29 November 2016

#GivingTuesday - Now More Than Ever

Still reeling from the election? Wondering how to make the world a better place? Give generously.

Need help? A curated list* of charities is below. Does your mother-in-law really need another tchotcke for Christmas? Give a gift in her name to the ACLU. Surely your father doesn't need another tie. Give a gift to the Human Rights Campaign. Your great-aunt? Hell, skip Christmas cards, and donate what you would have spent on printing and postage to the Committee to Protect Journalists.










ARTS (because all children need a chance to dance)

* Thanks to Christine Koh at Boston Mamas and Joanna Rothkopf at Jezebel for excellent lists that I riffed on.

** The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence accepts donations of cell phones (as well as cash). Clean out your drawers!

18 November 2016

People Watching, N.Y.C. - Fall Edition

I was changing trains at Times Square. There was an older guy, kinda down-and-out looking, who was clearly uncomfortable walking. He was pretty much shuffling, not picking up his feet. We got to the stairs down to the 1-2-3 and I thought, he's gonna take a half an hour to get down to the platform. With that, he gracefully perched on the hand rail and slid on down. I was impressed.

* * * * * * * * *

Heading home, I walked past the modest brownstone church I walk past every night. There was a guy lying on the sidewalk, perpendicular to the church, butt up against the building, feet resting on the wall, playing the trumpet. Playing the trumpet.

* * * * * * * * *

This morning, as I waited to refill my Metrocard (behind some foreigners who were paying with a credit card and were flummoxed by the instruction to key in your zip code), I heard music in the distance. A solo trombonist, playing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I detoured past him and gave him all of the change in my wallet.

* * * * * * * * *

And on the sardine-can-packed subway, I wished for discretion and fearlessness, but opted not to take the picture of the young Asian man in the black & white plaid shirt coiffing his hair just so, using the window as a mirror, standing next to (but not with) a young Asian woman intently reading her phone, wearing a fuzzy black & white plaid coat. Bill Cunningham or Neil Kramer would have found a way to take the picture. I couldn't do it. I could barely get my phone out of my pocket.

* * * * * * * * *

This morning's missive from the Union Square wall, with style points for using the N and Q subway line logos: Never Quit.

17 November 2016

Throwback Thursday, and Hope

Sometime after September 11th, an unofficial memorial sprung up in the Union Square subway station.

Union Square Messages

It's unassumingly constructed out of clear, matte finish mailing labels, and is nothing but the names, all of the names, each name to a subway tile. Over the years - fifteen! - the labels have become worn, dirty, ragged. But they're still there.

Union Square Messages

Sometime after the election, a forest of post-it messages appeared in the same station. I walk through there every day, and every day there are more.

Union Square Messages

They are heartfelt. They are erudite.

Union Square Messages

They are direct. They are angry.

Union Square Messages

They are pointed. A set of six post-its says A Woman Won The Popular Vote, in blue felt tip pen. Another hand has added Yes with a black ball point pen.

Union Square Messages

And somehow, although I may be grasping at straws, I have to find them hopeful.

Union Square Messages

10 November 2016

Throwback Thursday, Birthday Edition

Happy Birthday, Girlie!

At work:

First birthday


Looking out the window at the big kids:

At the beach, in Malibu:

An egg!

Wearing onion goggles (and some other stuff):

Portrait, by Kathleen:

Wearing the dress up shoes:

Sassy on the Maine coast:

Surfer Chick (in San Diego):

My chicken with a chicken:

A Schuyler sister:

09 November 2016

Fighting For What's Right Is Worth It

Dear Girlie:

Tomorrow you turn 13. No, your birthday is not ruined by the events of yesterday. Hillary's defeat is saddening, it makes us angry, it makes us scared. But we are stronger than that. Stronger together in our little family, stronger in our little town, stronger in our conviction that all people need to be lifted up, that all children deserve an education, that all people need good and affordable health care, that no one should live in poverty. That women everywhere have the right and the ability and the freedom to control their – our – bodies and make our own decisions about our health care. We will love, we will accept, we will teach and reach out to those who hurt.

And as much as we glibly say "let's move to Canada", we can't and won't do that. We need to stay here, on these shores, in these United States and work to make the country an open, compassionate haven for those fleeing oppression elsewhere and those struggling here. While it seems right now as though we have woken up in an unrecognizably racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic country, it is our job to work to continue the expansion of LGBT rights, to protect the environment, to assure access to health insurance for all, to defend marriage equality, to improve our gun laws, to uphold the First Amendment and safeguard the Fourth Estate, to codify and enforce the equal rights of women, and to offer succor.

David Remnick, who’s the editor of the The New Yorker, wrote an essay this morning. It is worth reading, and ends thusly:

"Despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do."

And that’s what we’ll do. We’ll wipe our tears, and we’ll work.


Remember what you said to me last night, at the beginning? "I want to be a social studies teacher, or a politician, or Rachel Maddow." Channel that thought - those are all good goals. Our country needs a well informed citizenry - which you get by educating children and having smart engaged journalists - and we need passionate politicians who put the best interests of the entire country first.

Martha thinks you should run for President. Of course, you can't until you're 35, which means 2040, but hey, goals!

In her speech this morning, Hillary said "This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." Those are words to live by.

