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?




Don’t Mourn–Organize!

14656397_10207607212794822_8794118144767213463_nRich and I voted early.  Our site had no “I voted” stickers and the workers made us turn our phones completely off so I wasn’t able to take a photo there. I wanted to document voting for the first female Presidential candidate but that was not to be.  So here’s a pic of me with my voter registration, stamped with the date.

It’s been a long, nasty election season.  I was a Bernie supporter in the beginning but came around to Hillary after she got the  nomination.  I have mixed feelings about her.  I do think she has done a lot of really good work over the years and has had to put up with so much hate and misogyny for being a strong woman and/or married to Bill Clinton, whom people also seem to hate.  I supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, though it did make me feel a little sorry for her that she felt it was “her turn” and this upstart guy beat her out.  Now was her chance, and surely the over the top crazy man Trump could not beat her, right?

I volunteer with some older women who are much more conservative than I, and although most of them could not stand Trump, they were willing to hold their noses and vote for him for the sake of their beloved Republican party and their conservative values (even though he really embodied none of those).  One of the oldest women I work with, 92 years old, told me, “You are going to be in for a big surprise!  He is going to win!”  Luckily, I did not guarantee that he wouldn’t!  I can’t wait to see her next Tuesday and let her rib me good.

My friend Tammy sent me this cool sign a few days before the election. I was happy to put it in my yard and hoped no one would steal it or deface it.  🙂  They didn’t.


We decided to have Election Taco Tuesday with the kids, a play on one of Trump’s supporters’ comments earlier in the race that “If Hillary is elected, there will be taco trucks on every corner.”  Hey, what’s wrong with that?  We love tacos!   We settled in to watch the returns and began to have a serious sense of unease pretty early on.  What in the world was happening?


We went back to our own place around 9 and Rich eventually fell asleep in his chair while I stuck it out till the bitter end. I don’t know why–I just had to see it happen or maybe I held out a small bit of hope that she would come through somehow.  Once it was over, I couldn’t fall asleep and ended up staying awake till around 5 AM.  It was a surreal feeling.  As a social worker, activist, and believer in social justice, I am heartbroken that much of the work we’ve done over the years stands to be dismantled.  And I am amazed, ashamed, shocked, that so many people in this country have chosen him to be the representation of America.  Shocked.

Those of us on the left will do what we have always done–continue to fight, continue to push that big rock up the hill.  But man, I am tired.  I was hoping for a little rest before I die.  🙂  As my personal middle finger to Donald Trump, I signed up on line to volunteer at a local refugee services program.  And I will keep defending those who are maligned by him and his people, those who are marginalized, those who seek peace and justice in a scary and hostile USA.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook in the middle of the celebratory posts by Trump supporters I know.  Frankly, I am not sure how I can continue to be “friends” with them if they believe in his vision.

Well, friends, I’ve had about 3 hours of sleep and my tummy is upset and I am thinking hard about what all of this means. It appalls me that so many people chose racism, misogyny, homophobia, anger, hatred, scorn, bullying, and white-nationalism as their preference for what this country stands for. It frightens me that a man with so little self control and self awareness and knowledge will now be in charge of important policies and decisions and actions. When “make America great again” means a return to so many things that we have fought hard to get past, it’s just heartbreaking. It scares me that I have family and friends who will live in fear and possible danger because they are not white or not Christian or not heterosexual or not male or not part of Trump’s in-crowd. I think about the wonderful ESL students I taught in Alaska, the marginalized people living in poverty that I volunteer with here in Dallas, the women and girls who are being shown that men can say and do anything to them purely because they are female and men have the power, those with differing abilities who are often left out, the people of many faiths and colors and those who are part of the LGBTQ community who are afraid today. I wonder what Rich and I will do if Obamacare is repealed because that’s the only way we have health insurance right now at age 62–not to mention all of the others who have health care for the first time ever (imperfect as it is). I worry about the Supreme Court sending us back to the dark ages. And more, so much more is on my mind today. As an old social worker and community organizer, all I know is we can’t let this define us and now is the time to get to work to prove that this man does not represent all of us. We have to be stronger in standing up for freedom, equality and justice. We have to speak out at the first inkling that anyone’s or any group’s rights are being infringed. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch as people are demonized for who they are. We can’t turn away when our brothers and sisters are hated and oppressed. We are better than this. Let’s prove it. Onward!