Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dinner during Dora: Easy Pizza

Long time readers may or may not remember that I was looking for a good pizza dough recipe. I have been meaning to post the pizza dough recipe I eventually settled on for a long time, but I kept forgetting to take pictures of the final product. I have finally assembled all of the pictures I need and I have a somewhat lazy Sunday morning going: I am sitting at my computer drinking tea while my kids play, but I don't really need to do any work.

So, I'll tell you about the pizza dough.

The recipe below is derived from the Smitten Kitchen Lazy Pizza dough that Today Wendy recommended. I made some changes because Pumpkin didn't care for the dough I made by following the original recipe. The rest of us liked it, but I was determined to find something everyone would like. My additions are a little whole wheat flour and some "green can cheese" (Kraft Parmesan in the can—I would have used cheese powder as recommended in one of the other recipes I found, but I didn't have any and my grocery store doesn't stock that and the whole point was for this to be easy.)

Easy Pizza Dough

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed to make a "craggy" dough that sticks together. I was using less water than needed at first, and the dough wasn't rising as much as it should have. The crust still tasted good, but it was a little dense and chewy. Live and learn.

Yeast, based on how long you're going to let the dough sit on the counter:
1/8 tsp for overnight + the next day
1/4 tsp for just the day
1/2 tsp for a half day (~6 hrs)

1/3 cup "green can" Kraft Parmesan cheese

Mix everything but the Parmesan cheese together in a big bowl, cover loosely with a tea towel, and let it stand for the desired amount of time. This is really quick, which is why I don't mind doing it in the morning. It takes five minutes to throw together, at most.

Dough, ready to rise

When you're ready to make your pizza, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Then add the Parmesan cheese and work it into the dough. I add about a third, fold the dough over, add another bit, fold the dough over, then add the rest and fold the dough over again. Then I fold and squeeze the dough until the cheese is worked in.

Dough, having risen.
Then shape your crust. I can't add anything to the instructions in the original Smitten Kitchen recipe here, so go read that. I do follow those instructions and spray cooking spray on my cookie sheets and then coat with cornmeal.

I may need to work on my crust shaping skills.
Top with your desired toppings. I make three pizzas: one for the grown ups, one with just sauce and cheese for Petunia, and one with just cheese for Pumpkin.

Bake at 500 degrees F for ~15 minutes. Then let it stand about 5 minutes so that you don't burn yourself cutting it.

The finished products.
Eat and enjoy!

Source: derived from the awesome Smitten Kitchen Lazy Pizza recipe.

Who eats it: Everyone!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekend Reading: The I'm Still Celebrating Edition

I am so happy that we saved the ACA! I know my efforts didn't make much of a difference: my Congressman was always against the repeal bill. But I'm still going to bask in this victory a bit, because we have a lot of hard fights ahead. We have to enjoy the ones win. Also, if millions of people keeping their insurance isn't cause for celebration, I don't know what is. 

(For the record, I know the ACA isn't perfect, and that some people still struggle to get good insurance they can afford. I want to see legislation that improves this situation, and I'll support such legislation, no matter which party introduces it. But the AHCA was not that legislation, not at all.)

Anyhow, I had a nice rollerblade and called it a victory lap.

On to the links.

Next week is the last week Caresaway will be in the Kindle Unlimited program. If you subscribe to that program and are tempted to read this book, now is your time!  On April 4, Caresaway will become available through, Kobo, GumRoad, and iBooks. You'll always be able to find the latest purchase links on the Caresaway homepage.

So, despite being really happy about the ACA not getting repealed, I don't have any links about that. Instead, here is a somewhat terrifying article about one group of scientists' roadmap for meeting the climate goal set by the Paris agreement. Add "we really need to stop using so much fossil fuels NOW" to the list of reasons coal jobs aren't coming back. I think that the sooner everyone acknowledges that, the better. Then we can move on to finding other industries that can bring prosperity to America's coal regions.

This Bloomberg article about conditions in Alabama's non-unionized auto parts plants is heartbreaking. 

Speaking of lies... turns out Eric Trump plans to report on the Trump Organization's financial status. There is no real separation between Trump the President and Trump the businessman, and that is bad for the rest of us.

