Random Thoughts

I sat down at my laptop this morning and immediately thought of a dozen things we haven’t had a chance to chat about during the holiday break. Gosh I missed you. We need to catch up! It’s time for a random thoughts post. : )

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about and want your thoughts on:

– Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy for president. It made me happy. I hope many women throw their hat in the ring during the primary — the more women running for president, along the whole political spectrum, the better.

As soon as I read about Warren’s announcement, my mind immediately went to at least a dozen conversations I had with people during the 2016 election cycle — people who said they simply couldn’t support Hillary Clinton, but that it had nothing to do with Hillary being a woman. They assured me that if it were any other woman running against Trump, especially Elizabeth Warren, they would totally vote for her.

Do you think they would still claim the same thing? Hah! I’m not the only one thinking about that. I read a McSweeney’s article this morning titled: I Don’t Hate Women Candidates – I Just Hated Hillary and Coincidentally I’m Starting to Hate Elizabeth Warren.

– Have you watched the new Marie Kondo Series on Netflix? I haven’t yet, but I keep seeing it mentioned on social media. I’m thinking I don’t want to watch it until I’ve set aside some time to purge my closets, because I have a strong feeling it’s going to inspire me to get rid of a ton of stuff. Have you seen it? Is it worth watching? Did you read her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, when it came out a few years ago?

– What about other shows? Did you see Aquaman? I confess, the trailer for Aquaman looks completely uninteresting to me, so I keep being surprised to see it’s getting excellent reviews. And what about Mary Poppins? Is it any good? A worthwhile extension of the series? Or frustrating for true Mary Poppins fans?

We almost always take the family to a movie or two during the holidays, but didn’t get the chance this time, so I haven’t seen either. But, mid-December, when Ben Blair was out of town, I took the kids to see a late night showing of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Holy cow it’s so good. It’s unlike anything I’ve every seen before — it’s fresh, and smart, and thoroughly enjoyable, and I’m not alone in saying it should be considered for every kind of award. Have you had a chance to see it? I hope so!

And how about Roma? I’ve been told it’s a must-see, and completely epic. Have you had a chance to watch it? I believe it has a limited theater release, but you can see it on Netflix. Though they say if you can see it in theaters, you should go for it because it’s best on a big screen.

– I like this list of eleven Things To Do Online in 2019. Here are the first five:
1. Promote your own work as much as you want, without apology
2. Block anyone who spreads lies or hoaxes
3. Block & report harassers and trolls
4. Share knowledge about stuff you really know well
5. Sometimes just be quiet and listen

Have you been thinking about how to approach your internet life this year? I have. I’m still forming my thoughts but want to talk to you about it. Related, you may find this Washington Post article on not using default privacy settings helpful. “A clickable guide to fixing the complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.”

– I LOVE seeing photos of the new more-diverse-than-ever Congress being sworn in. I just grin. So many women! I’m following the hashtag #116thCongress today.

And not just Congress. There are great images of the 17 judges in Texas too — all black women. I’ve been aching for this kind of change for so long, and I hope, hope, hope this is just the beginning. I hope the wave of women leaders being elected is even bigger in 2020.

Have you ever considered running for office? Sometimes I think about it. 

– We drove across Nevada and back again during the break — which is about an 11 to 12 hour drive each direction. We listened to the audio recording of Michelle Obama’s book while we drove. It’s 19 hours long and was perfect for our trip. Her story is endlessly inspiring, totally hopeful, and she tells it so well and so honestly. I was struck by the stories of her parents and her childhood. I was struck by her transition from regular citizen to public-figure-who-isn’t-allowed-to-run-errands, and how short the time frame was. What a remarkable life! Here’s to many more remarkable years ahead.

What are you reading right now?

– Do your parents still live in your childhood home? My parents sold ours when I was in college, around my junior year. They moved to a one-level home that was easier for my father to navigate. He had lost some of his mobility because of diabetes, and he died a couple years after the move. But my mom has done a great job of making wherever she lives feel like home for her kids. I was at her house for a few days (see snapshot above) between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and it felt so good. Nostalgic in the best way. I loved being there. 

