About Me

Washington, DC, United States
Heather Capell Bramble is mother of two kaleidoscoping kids, Jonah and Vera. She has a magical kaleidoscope, often in her back pocket, and it usually helps her turn her normally chaotic life into something beautiful. Her goal is to have as much fun and try to be as happy as they can while on the uncharted journey of motherhood. This means doing lots of arts and crafts, going on crazy adventures, and celebrating all kinds of holidays - and yes, trying to laugh along the way!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

One Word: Vigilance

 Recap and WTF…
This is not the blog post I wanted to write.  It is not the blog post I thought I would be writing.  It is not on time. It is not flowing from my heart and soul in a cathartic rush of a song that leaves me inspired and hopeful. Rather it has taken me hours, days, weeks, and months, to bring myself to face the blank page where this blog post was to be written.  And as I do, my stomach is in knots and I can barely breathe.  Somehow writing it down as a blog post cements this reality into my life in a way that nothing else has.  This is reality.  This is life now.  This is what will be remembered. And no, I cannot just get over it.

I had been so scared. So anxious.  For months, weeks, days, hours and then minutes.  My stomach hurt, then too.  But life kept going on.  I was still tired (yes exhausted, still), still embracing and loving my small piece of life and those in it.  Hoping, praying and willing positive energy into the world with every selfie, baseball practice, piano lesson, Trader Joes frozen pasta dinner, work conference call, board meeting, and shabbot dinner – I willed life - positive, good, life into my world.  My Black Lives Matter sign, next to my Hillary sign, next to my American flag, next to my rainbow flag in front of my over 100 years old house with a mezuzzah on its door – but it was not enough. 

In the end, I learned quickly, none of it was enough.  I wasn’t crazy to be scared.  I wasn’t paranoid in my fear.  My anxiety was warranted. 


Last time we spoke, it was July 1st, right before the holiday weekend and we were about to usher in Independence Day 2016.   How ironic that in a mere 17 days from today, the United States will inaugurate its 45th President.  A man that tweets often and incoherently.  A man who used to be a regular contributor to the Whack Pack on the Howard Stern show.  He will be POTUS. This is our new reality. Six months have passed swiftly and the world has really changed this time.  Or rather my perception of this world has changed. And my belief in how much goodness is actually in the world has changed as well. It remains exhausting and somewhat depressing.


I Always Said, Just Wait Six Months and Everything Will Change…
Since I started working as a lawyer, I have this little saying I have coined for myself and often given to others when they needed it most.  It has been especially applicable at work – but also in life.  I always tell people when they feel like their job is absolutely horrible and there is no way out – just give yourself six months – wait six months and things will be different.  Almost always, they are and people move on.  Either it has gotten better or worse but either way, it has made the decision as what to do next easier.  What has happened these past six months, seems particularly of interest right now.

By mid-summer, the national primaries came to an end.  To my great delight and satisfaction, Hillary Clinton was nominated the first woman candidate for President of the United States of a major political party (Democrat).  And to most people’s shock, Donald Trump was nominated as the Republican candidate.  I was not shocked but scared. 

The Democratic Convention was flawless, inspirational, amazing and perfect.  The Republican Convention was dark, weird and just strange.

Meanwhile, my little crew went about living life.  The kids were day camping the days away. We took a road trip with our cousins to Dutch Wonderland. Celebrated July 4th with a little group of friends in our backyard.  Jonah did his first camp sleepover and Vera slept over at a camp friend’s house. They were in the camp shows. We did our annual family pool playdate in the Maryland suburbs.  The kids went to Yoga Camp together. Vera went to the salon to get her hair braided. Jonah and Vera took their first solo plane ride to Nana Camp for the week! Jocelyn and I and some friends visited Icebergs without the kids. Lots of summer fun in our backyard.  Pool playdate in Virginia. A week of baseball camp and gymnastic camp! And then much like the Democrats and Hillary, we ended our summer on an absolute high note of inspiration, light and the belief that we can and will all do this and the world will be better for it.  We took a road trip to Rehoboth Beach, DE to hang with family and then friends and then drove to the wonderful Poconos for 5 days at Camp JRF Family Camp.  We were ready for fall, a new school year, the election, and a Jewish New Year.


