Three days ago, we said, “Psych! Just kidding.” But we still have music. And books. And dogs.

I didn’t get much sleep last night. Or the night before. I was tossing and turning, picking up my phone to add new thoughts to the Note I was compiling for today’s post. It was going to be an emotionally-charged diatribe about our Supreme Court paving the way for a dictatorship; about the debate debacle where one man stuttered and the other spewed lies and the country seems to think that stuttering and losing your train of thought is somehow worse than bald-faced lying (newsflash: successfully running the country doesn’t require you to be a great debater); about how Project 2025 (developed by the Heritage Foundation) is going to ensure that rich, white men remain in power forever; about how my daughter is going to have fewer rights than I had; about the sheer absurdity of a a convicted rapist and felon being our country’s choice for President; about the fear I feel as a member of the already-marginalized LGBTQ+ community and what will befall us when our protective governmental system is replaced with a government serving rich, white men who can rule on a whim. I remember learning about checks and balances in elementary school? Don’t you? How in the world do we think what’s happening here is okay?

But there are others who are far smarter than I who can communicate those concerns with greater eloquence. So, I am leaving the diatribe to them, and I am posting some links and resources to help guide you through this mess.

Before I move on to happier things, however, I want to provide one small world history lesson to give a little context to my concern and fears. Then we’ll move on to our regularly programmed content of knee surgeries, rescue dogs, and pickleball.

In February of 1933 (not so very long ago), the Reichstag Fire Decree of 1933 suspended most civil liberties in Germany, including things like freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and the right to public assembly. A month later, the Enabling Act allowed the German National Ministry to enact legislation—including laws that directly deviated from or altered the constitution—without the consent of the Reichstag. (The Reichstag was the lower house of Germany’s Parliament and was a free and democratic institution until the Enabling Act came along and changed things.)

The combined effect of the Enabling Act and the Reichstag Fire Decree transformed Adolf Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship and laid the groundwork for his totalitarian regime.

Does this sound familiar? Like, eerily familiar? It should.

Because our own Supreme Court is laying the groundwork, my friends. And a power-hungry tyrant is waiting in the wings for your votes so he can take control of our country. Do you want your friends and relatives in concentration camps for being gay or trans or black or brown or unhoused or different in any way that doesn’t suit the “king,” or do you want lower gas prices? I mean, truly — what’s your priority here?

Pretty much everything that’s happening in this country right now makes me want to vomit. Let’s not vomit. Let’s talk about happy things instead. We’ll have plenty of time for vomiting when our country collectively decides that we should be ruled by a lying, cheating, chaotic, unpredictable, philandering, rapist/felon who has king-inspired delusions of grandeur.

But let me also say this: Those who support what’s just happened in the Supreme Court don’t get to usurp the word “Patriot” any more. Patriots aren’t white dudes driving around in big trucks waving flags and carrying guns. Patriots are people who fight for freedom and equality for everyone. Patriots don’t ban books, vilify our right to assemble, and ignore the separation of church and state. Patriots defend our democracy, shut down attempts at a government coup, and demand every American—including our President—uphold the rule of law.

So, while we ponder the implications of our upcoming election, let’s switch gears and find some happy-making things. For me these days (and most days), happy things include the following: music, books, and dogs.


I tried to keep it at ten, but ten is SO FEW songs. And I love SO MANY songs.

  1. Throwing Good After Bad – Brandi Carlile
  2. I Can Change – Lake Street Dive
  3. Let Him Fly – Patty Griffin
  4. Tear in Your Hand – Tori Amos
  5. Talia – King Princess
  6. Where’s My Love – SYML
  7. Distance – Emily King
  8. Too Much to Ask – Niall Horan
  9. The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known) – Juice Newton
  10. Please Come to Boston – Dave Loggins
  11. Alaska – Maggie Rogers (“And I walked off you. And I walked off an old me.” Those lyrics will always get me right in my little gay gut.)
  12. Pictures of You – The Cure
  13. Lost on You – LP
  14. To Be Without You – Ryan Adams
  15. 1,000 Times – Sara Bareilles
  16. Ghost – Indigo Girls
  17. You Can Sleep While I Drive – Melissa Etheridge
  18. Hello, It’s Me – Todd Rundgren
  19. Daisy Jane – America
  20. Long, Long Time – Linda Rondstadt
  21. ocean eyes – Billie Eilish
  22. Lose Control – Teddy Swims
  23. Cover Me Up – Jason Isbell
  24. exile – Taylor Swift, Bon Iver
  25. Could It Be Magic – Barry Manilow
  26. Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
  27. Bigger Than the Whole Sky – Taylor Swift
  28. You Belong to Me – Carly Simon
  29. July – Noah Cyrus
  30. Good Luck, Babe! – Chappell Roan (Yes, I jumped right on the Chappell Roan bandwagon. How could you not?)
  31. Fix You – Coldplay (A video link here because this one with Michael J. Fox ripped my heart right out.)
  32. Easy On Me – Adele
  33. Always, Joni – Trousdale
  34. Easy – Lionel Richie, Willie Nelson (Thanks for sharing this version, Matt Bays.)
  35. How Do You Keep the Music Playing? – James Ingram, Patti Austin (This always makes the list. Someday, I’ll find someone to do a Karaoke duet with me.)