And here's an appropriate quote a reader sent me:

"For many people the truth, it seemed, was what you wanted it to be, and if you asserted a falsehood long enough with sufficient conviction, then it would be believed, not only by those whom it was intended to deceive, but by you yourself. This enabled you to protest with real feeling when the fact was called into question."
 - Alexander McCall Smith in his novel The Bertie Project (44 Scotland Street Series)

Moving on...

This is a really interesting post about what might be going on with Trump and judges right now.

And now for the tweets. Here's a patch of California desert looking pretty:

Target does poetry:

All sorts of awesome:


Happy weekend, everyone. Also, next week is spring break here, and I'll be playing more than working, so don't be surprised if no links post shows up next week. You know you can always go check out Nicoleandmaggie's links if you're in need of reading.... 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Assimilation is the Wrong Goal

When I was a kid, people worried that Latino immigrants to the US weren't assimilating like earlier European immigrants had. I don't remember the details, because it wasn't a topic we dwelt on in my house. I do remember a lot of hand-wringing in the media about the fact that Spanish was still spoken so much. I don't remember if I thought a lack of assimilation was a ridiculous thing to worry about given the obvious similarities between me and the my many Latino classmates. But I remember hearing about it. I remember later learning about the "No Irish need apply" days and telling my Mom I thought that maybe in time, the slurs I heard about Mexicans would seem as weird as the old slurs about the Irish, and I remember her trying to explain to me about why racism meant it wouldn't necessarily be that simple.

And she was right, it hasn't been, not at all. But those fears about assimilation turned out to be bunk. My kids now go to school with the grandchildren (and perhaps great-grandchildren) of the immigrants people were worried wouldn't assimilate. Remember, my kids go to a Spanish immersion school. Those immigrant families assimilated so well that now they have to send kids to school to become fluent in Spanish, just like I do.

In truth, I dislike the word "assimilate." It reminds me too much of the Borg from Star Trek. I also don't think it really describes what happened. We didn't absorb each wave of immigrants into an unchanging monoculture. Instead, each wave integrated with the people already here, and the result is the regional variation we take for granted. In many cases, the integration remains imperfect and incomplete, but that is usually because we've erected barriers, not because the people who came here want to remain separate.

Whenever I hear people talk about how the earlier waves truly "assimilated," I think that those people aren't looking hard enough. Remember this tweet I found so funny?

If you aren't from the Midwest and/or of Scandinavian descent, you probably have no idea what the hell lutefisk is, right? You betcha.

And don't forget about all the ethnic festivals we have. We are in the midst of planning our summer vacation (yeah, when you have to get your kids signed up for summer camp, you plan your summer early...) and our current plan involves driving across the I-80 in Nevada. Mr. Snarky was doing some research about places we might stop, and discovered the Elko Basque Festival. Sadly, I think we will miss it by a day. But it was such a random thing to discover in a town in the middle of such a sparsely populated part of Nevada that we actually considered trying to rework our schedule to catch the festival.

If you live in a city, there are probably ethnic festivals going on all the time. Here in San Diego, I've been to a Greek festival and a Polish festival. I love the Pacific Islands festival we have, and next year, I'm going to plan to go to the Diwali celebration at Balboa park instead of stumbling into it unprepared and being unable to stay for the best part. And there are more.

But even if you live in a small town, there is probably one ethnic festival: the one for the ethnic group that built your town, like the Basques in Elko.

So when I hear worries about Muslim immigrants not "assimilating," I just can't buy into it. I suspect they will "assimilate" just as much as any other group has: which is to say, they will integrate like every group before them, unless we screw it up with our fear-mongering. Heck, they will probably integrate despite our attempts to screw it up with our fear-mongering. Others in the past did.

I do not mean to imply that everything is roses. The warning my Mom gave child-me about the impact of racism remains. Racism is a poison in our society, and as my Mom said, it will complicate the story of these immigrants. But the fact remains that the only wave of immigrants that didn't integrate with the people already here was the first one.