Do you still have access to your childhood home? If not, how do you feel about visiting your parent(s) in their new space?

– If you are worried (as I am!) about our planetary crisis, here is a thread listing the most effective individual actions you can take. Do any of your resolutions this year revolve around the environment?

That’s it for now. Please feel free to respond to my random thoughts, or you can leave your own random thoughts in the comments. I always love to hear what’s on your mind.

P.S. — More random thoughts.

88 thoughts on “Random Thoughts”

    1. Kathy, my mission is to provide a platform where women can tell their stories, and to amplify their voices. I do so through Design Mom and through Alt Summit. I’m very good at fulfilling my mission and I enjoy doing so.

      Use your commenting power. Tell your story. Was it the mention of Elizabeth Warren that set you off? Okay. Then talk about how reading about a woman running for president makes you upset. Share what has happened in your life that has encouraged you to conclude you don’t like female political candidates. Or perhaps talk about the female candidates that you find inspiring.

      Take a moment to reflect and determine what stressed you out about my blog post, and then share your experiences so we can all learn from each other.

      It’s unacceptable to use me as an excuse to be rude. I have been writing about complicated topics (including parenting, politics, racism, sexism, aging, religion, etc.) for a decade now. This is not new.

        1. Hah! I wish I was all class. My first attempt at responding was obnoxious. I typed it out, then hit the back button and tried again. At least I caught myself before I hit publish. : )

          1. Always so impressed by you, Gabby! The way you navigate these conversations is inspiring. All class :)

            Was originally popping down to the comments to say thanks for posting the mcsweeny’s link. I don’t know when I’ve laughed/cringed/cried so hard! I immediately sent it to my mom and sisters. Xoxo

      1. Agreeing- especially MP. I admit to grabbing screenshots of certain costumes, because I was gobsmacked at the cleverness. How they managed to seamlessly connect a 50+ year time span without being weird about it is incredible.

          1. also a couple of the songs are particularly fun–Trip the Light Fantastic has a great message I’ve been thinking about a lot in both the movie setting and its larger political, community, and religious sense. Loved the cameos and the homage to the original.

  1. Well handled up there ^. I think your voice has remained constant throughout the years, FWIW. Maybe slightly more political than it used to be, but so am I. So are a lot of people as they get older. Also, since 2016.

    I LOVED Mary Poppins Returns (SOOO POLITICAL, RUN AWAY). You will, too, I think. It’s the perfect tone- nostalgic for the original, without completely copying it. It’s magical and fun and gorgeous.

    I loved Michelle Obama’s book as well, super inspiring. I didn’t know many of the details of her story, nor of Pres. Obama’s. They are both so capable and SMART, we are lucky to have had them in the white house.

    Can’t wait to see Into the Spider-Verse. And the Marie Kondo show looks delightful, she seems like such a happy and pleasant woman. It looks to be a feel good show more like Queer Eye, and maybe less like Hoarders? I can’t watch that show, it makes me crazy.

    My parents sold the family home about 6 years ago and I still have dreams about it. I also still dream about my grandparents’ home that was sold and then torn down. But I love how wonderfully your mom has kept the feeling of home and nostalgia going wherever she lives. My parents do that, too, and it’s special.

    1. I think that’s very true — I think ALL publishing platforms have become more political since 2016. And yes to the Obama’s being smart! I am always in awe of good thinkers.

    2. I’m four episodes into Tidying Up and agree – it’s more of a Queer Eye and less of a Hoarders. Some interesting peeks into the interpersonal relationships of the people featured, personal growth/healing that makes you want to root for them, and very diverse clients. And yes, you will want to clean your closets!!

  2. I was not a fan of the new Mary Poppins, although I didn’t dislike it, I wouldn’t rush out to recommend it. It felt too much like just rehashing the old Mary Poppins movie, practically scene by scene, and using fancy CGI effects (which I admit to being curmudgeonly about in general). My 8 y.o. loved it, but on the way home started singing “A spoonful of sugar” rather than any of the songs in the new movie.

