Colombia 2017 (441)

Peace

Peace is just a word. Just a word. -Eurythmics When friends ask me how my trip to Colombia was I feel like I should talk about the food, the friendly people, and the amazing scenery. But all I want to talk about is the peace agreement. Colombia is having a moment. A good one. Last…

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Fear

I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!  Nina Simone Last Wednesday I woke to a nightmare I wished I had dreamt. Donald Trump had won the election. The day before I was sure, many of us were, that Clinton had it. That we would elect our first woman…

Syria 2011 (193)

Aleppo Pepper

I look into the cupboard and see the jar I want, the half-worn word Aleppo written on it, in my handwriting. The dish I’m making calls for Aleppo pepper, a dried chili pepper used commonly in Middle Eastern cooking. I grab it and think of Aiman, my friend and former guide in Syria, who is…

Washington smoke, near Ritzsville

Paradise Burning

I just returned from my annual weekend at Lake Coeur d’Alene. It’s the highlight of my summer. Several of my closest friends converge on a friend’s family’s lake cabin for a weekend to celebrate friendship and the end of summer. But this year it was slightly different. As we drove across the state from Seattle…

Ft. Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired

Remembering Charleston

My friend Kiki and I arrived in Charleston a sunny, steamy Saturday morning, after flying a red-eye from Seattle. We ate a brunch of mimosas and gravy biscuits, asking our server where the best barbeque in town was. Carolinians take their barbeque very seriously and we got schooled in the difference between North and South Carolina…

Palmyra, Syria

Palmyra (and the Endless War)

ISIS in Full Control of Syria’s Palmyra. I read the BBC headline and took a deep breath. I have been to the site of ancient Palmyra. I have walked its colonnaded streets under towering pillars. Now, as the war in Syria enters its fifth year, the renegade Islamic State of ISIS is in control of…