That particular point of history should be enough to remind us that assimilation is the wrong goal. But even ignoring history and looking only forward, I think it is the wrong goal. It shuts us off from what we can learn from the people who come here. It sets up a goal that no other immigrant group has really met, and in doing so, I think it ignores one of the sources of our strength. Just like diverse teams do better work, I think a diverse country is likely to have a stronger, more resilient economy and society. Yes, there is a price to pay for diversity. Diverse teams have to work harder at communication and inclusivity, and so will a diverse nation. But that work pays off in access to a wider range of ideas to tackle problems, and a deeper understanding of the world.

So instead of expecting immigrants to assimilate, we should look for them to integrate, and set ourselves the goal of removing the barriers to integration erected by racism.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Politics and Animals Edition

I didn't get my Friday rollerblade today, because my 4th grader had a special event at school. They do something called a wax museum. They each do a report on a famous person, then they dress up as that person and parents and other kids can come hear them deliver a spiel about their person. It was cool to see all the kids dressed up, and to walk around and get the spiels. There was a huge range of famous people selected. The kids were supposed to select someone with a connection to California, but they were pretty lenient in what that connection could be. Pumpkin was Amelia Earhart, and her connection to California was just that she ran a flight school here for a little while.

So, to the links.

I announced three new acquisitions for Annorlunda Books this week. Today, I spent a couple of hours working out the production schedules for those books and a Taster Flight I'd like to do.

In politics:

For St. Patrick's Day, Fintan O'Toole provides a reminder of the history of Irish immigration to the US, and how they were once the reviled, uneducated, poor immigrants.

Today's WTF moment was provided by someone in the White House including this satirical Alexandra Petri post about the budget in their roundup of links they sent out trying to show the budget in a favorable light. As I said on Twitter, this would be funny, except these people also have the power to declare war.

A bipartisan roadtrip shows that maybe we can still be friends across the partisan divide. I am still friends with several people who see politics differently than I do. I like them, which is why I'm friends with them, but I also like knowing people who think differently than me. (Except on some deal-breakers: I've ended friendships over racism.)

John Scalzi wrote about something similar, and his post and the article it links to are good to read, along with the comments on his post, which are generally thoughtful.

The Iowa Starting Line looks at why Western Iowa keeps electing Steve King.

Megan McArdle on the mistake Republicans are making when they cut taxes like they've done in Kansas.

I've said before that I've found Vox's coverage of healthcare really useful. Here is a long piece from Sarah Kliff and Ezra Klein about the lessons of Obamacare that the Republicans apparently did not learn. It is worth the time to read.

This Chris Ladd piece is really good, both in thinking about how we got to our weird system where our employers provide health insurance and in thinking about why Democrats are struggling with working class white people right now. I think the fact that white people are used to getting our government assistance in basically invisible ways has allowed a culture to develop in which more obvious assistance—even when less generous than the assistance people like me get—is seen to be a sign of weakness or failure, which understandably makes people less interested in receiving it. I know plenty of people who have held off signing up for the unemployment benefits due to them after a layoff, because they do not want to take "help." Nevermind that it is a program they've paid into, they feel ashamed to need it.

But of course, we're all taking assistance. I take a ginormous mortgage interest deduction on my taxes. We have a child care credit on our taxes. But because those are tax deductions, they don't trigger the shame, I guess.

There's a lot going on there that I am not at all qualified to assess. Add it to my list of things to read about at some point, I guess.

That's a lot of politics, but I don't have much else this week. Just some creepy animals turned to stone at an alkaline lake in Tanzania.

And a dog with the best "bullshit!" face you'll ever see:

And bunnies. Of course, I have bunnies.

Happy weekend, everyone. Time for me to go make pizza!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trip Story: Anza-Borrego and the Salton Sea

Last Saturday, we drove out to see the "super bloom" that is underway in the Anza-Borrego desert. We have had a lot of rain in Southern California this winter, and that means that there are more flowers than usual in bloom. We don't go out to see the desert wildflowers every year—it is a long drive, so the trip takes an entire day, and we get busy. But I really wanted to see them this year.

The advice was to go early, but the kids do gymnastics on Saturday morning, so we went in the afternoon. We headed out as soon as we could get organized after gymnastics. We stopped for a quick lunch in Ramona, and then drove to Anza-Borrego. It was a pleasant drive, until we were about halfway down the mountain pass going into town: then we caught up with the traffic jam. We crawled forward, which at least gave me the opportunity to take pictures like these:

Sadly, the best view of the desert lupins we got all day.
At least, I think that's what those purple flowers are.

