Bold Fortune

fortune favors the bold


by mollykl

In the nanosecond after my mind decided that the shattered wine glass and spilled sauvignon blanc on the floor was my last, I started making a list of everything that was going to change. And reader, I’m here to tell you my eyebrows were not on that list. They should have been.

In blinding pain from having hit the laminate floor HARD, weight evenly distributed on 50-year-old knees, and seeing the blood on the floor, I simultaneously thought to myself, “But I only had one freaking glass of wine!” and “Who trips over a couch?”  When I got up, and let me tell you I still remember the crunch my knees made, I started picking up the remains of the wine glass, washing the blood off and applying direct pressure, and because I’m a “there’s always a bright side!” kind of gal, immediately started looking for said bright side. Hence, the list.

1.”I’m gonna lose 20 pounds!” Well, not right away I didn’t. When you’re 25 and you give up alcohol, sure you can probably drop 20 pounds overnight. When you’re 50…not so much. I immediately packed on 10 pounds, probably from the intense sugar cravings I had. It figures: I’d been giving my liver a steady supply of sugar in the form of alcohol for 30 years, it was bound to be a little cranky to be cut off. I think I went through an entire box of Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks, and every single one of those little suckers joined me on the scale. But after about a month it evened out, and I lost the additional weight I put on as well as another 10.

2. “My skin is going to look ah-ma-zing”  Oh, and my skin broke out. I’ve had bad skin most of my life, and I have severe rosacea that when triggered can last for months. Thankfully, because geez that would have pushed me over the edge, they were just normal breakouts. (If you have rosacea you understand that “normal acne” is like a spa vacation). After a month that cleared up as well, with the occasional everyday suprise! from time to time. No, I don’t look amazing, but my skin doesn’t hurt anymore, and I’ll take that any day.

3. “I’m going to be so happy!” And then there’s dealing with the emotional shit. (Well, obviously I’m not the best PR person for not drinking so far..but bear with me). Everything you used alcohol to hide from or forget you now have to deal with, which kind of sucks, because, hello! I’m here trying to be healthy shouldn’t I get a fucking prize or something? But noooooo….you want me to start examining my life at 50? A bad day used to mean coming home and cracking open a bottle of wine, or mixing a martini. Now it means coming home and getting out in the greenhouse, or doing yoga, or going for a walk, or writing it all down. On the day of the Parkland shooting in 2018 I came home and drank half a bottle of vodka, because at the time that was really how I handled things. Figuring out new coping mechanisms is a bitch.

Finding the support is even more so. When you’re not drinking, it’s noticeable, and people want to know why. It’s not any of their damn business, but they think it is, and friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers have an opinion. (Remember: these are the same people who also have opinions on your parenting, your job, and how perhaps a woman of your age shouldn’t wear that denim pencil skirt.) There’s a point where I would bring it up, with a painfully bright smile, just so I could circumvent questions. Let this conversation be on my terms, not yours, because honestly, your questions are stupid, particularly if you’re halfway to drunk already.

Alcohol is so much a part of our culture that it is harder to explain why you’re not drinking than why you are.  The whole “mommy needs wine” schtick has normalized binge drinking with cute pink t-shirts and Facebook groups.  And that’s what it is – a schtick.  When you’re sober you start to notice what a presence alcohol is in our everyday life – on social media, how we interact with friends, coworkers and family, how we spend our time and money. You cannot open social media without seeing memes about vodka in Starbucks cups at weekend soccer games. I was almost ashamed to go back and look at Instagram posts and see how many of them contained martinis or glasses of rose. (I still have glasses of rose on Instagram, but now they’re St Regis alcohol-removed, and I mix a mean virgin Cosmopolitan.) This summer I saw so. many. glasses of rose and at one point had to wonder what 100 degree heat in the south of France while drunk would feel like, and said a prayer of thanks for tripping over that stupid couch.

But back to my brows. In addition to the things that I thought would (and did to some point) change, there were quite few things that came out of nowhere.

