Sugar Skulls with My Sugar Boy

Friday, November 1st 2019 – Dia de los Muertos


Gavin’s Sugar Skull


When your Boy asks you to drive him to school so he can show you the Sugar Skull he painted in Spanish Class for Dia de los Muertos, you say yes!

Ms. Oxy’s spectacular “Ofrenda.”


And if you do, you just *might* be rewarded by a personalized tour of school by said Boy, who slips his hand in your sweater pocket so no one sees you holding hands.  You might even find a Kit-Kat he slipped in there from Trick-or-Treating the night before.

del secret hand hold



And when you run into your Other Child in the stairwell, they may just share a sweet tender hug between siblings.

Aw… so “sweet.


Just kidding!!

It’s actually a regular moment of rivalry and chaos like any other, lol:



And said Other Child may adorably INSIST you walk her to class, only to have her then tell you to “LEAVE ME ALONE.”  Followed by clenched teeth and fists as she quietly screams, just, “LEAVE!!!” 

del homer clenched fists gif



So you do.  And go back to the cafeteria to rejoin Boy as requested, but hang back because he is surrounded by peers.  Junior High “peers.”  But he does give you a slightly detectable over-the-shoulder little wing flap as he mutters “Bye!” before heading out to the playground before breakfast.

del bird gif



And speaking of breakfast, you might also see your giant Hubsand  -Chef Paul- kindly checking in all manner of teeny tiny humans into the cafeteria register, making sure they EACH remembered to grab “one fruit or juice!”

“Where is your fruit or juice?”


And if your stars AND schedule align, you just might find your way to a coffee/wifi haven in which to continue your favorite dance with satellites and posterity.

Happy Me.


Posted in animals, art, childhood, comedy, education, evidence they get along, face painting, family, food, Friendship, health, learning, love, making art, mental health, parenthood, parenting, patience, school, siblings, spirituality, Uncategorized, work, work-life balance

JTJ Halloween Gigs

October 30th 2019

Jenny the Juggler at work:

Great work if you can get it.


Posted in animals, art, childhood, comedy, face painting, faith, Friendship, global inequity, health, juggling, learning, love, making art, mental health, money, music, Performing Life, school, Secret Juggler, ukeoke, ukulele, work, work-life balance | Leave a comment

Halloween PSA – My Heroes

Halloween 2019 and beyond


Ooh boy… and girl…  grab your kleenexes!

“My Heroes” – A Halloween PSA [2:00]: 


Hell yes.


Posted in activism, art, childhood, domestic life, faith, family, fighting Fascism, Friendship, health, history, love, making art, mental health, nature, parenthood, parenting, patience, politics, Religious Hypocrisy, siblings, social justice, spirituality, The Progressive Movement, work | Leave a comment

For: Mom, From: Boy

Tuesday, October 29th 2019

I get home from work and what do I see?


His exploits in 6th grade so far include the gardening club, where they harvest food and make delicious salads and EAT them!  Today his job was to “pull Marigolds.”

“But when I saw how beautiful they were,” he said, “I decided I had to save some” … for Mom!







Posted in art, childhood, domestic life, family, food, health, learning, love, mental health, nature, parenthood, school, work-life balance | 1 Comment

Our House Party: Mixing Politics with Pleasure

Saturday, October 26th 2019


Quinton Zondervan, my #1 choice for Cambridge City Council, getting grilled by guests. (o:


On this day I did something that scared the crap out of me.  Or “expanded the comfort zone” per se.  We held a Meet-the-Neighbors AND Meet-a-Candidate party.  And it was all thrown together last minute.  So considering all those things it was a lovely success and I can hardly wait to do it again.  (But not too soon.  Will have to clean up the house again by then…)

2019-10-26 Neighbor House Party with Politics [1:23]:


We have such an international community here (in the People’s Republic of Cambridge MA), it thrills me to see everyone show where they’re from on our glorious world map:


Italy, France, Ethiopia, Quebec, and Dominican Republic…



Ethiopia, France (“Nice” if you’re picky, which she is, lol), Massachusetts, Suriname, Columbia, and the exotic land of “New Jersey” (o:


Another thrill was how well the “Kids Movie Room” worked out; inglorious as our dump room is, the kids don’t care.  Throw some pillows in there, pull something up on an old laptop (original “Adams Family” in this case), put a label on it and make it so!