    I had not had any desire to see the new Spiderman, but maybe will have to change my mind. Of course watching Harry Potter (the PG movies) was enough to send above-mentioned 8 y.o. into anxiety attacks, so perhaps not.

    Until then, I’m off to binge watch the new Marie Kondo….didn’t know that was on!

    1. Agree! I cannot think of one song from the new movie. Not a single tune stuck in my head. I actually fell asleep during the movie. My kids loved it, but I think it was more about the experience of seeing a movie and eating popcorn/candy.

      1. That’s interesting, Laura. I for sure haven’t heard any songs from the new movie. I take it there’s not a Let It Go or Moana equivalent that you belt out as you leave the theater?

        1. I went right home and looked up several of the songs– particularly ‘The Place Where The Lost Things Go’ (bring a hanky-you’ll need it), ‘Nowhere To Go But Up’, ‘Underneath the Lovely London Sky’, and ‘Can You Imagine That’ — I just want to remember these so I can go all Mary on Grandkids when they need a little boost!

        2. I loved Mary Poppins as a kid, I was also nearly bored to sleep during the new movie. I enjoyed the scene during “Trip the Light Fantastic” with bike tricks, but otherwise the movie was slow paced and it felt like they were trying too hard. But my mom, who took me and my kids to see it, loved it.

  3. I started watching Marie Kondo and I love that she makes the families do all the work. She doesn’t come in and organize it all for them. She just elegantly guides them. It’s fascinating and inspiring! I’m reading Michelle Obama’s book right now and I absolutely love it. Happy New Year, Gabby!

    1. Hahaha! Sometimes the idea appeals to me, but often I think I’m not in a good life stage for a pivot to politics. If Ben Blair’s startup moves into the next stage, or if I sold Alt Summit and took on an advisory role in the company, then I’d probably be more apt to really look into it.

      I find it pretty intimidating to contemplate. I wouldn’t even know where to start. What office would I want to run for? But I know there are some really good organizations out there with the sole purpose of helping women figure this kind of thing out.

      1. You should reach out to Steve Kerr (yes, the basketball coach). I feel like you two could create an interesting movement together. Have you heard of Andrew Yang yet? A very interesting presidential candidate. Maybe reached out to him as well. And Paulette Jordan too!

  4. I just finished Michelle Obama’s book last week. I loved it! I’ve read some about Barack (a recent biography, I think) so it was interesting to hear the parts of their shared life from her perspective. I was struck too by her transition from regular citizen to First Lady in the blink of an eye and how she handled that. She was so honest and relatable – like one of your good friends.

    I recently saw The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots. I was excited to see and support movies that feature women in the lead roles. What a breath of fresh air.

    I’m with you in hoping that lots of women run for lots of elected offices up and down the ballot and across the political spectrum. The world would be a better place if more women were our representatives.

      1. LOVED Mary Queen of Scots (though instructional tale on impossible situation of being a woman in 16th century). Favourite was just okay / loved Spiderverse also!

  5. Roma is a must-see in the theatre, in my opinion. My husband and I went last weekend and it might be the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. I especially love the leading actress, Yalitza Aparicio. She is gorgeous and captivating.

    My in-laws are from Mexico and it’s always been fascinating to watch Spanish television with them and see how little the actors on the telenovelas and news shows look and sound like my inlaws, who are dark-skinned, working class immigrants. My husband could be Yalitza’s the older brother.

    I know that this misrepresentation is rampant in American television as well, but sometimes seeing it in a different culture shines the light brighter for me for some reason.

    It might make the film experience better to do some quick research on student protests in Mexico in the 1970s and CIA infiltration of student groups that led to many killings. I had a cursory knowledge. My husband filled me in on a lot and it helped me understand the historical context of the film.

    1. Thanks for the heads up on doing a little back ground reading before I see Roma. I appreciate it. It’s showing in several theaters in the Bay Area so I hope to see it on the big screen.

    2. Jen, I lived in Mexico City exactly during the time the film depicts. Your comment blew me away. Your husband is exactly right. We were in Mexico City because my father was an American undercover CIA agent. Since his death in the early 80’s I’ve done lots of research to try and understand what was below the surface of much of my early life. Needless to say as a liberal feminist much of what I’ve learned is troubling. The film, and time and feelings it evokes were so real to me it brought me to tears many times.