I didn’t get my brows done regularly, but I would go in and have them waxed and cleaned up every so often. Since I wear glasses I would make sure they were as perfect as I could make them, and I love my mini Tweezerman tweezers. Once I stopped drinking I was pretty much like, “Eh, fuck it.” I mean, I would still put a little gel and brush them, but I stopped worrying that they didn’t look good enough. For fuck’s sake THEY’RE EYEBROWS!

“Eh, fuck it” became my mantra. It’s not that I stopped caring about things, it’s that I reserved my caring for the things that matter, and dear reader, let me tell you eyebrows don’t really matter. Neither do, in no particular order:

  1. other people’s opinions of your parenting
  2. how many likes you get on Instagram
  3. what other people think about your taste in music
  4. your family’s opinions on anything that doesn’t actually affect them

Oh God I could go on. So, so many things that I’ve said “eh, fuck it” to in the past 11 months. And every single one and time makes me smile. This entire past year, in fact, makes me smile. It has not been easy. I have cried and slept a lot. (Geez, the first 2 weeks I was probably sleeping 10 hours a night). I have been able to let go of past perceived slights (which now make me laugh), of my own mistakes, and my disappointments. I have been able to embrace my imperfections and throw myself into projects without worrying if I’ll fail (I submitted 2 cold pitches to Conde Nast, and was rejected for both, and guess what? Life went on). I’ve read hundreds of books, taken pictures of the most random things just because they make me happy, and impressed my dentist because I now floss (which happens when you’re not too drunk to at night!). Saying “eh, fuck it” to the stuff that I don’t care about has saved me time, energy, and stress. I can spend that time on the stuff that I do give a fuck about: my family, friends, and voting rights.

Quitting drinking kicked a tiny snowball off a mountain, and that sucker just kept on rolling till it brought the mountain down. I stopped drinking, and then I cut back spending money on things to make me feel better but that never did. I stopped drinking and I started cooking more and more creatively. I stopped drinking and I started reading more. I stopped drinking and stopped obsessively cleaning and making lists. You know the supposed- Hemingway quote “Write drunk, edit sober”? I stopped drinking and started writing again – getting going on a story idea I’d been kicking around for years but was afraid to start. I stopped drinking and suddenly the weekly anxiety attacks stopped. I stopped drinking and in the most amusing of ironies, starting seeing the world through rose colored glasses.



by mollykl

People talk shit about “kids these days.” I’m nearing 50, and honestly I should be at the “you damn kids get off my lawn and get a haircut” stage. But more and more, I’m impressed, even awed, by this upcoming generation.

It started over a year ago, at the Women’s March in Sacramento. High school-age girls. Quite a few of them. Handmade signs about women in S.T.E.M.. About voting rights. About their right to say “no” and dress however the fuck they want to. Teenagers, particularly girls, have been out front and loud about the proposed Muslim ban, the proposed wall, about DACA. At this year’s march the number was doubled.

I see my friend E’s daughter, K, who’s only in junior high school, but has her shit together. Sure, she’s still a hormonal teenager, but she knows who she is, and it seems like she isn’t going to let anyone tell her different.

I watch my cousins’ daughters run, climb, bike and snowboard anything not nailed down. And be unapologetic about it (because why the fuck should they). Those are some girls that will not only stand up for themselves, but for anyone else, should they need to. (As sisters, I imagine they fight, but I can also see little red-head A ambushing and beating the crap out of the first boy to break big sis’ heart.)

I’ve witnessed my friend K’s daughter growing up, and managing to find a balance between her faith and being a pre-teen (I can’t imagine that’s easy). She’s learning what servant leadership is, and in fact, what it means to live your faith.

Those are great examples. I would have been happy with those. But this week brought even more.

