my plus 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5

Do you remember your first?

Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about politics. Do you remember your first political experience? How about the first time you voted? And the best personal political experience in your lifetime ever? This weekend I had the opportunity to hear some pretty amazing, smart women, women who when they speak politicians listen, share some of their first and best experiences as we gathered together to talk politics…naturally…and women…and women in politics…and healthcare and politics…and elections…and the upcoming midterm elections…and why a dear friend sitting next to me needs to someday soon put herself out there to run.

I remember my first political experience. I was 13 years old. Mommy Dearest dragged me to a political protest against then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter because of his non-stance on abortion at that point in his campaign; which was kind of awkward and strange all around since Mom was a life-long Democrat and a self-proclaimed feminist because it was the 70s and because she scarcely could talk to me about periods at that time much less the mechanics of where babies came from. Yet there I was, standing next to her holding a sign declaring that God was at war against abortion. I was thirteen years old. My picture appeared on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press holding that damn sign as Mr. Carter walked by smiling and waving. Mom was standing next to me smiling and waving too. Oh gawd, I was mortified!!! I was thirteen.

My best political experience was the 1988 General Elections. I was in college working towards my nursing degree and taking care of prereqs like Political Science. Since we were just four months away from the General Election, our professor deigned to focus on taking us through the California ballot for that year studying each and every candidate and initiative on the ballot that year so that each of us would be able to go to the polls truly informed and voting as such. I aced the course and yes, I entered the voting booth for the very first time as a truly informed, confident voter. I brought my +1 too before it was even cool to bring a +1. Of course we wore our matchy-matchy acid wash jeans and big 80’s hair because 80’s.

I am so sorry Hollie! Truly.

But I will never apologize for taking you and Zoë and Abby and Jodie and Daniel to the polls.

Then again, perhaps my best political experience were the days Hollie, Zoë, Abby and Jodie all voted for the first time. When our government mucks up things that affect these ladies I love to remind them that my kids care and my kids vote. Yeah, my greatest political accomplishment is my kids vote…my kids think and my kids vote. Okay, fine. Four out of five of my kids vote…for now. Then again, 2020 will come soon enough.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to, laugh with and share with some extraordinary women who are committed to encouraging and training women to be leaders in their communities. Breaking bread with some of them we discussed healthcare and politics and what I believe to be a poorly written, tugging at your aching-breaking heart proposition that will appear on the California November ballot.

The biggest takeaways from political suite talks I engaged in this weekend? Politics is indeed personal because politics affects us all… we women…our access to healthcare…our children…our community. We can indeed be part of the change and we can make a difference with our words and our actions. We must. Anything we say or do, no matter how big or how small.we might imagine it to be can and will and does make a difference. Discussing what I learned this weekend with my +1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 I know I am because 4 of them vote.

In 100 days is our U.S. General Election. Regardless of which side of the debate you find yourself arguing, it’s imperative you are part of the process — along with your +1. In fact, your +1 may vote entirely opposite from you but what matters is you are both at the polls on election day.


her moment

There is a moment in your lifetime few ordinary folks are privileged to have and it is a moment that you will never, ever forget…the moment where you get to be close to the President of the United States…even if you don’t really like the POTUS, you still never forget that moment. I discovered that truth when a friend of mine shared her moment earlier this year on Facebook and everyone, including me, shared our own personal moment. I actually shook hands with then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter.

Knowing that the main purpose of Jodie’s trip to D.C. this week is to attend the public Inaugural Ceremony for President Barack Obama (you all know that he has already taken the oath today, right?), that she would definitely have her moment. But it turns out that her moment was today at Arlington National Cemetery.

This morning’s text message: WE WERE JUST FIFTEEN FEET FROM OBAMA!!!

god bless noisy, messy democracy!

Daniel came home from school happy and proud with this sticker firmly affixed to his t-shirt.

He was so proud to be able to participate at his school. But he had to clarify that while he did vote, his vote didn’t count…but it will some day.

I like that!

I like that a lot.

I also liked that he wanted to watch the election returns come in. Part of me was dreading it a little as it was clear that it would be close. I was having a sense of deja vu  remembering watching the election returns with eight year old Zoë back in 2000. But as I prepared my it’s-time-for-bed-even-if-we-don’t-know-who-will-be-our-next-President talk it was announced that President Obama was re-elected.

And now you know who Daniel voted for.

Just like the numbers of the popular votes reflect, about half of my friends and family were happy with the results and about half were not…were royally pissed…were damning our country to hell or something awful like that…or were beginning to pack their bags to move to some place like Chile or Canada. Should someone explain to them about Canada’s healthcare, gun control and marriage equality?

But some, while disappointed, were not willing to run away or lash out angrily. I have to say that I enjoyed a healthy dialogue with a friend last night who was definitely disappointed with the results.

Can you imagine??!!

Two adults agreeing to disagree??!!

How crazy is that??!!

Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.
That won’t change…and it shouldn’t These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did…
But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.


