The Women’s March on Sacramento

IMG_2297.JPGI’m so proud to have been one of 20,000 marcher in Sacramento marching for women’s rights. I’m especially proud of my husband, who found parking and corralled kids, and the kids, who are our future activists. The mood was cheerful and positive, even up front where we were squished.

I hope that cis-gender, heteronormative, white women will take away from the march the fact that true feminism must be intersectional. We cannot only march for access to birth control. We need to also march for the civil rights and safety of people of color, of immigrants, and of the LGBT community. We also need to avoid the trap of thinking that because we marched during one epic day, our work here is done. This is a long haul. We will need snacks.

My approach to activism this year had been to set a goal of 365 actions, large or small (mostly small) in 2017. So far I’ve tallied 71 actions. Most of them are small – signing a petition or making a call or sending an email. Often I knock out seven actions on a Monday over the course of an hour or so. I’ve written or petitioned or called about captive elephants, reproductive rights, human rights, Trump’s tax returns, his nominations for cabinet posts, Chelsea Manning…I don’t even know what else! And most of it only took a few minutes.

My intention in telling you this is to show that even if you only have thirty minutes a week (or five minutes a week), you can take at least some on-going action to keep the pressure on businesses and elected officials towards a world that values free speech, environmental health, and human rights. Please continue to make your voice heard all year, not just during this political transition!

Between the Lines Book Club: Hamilton

between the lines book club logoThis month in Between the Lines Book Club we are reading Hamilton, the biography by Ron Chernow. We will be meeting in person at Arden-Dimick Library, Sacramento California, on January 28th at 10:30 AM to discuss the book.

Hamilton is the rare biography that makes meetings about finance interesting. Alexander Hamilton was born in the Caribbean under circumstances straight out of Dickens, and he wrote his way out of poverty and into power. Once in power, he vacillated between brilliance and self-destruction and died in a duel at the age of 47.

Writer Lin-Manuel Miranda recognized this as a story that was reminiscent of the rappers who wrote their way out of poverty but often died young. Here’s a couple of some great articles and interviews that help explain the link between Chernow’s book and Manuel’s musical:

“All About The Hamilton’s,” by Rebecca Mead for The New Yorker

“Meet Lin-Manuel Miranda” by Jeff MacGregor, for Smithsonian

You can hear most of the musical online for free but there aren’t very many posted videos. Here’s a couple from the Tony Awards, live! How lucky we are to be alive right now!

 

Pink Out the State Capitol!

static1-squarespace-1Sacramento readers, I hope you’ll join me at the California State Capitol (West Steps) from 11:30AM – 1PM tomorrow (January 17th!) Planned Parenthood supporters will be rallying to protect the funding that is so important to the health care of women. Dress in the warmest, pinkest clothes you have and stand with Planned Parenthood to send a message to California legislators. See you there!

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Between the Lines Book Club: Alexander Hamilton

between the lines book club logoThis month’s Book Club pick is Alexander Hamilton, a biography by Ron Chernow. The book inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write Hamilton, the musical. We will be meeting in person at Arden-Dimick Library, Sacramento California, on January 28th at 10:30 AM to discuss the book.

Hamilton is Chernow’s fifth book. It was followed by a biography of George Washington, published in 2010, which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography. He’s currently working on a biogrpahy of Ulysses S. Grant.

In this interview with Charlie Rose, Chernow talks about writing the biography, and about Hamilton’s place in history.

 

 

What I Did on My Winter Vacation

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We took a month off from book club which meant I took a month off from blogging (on this site, anyway). I actually took a month and a week as there was no post last week. I regret nothing.

So Readers, what did you miss? Well, over break I got as far as page 475 in the biography of Hamilton that we are reading this month – check back on Friday for more about that! I also got the CD for Christmas and am now pretty throughly obsessed. It gives me some comfort to know that politics were messed up back in the day as well as now. The mind reels at the thought of Jefferson and Hamilton subtweeting about each other on Twitter, which you know they would have done.

I had a lot of doctor’s appointments and tests and things and as a result I have a Fitbit and a new exercise bike and a tendency to bitch about kale.

I started doing some form of activism every day. Sometimes I write a letter or make a call. Sometimes I sign a petition. I cannot tell a lie – my favorite days are petition days because I can knock out a week’s worth of actions in about 15 minutes. On days when I do something very time-consuming, like a rally or protest of march, I let that action count for several days. I’ve so far taken some kind of action about captive elephants, climate change, various political appointments, human rights, reproductive freedom, and our local mall. I knew I was getting a good head of steam when I put my senators’ phone numbers in my phone contacts so I could stop looking them up every week.

I watched a lot of Lost, a show I used to be obsessed with. Season One still holds up as fabulous. Sayid is still my sweetie-kins. Shannon is still The Worst.

Also, I slept a lot. My health issues being what they are, my rules are sleep, exercise, and eat healthy, in that order, and THEN write. The exception was, of course, the week of Christmas during which I ate piles and piles of cookies while sitting on my butt. It was great.

So Dear Readers – how was YOUR December? Ready for 2017? To the barricades!

 

LINKS!

img_0045It’s officially December and thus I am staring hollowly into space. Here’s some links to get us through.

First of all, a literary online advent calendar! It’s free! It’s fun! It’s at Book Riot!

My daughter and I are crazy about this art from Wildstar Tempest. Enjoy.

Chuck Wendig’s yearly Gifts for Writers post is up, and I approve.

Enough fun! We have work to do!

Giving to charity this year? Of course you are, and not just in December, I hope. Charity Navigator can help you find the best charities in terms of fiscal health and responsibility and accountability.

Many of us are trying to be more politically and socially active this year. My Civic Workout offers suggestions for a 5 minute action, a 10 minute action, and a 30 minute action every week.

Happy clicking!

Solstice Song

IMG_0045.JPGThanksgiving is over. Our families didn’t kill each other, the cousins bonded, much pie was consumed, and we are home being sniffed by our pets who suspect us of having eaten turkey while we were away.

As we pause and catch our breath before December First unleashes the madness of the holidays on us all, here are lyrics I wrote about Winter Solstice in my hometown. I hope you find many peaceful moments during this hectic season!

Here in Sacramento, there is no sign of snow

But the fog fills up the streets and makes the streetlights glow

All of us are happy that the solstice season’s here,

And that the light’s returning from the darkest time of year.

 

Whichever way you celebrate the rising of the sun

We hope that your holiday will be a blessed one

May we all find peace and joy, goodwill to all who live

Remembering love and kindness are the sweetest gifts to give.