Skip to content

I’ve reached my level of tolerance with this election.

Well, I’ve had it. This election has broken my tolerance switch. I’m incensed. I’m horrified. I am sickened for the country, for our future, for the world.

I know we can do so much better.

So, with the lack of any real power to fix it, I ranted.

Love to all. Don’t forget to vote.

xo leigh

What’s Up Democrats?

In light of today’s primary in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana and the Dakotas, I thought I’d take a look at what’s eating the Democratic party and where their priorities lie…should lie?…in the wake of the Donald Trump alternative.

Also, Loch is one day away from being a 3rd Grader.


Thanks again for all your support. Please consider following me on YouTube!! It really does help.

xo leigh


Viewer Questions: Will Congress Choose the Next President?

Hello All!

New post this week is my first Viewer Question Segment regarding a piece that ran in the Huffington Post this week “Doomsday Savior? How Paul Ryan will Pick the Next President.”  and if something like that is really possible?

Quick Answer: Yes. More nuanced answer: watch this video:

Next week we will discuss the Electoral College and how it works.

Please subscribe to the channel on YouTube (you have to have or set up a google account) or, for the mailing list on the website to get email messages when new videos come up.

Thank you again for your continued support!

xo leigh

P.S. Lochlan Update: We’re on Spring Break now and we had the opportunity to go to the soft opening (meaning not yet officially open) of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and it was absoutely incredible. If you are a fan of the book and stories like our family. It is an absolute must do!!





Donald Trump v. The GOP

This is a big day in primary politics and who comes out on top will say a lot about how we move forward to the conventions in July. The biggest issue on the table is currently the Republican front runner Donald J. Trump and his war with the establishment and controlling players in his party. How will it all play out? Why should we care? What is it we should understand? It’s a super big deal and one worth paying attention to.

New post at or on YouTube:

Best to all!

Next week: The fallout from today’s results and where we go from here.

xo leigh

The Importance of the Supreme Court

As Super Tuesday’s results make the Presidential Nominees clearer and clearer, the Importance of the Supreme Court and, more specifically, who gets to nominate its justices becomes more and more important. New Politics Girl: The Importance of the Supreme Court: Part 1 is up on YouTube now. Part 2 will be up soon.

Up Next: Delegates and Super delegates and their effect on the Presidential Nominees.

As always, check out the site for new definitions and blog posts and, if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel. Apparently that’s how it works. Did you know there’s a guy who makes over 3 million dollars a year playing video games on YouTube? Well, there is! It’s a brand new world. I’m just not quite sure what to make of it.

Thanks again for all your support.

xo Leigh

P.S. Loch update: He had to go to school today dressed as a “favorite literary character”. Since he was Harry Potter last year and, as he said, “There’s going to be like 20 Harry Potters…” he went as Joe Hardy from the Hardy Boys. Adorable 1950’s teenage sleuth.


New Video on Politics Girl

Hi All,

There is a new video up on YouTube – American Politics Names to Know: Part II. You can also see it at the top of the redesigned site:

New definitions will be added every week to the site and I’m currently working on next week’s video: The Importance of the Supreme Court and, how to subscribe directly to the channel so you don’t have to read about the new posts here.

In other news: Lochlan just turned 8. How lucky am I to have been around to see it?!

As always, thank you for your continued support!

xo leigh


New Posts up on PoliticsGirl site

Hello all,

I’m not sure if you’ve been checking but there are some new videos up on the site. “Political Endorsements” and “People to Know American Politics: Part 1”. “People to Know American Politics: Part 2” should be up by Friday and I’m madly working on an extended piece on the death oftThe Supreme Court’s Antonin Scalia and what it all means for the Presidential Election in November and the country in general.

Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and check out the new website: It’s been redesigned and, though it’s still a work in progress, I think it’s really starting to come together.

Many thanks to my husband Sean for his many talents!!

Thanks again for your continued support!

xo leigh

My New Project!!

Hello Friends & Followers!

So, I told you I’d have a new adventure and here it is!

I’ve been working on a new project for quite a while and, though it’s not as perfect or polished as I’d like it to be, I figured it’s time to stop messing around and launch the darn thing already. So, without further ado, I give you the first episode of Politics Girl. Iowa caucus: Part I, II & III.

Yes, I know…right down to the wire on that one.