If you aren't used to seeing ocotillo, you maybe don't realize how weird it is to see them this green.

Desert mountains

A little bit outside of town, we saw a lot of people pulled over, and decided to join them. We walked along looking at flowers, and even climbed a small hill.

Yes, Petunia wore her Elsa hat on the hike.

Pretty little flowers, like a carpet!

Pretty flowers intertwined with a cactus.

Close up on a flower whose name I do not know.

Cactus in bloom.

Happy to have at least seen some flowers up close, we decided to go to the park visitor's center. We didn't make it there. The line was too long, and Petunia needed a bathroom. So we went instead to a town park for a break, then decided to go see a couple of the flower fields that had been mentioned in the park info I'd looked up.

The second stop was amazing. It is hard to describe how beautiful it is to see a field of yellow flowers in a desert. My picture doesn't do it justice.

This was more impressive in person.

After that stop, we decided we'd seen enough flowers. We were also only about 30 minutes' drive from the Salton Sea, an inland lake that was created by an accidental water release from the Colorado River in 1905. (I won't go into details here, but although this particular event was man-made, there is evidence that similar events happened naturally over the centuries. If you want to know more, the Wikipedia article has some details.)

On our way to the Sea, we stopped to admire a little canyon that is popular with off-road vehicles.

We didn't see the dirt bikes while we were stopped, but we could hear them.

We approached from the Salton Sea from the west, via Salton City, which is a weird mix of inhabited and uninhabited buildings. Mr. Snarky said it reminded him of the computer game he is playing right now, which is set in a post-apocalyptic Nevada. We parked at an abandoned dock, and then walked out to the sea... over a field of bones.

At first you think it is shells.

Then you notice the little skeletons.

The bones are from fish, birds, and barnacles. The kids alternated between being excited to find cool bones and thinking it was creepy to be walking on so many dead things.

The sea itself is calm, and beautiful.

The water was eerily calm.

The Sea is a bird sanctuary.We didn't see many birds on our visit, though.

Oh, and there was dried mud. Petunia LOVED that. I still haven't cleaned that off our shoes. They are sitting in a plastic bag in the garage. It did, however, vindicate my decision to pack some wet wipes in the car bag.

Petunia thought the big mud flakes were super cool.
Pumpkin is looking at a bird skeleton, I think.
We lingered for awhile, then walked back to our car and drove away. We drove back west through Ocotillo, and drove back into the mountains. The drive through the desert towards the mountains may have been my favorite part of the day. The late afternoon light on the desert, with mountains in the distance turned purple-blue by the disappearing light is something special. I don't have any pictures of that, and I doubt the pictures would capture the magic, anyway. It was the sort of view that made me wish I could paint.

My plan was to have dinner in Julian, but in retrospect, that was a bad plan once we decided to stop at the Salton Sea. I knew that everything in Julian closes early. I knew that there was really only one restaurant that would be open and acceptable to my kids. There was no particular reason to go to Julian that day. We could have continued south from the Salton Sea and joined up with the 8 in El Centro, having dinner at one of the tried and true chains we've stopped at before on our many drives to Arizona.

But, for whatever reason, we drove to Julian. The road through the mountains was windy (I knew this, too) and Petunia felt a little queasy by the time we arrived. The restaurant wouldn't have a table for us for an hour, and there was nothing much to do since all of the shops were closed. Inexplicably, instead of just driving on to Wynola or even all the way to Ramona, we waited. We were seated and got our dinner eventually, but by that time, the kids were too tired to really eat. Mr. Snarky and I enjoyed our meals, though. Then we loaded the kids into the car and I drove us home. The kids got to bed very late that night, but that didn't really bother them the next day. So I guess all is well that ends well.

Still, I wonder if I'll be able to convince them to go back to Julian during the daytime someday, or if I've spoiled it for them. It really is a cute little town when things are open, and they might not eat the apple pie for which the town is famous, but I do.... Maybe I'll put it on next year's family fun list.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Short Because I Mostly Slept Edition

I think spring is officially here in San Diego. We're back to our usual beautiful weather. 

