Learning to Speak Politics

June 23, 1995 Comments off

Please join me at my new blog, Learning to Speak Politics, where I am writing to learn.

Categories: FYI, politics Tags: , ,

Li’l D’s new bike

My older son, Li’l D, only recently learned to ride his bike without training wheels.

He’d no sooner learned this skill than my husband, Anthony, and I saw his old bike was way too small for him. His knees knocked its handlebars with almost his every push forward.

Anthony and I decided to surprise him with a new bicycle–his choice!–for his seventh birthday. We took him to buy it yesterday, but misjudged its size relative to my car’s trunk.

At first, Anthony tried sitting up front with the bike. That seemed like it was going to work until I closed the door, at which point pain levels mandated that we explore alternatives.

The bike ended up in the passenger seat; Anthony, in the tiny space between our sons’ car seats. It took him three or four minutes to get buckled, but he finally managed it. (I still can’t quite fathom how. The dimensions just shouldn’t work!)

bike fit.png

Li’l D was only able to ride his new bike back to our shed yesterday. That being so, he was ready to ride it at 5 o’clock this morning.

(Parental approval: withheld.)

When he gets home from school in a few minutes, having only ridden his new bike for 30 seconds, I fully expect it to be with a rush of, “Can I ride it can I ride it can I ride it?!”

He’s stoked about his bike. And me?

I’m stoked about his joy.

Categories: Uncategorized

Seven years as Mama

My sons’ great grandma is 81 years old.

She knows that Disneyland holds a special place in my older son’s heart. For the first five years of Li’l D’s life, we shared many sweet memories there.

Great Grandma’s birthday gift to Li’l D was a family day at Disneyland. Since Great-Great can’t make the trek anymore, she asked for pictures–lots of pictures–of both her grandsons having a blast.

disney duck butt.png

Also, tiny Donald Duck

The day was equally full of sweets and sweet moments. The best of the latter were short, brilliant flashes: Littler J’s shining face as he swung ’round and ’round on the Mater ride. Li’l D howling joy as we rode California Screamin’ for the first time in ages, and then again the second time, and every other time afterward. The moment where I looked up at my big boy and saw a glimpse of the man he’s becoming.

disney lil d seven.png

“Dude, Mom, it’s just a truck.”

My heart was full before I met Li’l D seven years ago, sure. It’s just that it was a full cup. Now, thanks to both my boys, it’s the largest pool in the world … and yet still, somehow, overflowing.

Saturday Soliloquy: 26

I killed
26 people
on Wednesday

I didn’t
pull the trigger
physically, but I
killed them
all the

For fifteen years,
my people have
used one
to justify

some war
I thought
“Not my

spread from
one country to
another to yet
another, I thought,
“I guess that’s just
how it is”


For fifteen years,
I never thought to question
my leaders: “How are
me and mine served by our
bombing one then two
then seven countries?
How am I served
by our killing
people and
their homes,
lives, and
in ways
that could
only fan
of hate?

explain it to me
like I’m a five-year-old”

My silent assent
enabled them, and they
have milked it for
all they

My president
has sold $115 billion
in weapons to Saudi Arabia
alone*; it, in turn, has used
those weapons to kill
civilians, over and
over and over

(so many killed,
the Red Cross
is donating

By looking
the other way,
I said, “Yes,
I approve”

And those
I’d helped elect,
they just kept
for money
run for
their lives
from our weapons

when I saw pictures
of children starving in
Yemen because of our–
no, my–weapons, I wept,
for I am starving them

And when
I saw that 71 senators
permitted another billion-dollar
weapon sale to Saudi Arabia
the very same day those
26 innocents were killed
by our business partner,
I wanted to scream

Today, I will kill
even more people,
but take some scant
solace in knowing
I will not be complicit
any longer

I will shout at
those I’ve elected
that I will not support
murder, not vote for it,
not stand for it,
will rise up
against it


I can’t stop
any trigger from
being pulled today
or tomorrow, or the day
after, I. will. speak. in hopes
that my fellow Americans
hear that politicians who
fear losing their seats
will listen well to
an overwhelming
chorus of voices
saying, “You
no longer
my quiet
to murder
(26, 260, 2,600,
or 26,000)
for your or

* By all rights,
we should have
been fighting against
Saudi Arabia; instead,
we have bombed the house
while leaving
the bathroom

** Go to hell stricken
parts of Yemen,
General Dynamics.
May your munitions
fail and end up striking
you where you sleep

Note also
that President Obama
yesterday vetoed a bill that would
enable 9/11’s victims to sue Saudi Arabia;
it’s too important a business partner
big a munitions buyer to
risk losing it over silly
things like
the law or

Already written

Yesterday, I told two coworkers how much I appreciate them and what they do.

“Write that down so you remember it when you’re asked about our performance later!” said one.

“Naw,” I replied. “I don’t need to write it down to remember it. It’s already written in my heart.”

Categories: Work Tags: , ,

measure in love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

Work ends

I love it, but
I’m tired, still

I scroll through
my Twitter feed
as I walk to my car,
feeling both more alert
and more tired
by the tweet

But then
I climb into my car
and I am lifted–
no, catapulted–
to love
by a chorus of
voices singing
about how to
measure the
moments in
a year

These friends
(this family),

(They are
my friends,
and my family)

Even when
I step out of my car,
Rent continues
in my soul

Its silver (love)
cocoon continues
to shimmer
around me though
its notes stopped
with the car

After dinner,
my older son
pedals his bike
up ahead

I jog behind
with my younger son
on my hip

Littler J giggles.
Bouncing is fun–
so fun, he bursts
out singing his ABCs,
all the way through,
which I didn’t know
he could do

And then,
back home,
my husband’s
trying to tell me
about an article in
The New Yorker, but
I’m not really listening
because the kids are tired
and I read them
their bedtime
stories first

I feel guilty, as I begin
to read

(I should have
listened better. Why
must I be so objective

I try to focus on
my little boys, which
is easy because they are
so silly and sweet

Li’l D blows
spit bubbles as
Littler J pretends
a Hulk action figure
is a monkey jumping
on the bed, which
bed is actually
his brother’s

When it’s Daddy’s turn
to read, both the boys
rush to snuggle him

Littler begins (again)
singing about monkeys
jumping on the bed

“Why does he keep
saying three monkeys?!”
asks Li’l D, affronted

“He’s only two,”
Daddy explains, gently.
“He doesn’t know
subtraction, yet”

Daddy sings along,
leading slightly
so that the proper
number of monkeys
remain on the bed

And I sit down
at my computer
to look at political
Twitter, but instead
find myself humming
Seasons of Love

And I know,
with every particle
of me, not only that
life is not measured
in missed tweets,
but that it’s
measured by
shared in

Oh you got to remember the love
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love


Categories: Love, Parenting, Twitter Tags: , , , ,

The 40s track

“You’re on the 30s track, aren’t you?” my six-year-old asked of my age yesterday.

Laughing, I agreed I am. Nodding toward my husband, I added, “And he’s on the 40s track!”

A little later, I couldn’t help but notice how the 40s track suits him.


I’m already looking forward to his 50s track.

Saturday Soliloquy: Seek the Stars

Do you feel comfortable engaging with politics?

I didn’t, until recently. I hadn’t done enough reading. I didn’t understand enough. This being so, I was sure I could never understand enough.

Changing careers last year helped change my perspective. I stepped from a universe full of knowledge-stars and into the darkness of a universe apparently nothing like the one I’d left behind.

The darkness was daunting, but I sought out the stars. Read more…

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