Sunday, December 21, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Reinterpreted

Because it gave me a much-needed laugh . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inadvertently Inappropriate

1. Me, playing with the puppy:
"Hey little man! Where are your balls? Get your balls!"

2. Hannah playing with the puppy:
"Oh, how sweet! He's hugging my leg! And dancing!"
No, Hannah. He's neither hugging nor dancing.

3. Charlotte in the theater at Hannah's school performance. Every time the lights were dimmed, she shouted:
"Ooooh, dark-y!"
The inappropriate part was that, the first time she yelled it was after the first act. The lead dancer, one of the most talented kids in the K-2 program, also happens to be African American. Fortunately, speech therapy continues.

4. Hannah, after climbing onto my lap:
"What do you have in your pants?"
"I'm sorry, what?"
"What do you have in your pants that's crunchy?"
uh . . .
"Oh! No! That's a (dog) poop bag in my sweatshirt pocket!"

Yes. I leave you for a week, and this is what you come back to.

Monday, December 08, 2008

How They Grow

I was all ready to send a friend over to see photos of the girls when I realized that I hadn't posted any recently. So . . .

Hannah is smiling here because I told her to. Normally we have no trouble getting her to mug for the camera. In fact, we generally have to tell her to knock it off please, so we can get a nice photo for Grandma.:)

A Peet's girl from her infancy.

Charlotte's favorite show is Mickey Mouse Playhouse, and you simply must have the Minnie Mouse costume in order to properly execute the hot dog dance.

Charlotte sick and looking unbearably fragile. She is, of course, anything but.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

When Puppies Attack

I introduced Kairos to the camera today. Unfortunately he's still at the stage where he eats everything first and then asks if it's actually edible.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

He is the Very Model of a Modern . . . Golden Doodle

The new puppy, Kairos, has settled right in and is quickly proving himself a member of the family: He's very fond of gadgets and gizmos, particularly if they have lights, make noise or--most importantly--have cords. He's also taken a liking to my computer and even offered to help out with work while I'm sick, the licking and pawing of the keyboard a lovely, modern twist on "the dog ate my homework."

(My apologies for the poor quality photo--it's from my iPhone. Not bad for a phone, but not great for publishing.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Thomas recently had an on-camera interview for a short documentary about urban chicken farming. Due to a misunderstanding on my part, Hannah and Charlotte were told that they might be interviewed as well. And because Hannah has yet to meet the camera unworthy of her adoration, she was very excited.

So when a friend asked Hannah how the interview had gone, she replied:

“Really it was boring. Charlotte and I had nothing to do. It was all about my dad. You know he used to be a magician, so why couldn’t they be doing that? That's way more exciting.”

On hearing that Thomas was going to get his hair cut short:

“Now he’ll look like a normal dad!”

Our school's PTA sponsored an art contest as part of a program run by the CA PTA. I had mentioned it to Hannah several times, but she was uninterested—until the night before the piece had to be turned in. She spent seven minutes whipping out a portrait—not bad for seven minutes, but not really suitable for submission, even to a contest with the ridiculously ambiguous “Wow!” theme. So I asked . . .

“What about this will make someone think “Wow!”?

(Exasperated sigh.)

“Um, my talent?”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Even My First Grader Gets It

From one of the books that Hannah made in class. The teacher didn't even have to tell her how to spell "Obama" or "President."

It's from my phone, so it's not the best image, but the text is: "America is Obama is our 44 President."

Moving On

I found Argus' collar this weekend. I was cleaning the plant room and didn't see it right away. I should have because it's red. And yes, it has lots of shiny tags on it. Yes, it jingled when I picked it up. Yes, that sound made me weep.

It seems ridiculous to me that I obviously haven't moved past this. I don't cry about my mother, and haven't since she died. But someone on the outer reaches of our neighborhood has a Great Dane. She was walking him down the street. I was cooking dinner. I heard that bark and my first thought was, "Oh no! I left the dog outside!" In the same moment I realized that it couldn't possibly be Argus, I snapped off the stove, threw down the potholder and dashed out the door.

She must have thought me a little crazy, running barefoot across the street as I did. Trying to hide the tears as I touched my forehead to his; as I dug my hands into his fur--that spot right behind the ear that always worked for Argus, and probably every other dog. She and I talked a bit. The dog was a rescue she'd had for a year. He was taller than Argus and a Blue. Sweet, with the classic Great Dane temperament. His eyes were green, which I wasn't expecting, and from his lines and the way he carried himself, I would guess he was a purebred.

But I found myself, well, finding fault. He wasn't as handsome as Argus. He was too tall. He was too thin. His eyes were too close together.

The truth is, he wasn't Argus.

More than a month passed and there I was. Sitting in a flowered chair surrounded by rescued poinsettias, overgrown aloe, scraggly ivy, the Christmas cactus that always blooms at Easter and Thanksgiving and a few other plants whose names I forget. Staring at the collar in my hand, the doggy smell slightly sour and faded. Turning the tags through my fingers, noticing that we never updated his address from Campbell to Redwood City. Wondering if I’d had his lo-jak deactivated. Wondering why this silly dog can still turn me into a puddle of tears.

We’re going to pick up our new puppy on Saturday, a Golden Doodle. Thomas didn’t think another Great Dane was a good idea since they’re not really what you’d call “portable.” The girls are really excited and have made a Puppy Countdown calendar. Thomas has already re-read all of the puppy books—there’s so much you forget in eight years. Me? I’m still crying over Argus and wondering how in the world I’m ever going to love another dog that much.

I know I will. I’m just not convinced that this is the right time. Which is completely beside the point because 1) I’m outnumbered, and 2) they’re pretty darn cute puppies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time to Think About Other Things

Between Argus dying, my mother dying five days later, the school year starting, work, the election and pretending to work on my book, I never got around to posting any photos from our trip to Canada this summer. This is one of my favorites--Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Joe-the-Jackass, Update

No. No they did not. No one told Joe that his 15 minutes were up. No one told him that he needed to go home, pay his taxes and do something about the fact that he is not a licensed plumber. Nor did they remind him that he is not a foreign--or domestic--policy expert, either.