I didn’t want them. I didn’t want high school students to have to stand up to the government and demand that they act to ensure the safety of other students. I didn’t want to bark with laughter at responses to the presidents’ lame-ass “we stand with you” speech. No you don’t you mother-fucker. You stand with the National Rifle Association who gave you 30 MILLION dollars. You rolled back the Obama era regulation that stopped the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

They’re calling out the government for failing them. They’re calling out the lies from their elected officials who took money from the NRA to curtail sensible gun laws so they could profit from selling one more damn AR-15. They’re calling out the hypocrisy of “pro-life” members of Congress who only care about life in a uterus, and not walking the halls of a high-school, thinking about a prom dress.

Let me make this perfectly clear: there is no silver lining here. This is not the “bright side” that I am so famous for.

Teenagers today. These kids aren’t putting up with any of your “thoughts and prayers” bullshit. They want to know why someone with mental problems, and who was fucking identified as a threat, was allowed to buy a fucking assault weapon. And they’re doing it on Twitter, confronting the President directly.

Damn, I’m impressed. This is the next generation. The ones that have been ridiculed as being snowflakes. To quote my husband, “This is the post ‘participation-trophy’ generation.”

They will be marching, they will speaking, and they will be voting.

You have been warned.

The rent you pay

by mollykl

A family friend recently responded to something I’d written in support of vote-by-mail, saying “Voting is a privilege”. I beg to differ. Living in a free democracy is a privilege. Voting is a right and a responsibility. It is, in fact,the rent you pay for living in a working and evolving democracy.

We need to change our view of voting – of the process and what it means. Voting itself evokes a myriad of reactions: some think their vote doesn’t count “so why bother”, others see it as a sacred duty, and still others as a reward, a privilege. Voting is how we level the playing field, and voter suppression is simply an attempt to keep the status quo. The beautiful thing about democracy is that, in theory, we are all equal. Voter suppression, in the form of restricted polling places and and voter I.D. requirements under the guise of voter fraud protection, supports the notion that voting is a privilege, and as such is reserved for the privileged few. If we cling to this vision of voting as a privilege we are not serving this country or its citizens.

If voter fraud is your only argument against making voting easier, then you should look at the statistics. An Arizona State University study found only 10 cases of voter fraud in the years 2000-2012, as quoted by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Voter fraud is the monster under the bed that politicians use to defend voter suppression. Kris Kobach’s Presidential Commission on Election Integrity claimed that there was widespread voter fraud in New Hampshire, only to have that argument fact-checked (quoted by USA Today) and found to be bogus. 

If you think that voting is a privilege that should be undertaken with ceremony, e.g. lining up at polling places and not easy,  then perhaps you have a job whose schedule fits around polling hours. I work a semi-swing shift in grocery, and when I get off from work I pick up my child after school. As I’m not about to miss out on voting I am registered as a permanent absentee voter so that I may vote by mail. Does this make my vote count less? Am I not taking elections seriously enough because I fill out my ballot while in my pajamas? I read my voter pamphlet and weigh my decisions. Yes, I miss out on the camaraderie of the polling place line. I do not miss worrying about whether I’ll be late for my shift because of that line. Would you rather people working in retail just not vote? What about doctors working in emergency rooms who can’t leave a patient to go vote? Or EMT? Firefighters? Police? What about the minimum wage worker in an assisted living facility taking care of your parents? Do they not deserve to have their voice heard because they are on a 12 hour shift?

We should be making it easier to vote and to include more people in the process. The State of California should be promoting Vote by Mail as an option. People should not be turned away at polling places, they should be welcomed with open arms. Let’s stop seeing voting as something for the privileged few, but as the duty we owe this country to keep it moving forward and reflecting its citizens.

A Thanksgiving Letter

by mollykl

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I spent this Thanksgiving morning standing in a river. The American River, to be exact, between the Howe and Watt bridges. I’d gotten up at 5 a.m., and waited anxiously till dawn. I made coffee and figured I’d use up some of the time making the cranberry sauce (might as well get that out of the way). When dawn came I was already in my boots and vest. I tiptoed into the bedroom to leave my husband a cup of coffee and whispered “I’m going fishing” to which he mumbled, “ermmm….have fun.”

