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attack of the gpms: no reply at all (genesis)
Aug 2nd, 2013 by wrekehavoc

bet you’re glad attack of the gpms is over after today, aren’t you. (well, except for actual mondays when i feel like writing about guilty pleasure monday selections, of course.)

yeah, yeah, yeah, i know. this is the second genesis song in one week. (if you don’t like it, go write about it in your own blog. and then, share your link with me.) however, can you even believe it is the same band that sings afterglow? you hear this song, and you definitely think you are listening to another group. what a difference a couple of years made! by the time the band made abacab, the dudes had moved from ethereal prog rock (also known in my head only as music for hobbit heads) to nearly-radio-ready top 40 singles. and while this album mostly was a mainstay of AOR radio at the time, subsequent albums would yield multiple top 40 hits. this effort was sort of like training wheels for the ride to come.

i adore abacab for so many reasons, some of which i will keep to myself so i that don’t make your eyes glaze over.  there are quirky songs intermingled with songs striving to be pop hits. while my favorite song on the album is probably still the dark horse like it or not, i adore no reply at all.  and i adore it for one reason: my Beloved Spouse.

no, there’s nothing mushy or sentimental going on here. this is not one of our songs, per se. but when this song comes on, BS always attempts to be the entire horn section. he only does this on two songs. here’s exhibit b:

phil collins may be a stellar songwriter, drummer, and even a distinctive voice. but hot damn, the man knows how to put together kickin’ horn sections.

and nothing is funnier than BS imitating them.

just take my word for it.

better yet, you try it.

bus stop
Aug 17th, 2012 by wrekehavoc

here’s a back-to-school equation for you: bad decisions + poor communication = really pissed off parents.

so arlington county public schools is a pretty awesome district. we moved here specifically for the schools, and we’ve been quite happy overall with our kids’ experiences. we’ve especially loved our elementary school, taylor elementary (go tigers!) the administration is open and receptive; the teachers have been caring; and so far, so good. my house is .9 miles from the school; and we are among the people situated closest to the school from out of our school bus stop pals. most are further away, certainly a mile or more. [pay attention to this info;  there will be a test later. maybe.]

this summer, we received two letters from APS.  the first letter from our superintendent, dated july 9, told us about first day packets (which we can now fill out online at the Student Info Center — yay, arlington! you answered some of my prayers!) also, it hinted at fun things to come in transportation land. APS apparently had hired consultants (motto: got a problem? if not, we’ll show you that you do!) to help figure out the nightmarish transportation conundrums facing a school system that is overcrowded and yet still growing. yes, changes were afoot:

“With the start of the school year this fall, we will be moving forward with the plans that the Office of Transportation has outlined. One of the first steps underway includes the implementation of bus‐routing software to help us plan routes that are more efficient so we can maximize the capacity of our bus fleet.

The second step that is critical to this plan is to serve students who are eligible to receive bus transportation services. As outlined in School Board policy, elementary school students who live more than one mile from school and secondary school students who live more than 1½ miles from school will receive bus transportation.

In early August, principals will be sending families of students who are eligible for transportation services a letter that will include their child’s bus stop and route. This addresses a critical safety concern for students who ride buses and allows us to better communicate and serve families when we may experience a delay or other changes in service.”

hmm. we’re .9 mile from school, but others are more than a mile. i hope we get that info soon, i thought. i will need to plan if my kid loses his school bus. it’s a 20 minute walk to school, barring he doesn’t get run down on North 31st Street (motto: Death Race 2000 wasn’t filmed here, but it could have been), or wiped out walking up our congested main street (the equivalent of 10 flights of stairs while carrying a 35+ pound backpack — yeah, yeah, you walked to school uphill in the snow both ways when you were young. hey, the 1970s called and wants your sad, fat ass back. would love to see some naysaying adults walk this walk with a backpack in either snow or 90+ degree weather during rush hour.) if i walk with him, that’s 80 minutes a day i have to carve out. daily. you know, from my bon-bon eating, soap opera-watching life as a stay-at-home mother. (isn’t that what we stay-at-home-moms do? oh yeah, i do have contract work. and, uh, i dunno. basically keeping things afloat. but i digress. per usual.)

there’s no short-cut to school, unless you consider a wooded park behind our house. and anyone who knows kids knows that given the choice of walking down and up a long, boring, traffic-lined sidewalk with stinky cars all around or walking through a park, well, the park wins. only this park has no path directly to school from our neighborhood. imagine the boy, running first through my kindly neighbor’s yard to get to the park, then crossing the stream that runs through the park, and then, going through a heavily wooded, very hilly area to get to and from school each day! yee ha! only now imagine 20, 30 children doing that each day. and no, we don’t live in east boofoo, nowhereland. we are less than one mile from a major city.

so. not. safe.

and i’m digressing yet again.

fast forward your little time machine to early august. august 3 to be exact. and heeeeere’s another letter. oh goody. i’ll get some clarification, right?