      1. Oh, CC! What an interesting life experience! I can only imagine all of your conflicted feelings. My comment was a little sloppy because I don’t know how much regarding CIA involvement has been verified and how much is just speculation/rumor. I can only imagine the emotions the film unsurfaced for you. Wishing only the best to you as you work to sort out all of that newfound knowledge with your own childhood experiences!

  6. I love the fact that you and almost all the women bloggers I read are becoming more vocal in sharing their views online. (I like to think that I have some amazing role models!)
    It’s not that you’re becoming “more” political, its the fact that we are sharing more now. And about time I say!

      1. Another thought, I think having children who are interested in politics and current events probably makes you even more engaged in political topics too! As they age into it, you are too!

  7. I love reading your blog because of your thoughts on everything, including politics. You are so good at this and I never feel you are just repeating or copying somebody else’s mind. Your thoughts are really inspiring to me. I started reading your blog when my first kid was maybe two or three years old and it changed how I approached motherhood. It was as if for the first time I could see myself doing this and expressing myself at the same time. Thank you.

    (And also: I have watched the Marie Kondo Netflix Series and it made me truly happy.)

    1. “It was as if for the first time I could see myself doing this and expressing myself at the same time.”

      I LOVE hearing that. Thank you for saying so. I have a call with my publisher tomorrow — we’re talking about doing a parenting book. Very exciting.

  8. Ever inspired by your perspicacious thoughts and responses, Gabrielle. Thank you!

    Yes!!! to Roma – stunning, gorgeous, my husband and I keep talking about it, weeks after seeing it.
    Yes!!! to Marie Kondo, she is like a magical fairy spreading a lovely dust of inspiration and practical tips to create an organized home.
    Yes!!! to Michelle Obama’s Book, I have just started it and love learning about her childhood, and extended family.

    Happy New Year, and all the best in 2019 :)

  9. Your subject matter couldn’t have had more perfect timing. My girlfriend and I (she in a red state and I in a blue) were just discussing this topic an hour ago. I would love to hope that women who voted for Trump would now consider voting for a woman other than Hilary but we both thought that would not be the case today. It seems that people have become more tribal, taking “sides” as opposed to talking across lines. Should Elizabeth Warren win the Democratic nomination, we thought the election is going to be really ugly as it seems that it’s appropriate today to call women every gratuitious insult in the book.

    1. I wonder the very same thing. I read a tweet today positing the idea that in theory it will be easier for a female presidential nominee because this time around, in large part because Hillary took all the fire last time, which should make it harder to lobby the identical insults. Who knows.

      I also think that our major media outlets are not very practiced at covering female politicians, and they get it wrong a lot. Journalists should not be talking about Elizabeth Warren’s likability, or Nancy Pelosi’s hot pink dress. They need to focus on policy.

      1. It’s been about 20 years, but I spent a lot of time in college on policitical campaign communication and persuasiveness. Likability is the most important factor; it outweighs credibility and experience when you’re talking about influence. I hear what you’re saying – women are measured differently. No one goes on ad naseum about how bad Trump’s hair or fake tan are, but this “news” would never stop if he were Madame President. But, I do think likability is important and something women candidates need to both acknowledge and use to their advantage. In the most recent election, I researched each candidate and voted a very mixed ticket. My husband agrees with most of my politics but disagrees with this strategy from an impact perspective- he thinks one should ride out the bad candidates but stick with one’s party/agenda in order to see lasting change. I can understand why you’re excited about Warren; I’m excited to see more women put them names in the hat. And, I live in SC and would be so excited if (local) Nikki Haley would announce her candidacy.

    2. I think it could very likely be the same ugly election cycle as 2016. Many of my (female, feminist, liberal) friends don’t think Warren should be a candidate. They “support” her ideals and “like” her, but don’t think she’s right for the candidacy because she’s “too liberal”. They think only a more moderate Democratic candidate will win, but I disagree. I couldn’t help but think that if it was a male candidate, they probably wouldn’t believe that. And when pressed on which female they thought would be an ideal candidate with that in mind, they couldn’t come up with any. I think a lot of women feel that the first female president needs to be absolutely perfect and like-able because if she’s not, no other female will be elected in the future. But that’s unrealistic and I think people will find fault with any female candidate no matter what her platform is or how she dresses or how she carries herself, so that’s hogwash.

