Twilight Zone Trump Era: Week 1

Sunlight white flower petals with purple in the middle, shade in the background represents the twilight.

This is the first in a series of posts where I will list and link to a variety of things that I’ve been noticing. We are now in the Twilight Zone Trump Era. These posts may not be every week, but I’ll do the best I can to keep a good record.

This first list is longer than what I plan for future lists. I want to get a lot in here that we have been living recently and to give a feel for what’s been going on. I may not remember so clearly six months from now. Time feels like it’s moving at warp speed with all that has been happening.

In my Resist + Persist post, I wrote that I have been following Amy Siskind‘s lists. She says, Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.” Otherwise we will forget. Her list for the 11th week is here.

Why the flowers? I bought them on Inauguration Day to treat myself. And something needs to be cheerful in these posts!

Also, flowers are given for seminal moments in our lives — births, deaths, graduations, anniversaries, etc. We are at that kind of moment in our nation. In my Breathe & Push post, I quoted part of a speech by Valarie Kaur.

And so the mother in me asks, what if. What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb? But the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead? But a country that is waiting to be born. What if the story of America is one long labor? … What if this is our nation’s great transition? … What does a midwife tell us to do? Breathe. And then push. Because if we don’t push we will die. If we don’t push our nation will die. Tonight we will breathe. Tomorrow we will labor.

If all that we are going through now is a push into a new and better nation, then it is a death and birth. We all deserve some flowers. So here goes.

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New York Times 1933

~ So many comparisons between Trump and Hitler have been made. This 1933 New York Times front page article discusses the cabinet limiting Hitler’s power.

~ Nazis are in the news all the time. There is debate whether it is right or wrong to punch them in the face.

~ The White House Holocaust Remembrance Day statement did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism. It was likened to Holocaust denial by many. The U.S. Holocaust Museum issued a statement in response, stating in part, “Millions of other innocent civilians were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, but the elimination of Jews was central to Nazi policy.”

~ A SNL sketch by Alec Baldwin impersonating Trump.

~ There is a Resistance Manual, which states, “Together, we can harness the collective power of the people to resist the impact of a Trump presidency and to continue to make progress in our communities.”

~ A new website called 5 Calls makes it easy to contact our government representatives and voice our opinions.

~ The Indivisible Guide is a guide showing how to resist the Trump agenda. It was created by former congressional staffers and shows the best way to make our representatives listen to our opinions.

~ The Women’s March took place in Washington, DC, and in other cities across the country and the world the day after Trump’s inauguration. The march was to show support for those groups denigrated by Trump and his agenda. The organizers returned to Washington to protest Sessions and will continue to advance their political goals in the future.

~ Trump proposes military parades.

~ Companies are changing the way they announce jobs in response to Trumps tweets and untrue statements about job creation.

~ Is the surge in progressive activism because progressives are the majority?

~ Trump threatens martial law in Chicago.

~ Trump issued an Executive Order for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to continue. There are Standing Rock Legal Defense funds to support in order to help the protesters and stop the construction. The pipeline would go through Native American sacred burial grounds and may impact the clean water supply in the area.

~ Protesters interrupted a Minnesota House Committee meeting regarding legislation that would allow police to charge protesters with the costs associated with the demonstration. “Among the protesters was John Thompson, friend of police shooting victim Philando Castile, who passionately argued that reps ‘should leave, because those seats you’re sitting in will be replaced by somebody who represents us.’”

~ A trend across the country to increase penalties on protesters raises free speech concerns.

~ Law professors who spoke against Jeff Sessions’s nomination were subjected to records requests. There is a line out the door of people at Jeff Sessions Senate judiciary commitee vote today.

~ NAACP activists were arrested after protesting Jess Sessions nomination for attorney general. They staged repeated sit-ins outside his office. The NAACP states in part,“Jeff Sessions’ voting record on the civil rights agenda of the NAACP while in the U.S. Senate is indicative of his disregard for many of the laws and programs for which he will be responsible for enforcing. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, he has voted against key civil rights laws and programs such as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and gun violence prevention initiatives. Every single year while in the U.S. Senate, Jeff Sessions has received an “F” on the NAACP’s Federal Legislative Civil Rights Report Card[.]”

~ Congress moves to give away government lands.

~ National Park Service banned from tweeting after comparing the much smaller size of Trump’s inauguration crowd to President Obama’s in 2009. Trump cannot let the issue go and called the National Park Service‘s acting director about it.

~ An opinion piece on what really happened at Trump’s inauguration.

~ Rogue or resistance government accounts have popped up on Twitter, so that federal government employees can tweet about climate change, etc. The ACLU writes an article stating that government employees get to have opinions too.