In politics, the weird just got weirder. Comey had his first press conference in July.  Trump was still tweeting.  Everyone was obsessed with Hillary’s emails, despite her concrete plans on how to actually get something done for all of America (health care, economics, the environment, security, gun violence, race issues, women’s issues, LGBTQ issues, refugees, human rights, disability issues etc.).  There was the video tape about grabbing stuff.  But still it was, you know, those damn emails.  And the leaks of other emails that had been hacked – the DNC and John Podesta’s emails.  And Trump inciting violence, the second amendment people and even asking for more hacking in a press conference… The Press was smitten and it was reality TV gone wild.  I became increasingly more scared, worried, and nervous.  There were three unbelievable debates.  In each one, Hillary did exactly what she had to do.  And she did it as Fred Astaire proclaimed (and later President Obama would remark), “Backwards and in high heels.”   And then Comey did his interference with days left. It was almost time for America to choose its path.  At some point, there is nothing left to do.  It is all left on the dance floor.

But yes, our little lives went on. School started. The kids started taking piano lessons at the local nonprofit family owned music studio (courtesy of nana and pop). Labor Day guests arrived and adventures were had. Karate rebooted. Vera began gymnastics. Torah school started with all its challenges.  The Jewish New Year, my mom’s 70th birthday extravaganza, Yom Kippur and a full week of sukkot festivities ending with Simchat Torah came and went! Jonah’s baseball season started. I rallied my troops for another road trip to NY for the 2nd Annual SToPP5K run/walk and hanging with our favorite redheads. The school fall festival.  I went to Orlando for a work conference. And then it was Halloween?!?!  With a party at Jocelyn’s office and the regular Halloween festivities on Conn Ave.  And then on November 2, 2016, I turned 46. Finally, we went as a family, and we all voted early, for Hillary! 

In the midst of all of this, I gathered my little crew and we became passionate about the election and what was at stake.  Jonah even watched a tiny bit of one debate.  But really, I could not let the kids watch the debates because they were weirdly R rated…  But Jonah and Vera did begin what I hope is a long road of political activism and involvement.  They learned about the issues. And studied the facts.  And then we took that learning on the road.  We went canvassing in Virginia with friends (multiple times).  Door to door.  Walking the precincts.  The kids were inspiring and inspired.  I let myself believe that yes, this could happen.  My kids who have only known the first black Prescient of the United States (in all his grace and fantasticness) could be a part of the next amazing thing, electing Hillary as the first women President – one who would be the most competent, prepared and amazing President this country has ever seen.


Then almost fittingly, we ended the election season together as a family in Annapolis.  The kids ran the Shark Sprint at the Naval Academy and they were terrific.  Grandma swooped in and took them home.  Jocelyn and I stayed over and met some local and out-of-town friends and ran the Across the Bay 10K over the Bay Bridge the weekend right before election day.  I proudly wore my “Bridges not Walls” Hillary shirt during the run.  People would run up next to me and cheer or thank me or just talk to me – willing her to win, asking me desperately, she’s got this right?  All I would say, go vote, and get your friends to vote – we need every single person to do this!  And then they would run by… I was scared.  They were scared… We were not sure.

And the Winner Is…
 I took election day off and a colleague and I went to York, PA to GOTV. That is where the campaign said they needed us.  Most of my friends were doing something that day.  Jocelyn went and did poll monitoring in Manassas, VA.  We woke up early that Tuesday morning. I “pantsuited up” and put on CNN to watch the election day coverage.  First time my kids had really seen CNN and the commercials.  Within 5 minutes, they were like what is going on – Trump makes fun of disabled people and he says the F curse?!?!?!?!  He isn’t going to win is he????  I told them I hoped not, but that mommy and mama were going to spend the day helping to get Hillary elected.  I gave them each a Hillary sticker and sent them to school.

I drove with my friend about two hours to York.  We were assigned a rural precinct. I have done GOTV for years.  I have never done a rural precinct. It is scary. We covered a lot of ground but it was worrisome. We were in Trump country. We were both quiet for most of the day.  We were scared. We did another packet at the end of the day in a suburb division.  We spoke to a few Hillary voters who just couldn’t get to vote because of the crazy long lines at their small polling place.  We gathered all the info: a young couple with small children, a 85 year old single woman who could not stand so long – she had gone 3 times already, and we went back to HQ to make sure they helped get Hillary’s voters to vote.  HQ rallied with chairs, water, food, and babysitters to help supporters. We felt we made a tiny bit of a difference and we drove home in the dark.  We were still scared and didn’t say much.

When I got home the kids were jumping around excited.  I told them they could sleep upstairs in my room and watch until they fell asleep.  Jocelyn was not back yet.  She arrived back a bit later and was exhausted and went right into Jonah’s bed to take a nap and told me to get her later.