      1. Agree with many of your points. I think people are being more cautious about candidates for the next election. The stakes are higher. It used to be that if your candidate lost, yeah it was a disappointment, but things generally progressed as usual. The thought of 45 in office for four more years is really disastrous…not simply for the Democratic party (that’s a short term setback) but for our country as a whole.

        1. My parents moved out of my childhood home when my kids were little, and into my grandparents home! So by now it is more familiar, and even more comforting (my grandparents’ house was where I always ran away to) to me than my childhood home.

          I’m excited about Elizabeth Warren running, but fear a repeat of the ugliness of the Clinton campaign coverage. As Beth^ said “I think people will find fault with any female candidate no matter what her platform is or how she dresses or how she carries herself.” I really hope the Democrats end up with a candidate I like, because I will vote for her/him not matter what–Trump has to go! The meanness/rudeness/ugliness that my Native American family has endured has risen unacceptably since he started campaigning and advocating for the same.

          Thank you for the WP article about online privacy–I went straight to it, read and followed the suggestions, and sure enough, my really private settings on FB had changed. Changed them all right back, along with on my other social media platforms, probably even stricter privacy than before.

          I’m so happy about all the women in Congress now, especially all the firsts–Native American women, Muslim women, Palestinian American woman, LGBTQ women! Congress is supposed to represent us–hoping for a day when they actually do, ie: 50% women, many different religions/races/national origins, etc.

          A few Thank Yous–that you speak up and out despite backlash, that nearly all of your commenters are smart, kind, and thoughtful, and that you keep bringing interesting, helpful, funny, important articles to our attention.

          And can’t wait to start watching Marie Kondo’s show–that’s what I’m doing as soon as I finish typing this.

      2. Interestingly enough, she’s also alienated some very progressive folks by her decision to take an ancestry test and publish the results – both because she actually responded to Trump’s goading and because she played into the idea of Native American blood quantum, which is super problematic. Many progressive people of color read that as a big misstep.

        1. I (a lefty democrat) was alienated by Warren publishing the results of her DNA test. I thought it was beneath her, and that the results were not so stunning, which made the whole thing was an embarrassing display.

          I think Warren is great in Congress, but does not have the charisma to become President. It’s not about her being a woman. I think the same thing about many male politicians as well. Lieberman? Dole? Kasich? Kerry? No.
          Beto and Ocasio-Cortez? YES to both! Gabbard and Haley? I think so. Al Franken? YES. Oprah? Yes (although i don’t think she should run, but she obviously has the charisma).

          Also, Trump’s appearance — fake hair, orange make up, long ties, excess weight, and generally unappealing appearance are mocked constantly and viciously. There are jokes about how sexually unattractive he is all the time. He just doesn’t care.

  10. Interesting that you assume all your readers had A(ONE!) childhood home. Many of us didn’t enjoy that stability. I never lived longer than 3 years in one place until I was married.

    1. Well, I had five childhood homes, but there was one that stands out — the one that felt the most permanent to me — so I suppose that’s what I was trying to describe. My own kids have lived in up to 7 different childhood homes (depending on when they joined our family). We haven’t lived in this Oakland house the longest, but because of their ages, I’m betting this is the one they’ll think of as their main childhood home.

      I do realize people move a lot these days. I guess another way I could ask the question is: Does your parent (or do your parents) still live in a home where you lived with them? In a home that’s familiar to you? Or in a town that’s familiar to you? Or I could ask, do your parents live in the same home as they did when you “moved away from home”?

      My mother lives in a town where I’ve never lived, a town and area I know very little about and am not very familiar with. No doubt that’s a recognizable situation for some readers, but for others, the idea of visiting their mother or father in an unfamiliar town or unfamiliar home would seem strange.