Transportation Assignment Letters: Transportation Services will be mailing letters to the parents of APS students who
are eligible for bus transportation later this month. Please look for your letter in the mail the week of August 20. It will include your child’s bus route number, bus stop and pickup time. The lower portion of the letter includes a “voucher.” Please be sure to tear it off and have your child carry it and present it to the driver when boarding the bus.

Walker Letters: A separate letter will be mailed for children who live in the school “walk zone.” Bus transportation is available only for students who are eligible for transportation and have received a transportation “voucher” in the mail. Otherwise, we hope you will encourage your student to walk or bike to school – this is a healthier option and will also help our environment by reducing the number of cars transporting students to and from school. Information about biking or walking to school is available online at www.apsva.us/schoolwalkmaps or www.walkarlington.com.

whatwhatWHAT? so let me get this straight: you MAY BE taking away my child’s bus, but i won’t know until i receive a letter posted august 20th? seriously? half of arlington is on vacation in late august; we are tied to the congressional vacation schedule, and you people know it. so you are sending information that is critical at a time when tons of affected parties aren’t around? and even if they are, you are giving people roughly two weeks to figure out how exactly to collect their children from a school that is already wildly congested at pick-up time as is? there is no parking, people. it is a safety disaster that is nearly averted every single day of the year. and now, you are adding MORE CARS to the picture?

let me go to the Student Info Center. i’m SURE there will be answers there. let’s see… BC has a middle school bus assignment, which is good since her middle school is a 10-minute drive from here, and that’s with miss jerseygirl driver at the wheel. let’s have a look-see at jools’ info:

To School: Information cannot be found relating to how this student is transported to school.

From School: Information cannot be found relating to how this student is transported from school.

uhm, so let me get this straight. are you replacing buses with star trek transporters? because i don’t see a bus stop here. i don’t see anything here.  i talk with a friend in another neighborhood, and she indicates that her former bussed students are now being designated as walkers.

this doesn’t look good.

so, i call the transportation answer center, the one proudly mentioned in one of the aforementioned letters. the one that’s supposed to help me, right? answers? the lady who answered the phone there had no answers for me. none.

so i went with some parents from a nearby-neighborhood who are in the same boat that i’m in. off we trekked to the APS school board meeting to learn about the new transportation plan. i listened carefully to what the director of transportation said. and i still have no answers. i *did* hear someone say that the children are getting bus PASSES to ride busses and not bus VOUCHERS (which, i believe, is what they were called in one of the aforementioned APS letters.) and all i kept thinking was, really? my kid can’t always remember to bring home his homework. how long do you think it will be before my kid loses THAT? (assuming he is even on a bus, that is.) i even got up to speak about my situation, and other concerned parents spoke, too. i understand that only certain schools are affected by losing some busstops. is it just that our school has more helicopter parents who recognized this and jumped on it? are we just canaries in the coal mine?

(sorry. i love the police.)

anyway, i am left perplexed. this process never involved me or any parents i know. it is greatness thrust upon us, with very little time to make arrangements. this is not a matter of people being too lazy to walk. some of these kids will be walking down major streets with no sidewalks. some of these kids will be crossing streets where cars don’t even stop when a school bus has it’s flashing red lights on (North 31st Street, I’m looking at YOU.) according to the transportation director’s remarks last night at the meeting, the school district has added 1000 new students to its rolls this year but 0 new busses. Zero. Zilch. (maybe, children WILL be using star trek transporters to get to and from homeroom.) and, to paraphrase a quote that sage of sages bart simpson, he was proud of it, man.

it just takes one little kid to become road pizza and then your big ol’ cost savings on a bus goes out the window, folks.

can’t wait for these infamous bus/walker letters to get received. i bet when other parents discover — SURPRISE! — that their little kids are now walkers that there will be more  gnashing of teeth, shock and awe.

in the meantime, i feel like APS is taking people like me for a ride.