The election is over. The votes have been counted. The political ads are FINALLY off the air. Let’s get to work America.

daylight savings, disaster planning and relief, and elections, you know, the usual thoughts in my head

Typical Monday here under the Big Top, everyone is back to work and school but, thanks to falling back on hour early Sunday morning, everyone is dragging just a little. Gain an hour, lose an hour, whatever it is it seems that for the following week or so we are just dragging our butts trying to adjust to the time change. At least that is what my circus family can blame it on this week. Me, I could just as easily say it is because I was working nights this weekend, like I usually do, and here I am today trying to re-set my clock back to a daytime person.

I usually avoid working the weekend of Daylight Savings in the Fall and the Spring like the plague when I can. Losing or gaining an hour while at work is just too much for someone like me. Don’t believe me? Well there I was at 0159 Sunday morning minding my own business and calculating intake volumes versus output volumes of one of my patients. I know that it was 0159 because I glanced at the clock and saw that it was almost two o’clock.

But a minute later and BAM!

It’s one o’clock in the morning AGAIN! It’s as if that last hour NEVER HAPPENED. The rest of you were all sleeping soundly and I was forced to repeat an hour. And yet I still remained an hour older. It’s just not fair.

But you know what is awesome, like really awesome? The NICU staff of NYU’s Langone Medical Center. By now you heard of their emergency evacuation twenty of the tiniest of patients, dependent on ventilators breathing for them down nine flights of stairs in the darkness. I personally believe I am fortunate to have the most amazing job ever but moments like this serve to remind just how amazing NICU nurses can be and are. I get to say that I am part of a unique group of heroic rock stars.


Nurses like my doppelganger, Margot Condon. I can only try to imagine what she and her colleagues were going through. Years ago, I was working in a unit that also lost power and suffered generator failure for a length of time. While we had no superstorm pounding down upon us or negotiating nine flights of stairs in the darkness to contend with, it certainly was a harrowing time keeping tiny babies warm while hand-bagging them waiting for what seemed to be an endless eternity for the power to come back on. But we did because that is what we do. We certainly don’t work under such circumstances every day or night…thank god! But we do plan and prepare for yes, such events and scenarios like what happened last week in New York. I just came back from such a meeting in my own unit. Yes, we all were very inspired by our colleagues back East. You all are indeed heroes!

Speaking of Superstorm Sandy, local Central Valley folks, our dance studio is hooked up with another on the East Coast that is preparing to bring relief and help to the victims of Staten Island. From now until Friday we are collecting and preparing to ship some of the basics to be distributed to those who have lost everything. We are collecting any donations of the following items (new please):
Work gloves
Baby clothes
Disposable diapers
Phone chargers
Power strips
Small riding luggage
Cat sand
Dog treats
Blankets for animals
Fresh pillows
If you live here in the Central Valley and would like to help out this collection effort leave a comment here or contact Dance Stars at 456-7373 for further details.

Imagining my own family in such dire straits with just the clothes on our backs, how could I not make a Target run. I wish there was more to give from us but I hope that this will help a family not unlike our own.

Then there is tomorrow’s election. God only knows the outcome of this one, unless you believe the Redskins Rule or the World Series Rule or the hundreds of different polls. Regardless, get out and vote because this is factoring out to be one of those elections where every single vote will count. We voted last week

For Abby it was the first time. If only all of us voting could then filter out the vomiting of political ads EVERYWHERE…if only…maybe the next Presidential election…if only. Until then, if you haven’t already, get out and exercise your right as an American citizen and vote no matter what the weather is or how long you have to stand in line…people died just so you could enjoy this right.

gormless, dunderheaded doofuses and other people like Ann Coulter

She’s at it again.

Oh dear, what makes Ann Coulter so certain that her brand of ignorant, insulting language makes her a pundit with any validity? Even a polemicist, like herself doesn’t really need to resort to schoolyard bully talk in order to stir the pot, as she likes to say…especially a Cornell University and University of Michigan Law School educated person like herself. Come on Ann, you can do better than that…can’t you? But perhaps you can’t. Perhaps you are exactly what your language usage suggest. Perhaps you are nothing but a bully…a mean girl just like Regina George!

This isn’t the first time you called someone, or a lot of people retards…because you aren’t creative enough to come up with a better descriptive adjective.

No, you said it before,

and again.

You’ve got big balls, Ann. I’ll give you that. But you don’t have big enough balls to apologize even when another parent called you out for this unacceptable hate speech. At least not as big as Rahm Emanuel’s or President Obama’s when they apologized for their insensitive gaffes. Or perhaps it is that Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Obama have hearts and souls.

I could try to impress upon you just how hurtful your sneers are to a community of people who aren’t always able to articulate just that…a community of people that include people who do vote….alongside their friends, teachers, therapists and loved ones who are able to call you out on your bully behavior. Yes, I could try. But clearly you are one bully who can’t and won’t change. Still, I will say to you and other shameful, gormless, dunderheaded doofuses like you to stop it. Just stop it. Sit down for five minutes and check out a thesaurus for possibilities that will better get your point (if you even really have one) across.