A Trip of a Lifetime.

Our bags are packed.  The number of gifts carefully tucked away between clothes is too numerous to recall.  A gift for the translator.  A gift for the executive team.  A gift for the social worker.  Ties have been painstakingly chosen and high heel shoes have made their way into shoe bags.  A few items remain outstanding.  Toiletries, of course.  Dresses.  And a couple of pairs of footwear.  (I can’t help it.)  At once, I’m exhausted and excited.  I’m hopeful that sleep will come tonight. 

This week, I’ve found myself lying awake staring at the clock in the early hours of the morning far more often than I would like.  If all goes as planned, tomorrow we will board a flight to Seoul.  The purpose of trip is personal, but it’s also business.  We will meet our son for the first time.  Our initial meeting will be for an hour.  Just one hour.  The following afternoon, we will meet with him, again, also for an hour.  On Friday, we will appear before a judge who will decide, definitively, whether our family of three will become a family of four. 

When we began this path, the 18- to 24-month timeline seemed incredible.  And, yes, it is a long time to wait for someone–anyone–you love.  But the process has also allowed our family time to prepare.  We’ve prepared [S] as much as possible.  She knows his names (both English and Korean).  She can speak a few key Korean words.  She knows her baby brother is no longer a baby. 

Despite the time, I’m not sure how much Russell and I have prepared for meeting our son.  In many ways, I suspect it will be like giving birth.  I knew I loved my daughter before she was born.  But it wasn’t until after she was born that the emotions flowed freely.  There were tears of joy.  There were hints of sadness.  There was fear.  But, by far, the overwhelming emotion I felt was love.  It was raw.  It was real.  And it was awesome in its scope. 

I know that I’m not the first adoptive parent to wonder how the first meeting with his or her to-be-child will progress.  Will I be liked?  Will I be shunned?  Will I make a fool of myself?  Will I get a smile.  Will there be a bond?  Knowing children, I take great comfort that I will not be alone.  [S] is sure to be hit, as is my Husband.  But I take greater comfort knowing that our initial meeting is but the beginning of our journey together. 


Progress: The Appointment of Special Counsel.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has appointed Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced on Wednesday.

The appointment of Mr. Mueller dramatically raises the stakes for President Trump in the multiple investigations into his campaign’s ties to the Russians. It follows a swiftly moving series of developments that have roiled Washington, including Mr. Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the disclosure that the president urged Mr. Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

“I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination.”

Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation, The New York Times (May 17, 2017).

I stand with the Deputy Attorney General.  Appointing special counsel is an important step to being able to determine whether Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  Were I POTUS, assured that there was no meddling in the election by Russia, I would welcome this–as well as any other non-partisan investigation–into the 2016 election.  Good investigators are trained to separate the wheat from the chaff, unearthing relevant facts and revealing the narrative that remains.


The Burger King.

In the era of “better burgers,” two chains have polled as offering the nation’s best: Five Guys and In-N-Out. Both are regional restaurants that have in recent years expanded their presence across the country. In-N-Out, from California, features palm trees and crisp white uniforms on its employees, while Five Guys, from Virginia, has more of a blue collar feel, its locations famously stocked with boxes of peanuts (and its fries fried in their oil).

Burger lovers typically align themselves with one brand or the other, and in 2017, for the first time, more Americans have pledged their allegiance to Five Guys, according to the annual Harris Poll, which was released Tuesday morning. In-N-Out came in second, after topping the poll in both 2015 and 2016.

In-N-Out vs. Five Guys Burgers: America Has a New Favorite Destination, Newsweek (May 16, 2017). 

Now, all is as it should be.  Indeed, my top burger joints remain in the top 10.  An honorable mention goes to Culver’s, where the butter burgers (yes, it is an appropriate description) are tasty and the custard toothsome.   How does your favorite stack up?  The results for America’s favorite burger are as follows:

1. Five Guys
2. In-N-Out
3. Shake Shack
4. Wendy’s
5. Culver’s
6. Whataburger
7. McDonald’s
8. Sonic America’s Drive-In
9. Smashburger
10. Steak ‘N Shake

Mr. November and My Aunt

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter held a microphone and spoke without notes to the crowd that filled sold-out Yankee Stadium. His No. 2, the last of the single digit pinstripes, had been retired and a plaque in his honor dedicated that will be placed in Monument Park alongside tributes to Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and the rest of the team’s greats.