laughing
Nov 26th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

lighted in a room, lanky room

lighted lighting laughing in tune

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKOesjFT94w

today, we hit the comedy place in ballston where there was to be a special improv show for kids.  BS got some half-price ticket special, which made it even better. (top that off with a buy-one, get-one-free coupon from cold stone creamery and it was even better.) maybe because it was thanksgiving day weekend, but there were literally two other families there (and they were related to each other), so it wasn’t exactly a packed house. this is a shame, really, as the two people running the show did a great job rassling people and humor and keeping it at a disney-level of appropriateness…

which wasn’t easy considering our family. when they asked for something you talk about at the dinner table, the other family yelled out: turkey! we yelled out: politics! when they asked what’s something in your garage, i yelled out: jimmy hoffa! jools, not to be outdone, yelled out: a crime scene!

it’s moments like these where i am super-glad that no one from the division of youth and family services attends these things.

the other family was overly-hammy, which did get annoying to me after awhile. they apparently have been to these things many, MANY times before, sort of comedy groupies. (we’d been to grown-up comedy nights here before we had kids.) but again, if they hadn’t been there, it would have been all us, all the time. and their spirit was fun, so i shouldn’t gripe much.

as an aside, the boy neglected to eat lunch. and now, as it was 3pm and he was separated from video games, he realized he was hungry. he wanted to hit the concessions stand, but sadly, no one was staffing it. he wanted to check back, and he asked us whether he could go to confessions. that teachable moment alone was worth the price of admission.

anyway, we all ended up on stage at different times. i was an utter failure, playing some sort of charades-type game with julian and two other little boys. we were trying to convince the actor who was not in-the-know that we were running a debate, impersonating people from the big bang theory, with podiums that were actually guillotines. all without uttering a single word. (no, i am not making this up. and i am not on any meds that you might think i would be off at this particular juncture.) jools knew BBT, but the other two? not sure.

speaking of jools, i think he has a future in stand-up. both he and the girl were able to make up jokes on the fly during one exercise, and they both did a great job. but the boy’s delivery?

had me laughing. i’m laughing still.

money
Nov 25th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it’s not just something you use to get yourself stuff… it’s hours of fun, too!

today’s theme is money and how it can provide hours of activities for the whole family! (it is, after all, black friday.) BC started me down this thrilling path by deciding that it would be fun to experience black friday! don’t you want to hit tyson’s corner center at ungodly o’clock? sure. i know i did.

i told her that despite the mall opening at midnight, i would not be triapsing there at that time. we settled on waking up at 5:30am and hitting the mall then. and hit it hard we did. girlfriend, you see, needs new clothes. and there were some specials that would be too hard to pass up. two pairs of jeans, one skirt, two camis, three shirts, and one pair of sweats later, we did quite well. (i also did well on two cashmere sweaters at macy’s which i had been stalking for two months. a crazy sale price plus a coupon made it something i could finally do. (yeah, i use coupons. so what?)) also two pairs of dockers for BS, and the only person who got bupkes on this trip was jools. (not for lack of trying: we hit the gamestop, but it didn’t have a lot of there there for him. at least, notthat was on sale, anyway.)

the ladies at vera bradley were a little cuckoo, i would say. they were pretty clueless and the sale items we wanted weren’t there. ladies, step away from the paisley.

so what’s even more fun with money? looking into a piggy bank that i’ve had since i was in high school and seeing which quarters are now collectibles in jools’ book. and that’s what we did. wow, the boy exclaimed, a quarter from 1968! that’s really old, isn’t it??

uhm.

anyway, we found a bicentennial quarter, a coin from greece (also 1968!), a shekel, and all sorts of stuff… including some pretty gnarly-looking pennies. which leads us to fun with money part three: let’s learn about oxidation! i found a little piece called chemistry fun with pennies and mixed up a little vinegar-salt mixture. the boy threw in a bunch of pennies, a quarter, and a dime for good measure. we’re still waiting to see what happens, though the pennies seem to be improving…marginally.

in other news, my fingers have this awful vinegar/old metal smell. i guess i officially smell like money.

get up offa that thing
Nov 22nd, 2011 by wrekehavoc

you heard the man.

tomorrow is thanksgiving, a day in which millions of families across the US experience something pretty similar: women cooking and cleaning while men eat and then leave to watch TV (usually football.) when i was young, it didn’t occur to me that my mom spent hours cooking ahead of time and then cleaning afterwards, with little help from any of us save for my aunt barbara. i just thought it was a wonderful day where i was able to eat one of my favorite meals and then go off and do what i wanted.  (in fact, one of my favorite memories is a post-thanksgiving bike ride i once took with my aunt.)

