Funeral Food

What’s your favorite funeral food recipe?

Until my dad died, I thought the thing about people bringing food for a death was something that happened only in books.

But only hours after he died, in a hospital 35 miles away from his hometown, a place he hadn’t lived in 44 years, people started showing up at my grandmother’s house with food.

That’s when I got it.

It’s how you share the burden. It’s how you acknowledge – in a material way – that something has happened. It’s how you go beyond words to comfort.

I didn’t see this behavior modeled when I was a kid. Neither did Mr T.

But the reason I didn’t see it modeled was because I grew up on air force bases where you don’t see death. My dad even commented that that was one of the disadvantages of rearing children in that environment as opposed to the one he and my mom grew up in – that we weren’t around old people and we didn’t get a chance to see that death was a normal part of life.

Mr T didn’t see it modeled because his parents had no social graces. “They didn’t belong to a church,” he said.

“But they had neighbors!” I answered. “Surely there were deaths in the neighborhood!”

He shrugged.

(His parents also did not teach him to write thank-you notes.)

This book, y’all. My friend Kim gave it to me and it’s amazing.

Even in the days preceding my dad’s death, when my mom, my brother, my sister, and I were staying at the hospital hospice with him, my aunts and uncles and cousins took turns driving that 70-mile round trip every day to bring us meals.

Yes, there are restaurants in the city where the hospital is and yes, there was a kitchen in the hospice, but going out to eat and cooking are the last things on your mind when you are watching the slow death of someone you love.

I didn’t know then, but I sure know now. And ever since then, I have shown up with food.

I thought this knowledge was universal.

At least, I thought that by the time people reached full adulthood, it was known. It was known that this is What Is Done.

But last week, when my neighbor’s mother died, nobody else showed up.

My neighbor – who is also a friend – has lived in this town her entire life.

Her mom had lived here most of her adult life, I think.

My friend had been taking care of her mom these past few months and writing about it online, so her friends knew that her mom was ill.

My friend has also been very open about the challenges her family has faced with a child’s mental illness this past year.

Basically, any of my neighbor’s friends online know about what’s been going on with her and know that her mom died last week.

But when my friend thanked me online for bringing a meal over, I was the only one she thanked.

And all I did was make soup, bread, and brownies.

I cannot be the only one who took food over.

Can I? Maybe she has a ton of friends who aren’t online who showed up?

I’m not trying to brag. Because I didn’t do anything noteworthy. I did the bare minimum, actually. I certainly didn’t do anything big enough to be praised online for.

Where were her other friends?

Why didn’t anyone else take food?

And it’s not even like they have to cook – they could stop by the grocery store to pick up something hot from the deli or order a pizza.

Maybe they just don’t know?

Maybe everyone is so busy and so traumatized with all the other stuff going on that it didn’t occur to them? The past few years have been hard.

I think that’s the kinder interpretation.

That’s the one I’m going with.


How do we make sure everyone Knows Someone?

How do we create a just society?

I spent a lot of time thinking this white privilege bullshit did not apply to me.

I did not grow up in a rich home, or, according to my husband, whose family ate out at least once a month, even a middle class one.

I did not grow up with connected parents.

I have never gotten a job through networking.

My whiteness has never gotten me anything.

This white privilege stuff is all BS, I thought. IT’S BS.

And then I thought about my travels over land through South and Central America on my way back from Chile.


Just writing those words – my travels through South and Central America – HOW DAMN PRIVILEGED IS THAT?

And that’s not even the part that made me see my privilege.

While I was traveling, no matter how disreputable I looked – I was clean, but hadn’t had a haircut in a while, and I was wearing kind of scruffy clothes and definitely scruffy boots – unlike the poor indigenous people who were the majority population in some of these countries, I could walk into the fanciest hotel in town and nobody would question me on my way to the ladies’ room.

Because even though I was scruffy and had a backpack, I was a blue-eyed blonde white scruffy person with a backpack.

I had privilege.

I have privilege.

Just because of the color of my skin.

I see the privilege now and I wonder what to do about it.

I see it most immediately when people I know exercise their privilege on behalf of their children.

I don’t blame them.

I don’t blame parents for networking with their friends on behalf of their kids.

I don’t blame them at all.

But – I also see that that is exactly how privilege is perpetuated.

And how those spaces – those interviews, those internships, those jobs – are not available for anyone else. Someone else might be just as qualified – or maybe even more qualified – for the job but now will never have a shot at it.