      What about you, Emily. Do your parents (or parent) live in the same house, or same town, as they did when you left home?

      1. Nope. They do not. I find it hard to imagine moving now since I’ve lived where I live for a decade. I get panicky .. like I finally have put down roots…

  11. I am excited that it looks like we may have some good choices in 2020 and that is a beautiful thing! I truly hope all the big players like warren and Bernie fade to the back and we see some fresh faces emerge from what will be quite a fray. If there is one thing I hope Obama and then Trump did is pave the way for opportunity and surprises in who we can choose to lead our country every four years.

    I will not choose my vote based on the sex of the candidate. I will choose based on what the candidate stands for and if I agree. From my perspective equal opportunity is so very important but not the most important and only pressing issue our country faces so that cannot be the sole reason we vote for our next president.

    I loved marry Poppins with every fiber of my being, I cried!! Which is weird for me. I think Emily Blunt just always captivates me and I could watch her do anything. And Dick Van Dyke dancing on the desk. Magic.

    1. “I will choose based on what the candidate stands for and if I agree.”

      Love that! And I hope the focus will be on exactly that, and not on how someone’s voice sounds, or on their clothes, or their perceived likability.

  12. Agreeing with the comments above that reveal how many of us have opened our mouths, voiced our opinions, and for some finally gotten into politics because *it is no longer safe to just keep quiet or uninvolved.*

    I am surrounded a good 90% by people I love who completely disagree with my political thoughts and views, however I feel I should still have a right to express them- particularly on *my* accounts. Which leads me to the internet… I left Facebook 4.5 years ago when things were ‘heating’ up with such vitriol that *I* couldn’t handle, so *I* opted out.

    I feel that in some accounts people lose filters and post things contrary to their ‘real’ life personas. I do not feel that you have ever done that, although I don’t sit next to you at church or buy my groceries at your store, you seem to be the same person no matter where…and you always “delete before publishing” so that your words are calm and even. Although I do agree with you on most topics I don’t mind *anyone* disagreeing with me, I purposely read accounts/sites that I totally disagree with to make sure I am getting all the information…I delete those who can only handle ONE opinion as correct. This is not that account. You encourage open discussion.

    Already commented above on movies, so I’ll end with – before I was 18 I had lived in 23 different places, -I ached for a single childhood home for my kids. We managed to move 3 times, but within the same zip code, and when the kids were still fairly little so this final house ‘feels’ like home.

    Thank you for the links!

    1. “I feel that in some accounts people lose filters and post things contrary to their ‘real’ life personas”

      I’ve experienced the same thing, both for myself, and as I watch others. It’s easy to say things on the internet that we would never say in person.

  13. Saw Roma and it blew me away! Coincidentally I lived in Mexico City as a young teen during exactly the years portrayed in the film. It is so spot on I had chills and was near tears for most of it. A beautiful love letter to the women who are called “maids” or “cooks” but are truly so very much more. They are the heart of these Mexican homes and 40 years later I remember the two women who kept our home clean (Clarita), and who cooked for us (Eustorjia) and who after an epic “tie-dye” party (on a rooftop laundry area virtually identical to the one in the film) wore tie-dyed bras, panties and nighties for months They as much as Mexico City informed who I grew up to be, influencing my eye, my palate, my thirst for fairness, opportunity and inclusiveness. This movie captures that time and place and the love the director obviously has for these women. Beautiful.

  14. I was looking forward to seeing Mary Poppins with my kids, but we decided to see the Soiderman movie instead. It has a nice storyline, but I hated the movie because of the visual effects. I should’ve taken the warning on it seriously. It made me dizzy! I must be getting old…

  15. I’m glad you’re back! That’s all!! Oh, and one more thing… Can you give us an update on your house in France? I’m building a house thousands of miles away right now ( a vacation fixer that we ended up needing to tear down and rebuild), and would love to hear how things are going for you with your French fixer upper! All the best to you, Gabby! Xoxo

    1. I wish I had a fun update! To be honest we are quite stumped at the moment on how to move forward. I concluded a couple years ago that if we really wanted to work on it, we would need to move back for 6 months or so at least. I’m very much an out-of-sight-out-of-mind person and I go months not even remembering we own a place in France. : )

      Knowing that, we came up with a plan where we would try to live half a year in France and half a year in Oakland. And I really, really, thought we would move back to France in the fall of 2018. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

      Our work has changed significantly since we originally moved to France and we’re having a harder time making a break and getting away.

