On St. Patrick’s Day I fell on my nose and I hadn’t even been drinking green beer. I only got a couple scrapes and a strange look from Luna like “why did you do that?” to which I had no answer. We were on our way to confession and didn’t even say any words I needed to confess. The next day, looking like a battle-scarred lobbyist, I went to Madison.
Here’s Luna’s summary of our twelve-hour trip to Madison to lobby our legislators about not cutting public broadcasting so drastically:
We went, we sniffed and we lobbied. Kathie talked about how cutting a gem like our public radio and television was massacring a state treasure, talk talk talk. The legislators and their aides were polite and noncommittal except that they genuinely enjoyed me. But the best part of all was meeting a gaggle of fourth grade girls and their teacher from Mineral Point in the ladies room. They’d read a story about guide dogs and meeting me in person was way cooler than meeting the governor. And we picked up a copy of the resolution the legislature had just passed in honor of military working dogs. They get their own day! Wonder how they’d lobbied!
Of course there were the usual chores like grocery shopping as well as keeping up with emails, phone calls and Facebook, giving a talk to elderly church ladies, playing bridge, making meals, entertaining friends and reading Superfreakonomics for an upcoming book club discussion. This necessitated some background research to figure out why parts of the book bugged me so. No plot spoiler, but rational decision-making is stressed with morality discounted entirely. A retired guide dog came to spend a few days and Luna only had one meltdown about being bossed around by this assertive older sister. That resolution about war dogs has a couple teeth holes in it now; interesting choice of paper to chew!
I visited friends in an assisted living facility and took fudge for our tea time treat. People got reminiscing about how fudge made them think of being on vacation. Both staff and friends seemed to enjoy this minivacation where you didn’t have to pack or unpack. Note to self, do this again soon.
On the following Monday a noble friend drove me through a snowy morning to testify at the Joint Finance Committee’s budget hearing in Rice Lake. Every two years the legislature has four of these hearings so citizens from all over the state can talk about what budget issues are important to them. Hundreds of people line up early to be able to speak for two minutes.
I talked about cuts to public broadcasting, the university system and the elimination of Aging and Disability Resource Centers and their boards. ADRCs provide local access to services for elderly and disabled and some local oversight. Many people testified about long-term care changes, cuts to public schools and deep cuts to the university. The most compelling testimony prizes in my opinion went to a redheaded thirteen year-old girl adamant about what the school cuts meant to her and a gal who spoke using her iPad to voice her testimony about long-term care. The iPad user was passionate about how her long-term care had enabled her to make choices about her life. She got the only chuckle I heard when she mentioned that occasionally she went to the bar because after all, this was Wisconsin. I hope hearing from real people helps our legislators realize their decisions affect lives. Or as Henry David Thoreau says: “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
That was the week that was!