The Power of ONE Vote

When my children we very young I would walk them to our local school on Election Day to see all the neighbors and myself voting. Partly because it was convenient to not get a babysitter and partly because I wanted them to experience the voting process – first-hand. As I received my “I VOTED” sticker, I was sure they both got one, too. It was my wish to instill in them the knowledge that voting is a right, a privilege and our duty as US citizens.

Fast forward a bunch of years… Today, my daughter sent me the cutest photo of her dog, Kingston, at her local polling area (below). She was one of millions who voted on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. But for every person who voted, like we did, we have those who chose to stay home or not even vote by mail? Why did they forgo this seemingly important task?


My one vote won’t matter”

“There is no one who I want to win”

“I don’t have time”


First, let me address the “My vote won’t matter” excuse! Did you know that there are many elections that were decided by ONE VOTE (or less)? Mental Floss listed ten recent elections that were determined by one vote (or other odd circumstances). Read about how important ONE VOTE can be here.

There is no one I want to win” is a lame excuse! There is much more than a single decision being made in the vast majority of elections nationwide. What may be decided on Election Day? How about who represents you in Washington DC. Or laws and tax referendums. School board representatives who decide the fate of you child’s education. And much, much more is at stake with each election!

“I don’t have time”. This is the most ridiculous of all excuses! With mail in voting, pre-election day voting and other options – “TIME” cannot be an excuse! What you mean to say is perhaps, I am LAZY and don’t feel like driving to vote after I get my latte. PLEAZZZZ don’t be that person!

In fact, the women of these countries would LOVE to vote – for their FIRST time! They would stand on line for hours or maybe even days if given an opportunity to SAFELY cast a ballot!

So, before you think that voting is “for others” and whether it is worth your energy- please remember that the laws and taxes that will be placed on you and impact your lifestyle tomorrow could very well be determined in the voting booths around the United States today.

Go Vote. And, if you already did – thank you.

Which Candidate will I “SWIPE RIGHT” if they match my political wishlist?

Unless you are in hiding with no digital or printed news – then you know this is an election year in the United States. I have been waiting for this “season” since the last election.

I don’t want to start a political firestorm or radical debate. But, I will say this election is odd as NONE of the candidates seem to represent ME.

What to do? Super Tuesday is right around the corner! How will I decide? Can I decide?

I thought of writing a pros and cons list of each candidate. That simply will take much more time than I wish to dedicate to this quest. So, I will write a list of qualities I am looking for in the leader of the United States. I understand that I won’t find my perfect leader who will tick off all the boxes. But… I hope that I will find someone who will be the Presidential candidate who best aligns with my ” Preferred Quality List”. In other words I am seeking my political “swipe right” match.

What I want in the President of the United States is someone who ….

Exhibits rational behavior with a history of no pathology of doing harm emotionally or physically to others or him/herself

Has read and studied the US Constitution, Bill of Rights and all other important documents related to our country.

Has read and studied US HISTORY, WORLD HISTORY, and ECONOMICS.

Has read and studied about military history and the complexity of international relations during times of peace and war.

Has great family relationships

Kind to animals, children and the elderly,

More likely to give a compliment than wait for one.

Believes in the value of a great education for all people. Whether at a university or preschool.

Believes in the value of teachers, and all who mentor, guide or help others.

Believes that everyone has the right to excellent health care.

Will accept responsiblity to care for our environment

***Will represent the United States of America with integrity, dignity and humility on the world stage***.

Speaks more than one language (preference, but not a deal breaker)

Understands that there are cultural differences in this world.

Accepts people that are different.

Believes that the drug crisis is due to mental health issues and much more – That it is complicated. The same for homelessness.

Values our active military and veterans. Believes that those who have served deserve the very best in job placement, educational opportunities, health care and much more.

Uses the word WE much more than I

Is honest.

Has integrity.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Is physically healthy.’

Likes children

Accepts responsibly

Accepts collaboration.


Knows right from wrong.

Broad thinker and accepts opinions that are divergent.

Believes laughter is a good medicine.

Has a thick skin but is exceptionally kind to others.

Would risk his/her own life to save another.

Has a dog, cat, goldfish, or other pet.

Realizes that social media is for social conversation not political policy

Able to speak in a regular tone and not yell, screech or badger

and most of all HAS A MORAL COMPASS

What I don’t care about in our next president…

Gender – If the potential leader is a man/ woman or does not identify .

Religion of the potential leader

Race. I don’t care what color is their skin, eyes, or hair. I truly don’t.