I started watching the results with the kids but they fell asleep quickly.  I knew by 9pm it wasn’t good.  I just knew.  Sitting in my room looking at my kids sleep peacefully, my heart hurt. My stomach hurt.  My brain hurt.  How did this happen.  I waited hoping beyond hope my deepest darkest instincts we were wrong but as the states turned red or did not turn blue, I knew.  I went to Jocelyn and whispered in her ear it did not look good. She said she would get up in the morning, not now.

I went back to my bed and watched it all.  I couldn’t go to sleep. I remembered how 16 years earlier in 2000, when I was at the Mayflower hotel at a huge election night party and I refused to leave until 6am.  I could not believe Gore was not going to win. This time it was familiar the feeling of loss and heartbreak.  But this time, it was not shocking.  This was what I had been so afraid of.  I cried.  In the dim light of TV in my face at about 3am when they officially called it for Trump, I cried.  All I could think was how can I tell the kids.  What will I tell the kids.  How can this actually be happening.

And then at some point Trump gave his victory speech.  It was the best speech he has given during the campaign.  He said all the right things.  He spoke about Hillary in the right way.  And he said he would be the President for all of us.  I sighed.  I would watch this 15 minute speech with the kids when they woke up.  I went to talk to Jocelyn and we both agreed it was a good plan.

The kids woke up excited and bursting.  I told them the news.  They then actually burst – into tears.  I hugged them and we talked about how this is a democracy and votes matter and that everything was going to be ok.  And then we watched the speech.  They had a million questions and I tried to answer them.  I assured them that Mama and I would make sure they were ok no matter what.  We talked about helping others more now in case some people don’t have health care, houses, jobs, etc.  We agreed we would and could do that. I also assured them that President Obama did not have to move out that day.  And then we all got dressed and went about our day.

Jonah told me at school they all wrote in their feelings journal that day.  He told me he wrote that he was sad, frustrated and really really mad and almost wanted to hit something so hard but didn’t.  He said he wrote that he really wanted Hillary even though she is a girl because she is not a bully.  My heart hurt more.

What do we do now?
And life goes on.  Living in Washington DC, everyone is always talking about politics.  For goodness sake, my job now has an end date of October 2017 as a result of the election because the Republicans will take the spot.  Political discourse and consequences in my town are expected and common.  But what also began happening were the scary incidents of hate crimes.  Swastikas in local elementary schools and middle schools.  Racial slurs graffiti-ed on signs at local churches.  Maggiano’s hosted avowed white supremacists/neonazis. And then PizzaGate?!?!?!  Our local, fun, and awesome pizza parlor with ping pong tables was targeted by fake news…

But in the midst of all of this craziness, our lives went on. Jonah’s baseball season ended and we had a party at the PizzaGate pizza place – Comet. Jonah did a school presentation on Derek Jeter.  The first quarter at school ended. Vera wrote a book, Jonah won some awards. Thanksgiving in Baltimore came and went. Another karate belt test. Doing science experiments and playing board games is in our rotation of things to do.  Oh and a guy walked into our pizza joint with a loaded gun and it went off?!?!?!

Hillary sightings, often in the wild – are a thing now.  Much like how the kids and I played PokemonGo over the summer – always searching for the ever-allusive Pikachu.

There is a new normal now.  A “she got three million more votes but lost the electoral college” normal.  He is picking a parade of people to be part of the new government who stand for policies and principles that negate “my being, my family’s right to exist and our rights” kind of normal.

#BeVigilant
As the year came barreling to a close, I realized that the path forward is not easy but is also not unbelievably new.  It is daunting but not impossible.  The issue is not one man named Trump.  It is the symbolism of him and the reason he won.  I am not an expert in politics by profession or hobby.  I am a student of politics, have my undergraduate degree in it, read much about it, have been involved in elections since high school when I made phone calls for the Suffolk Country Executive, live in Washington DC surrounded by this stuff all the time.  Everyone has theories as to what happened this election.  I have mine.  Hillary Clinton lost because

  • She is a woman who ran as a Democrat.
  • President Obama is black and Democrat and he has been President for the past eight years.