And then I realize – I HAVE DONE THIS!

I have networked on behalf of my friends’ kids and nieces. On behalf of my niece! MY NIECE IS AWESOME! Anyone who hires her is getting an amazing deal!

I have introduced them to people. I enjoy this! I want to help!

But – am I part of the problem?

I don’t know. I don’t have enough pull to get someone hired who isn’t qualified. Nobody will do me that kind of favor. But I can definitely get someone put at the front of the line.



Is this the same thing?

Am I right to be annoyed at this situation?

Someone in my college alumni facebook group asked for an internship for her son, who is a sophomore at the college.

First, this mom isn’t even an alum, so – why is she in an alum facebook group?

(OK, technically, the group is open to anyone, but why would you join a facebook group that is almost all alumni if you are not an alum? That’s just weird? It’s just as weird as my college combining homecoming and parents’ weekend into one event. I am not interested in hanging out with the parents of current students. We have nothing in common. Sheesh.)

Second, it was the first time this person had ever posted, so it wasn’t even like she had a relationship with anyone.

Third, she asked for an internship for a kid who is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

My friends.

Is there anyone in the world who needs less help finding a job than an EE/Comp sci major?

Just in case you aren’t up on your hiring trends – nopety nope nope NO.

Electrical engineers do not have a hard time finding work.

Mr T, a EE who has not been employed for a few years, could go back to work in seconds as a EE if he so desired.

It’s not like the kid is an English major.

I did not say anything, which is a new strategy I am trying and it’s killing me but I think it’s the right path as my usual approach is to open my mouth and put in not only my own feet but those of everyone around me – but total strangers did.

Yes, there were a few “My company will be hiring interns have him send me his resume” (because EEs are a scarce resource) but there were also a few “Has he talked to the people in the placement office?” and “Has he set up a LinkedIn profile, which are polite ways of asking, “Is he running his own job search the way a college student should be?” Which is the politeness I aspire to but don’t think I am capable of. Which is why I remain silent.

But I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that perhaps asking complete strangers to hire your son who should be looking for his own job was maybe not the way to go.

But as I write this, I wonder if perhaps I am wrong.

It has been known to happen.

Maybe a complete stranger – whose ethnicity and background is completely unknown to me – asking other strangers for help is not such a bad thing.

Yes, sure, I find it rude. But that’s me and I have been so, so wrong about so many things in my life and I’m sure I will be wrong about many things in the future.

Maybe this mom’s approach (I am assuming it was the mom) is the proper one.

Maybe this is how we break those privilege barriers and make sure everyone has a shot.

Maybe this IS how we make sure everyone knows someone.

Maybe we need more people breaking the rules instead of more people following them.

Hmm. I will be thinking about this. What do you think?

When it’s hard to accept good help

Because housework should be done out of love, right?

Why aren’t men criticized for paying someone else to shovel the sidewalk, rake the leaves, or cut the grass?

Why aren’t eyebrows raised when men take their car to the shop to change the oil or repair a flat?

How come nobody judges men who call a plumber to repair a clogged drain?

Isn’t that “men’s work?”

Isn’t that work that needs to be done to maintain a home?

Then why aren’t men doing it themselves? Shouldn’t they be doing it out of a sense of love and duty to their families?

That’s crazy! you say. It’s just work that needs to be done for a family to function! Who cares who does it?




Then why do people care so much about who cleans for a family? Who cooks for a family? Who launders for a family?

Do you know anyone who has a cleaning lady?

How do you feel about it?

How does she feel about it?

I guarantee you there are Feelings.

My friend Rachel had a cleaning lady. Rachel did not feel conflicted about it, but her friends did. They thought she was exploiting another woman.

I can assure you that Rachel – a lovely, fair woman – paid and treated her cleaning lady very well.

The friends never said a word about Rachel’s gardener.

In Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed, she wrote about cleaning houses and feeling exploited.

That may very well have been the case, as she worked for, if I recall, some cleaning agencies that paid very little and expected a lot.

But the labor of cleaning houses itself is not exploitive, although the work of sometimes literally cleaning shit is awful. Some people do that – some people leave that kind of mess.

Some people are horrible.

But does that mean someone else should clean shit for free? Because that person is related to the shitter?


It means people should clean their own shit.

Another friend is going to Ecuador this spring for her job. She’s a professor and will be doing research. She’s renting a house and the house comes with a maid and a gardener.