      But I’m totally excited to hear about your vacation property. Sounds like a challenging but exciting project!

  16. My parents just moved out of my childhood home a few months ago (I’m 37). It was bittersweet; they really needed to move closer to my sister. I was sad, but knew it needed to happen. For Christmas, I hired someone to paint a sweet portrait of the home we spent many beautiful years in.

  17. A lot of my resolutions are to do with climate change. I hate flying so it’s not too much of a hardship to give that up! I have also started walking to work (takes about 40 minutes compared to 30 minutes driving so well worth it!) We are also trying to cut down on plastics and so far, it has been easier than expected.

    By the way I am very glad that you are not cut off on your blog from what is happening politically at the moment. I have stopped following some blogs that never mention anything political – I find THAT really upsetting as it feels like we are turning our backs on some of the truly terrible things that are happening.

  18. I’m new here but wanted to pop in and say hello. Thank you. I’ve spent far too much time not doing my to-do list and reading here the past few days.

    I was delighted to find you the instigator of Alt Summit. Do you know the dates for 2020? (I’m booked solid this year so can’t make it.) I’ve heard really good things about it from Abbey Glassenberg at the Craft Industry Alliance.

    I too have “gone political” and as an artist who used her blog and social media presence purely for soft marketing, I’m sure I’ve lost much of my audience. But – if I have a platform I feel I cannot live with myself if I stand idly and silently by while good people all around me are being actively harmed by the policies of this administration. It’s frighteningly akin to the Weimar republic… 1918ish. At the beginning of Hiltler’s rise to power.

    For much of the time before and after the election I managed to have very deep, good, civil conversations (with a ton of moderating) on my FB feed. I still never make personal attacks and still keep it civil and always preface anything I say with “here is an action you can take… don’t just complain here” but all my conservative voices have disappeared which saddens me. I used to feel very middle ground (politically independent for 30 years.) But I live in NC and the ground shifted so far to the right with the extreme politics and gerrymandering going on here that now I look like a liberal. If that means speaking out when people are oppressed by government – so be it.

    And – Spiderverse!!!! It’s like the whole movie is as good as all the Marvel end-credits. Amazing design. Humor. And then the end-credits ….. whoa. Just wow!!!

    1. “I used to feel very middle ground (politically independent for 30 years.) But I live in NC and the ground shifted so far to the right with the extreme politics and gerrymandering going on here that now I look like a liberal. If that means speaking out when people are oppressed by government – so be it.”

      I recognize myself in your comment. I feel the same way. I used to feel in the middle politically; I had no hesitation voting for both Republican and Democratic candidates. I didn’t feel strongly about registering as one or the other. But to me, the current Republican party is unrecognizable. I don’t know how a current Republican would even describe their platform (owning the Libs? hating Obama?).

      That has to change. There needs to be a rebirth of a true Republican party that leaves the current version on the far fringes with no voice.

      Having two strong and smart parties is important; we need the discussions and debates and compromises that two strong parties bring.

  19. We also didn’t make it to the movies over Christmas break, the new Grinch and Mary Poppins would have been top contenders. Now I just want to see Mary Queen of Scots!

    I’m not from your country but I don’t mind your political speak. It’s reassuring to know there are some sane Americans out there!

    As for the environment, daily commuting by personal vehicle is a reality for me and where I live. I guess the vegetarian option would be the most realistic option for me and my family to implement, but would still be a lot of change and work to figure it out, I find suppers so challenging as it is! What does your typical suppertime routine look like? Do the kids ever cook for the family? Are they old/independent enough that they make their own meals with your presumably busy schedules? Or do you make the family meals happen? (I’ve seen your meal box promos but I figure that’s probably not the norm.)

    1. You bring up a good point. If we try to make personal changes and they’re too drastic or too challenging, they are less likely to stick.