    AND

          Hillary ran on a platform in which she had an in your face message of inclusion for all.  She toured with the Mothers of Movement.  She took on the NRA.  She vowed to protect women’s rights, human rights, environmental rights, refugees, DREAMers, blacks, whites, Hispanics, the disabled, veterans, Muslims, Jews, Christians, gays. lesbians. bisexuals, trans-gendered people, children and those who needed help, healthcare, housing and jobs.  She also promised to tax the wealthy and ensure regulations and Obamacare would remain in tack.

    This platform is a threat to white straight Christian male power.  We need to be honest about that.

    After a serious review of the numbers from the election, my take is that white men and women of all incomes and education levels voted for Trump to protect both their power and privilege, despite or because of both the overt and veiled misogynist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-environment and anti-capitalist messages. 

    Those who buy into these messages have been emboldened in a way that we have not seen in my lifetime.

    There is no choice any more.

    We must all be vigilant. All the time.

    This is not easy.  Regular life goes on.  The kids had their piano recitals and their school winter concerts.  We saw the Troll Movie and Moana! Holliday parties at work for both Jocelyn and I. Another Karate belt test.  And then it was time for the convergence of Chanukah and Christmas – just days after the winter solstice.

    We always have a theme in our Chanukah cards. This year it was the story of the Maccabees.  There are many interpretations of what went down then.  I hold to the one in which a small band of rebels overthrow the fascist empire that is requiring them to bow down to the Hellenistic gods.  Much like the American revolutionaries, this small band of young scrappy fighters (yes that is a Hamilton reference) defeat the tyranny and dedicate the Temple with oil symbolizing freedom from tyranny.  Miracle of miracle the little bit of oil lasts for eight days (the time it takes to make more oil).  This is a story of light overcoming dark.  These rebels called themselves Maccabees which means hammer.  They resisted and remained vigilant in order to be victorious.

    The kids had two weeks off of school. Jocelyn and I took the holiday week off.  We spent the week as a family celebrating and being together. We began by celebrating the first night of Chanukah on Christmas Eve with our family in Baltimore. And then for seven more nights we shared this light (and vigilance) with our other family, out-of-town best of friends, new neighbors, and regular Chanukah buddies.  We even attended a pre Chanukah party with Chabad in Maryland. We brought back a much smaller version of our long ago crazy Chanukah parties on the Chanukah Shabbot – hopefully foreshadowing more such Chanukah parties in the years to come.  We hung with the Jewish Multiracial Network and had playdates with friends from school.  We Escaped the Oval Office!  Completed lots of school homework. Went to Zoolights. Did some more science experiments.  Went to playgrounds. Checked out the fancy new building on our corner. And even experienced the Hirschhorn including Ragnar Kjartansson’s exhibit?!?!?! The kids received way too many presents including Hatchimals that did actually hatch.  Played lots of dreidel and ate way too many jelly donuts and gelt and s’mores made with gelt.

    Finally, the end came. New Year’s Eve was the last night of Chanukah.  We celebrated by going bowling and eating dinner at the old-school duck pin bowling alley in Silver Spring.  Then we came home to watch the ball drop.  And that was it.  Stick a fork in it.  It is done. 2016 that is.

    We still have our New Year’s resolutions up from last year and they all still apply.  So I am going to change the year to 2017 and add one additional resolution: Be Vigilant.

    Years from now, we will all be judged by how we acted during this time.  Trump will be President.  He is not the issue.  We are.  We must remain vigilant in our actions, words, deeds and how we spend our money.  We must give to organizations that will protect those who need protecting.  We must stand by those who need help in the street or at school or at work.  If we do not do it, no one will.

    The world has proven to all of us over and over again that it will fall to the deepest lows when given a chance.  In order to get to the highest highs we need to work extra hard. We must take all incidents seriously whether they be fake news attacks on our pizza place or handwritten anonymous notes left on driveways in progressive neighborhoods in Arlington.  We must be vigilant.

    We are giving money.  We are making calls.  We are attending letter writing parties. And yes, I have checked that all of our passports are up to date.

    The thing is, for as long as I can remember, there has always been the façade of the doublespeak two step.  Evil had to be hidden in the shadows.  What is different now is that none of that is necessary. 
    One can tweet the most horrible things and there is no shame or consequence.  We will see where this leads.  I urge everyone to look and listen, and to ultimately be vigilant.

    I hope and dream that this is a false alarm. Nothing would make me happier. But for now, I remain vigilant.

    #LifeDesiredVigilanceRequired
    #HappyNewYear
    #2017andVigilant
    #BeVigilant

    PS:  Due to length of this post, the curated pictures from the past 6mos will appear shortly in a separate post...