We talked about how we struggle with the word “maid.”

“When I was doing my dissertation research,” she said, “if they didn’t call her the maid, they just called her ‘la muchacha’ (the girl). I couldn’t do that.”

I agreed. “When I was in Chile, they would call the helper in the office ‘the junior.’ Even when it was a grown man.”

We also struggle with the concept of paying someone else to do the work that we have been taught to think of as our own. Does it mean we are lazy? Does it mean we don’t love our families? Does it mean we are exploiting another woman?

She initially didn’t want a cleaning lady. But when she was doing her dissertation, it was quite helpful to have someone to clean and cook while she wrote. Shocking how much of a person’s time can be taken with housework.

Oh – and she and her husband had a new baby at the time.

This time, she does not have to worry so much about whether to hire someone. The decision has been made for her. The cleaning lady is part of the deal.

I was on a work trip to Dubai. A bunch of us Americans were at dinner with our Emerati counterparts. One of the Emeratis had called her driver to pick her up and discovered that not only did we Americans not have drivers, we also did not have maids or cooks.


We shrugged and answered, “We do.”

That’s what happens when you don’t have a desperate immigrant underclass to exploit or you’re not rich.

If you’re ordinary middle-class people working ordinary middle-class jobs, you don’t make enough money to hire household help. Or if you do, it’s only once every few weeks. It’s not enough money to pay someone to do the daily drudgery of washing dishes and making beds and washing and putting away clothes and preparing meals.

But it’s also part of a culture where that labor is not supposed to be paid labor.

Where a clean, well-run home, like gravy, is supposed to just come.

When I read about how educating women leads to an increase in a nation’s GDP, I thought, “Oh right! Of course! Women go to work and that work is paid and that’s excellent!”

What I didn’t realize is that part of that increase in GDP is because much of the labor that women do for free – child care, elder care, housekeeping – now becomes paid work.

That is, as women work outside of the home, they have to pay someone else to do the work that they usually do for free inside the home.

Suddenly, that work has value.

My professor friend and I wondered if we were lazy, not-family loving, other-woman exploiting people for thinking it’s OK to hire another woman to clean a house.

Let me address those issues.

Lazy. Even if I am lazy, so what? Is it bad to be a lazy person who also wants a clean house?

Not family loving: If cleaning a house is how a person shows love, then why aren’t the men doing it?

Other woman exploiting: This is a possibility. However. There is an easy way around this one. Don’t leave literal shit around. Pay a fair wage.


There is no shame in paying someone fairly to do honest work. None.

Bernice is pissed and she’s still fighting

“I’ll be damned if my granddaughter is going to have fewer rights than I did”

Mr T and I knocked on a lot of doors in the week before the election.

Not everyone answered their door, but the times I did get to talk to voters and the voters were older women, they were angry.

Here are some of their stories.

Bernice #265, 73 years old.

I was Republican when I grew up. I campaigned for Goldwater. GOLDWATER! And I cried when he lost!

And then I met Nixon and shook his hand.

Now I wash that hand all the time.

I got pregnant before abortion was legal. For me, it worked out OK to have the baby, although there were times when it was touch and go.

But I have friends who had abortions. This was before you could get birth control. I took them to Madison. It was the only place.

And I have a younger friend who had a planned pregnancy. She and her husband were so happy and excited. Then the doctor discovered that the baby had serious problems. The baby would live for only a short time after birth – there was no way it would survive – but would be in terrible pain the entire time.

My friend could not bear the idea of her baby suffering, even for an hour. Suffering and then dying. So she had an abortion.

What happens to someone like my friend now?

Bernice #821, retired nurse.

I don’t like abortion for me, but you see a lot when you’re a nurse for over 30 years. You see cases where it’s the life of the mother or the life of the baby and you can’t save both. You see babies who aren’t going to survive. Or who are going to have horrible painful deformities.

And with a rape – what, the mother is supposed to have that baby – a baby who might look like her rapist – and see that child every single day of her life?

And a child who is raped? A little girl? Whose body is not mature enough for a pregnancy?

(Bernice starts to cry.)

We’re supposed to make her carry a pregnancy?

No. I will not do that. I will not tell another woman what she can do with her own body.

Bernice #746, retired nurse.