What state they come from (other than their state of mind)

What political party they represent (or don’t)

If they are straight or a member of the LGBTQ… community

If they are pro or anti gun.

If they went to a top university

If they are married

If they have children

If they drive a fancy car

Their worth in dollars instead of “sense”.

As I am typing this article I have received more than one text or email from political candidates asking if I am voting for “their person”. My answer is the same- I am undecided and also I am profoundly disappointed by the behavior of all candidates. I hope that I will find a person who matches my wishlist of qualities. I hope that we will find a common sense leader who I can respect.

I have a lot of homework to do before Super Tuesday – March 3rd.

Negative Political Rants = Social Media Unfriending/ Muting/Blocking

Let’s face it – you cannot agree with everyone all the time.  Especially, about politics! Sadly, I have seen lifelong relationships morph in to adversarial relationships due to emotions running beyond limits over national politics. Not only are people disagreeing but they are having a public and bitter war of words for all to witness!  So. Very. Heartbreaking.

It is no surprise that Facebook can make or break a friendship when it comes to differing opinions, including heated ‘political debates”.   I know that there have been several people who have “unfriended” me due to my proactive and liberal tendencies when it comes to women’s rights, education, my stance on the current administration and the 2016 election – in general.  I respect their decision and hope if we see each other IRL (in real life) – that we can be cordial and perhaps event share a conversation over a quiet cup of coffee.

Conversely, I have unfriended and muted people who I feel are simply spreading negativity and are myopic. I am willing to listen and take in to account the opinions of others, but when someone won’t even consider that there are “two sides of a coin” – then sorry – off my timeline you must go. You are welcome to your opinions. I just don’t need to see, hear or read posts that are not respectful but full of hate – regardless of your political affiliation.  I’ll live longer without the spike in cortisol from reading these negative media posts.

Beyond those who share the rhetoric that makes me want to cringe, there also is a sector of people who spew vehement that goes beyond rationale.   It is for these folks, sadly, I turn on the BLOCK option.  I cannot follow or be followed by a person who shares hate, rumor or conjecture – especially when it comes to the lives of children and vulnerable families.  It is my prerogative to follow those that share compassion, act with kindness and understand that we are part of one race- the human race. Again, we don’t need to agree on issues, but we at least should demonstrate civil kindness.  We owe that much to ourselves and to the children who are taking notes of our actions.

RELATED: Want to make a difference- VOTE and be sure you are REGISTERED! You can even register ONLINE.  It will take but a few minutes of your time!

This election year I plan on spending time listening, learning and voting my conscience. I want to be drama-free and enjoy a world that is offline.   And, if I am online I am equally as likely to post about movies, television, education and travel as I am about politics.



Home. Sweet. Home. For. Bayla. But. Not. For._______.

IMG_5085Bayla is our dog that we adopted from a Southern California rescue a little more than three years ago. She is goofy, loving and oh- an immigrant.  You see, Bayla was brought IN to the United States as a pregnant pup from Tijuana, Mexico.  Immediately upon her arrival she was offered a home, food and free medical care at a modest rescue facility where her life was far better there than her days on the streets.  She was frightened, hungry and timid – at first. And, she was almost ready to deliver her puppies. In fact, Bayla delivered her puppies only a week or so after her arrival and was able to stay with all EIGHT puppies until they were weaned and adopted out to their loving and vetted fur-ever homes.  Never was this “parent and pups”  separated or were any of the dogs placed in “canine jail” for their non-documented status.  (See four of the eight of their precious faces below!)


Yes, Bayla was afforded better living conditions, care and concern than that given to many humans who currently are seeking a safe life, including asylum, in  the United States.  Bayla was given a ” home sweet home” as an immigrant. She was rescued from a less than ideal life on the streets and given a permanent home where she has survived and thrived.  In fact, there are scores of  dogs every day who come in to this country as “immigrants” and are allowed to live safely in towns across America.

Some of you may be thinking that my use of Bayla’s story as a parallel to the current and much more serious situation of immigrants being separated from their families is rubbish… let me continue.

First, while in no means do I think that the circumstances surrounding my dog and those of  humans are interchangeable  –  I do find it horrific that my dog received better care and respect than many of the families who in the past few months have  tried  to “survive and thrive” by entering the United States from Mexico, Central America and South America.  Instead they were detained and maltreated at the US- Mexico border.  Additionally, many of the families were separated with parents not knowing the whereabouts of their children.  From babies to teens, parents and children have been torn from each other’s arms. Included in these heinous acts are families that have children with special needs, such as Down syndrome and Deafness.

