A Photograph of me without me in it

A Photograph of me without me in it
A photograph of me without me in it

Friday, August 17, 2018


Listen and remember: Aretha sings R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 

Here are the lyrics in case you’d like to sing along

What you want
Baby, I got it
What you need
Do you know I got it
All I'm askin'
Is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)
I ain't gonna do you wrong while you're gone
Ain't gonna do you wrong cause I don't wanna
All I'm askin'
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)
I'm about to give you all of my money
And all I'm askin' in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)
Ooo, your kisses
Sweeter than honey
And guess what?
So is my money
All I want you to do for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re ,re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)
Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB
Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)
I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin' (just a little bit)
You're runnin' out of fools (just a little bit)
And I ain't lyin' (just a little bit)
(re, re, re, re) When you come home
(re, re, re ,re) 'spect
Or you might walk in (respect, just a little bit)
And find out I'm gone (just a little bit)
I got to have (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)

I had planned to write a blog entry today about how Ann and I celebrated Wednesday night, the ninth anniversary of our commitment ceremony, but yesterday I heard Aretha Franklin died, and my head is full of Aretha Franklin’s voice. My heart is full of my stories where her voice sings the soundtrack.

A beautiful spring Friday. My first year of teaching. Dallas, Texas, 1987. I was 23 years old and sat outside the upper school building with three freshmen students: Luke, Joey, and Kate. Luke and Joey teased Kate in the way adolescent boys tease girls they like, poking her, pulling at her bra strap, and goading her with comments I can’t remember. 

Though I usually laughed along with these students, this time I was stern. “Don’t let them treat you like that,” I said to her. She just looked at me like she was used to it and calling attention to their antics would just make them worse.

I turned to the guys. “Don’t treat her like that,” I said.

Joey looked at me, a smile fading over his braces. “I thought you were our friend,” he said.

“No. I’m not your friend,” I responded. “I’m your teacher, and I’m telling you to show women of all ages respect.”

Joey nodded, and I left the group. The next Monday, when I entered our classroom, students were already there, and Aretha Franklin boomed from the boom box, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.”Joey smiled, and Luke looked sheepish. This time, I laughed. They’d gotten my point, and there was still humor between us. I’ve always loved Aretha Franklin for that moment.

If you’re remembering, too, and want to hear that powerful voice some more, you can hear the whole album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You.

Aretha…I just can’t call her Franklin. She’s Aretha like Ellen Degeneres is Ellen. In this case using her first name is an indication of respect. And affection…. Aretha recorded her first record, “I Grow Closer” 
in her father’s church in 1956 when she was 14 years old, like the 1987 Texas students I’d been scolding.  
For a full retrospective, click here

Written and sung by Otis Redding, this song needed a powerful woman’s voice, and Redding recognized it was no longer his when he heard Aretha recording the song in the studio.

This song was Aretha’s song. And mine. And anyone’s who has ever felt disrespected. So she sings on. Even after death. She sings on.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but with the Navy and Marine jets flying overhead, I felt like I was in a war zone. This siege happens every year as part of Seattle’s annual Seafair weekend. 

On August’s first weekend, hordes go to Lake Washington’s shores to sit on tin bleachers in a tin cage (Okay, it’s really metal fencing to keep out the freeloaders). The hordes watch speedboats making as much noise as possible as they race in a circle. Their race reminds me of one turkey I saw chase another around a bush in Michoacan, Mexico, only it’s louder. Apparently, the land-based hordes eat and drink a lot, as there are 23 places at the event to get food and/or drink. Some hordes watch from their own boats, I suppose so they can save money on food and drink.

As part of the weekend, the Blue Angels roar over our home. The first year we lived in this house, we didn’t know about this event. As the planes flew a few yards over our roof, the house shook, and scurried down from the ladder where she was painting our arbor. Then for a couple of years we tried the “If you can’t beat’em, join ‘em” tactic and went to a nearby park to watch them fly. Since then, we’ve gone to Mount Rainier’s Paradise for the weekend, where most hikers were from our neighborhood or China. 

Now that we have our puppy Dosey, who can’t stay at the Paradise Inn, we’ve stayed in town, and my partner Ann has taken Dosey to other parts of the city to walk and swim. Instead of going with them today, I went to bed to try napping through the siege.

Fortunately, the annual Blue Angels  siege has ended for this year. An opinion piece in today’s Seattle Times argued it’s time for the Blue Angels to retire from this event I agree, but I’m much less appreciative of all they’ve done than the writer. 

To me, The Blue Angels celebrate war in a way that displays power but doesn’t put us in danger. They terrify my dog, wake me from a much needed nap, and remind me with each roaring fly-over how much our country celebrates testosterone. 

Friday night, Ann and I saw powerful women on two WNBA teams play. Our Storm downed the Minnesota Lynx by 10 points. I love these games. Though there’s a lot of noise from the loud speaker and the fans (over 12,000 there Friday night), the noise stays in the arena for those who have chosen to participate in this event. Generally, the game and the crowd are family-friendly: no one’s obnoxiously drunk; people generally don’t boo the refs; and the crowd applauds great basketball from eith team (though there’s more applause for the Storm.) After the game, drivers exit politely from the garage, pausing to let another car into the stream.

Ann and I missed the stream Friday night because we got to have our photo taken with Breanna Stewart. “Stewie,” as she’s affectionately called, is talented, tall, and kind. She’s a shero.

At the end of October, 2017, she came out as a sexual abuse survivor. Her story, like her play on the court, is courageous. Unlike her presence on the court, she’s vulnerable. 

I know males and females who have been sexually abused. #MeToo is not just a women’s issue. To me, it does call into question our country’s, my city’s, celebration of predatory behavior, of power that overwhelms, of sky jets and speed boats.