Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Action #21: Waging Peace

Remember when I said I was getting involved with an interfaith group? Well, today I hosted the first meeting for one of the new chapters in my county of Sisterhood Salaam Shalom. I'm currently a co-leader. Oh yeah!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Action #20: Thank you to McCain

I was going to do this anyway. Right now Republicans are entirely in power, so there is not much to be gained by reaching out to Democrats. Rather, we need rogue Republicans who can stand for a sane version of the Republican party. So U and I discussed just yesterday that my next action was going to be to thank him, but after the speech he gave last night, I wrote him a thank you note even before starting my morning yoga. You please do it too.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Action #19: Stop Gorusch

Sent some money to People For The American Way to counter pro-Gorusch ads.


Action #18: More on Day Without Immigrants

So then I emailed an administrator who I also suspect is on a different political side than me. I suggested the team deserved recognition for having come in on Day Without Immigrants. I cc'd someone else on the team who might be able to help with any recognition that is given to them (and who I know would have appreciated the email.) I did not hear back. It could be that an announcement was made later that day and I just didn't hear it, or it could be my comment was just ignored in which case the person I wrote to can leave it to his conscience to process.


Action #17: Day Without Immigrants

Last Thursday was Day Without Immigrants when thousands of immigrants stayed home from work to show the country just how much they contribute.

Our custodian's team has the most extraordinary work ethic of anyone I've ever met. They are there before I come to work and after I leave and have frequently come in the middle of the night to handle things like pipe bursts or to salt after icy weather. Only the head of the team speaks English comfortably enough for us to have a conversation, but I stopped him in the hall to thank him for coming in that day. I thought he might just say "you're welcome" and keep walking, but he stopped to talk to me for a minute and said he had really wanted to join the protest but knew that too many people counted on him to do that. I reiterated that I know how much his team's work can go under appreciated and he went on his way.

I'm proud I spoke up to him, but even prouder that I said it in front of someone else. This someone else is a person with whom I work closely and have developed a friendship, but with whom I don't talk politics because I know she was anti-Clinton. I don't really know how she feels about anything else that is happening in the world but I have gotten the sense that there are many areas in which we might painfully disagree with each other, especially racially, and I don't want to go there.

She heard my conversation with our custodian and looked genuinely touched by it. I hope I planted a seed.


Action #16: No on Scott Pruitt

Got a text asking me to call my senator to ask him to oppose Scott Pruitt. The text included a phone number to call my senator right away.

I did. The aide said my senator has already released a statement saying he would vote against him, so I asked if I could talk to him a minute:

Me: I've been very diligent about making these calls, but I know that my senator and I are on the same side. Is this helpful that I'm calling?

Staffer: Yes, but it might be even more helpful if you called Pennsylvania.

Me: But am I allowed to do that? I thought I was just supposed to call in my own state.

Staffer: I get calls all day and I hear from all over the country.

So there you have it... it's not unheard of to call out of state, even if they won't listen.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Action #15: Some other Republican senator -- fail, kinda

I tried calling another random Republican senator (can't remember which) to say the same thing. This time someone actually answered. I tried to give the same message, but then he asked where I was calling from. I had planned on saying "U.S." or lying, but he specifically asked the county, so I choked and said I was calling from NJ. Guess that message is going in the trash. Oh well. At least I wasted 2 minutes of this staffer's time.


Action #14: Called Rand Paul

And left him a message saying that he needs to be responsible about investigating Trump's ties with Russia. I tried to make it sound like I had the utmost faith in our president and that I'm looking forward to an investigation being done to prove his innocence.


Action #13: Interfaith organizing

Just days after the election I got in touch with a particular interfaith group about getting involved. They did not, at the time, have a branch in my area. As of yesterday we are having discussion about starting up a local chapter. Most of the members on the original email chain said they are shy about being leaders, so I at least have suggested a first meeting date and that we can meet at our house. I joked to ND this morning about how I also didn't want to be a leader, but looks like I might. We'll see, maybe in a future post.


Action #12: Parenting

Again, I'm being very discriminating on what I post here, but today I got some incredible feedback that something else I have been doing has worked: PARENTING!

In class, while my daughter's class was having a history discussion, a particular racial group came up in conversation. My daughter, usually unwilling even to ask a question to a docent on a history tour, single-handedly spoke up about how people from this group are not bad.

This is at least in part due to countless conversations we've had, but also can be attributed to conversation we had just this morning about another of my latest actions. See next post...


Action #11: Brave Facebook DIALOGUE

I'm pretty discriminating on what actually counts as an action in this list. Re-posts on Facebook and signing petitions don't count. However, I recently posted a question and got quite a few responses. Most were from my liberal friends, but three conservative people who I know in various contexts responded and I engaged as responsively as I could. I ignored nonsensical comments that didn't directly address the question I was asking, but agreed with points that I could and asked clarifying questions as  necessary. I did not try to change anyone's mind. My goal only was to present myself as having a legitimate question and stating my disagreements calmly without over-posting data.

Ironically, the two most vocal of the commenters wouldn't be caught dead in a room together... one a a religious Rabbi, another a southern baptist. Out of respect to both of them and the important role they've played in my life I won't give further details. That, too, I hope is good role-modeling.


Friday, February 10, 2017


I have not forgotten that I'm only 10% to my goal of 100 actions. This week I needed to attend to my own life with more energy and take a break from the noise.

This is not the last week I'll have like that. It makes me a better person. I'll be back. Just wait.

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Friday, February 03, 2017

Action #10: Write to Democratic Party with suggestion/advice

Here's what I wrote:


Like many of my Democratic friends, I'm dutifully following through with calls to action being proposed right now. Many of these actions involve calling my senators who happen to be Democrats. I'm wondering if it would be better for me to be calling Republicans instead. Do you have suggestions you can send out to people like me of whom to call and what to say? In particular I'm very concerned about the ways that rules of how senate votes are supposed to be taking place have been bent or broken again and again since Obama's time in office.

I want to tell these Republican senators, especially those who are more moderate, to play fair, that their integrity depends on it.

I feel like I don't have the language to say this effectively. Can you help me? Can you help all of us who are becoming as active as we can in the midst of our busy lives?

Thank you.


Action #9: About Steve Bannon

Did what this Facebook post said to do:

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security is taking calls about Bannon's appointment to the NSC. You can call: 202-224-4751. Please spread the word by cutting and pasting.
"Hi! I'm a citizen from and I'm calling to voice my opposition to the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. Would you please pass my concern along to the committee? Thank you!"
(As urgent as this is, it is important to be respectful.)