Today is my birthday.
For the last week, I’ve been accumulating emails giving me $10 off this, 20% off that, and free breakfast, lunch, and dessert here, there and everywhere. I plan to take advantage of all of them. I also plan to diet tomorrow.
Today’s birthday is also very bittersweet, and I’ve had a heavy heart all week because this is my first birthday since mom died last August.
Mom always sent a birthday card every year without fail. There won’t be a birthday card in the mail today. It’s not that I won’t get a card; it’s that I won’t get a card from her ever again.
Speaking of Minneapolis … it’s been my home for many years; I love it here, but Minneapolis is also a sanctuary city and that’s something I’m not too crazy about.
In case you don’t know, a sanctuary city is a U.S. city that’s adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally.
We’re a country made up of immigrants – my own ancestry can be traced to Europe. Here’s how I feel about immigrants: If you move here from another country, are here legally and take the necessary steps to be a U.S. citizen, welcome! If you don’t, you’re not.
Now, here’s the rub about sanctuary cities.
Cities like Minneapolis limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities by shielding undocumented individuals. In addition, local law enforcement’s hands are tied. Police may know of someone who’s here illegally, but they can’t do a damn thing about it. They can’t even ask about a person's immigration status or cooperate with federal immigration officials.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he’d cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities if they shield undocumented workers from federal immigration officials. Minneapolis’ mayor has vowed to fight this.
Immigration advocates see the end of sanctuary cities as hostile, especially to Latinos, warning it would lead to harassment by police. And law enforcement officials are worried about crime victims who won’t call the police because the victim fears deportation.
Valid concerns yes, but I still don’t think sanctuary cities are a good idea, let me tell you why. If anyone’s here illegally, they can’t be touched by U.S. laws, they can’t be charged with a crime, and they can’t be prosecuted for a crime. Trump has also said he’s for deporting illegal immigrants who have a criminal history. I agree with him on this. Not every immigrant who comes to this country comes here with good intentions. Some are running from the law, or commit crimes in the U.S., and they know they can’t be touched in sanctuary cities.
I understand these sanctuary cities are trying to fight bigotry, but because of it, they’re leaving their citizens wide open to being a victim of crime by an undocumented immigrant and the legal citizen can’t anything to bring the immigrant to justice. That’s not right. You should be able to report someone to the police if they’ve committed an act against the law – regardless if they’re here legally or not.
Minneapolis used to be a nice, safe city, but no more. It’s changed for the worse and unfortunately, I don’t see it getting better. I’ve never owned a gun before, but I’m seriously considering buying one and going to a gun range to learn how to use it.
Politicians continue to erode our trust by making important decisions for us, such as whether to become a sanctuary city, without letting us, the legal taxpayers, weigh in. I think it would’ve been fair if we could’ve at least voted on this, but no one ever said politics was fair.
Instead of wearing Halloween socks as I have the last two months, today, the socks are have an autumn leaf design. Tomorrow, it might be pumpkin pies.
The first substantial dumping of snow could happen at any time … what a depressing thought.
And in one week, we vote for a new president in the U.S. I, and pretty much every other citizen can’t wait for this cluster to be in the rear view mirror.
My focus isn’t on any of those things, it’s still on a career change, finding a part-time job (I’ve been hell-bent on saving money right now), getting in shape (I’ve been horribly neglectful of my health this past year), checking more things off my 2016 to-do list and making my 2017 to-do list.
There’s still many loose ends to tie up before the end of the year, yet I’m feeling strangely calm. Could be that I haven’t had enough coffee yet and I’m still bleary-eyed. Either way, my gut feeling is this month will bring good changes and shift my life’s gears into fast-forward.
I have Halloween ornaments hanging above my kitchen sink. I have a lamp with bats on it in my bedroom. And a shower curtain with images of cats, witches, pumpkins and ghosts.
The one thing lacking was a string of lights, maybe ghosts or bats, or some such thing. I searched on eBay, but saw nothing that grabbed my attention. I saved the search, as I was sure I’d eventually find something I’d like.
About two weeks ago, I looked through this saved search and saw a string of 10 pumpkin lights. The picture above is from the eBay posting. I clicked on the link and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I bought the exact string of lights 25 years ago, in 1991. Unfortunately, mine were so damaged from when I had my furniture in storage that I had to throw them out.
Now it may sound crazy, but seeing the lights took me back 25 years. It was my first quarter returning to college full-time. I was working two, sometimes three, part-time jobs. I didn’t bother making a Halloween costume as I didn’t have to time to make one, nor free time to go out and wear it. While I didn’t go out to celebrate, I did buy some wonderful pumpkin lights to decorate my apartment, a string of 10 plump pumpkins, each with a big jack o’lantern smile.
On Halloween night in 1991, I went straight home after work to hit the books. It was snowing on the way home. Unusual, but not unlikely, for late October. But this snow was sticking to the ground – and accumulating fast.
The snow fell throughout the night, cutting short the trick or treaters’ candy haul. The next morning, the city was covered in snow and the stuff was still coming down. Classes were cancelled, some businesses even closed for the day.
Once it was all said and finally done, 28 inches of snow was on the ground and the snowstorm was dubbed the Halloween blizzard.
So, back to the eBay posting. The lights were only $10 and I clicked Buy It Now. They arrived just a few days later and were absolutely perfect. Not a ding, not a blemish – they looked brand new. The box was a tad scuffed, but still intact. There was one tiny snag – they don’t light! I plugged them into four different outlets and nothing. Oh well. I strung them in front of my balcony blinds and they’re perfect.
I really don’t care if they don’t work – those plump pumpkin lights made me smile and love Halloween all over again. Oh, in case you’re wondering, there’s no snow in the forecast for tonight.