As this horrific election cycle draws to a nail-bitingly anxious end (oh please God, make it come to an end next week, and not drag on like Bush/Gore 16 years ago), I actually saw an election-related piece of news today that made me smile. The Boston Globe had a story about a viral movement of (mostly) women choosing to wear white as they go vote, in honor of the suffragists 96 years ago, and in recognition of how far we’ve come, as we cast our votes for a woman at the very top of the ticket.


I remember being at an all-girls summer camp, when the news came out in 1984 that Geraldine Ferraro was nominated as vice-president. It had never even occurred to me, or most of the other campers, that a woman would even be considered for that role. And here we are, a mere (snort) 32 years later, with a woman running for the very top office on a major party ticket.

8 years ago, M and I went into the voting booth together, and together we very carefully filled in the oval next to Obama’s name, so someday we could each tell our grandchildren that we voted for the first African-American president — something that had been just as unthinkable in my childhood as the idea of a woman as president.

This time around, M will be spending Election Day helping with a get-out-the-vote campaign in Pennsylvania, as part of the Democratic students’ group from his college, having already cast his absentee vote for Clinton.

And on Election Day, in honor of the women almost a century ago who helped make it possible for me to vote, I’m going to wear my white turtleneck and white sweater, as I walk into that voting booth, and very carefully color in the oval next to Clinton’s name.


Shortly after dawn, he spies his prey, and moves into position. 

He creeps ever closer, one stealthy pace at a time.

His prey moves to the floor, and he leaps down, then closes in, scoring the last few drops of milk.  Success!

Last night, E was venting a bit about what a frustratingly stressful day she’d had at work. And she’s certainly entitled to vent – she works very long hours on top of a hellish commute, and the group she manages is incredibly short-staffed, and yet the services they provide are often critical to life-and-death situations.

Her day had been so bad that she said when she got a LinkedIn job offer to work for a major women’s clothing retailer, she’d actually been tempted for a split second. I eyed her up and down very dubiously, and we both burst out laughing.

Because she’d already changed from her workday attire into her relax-around-the-house outfit, which consisted of:

     1) Navy blue men’s sweatpants
     2) A shapeless gray T-shirt
     3) A stretched-out gray long-sleeved T-shirt

and, for the crowning glory,

     4) A maroon sweatshirt which had caught fire when we were burning brush a couple winters ago, and which now has a very jagged neckline after we cut away the melted top half of a zipper.

This was so definitely not the corporate look of the women’s clothing retailer in question that we just had to laugh!

College update from M

M phoned last night, for the first time since early September, so we got to hear loads of good details about college that never make it into our usual brief, disjointed, text conversations.

In no particular order:

-He’ll be going on a “get out the vote” trip to Pennsylvania with the college Democrats group, in the days right before the election. I’m hoping it will be a valuable learning experience for him, a good way to make more friends, and help to swing that state a little more blue, for both presidential and congressional races.

-The food truck parked on his street is open 24/7. This is why he could get fish and rice at 12:45 in the morning.

-He and a friend went to see a taping of John Oliver, and really enjoyed the experience.

-Classes are going well, yesterday’s midterm went well, and he was sorting out something about class registration. He seemed to have it all under control, despite taking a rather heavy course load.

-His dorm room has cockroaches. We emphasized he really needed to report that. He seemed to know how to do so.

-He’s gone to a couple different art museums (I think as part of his art class assignments), and really liked seeing Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in person. He also learned that when museums are 30 blocks apart, it’s a really long walk, and would be better to take the subway.

-He’s gotten moderately lost in the NYC subway system, but in general is figuring it out OK.

-We asked about his class schedule on the day before Thanksgiving, then clarified for him that Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday, not Friday. He’s got to check on a couple classes, but we’re getting closer to being able to buy a bus ticket for him to come home.

Because it will be very good to see him again, and hear even more about what he’s been up to. And I’m sure he’ll appreciate sleeping somewhere without cockroaches.

For a change, I actually find myself agreeing with Trump about something: this election is rigged.

This election is rigged against control by white people, because the 15th amendment to the Constitution guarantees people of all races and colors the right to vote.

This election is rigged against control by men, because the 19th amendment guarantees women the right to vote.

This election is rigged against control by evangelical Christians, because the 1st amendment means that people of other religions can’t be barred from voting.

And the media that supports this election is rigged too. Because the 1st amendment guarantees the press has the freedom to report not just what someone proclaims to be true, but also to report what is factually true.

This election is rigged against racism, against sexism, against discrimination, and against lies.

I am so grateful for our Constitution.


(USS Constitution)


I am officially old

Proof number 1: at the hardware store, I was buying a can of spray paint. After it was scanned, the register prompted the cashier to enter the customer’s birth date. The cashier didn’t even bother to ask if I had a license/ID, never mind to see what birth date was listed on it. She just randomly typed in some birth date that must have translated as “old enough to buy spray paint.” I used to look young enough that the cashiers would at least apologetically ask to see my license.

Proof number 2: at work, a service engineer and I were chatting about the various lab equipment that we’ve worked on. He said that the model I first used is one that he has only seen in his company’s in-house museum of obsolete technology. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he’d simply said that particular model was before his time, but I hadn’t realized it was now considered a museum piece!

E very kindly pointed out, after I told her about episode number 2, that I’m not old — I’m experienced. That does sound better!

Yet more inequality

At the food pantry the other night, I overheard an elderly woman and her young granddaughter at the check-in table. The non-English-speaking grandmother was trying to explain something to the volunteer handling check-in, but the volunteer couldn’t tell if the grandmother was there to get groceries for just herself or for the granddaughter’s family. (Since groceries are allocated based on family size, and the granddaughter’s name was in the system as part of a large family, this was a relevant question.) Finally the young granddaughter piped up in English: “My mommy has 2 babies, and one of them is sick, so she can’t come get groceries.”

Well then — family-size grocery allotment it is!

But all I could think was, some kids go home from kindergarten or first grade, and their only responsibility is to help set the table for dinner. This little girl came home from kindergarten or first grade, then spent her evening going to the food pantry with grandma and explaining her family’s situation to a stranger, so that her family could have something on the table for dinner.