Rather, someone convinced him that his was an excellent story. That he should write a book. That he should say he was going with a small publishing house out of the goodness of his heart and not because the medium, larger and probably most of the smaller houses, are still laughing at the very idea.

Joe emerged from obscurity during the middle of the third presidential debate, on October 15, 2008. His book is going to be released December 1. Yes, that's December 1 of 2008. Apparently Joe and his publisher are putting as much effort into the writing, fact checking and editing as the McCain campaign put into vetting the Palin and Joe himself.

I wish I could say that it would flop; that it would hit the remainders table ten minutes after it reached the stores. But other than the absolute right guy being elected, nothing seems to makes sense this year. So all I can do is applaud any and every publishing house who turned them down and weep with shame for the one who didn't.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Keith Olbermann "Gay Marriage is a Question of Love"

Keith Olbermann tonight on California's Prop 8. Very moving. Very Surprising. Please watch it, share it with your friends and hope this isn't over yet.

A Little Something About Rahm Emanuel

In case you were wondering what all the fuss was about:

HT: DailyKos

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Random Shout and Question of the Week

If I see one more pundit pull out their list of probable candidates for 2012 I am going to throw something.

Given the likelihood that a boot will, in fact, be smacked into a talking head, is the television covered by homeowners' insurance?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I Am a Dork

I've cried three times already today:
  1. My friend Barry waited in line for two hours to vote this morning, as have thousands upon thousands of others.
  2. 35,000 people were at an Obama rally in Leesburg, VA two weeks ago. Yesterday there were 90,000 at a rally in Manassas, VA and huge rallies in Richmond and Virginia Beach. If you grew up in Virginia you understand how truly amazing this is. Not exactly your typical Democrat strongholds. I grew up near Charlottesville, VA in a town that was 90 percent segregated. One side was literally called "Browntown."
  3. There were many, many people out protesting California's Prop 8 today.

The hope I've been strangling for months is seeping out and I'm almost ready to stop fighting it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Complacency kills.

One would think that a couple of tight elections would make people realize that, yes, their vote actually does count. Think you live in a solidly red or solidly blue state? Look at the polls right now. Even if you don't follow these things, you have to at least notice the shock that Montana is in play! That Arizona is close! That Virginia is contested!

And yet still we hear "I'm not going to vote. It doesn't matter. My state is a done deal."

Really? What if everyone woke up on Tuesday and decided, somewhere between coffee, getting the kids to school and going to work, that they really didn't need to vote, either. Too much trouble. Lines too long. It's raining. No one will notice one little ballot, right?

Imagine that one little* ballot. Feel how light it is. Barely worth the mention. Now imagine another 50 or 72 or 167 or 502 stacked on top of that one little ballot. Still think it doesn't matter?

A couple of months ago I announced Operation Wake Up Call and it's time for a reminder:

On Tuesday, please get up early. Call everyone in your address book. Email them. Text or Tweet them. Poke them through Facebook. Whoever you think might need a little nudge to get to the polls. Especially if they were already planning to vote for Obama.

* Little is, of course, a relative term :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Question of the Week

When will Joe the Unlicensed Plumber reach the end of his 15 minutes? Or will we have to keep hearing from this uninformed jackass through November 5, when he's called upon to offer his "analysis" of the republican implosion?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

California's Prop 8

This year a conservative group of Californians--with an assist from religious groups across the US--is again pushing for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as "one man, one woman." This is a cheat blog post, adapted from a letter I recently sent to the San Jose Mercury News*:

One of the reasons frequently cited in support of Prop 8 is that marriage was intended for procreation and should, therefore, be limited to one man, one woman.

Putting aside for the moment what is in essence a demand for state sanctioning of a religious belief (for marriage is not, in fact, a biological imperative), passage of Prop 8 would bring up several other ridiculous questions, among them: 1) Would we refuse to allow the marriage or remarriage of women who have passed their reproductive years? 2) Will men be allowed to marry once they have reached the age at which their sperm begins to degrade? 3) Will those who are unlikely to live to see their children reach adulthood be allowed to marry?

I would far rather my children learn to respect people and their relationships, regardless of the age, race or gender of the couple, than to be taught the intolerance, fear and bigotry that Prop 8 supporters seek to write into law.

* The letter was not printed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


20 months. 26 debates before the party conventions, plus three debates between Obama and McCain. The result? Two candidates with vastly different beliefs, not to mention radically different approaches to conducting their campaigns and their response to the economic crisis.

We've heard their views on, among other things:
  • the economy
  • education
  • the war in Iraq
  • defense
  • veterans affairs
  • civil rights
  • foreign policy
  • the Middle East Peace process
  • health care
  • energy
  • the environment
  • immigration
Clear differences on all of these issues. And if I hear one more person say they're waiting to hear that one thing they haven't heard yet that they can't identify but they'll know it when they hear it, I am going to scream.

Actually, I'm going to scream right now. Penny, cover your ears:




Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama at the Al Smith Dinner in NY

Hilarious and well worth the 10.5 minutes.

This is a re-post as the first version was no longer available.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The entirely too-cynical me thinks the video may not be a real victim. But doesn't change the fact that Sarah Palin believes that if a rape results in a pregnancy, the victim should have to carry to term.

No one is pro-abortion. But no one should have to carry a rapist's child to term, either.

Please share this.

UPDATE: In case I wasn't exactly clear about the "no one is pro-abortion" what I meant was that, while everyone would prefer to see fewer abortions, only the woman involved should make the decision as to whether or not to carry to term. That's an entirely private matter in which neither Sarah Palin, nor the courts, nor or anyone else has any right to be involved, unless the woman in question so chooses.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bonus Dammit

When I picked up my Obama/Biden yard sign this afternoon, the usual "Thanks! We're going to do this!" was followed almost immediately by "Good luck keeping it in your yard."

The Dammit, #31

I've been busy with work and the book lately, so some of this is old-ish, but Dammits there must be!

Dammit #1:
A couple of weeks ago, Gwendomama informed me that the account for the Palin Baby Name Generator had been suspended. Big rude Dammit.

Dammit #2:
The first time I attempted to type those words (above), my computer locked up after "Palin Baby Name Generator." I couldn't even force quit Firefox; I had to shut down and start over.