You can also access the episodes via the website at:

Basically, Politics Girl is my foray into vlogging (or video blogging) where I hope to break down political issues and candidates from a open minded perspective. Though I personally have strong political leanings, swaying people to my point of view is not the point of the website or channel. My goal, as lofty as it may be, is to truly reengage people with the political sphere using facts and not spin. Things have become so polarized, so hostile, so…let’s be honest…gross that people are simply checking out in order to save their own sanity. I understand that. There’s a saying I love that goes…“My desire to stay informed is directly challenged by my desire to stay sane.” 

It’s a quandary.

Our news stations are skewed, our inboxes are full, our lives are busy but, this stuff REALLY matters and we, as lucky democratic citizens, get to have a say. I know it’s easier to choose to ignore it but, ultimately, it’s not better. Not for us and not for the future of the country. Ignoring simply gives the people who are engaged way too much control. I believe we can do better and I think knowledge and understanding is the first step to that.

Now, I know that a website, vlog, blog, tumblr, twitter feed situation is a bit Millennial for a lot of us but, this is the new way to reach people and reaching people is truly my goal. Currently the website is in it’s infancy. I’ll be consistently adding new vlogs, blogs and definitions but, the twitter feed and tumblr account have been up and running for months and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to check them out, follow and, hopefully, pass them on to others.

So, that’s my spiel. I want to make politics, and the issues that come with it, easier to understand so people are more engaged and take that engagement all the way to the ballot box. If you’d like to support this endeavor please follow my channel on YouTube, my feed on Twitter and share, please share, with people you know. If you have questions, feel free to ask and I’ll try and answer them as thoughtfully as I can.

Thank you for all your continued support.

Best always!

xo Leigh

The Next Adventure…

Dear Reader,

First, I want to thank you for coming on this journey with me. When I arrived at the three year mark of my diagnosis and wasn’t dead, I knew I wanted to do something worthwhile with my life. To make a difference. To leave something behind so that when I did die, I’d be able to feel a little less helpless about it. I wanted to write a book. I wanted to write a series of letters to my Lochlan so if I wasn’t around to teach or guide him, his mother’s voice could still resonate in his life. When it was suggested I write those letters as a blog I was hesitant. I didn’t read blogs. I didn’t know blogs. It felt insincere to join a space that I had no knowledge of, or even, real interest in.

When I decided to move forward I did vast amounts of research. I took an extensive New York Times course and I made countless notes on what I thought worked for other bloggers and why. The publishing of my first post was thrilling because I’d never done anything like it before. My voice was “out there”. I was no longer anonymous or protected. I had allowed my story to be public and I had made myself accountable to that persona.

Leah Lee  002In the meantime, I found I loved writing. I loved the opportunity to be honest and reflexive. I loved connecting with people, both strangers and close friends but, most of all, I was grateful for the catharsis. Writing made me feel less afraid. Every post I published was one less thing I would never be able to say. The process of creating the world of ‘In Case I’m Gone’ gave me a power I no longer had in real life. It allowed me to be in charge of my own story. It became less about what was happening to me and more about what I could learn from it. Writing, and hearing from those who were reading, made me feel less alone, less panicky, less fearful that soon there would be nothing left of me than a picture in a frame. Everything I published became a reminder that I had lived. That I was real. That I’d loved and cared and made mistakes and learned from them all.

underwood picWhen I was approached to write this blog as a book I was thrilled. It was what I’d hoped for. The opportunity to write my story in a forum I really understood. To leave a part of me behind. To be able to look back on my life and feel as if I’d done something real, something tangible. What I didn’t realize at the time was how long it would take to write that book. How difficult it would be to honor someone else’s idea of how it should look and feel while still making it my own. It took me almost three years to get it right. To have a book that really felt like me. This wasn’t some fictional character’s story. This was my real life and I had to do it justice. It had to be exactly right.

Though I continued to write the blog I found it was a real effort to keep the two things separate. I’d have an idea about something and think, is this a blog or a chapter? Is it on message? Does it serve a purpose? Would anyone care? Lochlan_McGowan-152It was a crazy amount of work and, I’m not ashamed to say, there were months where I wasn’t sure what I was even doing anymore and the book would sit completely dormant. When everything clicked last summer I was able to rewrite the book in it’s entirety in just over three months and, after two more of rewrites for my agent, by January we were ready to submit to eight different publishers.

