No rest for an activist

I have jokingly commented several times in the past two years that I thought I would be able to relax in my older years, but apparently not. Of course, these are not joking times and I am more and more disturbed and angered as each day goes by while the Trump administration seems determined to destroy all that has been good about our country. No, we have never been perfect and yes, we still had a lot of work to do as we inched slowly, slowly toward justice for all.  I have protested one thing or another in just about every administration since I was old enough to do so; however, this particular time seems especially cruel and inhumane.  Among all of the despicable things that have been perpetrated by Trump and his minions, the idea that the USA is purposely and systematically separating children from their parents at the border is particularly heinous. Thankfully people are speaking out and taking to the streets to call attention to these horrific policies, though I am fearful that extreme damage has already been done to these children as we know that trauma can cause permanent change in developing brains.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made in remedying the situation as I write this,  with tonight’s news announcing that the government needs more time to reunify families of small children under five years old (five years old!) and I’ve read heartbreaking testimony from parents, children, aid workers and lawyers familiar with everything going on.

Saturday Rich and I joined a rally and march in Dallas to make our voices heard. It seems like a small thing, under the circumstances. But with similar rallies being held all over the country, perhaps we will make a difference. I also emailed our county judge who was seeking mental health volunteers to work with families.  I hope I will be able to assist in some way.

Amusing side note: We only saw one counter protester (unless you count the very elderly couple who walked through the crowd in their MAGA hats) and he chose to stand next to Rich with his sign that instructed people to “go home” and “change your own country, not mine.”  Followed by “I support ICE.”  I don’t know if he thought Rich was a kindred spirit or what! Rich was holding a sign that said “end racism now” so he asked me to take a picture of the two of them.  🙂  See if you can find it in the montage above.

The next Monday I attended a standing room only meeting of the Funky East Dallas Democrats who are going all-out to get people registered to vote and out to the polls. We heard from our Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, Mike Collier, and two state senate nominees, Nathan Johnson and Kendall Scudder (who is running in my district). They were all GREAT! I know we have some awesome candidates for November and hopefully that BLUE WAVE is coming in Texas.

36578975_10211949204861910_733247214888943616_nFourth of July was quiet as the Dallas kids were out of town.  Bonnie and David flew in from Amarillo early that morning, had breakfast with us and visited for awhile before they had to leave to shoot a wedding about an hour from here.  Rich and I had tostadas and fresh corn on the cob, then Bonnie and Dave came back to spend the night after the wedding reception. They are really funny and had some good stories to tell as we sat up till 1 AM talking and laughing. They had to leave early the next morning but we were happy, happy to have them here for a quick visit.

Happy Independence Day. Let us strive to embody the ideals that this country claims to stand for, even though we have failed time and time again. We are patriots when we work for peace, justice, and equality for everyone, especially those who have no power against the government.


Weekend Update

Back home and back to the routine.  I returned to my volunteer work on Tuesday, we’ve babysat the kids a few times, attended some soccer games, Elle got her ears pierced, I went to lunch with Sarah and a teen mom-to-be she’s mentoring, scored big at the thrift store, went back to the gym, cleared out the garden plot to get ready for fall planting, took some walks around the neighborhood since the weather is cooling off a little in the mornings and evenings, all of the grandkids are now back at school (and preschool for the littlest ones), loving it so far.  We had a quiet Labor Day weekend. Solidarity forever, now more than ever.

Worried about the hurricanes and the devastation they are causing. Thankful that everyone we know has been safe.  Continuing to be appalled by the current administration and the latest action to dismantle DACA. How much more can we take??

I finished a book called Evicted and highly recommend it.  Most of us at my volunteer agency have been reading it as it applies to our clients in many ways.  If you don’t understand the difficulties that people go through when they are living in poverty and can hardly make ends meet, this book will expand your knowledge.

All of the recent hullabaloo about Civil War statues and monuments is playing out in Dallas, too.  Recently a statue of Robert E. Lee was taken down (but not before some group managed to get a court injunction first, which was then thrown out…seriously, why does anyone care that much??).  This is a thoughtful article about the subject.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most brilliant writers today.  His latest piece is a long read,  a devastating one, but very important.