“There isn’t a person or player I would trade places with that’s playing now or ever,” he told the fans.

Derek Jeter’s Number Retired in a Ceremony at Yankee Stadium, Time/AP (May 15, 2017).

Seeing photos of Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium reminded me of a time many, many years ago.  Yes, it was a different Yankee Stadium than where I watched him play.  Yes, he is a different man now than he was then.  Regardless, he is a modern day legend, who deserves to be feted.  He donned No. 2 for 20 seasons, during which he excelled at what mattered:  hitting, baserunning, fielding, and leading.  The result?  Five World Series championships. 

As I read about Derek Jeter’s accomplishments, I couldn’t get my late Aunt Joan’s voice out of my head.  “Oh, Kim, he’s so much more than a fabulous shortstop, he’s a leader–on an off the field.  He teammates respect him.  And his charitable organization Turn 2 speaks volumes of his character.”  My Aunt, who had an opinion on anything and everything she knew–and she knew a lot about a lot–didn’t let it go at that.  “I think you and Derek would be a power couple,” she proudly opined.  “He hasn’t found anyone, really,” she continued.  Her hopes were fueled by me casually mentioning that I had run into him at a bar–one which, it would turn out, we both frequented.  But that was years ago. 

My Aunt was a bright woman.  She knew it was against all odds for Derek Jeter and her niece to date, just like she knew that she would not see another Derek Jeter in her lifetime. 


Remembering America’s Values.

WASHINGTON — In dramatically casting aside James B. Comey, President Trump fired the man who may have helped make him president — and the man who potentially most threatened the future of his presidency.

Not since Watergate has a president dismissed the person leading an investigation bearing on him, and Mr. Trump’s decision late Tuesday afternoon drew instant comparisons to the “Saturday Night Massacre” in October 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor looking into the so-called third-rate burglary that would eventually bring Nixon down.

In his letter firing Mr. Comey, the F.B.I. director, Mr. Trump made a point of noting that Mr. Comey had three times told the president that he was not under investigation, Mr. Trump’s way of pre-emptively denying that his action was self-interested. But in fact, he had plenty at stake, given that Mr. Comey had said publicly that the bureau was investigating Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election and whether any associates of Mr. Trump’s campaign were coordinating with Moscow.

The decision stunned members of both parties, who saw it as a brazen act sure to inflame an already politically explosive investigation. For all his unconventional actions in his nearly four months as president, Mr. Trump still has the capacity to shock, and the notion of firing an F.B.I. director in the middle of such an investigation crossed all the normal lines.

In Trump’s Firing of James Comey, Echoes of Watergate, The New York Times (May 9, 2017).

I’ve been concerned about many, many issues impacting our government.  My concerns relate directly to our sitting president and his administration.  Most concerning, to me, are ethical issues.  After all, if one cannot trust POTUS to do the right thing, who will?  You know, lead by example, and all that.  Personally profiting from his current role as President; purposefully misstating facts; and shielding his financial interests from disclosure, are deeply troubling–just to name a few. 

Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that POTUS summarily dismissed Mr. Comey from his position.  He did so without informing Mr. Comey.  And, likely, without following proper protocol.  Indeed, it is unlikely Mr. Comey was debriefed considering he learned of his termination of employment by way of breaking news.

But how Mr. Comey was dismissed is not the issue that should make Americans shake with anger and shudder with fear.  Those emotions should be reserved for the question, why was he fired?  To be expected, the stated reason for Mr. Comey’s termination appears facially neutral (and, even, lawful).  But, based upon the facts known, it would not be a reach (of any measure) to assume that it was a pretext for the real reason he was fired–to disrupt, delay, and/or derail current FBI investigations into the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

For those who consider themselves patriots, this is the moment to question, “What can I do?” and, then, act accordingly.

What side are you on?  Me, I’m fighting for the integrity of our country.

One’s Best Life. Imagined.

IT is now official. Scholars have analyzed the data and confirmed what we already knew in our hearts. Social media is making us miserable.

We are all dimly aware that everybody else can’t possibly be as successful, rich, attractive, relaxed, intellectual and joyous as they appear to be on Facebook. Yet we can’t help comparing our inner lives with the curated lives of our friends.

Just how different is the real world from the world on social media? In the real world, The National Enquirer, a weekly, sells nearly three times as many copies as The Atlantic, a monthly, every year. On Facebook, The Atlantic is 45 times more popular.

Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable, The New York Times (May 6, 2017).