I am getting over a cold that absolutely knocked me flat last weekend. I'm mostly better now, but decided to substitute a low key walk for my usual rollerblade. I almost went back to the same beach I walked on with the kids on Wednesday, but decided that I'd just go down to the bay instead. It was nice. Not as nice as a rollerblade, but I wanted to conserve energy because tomorrow we're probably going to drive out to Anza-Borrego to see the wildflowers, and since Mr. Snarky is also getting over the cold, and was not as wise as I was about resting and is therefore still feeling not so great... I'll probably do the driving.

Anyway, if I get some good wildflower photos, I'll post them.

In the meantime, how about some links to read? I don't have that many. I guess I mostly slept off my cold instead of reading things. But here's what I have:

Self-promo first: if you hurry, you can probably still snag the ebook version of Don't Call It Bollywood for just $0.99. The sale ends tonight. 

For politics this week, I have a couple of posts about healthcare. Both are from left-leaning sites, but both are also pretty wonky. Healthcare isn't one of the issues I picked to do a deep dive on, so this is as wonky as I get on the topic. 

First up, Josh Marshall with why repeal and replace is going badly.

I had a short Twitter thread about the latter of those articles. It starts here:

Like I said, I didn't choose to do a deep dive on healthcare, so I am definitely not an expert on the issues. I do think we can get everyone at least basic coverage without going broke or falling into tyranny, because every other wealthy country in the world has found a way to do that. I also think that there are honest arguments against doing that, but (1) I'm not convinced by them, and (2) those are not the arguments Republicans chose to make against the ACA. 

I also think that there are valid criticisms of the ACA, and I mention one of them in that thread. Of course, no one on the left ever said that the ACA is perfect, and I have not seen anyone on the left argue against fixing the problems some mid-income self-employed people had with rising premiums.

More politics on a topic on which I claim no expertise: Noah Smith about the impossibility of going back to an earlier industrial era. I should read more on this topic, because I'd like to know about the argument against what this piece is saying. I don't think we can go back to the jobs that white working class men are used to having, so I think we should be focusing on how to soften the transition to a different set of jobs. However, this is clearly not a universal opinion. I'd like to understand the counterargument (that we can bring back industrial jobs). I've had a couple of pointless twitter discussions with people on the subject, where we talk past each other. People are keen to argue to me about that we should help the men whose jobs are disappearing, but I already agree with that. I want to know why people think that the help can take the form of bringing back industrial jobs, because everything I've read so far implies that is folly to attempt.

Moving on... did you see the Twitter thread from the guy who swapped names with a female coworker in emails and was blown away by how much shittier people were to him? If so, you might like to read the woman's version of the story. (They are friends, there is no controversy, just a different focus.)

How about some fun stuff?

Laughing at this spelling bee comic feels like blasphemy, but I can't help it.

Grumpy bunny!

That's all I have this week. Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

A Change in Plans

Our school is undergoing a major renovation. The entire project is supposed to take two years, and is much needed. However, construction occasionally causes inconvenience, usually because they need to shut off the water after school, and that causes our after care to close.

Today was one of those days. They told us yesterday, which made me very happy that Wednesdays are one of my usual work at home days. However, Wednesdays are also a half day at school, so the early after care closing meant I had to pick the kids up by 2 p.m. I thought I might let the kids watch TV while I tried to finish my work day, but as I walked the kids to school in the morning (because of course, this was also the day Mr. Snarky had his green card renewal appointment), I decided that instead, I'd take the late notice as a sign that I should just go enjoy the beautiful weather with my kids.

And that is what we did. I had almost finished my "must do" list by the time I picked them up. Luckily, they had birthday cards to write for Mr. Snarky and my sister, and that and having a snack kept them occupied while I finished the last few things I needed to do. Then we wrapped the gifts to go with the cards and headed out for some fun.

Our first stop was my local indie bookstore. My book club is reading March, by John Lewis, this month, and since I wanted that in physical form, not as an ebook, I decided to buy local. They had to order it for me (they are primarily a sci-fi and mystery bookstore, but they are awesome: check out Mysterious Galaxy if you're ever in San Diego!) so I needed to go back to pick it up. I thought Pumpkin might like the store, since they have a nice middle grade/YA section. And she did. She loved it, in fact. I suspect I'll be taking her back there often. I let each kid pick a book, because I am a soft touch when it comes to books. And how could I say no when Petunia picked Ada Twist, Scientist?

