Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Lil' Biker

So many people commented on Henry's musical prowess that I am inspired to include a quick short of him on his new it, I promise you will get a giggle!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Surprise, Surprise

So this morning I had the luxury of free time (both kids in daycare) and I decided to enjoy the last few days before winter sets in to these northern lands (yes, there was snow aplenty on the mountain this morning!). So off I trekked 3.5 miles up to the top of Mickinick, a wonderful hike overlooking Sandpoint, and just as I rounded the bend up top, I came face to face with a huge bull moose! Funny, I had been singing aloud during the hike in the possible anticipation of seeing a bear -- but for some reason I was totally unprepared to see a moose! Rustling in the trees close by indicated more moose friends were about, so I turned quickly for my trip down the trail.
Lesson: You can prepare for many possibilities, even strategize for them, but surprises will still be waiting around the corner. This is life for ya...
Final Thought: This moose encounter, combined with the fact that I held a special needs child this morning and put gas in my car (crude oil experience?) should position me well to run for vice president in a future election, dontcha think?

Monday, September 22, 2008

For Serious Henry Fans

Our wonderful friend and day care provider Nicole has been chronicling the activities of the kids during the day in her Day Care Diaries.  For those who want a bit more of Henry, here he action:  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Henry at the Mic

Hope has Two Mommas

A great moment last week when Hope officially got two mommas!  Much less drama this time, as we had the same cool judge who officiated over Henry's adoption.  North Idaho's "redstateness" just got a little bluer...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Power of the Vote

It was recently brought to my attention that my family and I will be on vacation during the upcoming, historic presidential election week. So, a reminder to any of you reading who might also be traveling during this critical time: absentee ballot!

If you are an Idaho resident, here is what you need to do:

Whatever you do, please VOTE! (OK, I want to insert an editorial here about the importance of doing your homework on the candidates first and REALLY understanding the potentially damning impact that a conservative agenda for the next four years might have on our country...but I refrain)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

White Privilege

One of my favorite articles that I have used in life and in academic settings is Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege; Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." Today a friend sent this article by Tim Wise which I found very resonant with McIntosh's ideology:

This is Your Nation on White Privilege By Tim Wise9/13/08

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay. White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’ re somehow being mean, or even sexist.White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All Words and No Photos a Boring Blog Does Make...

I have the two kids home this the child ratio certainly adds a geometric expansion of the energy and activity around this house. I am stealing a few moments away to update the blog with a few recent events...can't be all politics and no cuteness...
Here's Hope smiling, now 9 weeks old!
Momma Shannon with Henry at swim class
Momma Di and Henry doing a tamdem!
The reality of only 3 more weeks of leave has me of mixed emotions! Hope and I really starting to find our stride -- alas, work bekons. Trying to take full advantage of this time, I have in fact begun the scrapbooking program...Hope's is now underway and Henry's is slated for this week. Creativity does make me feel more alive!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Quotable Feminism

Following up on last week's post, a friend sent an article written by Gloria Steinem, which includes the following quotation which speaks simply about the tension I have experienced as a feminist between wanting to vote for a woman for national political leadership, yet knowing that the politics of the current option for a woman in leadership would be a significant setback for women across the board:

Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

I've been hearing that many Hillary supporters are leaning toward Palin because they firmly believe it is time to see a woman in leadership...but caution -- gender alone is not a reason to cast a vote in favor of Sarah Palin. Her personality might be inspirational, but her politics are quite dangerous. Be advised. Research the facts.

A friend just sent me this link with similar considerations:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday Musings

Random Thursday thoughts...I was filling out a bank form this morning and when asked for "marital status," I checked the "single" box, much to my subsequent horror. Wait! Didn't you just stand before the judge, Diana, and pledge your vows to Shannon? But which is the correct box, sitting here in my Idaho home? Is this what it is like for folks of mixed race when they have to relegate their racial or ethnic identity to one box alone? I quickly crossed out the box and put the check mark in "married," yet then suffered the interrrogating mind..."But you aren't married in Idaho and this is where you said you lived...but you did just marry in California and this bank has offices really, what are you?" So what did I do? I made a tiny arrow up next to the check mark that says, "^ in CA." Odd.