I wouldn’t choose an abortion for myself, but I was a nurse for 30 years and oh I have seen some things. Little girls who are raped? What? Those women think counseling solves that problem? NO! I used to volunteer at a counseling center. No, counseling is not the solution. And even if it were, are those people willing to pay higher taxes to fund counseling services? Of course not.

When girls who had been raped came in, we took care of it. They never needed to know. There is no amount of counseling that can make it better for a girl.

My husband – my ex – used to beat me.

(Bernice is about 5′ tall and weighed about 100 lbs back then. Her husband was much bigger.)

I would call the cops on him and they would come and say they couldn’t do anything unless I was dead.

I have spent my entire life fighting for women’s rights. We’re going backwards. I thought we were finally going to have time to fight for the ERA but now we have to go back and fight for abortion rights again.

I’m taking my granddaughter to vote on Tuesday. She’s 19. It will be her first time. I’m fighting for her.

Bernice #523, takes care of her grandson while her daughter works.

I don’t like abortion, but it is none of my damn business to tell another woman what to do with her body. I think Michels [Tim Michels, who was the R candidate for governor in Wisconsin] is going to take women back. That look in his eyes – there’s just something about him. He’s a rich kid who’s never had to do anything and he just has this look. He looks like a child molester to me.

And he doesn’t know anything about what ordinary people live like. I walked into the grocery store and almost passed out. Have you seen those prices?

And child care! Forget it! If you can even find it, it’s too expensive. That’s why I watch my grandson.

I don’t like Michels. He’s going to take us back to coat hangers.

Bernice #478, was pushing her granddaughter in a stroller while I was campaigning.

I’ve been fighting for women’s rights my whole life and I’m not about to see my granddaughter’s rights go backwards. I will be voting blue.

When I was 19, I started working at Allis-Chalmers. One day, my supervisor grabbed me. I was tiny back then but still with a lot up top.

I told his boss and he laughed. “Bob’s a married man with five kids!” he said.

“Are you calling me a liar?” I asked.

So I went to his boss and told him the same thing. And he said the same thing – that Bob was a married man. I asked *him* if he was calling me a liar.

He didn’t do nothing, so I reported it to the West Allis police. I never took it further than that – there’s no way I coulda won, but at least it was there.

And when he grabbed me? I was holding a big stack of time cards. I slammed them down on his arm and knocked him down. He fell – but all he did was laugh at me. He thought it was funny!

But I won in the end. He had a heart attack. I don’t wish a heart attack on nobody – but he was out for a long time. So I took over his job. And I was good at it.

And when the company started to shut down, they kept me on instead of him. *I’m* the one who kept *his* job. I had a job until they closed completely.

I will vote. I will probably just be canceling out my husband, but I will vote.

Will they give us some space, please?

A room of our own. That’s all we want. A room of our own.

I know we have a lot going on with Roe and with democracy in general, but the other fights haven’t disappeared.

This is at a theatre that was just remodeled last year.

On the left is the line for the women’s room.

On the right is the line for the men’s room.

Do you see the problem here?

The next day, we went to another show in the same complex. I stopped at the women’s room in the hotel on the first floor.

The men’s room – right across from the women’s – was closed for cleaning.

I walked into the women’s room and there were a couple of women there and a man who was clearly exasperated that the men’s was closed. It seemed like he knew the women so I was pretty sure he wasn’t some predator.

But still.

When I was done, he was still at the sinks. His friends had already left.

I kept my eyes down, washed my hands, and got out.

But WTF dude?

You really think that you are so important that you should not be inconvenienced in any way whatsoever? That you should not have to wait? That you should not have to walk three minutes to the next men’s room?

You think you should not wait.


What do you think my world is like?

There might be some who say Pot meet Kettle about a man in the women’s room. After all, I have used the men’s room before.

I used it when it was empty. I used it after calling out to make sure it was empty.

And – No man feels threatened seeing a woman in the men’s room. No man feels fear when he sees a woman in the men’s room. He might feel confusion, but he doesn’t feel fear. No man keeps his head down and avoids eye contact when he sees a woman he doesn’t know in a space where he’s not expecting to see women.

And the most obvious reason – I used it BECAUSE THERE IS NOT ENOUGH PROVISION FOR WOMEN.

Mr T asked why I didn’t say something to the invading man.

“Why not just ask, ‘Dude! This is the ladies! What are you doing in here?'”

Spoken like someone who has never been worried about being flashed or attacked. Spoken like someone who has never had to wait to pee.