now that i’m older, it all falls into perspective. i am the grown woman around here. a week or so before the blessed date, supermarkets start getting insane. in fact, i hit trader joe’s yesterday to get milk and such because i know better than to go into a supermarket today. a day or two in advance, i usually start getting some of the sides ready. some sides lend themselves to earlier prep, like cranberry sauce. others, however, are better left for game day.

and then, my bête noire — the turkey.

i hate cooking meat in general. and turkey? i can tell you about the year it was crispy on the outside and raw on the inside. or the year i was pregnant and making turkey was a struggle between cooking and barfing. i hit the point where it was a far, far better thing to buy the turkey pre-cooked than force my family to wonder whether they were going to experience salmonella up close and personal.

but then, after all this work, and after a beautiful meal, everyone leaves me to it.

women — it is time to tell the men that they need to do dishes. it’s about freaking time someone stood up for all that is fair. if people expect you to go through planning and cooking hell, the least they can do is help wash things and put them away. post-dinner football watching is not a Dog-given right. sheesh, even some of the most feministically-minded women i know still let the men off scot-free. not fair, i say. hand them a sponge and tell them to get cracking.

and for you guys who actually help out on thanksgiving day, bless you, one and all. the rest of you lazy shits — it’s time to get over yourselves. your spouses and significant female others do not work for you, this day or any other. give them something to really be thankful for — a guy with manners who actually appreciates all that has been done for him.

this year, i wasn’t feeling the love for cooking. and  BS agreed that this year, we could spend thanksgiving at a restaurant. i am looking forward to no cooking, no dishes. yeah, i won’t have any leftovers, either.

i think i can live with that.

don’t call me baby
Nov 17th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

what’s in a name?

today, i was having a lovely time on the phone with someone from my credit card company, a company that shall remain nameless, but a company with which i have been doing business certainly for over a decade. the customer service agent had all my information in front of her, and in her pleasant, not-quite-robotic voice, she chatted me up to personally upsell me some service or another. and then, she did it.

she called me shirley.

i kept the name i was born with; but if you think calling me by my husband’s last name irks me, you should just imagine how irritated i am to have my first name mangled.

and it isn’t like i’m really particular about my nicknames, either. Middlebro still calls me boo, which my friend jen-jen is almost too happy to tell people is short for sherry-berry-boo (and yes, she did that once in the middle of the most crowded corridor in high school, much to my total embarrassment.) my family calls me sher; some friends call me by my last name; and of course, my husband has a variety of nicknames for me, all of which i will spare you.  (you’re welcome.)

does your name ever get mangled? i’d love to hear variations on the theme in the comments section. i need a giggle.

guilty pleasure monday: henry the VIII, i am (herman’s hermits)
Nov 14th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

second verse, same as the first.

henry the VIII is one of those random songs that gets stuck in your head once and then pops up at the darndest times. for me, it pops up during those blank and dreary moments where you need something to make people smile and get re-energized.  there have been countless times when i’ll start singing it and the kids join in.  (yes, we’re that family.)

the song was one of the hits for the band herman’s hermits (including, as BS would imitate from the TV, peter noone from my generation!), a british band that became huge in the heydey of the beatles. in fact, they apparently were the top selling pop act in the US in 1965, toppling the beatles from that post.  all this, in part, thanks to famed producer mickie most, who would select their songs and often wouldn’t let them play, using session musicians like john paul jones and jimmy page instead. they had hit after hit for several years, but of course one day, they broke up and tried their own stuff which was never quite successful. (peter noone had one minor hit covering what ultimately became a bowie classic oh! you pretty things.)

but i’ll keep it simple so that no one chops my head off. henry the VIII is bouncier and a lot more fun than it’s subject matter would imply. and it’s actually kid-safe, unlike plenty of my musical fodder.  but yeah, i would get laughed out of a lot of places for this one.

ripples
Nov 13th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

ripples never come back.

last night, we tried a new chi chi pizza place.  BC, approaching 13, is pretty open to trying any new place, although this being a pizza place, there’s not any problem with her discovering and trying something new, in this case, a pannini sandwich. jools, firmly planted as an 8 year old dude who doesn’t eat fruit so don’t even try, okay?, was content to share a white pizza with me so long as they took off anything remotely green (basil, which he usually likes, spinach, which he also likes, so why are we removing green things again?) my half was supposed to included additional broccoli and mushrooms, but his side was to remain pristine.  and of course, BS ordered a calzone with something porcine that the rest of us, red sea pedestrians, could not and would not eat.