Other odd musings come from the reverberations from last night's Sarah Palin speech. I went to the gym in town this morning and there were three women on the stairmasters next to me. They were all extolling Sarah's virtues and making confident assertions about her readiness to "lead our Nation!" I heard the speech. I thought she did a great job as a public speaker. But when I sift through the rhetoric, the crass Obama-bashing, the not-so-veiled sarcasm and critique of "her opponent," I was left without any of the same confidence these gymmate sisters seemed to feel. I was left with the odd sensation that she was instead an enemy of our gender, one who would have no qualms about taking away many of my rights as an equal human being. So, she is a hockey this supposed to endear me to her? Not a Washington insider? Is this supposed to make me trust her any better? One woman next to me at the gym said, "I love her 'cuz she is just like one of us!" and I thought, whoa, and this is who you want to entrust with the launch codes to our nuclear warheads? Someone just like you?

So then the conversation in my mind ensues about where feminism meets sexism meets racism meets intellectual fortitude. Wow, an historic election -- one my foremothers and forefathers would never have imagined possible. But what will come next? What happens when we peel away the layers of media hyperbole and electoral rhetoric? What happens if the McCain/Palin ticket really does re-energize the Right? I may have more dollars in my paycheck, but my right to makes choices about my body gets taken away. I may get cheaper gas due to more accessible US oil, but the environment my children will inherit will continue on the path of destruction. I may see more programs to help special needs kids in the schools, but my marriage to Shannon will be voided and second-parent, same-sex adoption will surely be more difficult, if not impossible. And I have not even mentioned the costs of war... It all makes me quite nervous, really. I hope folks in this camp are really taking a look at the issues, not just the hype. I hope they are paying attention to the impact that a Conservative agenda has had on our country for the last 8 years. I hope these "mavericks" begin talking about issues, not just throwing barbs at the other side. I am all for change...let's just make it positive change.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Frightening Politics of our Times

What is John McCain thinking??? Drama on "West Wing" is one thing...but this would not even pass the test of willing suspension of disbelief! Below are a few details on Sarah Palin from MoveOn.Org I thought worth reiterating. What many of you may not know is that she was in fact born in, yes indeed, Sandpoint, Idaho!!!

From MoveOn.Org:
Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.
Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.
We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:
She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK
She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK
As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK
Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK
She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK
I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK
So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.
In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.
In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team
1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008
2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008
3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008
4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006
5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008
6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008
"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008
"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008
7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 3.2 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

Making Music

Quick update on Henry, seen here with his new favorite toy, the Automoblox and participating in his favorite pasttime, making music. He has become quite the musician these days, much to the astonishment of both his moms. You name it -- guitar, piano, drums -- he loves it all! A new morning ritual of late is for him to call both me and Shannon into the playroom where he assigns us both instruments to play, while he sets himself up on the piano bench, one hand on the piano and the other with a drum. He then instructs us on when to come in and while we are all playing, he (managing one instrument in each hand) sings at the top of his lungs. It is both comical and amazing to witness! Move over Elton comes Henry Joseph Zagorsky Barnes!

Memorable Birthday Moments

Di, Henry and Shannon taking in the live music right in our own backyard
A dream come true -- jamming with Mel Watson of the band FRUIT
Friends from afar gather high in the Selkirks at Upper Roman Nose Lake.

Hope for the Future

Our little "Barak-a-bye Baby..." Could you believe Michelle, Hillary and Obama's speeches? Here's hoping for change in the months and years to come for us and our children.

Celebrations Aplenty

It is just unbelieveable what can happen when Shannon plans a party and invites numerous amazing people to come and celebrate together for the weekend! Wow! We had a momentous belated celebration of my turning 40 this past weekend -- all arranged without my awareness of who would attend or what we'd be doing...suffice to say, it was PERFECT!

Dear, dear friends and family from Seattle & Spokane came over on Friday to begin the multi-day festivities, which included a pizza extravaganza, hiking into Roman Nose Lakes high in the Selkirks, a catered birthday bash on Saturday which included the outrageous surprise of Mel Watson (the only singer whose fan club I ever joined) and Jen Todd performing LIVE in our own backyard (!!!), a poetic roast of sorts, a party-barge pontoon boat ride, a cooler full of Brutal Bitter, lots of time discussing the Democratic Convention speeches, a hilarious evening of "exquisite corpse," getting to pass Hope around to her many, many aunties, Henry getting to play once again with his many, many aunties and so much more! It was spectacular! I feel full of so many blessings and the promise of such positive possibilty for my 4th decade.