January

January has been the month of the hospital.

Dad entered the hospital on Dec 26, 2018. In the 36 days since then, he’s been discharged twice, and then re-admitted twice, mere days after having been discharged. I so appreciate the care the doctors and nurses and staff of the hospital have shown. The kindness as people make sure that he’s comfortable. The generosity and friendliness of the coffee shop workers, as we come down at 10 pm to grab a croissant or a cup of soup. The chatter the cleaning staff share with us, telling us stories about children and grandchildren and birthday celebrations and impromptu trips. The patience of the doctors as we ask question after question after question. And yet, each morning as we return to the hospital my eyes fill with tears as we pull into the parking garage. There’s a heaviness and a dread and a sadness that comes with seeing someone whom I adore more than anyone else in the world fighting to heal his body.

*****

You can pay for parking by the hour, by the day, or by the week (the best value). (Yes, I’m obsessed with parking; I lived in San Francisco for 25 years.) On the day before his last discharge, we had already been at the hospital all day, and it was a better value to pay for a week’s pass, rather than two daily passes. I naïvely hoped that if I paid for a week’s pass, it would serve as a talisman, warding off any future admittances. As much as I wanted the magic to work, it didn’t.

I Left My Heart…

  • 57 boxes
  • 9 sing alongs to the complete Hamilton soundtrack
  • 632 feet of bubble wrap
  • 5 trips to UHaul for supplies

… and 25 years of life in San Francisco packed up.

Packed up

Packed up

It took the movers just over two hours to load everything on a truck, which I’ll see again in 7 to 21 business days in Asheville, NC.

Empty

Empty

I’m excited, and anxious, and sad, and nostalgic, and well, all the feels at once. I’m sad to leave such wonderful friends in the Bay Area. I’m excited to move to the mountains. I look forward to quiet. I’ll miss walking everywhere. I’m nervous about driving again (it’s been 17 years since I owned a car). I’m excited to re-kindle friendships.

I’ve spent the last month soaking up the best of San Francisco. Museums, drinks with friends, one-on-one and group dinners, concerts, and walks, so many walks, through the city, nostalgia sweeping over me like a tsunami. I have a strong feeling that the cliché is true: I will leave my heart in San Francisco. Until we meet again, <3.

 

 

Hello, .blog!

I’m excited that my website has a new url (look up there ^): lori.blog. There’s a nice symmetry to that: four letters dot four letters.

If you want your own .blog domain: get them while they’re hot. You can go to get.blog (Automattic’s registrar), or any of the 100s of other registrars that are selling the domain.

Feeling Blue

I’m in Iceland on a work trip with my team. I fell asleep last night with Hillary Clinton predicted to win the election. Our first female president. Possibly the most qualified candidate that has ever run for the office of the president, objectively looking at years in public service and positions held.

I woke this morning to text messages and notifications, all saying that Donald Trump was the President-elect of the United States. Still sleepy, I struggled to comprehend what I was reading. Really? I read more. Really.

I’ve worked on/donated to political campaigns since I was a young woman. I had a shotgun pulled on me as I canvassed for Harvey Gantt when he ran against Jesse Helms in the NC Senate election (and lost). I had folks hang up on me when I called them from a rented storefront in San Francisco in 1992, encouraging them to vote for Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (they won). I had bruises and paper cuts on my arms from passing out signs (so many signs) at the DNC in 2004, hoping that John Kerry would win the election (he didn’t).

I’ve never cried after the results of an election were announced. Until today. Many times. I am sad. And I am despondent.

I believe in the democratic process. I feel so privileged to live in a country where I can vote. I have not missed voting in any election (federal, state, local) since I turned 18 and was eligible to vote. I research the issues, make notes, and vote. I get butterflies in my stomach when I cast my vote. I’m being heard.

And that’s what makes me so sad. That we have stripped the right to vote from so many people in the United States. That their voices are not heard. That only 55% of people eligible to vote actually voted in this election. That almost half of America’s voices were not heard in this election. That approximately half of those 55% of voters who made it to the polls voted for a candidate that has disparaged various groups of people in our country and promised to take away undeniable rights. African Americans. Transgender individuals. Homosexuals. Women. Muslims. Immigrants. This is where the political is personal. I love individuals in each of those groups. These are the people that are my friends, my neighbors, my colleagues. I am despondent because I am fearful of what the future holds. I am despondent that there is so much hate in our country. I am despondent because that hate is what is being heard.

I have not given up hope. I’ll work on campaigns again. I’ll speak out and donate and call and canvas and lobby. Just not yet. It’s too painful. Right now, I’m grieving. Not just for Clinton’s loss, but for what our country has become.

From the “Buts” to the “Ands”

I hear people say “Black Lives Matter, but…”

  • all lives matter, too.
  • they must have been doing something suspicious if the police pulled a gun on them.
  • they were armed as well (I think).