this restaurant cleverly had some board and card games for families to play while they await their food (which, i would add, is sufficient time to finish two games of uno. at least.) as we sat around, playing cards and arguing over the rules, i managed to glance over at a family a table over from us. their oldest, a girl, looked no more than about four. their younger child, in a high chair, could not have been much over two. their kids stil in pre-game-playing mode, they looked over at us, slightly wistfully, as if they wished they were playing a card game as we were.

i smiled back at them. it will happen soon enough.

we were that family once.

drive
Nov 9th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it’s official: i have become a suburban cliché.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQN7A6Vl1H4&ob=av2e

yesterday, the kids were off from school because it’s election day and apparently, the schools haven’t figured out how to run polls and a school day simultaneously.  (okay, so i kid. a little.) but considering that they will be off again friday for veterans day, i wish they had decided instead to take thursday off and make it a big old weekend where we could actually go somewhere. but no, instead, we have tuesday and friday off, and our half-day wednesday is now a full-day of school for one day only, thus insuring chaos with the boy’s ability to complete his homework, which comes before everything else (including hebrew school, which happens about 45 minutes after he will get home from school.)

but i’m not bitter.

so anyway, back to yesterday. my relaxing day home with the kids, the day after my intensely delightful IVIg session where i was poked 13 times. the one where i returned to a house on the verge of chaos and a body full of type two reaction to the Ig. the girl had wanted to sleep over a friend’s house, but with all her plans for tuesday brewing, i could not add yet another thing to the plate. and even though i may sound like a spoilsport, i really didn’t think a sleepover with several other girls on a monday night could end well. so she stayed home, not complaining about her mean-ass mom. (the girl is very smart.)

i woke up with my IVIg headache, the one that lasts until it decides it’s time to take up residence in someone else’s head. it’s a dull sort of headache, not like a migraine. but it’s there, and it’s heavy, and it feels like someone placed some very large bees in your head. you can function, but the pain in your head makes you a bit grumpy. the three of us got it together and dropped the girl at play practice at 9:30. the boy and i then were off to target, where i hoped to do some minimal food shopping while getting the boy to write down his holiday gift list while walking through the toy aisle. throw in a return plus a few other things needed that would be unavailable in a grocery and voila! tar-jzhee is the place.

two hours later, after meeting one of jools’ friends there and arranging a playdate for 2:30, we put away groceries; i fed the boy; and then i told him he should go play outside. mommy still had a deadline for work. so i worked, met my deadline, and then took the boy over to his playdate. then, at 3, i had to pick the girl up. the girl had gone from play practice to a friend’s house, where she and her friend were completing their science experiment for the school science fair.  after dropping the boy off, i sneaked off to… vote. and then, off to BC’s friend’s house. woe is me; while i was out driving the boy, i missed the call that said that BC’s friend’s mom could drop her home.

so i found myself on the friend’s porch at 2: 50something, and no one is answering the friend’s door. of course, the minivan is in the driveway and is open, so someone must be home. but the sound of droning leafblowers (far less pleasant than the hissing of summer lawns, i assure you) is making those bees in my head angrier and angrier, push harder and harder.  i pound on the door, figuring that the doorbell must be broken and hoping that someone can hear me over the lawn men. eventually, BC’s friend comes to the door, smiling. and i hear BC’s voice trailing from their kitchen mooo-ooom, didn’t you get my message? J’s mom is going to take me hoooome.

uh, nope.

so after they clean up their experiment, i drive her home to get a quick change, as she’s off to girl scouts at 3:30. i run her over there and run home, thinking a glass of water or a coffee or SOMETHING might pacify those damn bees. and after realizing it’s just a little after 4, i remember that my eye medicine has been languishing at Walgreen’s since Friday. i decide to run to the giant to get cornbread mix (to go with the chili i snuck into the slow cooker at about 2), do the drive-thru pharmacy thang, and then rush over to jools’ playdate’s home, where he should be picked up between 4:30 and 5. good, i think, i will get there about 4:45 and life will be awesome.

only too bad for me. my doctor has changed the prescription, which doesn’t make my life happier in insurance land. i am sitting in the drive-thru line for literally 20 minutes. tick tock tick tock. a car that is behind me in line gives up and drives away. (i can’t move aside or else i would. i have been that car.) finally, it is 4:56, and i pray that BS will pick up the phone. he does. and he races over to pick up the boy.