Everyone who knows me knows I have a ridiculously long TBR pile. I buy books far faster than I can read them, and my big fear is that I’ll leave this earth with so many unread books. But here are the five that top my list right now:

(Yes, these are affiliate links. I’ll make a little money if you purchase directly from here. But you’ll be supporting my book-buying habit and feeding my dogs, so that’s okay, right?)

  1. I Love You, but I’ve Chosen Darkness, Clare Vaye Watkins
    Since my baby was born, I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things. a) As much as I ever did. b) Not quite as much now. c) Not so much now. d) Not at all. Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets her ghosts at every turn: the first love whose self-destruction still haunts her; her father, a member of the most famous cult in American history; her mother, whose native spark gutters with every passing year. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right, but what exactly is her way forward? Alone in the wilderness, at last she begins to make herself at home in the world.Bold, tender, and often hilarious, I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness reaffirms Watkins as one of the signal writers of our time.
  2. My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, Jenn Shapland
    How do you tell the real story of someone misremembered–an icon and idol–alongside your own? Jenn Shapland’s celebrated debut is both question and answer: an immersive, surprising exploration of one of America’s most beloved writers, alongside a genre-defying examination of identity, queerness, memory, obsession, and love.Shapland is a graduate student when she first uncovers letters written to Carson McCullers by a woman named Annemarie. Though Shapland recognizes herself in the letters, which are intimate and unabashed in their feelings, she does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her. Her curiosity gives way to fixation, not just with this newly discovered side of McCullers’s life, but with how we tell queer love stories. Why, Shapland asks, are the stories of women paved over by others’ narratives? What happens when constant revision is required of queer women trying to navigate and self-actualize in straight spaces? And what might the tracing of McCullers’s life–her history, her secrets, her legacy–reveal to Shapland about herself?In smart, illuminating prose, Shapland interweaves her own story with McCullers’s to create a vital new portrait of one of our nation’s greatest literary treasures, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are.
  3. The Year of the Horses, Courtney Maum
    At the age of thirty-seven, Courtney Maum finds herself in an indoor arena in Connecticut, moments away from stepping back into the saddle. For her, this is not just a riding lesson, but a last-ditch attempt to pull herself back from the brink even though riding is a relic from the past she walked away from. She hasn’t been on or near a horse in over thirty years.Although Courtney does know what depression looks like, she finds herself refusing to admit, at this point in her life, that it could look like her: a woman with a privileged past, a mortgage, a husband, a healthy child, and a published novel. That she feels sadness is undeniable, but she feels no right to claim it. And when both therapy and medication fail, Courtney returns to her childhood passion of horseback riding as a way to recover the joy and fearlessness she once had access to as a young girl. As she finds her way, once again, through the physical and emotional landscapes of riding, Courtney becomes reacquainted with herself not only as a rider but as a mother, wife, daughter, writer, and woman. Alternating timelines and braided with historical portraits of women and horses alongside history’s attempts to tame both parties, The Year of the Horses is an inspiring love letter to the power of animals–and humans–to heal the mind and the heart.
  4. Exhibit, R.O. Kwon
    From bestselling author R. O. Kwon, an exhilarating, blazing-hot novel about a woman caught between her desires and her life.At a lavish party in the hills outside of San Francisco, Jin Han meets Lidija Jung and nothing will ever be the same for either woman. A brilliant young photographer, Jin is at a crossroads in her work, in her marriage to her college love Philip, and in who she is and who she wants to be. Lidija is an alluring, injured world-class ballerina on hiatus from her ballet company under mysterious circumstances. Drawn to each other by their intense artistic drives, the two women talk all night.Cracked open, Jin finds herself telling Lidija about an old familial curse, breaking a lifelong promise. She’s been told that if she doesn’t keep the curse a secret, she risks losing everything; death and ruin could lie ahead. As Jin and Lidija become more entangled, they realize they share more than the ferocity of their ambition, and begin to explore hidden desires. Something is ignited in Jin: her art, her body, and her sense of self irrevocably changed. But can she avoid the specter of the curse? Vital, bold, powerful, and deeply moving, Exhibit asks: how brightly can you burn before you light your life on fire?
  5. Bear, Julia Phillips
    They were sisters and they would last past the end of time.Sam and Elena dream of another life. On the island off the coast of Washington where they were born and raised, they and their mother struggle to survive. Sam works on the ferry that delivers wealthy mainlanders to their vacation homes while Elena bartends at the local golf club, but even together they can’t earn enough to get by, stirring their frustration about the limits that shape their existence.Then one night on the boat, Sam spots a bear swimming the dark waters of the channel. Where is it going? What does it want? When the bear turns up by their home, Sam, terrified, is more convinced than ever that it’s time to leave the island. But Elena responds differently to the massive beast. Enchanted by its presence, she throws into doubt the desire to escape and puts their long-held dream in danger.A story about the bonds of sisterhood and the mysteries of the animals that live among us–and within us–Bear is a propulsive, mythical, richly imagined novel from one of the most acclaimed young writers in America.


