A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you doing? Did you have a good week? We’ve been traveling this week during the kids two-week school break (we’re currently in Prague), and will head home on Monday.

I just woke up (half of the kids are still sound asleep), and we haven’t made plans for the day yet, but the city is looking lovely out my window and I’m excited to go explore.

This coming Thursday, Oscar and Flora are hosting Halloween parties. They are so excited!! But it feels so abstract to me right now. Are we really heading into Halloween week? The holiday so different here that I’ve hardly given Halloween a thought. Usually we’re deep in to finishing costumes at this point, but this year, we haven’t even started. Feels so strange!

How are your Halloween plans coming along? Any brilliant/wonderful costumes this year? I want to hear. But first, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

-Every two minutes, a woman dies from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes. Many of those deaths are preventable.

-The Chinook Nation is fundraising to purchase their historic treaty land.

-How New York could become the first American city to end solitary confinement.

-Projections say by 2020, no single race alone group will make up more than 50% of the population of children in the U.S.. (Sounds like Oakland! And I’m here for it!)

-Senate Republicans confirmed another lifetime federal judge who earned a rare and embarrassing “not qualified” rating by the American Bar Association. The appointee has never tried a case!

-I did not know that most women entirely lose sensation in their breasts after their mastectomy and reconstruction.⁣ Here’s an instagram post talking about new methods that are changing things for the better.

-For those curious about the democratic society that was being built in northeast Syria before Turkey attacked.

-Motherhood is hard. You’re doing a great job.

-“After years of decline, a spike in air pollution may have taken the lives of almost 10,000 additional Americans over two years. Following a 24% drop between 2009 and 2016, particulate matter air pollution in the U.S. increased 5.5% in 2017 and 2018.”

-Will you be reading (or listening to) Ronan Farrow’s Catch & Kill?

And here are some funny and heartwarming tweets I’ve saved for you too:

-A really wonderful thread about an unfinished embroidery project. I love this so much.

-Hah! How people got picked up at the airport before cell phones.


-How the new French Olympic logo spends the day. : )

A list of salutations.

-A thread on the goodness of communities.


-Made me laugh!! Such a well written tweet.

I hope you have a really lovely weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


9 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

    I was diagnosed with Stage IIa breast cancer in April. My cancer was aggressive and I needed surgery right away. I got a bilateral mastectomy. I have an excellent plastic surgeon, oncologist, and regular surgeon. We had to work quickly and so I didn’t have a ton of time to research. I did ask for nipple sparing surgery. That is becoming more common. I got the first part of my reconstruction during my mastectomy (expanders). It is true. I don’t have feeling in my breasts. A little bit of feeling has come back closer to my armpits. It does make me feel sad and I’m getting used to it. I’ll never fully be ok with it. I try to remember that I can feel my arms when I give (or receive) hugs. It is a loss though. I’m super lucky to have great care and that my prognosis is good. I recently finished chemo! Yay! I have hope that this other procedure will spare lots of other women from the loss of feeling. So thankful for all of the work the medical community is doing for all of us. Lots of brave women came before us and sadly, more will come after us. We all build on the experience of others. Thanks for sharing this and all the best!

    1. Pamela – I’m 36 and will be a 5-year Stage 3 breast cancer survivor in February. Things do get better, but as time goes on I still am sad that there is so much misinformation about breast cancer (namely, that nobody really dies from it anymore, that you get a free “boob job” which is so different from an elective cosmetic augmentation that I almost can’t believe they are said in the same breath, and that if you catch it early you are somehow “safe”). As October comes to a close, this article that was recently published in the SF Chronicle really speaks to a lot of my frustration: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Pink-ribbon-culture-is-gaslighting-women-14554817.php

      1. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

        Five years is a big deal Magnolia. I imagine it feels like forever and like yesterday since the beginning this crazy ride. I’m sending buckets full of sisterly support to you. Thank you for your response. This is such a complicated, layered, painful, frustrating, scary, two steps forward and three steps back experience. The sentiments in the article you shared ring true to me. I’ve never felt less like wearing pink. I’ve done a lot of writing about my experience . My writing has been called raw. I’ve been thanked for sharing more about the underbelly of cancer. There are some people who have had a hard time with it. It isn’t all about gratitude, eureka moments and being positive. It is about feeling loved. I’m pretty new to this whole stage of living WITH cancer in my history. I’m on the other side of (3) surgeries and (4) rounds of chemo. So, actively killing off the cancer is done. ARE YOU SURE???? The what if it comes back has just launched. I have more boob related surgeries ahead of me. I’m ready for my hair to grow back. I want to help other women. It goes on and on. I was a huge fan of Nora McInerny (Terrible, Thanks for Asking) and Kate Bowler (Everything Happens for a Reason, and Other Lies I’ve Loved) before cancer landed on my doorstep and now they give me air. They get into the deep. They talk about cancer, love, loss and the ridiculous expectations placed on people who are in this nightmare. They are authors and podcast geniuses. I could keep going on… I wish you good health forever. p.s. Yep, I too was told I was getting a free boob job and asked if I’d be going up a size or two.

  2. I LOL’d at the airport tweet. About 6 years ago, I finally caved to owning a cell phone because my young son and I got stranded at the airport and they were not any pay phones and other travelers were unwilling to lend me their cell phone (which ironically also makes me long for the kindness and trust of the community from the other tweet).

  3. Your post convinced me to email my Senator (R) who voted along party lines to nominate Justin Walker. These nominations are unacceptable. Thank you for always keeping your eye out.

  4. Thank you for the article about northeast Syria. Often, the US betrayal of the Kurdish troops is only framed in terms of the loss of a strategic ally. There is so much more lost. I mourn daily about what is happening to the Kurdish population there, and I don’t know where to go with my grief.

  5. Re the airport tweet, I’m 34 and can not fathom how my job would work pre-internet. I help create community-wide plans for homeless services, and it’s a very communication/data driven process. Like, if I was going to invite 100+ people to a meeting, I would have to mail invitations? Or call people? How would I be making visuals for presentations? Slideshows? Hand drawn charts? I’m genuinely curious and feel like things would just take so much longer.

  6. I remember watching videos of the Kurdish army a few years ago, when they were fighting ISIS. There were so. many. female. soldiers. Even in these little video clips, the power, comradery, and ease that these women had with each other and the men they were fighting with was so apparent and tangible. The head of the Kurdish forces there at the time was a women. I’ve admired the Kurdish people since then, and I’m so heartbroken for them–although I saw this exact situation coming from years back. The US uses them while they’re needed and then discards the alliance once it’s no longer beneficial to US strategic interests.
    Our whole foreign policy framework is outdated and needs an overhaul.

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