I’ve never worked harder on something in my life. I’ve never done anything as intimate or daunting. I put my heart and soul into those pages and it felt right. In many ways it made my struggles feel worthwhile. As if coming to terms with my own death I could potentially help others live a better life. It felt hopeful and personal and, dare I say it, successful. The day I finished I cried. I cried my eyes out from relief and exhaustion and pride. I’d done something, something real and, at the time I said, “Even if the only person who ever reads it is Loch. It’ll be worth it.” 

photo copy 2Little did I know how true those words might be. As of now, all eight publishers have passed. Passed in the most glowing, complimentary way but, passed all the same. Apparently everyone loves the book but doesn’t know how to sell it and in a world of marketing and branding and everything being for sale this isn’t particularly good news. I can’t properly express the greatness of my disappointment but, I can say, I’m almost positive it’s not the end of that tale. The outcome may not be what I’d hoped, but the product is. I’ve written a book I’m truly proud of and, hopefully, someday many of you will want to read it. For now, I have to be resigned to it sitting on a shelf.

Which brings me to today. I haven’t been writing much lately and, though I could blame it on a million “busy” things, I’ve come to realize it’s because I’ve reached a crossroad. The completion of my book, though not culminating in the desired result, still represents the end of a journey. A journey I started in 2011 and one that’s now reached its’ conclusion. Lochlan is finally at an age where he’ll remember many of things I’ve said. He’s old enough that he might actually get to know me. I’ve made a singular impact on his life and, even if I haven’t, I’ve left a tangible part of myself behind in my writing. No matter what happens to me now I’ll have existed for him and, honestly, that’s all I ever wanted.

IMG_2326I am called to something new. I’m not exactly sure what it is but, until I take my foot out of this world I’ll never be able to firmly plant myself in another. I have a million things to say and I don’t want to feel boxed in by a “brand” or “message”. I’ve loved writing from the perspective of a mother who’s dying because, I am and I will but, these days I feel drawn to tell a different story from a different perspective and, if I’ve learned anything from being sick it’s that you have to listen to your heart. I could write ‘In Case I’m Gone’ until I was, but for now, I’m actually here and I owe it to myself to see where the next road leads.

Thank you for supporting me. For listening to me. For reaching out and sharing with me. I wish you luck and love and success on your own journey. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, I’ll be writing for you again but, this time from the pages of a book, the dialogue of a movie or, even, from the mouth of a politician who believes, as I do, that we as a people can do better than we are.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me as I found my voice. I promise to try and do something truly worthwhile with it before I go.

All my love,

xo Leigh


Blind Support

Dear Loch,

Your Dad and I recently came to watch your after school Ninja Presentation. It was a culmination of what had been learned over the past semester and a graduation ceremony as you move on to the next headband. They can’t call it a belt because the whole thing is more game based lessons rather than any formal martial arts training. To be honest, I don’t really understand it. I’m not sure what you’re doing or learning in these classes because it sure as heck isn’t any actual skills but, you throughly enjoy it so, we continue to sign you up no matter how pointless it might appear from the distance of an adult mind.

IMG_450644036This was the fifth presentation I’ve been to. The first couple were quite enjoyable because I went into them with zero expectation. You were just cute and committed and I dug it. By the third and fourth presentation I knew what to expect but, despite the minimal skills presented, I always felt proud because you took the whole thing so seriously. Clearly working hard and doing your best, you were respectful of your Sensei and committed to the process. What more could I ask for? By the time this presentation rolled around, however, I’m ashamed to admit I was kind of wishing there was something I could do to get out of it. Despite my pride in watching your hard work, the presentation itself is a pretty tough hour to sit through. I support you unconditionally but keeping a pleasant smile on my face while most of the kids fall on the ground in convulsed fits of goofiness and laughter while seemingly incapable of remembering what a line is and generally hard pressed to preform even a single move is quite difficult for me.

What I’ve held on to during these master classes in patience is that my child’s seemed capable of rising above the “noise”. The attention and respect you’ve always shown your teachers and the other children amidst the chaos impressed me. You seemed to understand when you should be quiet and when you should be talking and you always performed like a champion when it was your turn. Are you an amazing ninja? No. But, you always put forth an amazing effort.