And I want the conversation to turn from the buts to the ands, saying, “Yes. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter and Philando Castile died too young and Alton Sterling died too young and Delrawn Small died too young and Jai Williams died too young and Kawme Patrick died too young and Tyrone Reado died too young and Lafayette Evans died too young and Sherman Evans died too young and Germichael Kennedy died too young and Donte Johnson died too young and Ismael Miranda died too young and Jay Anderson died too young and Deravis Rogers died too young and Angelo Brown died too young and Quencezola Splunge died too young and Isaiah Core III died too young and Antonio Richardson died too young and Rashaun Lloyd died too young and Clarence Howard died too young and Antwun Shumpert died too young and Michael Moore died too young and John Williams died too young and Lyndarius Witherspoon died too young and Keith Bursey died too young and  John Brisco died too young and Willis Walker Jr died too young and Henry Green died too young and Demarco Rhymes died too young and Willie “Meek” James died too young and Rodney Smith died too young and Michael Johnson died too young and Osee Calix died too young and Ollie Brooks died too young and Devonte Gates died too young and Terry Frost died too young and Doll Pierre-Louis died too young and Vernell Bing Jr died too young and Michael Wilson Jr died too young and Joshua Beebee died too young and Kentrill Carraway died too young and Jessica Williams died too young and Jabril Robinson died too young and Arthur DaRosa died too young and Jaffort Smith died too young and Arthur Williams Jr died too young and Michael Gibson died too young and Alton Witchard died too young and Deresha Armstrong died too young and Burt Johnson died too young and Reginald Dogan died too young and Charlin Charles died too young and Ashtian Barnes died too young and Joshua Brooks died too young and Willie Tillman died too young and Demarcus Semer died too young and Jorevis Scruggs died too young and Rico Johnson died too young and Demetrius Dorsey died too young and Richard Bard Jr died too young and Kisha Arrone died too young and George Tillman died too young and Edson Thevenin died too young and Robert Howard died too young and Rodney Watts died too young and Pierre Leury died too young and Quron Williams died too young and Diahlo Grant died too young and Lamont Gulley died too young and Dazion “Jerome” Flenaugh died too young and Laronda Sweatt died too young and Kevin Hicks died too young and Darius Robinson died too young and Cameron Glover died too young and Matthew Wood Jr died too young and Kimani Johnson died too young and James Simpson died too young and James Brown III died too young and Deriante Miller died too young and Jermon Seals died too young and Dominique Silva died too young and Alexio Allen died too young and Robert Dentmond died too young and Torrey Robinson died too young and Thurman Reynolds died too young and India Beaty died too young and Scott Bennett died too young and Christopher Nelms died too young and Lamar Harris died too young and Jacai Colson died too young and Peter Gaines died too young and Marco Loud died too young and Keith Montgomery Jr died too young and Tyre Privott died too young and Arteair Porter Jr died too young and Akiel Denkins died too young and Kionte Spencer died too young and Greg Gunn died too young and Cedric Ford died too young and Christopher Davis died too young and Travis Stevenson died too young and Marquintan Sandlin died too young and Kisha Michael died too young and Che Taylor died too young and Paul Gaston died too young and Dyzhawn Perkins died too young and Calvin Smith died too young and Calin Roquemore died too young and Ali Yahia died too young and Sahlah Ridgeway died too young and Peter Fanfan died too young and Mohamed Barry died too young and Jerand Ross died too young and Shalamar Longer died too young and Eric Harris died too young and David Joseph died too young and Marese Collins died too young and Wendell Celestine Jr died too young and Antoine Scott died too young and Randy Nelson died too young and Peter John died too young and Charles Smith died too young and Bruce Kelley Jr died too young and Randolph McClain died too young and Christoper Dew died too young and Christoper Kalonji died too young and Johnathan Bratcher died too young and Janet Wilson died too young and Cedric Norris died too young and Timothy Albert died too young and Crayton West died too young and Henry Bennett died too young and Rakeem Bentley died too young and Carlton Murphy Jr died too young and Rodney Turner died too young and Eric Senegal died too young and Germonta Wallace died too young and wow, that’s 136 Black people killed by police in the first 188 days of 2016 and that’s a whole lot of killing and maybe it’s time to address the systemic racism that allows this to continue to happen.”

Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship

From Lesbians Who Tech:

Are you or someone you know an LGBTQ women who wants to learn how to code?

Apply for the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship!

Let’s be real, coding schools are expensive. And they’re not always the most accessible to the underrepresented communities who need them the most.

Learning how to code could mean a new job, a more inclusive app, and more visibility for LGBTQ women in the tech sector.

This is why our coding scholarship recipients receive 50% tuition coverage to the coding school of their choice, such as Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, Make School, and more.

Application deadline ends July 1, so take the first step to kickstarting your coding career now and apply here!

All ages and backgrounds encouraged to apply.

