One Year Ago

One year ago, everything changed.

After months of nervousness, excitement, preparation and labor Tobias arrived and we each got to hold him in our arms, and the experience was like none I’d never felt before.

Holding your newborn child is simply a revelation. It feels perfect, and sweet, like you were meant to comfort and carry this tiny person whose beautiful eyes look up at you and all around, taking it all in. You feel so many emotions. Of course he cried and needed comfort and endless diaper changes and late nights, and the first several weeks (or several months, who knows) were a fatigue-streaked wreck of 3am rocking, song-singing, endless laundry, chaotic bath times, and many many tears (from all parties involved). But when you hold him and comfort him and see his eyes drift closed, you feel that all is going to be fine, and you just might be up to the task.

Little Toby grew so swiftly! He learned to laugh with us. We noticed which things he loves the most- being read to, seeing people dance or act silly, and hearing music, which he enjoys as much now as he did in the womb. But a true highlight has always been simply to hold him. I became much better at comforting him to sleep over time and with practice, and learned how he best liked to be cradled, and I’d hold his hand and support his head and he would drift away and sleep deeply enough that I could just manage to transfer him to the crib without waking him up. Success!

I feel a profound responsibility and good fortune, knowing that I have the opportunity to teach and comfort and care for Toby as he grows more and more. Maybe I’ll be as important to him as my Dad was to me. I expect he will push us to grow too, and the parenting life will be even more frustrating and enlightening and challenging and surprising and complicated in the many years to come. But the first year has been an inexpressible delight. Really… challenging but delightful.

As Toby turns one year old, I’ll be cheering for him and cheering for myself and Marion Edgemeyer to keep up the hard work. We’re actually doing it! He’s such a sweet kid, with an infectious smile and a curious nature. I’ll never forget the firsts we’ve experienced, like his first visit to the ocean- the sunset in the distance as we walked closer and closer to the surf, slowly approaching the infinite expanse. His first words, from “apple” to “mama” and “dada” to made up words like “zizzazz” and the ever-so-versatile “bap” and “bap bap bap”. The first time he sat up, and the first time he rolled over. His first steps, still to come.

I’ll be right here for him, cheering him on.

Tom Cotton’s op-ed calling for military suppression of protests is dangerous

On June 3, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton calling for the use of the United States Military to suppress the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in cities across the country. I am writing to express my disappointment that the editors, including James Bennet, chose to publish this appalling perspective.

Mr. Cotton’s editorial is a derogatory and inflammatory argument for violent suppression of citizens’ voices and the establishment of an oppressive military state. As a lawmaker, Cotton should have more respect for American citizens’ right to assemble and to express themselves freely. Use of military force on a country’s own citizens in response to scattered rioting amongst primarily peaceful demonstrations would be a disproportionate response, and would amount to the suspension of the Constitution. It would surely result in more loss of life among both protestors and law enforcers, and escalate the already tense situation.

The choice to circulate this opinion is more than a matter of “considering alternate perspectives.” By lending Cotton the voice and wide circulation of the “paper of record”, Bennet and his colleagues have deliberately contributed to creating a more dangerous environment for Black people in the whole country as well as for their supporters in America’s cities, and for Black journalists.

As a member of the Religious Society of Friends, who hold dear the testimonies of peace, community, and equality, it runs counter to my convictions. A truly free, democratic government should not even consider exerting the inordinate violent potential of its own military against its own people, especially in such a situation which would single out and cause greater violence to a minority group that is already suffering from police brutality.

There is a good reason why the New York Times’ Black reporters have uniformly joined in protesting the publication of this editorial. I request that the op-ed be retracted and call for Tom Cotton to immediately resign his Congressional seat for advancing this kind of anti-constitutional, inflammatory rhetoric.

An Overhaul For the Music Blog

I’ve been wrestling with this sustained near-complete cessation of writing lately…It’s been a while! This writing break-time for me is drawing to a close, though, and as July starts, I’m re-committing myself to building more disciplined habits of writing, both online and off, and perhaps to submitting my ideas and my posts to publications that might be interested.

I’ve been enthusiastic and overjoyed to re-ignite my music blog, The Needle on Vinyl. It has always been a personal project, so far, and worth the experience of searching for great music and writing about it, and the elusive joy that has given me. I’ve always used proprietary photos pulled from Google and songs streamed via Spotify, and felt a bit sketchy about those practices. But, since I’ve always self-produced this endeavor on my own time and dollar I don’t feel terribly bad about that aspect of the project. At best, it’s essentially been a channel of free publicity for select musicians, and oftentimes for ones who hardly need the word-of-mouth… Not to mention that it’s also been a dearly-needed and valuable release of tension during the challenging time I had getting started in the Northwest. I’ve had fun with it, so I’ve decided to start it up again. For fun, mainly, though.