my prescription straightened out, i race over to the boy’s playdate’s house to apologize for my lateness. when someone tells me pickup is between 4:30 and 5, i aim for the middle time. i am not a mom who leaves her kid til the last second. and now, i have that rep.

but, no time to stop. i must pick the girl up from girl scouts at 5:30. i stop at home for another drink of water, another chance that the bees might be appeased. but they keep buzzing. and i go.

i bake cornbread, i make dinner, we eat. i do dishes, i finish the laundry i had started, and i am done. i take a few motrin, and the bees go away.

until this morning. the girl has called from school. she has forgotten her lunch.

i’m back in the driver’s seat.

9/11: ten years on
Sep 9th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

9/11. a day that shall also live in infamy.

i’ve written before about what happened in my little world on 9/11. i think it’s safe to say that the day was the most terrifying day of my life, shepherding my then-two-and-a-half-year-old while panic-stricken in the flight path while wondering where on earth my husband, my aunt, my family could be.  everyone who was alive and old enough can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing that day.

and we have a tree in our yard, one of the 182 planted all around our county, in memory of the pentagon victims.  every day, i look at that tree, now tall and very leafy; and when i’m not cursing the fact that it needs a trim because it’s branches have overspread and sometimes whack my car in the driveway, i smile wistfully, thinking about a lady i never had the chance to meet, a lady who was my co-worker and friend’s wife, a lady who was on that plane. a lady whose daughter recently wrote a column that moved me.  in that column, the daughter talks about how her mother, a clinical psychologist, would note that the last stage of grief is acceptance and renewal. instead of asking her to basically attend her mother’s funeral every year, she writes, why not instead make it a day to look ahead and to look inside at ways we can understand and behave better toward one another?

i must admit, the media lead-up to 9/11 is overwhelming. someone must be very afraid that americans will forget the day, as if it were some minor blip on the radar; and so we get panelists after panelists discussing foreign policy. we get memorials, we get survivors, we get audio and video from that fateful day. it’s all very compelling, like a car crash; but all these things are seared into the national psyche, and it’s as if we are looking backward and not forward.

perhaps it benefits a generation of kids who were not alive or not at least old enough to know what actually happened; but then i look at my daughter, who was a toddler at the time and know better. unlike me, she has had to practice emergency drills at school for terror attacks. she knows how best to hide in the coat closet and squish down along with her classmates in case a gunman is coming. you steer clear of the classroom door, she tells me, and you stay down.  even my son, born after 2001, knows full well that sometimes, you need to practice in case a bad person is in your school.  i remember when they had to figure out danger plans at my son’s daycare in case the children were on the playground and an attack took place. all these plans, and it all starts with protecting babies in daycare, children in schools.  there’s a whole different culture of awareness now, since 9/11, at least down here in DC and, i suspect, in the NY metropolitan area. and it extends all the way down to our littlest citizens.

friends sometimes ask me whether i wish i could move away from this area. and after 9/11, i desperately wanted to. i live in the flight path of national airport and dulles, and the sound of planes overhead jarred me for months after the event. i would look into the sky and pray that the airplane overhead stayed suspended and continued soundlessly to it’s predetermined destination. i became afraid of planes, too, and flew infrequently. in short, i felt powerless in the face of horror, and i wanted to somehow get out of its way.

but the truth is that horror can be anywhere. and so can beauty be. after living here for over 20 years, i have grown to grudgingly love this area, a place that belongs to the whole nation. it’s a beautiful place, especially during the early spring, when flowers bloom amidst the urban world. every day, i can drive by the capitol, the national mall, abe lincoln and thomas jefferson, and see important visual statements about our nation and it’s values. it’s far from nirvana, of course, but it’s really a beautiful, important place.

i want to protect this beauty.

i want to be a part of the citizenry that says no to terror; i want to be a part of the group that lets terrorists know that while they do harm us in serious, painful ways, that we respond. and yes, we respond in grief at first — but we eventually get past that crushing weight and move into acceptance and renewal. my city’s not of ruins; it’s of people who fight terrorism simply by being here and living their lives.  i have accepted that i am here, and i have accepted that, while painful and frightening as it can be to live here, i am going to live here as long as i can stand it. i am going to live here as long as i can love it.

and i intend to love it as long as i can.


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