~ Scientists plan a March for Science in Washington in March on April 22nd, which is Earth Day. Due to Trump’s war on science and denial of climate change, many scientists are planning to run for political office.

~ Trump strategist Steve Bannon was added to the National Security Council.

~ Last Friday, Trump signed an Executive Order banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. On Saturday, there was chaos in the airports around the country and world. People were not allowed to enter the country in airports, so they were detained. Others were not allowed to board planes. Protests erupted in response.  The ACLU and other organizations had dozens of lawyers in airports helping those who were detained and their families. The ACLU sued in federal court and Judge Ann Donnelly issued a stay blocking the policy, so that nobody would be deported. The stay was not enforced. People remained detained and members of Congress were not allowed to see detainees and lawyers were sometimes not given access to clients.

White House Page

~ For some period of time, the White House website did not have “The Judicial Branch” page under our Government. It has since been added.

~ Monday night, Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama holdover said that she and the agency would not enforce the travel ban. Trump fired her.

~ Following Trump’s Executive Order against Muslims traveling to the United States, the ACLU raised more than $24 million dollars over the weekend. Nearly than seven times what they raised online for all of 2015. They have also gained nearly 200,000 new members.

~ The head of the African Union criticized the travel ban saying “‘The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,’ said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.”

~ Trump announces that he will extend President Obama’s 2014 Executive Order protecting employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination.

~ Trump wants to take oil from Iraq.

~ Ethics experts and legal scholars sue Trump based on the Emoluments Clause.

~ Some articles were written about a Trump impeachment campaign and the inevitability of impeachment.

~ Austria is the latest European nation to ban full facial veils in public spaces.

~ Drug lord “El Chapo” was extradited from Mexico to the United States.

~ Oprah will join 60 Minutes as a special contributor.

~ After a 146 year run, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show will close forever in May. “Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.”

~ Trump signed an Executive Order to facilitate the repeal of Obamacare, which is the same as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A listing by Charles Gaba showing state by state how many people would lose their health insurance.

~ An article called Trial Balloon for a Coup? by Yonatan Zunger was trending on Twitter and causing people to think about what Trump has in store. An earlier article called What “Things Going Wrong” Can Look Like was equally as chilling.

~ The video below shows a catchy protest song from Atlanta Airport over the weekend.

Breathe & Push: This Darkness is of the Womb Not the Tomb

Valarie Kaur speaking about darkness of the womb.

I’m not a mom. But I am a daughter. And I know how I got here. My mom’s birthday was yesterday. It was a good one. And we celebrated. I know how she got here. I know how her mother got here. And her mother.

And all those mothers from the beginning. We all got here the same way. All of us. Women. Men. Transgender. We were birthed by strong women.

For those of you who know me in person, or just through this blog or Twitter, you know that this election and administration has rocked me hard.

But this morning, I found a video of the National Moral Revival Poor People’s Campaign Watch Night Service and saw a speech by Valarie Kaur. It gives me hope.

The video is just over six minutes and well worth your time. Especially if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the onslaught of changes taking place in this country. The past twenty-four hours has refugees and other immigrants now detained at airports and not being allowed back in the United States after the latest of Trump’s Executive Orders.

Kaur’s website describes her as an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, media commentator, Sikh activist, interfaith leader and founder of Groundswell Movement, the nation’s largest multifaith online organizing community.

In other words, she is amazingly awesome! By the way, she will be in Boston on February 9th and 10th at Northeastern University speaking at the New England Interfaith Student Summit.

Kaur’s speech describes some tragic and inspiring personal family history and then goes on to discuss the issues facing our nation currently. She finds cause for optimism.

And so the mother in me asks, what if. What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb? But the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead? But a country that is waiting to be born. What if the story of America is one long labor? … What if this is our nation’s great transition? … What does a midwife tell us to do? Breathe. And then push. Because if we don’t push we will die. If we don’t push our nation will die. Tonight we will breathe. Tomorrow we will labor.

If the Statue of Liberty represents our country, then we are a strong woman. Let’s focus. Breathe. Then push like our lives depend on it. Because they do.

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Screenshot: YouTube

Resist + Persist: Survival in the Trump Era

Boston street b+w

While walking to work on inauguration day, I took this picture. I was feeling upset and angry. Because it happened. Electors be damned. We are living in post-Obama Trumpian world. They didn’t save us. We have to save ourselves.

I cannot put the word president alongside this man’s name. I just can’t. He doesn’t deserve the title or the respect.

As I got closer to my destination while walking, a bit of sunlight was shining through the buildings with each street that I passed. A ray of light. Things are looking and feeling pretty grim. But there is light. So I keep reminding myself.