    Saturday, July 2, 2016

    Cheetahs and Turtles: We are not throwing away our shot!

    Another six months have come and gone.  It is July 1.  The Friday before the holiday weekend. Summer is dripping and melting all around us and all over us. Summer is just begging to be licked, slurped and devoured by our tongues and lips – old and young. Summer is here.

    Where am I? Where is my family?

    We are here, too.  Same house. Same jobs. Kids are at the same camp this year as last.

    Life is moving forward.  Throwing us new challenges, obstacles, accomplishments and moments.
    I am still blessed and grateful.  My family best be just as grateful (we are working on this).

    Cheetahs
    And the world, it is spinning faster and faster.  Current events snow ball from one to another in this seven day a week, 24 hours a day, news cycle.  The Internet is always on, streaming everything in real time into the palms of our hands onto our smart phones via social media, twitter and smart apps.

    We learn about everything in this way.  We get the information fast, cheetah-fast. Whether it is the satellite/doplar data of latest adverse weather developments or the photos of our best friend’s kid’s graduation; the minute by minute primary election results or the announcement of a death of an old colleague; a US Supreme Court decision or the body count from the latest mass shooting – this is the new reality.  A virtual online reality that is real and fast, like a cheetah…

    And at the same time, there is so much fast anger and hate around us.  Politicians and people alike are resorting to violence and hate, in a way that I have not seen or experienced before.  We know it has happened throughout history and time, but today, now, in my lifetime, this seems different.  Palatable in a way that is so real and so fast, it hurts to think about it, to hear about it, to see it, day in and day out.

    Sexism. Racism. Homphobia. Xenophobia.Anti-Semitism. Hate. It is all so fast.  Spewed by people like Trump and many others, it creates an atmosphere that is scary and unsafe.

    A year ago, I wrote in this space about #LivingTheDream. It was a bittersweet post celebrating the marriage equality decision but also grieving over the then recent shootings at the South Carolina AME Church killing 9 people.  Since then, just one year ago, gun violence continues and escalates.  Hate continues and escalates. Such deaths happen fast.  Often premeditated and borne of ignorance, mental illness, neglect, despair, and hate.  Recently it has almost been too fast and too much to take…

    Pride weekend in Washington DC was also Jonah’s birthday weekend.  We have not usually gone to the Pride parade because it is often on Jonah’s actual birthday and he is a bit annoyed/irritated he has two moms (we are working on this and he is evolving – it is more about the fact he is the only boy in our family, but he now realizes that is not because he has two moms, as President Obama is also the only boy in his family…).  I didn’t  want to make his birthday about Jocelyn and me and the fact he has two moms, so we haven’t done the parade.  This year I decided to ask him about going.  Rainbow Families hosted this great family friendly event at our old favorite playground and spray park that is on the parade route. I asked the kids and they were totally into it.  We also talked all about gay people and families, respecting each other, and rainbows – then we packed up with our rainbow gear and headed to the parade.  It was super-hot.  The kids had the Best.Time.Ever. (beads, treats, music, friends, dancing and lots of rainbows)  Jocelyn and I even remarked that the parade is so corporate now, all the big companies have floats. The floats are not risqué anymore.  It is very family-friendly, and whereas there was a time the parade was counter-cultural and a protest, today it is a celebration and maybe even a bit anachronistic… But for our little family, it was a magical parade.  We returned home exhausted and went to sleep.

    Sunday morning, we awoke to fast smack in the face of information and death.  In Orlando, at a gay club, on Latino night, there was yet another mass shooting.  Information was fast and furiously buzzing on our smart phones.  In the end, it turns out there was one gunman with an automatic assault rifle. The gunman was Muslim. The information about the tragedy included buzzwords like terrorism, hate crimes, and radical Islam.  Rather than focus on the theories of why the gunman killed with an automatic assault weapon, I want to say that it is unthinkable that 49 people were victims of such a senseless act. An act that most likely happened because of many reasons, including (but definitely not limited to)

    • ·         this country’s inability to pass common sense gun laws including banning automatic assault rifles;
    • ·         an atmosphere of hate that is being fostered by our politicians and leaders against immigrants specifically Muslims and Latinos;
    • ·         fundamental religion’s intolerance of other ideas and ways of being, especially gay people;
    • ·         our country’s lack of mental health resources and a continued stigma on mental disease
    • ·     
    I am terrified by all this. By how fast tragedy hits – out of nowhere. On that Sunday, for the first time, I told my kids about a tragedy like this.  I hadn’t told them about Sandy Hook (2012) and last year I never got around to talking to them about the shooting at the black churches (2015).  But this time, it was so fast; I did not have a choice.  Jonah read it on my phone.  This is the world we live in.