Dammit #3:
Charlotte goes to school in Palo Alto twice a week from 9-12:00. If I went home after dropping her off, I'd lose an hour of work time between the trip home and back again. So instead, I go to the Peet's two blocks from her school and work there. That's not the Dammit.

Every Thursday and many, many Tuesdays, a group of people from a local gym comes in to chat, drink coffee and hang out for an hour or so. That's not the Dammit, either.

The first to arrive is the lone guy, probably in his mid-fifties, in relatively good shape. Which one is forced to note because he wears very tight spandex (no, not redundant in this case) with a short jacket. That would be the Dammit.

The only good thing about this guy is that I am reminded of one of my all-time favorite TV moments: Will and Jack (of Will & Grace) are sunning themselves on the deck of Karen's yacht. Karen walks by, stops:

"Will--two things . . . "


"When you sit like that I can see your man-berries."

Dammit #4:
The squirrels are going crazy this year. They have dotted my lawn with divots, tucking an acorn into each. When I mow the lawn, they scream at me from the fence and the trees. They aren't at all shy about coming into the yard or sitting on the play structure, glaring as I do the pruning, weeding and edging; and think next to nothing of it when I walk toward--or run at--them.

Hopefully the Farmers' Almanac is right about increased squirrel activity being a sign of a bad (wet) winter.

Dammit #5:
Speaking of winter: I had to turn on the heat this morning. Only for an hour or so, but still—I had to turn on the heat. And to think only a couple of months ago I was wondering if the summer would ever end.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

MORE Randomness

Because I have too much going on for a real post:

Has anyone else noticed that, now that McCain/Pain (no, not a typo) is doing so very poorly, their campaign seems to think it's time not only for the boots to go on and the gloves off, but that it's time for the Palin to put on the bitch boots AND let down the hair? Looks a little sexier, no? Maybe part of the reason that her approval numbers are still high (relatively speaking) among men.

Hopefully the McCain campaign has given up the woman vote now that they've realized that our ovaries are smarter than they are.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Random Thought to Begin the Week

If by some twist of cosmic insanity McCain/Pain wins the election, perhaps Starbucks will be good enough to start printing foreign policy tidbits on its cups so that the Palin can at least try to get it right.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Still Heart Joe Biden

And that's all I have to say about that.

Oh, except that I still . . . . um . . . don't heart the Palin ("abhor" is such a harsh word, no?)

National Security Mom--a Review

I was fortunate enough to receive early galleys for a new book by Gina M. Bennett, a 20-year veteran of the US Intelligence Community and mother of five children. National Security Mom: Why “Going Soft” Will Make America Strong takes the complicated issues involved in our national security, particularly in the “post 9/11 world,” and distills them into easily digestible pieces. The book’s unique twist is how Ms. Bennett relates the issues of national security to what goes on in a typical family. That the values that we learned as children and, as parents, are instilling in our own children, are the very same values needed to run government and handle some of the complex issues involved in national security, such as:

• Tell the truth
• If you make the mess, you clean it up
• Don’t give in to a bully
• Choose your friends wisely
• Learn from your mistakes

And of course, the job description for parents also requires an in-depth knowledge of issues such as crisis management, conflict resolution, budgeting and diplomacy.

So why aren’t there more women in government? On paper, many women—especially mothers—are uniquely suited to participating in government, on whatever level they choose. There are of course other qualifications that must be met—particularly for higher office—but there should be more women serving on city counsels, as mayors, as governors and in Congress. Ms. Bennett pulls this telling statistic from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University:

“In 2008 women hold only 16.3% of the seats in Congress; 16% of the Senate seats; 23.5% of the statewide elective executive offices across the country; 23.7% of the state legislative positions; and of the mayors of the hundred largest cities in America, only eleven are women.”

She also notes that “We can blame history, the educational system, men, and many other underlying factors for why this is the case. But we also have to ask ourselves whether our disengagement perpetuates the myth that men are somehow more naturally suited to govern.”

Sure, some days we barely have time to do the laundry and the grocery shopping—where on earth are we going to find time to volunteer at our child’s school, much less to run for elected office? I work from home part-time and have only been able to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom once. And she’s in first grade, so that’s two years of not being able to find the time.

Because we are living in the “post 9/11 world,” Ms. Bennett tackles some of the larger questions that relate directly to her argument that more women, more mothers should be in government:
• How much personal freedom are we willing to give up in the name of “security”?
• How do we protect our children while making sure that they enjoy the freedoms granted in the Bill of Rights—freedoms we used to take for granted?
• The terrorists win if we to afraid to go about our lives as usual. They are generally unpopular even in their own countries and feed off the fear and attention they engender.

And as to the title’s assertion “Why ‘Going Soft’ Will Make America Strong,”
“[in matters of national security, foreign policy and counter terrorism] Anything other than belligerent speech is considered to be weak . . . [but] strength and security come from more than just physical might . . . I believe that to resolve problems, we have to understand them first. I prefer to believe that American policies have had bad results in some places rather than sticking my head in the sand. . . . I believe it demonstrates more courage to allow people whose beliefs you reject to have their say; it takes more integrity to admit you’ve made mistakes; and it takes far more strength to reject change in the face of a threat. I am a mother and that is the strength I know. That is the definition of strength that I will pass to my children so that they understand that there is a balance.”

Of course, all of this got me thinking. I’ve been a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom for the past six years. In six years I’ve spent a lot of time in playgroups, at the playground and on play dates. And I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of women who don’t think that politics has anything to do with them. But everything that happens in government—from the local, to the state, to the national level has ripples of consequence.

Imagine that you’re at the park with your child. You go the lake to feed the ducks and your child tosses a rock into the pond. Watch what happens to the ripples. That’s politics. And what’s at stake? The laws that are passed effect your family; the judiciary, both elected and appointed, and how they interpret those laws; the military—will the draft be reinstated, and where will our soldiers—our sons and daughters—be sent?; the national debt—will our kids and grandchildren really be paying for our excesses? All of it affects us every day.

Lately I’ve noticed that many women in my citywide Mothers’ Club have become actively involved in issues such as city planning, in the city education fund, and the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTAR), which was started by a few mothers worried that their child’s needs weren’t being met.