Quotation-Jack-Kinder-life-expectations-achievement-Meetville-Quotes-186285I don’t need you to be the best. I just need you to be your best and, untill now, you’ve never let me down.

This time however, as I sat there watching the craziness, I found myself getting more and more twitchy. Not only did the Sensei have to come over and tell you and your friends to be quiet three times (with me giving you the hairy eyeball on a number of other occasions…) but, when it was your turn to present, you were all over the place. Giggling. Laughing. Falling over. Talking back to the Sensei in a cheeky/show-off way, forgetting almost every move and just generally acting like a cut up. At one point I leaned over to your Dad and said, “When does unconditional support end? We can’t tell him he did great. He’s doing awful.” Your Dad just shook his head. Neither of us knew.

After one particularly bone headed move, where you clearly could have done what was asked of you if you’d only been paying attention, I muttered, “Uhhhh, that was terrible…” and the mother in front of me turned around and looked at me as if I’d screamed “You SUCK!!!” at the stage. I was simultaneously embarrassed and defensive. Was I an asshole parent? Should I be just smiling and clapping like she was? Why should I feel guilty for not being impressed by my child’s bad behavior? Her child had wrestled another kid to the ground during his turn, not because he was supposed to but because he wasn’t listening when he was told to stop, and she just sat there giving him the thumbs up and sharing a laugh with her husband about how silly and wonderful he was.

1484c8b77a4b35d6864c7ec7a19e7ff3Look, I believe kids should have ample opportunity to be silly but I also believe they should understand when that behavior is not appropriate and I think it’s the parent’s job to help them make those distinctions. Being inappropriate and disrespectful to your teachers and the people who’ve given up their time to come and watch you is not, in my humble opinion, worthy of a double thumbs up. Sure, I might have muttered you were terrible but, that’s because you were. You could be a terrible ninja and I wouldn’t care. I’d smile and clap and cheer. But you don’t earn my praise and respect for not even trying. What lesson does that teach?

You knew I was less than thrilled with how it had gone so when you finished you came over and said “That was really bad wasn’t it?” After feeling like the s*&^est mother on the planet for about 10 seconds while I weighed the consequences between being blindly supportive or honest I said, “Well you’re not bad but, that wasn’t great was it?” You looked at me earnestly and said, “No.” I said, “Look babe, I’m always proud of you but I can’t say I’m proud of what you did here today.” As you started to blame your friends and the younger kids I stopped you and said, “I’ve seen a lot of these presentations Loch and I know a lot of these kids aren’t respectful but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.” I reminded you that you were one of the oldest kids in the room and more was expected of you. That the parents come to see what you’d learned and that the Sensei wanted to show what they’d taught but that we didn’t have the opportunity do either with the way you’d chosen to behave. Then, because you looked completely crestfallen, I finished with, “I love you with all my heart Lochlan and I’m proud of you every single day. I don’t care if you’re amazing. I just care if you do your best.” 

B_vAXfXUwAAh22E.jpg-largeWe left it at that but later in the car, still feeling guilty, I said “The thing is Loch, I want you to trust what I tell you is the truth. That if I tell you you were amazing it’s because you were, not just because that’s what I always say. It wouldn’t mean anything if I told you you were great all the time. I want you to know I’m telling you you were great because it’s the truth. I want my words to mean something. I want you to know that your Dad and I are happy and impressed because you’ve done something worthwhile. Do you understand?” 

You said you did. I think you did. I hope you did.

article-2261903-16EAE9F3000005DC-903_306x410I want to be the kind of parent who encourages you to do your best. Someone who believes your best self takes effort and applauds the effort not just the result. I want to be the kind of parent you can believe in. Who’s praise means something because it comes from a  place of truth and authenticity. Yes, your mother should be your biggest fan but that doesn’t mean everything you do will be perfect. I have high expectations of you because the world will have high expectations of you. You won’t do well in school by spacing out and talking through classes, you won’t move up in a job if you can’t deliver what’s expected of you at the time it’s expected and you won’t succeed in life if you disrespect the time and effort of those around you.

Life doesn’t offer double thumbs up for blowing it so why would I teach you it does?

I love you Loch and I’ll support you in all that you want to do. I just won’t cheer unless you deserve it. Fair enough?

God bless you baby. Put forth your best effort and the rewards will come.

Ever yours,

xoxo Mommy