    So we talked about it and then we went on with our Sunday.  I am dedicated to making a big difference in the world we live in, but that is very hard.  It involves incremental change.  I remain steadfast in my commitment to doing it, yet it will take time. – and not be fast, like a cheetah.

    We can, however, make direct, impactful, and meaningful change in our own family–or at least we can try. We all struggle with the ease and quickness at which we become angry, and yes, even violent.  I know I do.  And Jocelyn does as well. We see how our kids struggle with it.  Everything is quick and instantly gratifying in a way that is almost unbelievable.  Computers are fast. Internet connections are fast. Video games are fast.  TV is fast.  Music is fast. Food is fast. Life is just fast, all the time. We figured we all needed to all work on slowly down a bit, and we committed to do so.

    Turtles
    As with many things in life, at different times, sometimes we need help, advice, and counsel.  Sometimes we need medicine and operations. Sometimes we need to practice and train to get something right. But we can never do it alone. Like I have said in this space many times before, it takes a village. So we consulted of “village” of experts and the universe sent us the Turtle.

    We are working on something right now as family to make us all better – at everything really.  We working on acknowledging that in life we often move in two ways.  Fast like a Cheetah and then sometimes slow, stopped,  or paused, like Turtle.

    Sometimes you need to move fast like a Cheetah.  When you are in a race – run fast like a Cheetah.  When your house is on fire, get out of the house, do not stop, do not look for anyone or take anything, just get out, fast like a Cheetah.  We need Cheetahs.  Cheetahs are awesome, amazing and beautiful creatures. We need to be fast sometimes.

    But other times, we need to stop and take a moment and be like a Turtle.  Not even slow, but paused.  Like a Turtle who goes into her shell to take a moment and figure out the best next step.  A moment to stop our often not well thought out instinctual response.  We need to break the hardwired response – often fueled by passion, and hate and physical out bursts, with a moment inside our shell – inside our head. To stop, think and regroup and yes, breathe!  This is our new project. This is extremely hard for all of us, whether we are 45, 42, 7 or 5.  It is really hard work.

    What I wish I could do is sit the whole world down and tell them about pausing like the Turtle.  I want to tell world leaders, the UK voters, religious icons, school teachers, sports stars, CEOs, Oprah, Hillary, Madonna, everyone. I want to require an international world pact about trying to be more turtle-like when we are fueled by emotion and passion.  I am not saying we need to be slow in general, or all the time, just pause when things are bubbling over like a shaken bottle of champagne.

    I do see glimmers of this Turtle Movement. I do think some people get it–despite being faced with all of this fast hate and violence.  I saw it when Chris Murphy stopped the Senate for over 14 hours with his filibuster in order to bring a vote on certain gun laws.  We saw it days later when Representative John Lewis led a sit-in (they looked like turtles sitting on floor) literally on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for over 24 hours to force a vote on guns laws. And when Hillary Clinton gave her speech claiming to be the presumptive Democratic nominee, she spoke with such grace and elegance about love and kindness.  She spoke in a way that communicated to us the value of hitting the pause button and being in the moment.  To be in the moment the first time a women would be a major political party’s nominee for President.  Glimpses of moments. They are around.  But way too often they are overshadowed by angry tweets, violent acts, bad decisions made quickly without the right information or foresight and often regretted the next day (e.g. the recent Stanford rape case and BREXIT vote). We need more moments for the Turtles.

    On a lighter note, it is no surprise to me that the Turtle is so profound.  I have been a big fan for a long time… 