Make a will make a will make a will

Please make a will and get your affairs in order

One of our cats is ill and we don’t think she’ll be around much longer. But if she dies in the winter, the ground will be frozen and we won’t be able to dig. So yesterday, we dug a hole in the back yard, then filled it back up and put markers so we can find it in the snow. I hope we don’t need to use it but we might.

Two days ago, my beloved sister in law – Stephanie, for those of you from my old blog, died suddenly and unexpectedly.

She was not old. She was only 61.

This could happen to anyone. TO ANYONE.

Stephanie is the only one of my in-laws I liked. I ADORED her. A warm, loud, welcoming Italian woman from South Philly, Stephanie (and her children) was the only one of Mr T’s relatives who embraced me (both figuratively and literally) when I met his family.

She is the only one who ever willingly and happily gave me food. I couldn’t cross her threshold without an offer of something to eat – pizzellas (from scratch), gravy (I felt very in the know when I learned that gravy is what South Philly Italians call spaghetti sauce), pretzels that her dad, whom I also adored, had brought with him from Philly.

But it wasn’t about the food. It was about her very being. She was the kind of person you want to be friends with. She was frank and open and funny and opinionated and fun.

Of all the people in this world to die, it had to be her?

It couldn’t be [any of a list of odious politicians and criminals, some of which overlap]?

She did not have a will.

Clearly, she thought she had time.

We all thought she had time.

I hadn’t even visited her for the past few years. Covid, for one thing.

But – we thought we had time!

It’s not like there will be some huge fight or drama because of the lack of a will. The law in her state is that her children will inherit (Stephanie and the kids’ dad divorced years ago), but there will be extra hassle.

Fortunately, Stephanie’s brother and his wife, who happen to be in professions that deal with wills and trusts, are ON IT and have already talked to a lawyer. They are also arranging the funeral and doing all the heavy lifting. I am so grateful for the kids’ sake. I have seen what happens when there isn’t a will and there’s a fight and it’s not pretty.

But make a will. Make it easy for the people you love.

And if you hate them all – make a will and disinherit them. Give them each a dollar and leave the rest to the Humane Society.

Make. A. Will.

Figure out what you want done with your body when you die. Make those arrangements: pay for your headstone, decide what it should say, pay for the plot, choose a coffin, choose the music for your service, call the medical school or the body farm about donating your body (that’s what Mr T and I will do).


Put your kids on your bank accounts and on your safe deposit box, arrange a meeting between you, your kids, and your financial advisor, make a spreadsheet of all your accounts and investments and passwords, organize your files (like – buy a file cabinet and make actual physical files by topic).

I read this article about the bureaucracy of death last week and there are some good recommendations in it as well.

I’m not trying to be a ghoul. But unless you are the Second Coming (and I bet you are not), you are going to die.

Stephanie’s kids will be OK because they have expert help from Stephanie’s brother and his wife and because other than the will, Stephanie was super organized. (She was a bookkeeper.)

But not everyone has that luxury. So please please please. If you are wondering what you should do today – should you go shopping? Should you clean the bathroom?

Do this instead:

  • Make an appointment with a lawyer to write a will before the end of the year. Also do your POAs and your medical wishes – do you want a DNR?
  • Start a list of all your accounts. Name of account, number, name of institution, website, phone number, how much money you have there (yes, this will change but for rough ideas)
    • Bank accounts
    • Investment accounts
    • Pensions (hahahaha)
    • Social security?
    • Bills (phone, internet, utilities)
    • Credit cards
    • Mortgage
    • Life insurance
    • Health insurance
  • If you don’t already have a file box or cabinet, ask for one on Buy Nothing or buy one and make a file for everything.
    • The things listed above
    • Mortgage/deed to the house
    • Car title
    • Social security cards and statements
    • Current year tax information/receipts
    • Credit card receipts and statements
    • Utility bills
    • Phone bills
    • I keep my investment statements and bank statements and taxes in binders because I don’t have enough file space, but you might have room. I want everything on paper because I don’t trust institutions and I want proof of my money. 🙂
    • Etc etc etc – remember that your executor is going to have to keep things going until your house is sold

It’s one of the best gifts you could give your family.

Also – what did I miss? Please share your own advice.

I will miss Stephanie so much. I loved her. I loved her so much.

Before you make a will today, go call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Because you never know. You just never know.