I was feeling quite smug, thinking I’d have the river to myself, but no, there were already 2 guys there when I arrived. Another joined us soon after. I’ve been fishing for over 40 years, but only took up fly fishing about 2 years ago. I’m still pretty unsure about my casting, so I tend to stay away from where “the real fisherman” are – that is, the riffles by the Watt bridge. But this morning I waded out, and took my place. I grew up here, so my early memories are of travelling over the Watt Avenue bridge and looking out and seeing the fishermen lined up when the steelhead were running.

I stood in the water and marveled at the human invention that is neoprene and how could my feet and legs possibly stay so warm in this water? I listened to the hawks and kept an eye out for otters (they’re usually farther downstream but you never know). I remembered the story my mother once told about her disastrous water ski adventure.

When she was younger she went water skiing with friends on the Sacramento River where it meets the American, just a few miles from where I stood this morning. Now, my mother was not athletically inclined, but bless her heart, she tried. (She once ran over her own hand while snow skiing. She explained that skis used to be much longer so it was possible, but not likely. It took skill for her to manage that.) She gave it her all, but spent most of the day being dumped into the river. The next day she was so sick that a friend had to take her to the emergency room. When the doctor asked what she’d done the day before, because he could not figure out what was wrong with her, she told him she’d been water skiing in the river, and he immediately knew what was wrong. He told her to go home, and wait for everything to get out of her system, and to stay out of the river, because at that time it was so polluted that it made her sick.

This morning you would never know that this river , along with the Sacramento, was such a mess. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time on the American River Bike Trail, but I don’t remember ever seeing a hawk. Now they perch in my neighbor’s tree and when I’m at the river I never fail to spot at least one or two. When I take my son for walks along the river we keep an eye out for tracks – deer, coyote, and yes, the occasional, mountain lion. This river, and the region, have been transformed over the past 50 years. The river is clean and we protect it now.

You have a choice before you, the immediate or the lasting. The immediate is the cold, hard cash that can be gotten from mining rights to public lands or drilling in the Arctic. There’s a lot of money to made in selling out the public lands that you were intrusted to protect. And, in case it wasn’t mentioned when you were first nominated for your job, that job is to protect the Interior of the United States of America.

Your other choice is to be remembered. Remembered for having stood for our public lands. For saving them from those who would think that leaving our lands to future generations means less than a nice check today. The second choice is harder – you would have to stand up to your contributors, to the Senators that voted to approve your nomination, and to the President himself.  Teddy Roosevelt is remembered to this day, and revered by both conservatives and liberals, because he stood up for what he believed in – in our public lands and the incredible beauty of this country.

“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”
– Speech by Theodore Roosevelt in Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910.

You and I are lucky – as fishermen (um, fisherpersons?) we experience that mystery, melancholy and charm every time we’re standing in a river, throwing a loop, watching the water and waiting for a strike. Let’s leave it be, so that future generations can have those moments too.





by mollykl

I fucking hate St Patrick’s Day. There, I said it.

In the first place, it falls during Lent so how did it become twisted into a day of bacchanal-level drinking?

Secondly, do you even know who St Patrick was?

And thirdly, beer should not ever be green, and there’s a special place in purgatory for you if you think it should be.

But this year I’m going to revel in it. Well, I’m going to revel in the irony of it, because Trump’s Travel Ban II (subtitled, “let’s just keep throwing these out until one sticks or until people get tired”) was, before being struck down, supposed to take effect March 16th. On March 17th we will celebrate the culture and saint of a people that this country once thought of the equivalent of the Syrians we are now rejecting, and we will do it with big smiles on our faces and cheer in our hearts.

America’s relationship with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free has always been complicated. We are ridiculously proud of being a nation of immigrants, but we don’t want any more right now thank you. We want immigrants like us, thanks, not like them. We were hostile to the Chinese, to the German and Irish in the mid-1800’s, to the Vietnamese in the 1970’s, and now to the Syrians. We were so fearful of Jewish immigrants that in the 1930’s we turned them back, where they returned to promptly be sent off to camps. Why is it we conveniently forget? (And sweet mother of God why does “Clueless” have a better argument in favor of immigration than Trump has in opposition?) We’re pretty good at forgetting that the greater number of us were immigrants, some only a few generations back.