    •   I remember vividly when I first fell in love with the Turtle, it was in Judy Blume’s book, Tale of A Fourth Grade Nothing.   The character Peter has pet a turtle name Dribble.  Peter’s little brother, Fudge, eats Dribble. Peter’s parents buy him a dog and he names it Turtle.  I was hooked on Judy Blume books and turtles. 
    • ·         Fast forward many many years later (January 2003) and my best buddy, Christine, and I traveled to Brasil on a fantastic vacation. During that trip, we adventured to Praia Du Forte’s Projecto Tamar in Salvadaor, Bahia to see the sea turtles.  The experience was life changing and unbelievable beyond all expectations. In the dark of night, we went with a small group of scientists and tourists and we saw a mama Tortuga lay her eggs on the beach and then a bit later, we saw another nest of baby sea turtles hatch and scamper into the see. The main objective of Projecto Tamar is to protect sea turtles from extinction in the Brazilian coastline. Here is the thing about these turtles:  the Mama Tortuga returns to the same exact beach where she was born during the dark of night.  She digs a very deep hole in the sand and lays about a whole bunch of eggs, then she covers up the hole and heads back to the sea.  After a few weeks, the eggs hatch again in the dark of night and the little turtles all head in the right direction toward the sea.  They will not return to that beach unless they are female turtles and lay their eggs.  WOW.  Talk about being like a turtle.  There is so much there.  Remembering, Pausing, Being, Trusting, Living, Adventuring, - but nothing about being fast, hateful or violent. I leave it to all of you to figure out what speaks to you.
    • ·         And then there was this weird thing when Jocelyn and I got together, she loved frogs and I loved turtles. While we were courting each other she would get me little turtles and I would get her little frogs. It is funny if you know us because in a way I am much more frog like – jumping from one thing to another, always doing and going. Jocelyn is more turtle like, slower, sleepier, a thinker.  This was a funny, silly, quirky thing of new found couplehood and love – wrapped up in a goofy nerdy romance and included a turtle.
    So now I am back, this time married almost 10 years with two kids, trying to change myself, our family, and the world, one turtle moment at a time… I beg you all to come along for the ride and help.

    My Name Is…
    Before I end this post, I cannot do so without a shot out to the rage that is Alexander Hamilton (although I do not think he was very turtle-like – hence the dying in a duel way too early).  Creating space for turtle moments when we are happy, sad, mad, overwhelmed, and anxious, does not mean not living life to fullest and being creative.  And as you know I am committed to doing that as well. These past six months did not disappoint.  So in the vane of going into my turtle shell, taking a moment, and a pause, I give you a very long list of highlights from our last 6 months that have been lived while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and refusing “to give away our shot” at happiness and love:



    • ·         Visiting Nana & Pop in Florida over Martin Luther King Jr, Weekend
    • ·         Enjoying the first Big Snow of 2016!
    • ·         Celebrating Tu B’Shevat – Happy Birthday to the Trees
    • ·         Playing lots of new games – Connect 4, Twister, Checkers, The Fox Game, Pie Face, Uno, and more!
    • ·         Dancing our way through Hamilton and every Top 40 song on the radio on our “stage” – (the living room rug)
    • ·         Celebrating and dancing at a Rainbow Families Valentine’s Day Family Dance
    • ·         Visiting the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery on a cold day
    • ·         Celebrating Presidents’ Day and playing at the Magic playground with our buddies
    • ·         Arranging elaborate tea parties
    • ·         Field tripping at school to the Apple Store (Jonah), the Building Museum (Vera), the Wonder exhibit (Jonah), Reptile show (Vera) and the Zoo (Jonah and Vera)
    • ·         Getting amazing report cards for the 3th and 4th quarters!
    • ·         Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday
    • ·         Celebrating our 9th Wedding Anniversary Shabbot by painting ceramic sculptures (ceramics are the traditional 9th year gift)
    • ·         Losing more teeth!
    • ·         Studying about Black History Month.  Jonah did a specific project on Muhammad Ali.
    • ·         Two belt tests:  Jonah went from Little Ninja Purple to Red, and then Little Ninja Red to Brown.  Vera went from Tiny Tiger Red to Little Ninja Gold, and Little Ninja Gold to Little Ninja Yellow.
    • ·         Celebrating Vera’s 5th and Mama’s 42nd Fancy Dress Up Tea Party with our amazing family and friends!
    • ·         Celebrating St. Patrick’s day with lots of Green.
    • ·         Getting ready for Purim and celebrating it! We had a Baseball Theme that was full of political references!
    • ·        Nana visiting Jonah's and Vera's classrooms.
    •            Vera’s Conversion: On the day after Purim, Vera had her conversion with three rabbis and one was named – Esther!  We celebrated with froyo and Vera received a silver Jewish Star.  It was a good day.
    • ·         Celebrating Easter in Baltimore with lots of family and friends.
    • ·         Running the Philadelphia 15K with my best buddies and exploring the town.
    • ·         Work travel to California and running on the beach
    • ·         Kids performing in their Spring show!
    • ·         Hanging out with my West Coast buddies in WDC at our  house and downtown
    • ·         Kids visiting my office for self-arranged Take Your Kids To Work Day! Because I was going to be at an out-of-town office meeting on the real day.
    • ·         Kids visiting Auntie Chris for official Take Your Kids To Work Day!
    • ·         Celebrating Passover with lots of family and out-of-town friends (two seders) including the #HamiltonHaggadah and #HamForSeder
    • ·         Geocaching with bestest buddies
    • ·         Swimming, baseball-ing, tap dancing, yoga-ing and karate-ing
    • ·         Strawberry picking
    • ·         Finding the homemade waffle truck at the Chevy Chase Farmer’s Market  on Saturday mornings
    • ·         Celebrating Mother’s Day together with homemade cards and yummy breakfast.
    • ·         Celebrating Grandma’s 70th birthday at the same place with celebrated Pop Pop’s 60th almost ten years ago!
    • ·         Visiting the Dupont Underground – Re-Ball exhibit
    • ·         Celebrating Lag B’Omer with bows and arrows and candy bon fires.
    • ·         Traveling to Long Beach Island for Memorial Day Weekend with our bestest friends
    • ·         Playing on the weekend at Sela’s Community Day
    • ·         Celebrating Jonah’s actual birthday and Washington DC Pride at Stead Park and watching the parade
    • ·         Voting for Hillary Clinton in the Washington DC Primary!
    • ·         Last day of Sela School!
    • ·         Jonah’s two birthday parties: (1) friends party and (2) family party with the theme: Team 7 – Laugh, Play, Win!
    • ·         Family Trip to Chicago with Nana
    • ·         Starting Camp Barrie! And the #SummerOfTheFun2016