Try to peek in there and a chorus of children yell, “CLOSE THE DOOR!!!” lol


Finally, never short on words, I wrote some down and then read them aloud… after a few false starts.  (Naturally I had to silence the children in order to give a speech entailing the importance of listening to children.)

2019-10-26 Unsolicited House Party Speech by Jennifer [10:33]: 



And that’s how you do THAT, apparently.


Pro Tip: When throwing a party, it really helps to have one of THESE.             (Thank you Wove!!)


Until next time…





Posted in activism, animals, art, Bernie Sanders, childhood, comedy, domestic life, education, faith, family, fighting Fascism, food, Friendship, global inequity, health, history, learning, love, mental health, politics, Social Democracy, social justice, The Progressive Movement, work, work-life balance | 1 Comment

Impeachment Explained in the Spirit of Schoolhouse Rock

October 2019

The Good Fight’s Animated Guide To Impeachment [1:55]: 

“How’s impeachment work? This tongue-in-cheek animated video from The Good Fight, created by Jonathan Coulton and appearing at the end of Season 2, Episode 7 (“Day 450″), will tell you everything that you need to know. Stream all-new episodes of The Good Fight Sundays, exclusively on CBS All Access.”


del f trump golfing on kurdish graves

You gotta admit this mofo’s got #Priorities.


Does Not Spark Joy.jpg


del treason movie.jpg



Posted in activism, animals, art, border family separation, comedy, education, fight, fighting Fascism, history, learning, mental health, money, music, patience, politics, racial injustice, Religious Hypocrisy, social justice, tragedy, work | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Helping People is Just Not that Hard

October 22nd 2019

All this stuff cost me $25 bucks:


This modest haul -plus $5 of vitamin C cough drops- is enough to make TWELVE packages worth of stuff to hand out to homeless people.

Each bag in this batch will have:

  • pretzels
  • crackers
  • peanuts
  • chocolate
  • candy
  • vitamin C drops
  • toothbrush w/ carrying case
  • hand sanitizer
  • napkin
  • love note
  • fresh pair of socks
  • one dollar bill

CJ helps fill our third batch of bags in as many months.


Every day I wake up, maybe sore, tired, reluctant, bedraggled… hopefully thankful for a New Day.  But I’m in an electrified, temperature-regulated home; in a giant bed with cotton sheets, a down comforter, enough pillows for a small army; I’ve got family members to love and a smattering of animals for good measure.   I shower or bathe whenever I want with as much fresh, temperature-regulated running potable water as I could possibly need, and change into clean undergarments and different outfits from my ample -if eccentric- wardrobe 2-3 times a day depending on my work schedule.  My kitchen is full of food, even when “there’s nothing to eat.”  And even then if we’re pressed for time or energy sometimes I just push some buttons on the computer -one of several in our home, with internet and cable television for god’s sake- and move some funds around and have a fresh cooked hot meal arrive at the door whenever we feel like it. We even have a machine to wash the damn dishes.

OH; the funds?  Well, we’re healthy, skilled and housing-secure enough to be gainfully employed; with access to education, communication, transportation, the beginnings of very modest savings “for the future” and even MEDICAL CARE.

Good grief.

Imagine any ONE of those systems going awry and my world would be thrown into chaos.  But even then it would be temporary chaos from which we could most likely recover.  Hell, remember when the water heater went out ONCE in the past seven YEARS?  Out of coffee?  Internet down?  Cat missing?  Car break down?  Someone come down with a cold?  Or a broken bone?



Imagine waking up after a night on the cold pavement in a doorway by the library -or even in a “shelter” crowded with other disenfranchised strangers- trying be warm enough or comfortable enough to even sleep.  That is assuming no one tries to assault you or rob you in the night.  This night anyway.

I could go on speculating. And I do.  I speculate all the time.  But I will spare you here.