I had the absolute pleasure of hearing Edie Windsor speak at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit event in San Francisco earlier this year. You can learn more about Edie Windsor’s amazing story here.

Joy and Pain

Today is my birthday, and once again I am overwhelmed and grateful for so many people sharing well wishes and messages of joy and love – by phone, by Facebook, by text, by phone calls. I spent the day at Stanford University, watching my godson graduate and listening to Ken Burns give one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard (commencement or otherwise) about what our government has done right in its history, and how that will be jeopardized if Trump becomes president. Burns urged us to vote and do whatever is necessary to keep that unqualified candidate out of office. I was surrounded by family/friends that I’ve known for over 20 years and that I’m so thankful to have in my life. I watched as families and friends cheered for loved ones, shed tears, gave hugs, and took photos together. It was a day filled with joy and love and pride and gratitude.

And pain.

One of the first things I read this morning, before all the birthday love, was of the mass shooting that killed 50 in Orlando. A crime of hate. A crime against LGBT people in this month in which we dedicate to celebrating pride and acceptance. A crime that could have been a lot more difficult to commit if we had stricter gun safety laws in this country. I said a prayer, not just for the 50 who lost their lives too early, in an act of violence that truly is unimaginable, but also for their friends and family and co-workers and neighbors and lovers – all that are grieving and overcome by sadness, disbelief, and anger. As I finished my prayer, I thought, “This is too much. Almost every single day I’m saying a prayer for people I don’t know; people whose lives have been taken too early by mass shootings. I’m saying a prayer and offering condolences to thousands of people for deaths born of hatred and enabled by irresponsible regulation. Prayer isn’t enough.”

When I returned home tonight, I decided to share my thoughts, not just with my Facebook and Twitter friends,  but with my elected officials. I want my elected officials to know that if they do not pass legislation to stop this madness, I will not only not vote for them, but I will do everything in my power to ensure that they are not re-elected. If you feel the same,  write your elected officials. You can find your Senators’ information at this page and your Representative’s here. If you’re interested in a template to send, a good one to begin with is here. The time for the violence to stop has long passed.

Just Another Kiss

We were almost dry from the surprise shower that caught us during the first half of our walk. We walked toward the Golden Gate Bridge, marveling at how beautiful the Golden Gate is after a rain. Blue skies, white puffy clouds, a crispness to the air unlike no other. We watched surfers in front of us, veering off to descend down the cliff towards the sharp rocky reef of the Pacific. “Let’s touch Hopper’s Hands, then we can start our walk back home.” “Hopper’s Hands?” “Yeah, they’re hands on the fence. It’s kind of a tradition to high five them before turning around. It’s one of my favorite parts of this walk/run.” We high fived Hopper’s Hands then noticed one of the surfers had caught a wave. We stopped to watch, marveling at his grace and skill. I felt a spidey-sense that something was wrong. I turned my head to see a wave approaching me. No, not approaching me. ON me. The sheet of water landed on my head, knocking me back. I stumbled and looked at all the stunned faces around us. The wave had only touched me and Jo, no one else around. I started laughing as water dripped down my hair, off my glasses, and down my nose. I looked at Jo. “Let’s start walking.” Shortly thereafter, we approached the Warming Hut (a safe distance from the waves) and ordered a cup of tea to enjoy while sitting outside in the just appeared sunshine.

We pondered, “What is the lesson here?” An obvious one, don’t stand near a cliff when the king tides are approaching. Also, don’t wear a cotton hoodie near the water (we walked for another two hours and I never dried out). The warmth of the sun is so much more delightful after a downpour (or a random wave). And last, sometimes you just have to be thankful when the Pacific decides to give you a kiss.

 

 

All of That, All at Once

Full. Exhausted. Hopeful. Furious. Dismayed. Proud. I’m feeling all of that, all at once, right now.

Full from the words spoken tonight. Full from the messages of hope. “When you’re uncomfortable, you expand. Let yourself grow in that space.”  Full from being uncomfortable and learning new truths.

Exhausted because of the tears of sadness and the tears of joy shed, watching crazy talented performers at the Youth Speaks Bringing the Noise for Dr Martin Luther King Jr event. Watching the very young girl seated next to me eyeing me suspiciously as I wiped away tears that wouldn’t stop as I heard the names and names and names of people who died at the hands of police brutality. Tears as I said a prayer that in 40 years, she won’t be sitting at an event, tears streaming down her face as she hears a similar roll call of names.

Hopeful for the voices of tonight. Hopeful that through their talent, their raw honesty, their sheer emotion, their messages will be heard. “Love your broken reflection and then allow someone else to see themselves in the cracks.

Furious that we live in a country where a #blacklivesmatter movement is necessary. “Too many of us are dying for just trying to live.

Dismayed to hear the words “I can’t figure out why these people were killed in the first place at least in the movies they give you a reason for the slaughter.

And proud, so proud, of all the young poets, and especially the young women, who shared their truths. “Hold on, my people.