After we got our books, we went and got ice cream. And then we headed to the beach. I have been meaning to take a celebratory walk on the beach for a little while: I have the Amazon release of Caresaway and paperback release of Unspotted to celebrate, so even if I'm not quite there on my Tungsten Hippo mailing list goal yet... I felt I deserved a walk on the beach. Why not do it with the kids?

I didn't get my usual deep thought time during this walk, but I did get a lot of smiles, and that is a good trade. It was in the mid-70s today, and sunny. The beach was beautiful and we found some nice shells. Petunia also found a lot of not so nice shells that she brought home, anyway. She always does. If anyone needs any shells, we have you covered.

Looking for shells

Pumpkin fell in love with some driftwood and insisted on bringing that home, I don't know why. She says she is going to decorate it. I am curious to see how that goes. But most importantly, they laughed and ran away from the waves, and just had fun. And so did I.

Having fun
I'll pay for this afternoon, either with some extra hours in my Sunday "make up" session or by squeezing some more hours in next week. But it was worth it.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Weekend Reading: The I Rollerbladed When I Should Have Worked Edition

It was so beautiful here today. I wasn't going to go for a rollerblade, because I had to take time out of the day to take my tax info to my accountant, but it was too beautiful of a day not to go out. I will pay for this by having to do my accounting over the weekend. It is the first Friday of the month, which is when I usually do my monthly accounting and I only get it partway done. Plus it is time to send out author royalty statements, and I barely started on that. So instead of doing fun work like writing during my Sunday morning work session, I'll be doing accounting. Bleh. But the rollerblade was worth it.

Anyway, to the links.

Self promo first: I'm running a GoodReads giveaway for the paperback version of Unspotted.

I've also decided to pick a random Annorlunda mailing list subscriber each month to send a promo code for a free ebook. If you want in on that, here's the mailing list sign up page.

Now the politics:

Josh Marshall had an interesting post in which he tried to come up with an innocent explanation for the Russia story that still fits all the known facts.

The leaks coming out of DHS undermine the national security argument for the Muslim travel ban. It has been clear all along that this was coming from the Bannon/Miller wing of the administration, and therefore I've never been inclined to buy the national security argument. The argument about immigrants not assimilating and the risk of replicating the issues seen in places like Brussels ignores some really key differences between the US and Europe, in my opinion. It also ignores evidence that immigrants from these countries have been assimilating just fine here in the US. If you only judge assimilation based on whether or not women wear hijab, you're really not thinking hard enough. There is nothing about being American that requires letting people see your hair. My non-expert opinion is that if you want immigrants to assimilate the main thing you have to do is treat them fairly and give them a chance to succeed. This travel ban does the opposite.

I've mostly stuck to my self-imposed rule that I'm not going to get into Democratic party strategy arguments (either in real life or in what I read online), but I read this story from a long-time labor reporter about the new DNC chair Tom Perez, and it made me feel better. So I'll pass it along for any of you who might also appreciate such a thing.

I could post a bunch of immigration stories, but I think I'll try to write an actual post about the topic sometime soon instead.

Instead, enjoy this interview with Gilda Wabbit, the drag queen who was in the "this is the future liberals want" photo that went viral earlier this week. Here is a quote from her:

"I won’t speak for all liberals, but I’d like to see a future where it isn’t a big deal for a woman in full modesty garb to sit next to a drag queen in NYC. It’s become a bit of a sensation, but her and I were just existing. The freedom to simply be yourself in a sea of people who aren’t like you is a freedom we all deserve."

Sign me up for that future, please.

Here is a less happy subway story (h/t @NeedhiBhalla). The point about there being no good option when you experience discrimination is a really good one.

This short article from an emergency room doctor who has to tell people Trump is president is a good read.

Here is an article about the same news story being spun two different ways by the same company. Basically, this company is profiting off of ratcheting up partisanship. We, as a society, are going to have to figure out how to handle this sort of thing in our internet/social media age. We're taking steps towards that now, but they are baby steps.

