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witness

Last night, I cried when someone said “th.”

Of course, I didn’t cry because the sound “th” is especially poignant when spoken aloud.

My tears ran deeper than that.

wpid-img_20110505_180026Many years ago, I ran into Joss Whedon at an L.A. comic book store. I began shaking, realizing who stood to my right. Joss Whedon! Creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel! Two shows that totally shaped my real life!

I told him why I was sad, and asked if he’d mind signing my journal.

He signed.

It was important I have his signature. Read more…

Hydroplane

Downpours flooded SoCal streets yesterday, but all had mostly dried up by mid-morning today. This meant I was unconcerned when I set out for a meeting.

Trouble struck when I tried getting onto the freeway. Turning sharply onto the ramp that’d deposit me on the freeway 20 or so feet below, I found my car suddenly floating just above the road. My steering wheel did its own thing.

First, my car veered right toward foliage. I didn’t dare try countering the pull, because I felt like flipping was inevitable.

The car then veered left, taking me precariously close to the thin metal barrier that kept me from tumbling down onto the road below. I kept my hands poised above the steering wheel, ready to seize it when it seemed ready to respond to my touch (without flipping my car). 

I managed to miss the barrier by a few inches and steer myself safely down the ramp. My heart raced as I drove northward and contemplated the possibility of different outcomes.

The next 30 minutes, I found myself appreciating with new clarity how tenuous is the connection between tire and road. Every skid and shudder had me on alert.

Ultimately, I made it safely to my destination. My return trip was pleasant. Now, safe at home, I’ll be content to drive nowhere else this long weekend …

Categories: Los Angeles, Reflections Tags: ,

The memory of typhoons

In 2004, I experienced my first typhoon in a small coastal town on Japan’s main island, Honshu. I filmed myself standing in the middle of a street while everything shook and swayed around me.

All was silent and still in the eye of the storm. I couldn’t believe the winds would soon whip around me again, but they did. I howled with them when they returned. The windy days I’d loved at home were nothing compared to this.

I enjoyed my later typhoons, too, but none invigorated me the same way my my first one did.

Today, an ocean and a dozen years removed from my first typhoon, I look out my SoCal windows and see the trees thrashing in the wind. The wind rattles my home’s windows, slamming sheets of rain against them.

I don’t know what it is about the wind, but I have always loved it. I will always love it. This wind-advisory afternoon, I’ll snuggle up with my husband and my little boys, content in now … but also remembering the thrill of being one small body standing strong against ferocious winds.

My DemEnter

I left the U.S. Democratic Party on June 10, 2016. I returned on January 7, 2017.

You can read about why–and what it has to do with this lovely oncology nurse–here.


I’m reading Bernie’s Our Revolution right now for insights into effecting political change. 

If you’re concerned about the shape of a country that permits outcomes like that highlighted above–pennies “saved” for lives destroyed–please consider listening to Bernie’s town hall on CNN at 9 p.m. ET tonight.

Talks with old friends

I talked with an old friend yesterday morning.

She had made coffee at 6:15 a.m. so she’d be ready to chat at 6:30 a.m.

As I drove to work, Jane and I talked on the phone about many things. One particular exchange stood out after we hung up after I reached my office.

“I’m trying to give myself breaks. I can’t really effect positive change from a place of constant distress, y’know?” I said.

“I’m writing that down,” she replied. She felt exactly what I meant.

deb jane

Me and Jane, more’n a decade ago

I wanted to write down a lot of what we said, but I couldn’t.

Instead of marking the words, I marked the feeling: the feeling of safety that comes with having loved and quarreled with and come back to loving someone without reservation.

For the first time in what seemed like ages, my distress melted away. I was just Deb, chatting with a dear old friend and savoring every second of it.

I tried to return to the feeling of Jane-talking throughout the day. I’d find it in moments here and there, but it kept fleeing when I thought about all the change I wasn’t making happen right now!

Today was a little different.