Last night I joined the ACLU and hope to volunteer soon. The enormity of all the changes that are taking place is overwhelming. The lies. The Executive Orders. So I have to keep things manageable and think about what I can do as an individual.

The reality of day to day life can get in the way. I was unable to attend the Boston Women’s March, because I had to work. I felt awful, because it was just down the street. But nobody else is going to pay my bills. So I made a choice. Something we should all be free to do in every aspect of our lives.

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Where do we go from here? Each of us has different strengths, interests and priorities. Now is the time to find them and use them. Our diversity is our strength. Resist and persist.

The website for the Women’s March has an action plan — 10 Actions/100 Days. So that’s a good place to start. The first action is sending postcards to our Senators.

Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart out on any issue that you care about, whether it’s ending gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women’s health, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental justice or anything else.

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Being mindful and noticing what’s going on around us is especially important right now. I read an article about what life is like living under an authoritarian regime. The key takeaway was that it was like living anywhere else. Many people went about their everyday lives. They still had jobs and went out, etc.

Changes were very subtle and there was no bright line when things changed. The problem and saving grace is that humans are very adaptable. What is not normal now, may seem normal a year from now. We may start to self-censor and change our behavior in order to survive without even realizing that we are doing it. According to Amy Siskind and many others, we should all take an important step.

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

She keeps lists on Facebook and is documenting the news week by week. Here is Week 10. I plan to keep my owns lists as well, but it has been hard to keep up with everything. When I start my list, I will blog it in order to keep track.

Reading Charles Blow’s opinion pieces in the New York Times is also a way to keep up with what is happening. He pulls no punches and is calling out the lies and discussing the despicable behavior.

Following Sarah Kendzior on Twitter is another way to stay informed and see the bigger picture of what is happening. To be honest, she is also frightening and depressing. She is an expert on authoritarianism and explains how our concerns about Trump are valid. We are in for a fight to save democracy and what we consider to be our values as Americans.

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It’s also time for self-care. With each tweet by our president, he psychologically torments and traumatizes the country. Sending the feds to Chicago?! Is he setting the stage for martial law? He hasn’t even been president for a week! The gaslighting article in Teen Vogue was so on point.

Here are a few things that can help with creating some fun and calm in our lives.

~ Why We Need to Create a Home: “The quest to build a home is connected up with a need to stabilise and organise our complex selves. It’s not enough to know who we are in our own minds. We need something more tangible, material and sensuous to pin down the diverse and intermittent aspects of our identities.”

~ 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul.

~ A list of the best chocolate chip cookies in your state. Recipes for favorite cookies in  each of the 50 states.

~ Bibi Shasha, Popeye the Foodie and Norbert just might be the cutest dogs on Instagram.

One Last Sweet Taste of the Obama Era


Today was the last full day with Barack Obama as our President. I don’t have time to write all that his becoming President has meant to me. But over the years, spanning from my old blog to this one, there have been many posts. It has meant a lot.

I am so grateful to have lived at this time in history to see him and his family living in the White House. They have made me proud. They had done so much good.

Soon after President Obama was first elected in 2008, my aunt brought a cake as one of many desserts for Thanksgiving dinner. The cake had a picture of the Obama family on it. I’m so glad that I took a picture!

I cannot eat a piece of the cake, since it’s long gone. But I can remember the sweetness. For tonight, I will reminisce and remember that feeling of hope.

Yes we can. Yes we did.







Hey Boston! It Just Snowed. Got Hygge?

Picture of oatmeal, scones, banana bread, winter foods that evoke hygge.

We just got our first substantial snow of the winter in the Boston area. While not a fan of snow, I’m all about the cozy. So I find ways to enjoy the season.

A favorite winter breakfast is oatmeal with maple syrup, walnuts, dried cranberries and vanilla soy milk. I’ve been baking recentlyscones and banana bread. A snack for me and gifts for others.

With all that’s going on in this country at the moment, it’s important to take time for self-care. To gather inner strength. To steady ourselves. Without that we won’t be ready for whatever lies ahead as we enter a new American era.

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The United States is thousands of miles from Denmark. We have very different forms of government and culture. But we have cold weather and dark winters in common. So right now I’m taking something from Danish culture to see me through this time — hygge.

In case you’re not familiar with term, it’s pronounced “hooga” and is about the appreciation and art of coziness. I have seen many different definitions for it, but here is one from Denmark’s tourism website.

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There’s nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life.


A blog called Hygge House gives another perspective on the word.

Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness and the undefinable feeling of Hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate or acknowledge and to break up the day, months or years. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.

We can all define what the word means to us as individuals. For me, right now, it’s about making my home a warm cozy place where I can retreat and gather my thoughts and my calm.

As an introvert, that’s vital. Home is where I recharge. But It’s also a place where I can invite friends and family.

What about you?