All I can say is the panhandlers I see are humble, polite, appreciative and often filled with enthusiastic personalities and more intelligence than I would expect.  It’s really not a big deal –AT ALL– to slow down for ONE SECOND and share a fucking crumb.  A piece of free candy from the counter at the bank.  A piece of change from your pocket.  Some leftover food.  A bottle of water.  God forbid we ask if they are hungry and buy them a sandwich or something.  Or just say, “Sorry I don’t have anything but I hope you have a good day.” 

Who doesn’t benefit from a little basic human interaction, even in the best of circumstances?


Wishing You a Blessed Day


But you know what IS a big deal?  Doing nothing.  Looking the other way, pretending they don’t exist, or thinking for a single moment that couldn’t be you -god forbid- in a parallel existence where you were dealt some different cards through no fault of your own.

In FACT, it is my understanding (according to our medical clown training) that the very PHYSIOLOGY of empathy is such that the very way to alleviate the psychic pain of seeing the suffering of others, is simply this:  ACT.   Taking action is actually the very remedy to relieving the distress of acknowledging others’ suffering.

So I would modify Mr. Rogers’ statement:

look-for-the-helpersDon’t “look” for helpers.  Just BE one.

Looking the other way or pretending they don’t exist or fooling yourself that you are somehow a superior human being will NOT help you.  Is it really THEM you are afraid to look in the eye?  Or is it YOU?



Hafiz the Sufi Poet on why we’re not all blissfully “drunk.”


But take heart.  And take action.  Just ACT.  Any ol’ imperfect action will do.

And what if they are a drunk or a drug user and are just going to use the money for another hit, etc.?   That is not my concern.  That is on THEM.  BLESS them.  I can neither save the world nor everyone in it.  But to be someone willing to neglect my fellow brother or sister?  Or to pretend that I haven’t also made poor decisions in life, or that some great disaster could not someday befall me?  That is on ME.  And I value myself too much to suffer unnecessarily in the face of others’ suffering.  Therefore any action will do.


∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗

del Disclaimer.png


Look.  If your life is on fire (which happens to everyone; did you know that?) and you are too strapped or distressed to think about others, then forget it.  Read no further and save yourself!  Do whatever you gotta do to survive; please!  I am not here to shame anyone and moreover, please know I am Wishing You a Blessed Day.   And if you are struggling in areas of finance, mobility, health, safety, or your arms are filled with babies or other loved one(s) with high needs; then take courage and waste no time worrying you’re not doing enough.  You’re a Superhero and You Got This!  del emoji Rosie the Riveter

∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗   ∗


Right now I am just lucky I -and my kids- have recently found this particular technique for trying to help.  It was originally my son’s idea.  (Specifically, to carry cans of black beans on offer, which can be eaten right out of the can and provide such great nutrition.  For 89 cents at that.)  Plus making gifts is FUN.  And it’s just so damn easy.  I keep the packages in a bag in my car.  I only have 49,000 other bags of crap in my car; what’s one more?

empathy - action.jpg

And because I know that taking action relieves the physiological distress of empathy, at the end of the day this is not a form of heroism or altruism, but simple SELF-CARE.  It is simply a good and healthy thing to do.  FOR ME.

$42/month x 12 = $504/year.   An investment and a privilege.

I also have the added satisfaction of knowing for certain it makes some difference in other peoples’ lives.  Folks always *seem* to appreciate it.  One guy even asked for a second package for his girlfriend.  And the other day, this sweet, older, very skinny, very weathered, unkempt but upbeat, friendly and seemingly quite intelligent man thanked me very much.  Then a moment later he turned around and jogged to his bag, picked something up and brought it to my car window while I was still at the stoplight.  He said, “You’re not allergic are ya?”  and handed me these FLOWERS.


You’re not allergic are ya?


“No,” I said, “THANK YOU!”

Then he said, “Watch out, they attract bees!”

“How WONDERFUL!” I said, and we exchanged smiles.

Then the stoplight turned green.

Posted in activism, art, childhood, domestic life, faith, fighting Fascism, food, global inequity, health, history, learning, love, making art, mental health, money, parenting, politics, Religious Hypocrisy, Socialism?, spirituality, The Progressive Movement, tragedy, travel, Uncategorized, work, work-life balance | 1 Comment