But what about me? I am the ultimate armchair political junkie. If I don’t get an hourly fix—or at least several times a day—I start twitching. There’s a little panic: What happened? Something must have happened in the time I’ve been away from my computer. But, other than haranguing friends and a few strangers, and writing a few letters to the editor, I’m a passive audience. I hear “Are you going to get involved? Maybe run for office?” and my answer is always “No.*” I don’t have the time, the mental capacity, the self-confidence, or the ambition. All of those things that I imagine politicians need to be successful. But then I’ve always thought being involved in government meant running for city counsel and higher. It never occurred to me to start smaller—the PTA? A position on the board of one of my groups?

But after reading National Security Mom, I’m at least thinking about it.

Because being more involved does matter. To me, to my family, to my children’s future.

*My one exception was helping with a letter writing campaign for Mark Warner when he was running for Governor of Virginia.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And Now, A Time Out From Politics

Thomas and the girls and I went on a little road trip this summer up into Canada. A few other things got in the way, so I haven't posted the photos yet, but I keep going back to this very short video of a stream on the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield. It just makes all of the messiness of life seem so very far away.

Don't watch if running water makes you have to pee!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Favorite Name for The Palin

From a column by Charles M. Blow of the New York Times:

Mr. McCain, on Monday you repeated your delusional notion that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Now, the federal government is working on a deal to save that economy from collapsing. You have admitted that the economy is not your forte, so you could have used a running mate with some financial chops. (Remember Mitt Romney?)

But no. Who did you pick? SnowJob SquareGlasses whose financial credentials include running Wasilla into debt, listing (but not selling) a plane on EBay and flip-flopping on a bridge to wherever. In fact, when it comes to real issues in general, she may prove to be a liability.

The rest of the column is good too, but I'll let you check it out on your own.

A big thanks to GoBecky, or I would have missed it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Dammit

Dammit #1:
In addition to her other sins, The Palin has decided to skip California, thus robbing me of my very first protest rally.

Dammit #2:
I used to like John McCain. Not enough to vote for him, but he at least seemed a decent, honorable man. I think he's going to need a food-taster, though (see #3).

Dammit #3:
I am spending way too much time following this campaign, but the thought of a McCain/Palin administration (or what, in recent days, she has repeatedly referred to as a "Palin/McCain administration") literally turns my stomach.

Dammit #4:
I'm a little hypomanic (is that like being a little pregnant?) but without focus. Hyperactive, not much work product to show for it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's in a Name? Ask the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator!

Over the past two weeks, I've wondered about the origins of the names of Sarah Palin's children. And why, exactly, Sarah and Todd Palin named their children after an oil company, a small airplane, the place where one might have conceived one of the little darlings and an abbreviation of a math discipline.

Not to worry: It truly was idle, mind-wandering stuff and not something I'd spend a lot of time on. But someone did! And now you can discover your very own Palin name--well the one you might have had, had you been born in Alaska to a Vice Presidential wannabe. Polit Tsk Tsk Tsk has created the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator: Enter your real name and the Baby Name Genrator will spit out the Palinized version.

Mean spirited? Perhaps. But I think we can all use a little humor. A small distraction. A little light through the cloud of lies.

Enjoy, and let me know what your Palinized name is!

Mine? Grill Igloo Palin. Oh, dear.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hockey Moms for Truth

Ok, I was going to lay off this week, but this is too funny:

(discovered this at

Friday, September 12, 2008

Operation Wake Up Call

I don't want to say I'm panicking about the election--yet--but I will say that the thought of another four years of the Bush nightmare scares the proverbial pants off. And I am seriously unnerved by the thought of another election "won" by the Republican Party because a sizable portion of the US population decides to stay home on election day and then spends the next four years bitching about the results.

While I'd like to say I don't have a bias, left or right, that would make me as big a liar as . . . well, never mind that for now. But wherever you fall on the spectrum, there is no excuse for not voting. If you can't physically make it to the polls, you can vote absentee. Don't want to miss work? Go early; go late. Have kids? Take them; it's a great lesson. Can't be bothered to wait for 20 minutes, or even an hour? Eff that. People have waited for years. It's your right; it is a privilege; it is your duty. And now it has become an imperative.

Announcing Operation Wake Up Call.
On November 4, 2008, I'm asking you to get up early. Call your family members. Call your friends and neighbors. Call your co-workers, your teachers, your students, your dry cleaner. Tweet them. Email them. Whoever you think might need a little nudge to get to the polls. A gentle reminder will do: No preaching. No pushing last minute arguments for a particular candidate. Just remind them to make the time to vote.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2004 64% of the US population eligible to vote did so. This was up from 60% in 2000. Good, but we can do better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Think I'm Going to Be Sick

John McCain, who promised to run a clean campaign, has apparently approved a new TV ad that says Barack Obama's one accomplishment on education is authoring "'Legislation to teach 'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners. Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family."'

According to Margaret Talev of McClatchy newspapers:
"This is a deliberately misleading accusation. It came hours after the Obama campaign released a TV ad critical of McCain's votes on public education. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama did vote for but was not a sponsor of legislation dealing with sex ed for grades K-12.

But the legislation allowed local school boards to teach "age-appropriate" sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners, and it gave schools the ability to warn young children about inappropriate touching and sexual predators."

Ms. Talev also quotes Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton: "It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls."

In "Post Partisan" blog on, E.J Dionne rightly asks "Does the truth matter anymore?"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Difference Between Sarah and Dick? Lipstick.

Well, that and heels. But that was a little wordy for the t-shirts:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Left Coast Mom Goes Retail

After watching the Palin's speech last week, I thought of something funny. And then I thought "That would make a great t-shirt!" So I opened a CafePress store and now you can show me some love and buy my t-shirt. Don't worry, I'm not actually going to make much money on them. Maybe a couple of extra trips to Peet's. Unless of course you buy a couple and then tell your friends, and then they buy a couple . . . Which would be perfect because I really just want to see this t-shirt on every woman in the Bay area. Of course, "on every woman in the country" would be even better!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Dammit

I can't really call it "The Weekly Dammit" anymore, now can I?

You might be surprised to find that none of the Dammits this week are about The Palin. I need to take a leeetle break from it because I'm too young for a heart attack. I'll get to it later (as well as sharing the t-shirt I created at Cafe Press); in the meantime, there are a few other Dammits to be had.

