My Son’s Memoirs: First Grade Orientation and the Zombie Apocalypse

August 25, 2015 · 11:47 am

My Son’s Memoirs: First Grade Orientation and the Zombie Apocalypse

In the summer of 2015, I was five years old and gearing up for first grade.  I had been looking forward to orientation for weeks, and I couldn’t wait to meet my new teacher and see my classroom.  As luck would have it, I came down with a fever a few days before my orientation, and a sore throat crept in on its heels. The day of my scheduled orientation, I woke up with a fever of 102 degrees, severe pain in my throat, and a painful cough.  Read More →

If Your Brother Sins: On The Baltimore Riots

April 28, 2015 · 5:11 pm

If Your Brother Sins: Baltimore Protests

I see burning cars and smashed windows accompanied by the words “dirty animals.”  I see peaceful protesters holding up signs that read, “Black Lives Matter.”  Thanks to the age of social media, this is a time for everyone to say what we really think…to see who we really are. Camps are formed, and wagons are circled.  The name Freddie Gray is on our lips, and Baltimore is moving to the steps of the same dance that we watched in Ferguson, Missouri when we spoke of Michael Brown.  Steps that we practiced again in New York when we spoke of Eric Garner.  The rhythm of this dance has been beating in the heart of our nation for the decades since the Civil Rights movement, and since the age of slavery before that.  It has been beating in the heart of humanity for the centuries and millennia during which differences in race and ideology have given us cause to fear each other.

Read More →

Doves in the Temple

March 30, 2015 · 11:03 am

Doves in the Temple

When I was a child, my father once brought me to the temple for Passover.  For two days, we walked the dusty roads to Jerusalem, choking on the clouds kicked up by camels and donkeys as caravan after caravan passed us.  Many others walked with us, with scarves wrapped over their faces, and eyes squinting to keep out the dust.

My feet hurt.  I could feel the blisters start to form on the first day, and when I peeled off my sandals by the light of the fire that night, they were raw and bleeding.  My eyes stung with tears at the thought putting those sandals back on in the morning.  Father said nothing about the blisters, or my misty eyes, but he poured a few drops of our precious drinking water onto a cloth and gently washed my feet.  The pain was almost more than I could bare, but I have never loved my father more; I have never felt his love for me more. Read More →

Obama and Pixie Dust

March 14, 2015 · 2:12 pm

Obama and Pixie Dust

Today I woke up at 5 am to take Yohannes to the airport, and then came home and went back to sleep because I had a fever.

I  woke up again a little while later with two little children running and jumping on my bed.  I fed them breakfast, (graciously made by Solger) and then went back to sleep because I had a fever.

In my fevered sleep, I dreamt that we lived in an apartment complex with the Obamas and the cast of Boyhood. Read More →

A Nativity Story

December 24, 2014 · 9:30 am

Playing The Race Card

December 4, 2014 · 2:57 pm

Pulling The Race Card

I have nothing new to say about the deaths of Michael Brown or Eric Garner that hasn’t already cycled through your newsfeed a dozen times.  But I’ve seen a lot of push-back about “race-bating” and “playing the race card”.  Some people want to know why these two cases have garnered such a firestorm of media attention and popular protest when there are plenty of cases of unarmed white people being killed by police and of white people being killed by black people, and I think that deserves a response. Read More →

If A Tree Falls

November 25, 2014 · 12:45 am

No Charges For Officer In Michael Brown's Death

If a tree falls in a forest
And no one hears it
Does it make a sound?

If a tree succumbs
To six sharp swings
From the lumberjack’s axe,

If it crashes to the ground
With such great force
That it shakes a whole nation,

If the earth beneath the tree
Buckles violently
From the impact of its fall,

If it groans and screams
Like broken branches
And torn limbs,

If the sound it makes
Isn’t beautiful
Like the songs of slaves,
Does it make a sound?

Take out your goddamn earplugs.


No Charges For Officer In Michael Brown’s Death

That Time I Got Stuck On The Balcony

November 19, 2014 · 2:13 pm

That time I got stuck on a balcony.

A few months ago Yohannes and I went to the Bahamas for a work conference.  I was especially excited, because the last time he went, the conference was on a Caribbean cruise and I didn’t get to go.

That time I got stuck on the balcony.


It was a four day trip and  we left the kids with my parents [insert lots of anxiety here].  The longest I’d ever been away from them was overnight, so this was huge. Aside from the almost $200 we accidentally spent on international phone calls (read ALL the instructions on the phone card!), and a whole lot of mom-guilt, it went very well.

On the first day of the conference, I went back to our room shortly before the keynote speaker began his address.  Yohannes stayed. I heard later that the speaker was quite good, but I think I’m generally too cynical to appreciate a good motivational speech, and I didn’t want my uncontrollable tendency to whisper snarky comments to diminish anyone else’s enjoyment. (“Achieve World Peace In 10 Easy Steps.” How conveniently simple.) Read More →

Nati: A Birth Story

October 13, 2014 · 10:56 am

Nati: A Birth Story


8:00 a.m. Saturday, October 10, 2009 – The nagging abdominal pressure is back for the fifth or sixth time in half an hour, so it’s probably time to get up. I assess the aches and pains in my back and hands before scooting myself to the edge of the bed and trying to get enough leverage to roll into a sitting position. Yohannes is still fast asleep, so I hobble to the bathroom to take a bath which is becoming part of my daily routine (sometimes twice daily). Getting in the bath feels like trying to get a turkey into a two-quart saucepan, but the hot water feels great, and I can hardly bring myself to get out again. I’m 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and the timing is perfect. My sisters are visiting for the weekend, and all I have to do is get through a wedding and a birthday party and then I’ll be ready. And if the contractions feel like this the whole time, this whole “having-a-baby” thing might not be nearly as bad as people make it out to be. The pressure turns to a dull pain, and continues to ebb and flow every 7 minutes or so, but it’s mild, and hardly worth mentioning to Yohannes, who will no doubt take it as a sign of the impending Armageddon. I decide to wait until we’re walking into the wedding before mentioning it. Read More →

Quarantine or Concentration Camp? Ebola In West Point, Liberia

August 25, 2014 · 7:30 am

Quarantine or Concentration Camp? Ebola In West Point, Liberia

Liberia was the second country to confirm cases of Ebola when the outbreak was announced in March of this year. In a few short weeks, the number of cases and fatalities sky-rocketed form single to triple digits. To date, Liberia has been hit the hardest of any of the affected countries, with over 1000 suspected cases, and over 600 fatalities, consistent with the nearly 60% mortality rate of this particular strain of ebolavirus.

Tensions mounted in the last few months, as a number of cases were discovered in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. A treatment facility for suspected Ebola cases was set up in West Point, a township of Monrovia, however, locals were angered that infected patients were being brought into their community from other parts of the city. On August 16, armed men attacked the clinic and looted infected medical equipment and bed linens, causing patients to flee. While some of the patients were later found and brought to a hospital in Monrovia, other remained missing. Read More →