Just Another Cat-Loving, Saab-Driving, Wine-Swilling Liberal Jewish Democrat
First off, I’d like to thank Tod Kelly and Erik Kain for inviting me to join this esteemed group of bloggers. I’m beyond thrilled to be here. As the price of admission, they’ve asked me to write a brief introductory piece, so, while autobiography is not normally my forte, here goes.
As you might guess from the accompanying picture, I heart cats. My husband and I have four of them, plus an elderly pug and a feisty cockatiel that we found on a trail in Bellevue, Washington back when we lived there. The cat in the picture is Diesel, named after Vin Diesel, and he’s a Highland Lynx. Our other three cats are (of course) just as cute but lack the curly ears.
My husband (The Russian) and I currently live in Greensboro, North Carolina. We’ve been together for a bit more than fifteen years and, in that time, have lived in five quite different metro areas: Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, and now Greensboro (where hopefully we’ll be staying for quite a while). We never intended to become middle-aged gypsies–well, at least I didn’t–but it seems to have worked out that way. While Greensboro is small compared to the other places we’ve lived, its charms make up for the fact that its downtown skyline is dominated by two large buildings and not much else. There’s much to be said for living in a place where you can usually get where you want to go in ten minutes or less (take it from someone who’s lived in L.A.). Besides, Greensboro offers Jews, yoga, and Whole Foods. What more could anyone want?
By default, I vote Democratic. My parents, both conservative, Fox-watching Republicans, have never quite figured out what they did wrong to produce two left-leaning daughters. Perhaps it was all that time they spent stressing to my sister and me that we needed to learn how to think for ourselves. Or perhaps we were indoctrinated during too many years spent at liberal universities. Whatever the cause, we usually avoid talking politics at family gatherings. Yet, while I may vote Democratic (because, really, what choice is there given what modern Republicans are offering up), my politics, like most people’s, don’t fit neatly into any predefined boxes. I tend toward cultural conservatism on some issues, anti-corporatism most of the time, and Ron Paulish views on foreign policy.
My training is in history and law. Over the years I’ve worked as an adjunct professor of American history, an editor and writer of instructor-lead computer software training, an administrative law clerk, and an attorney at a small firm (think dog bites and divorces). Eons ago, I studied under Christopher Lasch at the University of Rochester. My dissertation focused on the life and work of Robert Maynard Hutchins. Hutchins became president of the University of Chicago at the age of 29 and, along with Mortimer Adler and others, created the Great Books program. Later, Hutchins went on to found the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in a suburb of Santa Barbara, California and endeavored to foster “the civilization of the dialogue.” It seems like that’s what the creators of the League are also endeavoring to create, at least in their little space on the Internets. The intelligence and civility of the writers and commenters certainly attracted and kept me here. At some point, I’ll likely write a more detailed post about Hutchins’ efforts to create dialogue at the Center because it seems somehow relevant.
Other topics that engage me include what I call the “re-righting” of history, the concept of home and place, the antics of the right-wing media, Judaism, constitutional law, and politics in general. And, if all else fails, there’s always cats.