Dammit #1:
I can't listen to NPR in the car right now because I don't want Charlotte's next phrase to be "effing liar!"

Dammit #2:
Bras. I will freely admit that I am not what you would call well endowed. At all. But why can't I find a nice bra that doesn't come with all of the padding? I want a bra, not a chin rest.

Dammit #3:
My cup runneth over with work right now. This might seem like a good thing--and it is! it is!--but it all seems to be due at once. Well, all but my own manuscript, which I'm starting to feel a bit desperate about. I have an estimate and time line due for a website I've been hired to (re)write--as well as actually starting on the content; an Advanced Reading copy of a book that I promised to read and review; and the promise of two other jobs in the next 2-4 weeks. Wah, right? But add to this swim lessons, ballet, school, speech therapy and play dates for the girls and I'm starting to run out of hours in the day.

Dammit #4:
I'm supposed to schedule another mammogram, which will be my fourth (I think). My mother had breast cancer twice (and two different types) and a couple of aunts had it as well. So I had my first a couple of years ago, and then two more over the next year because there was some abnormal tissue they wanted to keep an eye on. It turned out to be nothing, but the experience was not something I'm looking forward to repeating. So I'm procrastinating. I do have all of that work, after all (see above).

Dammit #5:
There are two dog poops left in a unused part of the yard. I have yet to remove them because it's all I have left of Argus. But at least telling Hannah that yesterday was enough to make her stop crying because her "best friend" is gone and she'll never see him again.


Sunday mornings are "pancake day" at our house. Thomas gets up early(ish) and makes a huge stack of pancakes while the girls supervise and nibble on the test pancakes. But this past Sunday Thomas was out for a long run (training for his first half marathon!), so I said:

"I guess it's my turn to make the pancakes this week!"

To which Hannah replied, with what sounded like complete sincerity:

"Oh Mom! You make the best black pancakes EVER!"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Live Mic, Republican Style!

Republican strategist Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan on The Palin*:

Thomas sent to this me from ClusterFlock, who got it via TalkingPointsMemo. TPM thoughtfully included the transcript:
Chuck Todd: Mike Murphy, lots of free advice, we'll see if Steve Schmidt and the boys were watching. We'll find out on your blackberry. Tonight voters will get their chance to hear from Sarah Palin and she will get the chance to show voters she's the right woman for the job Up next, one man who's already convinced and he'll us why Gov. Jon Huntsman.

(cut away)

Peggy Noonan: Yeah.

Mike Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor world: Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, these guys -- this is how you win a Texas race, just run it up. And it's not gonna work. And --

PN: It's over.

MM: Still McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

CT: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

PN: Saw Kay this morning.

CT: Yeah, she's never looked comfortable about this --

MM: They're all bummed out.

CT: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

PN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives --

CT: Yeah they went to a narrative.

MM: I totally agree.

PN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it.

MM: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

CT: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

MM: Yeah.

* Like all other hurricanes, the Palin only needs one name.

Fun With Political Signage

I just saw a McCain/Palin banner and, the way it was stacked (and because I'm getting old and my eyes play tricks on me), I initially read it as "McCain/Pain."

And hey! it rhymes, too!

Random Question for the Week

I know I'm gonna hear it for this one, but:

Why is that that, whenever anything ill befalls the nation, certain people on the right are prone to say that it's because God is mad at us? Mad for pushing him out of the public square (e.g.: school and government); annoyed at the advancement of gay rights; pissed off at feminists; still ticked that someone somewhen thought that "puce" was a great name for a color; or some other random act of mad-ness directed at the lefties.

Why is it never that God is displeased with the red team? Hurricane Gustav was predicted to come aground almost three years to the day, in pretty nearly the same location as Katrina--guaranteeing that it would interrupt the opening of the Republican Convention. So why wasn't that interpreted as a hint that the Almighty wasn't happy with the way the red team was managing things (including the shameful way in which the Bush administration left New Orleans to its fate three years ago)?

Because that would be stupid. And because you only play the God card when it serves your own purpose or if you're actually dumb enough to think God cares about your football/baseball/hockey/racing team. Oh, wait . . .

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I (Still) Heart Joe Biden

Beau Biden's introduction of his father to accept the nomination for VP. You probably already know the story, but get a tissue anyway.

Joe's (what, you didn't know we're on first-name terms?) office has been sending me copies of his speeches for over two years now. I hope the next mailing includes a copy of Beau's speech as well as his father's.

(And when Beau speaks of his "other duties" he is referring to his upcoming deployment to Iraq.)

And, while it should go without saying, Joe's speech was pretty damn good, too:

Random Question for the Week

Why does my University Alumni Association send me three pieces of mail in the same day? They want money (duh) but they're wasting it by not consolidating.

Better question, and posed before by a comedian whose name I forget: Why hasn't anyone asked Bin Laden's university's Office of Giving to smoke him out? Mine has found me through at least five moves.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Will This Cursed Month Never End?

As you're probably already aware, other than the first nine days, August has not turned out to be a great month for me. It's not the first time, either. In August of 1998, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer; three of my brothers were in a plane crash that killed two of them, as well as the fiancée of the third. And then Thomas almost died after his lungs collapsed.

Fast-forward 10 years: Argus died, followed by my mother less than a week later. The timing forced my brother to fly on the 10th anniversary of the crash. My mother was buried on what would have been her 47th wedding anniversary. And I got to spend excessive amounts of time with family members I don't ever see anymore. In some cases, these are people I don't want to see anymore.

But I did get to spend time with my brother and sister and their families--always fun—and before we came home from Virginia, we were able to spend a really lovely day with Thomas' parents. Other than a higher than normal level of stress, I thought I was doing ok. But the stress level is not really abating and it certainly didn't help that one of our neighbors called code enforcement on the chickens. That's right: at lunch time yesterday, the nice man from code enforcement came by because one of our neighbors called to say that we had roosters--not allowed in the city--rather than hens, which are.

And ridiculous though it may be, that seems to have been, if not the last straw that the camel could bear, then perilously close to it. My temper is razor thin. Last night I was having trouble drawing a full breath. I’m stress eating, and we’re not talking carrots. I can’t stay awake, but when I actually manage to stay asleep, it’s most definitely not restful. And now I have that sick and sinking feeling that generally precedes a need to go to bed and stay there for a month.