Defending the American Dreamers from the Dream Hoarders. I’ve been reading a lot of John Pavlovitz lately.  I am not very religious,  but if I were I’d want to be in his congregation.

And a lovely tribute to our former home in Unalaska. Oh, and if you want to see pix and watch a fun video of the annual Tundra Golf Classic back in Unalaska, click here.  Made me miss my job and my community there.

Happy weekend, all.



Voting, Soccer, Babysitting

Apparently Dallas is well known for having a terrible voter turnout, especially in local elections.  Our city councilperson is one of the more progressive, thankfully, and had no trouble being re-elected.  I signed up to be a volunteer registrar but only had the chance to take part in one registration activity before the election. We will mostly be focusing on 2018 and voting out some of the right wing Republicans.  What are the odds?

We also went to a very raucous town hall meeting with our state senator. I have to admit that I don’t think it is a great idea for people to be downright rude and nasty toward an elected official. There were a couple of people there who did not do themselves or the liberal cause any favors.  Embarrassing!

We kept Sarah and Miles’ kids for a few days while they were out of town. Elle’s team won a soccer tournament, then she had the STAAR test the next two days, which was a little nerve wracking for her but her parents left her some encouragement and little surprises to help her get through it.  Jack helped us in the garden one day and we wore him out running errands. Beck was his funny, silly self and kept the mood positive–they are great kids and we had a busy, fun time.

We dropped everyone off at school and a babysitter would take over for the last day while we headed out to San Antonio.

You are Welcome Here

Saturday we marched and rallied for immigrants and refugees.  It was a beautiful warm and sunny day in Dallas as we made our way from City Hall to the JFK Memorial Plaza with a couple thousand like-minded folks.

When I lived in Alaska, I taught English to immigrants from many countries for a couple of years. This experience opened my eyes as I got to know my students ; I quickly came to love them and to respect their motivation and dedication.  They were such hard workers and such kindhearted human beings.  Recently I’ve been volunteering with a refugee agency here in Dallas and I’ve been so troubled by the hatred toward immigrants and refugees as well as the Trump administration’s harsh policies and actions. Can you imagine how tough it is to come to a new country where you don’t speak the language well (if at all), where you’re unfamiliar with the customs and expectations of other people, and find yourself feeling unwelcome or unwanted after years in a refugee camp holding onto your hopes and dreams of a better life in the USA?  I worry about the people arriving in Dallas each week and I hope they do feel welcome here.  Our small action last weekend was a statement and we hope it was heard.

Mentioning my students made me want to go back and look at all of my pictures from our classes, gatherings, and celebrations.  I sure do miss these beautiful people!




Weekend Update

Wow, there sure has been a lot going on!  I am shocked and amazed every day by the new Administration and its shenanigans.  We had quite a bit of excitement at DFW airport when the refugee travel ban came down and there were individuals and families detained as they arrived in Dallas with valid visas and green cards.  I was pleased to see lawyers volunteering their time, supporters showing up in large numbers to protest and bring attention to the issue, and even our mayor and a county judge greeting and apologizing to those who were finally released the next day.  I REALLY wanted to go to the airport but we were keeping grandson Jack for a few days and I decided it probably wouldn’t be best to subject him to the crowd and the noise.  I did tease his mom that I was thinking about breaking him in early and taking him along to a protest.  🙂

A few days ago I went with about 40 other people to our US Representative’s office to discuss the Affordable Care Act with his aide.  The aide was great; he listened, took notes, acknowledged our concerns, and didn’t argue or dismiss our worries.  I am not too hopeful anything will happen with our very conservative Rep but it was good to make contact and make our voices heard.

As I mentioned, we had Jack for four nights while the rest of the family went skiing.  He is such a sweet kid and usually very happy and agreeable.  It was cold so we didn’t get out much but we did take him with us on the one warm and sunny day to dig up the garden, lay down some compost, and get ready for spring planting.  He had lots of fun digging in the dirt.