    Florida, MLK JR weekedn

    Florida

    Florida

    Florida

    FLorida

    Florida

    Florida

    Florida

    Florida

    homemade beignets!

    tu bhsevat

    to bsevat

    Big Snow January

    Big snow Janaury

    Big snow January

    Big snow January

    Rainbow Families Valentines Day

    HAppy Valentines day

    Wonder Exhibit

    Wonder Exhibit

    Wonder Exhibit

    Wonder Exhibit

    post Wonder Exhibit

    post Wonder Exhibit

    presidents day

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    swim

    swim

    happy birthday dr seuss

    Muhamed Ali project

    9th wedding anniversary

    anniversary shabbot

    st patricks day

    flat jonah in london

    getting ready for purim!

    let's PURIM ball!

    purim

    conversion day!

    conversion day


    conversion day

    easter

    easter


    easter

    laptops

    tea parties

    tea parties

    vera bday

    vera bday

    vera bday

    vera bday

    vera bday


    vera bday

    vera bday

    Nana goes to Jonahs class

    Nana goes to Vera class

    Philly 15K

    Philly 15K

    Philly 15K

    Philly 15K

    Sanata Monica Pier

    San Diego Firends

    San Diego Friend

    Mommys office

    Mommy office

    Jonah class trip to Wonder

    official take your kid to work day at Auntie Chris' office

    official take your kid to work day auntie chris' office

    passover

    searching for chametz

    burning the chametz

    big matzah ball seder party


    passover

    seder 1

    seder 2

    seder 2

    seder 2

    seder 2

    passover friends

    geocache

    geochache

    breaking passover with pizza and bread

    piano

    piano

    regular dancing and singing party to Hamilton

    Mothers day

    Grandma's 70th birthday

    Reballz

    reballz

    reballz

    reballz

    reballz

    lag bomer

    lag bomer

    LBI

    LBI

    LBI

    LBI

    LBI

    LBI

    LBI

    presidents spring 16

    Presidents spring 16

    presidents spring 16

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    belt test

    strawberry picking

    strawberry picking

    strawberry picking

    strawberry picking

    first day back at upshur pool!

    Shavuout crepe making

    community day

    community day

    community day

    community day

    DC Pride parade at the park

    DC pride parade

    DC pride parade

    DC pride parade

    DC primary day

    dc primary day

    dc primary day

    last day of school - crazy clothes day

    jonahs bday

    jonahs bday

    jonahs bday

    jonahs bday

    honoring our fathers on their day!

    jonahs bday

    jonahs bday

    first day of barrie camp

    first day of barrie camp

    chicago trip!

    chicaog trip - hotel lunch

    chicago- visiting the adoption agency

    chicago trip - fun at playground with old friends

    navy pier

    navy pier

    crown fountain

    crown fountain

    the bean

    the bean

    olympic day at camp - white team