Little Dicks Everywhere

It’s a man’s world, even for disease, so yay kidney stones

If you search on “anatomy model,” look what happens. Because male is the universal default.

Who knew kidney stones were a good thing?

They are.


They happen to men, so we know how to treat them.

Q: What is 13 million dollars?

A: The amount the US government spent on research on endometriosis – a condition that affects about 10% of girls and women and takes about seven years to diagnose – in 2019.

In 2020, the U.S. government announced that funding for endometriosis research would be doubled to $26 million annually.

Medical News Today

My friend – call her Cassandra – had a hysterectomy last year. She has one ovary remaining.

She has also had kidney stones:

I had a huge stone about 15 years ago and what struck me is that the urologist’s office was all male genitalia diagrams and then like a woman’s model back in the corner.

(Reader. I didn’t even know urologists treated women until a few years ago when I saw one! I thought they were penis docs! And apparently, so do they.)

For months, she’s been having random pain and sweats.

It took her doc a while to diagnose her.

It took an ultrasound, lots of messages to my OBGYN, a brief stint on hormone replacement in case it was menopause, me tracking him down for a full week to say that we are not done here, then an ultrasound, then two weeks of me tracking him down to say that we are not done here, then finally a CT scan, followed by a message from him that was basically like “Oh thank goodness it’s not in my wheelhouse, here’s a urology referral” and then urology is so backed up I can’t get in until [three weeks from the date this was written].

Cassandra did initially think she might be in menopause – the reason she called her doc the first time and for his initial RX (apparently, the symptoms of kidney stones and perimenopause can overlap – keep this in mind if you find yourself with random pain, including dull pain in the flank, and sweats), but no.

Cassandra was worried her doc would think she was a stalker.

Yes. That can happen.

If you’re a woman and you advocate for yourself, you can get a reputation.

What? You thought that was over after high school?


If you speak up for yourself in a health care environment, you can be ignored as a troublemaker!

(If you’re a woman, that is.)

In Anushay Hossain‘s book, The Pain Gap, she talks about (I can’t find the stories online) doctors and nurses chastising women in labor to be nicer as they are asking for painkillers.

Cassandra was once labeled as a drug seeker for not accepting an OB/GYN’s diagnosis.

And yet, she persisted.

They thought it might be ovarian cancer – even if you get a hysterectomy, if you still have only one ovary, you can get cancer in it!

They thought it might be endometriosis. You don’t need to have your uterus anymore to have endo!

Finally, they figured out that it was kidney stones.

(Which she had had before. Which – I dunno – I would have thought might have been higher on the list to look for than endo or cancer but I AM NOT A DOC I WAS AN ENGLISH MAJOR.)

But anyhow.

Kidney stones is actually a pretty good diagnosis.

Because unlike endo, there’s a treatment for kidney stones.

Because there’s been research on kidney stones.

Because there’s plenty of research on conditions that affect men.

Q: What is 84 million dollars?

A: More than six times 13 million dollars, which is the amount the US government spent on endometriosis research in 2019.

A: The amount the Department of Defense (which is not the entire US government) spent on drugs for erectile dysfunction – a condition that does not cause pain or infertility – in 2014.

the U.S. Department of Defense spent $41.6 million on Viagra and $84.24 million total on drugs for erectile dysfunction in 2014.

CBS News

The fight is not over

And you can be a part of it

“We Keep Fighting” by Angela King (etsy)

Yesterday was election day.

It didn’t go as well as it could but it sure didn’t go as badly as it could.

Mr T and I spent the five days leading up to election day knocking doors for our local candidates: Tony Ever, Mandela Barnes, and some Wisconsin Assembly candidates, including a few outside our district but who really mattered, including LuAnn Bird, who is this amazing grandma who gets crap done and would have been fabulous and lost by only 500 votes.

Never think your vote doesn’t count or your efforts don’t count.

Never think that.

Last year, our city council rep won by one vote.

One. Vote.

In Wisconsin, when you register, you have to show some kind of proof that you live where you say you live. If you don’t have the proof with you, you may cast a provisional vote, which is set aside in a special envelope, and return before the Friday after the election to cure your ballot. That is, if you return with an acceptable proof of residence, your vote will be counted.

On that election night last year, this city council seat race ended in a tie.

There was one provisional ballot outstanding.

You can’t count the ballot unless the voter returns with the proper information.

The voter returned the next day with the information and cured the ballot.