I’d told Jane yesterday, “Rain is nice. When it’s sunny out, which is most the time here, I feel like I have to get things done. When it pours, the load is lightened. I feel so much more mellow, like, ‘You know what? Today would be a good day to do half as many things.'”

It poured today, as if to remind me.

After spending extra time in traffic this morning thanks to the glorious downpour, I stopped at a gas station and messaged my sister and a new, supportive Twitter friend, Michael, while filling my tank: “Wish I knew how to relax right now.”

Step away, Rache and Michael both told me. Take a social media break!

I smiled. I was grateful to have them looking out for me.

Soon after, I read with a little boy who asked, “Will you be coming back tomorrow?!” (“No,” I told him, “but I’ll see you again next month!”)

At work, we had our holiday party. I fought valiantly and won the only prize worth keeping: poop slippers, which I seized at the very last second.

And there was something else, too: I’d solved a riddle. Thanks to Jane’s candor, I was able to piece together some part of a truth it’s pissed me off to have perpetually just beyond my reach.

The joy from solving a riddle is directly proportional to the time and energy it takes to solve it …

… and whether a friend helps you solve it.

1012356 slurp

Same as always on Friday, I inched home slowly in Friday afternoon traffic.

Unlike always, I smiled all the way. Why? Well, wouldn’t you know:

I talked with an old friend yesterday morning.

largeleaves

The sweet convergence of past and present

Mighty

When I was little, my mom took me to a few town halls and political rallies. I remember some of those experiences–especially meeting Representative Peter DeFazio, who later wrote me a letter!–fondly.

Yesterday, I took my seven-year-old, Li’l D to his first rally. We met up with a couple thousand other Angelenos opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

protect-sign

“Why are they even protesting?” asked a couple of young men who passed us as we walked toward the rally. “Isn’t it over?”

I shook my head and said, “No. The Army Core of Engineers denied easement, but DAPL proceeds. They’re fighting against the ruling and still very much on the ground in Standing Rock.”

“Damn,” murmured one.

“Yep,” I said, as Li’l D and I parted ways with them.

I’ve told Li’l D that there are hundreds of oil pipelines crossing portions of the U.S. Apart from transporting fossil fuels whose extraction contributes to climate change, they break and explode often, resulting in pollution, injury, and even death. While the rally was about one pipeline, I explained, it was also about all pipelines, fossil fuels, rights of indigenous peoples, and the rights of children who deserve better from adults. (He already knows about the inspiring Our Children’s Trust federal climate lawsuit, which can’t proceed quickly enough for me!)

Li’l D made his own signs, of which he was proud. He held them up for five or ten minutes before handing them to me. (Of course!)

d-signs

While he quickly grew bored, I was invigorated by the palpable love, passion, and commitment of the people around me.

I wrote last week about some of the many ways individuals can express their loving might. You are mighty, I concluded.

Marching yesterday, I felt in ways I can’t begin to articulate that our individual might is eclipsed by something else: Our might.

We are far mightier than we realize.

We are mighty.

 

Not only can, but do

This afternoon,
I ran for the first time
in months.

(Sometimes,
a girl’s just gotta
feel the wind against
her face as her feet
propel her
forward.)

Near the end
of my run, I saw
the woman who called
me a whore.

Her older
children stood
on the sidewalk,
and shouted after
me about the fat
white lady
jiggling.

I raised
a bird for them,
which shut them up.

And then,
when I reached
the opposite corner, I turned
around and ran back.

The boys jumped
back as I plowed
through. “Sorry,”
said one.

“Yeah,”
I said
as I
ran
on.

I
smiled,
looping
back on
the other
side of the
street.

Do they
think they
could possibly
say anything
I haven’t
already
heard
on
dozens
of
runs
before?

This
is
L.A.;
the only
way you
run is with
confidence
that no words
can hurt more
than running
heals.

I’ve run
two marathons,
and, barefoot,
a half marathon.

While they
sit idle and sling
harsh words, I’ll keep
running … running
toward something
better than
just sitting
around cars,
shouting
at the
people
who not
only can,
but
do.

Summited K2! Oh, wait.

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