I admit it. I like shopping. I’m a girl. What did you expect?  The problem is there aren’t a lot of retail stores that are unionized. An exception is Macy’s. Many Macy’s stores are UFCW represented. So, I found one and decided to have a few hours by myself.

I like Macy’s. Always have. I like their merchandise. I like the layout of their stores. I like their history.    I also particularly like that Macy’s has been active in the green movement. They were voted in the top 50 most green corporations in the 2009 Newsweek rankings  by adding solar power to many stores, using biodegradable packing products, and significantly expanding their “eco-friendly” product lines. We need more of that in this world.

While the rest of the country veered right on Nov. 2, California did what it always does best – it took the road less traveled. Democrats swept nearly all the top state offices, and may even squeak by to get Kamala Harris in office as Attorney General despite early predictions of losing that office to the GOP.

What makes California so different from the rest of the country? The list is a long one, but when it comes to politics, Californians seem to have the ability to separate truth from television. Despite the ridiculous amount of money that Meg Whitman spent to try to buy herself a political career (a record-breaking $140-million-plus of her own money), California voters weren’t taken in by her slick advertisements or the barrage of media that her dollars bought.

The burglary was the last straw.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dog Daisy is an amazing athlete, but she’d been getting crazy cooped up in our backyard all be herself for long stretches at a time and she had stated snapping at people on walks. Finally, on the advice of friends, I began taking her to doggy day care a few days a week while I was at work so she could re-socialize herself and have more interaction with other canines. Good idea, right?  

Well, my house was broken into while my guard dog was enjoying a play date with her friends at the local vet. Great.

My dog Daisy is amazing. There’s no ball she can’t catch. We’re always entertaining our friends and neighbors with her astonishing athletic prowess. Daisy will plunge head first over the guard rail and down the hill on our property, retrieving the tennis balls with 95 percent accuracy.

We’ve had Daisy for three years now (we rescued her from the LA City Animal Shelter – all union city employees) and she never disappoints. But an athlete like that takes a lot of maintenance – and TLC. She’s just the latest addition to our pet menagerie. In addition to Daisy, we have two cats that our dog loves to chase around the backyard.

Driving to work today, I got behind a large truck with a bumper sticker that immediately caught my eye. It wasn’t his GO RAIDERS! sticker. It was the proud and bold “LIVE BETTER – WORK UNION ” sticker. {Heck, yeah!} In the center of his bumper was his union sticker:  Operating Engineers Local 12. My kind of guy.

At our house Thursday night is date night. I’ve been married for more than 20 years and we’ve managed to keep it together with a lot of hard work and a little bit of regular excitement. Well, date night can’t get in the way of my Buy Union! challenge, so we’re going to have to figure this out.

To be honest with you, my husband hasn’t jumped on board with the Buy Union! challenge. He’s a scientist and I’m an activist. We have different priorities, but we respect and support each other on those things that matter to us. So, last night—date night—when I informed him we had to make it a “union night,” he was agreeable.

I have to admit that despite all my cheerleading on this blog that I’ve been a bit nervous about starting my buy union challenge. I’ve been a labor activist for 20 years now and I’m extremely busy… but I also have a life outside of the movement. I’m a mother of two girls, still married and with what little time I have outside of work, I like to spend that with my family and (do my best to) relax.Not always an easy feat.

Ever since I could hold a pencil, I would draw and draw and draw. I was born in Australia and I spent my early childhood dreaming of becoming an animator. My parents encouraged me, and I collected every book on the art of animation and cartooning available. Even then, creating a world in order to tell a story appealed to me. Although I did not grow up to work in animation, creating the scenery for filmmaking has been the driving force of my professional life.

It looks like it’s time to switch from Ivory to Dove soap, Crest to Colgate, and from Godiva to See’s chocolates. Union brands first!

I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life as an activist in LA’s union community and I’ve never seen times as rough as this for our members and for working class families in general. All of the pain I’m seeing around me has got me thinking… a lot.

Did you know that 70% of the American economy is generated by consumer spending? That’s huge! This means that collectively how we, as average citizens, spend our money — more than government or corporate spending — is shaping the economy of the United States. And it’s not been a case of whether or not we’ve been spending (oh, we’ve been spending, believe you me!) it’s a matter of how we spend our money. As I look around my house, my garage, and my cupboards I realize that we have been spending our money frivolously on things produced in foreign countries. In the end, no good can come of it.