      I like your questions about food — I think I should do a blog post.

  20. When I saw the photos of the new women entering Congress, I started tearing up. Like, in a big way. It surprised me how emotional it is, to realize our gender has been so under-represented for so long. To realize that we’ve had the VOTE for less than 100 years! It really inspired me. I’d love to run for office someday. I’m scared, but I think I’ll try anyway when my kids are a little older.

    One thing I’d like to see change is to have more Republican women in Congress. Here’s the story on NPR.

    I’m a Democrat, but growing up in a swing state, I think its important we have both perspectives in Congress, even if they don’t always agree. I think its a real loss for our country when Republican women don’t run, or aren’t encouraged to run. I think there could be some great bi-partisanship and family-centered legislation with women working on both sides of the aisle and coming together.

    Thank you for talking about politics. It has made me think harder and smarter about my perspective on the issues.

    1. For sure. As I mentioned, I would love to see more women running across the political spectrum. The more women the better.

      I wonder if the lack of Republican women running has any tie to the very traditional groups who often identify as conservatives. I’m thinking of Mormon communities and other religious communities that are deeply patriarchal. Is it possible these groups are just less comfortable with women who are leaders?

  21. Love your blog and all the information you publish and discussions around it.

    Just commenting today to say how beautiful and cozy above picture is. Is this your mom’s house? Is there a home tour already somewhere on the site? If not, can we get one?

  22. Currently reading Milkman which is well-reviewed but I’m struggling to get into it. Listening to Dear Committee Members which is funny. Just finished An American Marriage which is very, very good.

  23. Elizabeth Warren throwing her hat into the race made me so happy..
    We saw BubbleBee.. my boys love Transformers.. it was some old school fun..
    I just started reading The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth
    And my husband and I binged on The Bodyguard after all the good reviews..
    We had more that a few childhood homes.. my parents currently live in my teenage home.


  24. 2 things:
    1.A few years ago I commented about how wonderful it would be if you ran for office. You go girl!
    2.Reading Michelle Obama’s book was an honor.

  25. My parents still live in my *tiny* childhood home, and my grandpa still lives in the home that he built and raised his kids in, as did my grandma until she passed away! Most of my aunts and uncles still live in their long-term homes too. My grandpa’s is actually connected to the property where my grandpa grew up too, although his childhood home has been sold and vastly remodeled. I honestly can’t imagine not having a “home” to go home to, even though my hometown has gone seriously downhill over the years (hit very hard by the heroin epidemic in Ohio). I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about how having a place like that, where your roots are, might actually be fairly unique and a really special thing.

  26. Pinned this post because I love that sunny, comfy corner nook so much! Trying to think which room of our house I could make that work in!

  27. I think based on the number of female congressman elected (yay!) that we dems must admit that it actually was Hillary. I voted for her but I know many life long liberals who just couldn’t do it. I don’t know what it will take for dems to admit that the Clintons baggage is just too much for many to handle. And by the way, I would love to see you run for office! You would be amazing and you would get my vote!

    And speaking of females that I wish would run for office, I’m reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming and enjoying so very much. Her childhood stories just make me tear up, especially the one about her brother practicing fire drills. So much love there.

  28. I love reading your random thoughts posts – all with an inquiring mind, not forced opinion.

    I read the entire list for 2019 and my favorite was #11 – Never apologize for puns!

    I ran for a local public office and I continue to serve now – the fair warning is that your life, all of it (and your family’s life) can become public content. I love serving, but this can be a difficult aspect for some people to handle (you can have a public and private life, but it takes effort and skill).

    I am looking forward to following you in 2019. All things wonderful for the New Year!

  29. I am so excited about more women in Congress and women running for office in general, but Trump’s continued popularity among his base requires a really rock-solid candidate from the Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is too divisive in my opinion. Warren appears too liberal for many moderate Democrats. I didn’t think she handled the whole conflict with Trump well either. I’d like to see someone who is less of the “elite” to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters. As well as someone who doesn’t stoop to Trump’s level. I think we need forward-thinking, hopeful leadership at this point in our history.

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