Tomorrow everyone will pretend to be Irish. Want to really pretend to be Irish? Pretend you just left your home and came to a country that doesn’t want you. Delve into cultural memory for a time when your ancestors came here and were treated as the “other”, when the newspapers were full of editorials on why your great-great-grandfather was going to steal jobs or bring disease and crime.

Don’t like it, do you? Enjoy your green beer.

Love letter

by mollykl

Getting to Davis from Sacramento, even far out east Sacramento where I live, usually takes 15-20 minutes max. Unless you go on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone is coming home from the mountains, so when you hit the causeway, where 80 meets 50, you’re in for the slowdown of a lifetime. 15 minutes became 50. I am not the most patient passenger, and getting cut of by a Ford Explorer who DID NOT signal only prompted comments about the possible size of his anatomy (which is why he had to buy that car). The husband made an annoyed sound. Not at the driver. At me.

We pulled along side a Greyhound bus (and Husband J said, “That’s a Greyhound bus. They still exist?”) and I instinctively put my arm over my belly. Because, you know, they could see down into the car and see that my belly was probably not as streamlined as I hoped it might be. For lack of a better phrase.

In that moment I travelled back in time. Over 10 years approximately, to about 25 minutes before son j was born. I was in the operating room, and after the third try (YES, THIRD!) the lead in anesthesiology yanked the needle away from his student and snarled, “Let me me do it!”. Finally, it worked and my spinal block was complete, and they carefully laid me down, and prepared to transfer me to the operating table. The nurse, whose name I never got, looked down at me, grabbing part of the sheet and lifting me against her belly, said, “That’s what I’ve got this belly for – it’s a cushion.” And she laughed. I laughed. I was fucking terrified out of my mind, but I laughed. And I thanked God for her belly. That belly, and her casual acceptance of it, saved me. She gave me something to cushion me, she gave me something to laugh about, and she showed me absolutely, unequivocally that her body was something she treasured.

As we continued on Hwy 50 I thought that this belly carried son j. It endured insulin shots, and bruises from those shots that didn’t fade for months. And I’d do it all again for him, even though every three days or so I’d break down in tears because I hated needles, so developing gestational diabetes was pretty much awful for me. Yes, I could probably be thinner, but on Friday I had a glass of wine (Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc 2015) sitting outside in the backyard and I saw a lizard! Seeing the lizard had to make up for at least an inch or so, right?

That nurse? She saw her body for what it could do, and she probably had no idea what she was passing on. I’m surrounded by young, beautiful women every day, and it can be hard, being 48 and a bit heavier than I would prefer. But I know what my body is capable of – carrying another human being, making it through the day. I’m appreciative of all that it does. It doesn’t look like the 20 year olds that I work with, and that’s ok. It looks like me, and I love all that it has done for me.

It’s damn time I started showing that.



by mollykl

I was an english major in college, and yes, I read Jane Austen. (In fact, I wrote my senior project on Jane Austen). But when I left school the first genre I really dived in to was history. I’d always had a thing for learning about history, so much so that I deeply regret not getting a second major in it. I’m not sure how, but Cornelius Ryan’s “The Longest Day” ended up in my possession, and I devoured it in two days. What sealed the deal for me with history is the morning I took my book to work to read on my lunch hour. My boss Dave noticed it and casually said, “Did you know George was a paratrooper at D-Day?” George. George “the tea guy”, my salesman from Murchies, who came in every two weeks to make sure I had enough product, place orders, etc. He was quiet and reserved and your standard middle aged, slightly paunchy white guy. The next time he came in I nervously asked, “So George, Dave said you were a paratrooper at D-Day?”  Yes, he replied. Then I blurted out, “Why the hell would you want to jump out of an airplane?” “It seemed like a good idea at the time” was his oh-so-George reply.