Sissy loves to play with her entire being. But when she’s finished, she’s FINISHED.

Ruby was just groomed, and although George thinks she looks like a wet rat, I think she’s beautiful. She needed a little “me time” in the shower to decompress after the scary, scary visit to the groomer.

BONUS DOG: My adorable granddog, Henry, with his handsome bandana and his wonky ear.

While your burgers and hot dogs are digesting today, here are a few things to read / listen to / watch / think about:

  1. Project 2025
    “Project 2025 is a sweeping attack on our democracy, our fundamental freedoms, our health, social justice, the livability of our planet, and a lot more.  If I had to pick a “biggest” concern, I would point to the way it aims to systematically dismantle our democratic checks and balances and consolidate unprecedented power in a second Trump presidency.  It’s truly a roadmap to make Trump, already an aspiring dictator, into a real one, and to impose a radical social/religious order on all of us.  It exudes an “any means necessary” philosophy, including the explicit embrace of dystopic authoritarian measures like domestic military deployments, detention camps, mass deportations, an unprecedented political purge of the federal workforce, political weaponization of federal law enforcement, and more.” ~ Congressman Jared Huffman from Joyce Vance’s Civil Discourse Interview
  2. The Heritage Foundation
    Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, says, “We are in the process of a second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”
  3. Historian, Heather Cox Richardson, on the implications of the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling: “I’m afraid, first of all, that people don’t recognize what a big deal this is. This isn’t an adjustment in the law. This is a change in our entire Constitutional system. It says that there’s one of the three branches of government that cannot be checked by the other two.”
  4. The United States Constitution
    The six big ideas of the Constitution:
    1. Popular Sovereignty: The Preamble to the Constitution is an introduction to the type of government the Founders were creating.  Its opening phrase stresses that this government is made by the people and exists to represent, protect, and serve them.
    2. Limited government: The government has only the powers granted to it in the Constitution, and it can only conduct actions permitted by the Constitution.
    3. Federalism: A system of constitutional government in which power is divided into layers with several states on one level and an overarching federal government on another with authority balanced between the state and federal governments.
    4. Checks and Balances: The Constitutionally granted power for one branch of government to block action by an equal branch of government. The Constitution specifies instances in which one of the three branches can stop action by another. Historical precedents have established others.
    5. Separation of Powers: The Constitution keeps the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) separate. The powers and responsibilities of each is described in a separate Article. Separation makes each Branch the equal of the others.
    6. Republicanism: A system of government in the United States based in the concept of popular sovereignty and put into practice by the constitutional institutions and processes of representative government.
  5. The Declaration of Independence
    The three main tenets:
    1. Every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
    2. The main purpose of government is to protect those rights
    3. If government withholds those rights, the people may revolt and establish a new government
  6. VOTE like your life depends on it. Because it just might.

Share This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for my mailing list

More To Explore

The Origin of My Anger

Trigger warnings: childhood sexual abuse, rape Yesterday, I said to a friend, “I am so angry all the time. I can feel it bubbling up

The State of My Nation

And the state of my heart. I am tired. It’s only July, the election isn’t until November, and I am exhausted. And I am angry.

248 Years Ago We Said No to a King

Three days ago, we said, “Psych! Just kidding.” But we still have music. And books. And dogs. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Or