In Honor of Labor Day

New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam

What with all the special events and sales, the people who are most supposed to be honored on Labor Day are least likely to get the day off. Here are some people I’d like to recognize. They add joy and luxury to my suburban life. May they all be thanked often and paid well, and may we all vote in favor of a higher minimum wage, increased maternity and paternity leave, paid sick leave, and health care for all!

Janitors, streetsweepers, and trash collectors.

They move about almost unnoticed and without them city life would be unbearable. I’ve spent the year in and out of hotels and convention rooms and public attractions and schools and movie theaters and I owe all the men and women who keep these places liveable, and in many case actually spotless, a huge debt.

People who grow coffee and cocoa and tea (and all my other food, of course).

You know why I can have my hot cocoa every morning, and an occasional mocha or frappachino, and five or more cups of tea a day? Because someone somewhere worked their ass off to grow it and pick it and process it and sell it. From the farmer to the barista to the guy who gave me a free iced tea today, thank you.

The people at the grocery store who always say hello.

If I were a grocery store cashier, I would never make eye contact, EVER. But the people at my store always say hello to me, and let little kids help them fill the bags. I’ve seen them cheer up babies and chat patiently with older custormers who pay entirely in change. When my daughter started riding her bike to the store sometimes by herself, they said, “Don’t worry, it’s good to give kids some independance! We all know her! We’ll keep an eye on her!” That’s above and beyond. That’s community.

Daycare workers and preschool teachers.

I have done daycare at the Salem, Oregon YWCA where we took care of any baby over ten weeks old. I ran my own daycare. I’ve worked in preschools. And I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that my daughter was able to attend two wonderful preschools herself. Taking care of other people’s children is hard work. It involves shit and piss and vomit and tears. It involves memorizing 15 different recipies for playdough and an ability to hear the word “lice” without screaming. to the kids I’ve taken care of – I miss you all. And to the people who took care of my kid – THANK YOU!



Fifteen Things I’m Grateful For Right Now

Happy Thanksgiving - pumpkins and apples for Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, of course. In that spirit, here are fifteen things I’m grateful for. Specifically, these are relatively small things (it’s a bit heavy on soccer mom type things, to be honest). Of course I’m thankful for friends and family and all that but sometimes nothing lift sinking spirits like the realization that we currently live in a world with Wi-Fi. Here you go:

I’m grateful for rain (I live in California, we are all very excited about this).

I’m grateful for that miraculous weather event wherein where it stops raining just long enough to go for my walk (or, as I like to call it, my daily constitutional).

Chronic pain peeps, you will understand: I’m super grateful for when I wake up and only one thing hurts, especially when it doesn’t hurt very much. It’s kind of thrilling.

I’m grateful that my tween still wants me to read her books and watch her TV shows. On a related note, I’m grateful for Bradley James on Merlin and his aversion to shirts.

Also grateful for Lancelot's shampoo!

Also grateful for Lancelot’s shampoo, Gwaine’s snark, and Percival’s silly, silly sleeveless outfits.

I’m grateful for the fact that I can read books on my phone. This is no longer new technology but I never failed to be thrilled by it.

On a similar note – WI-FI. I am grateful for Wi-Fi. I recall a time when there was no Wi-Fi. I recall a time when there was no Internet. And no Wikipedia, without which my current professional life would not be possible. I’m grateful for blog posts that make me think seriously about issues of the day. I’m also grateful for Grumpy Cat.

Equal Exchange Hot Cocoa, you are my reason for being. Bless you.

We got a new roof this summer. It did not seem likely to ever rain in California again so I was not properly grateful when I wrote the check. It’s raining and I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for JK Rowling, who has transformed all our lives into a never-ending series of arguments about how magic work, exactly, and whether Hermione and Ron were really Meant to Be (NO THEY WERE NOT).

They don't get it either.

They don’t get it either.

I’m grateful that Starbucks is selling lattes in “short” sizes. Yes, they are ridiculously expensive. Whatever. Don’t judge me.

You know that moment when four great songs come on the radio in a row, and the next thing you know you are barreling down the highway belting out Def Leppard while fluffing up your hair with one hand? Yeah, I’m grateful for that.

I’m grateful that on a clear day I can see the mountains when I drive from Sacramento to Folsom.

I’m grateful for all the female friendships on Agents of S.H..I.L.D. and for the renewal of Agent Carter.

I’m grateful for Kamala Khan, Saga, and Bitch Planet!


I’m grateful to everyone who makes me laugh and to conventions that feel like home.

And of course I am grateful for YOU, my readers! Happy Thanksgiving – try not to kill your families, at least not until after the pie.