Posts Tagged ‘United States’

What’s Your Parenting Pet Peeve?

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I’m so jazzed to welcome Judy Molland as a guest blogger today. She’s the author of Get Out! 150 Easy Ways for Kids and Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future and Straight Talk About Schools Today. Take it away, Judy!

One of my pet peeves is witnessing bad parenting. A couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful fall day, I was hiking down Lembert Dome in Yosemite National Park with my husband. Actually, it wasn’t just beautiful, it was perfect: bright blue sky, just a few clouds, gorgeous orange and russet leaves on the trees, a crisp chill in the air.

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Guest Blogger Jessalyn Pinneo: “Welcome to Washington, Mr. President!”

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009


Today I'd like to welcome a wonderful guest blogger, Jessalyn Pinneo, from over at one of my favorite blogs: There Is No Spoon (A Millenial Grows Up).

I've known Jessi for about a decade, and I've loved watching her as she begins her career in Washington D.C. Jessi was fortunate enough to be a witness to history today. And I wanted to share her story in her own words. Thanks, Jessi!

Welcome to Washington, Mr. President

My
legs are half-frozen, my hair is a tangled disaster, my shoulders are
knotted and sore from hunching against the wind… and I've never been
more thrilled, inspired or hopeful in my life. Why? Because I stood on
the National Mall at noon today and watched President Barack Obama take
his oath of office as the 44th President of the United States.

I
was not an Obama fan during the primaries. I was pulling for John
Edwards, then for Hillary Clinton, shaking my head at Obama's lack of
experience and rolling my eyes at his celebrity status with so many
people my age. But then, the last few months of the primaries, I
started really listening to what he had to say, watching the way he
interacted with people and the effect he had on them.

Once I started paying attention, I couldn't actually find anything to dislike about Barack Obama at all.

As
the general election heated up, so did my enthusiasm for the Democratic
candidate, this husband, this father, this basketball player,
this statesman whose love of country resonates in every word he speaks.
Well before November 4th, I was committed to doing what I could to see
him elected, not only because he was my party's candidate but because I
finally saw in him the spark that so many others were drawn to before
me. The hope, the commitment to change not only for the betterment of
this country but for that of the world, and the unflagging patriotism
that acknowledges our country's failings at the same time that it
reminds us of its greatness and its potential.

On November 4th,
I cast one of the millions of ballots that helped turn Virginia blue,
then sat on the floor in front of the TV with tears streaming down my
face as President-elect Obama gave his address from Grant Park in
Chicago. And today I stood on the Mall, again with tears in my eyes,
and listened to President Barack Obama speak for the first time -
seriously, hopefully, determinedly - to the American people.


I've
always been proud to be an American, proud of the dreams and
determination that have made us what we are, proud to be part of the
astonishingly diverse heart of this country. But I've never been as
filled with hope, and the belief that the status quo can change for the
better, as I am today.

The day before the election, I wrote a post for my non-profit's blog, an excerpt of which I've been thinking about for the last week or so:

"I have a challenge for our next president, whether he turns out to be Barack Obama or John McCain:

Hold
onto the sense of community that’s grown among your supporters, among
the citizens of this country, during the campaign. It’s been a long one
and we’re all tired of it, but we’re united in our desire to see a
better, brighter future for America. Take that unity and hold it up for the country to see, make it clear that regardless of who any one person voted for, the next steps in American history are up to all of us.
Foster that sense of community among the diverse voices that comprise
the citizenship of our country. If you do, I believe that you’ll be
able to accomplish more than any president in the past 20 years has
dreamed possible.

Use
the collective energy of that community to fix what’s broken… Gather it around minority groups who are too often the innocent victims of
attackers who don’t understand them and only recognize them as
different and therefore dangerous. Pit the enormity of that positive
vibe against the negativity of… extremist positions, and let’s see if
we can’t overwhelm them in such a way that makes them obsolete.

I
believe the American people have the power to accomplish all that and
more and I challenge you, Mr. President, to harness it. The marathon [of the election]’s almost over, but the real test of strength has yet
to begin. I hope you have the guts to meet it head-on, and win."

I'm
sure no one in President Obama's closest circles (and probably not many
in mine, for that matter) has read that post — November 3rd was kind of
a busy day for them! — but listening to him speak, the following night
and this morning, I feel heard.
And I believe that with President Obama in office, the dream of a
united America, of an active citizenry and a government — or at least a
White House — that hears and fights for the needs of its citizens can
once again be a reality.

If
I didn't believe that, I probably wouldn't have walked the 4.5 miles
from my apartment to downtown D.C. in this morning's 20-some-odd-degree
weather, bundled up in tights, knee-highs, wool socks, jeans, tank top,
long-sleeved tee, sweater, windbreaker, scarf, coat and fleece
headband, with hand warmers in my pockets and toe warmers in my shoes,
to stand with the mass of people that filled the entire length of the
Mall and the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and watch the swearing-in of
our 44th president. If I didn't believe that, I would likely have spent
this Inauguration as I spent the last one: ignoring it, and wishing the
motorcades and barricades and military checkpoints would stop messing
with my routes through the city.

But I do believe it, so I
wanted to be there, to watch history in the making, to watch the first
moments of a presidential term I believe will bring extraordinary and
much-needed changes to America. And to say: Welcome to Washington, Mr.
President!