I’m certain that, at least in part, it’s the guilt I feel for not being more strongly affected by my mother’s death. Or because I didn’t recognize the person they were eulogizing; the woman that my older sister spoke of, her voice heavy with tears. Why I didn’t know that mother whose death caused my brothers to weep. And now I’m left wondering if that person truly existed and, if so, why I didn’t make a stronger effort to get to know her.

The stress, irritability and depression are familiar demons and I’ll fight them, of course. I always do, though when so much seems to come at once, it’s oh, so much harder.

Friday, August 22, 2008

In Memoriam

O Great Spirit,
Whose breath gives life to the world
and whose voice is heard in
the soft breeze,
We need your strength and wisdom
that we may walk in beauty.

May our eyes
ever behold the red and
purple sunset

Make us wise so that we may
understand what you have taught us
Help us learn the lessons you
have hidden in every leaf
and rock

Make us always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes
so when life fades, as the
fading sunset,
our spirits may come to you
without shame.

Bill Murphy, October 9, 1966- August 22, 1998
Steven Murphy, September 14, 1975-August 22, 1998

This Native American Call to Prayer was read at the memorial service for my brother Michael's fiancee, who also died in the accident.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And One of These Days . . .

I'm going to be able to do a few posts--With Photos!--on our vacation. Sadly there's obviously a lot more caca going on. But soon. I promise.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Of Mothers and Daughters

The relationship between mothers and their daughters has provided inspiration for countless movies, novels and memoirs--something I totally get. I don't have much of a relationship with my mother; to be honest, for the past couple of years, I've had none at all. It's true, that old saying, "You can choose your friends but not your family." For my mother and me, a good relationship was never going to happen. From the beginning, we seemed to have wildly divergent interests, beliefs and values.

When asked why our relationship devolved so drastically--to the point that I've spoken to her for a total of three minutes in over a year--the only answer I really have is that I got tired of being disappointed. With a few exceptions, Mom never seemed that interested in what was going on in my life, especially once I was married. There was never what most people would consider an appropriate level of interest or excitement when Hannah and Charlotte were born, in their milestones, or even when I finally told her about everything that Charlotte had been going through. Instead, our very short conversations always turned back to Mom and her health issues.

Of course I was concerned about her, but more and more dismayed at what I saw as a shocking lack of curiosity about any condition or treatment mentioned by her doctors. Every time she called I would have to Google a diagnosis or a new list of symptoms. And she never seemed that interested in my girls, or in my sister's, something I found to be both unfathomable and inexcusable. But this of course is only how it appeared to me. After all, there are always two sides to a story. Perhaps she thought the same of me. Perhaps she was disappointed in her daughter. Perhaps I was just never able to understand and appreciate her view of the world.

Earlier today, Hannah asked me why she didn't ever see "Other Grandma."

"Is it because she was mean to you?"

"No, of course not. She lives on the East coast and we just don't really, well, we just don't talk that much anymore."


"Well, we just don't have that much in common, and we're all so busy . . . "

There was no way I was going to tell her the whole bit about being tired of being disappointed, sad that my mother never called to check in, didn't send birthday cards or any of that grandmotherly stuff. What I did tell Hannah was that there was no way she and I would ever get within miles of that situation. She means too much to me and I approach that love and our relationship in an entirely different way. We have our arguments, yes. We butt heads (often), yes. But that is because we are both strong willed. But we think and we love and we talk about things. And I will make sure that we always do.

My mother died tonight. I'll never get a chance to try to bridge the chasm between us. But I also know in my heart that it was unlikely that the attempt would have made a difference.

Perhaps I'm still numb from all that's gone on this week. Since my brother called with the news, I've had teary moments, but not the gut-wrenching sobs like those for Argus. Thomas says--rightly, sad as this is--that I was probably closer to the dog.

So now I'm having a glass (or two) of wine, hoping that it will assist in my search for the tears that ought to be there. Because right now, the thing that feels the worst is that I don't seem to feel at all.

I'm sure it will come. I'll just have to keep looking.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Random Question for the Week

Why is Evan Bayh still in the running for VP?

I don't think I've been as uninspired by a (potential) VP since Dan Quail. Well, except that Mr Bayh is actually qualified. Just sort of, well, mmyeh. Bland.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

OK, Enough With Making People Cry . . .

Of course, to be honest, this will probably make some of you cry.

According to a report from the non-partisan Center for Responsive politics, deployed US troops are donating to Barack Obama's campaign 6:1 over John McCain's. So will we still be hearing that if we don't get on the administration's bandwagon--and McCain's--and stay there that we don't support the troops?

But of course, silly! It's and election year and divide and conquer is the order of the day, not to mention the past six years.

Good Boy!

2 of 3: Argus and the girls, originally uploaded by thomas pix.

Mild-mannered, always sweet. Great Danes are definitely the way to go.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Homecoming

It's late, though not as late as it seems. We're finally home, the girls are in bed, the bags semi-unpacked, and here I sit, wondering if I am shaking because we've spent a long day in the car and I haven't eaten much since breakfast, or whether it's because my dog is dead and every tuft of hair that blows across the floor reminds me that we're not bringing him home tomorrow.

Hannah was of course terribly upset when we told her (I think one of the harder things Thomas has had to do), but now tells me not to be sad because "we can just get you another dog." She even suggests another Great Dane, the same color, "we'll even call him Argus!" But would just any other Great Dane be able to waggle his eyebrows at you, like Andy Rooney trying to tell a joke that might have been considered off-color 50 years ago? And would that eyebrow trick be as perfectly timed to the wagging of his tail (the dog's, not Andy's)?

I have hundreds of photos of Argus, but not one of them quite captures the expressions that were his alone, from the aforementioned eyebrows, to the guilty look when we caught him eating from the counter, to the apologetic when I pulled out the credit card to pay the vet for stomach pumping or induced vomiting to remove the foil or plastic that had been wrapped around whatever it was that he ate from the counter, or to pay for the multiple casts for his puppy-toes. (He also didn't mind my run-on, uber-tangential sentences, either. That or he never quite mastered the eye-roll.)