Launching today, I’ve totally refashioned the landing page, with a far more visually-grabbing look. Check it out, and check out my first new playlist, Hearts and St@rs, on the fully remodeled site, at  Hope you like it, even you House-Music-Haters out there!

Home again!

I moved back to Carbondale, IL, the place I am proud to call my hometown, at the beginning of the summer, and it’s been a pretty great summer… probably the best that I’ve had for a long time! I spent much of my time applying to nearly every business in town that I know of, but nobody wants to hire me (except one Asian bistro in Marion, and the work environment there was no fun). This place has been so kind to me, and I love my friends here so much! They’re there for me, no matter what I’m going through, and I feel closer to them than to anyone. Even when my parents wouldn’t let me live in their home, my friends were there for me, and I always know that their doors are open to me, and that means so much. I’ve been working non-stop since I graduated, trying to support myself, and it’s not easy out there, particularly in this post-recession world.

This is the first summer since 2009, which I spent living with friends in their duplex outside Lawrence, that I’ve had entirely my choice of what to do with my time. It’s liberating! I have been able to practice guitar, polish my websites, play sports with friends here in Carbondale, and process more deeply my experience in Atlanta. It’s been a summer of action, a summer of surprises, and rest, and growth. I watched the World Cup from the food court at SIU, where it was convenient for me to camp out with my computer and bum the free Internet they provide. Those German football players sure were cruel! But that’s not too surprising: after all, they’re only Germans. And I had really been pulling for the home team! They sure would have loved that win. And now, come to find out, their longtime rivals Argentina are bankrupt!

The conflict in Israel-Palestine has ignited again, though, and I was not particularly surprised to find myself pinned between the two sides of the ongoing conflict. Older activists I’d met in Atlanta were vocally supportive of Palestine, and many of my good friends and housemates in the QVS house had studied the conflict there as well, and shared with me what they had learned. My friend Liz had even travelled to Ramallah in the early months of the summer! When the tensions escalated, I was so grateful that she had made it home when she did, and wasn’t there when things got bad. I think pretty often about my trip to Israel, and it informs the way I think about world issues to this day. When I was there, I met soldiers, and I saw Jerusalem, and I visited the cemetery at Mt. Herzl, and I saw the grave of my hero Hannah Szenes, and it really was a significant experience for me. There is one thing I do know. The idea that bombs dropped by drones will solve this issue is just stupid.

An image of Hannah Senesz, a Jewish poet and writer, pulled from

An image of Hannah Senesz, a Jewish poet and writer, pulled from

My education really was a good one, though I have struggled for so long to find good paying work. I got to visit France, and I visited Israel, and I Iearned so much about myself and about the U.S. For someone who could never have had higher education if it weren’t for scholarships and loans, due to my parents’ financial situation, it means so much more. I was challenged there, and forced to reconsider my preconceptions of the world, and I met people from around the world. I won’t say that it was a perfect education, but I had a pretty great foundation, both in high school and it KU. And now, my high school friends are finding such great success in their chosen fields, and though I am a bit jealous of them, I’m finding now that I know at least someone in cities throughout the U.S., and even throughout the world, who I still try to maintain contact with.

I am sad to leave behind my friends in Atlanta, but we made some awesome memories, and we lived and loved and struggled and worked, and that’s what life is all about. I’m sure I will get to visit them again sometime soon, and I’m sure that our story is just beginning. I mean, just thinking of the experiences we shared there fills my heart with warmth! I know many of them have moved far away, and I miss them, but that’s part of life. And I know man of them will probably stay in Atlanta for the long term, and settle down, and may change completely before I ever hear from them again. But, honestly, we don’t always get to be near the people we love. In this new, globalized age, it’s really not too hard to contact anyone, though. If anything, I think I am a little bit overeager to stay in touch with people. 🙂 I get the sense it starts to get annoying to the really busy, hardworking ones. 

Well, that’s all! Off to Bum’s Beach for a quick swim! Peace and love, y’all.

New Years in Wonky Haus

I am blown away by Wonky Haus, and the world I have found myself with, and the people that I find myself with. I love this place so much, and I can’t even describe how lucky I am to be here. Wonky Haus is a place where you can feel enthusiastic about life, and intrigued about the possibilities of creative expression and pursuit, and not feel like you are the exception to the rule, or that you are betraying some unspoken rule, or that you must project your superiority at all times. I don’t feel self-conscious here, and that is a gift that cannot be measured. It is a new year, and I felt obliged to reflect on this. Happy New Year!!!