup butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Place paper muffin cups into muffin tin.
  2. Prepare the Jiffy mix, per instructions with egg and water.  Blend with spoon, and add the corn.   In muffin cups, place small dollop of corn bread batter, distributed evenly between the two dozen muffins.  Place in heated oven for 5 minutes and remove.
  3. In saute pan, brown crumbled ground beef and pork sausage.  Set aside and drain.
  4. Place small (1 tablespoon) amount of meat mixture atop the corn muffin.  Top with peas and grated cheese, leaving small amount below the paper muffin cup.
  5. Boil water, and cook peeled and diced potatoes until done.  Mash with "enough" milk and butter.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Put slightly-cooled mashed potatoes into gallon bag, and cut small corner.  Pipe mashed potatoes into muffin cup.  Top with grated cheese
  6. In small bowl, blend butter and bread crumbs.  Top with bread crumbs.
  7. Place the pie into the oven for another ten minutes. 

* No, not a traditional Sheperd's Pie with lamb, but seriously, do you think a bunch of two-year olds will care?

---- EDIT ----  the update

Okay, the two year olds did just what I thought they would... they found the part they wanted, ate that, discarded the rest. Greta Jo, who was just treated to a spice cake cupcake yesterday, discarded the entire snack and ate just the oranges that accompanied the snack.  She was clearly disgusted to have not received a cupcake topped with sweet and creamy icing, but was not to be fooled into eating the savory treat her Maman had made.  Her classmates disagreed and liked the snack.  Clara Lou and her classmates were less enamoured. They like it simple Maman - crackers, cubes of cheese, basic diced fruit.  They're still working on feeding themselves, so on Wednesday, that is just the sort of snack they'll be getting.