08 November 2016

I'm With Her, and I Voted

It has been a wild 24 hours. I got home from work last night, and went to phone bank at someone's house. I then went home and took a nap, and headed to the airport at 3:00 am to greet Secretary Clinton as she arrived home from Raleigh, NC. Yes, 3:00 am, in the cold, in the dark, in a huge crowd. It was crazy, awesome.

Election Day 2016

We got home from the airport at about 4:30 am, and went to bed...only to get up at 7:00 am to go vote. [We paused to make coffee, and stopped at the deli for bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches.] I loved filling in my little circle for Hillary Rodham Clinton; I loved having my 12yo in on the action; I was a little bit verklempt about the whole thing.

Election Day 2016

We were still in the building when the Clintons arrived, but we were already in the exit hallway. So we made our way to the crowd at the front of the school, and joined the waiters and watchers - another crowd of fans and supporters. Best of all was a woman carrying a vintage "Votes For Women" umbrella, who turned out to be Elizabeth Cady Stanton's great-granddaughter.

Election Day 2016

Eventually, the Clintons emerged to greet the crowd and talk to the press. I wasn't close enough for a selfie or a handshake, but I did get a picture.

Election Day 2016

And then I went to work, where I found great graffiti on the sidewalk near Union Square.

Election Day 2016

I think it's going to be a long night, but #imwithher.

07 November 2016

I'm With Her, And You Need To Vote TOMORROW

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to get up at the crack of dawn, and haul on over to my polling place. Polls open at 6, and I aim to be there plenty early, so I can catch my usual train to the city.

What are you going to do? Do you know where your polling place is? Are you going to vote before work, after work? Do you know what time the polls open, close? (I hope it goes without saying that you know that you CANNOT vote by text or online.)

If you're thinking "I don't have to vote; she's going to win my bluest blue state", think again and make a plan to vote. There are down ballot races everywhere: governors, senators, representatives, state assembly members and state senators and local judges and mayors and town council members and dogcatchers. Go vote for them.

Here, check to see where you vote - the League of Women Voters has an easy tool:

And if you need some encouragement, this We Are The World parody is seriously funny and possibly completely not safe for work (or children or people with delicate sensibilities).


05 November 2016

I'm With Her, And Doing Everything I Can

As I drove down county today for my shift at the Field Office, I thought about the fact that lots of other elections in my lifetime have been important to me, but this is the one I’ve really plunged into.

I helped canvass before the NY primary, I’ve donated money, I’ve got a window cling on the car, and another on the garage door. I’ve got two lawn signs (and a third for a woman who’s running for the State Senate). I’ve bought pins, shirts, candles, cards; the pins I wear on a rotating basis and most of the other stuff is living on the mantle in a quasi shrine. I’ve worked the phones at the Brooklyn headquarters, at houses in my town, at the field office. I helped organize a fundraiser, I’ve gone all in.

And I ask myself, why? Why this year, this election. It’s this woman, it’s my child.

Hillary is qualified – “There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton,” said President Obama. She’s a policy wonk. She’s been doing this for years. She’s even-tempered, she’s warm, she works like there’s no tomorrow.

My child – and your child, and yours, and your grandchild, and the next door neighbor’s child – deserve a world in which women get to make decisions about their own bodies, in which Black Lives Matter, in which children do not grow up in poverty and education is a priority. Where nuclear weapons do not proliferate, where climate change is understood as real. Where science matters, and the 1% pays their fair share in taxes. Where everyone has access to the health care than they need, and where military weapons are off the streets. Where people of all religions are free to worship without persecution, and LGBT people are free to marry whom they choose. And where women’s rights are human rights.

And she’s my Wellesley sister and my Chappaqua neighbor, and she's the best person for the job of President of these United States.

I’m With Her.


04 November 2016

I'm With Her, And You Need To Vote

Like everyone I know, and everyone you know, and everyone else, I’ve been thinking a lot about politics and the imminent presidential election in these United States. I avoid the polling data, but I’ve read every piece that David Fahrenthold has written about the Trump Foundation, I’ve read so many thoughtful, nuanced essays on why people love Hillary Clinton, I've read countless lists comparing his crimes to hers, and today, I sent an all staff memo out reminding everyone in the office to vote:

As you may have heard, Election Day is next Tuesday, November 8.

Please vote.

And if you have issues with timing or lines, keep in mind that there is no school and we would rather that you vote than worry about being late to work.

Polls in NY are open from 6am to 9pm. [I don’t know about NJ.]


I’m worried. I’m worried about the possibility of our country being led by a man who has admitted sexual assault, who has used his foundation for personal gain, who’s on trial for fraud with regard to Trump University, who hasn’t released his taxes (because he doesn’t want to show us that he hasn’t paid any), who has called for the ban of an entire religion from entering the US, who belittled John McCain for being a POW, who’s called Mexicans rapists, who attacked a beauty pageant winner for being overweight, who wonders why we can’t use the nuclear weapons we have, who thinks women who have abortions should be punished, who makes fun of disabled people, who disregards the First Amendment and wants an end to freedom of the press, who thinks global warming is a Chinese hoax, who loves Putin, who doesn’t pay his contractors, who … do I need to go on?


There is simply no contest. Secretary Clinton is smart, informed, thoughtful, practiced and measured. You may find something, one thing, that you want to quibble with on a point of policy. But overall, there is no contest. Politics is about compromise, about being able to reach across the aisle, about being able to get to 95% and letting that other 5% go because the 95% is better than nothing. She’s the 95%. He’s ZERO.

Don’t forget to vote.