Longing for 2021..

August 21, 2020

I’m sure everyone’s got an anxiety list — I mean, it’s 2020 — mine’s a doozy. Though, I expect I share a lot of the same anxieties with others. My list keeps me going…. in the sense that I imagine a time when this list will dwindle down to nothing. I have my eyes on the prize, a time in January when I am hoping that most of these will be resolved or mostly on their way to being resolved and I’ll be free and clear with a whole new horizon to look at. I’m thinking maybe by my 65th birthday.

Girl can dream.

No real order… but here are the things that occupy most of my head space right now.. some are time consuming, some are just plain anxiety provoking, some require just putting my head down and seeing them through, some are heart rending… some have elements of all of the above.

  1. trump
  2. pandemic
  3. election
  4. Peter getting settled in Ann Arbor… safe and happy
  5. fire season
  6. front and backyard landscaping
  7. all this election-related volunteer work
  8. Matt, Chris, Michael, Chad’s health


I feel like I might be forgetting an anxiety or two. But man… can you imagine what life will be like when we’re beyond all this? I can, and it keeps me going.


It’s been hotter than blazes..



This was last Sunday (it’s Friday as I write this). We’d already had a day or two of temperatures well into the hundreds. That was noteworthy–and record breaking–enough (130 in Death Valley, 113 in Modesto). But then we had dramatic thunderstorms and thousands of lightening strikes that weekend, which sparked hundreds of fires which are still raging across the state. For most of this week, it’s looked and felt apocalyptic: yellow air, brown skies, a red sun.. all from the fires close enough to cover us in ash. Seriously.. it’s like someone dumped an ashtray over our world. For days I didn’t even go out.. not once.

Here are some pics…  sun at midday. You can stare right at it; it’s behind so much smoke.


My car..



Ash collects in the grooves in our driveway..



The fires closest to us:


fire map


Oh.. and this is neat: Recall that Jim gave me a PurpleAir sensor for Christmas last year (why, yes he did!). He installed it yesterday, which means we have one of eight such outdoor sensors in Davis and serve as a data point in the local assessment of Air Quality.. here’s a map:

Screen Shot 2020-08-21 at 7.55.13 AM

We’re the 93! Today it got up to 256 (at least that was the highest I saw it go, but I didn’t watch it all day). At this very moment, it’s (hang on, let me check): 14! I kid you not. Jim just opened the windows and the temp is dropping (11:30pm and it’s now 72) .. and we might get into the 50s later this week. Glorious after nighttime lows in the 70s all week (couldn’t open our windows anyway because of the smoke).


Crazy stuff… these pandemics, heat waves, fires, ash storms. All layered on top of trump and what will be a brutal, soul-sucking final two months of a truly wearying campaign season.


Fired Up, Ready to Go

August 20, 2020

jill and joe


I was going to write about the fires, air quality, yellow air, red sun and brown sky, the heat… but never mind.

I’m feeling a different fire, so want to say a couple things about that.

I’ll leave it to pundits and wonky wonks to distill the last four days of the Democratic National Convention, which I watched start to finish, all 8 hours plus the pre and post game shows. Definitely some rough points, misses, awkward transitions and such. But 90% worked for me. They pulled together a great narrative, covered a lot of bases, told Joe’s story well. Seems like they picked their main themes and then pounded them and did so strategically and effectively.

I have a full on reason to vote FOR him. Not against Trmp. In my heart of hearts but also deep into the most discerning part of my brain, I feel like he strikes the right tone and balance for government work, and especially for these times. I WANT a government guy. I LIKE the idea of government. I like how it’s SUPPOSED to work. I WANT someone who knows how to put together a team and then listens to them and makes reasoned decisions. I like the structure and accountability of a functioning bureaucracy.

I am desperate for a head of government that honors the process, works it, knows how to count votes and compromise and I can live with the chip chip chip of progress.

Most important to me, though, is having a president who is a president for everyone. Which means he can’t be just the president of me. Much as I personally want our country to take a hard left turn, I’m willing to get to better places in a way that doesn’t further the divide. I believe it’s in everybody’s interest to have an Elizabeth Warren government, but I’m willing to live under a Joe Biden middle spot in the interest of having everybody feel like government listens to and serves them.  I just want it to be just. I want the fights to be fair.  I want a leader who is decent and truthful, smart, engaged and one who understands and respects government.  I want someone I trust.

I don’t think anybody could have met this moment any better. I wish Joe were about 10 years younger, but other than that, he’s the perfect anti-Trump. Kamala checks a lot of boxes — in the strategic ways of presidential campaigns — and if she remains honorable and applies her considerable intellectual chops to the task, I think they’re formidable. I think most of their tendrils extend leftward and they will be open minded and open hearted and I think we can get there. I think conversations that need to happen will happen. And there are a lot of those conversations. I trust.

With a flipped Senate and Nancy in the house (if she stays in the job), we can make some progress.

I am so hopeful.

And…. I can’t wait to read this in a year.

I could write a book about that convention and a dozen of its most brilliant touches. Even as I know it was a lot of preaching to a desperate, starved choir..  it still inspired and affirmed. And I leave feeling certain about my support for Biden.. which I wasn’t before.

So.. how ’bout a young Beau and Joe baseball photo…


joe and beau bb


August 19, 2020

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination.


Night #3 of the Democratic National Convention. We’ve had women on the ticket a couple of times. We’ve elected a black president. Now we have a black woman on the ticket.. that’s historic.

That part feels really good. For all my doubts during her campaign for president, and my preferences for other women as Joe’s VP pick, I have come around completely to Kamala (the whole country’s on first name bases with these guys). I like her energy, intelligence, resume, smile, humor. She is much more than a running mate, much more than  additive; she’s a powerhouse. I can live with this moderate ticket. I think his choice is damn near perfect.

As notable tonight: Obama went all in on the threat of the current president* — the threat he poses to our country, our institutions, our democracy, our future. In no uncertain terms. It’s a 5-alarm fire. He was sober and dead serious. He’s not messing around. It may be his most historic speech ever, in a career full of historic speeches. It’s damn scary.

High level government and military professionals on all three nights have sounded similar themes. They’ve had lots of republicans in these programs, from all walks of life, willing to stand up and say they’d support a democrat for president over trump (I still have a laughably hard time even typing his name, I despise him that much). This is crazy.

But both of the Obamas… they left that one particular norm in the dust, the one where a former president (and his wife) does not trash a current president. Let the new president run things like he sees them; he was elected (presumably), let him govern. But now, after nearly 4 years, he’s shown he’s dangerously incompetent and not up to the task. But more, as Obama said, he’s willing to shred our democracy in order to win. Both Barack and Michelle implored people to vote. Only the voters get to decide who the next president will be. Non voters have no say.

As if to prove everyone’s point about his pettiness, he lied and lied and lied, in all caps over Twitter. Of course he did. Desperate man (not a man).

Anyway… Kamala. This is a very good development.