I picked Elle and Beck up from school the day before their trip and we went out for some frozen yogurt.  According to all reports, they had a blast skiing and did great on their second time out on the slopes.

We’ve also been to a couple of Beck’s basketball games. Oh, my goodness, 6 year olds are a hoot on the bball court.  They don’t have a clue!  They are improving game by game and Beck made a basket tonight!

And our son in law Corey had his birthday on Feb. 2.  Corey’s a fine husband and father, a very hard worker, a reliable and responsible guy, not to mention funny and lots of fun.  And he tolerates his liberal in-laws pretty well, thankfully!  We love you, Corey!

My reading is very political these days.  Check these out.

Help refugee organizations by purchasing one or more of these posters.  🙂

DFW Airport CEO thanks protesters for their peaceful demonstration.

Just in case you were wondering (wish Trump would read)

Proud of my profession.

Hate has no home here.

Sobering and heartbreaking 

Non political….these are pretty.  🙂

Happy weekend, friends.  Let’s work for justice.



I traveled to Austin on Saturday morning to meet my sister, three of my nieces and some of their friends for the Women’s March.  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you are aware that I am not pleased with the election of Donald Trump so it only made sense to join the legions of women marching in opposition to his policies, his behavior, his words, and his plans for the country we all hold dear.

Along the road, it was foggy 3/4 of the way but by the time I arrived in Austin the day was sunny and warm.  Just perfect for a march and a rally, in fact, the weather got a little bit hot while we were out on the streets. What a glorious day we had!  50,000 of our new best friends converged on the State Capitol as we voiced our dissent, heard music and speakers, made our point that we are here, we are informed, we are not backing down, we are not afraid and we will not let the president unravel the gains we have made.


Tuesday night we went to the community garden’s annual meeting. Although we have had mixed results in the garden this year, we decided to sign on for another stint.  There’s gonna be a seminar for beginning gardeners next month, so we will attend and see if we can get some more pointers!  The main problem lately has been an abundance of rats in the garden who have managed to devour plants from almost everyone’s plots.  A team of rat-catchers has been assembled and will hopefully take care of those critters. The meeting was held in one of the public library branches, which made us discuss the fact that we have not checked out our local library nor obtained a library card yet.  When we were in Unalaska, I was part of the “Friends of the Library” organization and enjoyed our very nice little library out in the Aleutians. We resolved to find our nearest branch and check it out soon.

We’ve been doing well with going to the gym; have made it 3 days out of 4 this week.  🙂  After working out today, we came home, showered, and went to visit the library branch closest to our house.  There we met a very friendly woman who signed us up and gave us the scoop.  I asked if they used volunteers or had a Friends of the Library group and she said yes to both.  So I am thinking about getting involved with those.  And since we are being more frugal in retirement, it makes sense to check out books or download from the library than to purchase those we want to read.  Our bookshelves are pretty full already, anyway!

I also finally have a task with the refugee organization. Next week, I will go shopping and set up an apartment for an individual before he arrives. I’m excited to get started.

Tonight I went to a meeting of progressive women (and a few men).  It was GREAT to see so many kindred spirits (75 people, maybe!) and to chat with some of them. We had speakers from Annie’s List, the League of Women Voters, Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety, and the local Democrats.  A staffer from our state rep’s office was also there and introduced herself.  My state rep is a young woman who beat the incumbent Republican. Wowie!  I told her staffer I’d help out where needed. And may get involved in my precinct…we’ll see.  Soon I will be overbooked!

Surprisingly, despite the mood about the national election, I am feeling positive about local action.   There were so many YOUNG women at this meeting!  Makes me hopeful. Kinda calms me from my ill will toward the Congress working on repealing the ACA in the middle of the night.  And the horrible Trump press conference. And the terrible people having confirmation hearings for jobs that they are not qualified to do.  Man,  I really need to keep thinking about those passionate young women ready to take on the world! All politics is local, right?