Because I still don’t quite believe he’s gone, I don’t know what I’ll miss the most. There was the way he hugged you, tucking your head under his chin and then shaking his head—always so much more gently with the girls. Or the way he used to put his face up to mine until our foreheads touched. Or that he knew that sometimes he could get away with sleeping on the bed when Thomas was traveling. The way he played soccer and Frisbee-block with Charlotte. Or how patient he always was with Hannah, letting her dress him in hats and tutus. That it would never occur to him to eat the chickens wandering around his backyard. Or that, after all this time, he would still bark at Thomas’s car because, no matter what anyone said, Argus was my dog (with the exception of the two months after Hannah was born when he wouldn’t even look at me). Or maybe just the peaceful, comfortable sound of him snoring on his bed in the corner.

And, of course there is also how ridiculously safe I felt with a dog who hated the rain, was terrified of thunderstorms, fireworks, the vacuum cleaner and chirping smoke detectors, and who couldn’t bear to be outside by himself for very long.

We’re home but to an emptier, colder, far less dog-y house. But, as Thomas reminds me, we’ll have at least another year with the dog hair.

So goodbye again, Puppy My Love. Thanks for teaching me how to love a dog and that a dog's love is unconditional. I wish you hadn't had to go. I wish we had been here when you did.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Goodbye, Puppy Love

Argus Kriese 5 July 2000-10 August 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oh Canada!

Left Coast Mom is heading north to Canada for a couple of weeks. First Oregon (camping); then Washington (Thomas has a conference in a very nice lodge); Idaho (camping); Montana (hotel); Banff, BC (camping); and Invermere, BC (hotel). I'll probably be a little spotty about posting but hope to have some photos up tomorrow while I still have internet acess. I don't trust Hannah and Charlotte in a cafe--they're way too excited to be out and about (not to mention entirely too loud!).

Anyone need maple syrup, besides my lovely neighbors who are chicken sitting?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Hurt

A couple of weeks ago Hannah again asked me how many brothers I have. She thinks it incredible how large my family is, since she has only Charlotte.

"Still five!"

"What are their names?"

"Bill, John, Michael, Steven and Tim."

"Who have I met?"

Uh oh.

"Uncle John, Uncle Michael and Uncle Tim."

"But . . . that's only three. What about the other two?"

It was the first time she had ever asked me that and I wasn't prepared. But she took my overly long pause as evidence that I had not heard.

"Mom? What about Uncle Bill and Uncle Steven? When can I meet them?"

I hate being lied to, so I try really hard not to lie, especially to Hannah. Evade? Yes. Ignore and/or change the subject when necessary? Yes. But outright lying? Not so much.

So I told her.

"You won't, baby. You can't."

There was a long pause. I think she heard the tears in my voice. Then she asked softly,

"Why Mommy? Why can't I meet them?"

"Because they died, sweetie. A long time ago."

For a few moments there was silence in the car, and then from the backseat, the sound of gentle weeping.

Hannah's not inconsiderable flair for the dramatic stems, at least in part, from her kind heart and very tender sensibilities. But while I was sorry that it upset her, I was only a little sorry that I had told her. She's old enough to hear it and, at whatever age it had come up, it would still have affected her more deeply than it would most others. But still . . .

"It's OK, peanut. Don't cry, please? It was a long time ago. Before you were born."

"It's just that I'm so sad for you. Because you lost your brothers. And because I'll never meet my uncles."

"Mommy? Do you miss them?"

"Yes, peanut. Every day."

Every day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What Matters

Some days the battles with Hannah seem endless and oh, so maddening, and some days I feel I can no longer contain my frustration. But today I am reminded just how petty it is, these quarrels over things that truly don't matter.

Just last Saturday at the BlogHer panel, Blogging About Our Children With Special Needs, Vicki Foreman spoke so movingly and eloquently about her son, Evan. Two days ago Evan died. I only knew Vicki and Evan through her words, on the panel and from her blog, and yet I can't stop crying. And I can't wait for Hannah to come home from camp. I need to hold her tighter than I have in a long time.

Beyond that, I have no words.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Other Things I Learned at BlogHer '08

  1. Always feel free to hop from session to session if you're not getting what you want from your first choice.
  2. Make sure that the panelist's mic is off when asking a question you don't want broadcast to the entire room. (See #1)
  3. You are not supposed to say anything negative--or anything that could be (mis)construed as being negative or snarky--about blogger "royalty," no matter how long ago you fell out of love with them. Or even if you still like them.
  4. The luminous woman sitting next to you might actually be having the same doubts about her level of attractiveness that you have harbored all of your life.
  5. Never write a book proposal on a pizza box or slip a proposal under an agent's hotel door. That is the "duh" part of this. What I actually learned was that a couple of idiots did both of these things.
  6. Women you've never met before can rip your heart fiercely from its mooring and then gently return it, intact but altered, perhaps forever.*
  7. The people who seem the toughest on the outside are usually, underneath that layer, the squishiest. But I guess I already knew that.
  8. The sticker for the book "Can I Sit With You?" is a great ice-breaker. Especially when it's on your coat. (Yes, coat. BlogHer '08 was in San Francisco.)

* I'll post the Community Keynote when its available.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Do You Respond to Utter Stupidity?

I spent a good bit of the day trying to write a post about the Michael-Savage-on-autism idiocy, otherwise known as "Look! Someone need to boost his ratings again!"* I didn't get very far because I couldn't come up with a clever way to bitch-slap him into next Wednesday. Not that I would ever do that. Ahem. So I checked with a much wiser friend who reminded me that I shouldn't add to his link pile and that he didn't deserve the effort anyway.

Fortunately, Gene Weingarten*, the Washington Post's resident funnyman, had already come up with the perfect response:

"Do you remember Michael Savage, the poisonous right-wing radio talk show host whom I reported about in my piece on 24-hour punditry? Michael is back in the news for expressing the opinion, on the air, that "99 percent" of all children diagnosed with autism are "brats" who haven't been told to "cut the act out." He said: "They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life.'"

