Tuesday, November 07, 2017

365 Days Since

There's one thing I do when I look at a picture of a couple expecting their first child. I focus in on their faces and marvel at the untested optimism and well-rested, fully-present gleam in their eyes and think, “Oh what they don’t know…” There's something striking about it--to be so unburdened by the kind of doubt, responsibility, exhaustion and heartache that's to come. To be, in a word, untested.

There are other moments in life marked with a profound before and after. I also get this feeling when I see pictures of myself prior to November 8, 2016--the last election day. And this is not just because my candidate didn't win. We’re way past that.

October 22, 2016

When I look at this picture, I see a woman who saw only part of the world she walked in and knew only a fraction of the things she should know. Someone who wasn't engaged or cared enough to spend time cultivating civic connections. Someone who may have experienced select moments of racism but largely didn’t understand the enormity of what Black people put up with on a daily basis. Someone whose knowledge of government workings peaked with a School House Rock cartoon. Someone who felt politics were tedious, procedural, personally unaffecting and best left for smarter, more power-hungry people. Someone, almost foreign to me now.

Everyone has opinions about the way society should be. Motivations for one’s world view are inspired by socioeconomics, faith, sexual/gender identity, race, education, travel--just to name a few. For me, my primary inspiration comes from being a mother. It’s actually both empowering and daunting. These last 365 days have been eye-opening and at times discouraging because I now realize the U.S. is a big place full of lots of people with very different ideas than me and people around me. The state of civic discourse, society’s direction and interpersonal/interfamilial conflicts under this administration have cut more deeply than at any other time. But I think about what kind of world I wish to hand over to my children and it steadies my resolve to help make positive change.



Visiting a Mosque after the 1st Travel Ban

Seattle City Council Mbrs Kshama Sawant & Tim Burgess, Rachel Berkson, Rep. Jayapal Office Director

Former Press Secretaries Carney & McClellan 

Bingo/Karaoke Fundraiser for 36th Dist. State Rep. Noel Frame

Women's Post March Huddle, Ballard

Open House with US Rep WA-07 Pramila Jayapal

In these past 365 days, I have become a student again. First sad and begrudgingly, then eager to learn about civics, advocacy, history, government, politics, law, race relations. Subjects I merrily stayed ignorant of and uninvolved with because they were for other people who would take care of the rest of us. If I have realized anything, it’s that real democracy is not a spectator sport. Like a cold splash of water, that truth jolted me out of my sleepwalk. Time to step the f**k up and engage, use my voice and make civic participation part of daily life--not just a yearly chore. This is my responsibility as a citizen, as a parent. And this is what this past year has been about.

Washington State Gov. Inslee
WA State Senator Cantwell

Standing Room Only at the 'Fighting' 36th District Town Hall

Kids & Race Program Fundraiser
Murrow College Ethics Project

Seattle Times Discussion on Funding Education
No more not knowing who represents us locally, statewide or nationally. No more not seeking multiple sources of information on issues local and national. No more throwing up my hands about how “complex” or “nuanced” a topic is so I give up on it. No more pretending that being busy is reason enough to disengage. There is a lot I still don’t know (or will never know) and while I won’t be an expert on funding schools or the plight of homeless people or the Emuluents clause or tax law, it won’t stop me from paying attention and trying to help make this country a better place in modest ways: such as giving money, giving stuff, showing up, speaking out or refocusing hours of lost attention spent on celebrity gossip.  

My new ‘friends’ at Pod Save America penned a beautiful essay about the phenomenon that sums it up even better.
Pod Save America in Seattle, May 2016

"The story we’ve begun to write is the story of an American awakening – the story of a national trauma that is causing us to slowly shake off our cynicism and recognize that democracy is showing up, not just on Election Day but on all the days in between." --Jon Favreau

Fight for the future.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

O'Canada 2017: Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain
This place was amazing.


Lumberjack Show at Grouse Mountain

From our recent trip to Canada: The Monty Python song used to be the first thing to come to mind when I'd think of 'lumberjacks.' But now...have you ever seen a lumberjack competition? OMG, it's absolutely delightful! The suspense. The danger. The athleticism. LOVE IT.

Monday, September 04, 2017

O'Canada 2017: Science World & Stanley Park

Having not spent much time up in Vancouver BC before and having no good reason for avoiding it, we packed up the kids and headed north this last week. It's shocking really, given the proximity, wealth of activities/attractions and just the international cosmopolitan allure that we had not thought of this plan sooner. Additionally the weather was *perfect* in 70/80 range unlike the rest of the west coast which is in the 90/100 range. 

A week away won't fix the government or make the struggles of this country go away, but it does push a reset button (or at least pause) so the soul can recoup. But doing so in Canada, especially Vancouver, where their accent is so similar to our own, doesn't even feel like we're in a foreign country. Sure everything is in 'metric' and there is an extra 'u' sometimes (like favorite vs. favourite) and they go to the Washroom (not the Restroom or Bathroom) but the best thing is their money. It's super futuristic and made of polymer plastic so that coupled with their dollar & two dollar coins, a favorable exchange rate to the US dollar and having gotten rid of the absolutely worthless Canadian penny--throwing tourism money at them is easy and enjoyable. 

With the children, we made sure we did things that they would enjoy and got us out and about. And walking around was pretty entertaining. Take for example the Lamborghini Batmobile with a parking ticket that we happened upon. Won't see that in Seattle!

Batmobile Lamborghini 

Their science center is very impressive in terms of what variety of exhibits they have in addition to the amount of hands on opportunities. Maybe it's the Canadian sensibility or more money to put toward education--don't know. But they also don't sugar coat stuff either. There was a whole section on how babies are made and it even acknowledges the existence and intricacies of (gasp) sex. I like that frankness about the truth of science and the lack of unfounded pearl-clutching about the topic. Another area of the museum featured many kinetic, Rube Goldberg-like contraptions that engaged the kids for long spans of time. It's really a great place to spend the day with a good deal of fun and learning and if you have a membership already to the Pacific Science Center (or many other ASTC science museums) you can get in free.

Look at these nerds, right here...


I so want one of these guys if they're as cool as the one in Tangled.

We saw the IMAX "Beavers" movie then Cal saw a stuffed Beaver on exhibit and now they are his favorite animal ever.

An undisputed crown jewel of Vancouver is it's picturesque and vibrant Stanley Park. It's packed with a bunch of trails, beaches, play areas, nature stuff and gorgeous views. There is a seawall trail that runs the perimeter of the entire park and is roughly 5.5 miles. We brought the kids' bikes up with us and rented a few for ourselves. I personally loved the 7-speed Trek Cruiser that I rented and might even consider getting one in real life for (gasp) riding around Seattle. But most impressive was that the kids did the whole ride without whining. A stop for lunch and a few stops to look at stuff were also part of the winning strategy.  

Cal was not having his picture taken. Vancouver in the background.

At the awesome waterpark on the route.

Sidney perfected her eye roll on this trip and we shall never be the same.

To be continued.....