If you somehow didn't see the incredible (and incredibly sad) essay in the NY Times today from a woman writing a dating profile for her soon to be widowed husband... go read it. But you will probably cry. In my inbox this morning, I had an email from a friend letting me know that her husband had died. My friend is older than me, and her husband was older than her and quite ill, so it was not a surprise. But still, reading that email and then reading that essay destroyed me.

So I guess I need to find something happy to end on. But I don't really have anything, so....



That's all for this week. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Weird Day

This has been a weird day.

I sat down to do my usual Wednesday morning activism and was stopped by the realization that I didn't feel comfortable doing the first thing on my listwriting a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly urging him to make sure our immigration policies are not enforced in a cruel and dehumanizing mannerwas not something I felt comfortable doing while my husband's green card renewal is pending.

And that realization depressed me so much that I couldn't muster the willpower to make any other calls. I did donate to Mi Familia Vota and Jon Ossoff's campaign in the special election in Georgia.

I thought I might have a hard time focusing on work, but posting my Tungsten Hippo recommendation for the week helped me snap out of my funk a bit. I downloaded this week's book on a whim and ended up really enjoying it. It is the sort of book that will stick with me for awhile. You can probably expect a future blog post about what it means to be well even if you are not fully healthy (in my case, I will always have asthma and a somewhat screwed up right arm from an old repetitive strain injury).

I struggled a bit until lunch time, but did some good work for a client after lunch, then went for a run and enjoyed what was really a glorious day, and came back and just powered through my to do list.

In the end, I finished everything on my to do list (which is rare: I aim to have one or two items as "stretch goals" for the day) and even picked something else off my office kanban board and finished that.

When I finished work for the day, the news was still all about Trump's speech last night. I didn't watch it, because why listen to someone who always lies? But I found the fawning coverage of his ability to tell his lies without sounding unhinged depressing, so I figured it would be another night of a self-imposed news blackout.

I walked to my kids' school and picked them up, made dinner, and enjoyed talking to my kids about their day while we ate. Then my phone buzzed. It turned out to be a missing child alert (that child has been found, safe). But while I had my phone in my hand, I opened Twitter... and holy cow, my timeline was on fire with the news about Sessions. And with justification. He lied during his confirmation hearing about contacts with Russian officials. He was at one point and may still be a target of an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence. He must recuse himself from the ongoing investigation. A special prosecutor must be named. In a normal administration, he'd be resigning, too. But this is not a normal administration, so my money is on him trying to hang on and more damaging things coming out until he is finally forced to resign. Of course, I could wake up tomorrow morning to find he's resigned. Who knows.

I am more convinced than ever that if we actually get an independent investigation into this entire mess, people will end up in jail. But I am not convinced we'll get that investigation, or at least not in a timely manner. I have resigned myself to having to wait until after the 2018 election for a proper investigation. If the Democrats don't take the House in that election, though, we might not get one even then.

Meanwhile, the horrifying VOICE policy will be enacted. The administration will continue to vilify and dehumanize immigrants, particularly immigrants with brown skin.  They will continue to ignore hate crimes committed against people with brown skin. They will continue to ignore the rising Antisemitism. An alarming number of Americans will cheer this. An even more alarming number will just go along, perhaps because they don't want to offend the ones cheering by implying they might be racist, perhaps because they just don't want to think about it.

We are in a race. Can we get rid of this administration, or at least the worst actors in it, before they lead us to do something so horrific and shameful that future generations of schoolchildren read about it and wonder how we could have let such a thing happen?

I do not know the answer to that. I do not know how best to try to win the race. I guess I will rally and call my Senators and Representative tomorrow morning to let them know I think Sessions should resign and that I want them to pressure him to do so. I will continue to fax the House Oversight Committee (since their voice mail is always full) to tell them they should investigate the myriad conflicts of interest swirling around this administration. I will raise my small voice and contradict the dehumanization of immigrants, documented and undocumented. I will speak up against Antisemitism and Islamophobia and racism as the poisons of our society that they are.

That is all I know how to do. I do not know if it will be enough.

And I have started my meditative yoga practice again, because I think my days are going to be weird for awhile and I need to find a way to cope that doesn't turn me into one of those people going along with something horrifying just because I don't want to think about the mess we're in.