I have listened to many  interviews of individuals who recently were detained at the border. I listened to their accounts in both Spanish and English – so I could get the true essence of their emotion vs. through the voice of an interpreter. I was so saddened by  their stories’ of harrowing travels. Their recounting of narrow escapes from terror sent chills up and down my spine. Gang threats, physical harm, starvation, etc. were mentioned over and over and over again.  At no time did I doubt these stories or believe they were fabricated. Nor did I think – “Geez that person should be turned back and learn to just “deal” with the gangs, poor living conditions, lack of opportunity or the extreme poverty that made them risk everything to come here.”

One mother said when placed in detention she had fallen asleep with her child and when she awoke her child was gone from her. Gone. No one bothered to even wake up this mother?

I have been haunted by the wailing cries of this mother. Since hearing these first-hand stories my emotions have vacillated between crying, outrage and sheer anger.

As a parent, educator and a citizen of a country that allowed my ancestors to call the United States of America  home sweet home –  I cannot fathom how  families separated from their loved ones are enduring. I just hope and pray that all of them will be welcomed in to our country with a huge amount of compassion, caring, respect and concern. If Bayla can be treated with dignity and love upon her arrival then surely we can muster that amount and much more for all humans.

I welcome respectful commentary.




Sometimes I can write a blog in a blink.  Today is not one of those days.


Because today I feel compelled to write about the Orlando shooting.  But, I can’t due to the gnawing realization that  I have written this blog before.  The topic is all too familiar.  And, that bothers me – deeply.

So I am not going to write a blog. Instead I ask that we just take a moment to appreciate what is good in this world.  Thank those who are making a difference by helping others.

And, remember those who died due to senseless gun violence. Thank you.

Sandy Hook.  Aurora. San Bernardino. Columbine. Orlando … 




Falling off the Fiscal and Emotional Cliff

Today in between watching college football games I am also busy awaiting the “verdict” from Congress.  Rather I should say, I am one of millions awaiting “the news”…. Will we or won’t we be falling off the “fiscal cliff”?

I have spent much of the day flipping channels or listening to political pundits and newscasters trying to “spin” our collective future.  My head hurts.

This is what I know…

1. If our Senators and Representatives were students in a high school they would all be in detention for lack of time management,  completing their assignment without penalty to their “grade”, for excessive complaining, and exhibiting unnecessary outbursts.

2. I don’t care if our elected officials  are missing their “New Year’s Holiday”… in fact it gives me great satisfaction that our politicians are inconvenienced.

3. Why is no one talking about  the “emotional cliff” that many will fall over if the fiscal cliff isn’t resolved soon!

4. Not everyone, in fact almost no one, will be entirely happy with the results of any resolution to this economic “debacle”.  There are winners and losers in every game.

5. I would like to see the “cliff” explained in Powerpoint and without all the rhetoric.  I am a visual learner and truly am up to my eyeballs in hearing stats and predictions.  Just SHOW me the flow chart already!

6. I would rather watch football, uninterrupted.  Time to resume pulling my hair out!

Ok, that is my 2 cents worth.  Feel free to write yours below. Please be kind and play nice.

Ask a 5th Grader!

As the campaign trail is winding down and another election will be upon us in just a matter of days, people are conducting all kinds of polls!  Who will win the Presidential election? What are the topics that really matter to people in the United States? What should we do about threats to our nation? How can we improve on healthcare and education?

Really want true and organic answers to these questions? Then I suggest that all the pollsters, media types and pundits go have lunch with a group of 5th graders.  In fact, take a caravan and travel from state to state or at least city to city to really find out what is the pulse of America.

Some school districts have decided to use this election as “teachable moments”!  I applaud each and every school which has made the election part of the curriculum.  My hope is that the students are learning about our government , the election process, and how to be respectful towards an opponent. I fear that some will take away from the election process that it is all about “bullying” the other person in a disrespectful manner, whether during a debate, on television attack advertisements or in person.

In my research I have found two school districts that were reported in the general news as having “5th grade polling”  or mock elections scheduled.

Brevard County, Florida students  had a mock election and President Obama won a second term (64 out of 71 votes)

Texas has developed PROJECT V.O.T.E  which helps fifth graders learn about the election process via a unique and valuable hands on exercise.  Lubbock Schools are just one of many partaking in the project with their mock elections.  Their elections will be held very soon- no preliminary inkling of results to report, but the local press is awaiting the news!

So, if you have a fifth grader and wish to “poll” your child AND share the results, feel free to do so in the comments below.