The canvassing board convened on Friday to certify the election, I think. Usually, this is not a big deal, as even if there are provisional ballots, there are not enough to affect the outcome.

But in this case, there were.

This time, the board and the two candidates and other city officials and the press gathered for the official vote count announcement.

Wisconsin is a racist place. It’s the most racist place I’ve ever lived and I’ve lived in the south.

On Tuesday, our governor, Tony Evers, a Democrat, was re-elected.

On Tuesday, Mandela Barnes, a Democrat who was running for Senate against the horrible Ron Johnson, was not elected.

If all the people who had voted for Tony had also voted for Mandela, Mandela would have won.

Did I mention Mandela is Black?

Mr T and I knocked on over 400 doors in five days. We didn’t talk to over 400 voters, but we knocked on over 400 doors. Other volunteers also knocked on doors. Some people made phone calls.

It wasn’t enough.

What if just ten more people had each agreed to talk to 50 voters about LuAnn? Had committed five hours over the course of a month?

What might have happened then?

What if we could have gotten one more Democrat into the Wisconsin Assembly?

These games are won by inches. And everyone can play a part.

The city council race in my town last year was between a white candidate and a Black one.

There has never been a Black city council representative in my town.

Oh yeah I know you are so shocked. After all, this is the town that until 60 years ago didn’t even allow Black people to buy houses.

They opened the ballot.

The voter had chosen the Black candidate.

My city council, in my city, which had a cop who had shot and killed three Black people in five years, which has cops who routinely pull over more Black drivers than white ones, which used to deny home ownership to Black people, for the first time ever, has a Black person on it.

We are making progress.

It’s slow.

But we’re going in the right direction.

What can you do today to keep us going in the right direction?

DONATE TO RAPHAEL WARNOCK. We need him in the Senate.

Vote as if everything depends on it

Because everything does depend on it

“I love your outfit!” “Thanks! IT HAS POCKETS!”

You all already know what’s on the line on Tuesday.

So I’m going to talk about the things that I wish were the most important issues in our lives. I wish these were the only battles we were fighting. I wish we were fighting for pockets and sleeves and potty parity and not for control over our own bodies and for, you know, DEMOCRACY.

But first, a reminder:


And some encouragement. Remember – it took more than 100 years to make chattel slavery illegal in the US. (Note I did not say “get rid of slavery,” as forms of slavery persist in this country.)

It took more than 100 years for women to get the vote.

We have been through tough times before. Some people gave up, but others kept fighting, even though they never saw the fruits of their fight. But their efforts were essential to the eventual victory. Never think what you’re doing doesn’t matter. It does. It will.

I wish our battles now were about getting little ledges in every shower in every bathroom in every hotel in every city in the world. I wish that so I could shave my legs easily when I travel, even though I barely have hair on my legs anymore and even though nobody hardly sees my bare legs anymore.

At least I no longer have to wish for hairdryers in hotel rooms. Remember when we had to carry our own hairdryers when we traveled? And companies designed these small, collapsible hairdryers and we thought, “THAT’S the solution!” instead of wondering why hotels, which offered outlets for electric shavers and razor disposal in the wall, didn’t have equipment for female guests?

It didn’t even occur to us that our needs should be met. Instead, we hauled yet another bulky item in our luggage, along with the stupid suits and stupid starched blouses and stupid bow ties and stupid pantyhose.

I wish the exam table in my doctor’s office were calibrated for my height, which is 5’5″, which is not extraordinarily short – indeed, I am taller than the average woman in the US.

I wish I could sit on the exam table in my doctor’s office and not have my feet dangle off the edge.

I wish someone at the exam table company would think, “I wonder if anyone but men, whose average height is 5’8″, uses these tables” and would do the research and design accordingly.

Everything fitted now. Her back snugly against the seat-back, her feet comfortably on the floor.

If I Were A Man, Charlotte Perkins

I wish my clothes had pockets.

Remember when I said that it took over 100 years for women to get the vote?

It looks like it’s going to take at least that long for us to get pockets.

These pockets came as a revelation. Of course she had known they were there, had counted them, made fun of them, mended them, even envied them; but she never had dreamed of how it felt to have pockets.

If I Were A Man, Charlotte Perkins

This story – If I Were A Man, by Charlotte Perkins, was written more than 100 years ago. Read it – it’s short and it’s fun and it’s totally depressing and you will see that some things have not changed at all in over a century.

But we persist.

Keep fighting, my friends.