And with that I was hooked. Just the idea that the everyday people we run in to were a part of some of these moments in history, and you might never know what they’ve seen or how they played their part. At that same store I met a Vietnam veteran who flew helicopters, and despite the average one month life expectancy of huey pilots managed to come home, only to get in, you guessed it, a crash and lose partial mobility in his legs. At another place I worked we had a group of customers, old cranky-as-all-hell Russian women, who you made damn sure not to get on the wrong side of. I cringed every time I saw them, until the day I realized, suddenly, that given their age they lived under Stalin. They survived Stalin.  And from that moment on I had nothing but utter respect bordering on reverence.

In 1988 I was in college, and I wasn’t exactly the Cancun for spring break kind of girl. In fact, I rarely did anything for spring break besides go home and read for a week. But my mother bought me tickets to go to Washington D.C. and visit a friend, and it was my first time there. I was lucky enough to get to visit the Smithsonian when they had the exhibit “A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the United States Constitution.” My companion for the day was T, and her family had been interned.  It was my first real exposure to what the internment detailed, and I soaked it all in. More than that, I watched. I watched T’s face at each display. I watched her try to put herself in their place, try to absorb the enormity of it, try to understand it. On a whole, it is outside of understanding. It was, and is, a symbol of the worst we do when we are afraid and when we allow our fear to dictate policy.

75 years ago today President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which moved all people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, into military controlled government camps. It was an order born out of fear, and was so blatantly a violation of the constitution and a suspension of rights that it will be studied by constitutional lawyers in perpetuity. We think that we’ve learned from the past, but when push comes to shove, when we are afraid, we repeat the same mistakes, over and over. It’s no surprise that among the hundreds of thousands marching on January 21st at the women’s marches held all over the world and in the spontaneous protests held after the recent executive order prohibiting immigration from specific Muslim countries were men and women who were interned at Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, and Rohwer.

We still have people around us who lived this history, who know how it started, who perhaps hoped and prayed that it “wouldn’t come to this.” But it did. It’s time to respect the history they lived and their experiences and do our best to ensure it doesn’t happen again. That’s not going to happen with hoping, it’s going to happen with speaking up. It’s going to happen with the word no. It’s going to happen with standing up for what makes this country unique – our Constitution and the rights we are afforded by it. The best way to honor those Japanese-American who endured internment is to protect the next group that is unfairly targeted simply because of their “other-ness”.



Define great

by mollykl

The rain that we were promised yesterday came with a windstorm that left more than a few trees down in this area. I was driving to pick up son j and the overpass on the way to his school was blocked off by a fallen tree. That meant a 15 minute detour, because that overpass is the only convenient way to get across the freeway in this neighborhood (and the public elementary school and the Montessori school are both on the opposite side). After finally arriving and getting j we headed home, and I was not looking forward to having to navigate one of the two crowded-with-friday-traffic alternatives. But when I drove past the street leading to the overpass I noticed there was no line of cars. I pulled onto the street and sure enough, the overpass was open. As we headed down the north side I saw two men pulling freshly cut tree limbs out of the way.

The tree that had taken up one and a half lanes was now a pile of firewood. In less than 30 minutes. These guys didn’t call the city and wait for someone to show up – one of them grabbed a chainsaw and they went to work. My thought, besides a hearty thanks, was this: djt doesn’t think America is great, and he, of all people, thinks he can fix it?

Two guys standing out in the pouring rain and high winds solving a problem? That’s great. That is, I will argue, the example of how great America can be. They could have just called and waited for the city to deal with it. They didn’t. They helped out countless parents they would never know. They helped out a city that was already dealing with storm damage and now had one less item on their list.

The true things that make America great are the things we never lost: the willingness to dive in, to help. Is the United State perfect? Dear Lord no. But as we hurtle towards an autocracy we should keep in mind that we allowed ourselves to be convinced that we had lost what makes us great, when it was here all along.

Perhaps it just took a storm to remind us.



