A Proof for Truth

The Rumpus, see story Mathematics is considered the model of black-and-white truth—the universal language of the world. But this is a myth. I once taught Euclidean geometry, the most basic of all theoretical mathematics, to high school students. This geometry is based on a plane—a two-dimensional figure that stretches infinitely in two directions but has no thickness. Planes do not exist in real life, not really; neither do lines and points. A line has length but no width: one dimension. A point has neither length nor width: no dimensions. All plane figures—triangles, circles, angles, rays—are made up of these basic principles, lines and points. The study of Euclidean geometry is essentially faith in what cannot be seen. Euclidean geometry is also the foundation for the rules of engineering and physics. Therefore, it is a faith underpinning scientific facts. I taught this faith to teenagers, who were actively working out their own understandings of truth and belief. Within the parameters of a plane, I...
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My No-Trump Vote Dedication

Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote, see story A split second is all that separates who I am now—a wife and mother—and who I might have been—an invisible military widow. On August 19, 1993, the love of my life sat in the passenger seat of a cutvee truck on the road from the Port of Mogadishu to UN headquarters. In the back, two soldiers manned an M-60, and to her left, her driver was at the wheel. On the side of the road a man beat his camel, desperately trying to force the animal to move. Sensing danger, the driver slowed down and saved four lives. The command-detonated land mine blew a 5-foot- crater into the ground, lifting their cutvee into the air and smashing it back to the ground. Sniper fire zoomed overhead, and the soldiers raced for cover behind a crumbling wall. Catching their breath, they saw at their feet, the long, black detonation wire snaking down to the blast crater. The bomber...
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Marriage equality finally passed in Maryland. Now the real battle begins

Baltimore City Paper, see story It was 2:30 a.m., and the college students across the street were still blasting their music. My partner Gina reminded me it was my turn to tell them to knock it off. I pulled on a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt and walked barefoot to their front door. “I know it doesn’t seem loud to you, but it’s really bothering us,” I said meekly to the fellow who answered. “Could you turn the music down?” He rolled his eyes and turned to someone else inside. The music quieted. I said thanks and headed back to my little blue house. Halfway across the street, I heard it—loud and clear. “Dyke!”  And the music went back to 10. This was 15 years ago in Norfolk, Va., where we once lived. It bugged me, yeah, but I wasn’t scared of my neighbors. They were just stupid, drunk college punks. Besides, I called the cops once I got home; the party ended soon after that. But...
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The Semi-Free State

Baltimore City Paper, see story It was Oct. 28—adoption day—and Courtroom 2 of the Baltimore City Circuit Court was packed. Well-dressed parents and children squeezed into the hard wooden benches like churchgoers on Christmas Eve. Babies cried and young children squirmed on their parents’ laps. Adolescents dressed in big puffy jackets sat quietly, glancing seriously about the room. Our attorney sat in the jury box—the only available spot—while we settled into the front row, our usual choice in church as well. The whole group had been waiting outside the room for 30 minutes or so, sizing each other up. There were three factions: grandparents or other relatives adopting older children, parents adopting from overseas, and us—two-mom and two-dad families. At 5 years old, our daughter Zoe was clearly the oldest of the kids among the latter contingent. Another two-mom family pushed their tyke along in a stroller. A very handsome male couple held their young son in their arms, one set of grandparents in tow,...
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Zoe Has Two Mommies

Parents magazine "Mommy and Mama!  Look at me!" Heads whip around the playground as Zoe calls out to me and my partner, Gina.  I notice some of the adults nearby looking quizzically at her–and then at us. Our daughter, an articulate and boisterous 3-year-old, is oblivious to the scrutiny. All she wants is to show us how high she's soaring on the swing. In her eyes, her parents are as normal as anyone else's. As a two-mom family living in Hampton Roads, Virginia, however, Gina and I know we are different. We're both a curiosity and a political statement, though we never set out to be either. We simply decided to start a family for the same reasons other couples do: We had been together for a long time and having a baby seemed the next logical step in our relationship. We both felt we had a lot to offer children, and now that Zoe's in our lives, our goals are just like...
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Selling Own Home No Piece of Cake

Inside Business, Norfolk The next time I say I’m going to try a For Sale By Owner, please take me gently by the shoulders and point me to the nearest reputable Realtor. I’ve said for years that Realtors earn every penny of commission.  I know selling a home is a tremendous amount of work—marketing the house, scheduling showings, remembering all of the details that protect the seller. But the pull of a sellers market is strong.  Homes in my neighborhood were receiving multiple offers, spurring bid wars.  If the process was going to be made simpler by a market with far more buyers than sellers, why not give it a try? What I didn’t remember is that I am no businesswoman.  I hate alerting the phone company when I notice a problem with my bill I dislike negotiating my pay at a new job.  The intense competition of “The Apprentice” makes my hands sweat. But I was convinced that approved buyers with good heads on...
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Try to make all employees—out or not—feel valued

Published June 20, 2005, Inside Business, Norfolk, VA I smoothed my navy blue suit skirt and relaxed a little.  Perched on the edge of a sofa in the fourth-floor office of a downtown Norfolk building, I was relieved that the job interview was coming to a close.  The two executives and I were moving to small talk. “So is your husband in the Navy?” one of them asked. I was taken aback by the question.  It was an illegal question for very good reason—it put me in a very difficult position. “Well…” I paused, thinking about what I could do next.  Lie?  Distract him with a question of my own?  Pretend I didn’t hear? “I don’t have a husband,” I said.  And then I took another leap.  “I have a wife.” (I will pause here so you can check out my byline again.) To be completely honest, this wasn’t a huge risk.  I knew that the two men interviewing me were gay themselves.  Just about everyone in the...
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