Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rising Above

I read something moving this afternoon. Newsweek published an interview that they did with Mariane Pearl, the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl. And in it they asked her about fighting terrorism. I don't have any great claim to right answers in international politics, but I do feel like her answer was profound...

"Terrorism is a psychological weapon, even though it uses physical means. It stops you from claiming the world as your own. It stops you from relating to other people. It creates fear and hatred. The only way to fight terrorists, as a citizen, is to deny them those emotions. That is the only thing terrorists don't expect. Everything else they expect: retaliation, bombing, attacks. All of that is exactly what they want. Deny them fear, and they lose". The journalist interviewing her responded that her answer was a very "noble reaction to terrorism, especially considering what happened to you" and she returned "I'm not saying this because I'm a nice person. It's not forgiveness that motivates me. It's revenge. Terrorists expect retaliation. It's very easy to want to hurt someone who has hurt you. The one thing they're not expecting is my happiness. That's true revenge. And when I see Adam, and I see how happy he is, I think, "I'm winning."

She lived through this great tragedy and decided not to blame an entire population for what happened to her husband. Her "revenge" is to be happy and raise a happy son. Here is a woman who has risen above her circumstances to choose her own way. It was Victor Frankel who said "the one thing you can't take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one's freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance."

If the world were full of people with this attitude and belief it would be a different place. For now this is one of the qualities I am going to add to my list of things to become. A woman who chooses her own attitude in any given circumstance.

For the interview go to

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer Dusk

Ahhh....It has been one of those perfect summer nights when everyone goes to bed content. Brian got to have his Thursday "guy wakeboard night", the kids played outside until dark, and I had a chance to relax on the park bench with nothing to do and nothing to hurry home to.

There is something so magical about summer dusk. It's a twilight transition time that never fails to bring quiet. As the sun slips down behind the mountain it takes all the "busy day" cares with it. The sky gradually darkens, the heat of the sun melts away and my mood matches the twilight. Street noise quiets, kid noise becomes occasional and the song of the night insects enters my consciousness slowly. By the time darkness has fallen I am relaxed and happy.

This will last another ten hours until I get the first house related phone call in the morning. But, cross my fingers, this will only last for another week or so, and then I will be enjoying summer dusk in my chaise lounge (that is currently packed away in storage) on our new deck.

Friday, June 8, 2007


One of my favorite childhood memories is of playing games for hours on end. I remember Monopoly marathons, Risk(a favorite of mine), Life, Trouble, Pictionary, and of course the Crump Classic, Shanghai. No camping trip with the extended family could be considered complete without a late night game of Shanghai!

Now that the girls are getting older it has been fun to start playing games with them. We recently discovered a new game called Rat-a-tat-Cat. I loved the idea of a game with strategy that all of us had an equal chance of winning. So I sat down and taught Emilee and Sadie how to play. The idea of the game is to collect the cards with the fewest amount of points, the cat cards, the rat cards are all high points. The trick is you don't get to look at your cards.

In game after game, I would try to "help" Sadie. "Take the three, " I would try to convince her, "it's a low card." "No, Mom I want this one," and she would turn over a zero. "Oh, don't do that," I would stay, because statistically her chances of drawing a lower card were small...and yet, against the odds she would draw that lower card. "Rat-a-tat-Cat," I would call to end the round, absolutely sure that my 4 point total was an assured winner. Sadie would turn over her hand to reveal a 2 point total, 2 zero's and 2 one's. Brian sat down with us to play, I think because he thought maybe I was "letting" Sadie win, but no, she beat him too!

A couple nights ago, we sat down for a couple of rounds. I showed Sadie how to "cut the deck" and deal the cards. (Important skills for any six-year old, right?) After four hands we were all off to different activities. As Brian and I were talking downstairs, I wondered what Sadie was doing, it was awfully quiet upstairs, and she is usually not the silent one around the house. A few minutes later she appeared at my side, "Mom, come play again with me and Emilee,". "I can't right now, Sadie maybe later." A little while later I was upstairs and found a game very carefully laid out. A little glimmer crossed my mind, and I knelt down just to satisfy my curiousity. I turned over Sadie's cards and sure enough found 4 cats, all zero's. Emilee's hand was full of rats, all 8's and 9's. My hand was a little more mixed. I put away the cards, and later that night when Sadie asked, "Mom, did you put away the game?" I answered, "Yes, who do you think was going to win?" Her first response was a shrug, and then this little Sadie grin, started to peek out. "Mom, I made my cards all zero's!!! and filled Emilee's hand with rats! Tee-hee-hee"

Brian and I have been laughing about it ever since. Imagine that, one of our daughters turning out competetive! We'll save the "it's as much fun to play as it is to win" lesson for later. I'm still playing Rat-a-tat-cat, but for the next little while, I think I'll keep dealing!