10 Free and Easy Acts of Resistance

by mollykl

I know. It’s January 20th and some of you, well quite a lot of you if the popular vote was any indication, are feeling either angry or sad. Or angry and sad. And what I’m about to say will sound unbearably childish to some. Naive. You’re probably right, and if you want to write to angrily tell me off, I won’t argue with you. (Hey, if you’ve got an intelligent argument, go for it.)

But hear me out. I’ve spent the last month of so writing and calling senators and the Speaker of the House, donating to causes that I feel are worthy (SPLC to name one), and trying my best to stay informed while not losing my ever loving mind (cue the DMX). I don’t regret a minute of it, despite the fact that I have anxiety and calling was the hardest thing I’ve done. Also, I realized I talked to Paul Ryan’s office more than own mother for a two week period.

I’m not going to stop, but I can’t go full bore every day without (again, cue the DMX) losing my mind.

So here are 10 free and easy acts of resistance to get you through today, tomorrow, and the next four years.

  1. Go to the public library and get a library card. Take your I.D., you’ll need it for the card.
  2. Check out a book while you’re there. Read it. Congratulations, you are now more well read than the leader of the free world.
  3. Smile and say hi to a total stranger. This is actually an expectation at my job, and it’s my favorite. You will discover that not everyone appreciates it, but the ones who do make it worth the while.
  4. Email a Senator and tell them you support their vote on an issue that is close to your heart. If you don’t have a computer, see #1, because at many libraries you can use the computers and access the internet for free. It’s true that most elected officials don’t care about complaints from citizens not in their district, but who doesn’t love to get positive reinforcement, regardless of where it comes from?
  5. Listen to your favorite song. Mine is the Beatles “Let It Be” (which is funny, ’cause I don’t really like the Beatles)
  6. Send your favorite vegetarian recipe to your Catholic friends for Lent. If you find Halal lamb on sale, text your Muslim friends.
  7. Take a walk. If you can walk in a natural setting, great. Appreciate that you have access to it. If you’re walking in an urban setting say hi to everyone you meet. Stop to appreciate architecture, early blooming camellias, or animal tracks.
  8. Make someone laugh or smile.
  9. Tell someone you love them.
  10. Enjoy your life and live it every day. That is really the best “fuck you” in the world.


The Princess and the General

by mollykl

I was 9 when Star Wars was released, and to my memory it was the first movie I saw in a theater. I didn’t want to be a princess because I simply was never that sort of girl. But I saw a glimpse of what I did want to be: a smart-mouthed, brave, feisty chick who could handle a gun, and who could still glower while staring up at her captor. I wanted a light saber and I wondered if I would ever have the courage to stand up against a seemingly all-powerful enemy.

The politics of the movie escaped me at that age, and honestly, I wish they still did. I might be able to blame the movie for my obsession with World War 2 history because my understanding of totalitarianism, and resistance, started with it.

I learned some great lessons that I carry with me today: that a girl can do everything a boy can, that she can fight for a cause, that she can change things. Leia was a role model I could identify with, and one that I knew I would have to actually work hard to live up to. An actress is not her character, but in Carrie Fisher’s case it sure seemed like there was a lot of her in Leia. They were both mouthy, brash and willing to speak up. In Leia, Fisher created the perfect feminist icon, perfect because, well, she wasn’t perfect, neither Fisher nor Leia, but rather relatable. The thing about fiction and fictional characters is that we’re able to carry them with us, but in Leia’s case we had her embodiment here with us.

In an awful year, and the awful four years to come, Carrie Fisher’s death was a particularly harsh blow. Yes, she was more than the princess/general she played in movies, but that image meant so much to many women of my generation. To lose our icon at the moment we need her most, when women are in danger of once again being relegated to being nothing more than “a piece of ass” is depressing.

So be sad, mourn, and then follow the sage advice of, my quotes here, “some guy on Twitter”:

Be Princess Leia in 2017.

Fight on the front lines. Strangle fascists with the chains they would have you wear. Be a motherfuckin’ general. 

-K O’Shea