Savage is not retracting this, even though he admits it might be a little wrong. And I don't blame him. Getting things a little wrong is okay.
I remain a supporter of Michael Savage, because I am a fan of his column "Savage Love," in which he deals forthrightly with the fact that he is gay and proud of it, and joyfully gives out highly knowledgeable advice on techniques for active, hedonistic, sexually adventuresome gay males like himself. I LOVE that column." **

The only thing I have to add is this: It's a shame that Michael Savage appears to no longer have a father around to tell him to stop acting like a moron.

* I linked to Media Matters on this because 1) they were the first ones to push it mainstream, thus pissing off MS; and 2) because linking to the Savage site made me queasy. You can Google it.
** Yes, yes. I know--and so does Gene--that Michael and Dan Savage are not the same people. And therein lies the joke.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hannah's Nanny

Last week while we were at Costco, Hannah started sulking when I told her that, no, we weren't there to get her something. After I repeated it for the fifth time, she started in on a tantrum worthy of a three year old. Well maybe not the screaming, but there was definitely crying and flinging herself around like a rag doll.

On our way back to the car, she looked up at me through tear soaked eyelashes and said "I think we should just get a nanny."

Me: But . . . . why?

Hannah: Because I think you need to go back to work. Maybe we need to take a little break from each other.

Me: Hmm.

You know the nanny wouldn't buy you everything you wanted either, don't you?

Hannah (flabbergasted): But, of course she would!

Once I had assured her that a nanny wouldn't be given extra money to spend on her, and would almost certainly not want to spend her own money on cr . . . er, stuff, for Hannah and Charlotte, Hannah sniffed a few times and said "Ok, I guess we'll just keep you, then."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yes, BlogHers, You CAN Be Too Nice

I’m at the BlogHer conference in San Francisco and have met many intelligent, interesting and incredibly nice women. So nice, apparently, they didn’t want to tell me that the seat of my now least-favorite pants had split.*

* Thanks, Banana Republic! And before you ask, Yes they were new and No, I have not put on weight over the past couple of days.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Better than a Fortune Cookie

This quote was on my teabag tag:

Anything too stupid to be said is sung.

I can think of quite a few pop songs that prove his point.

Going Green

I know that green is the new black, but I like to think that we jumped on the wagon way before there was a band on it. At our house in Campbell, the garden provided more vegetables than we could ever possibly eat--meaning that our neighbors also shared in the tomatoes (usually at least three types), zucchini, yellow squash, peas and beans. This year we've planted tomatoes, beans, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkins and blueberries. We also have lemons, limes, strawberries, plums and fresh eggs. And tons of herbs. Let's not forget the herbs!

But while all of this is wonderful, the crowning glory is probably the solar panels that came with the house. We have a transfer box so that we can sell to PG&E whatever electricity we don't use (net metering). Every month our statement shows either how much we bought from PG&E or how much we sold to them. The latter amount is posted as a credit against our true-up, which happens every July.

I'll admit now, as I did last year, that I've become more conscious about making sure the lights are turned off and that I answer the "It's cold in here!" with "Go put on a sweater!" at least twice before relenting and turning up the heat. It's easier to do when your monthly statement comes with a bar chart showing just how much you used, sold or bought each month as compared to the last.

We got our true-up statement this week and me like-ey: Our bill for the month was 58 cents, for the year it was about 275$. Or about what we paid for one summer month in our last house. Granted, we had to leave the AC running because we were trying to sell that house, but still. I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Random Notes

I heard someone in Peet’s say “It was like being in a 3rd world country” because she couldn’t get tech support to come and fix her Internet fast enough. Seriously. So just in case you ever wanted to know just how truly spoiled we are . . .

Now I remember why I fell in love with Coldplay in the first place. Especially since it’s like listening to an entirely different band. Viva la Vida (the song) just makes me happy to my core. I think it’s the sublime combo of his voice and the violins; I’m a sucker for violins.

I read somewhere that there is a push on to make yoga an Olympic sport. Because curling has no summer equivalent? Or is the International Curling Society pushing it so that they're no longer the butt of every Olympic joke. I love yoga but I always thought it was supposed to be relaxing--not competitive. What's next? "Watching paint dry" just doesn't have a ring to it--no pun intended. Any suggestions?

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Dammit, #28

Dammit #1:
These aren’t all of the Dammits that were supposed to appear here this week, but I cannot find the paper on which I wrote the original. Yes, I still compose longhand some of the time. Especially when Hannah takes over my computer to watch (oh dear god no) music videos from Disney Radio stars.

Dammit #2:
We were again denied coverage for Charlotte’s speech therapy. I kind of expected it but was still a little disconcerted to read the closing: “If you are not pleased with the resolution of this matter . . .” Really? If I’m not pleased? I’d offer to rewrite their communications for them but then they might “accidentally” cancel my prescription coverage again.

Dammit #3:
George Bush called the late and little-lamented (by me, at least) Jesse Helms (R-NC) a "good friend and a great American . . . a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called 'the Miracle of America." Really? Whose “miracle” was he defending? He never met a civil rights bill he didn’t try to kill; fought the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; attacked the National Endowment for the Arts for promoting immorality and anti-Christianity; and worked to prevent health aid in third world countries if any organization even breathed the words “family planning” or “contraception.” He firmly believed that HIV/AIDS existed only in the gay community and that it was their own fault if they got sick—it took Bono to get him to change his tune on AIDS in Africa. I could go on but your eyes are already glazing over and, even dead, JH still turns my stomach.

Dammit #4:
There was something else political but I can’t remember what it was. You’re welcome!

Dammit #5:
Charlotte has stayed up until 10-11:00 every night for the past two weeks so I usually have to (literally) drag her out of bed in the morning to go to school and speech therapy. Friday mornings and the weekend she has off, so when does she get up? 7:30-ish. Except today: I wanted to go to a spin class so she slept in until 10:00. The anti-Dammit here is that she really needed the sleep. Plus I got to have two cups of coffee while they were still hot and read most of the newspaper.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where Does the Time Go?

Hannah at three and a half:

Hannah at five and a half, minus one tooth:

The second tooth is on its way out already, but she's not as excited about it. Because I told her that the 50 cents included a one-time, first-tooth bonus. But Hannah is still telling people that 1) she doesn't believe in the Tooth Fairy, and 2) that the Tooth Fairy (the one that she doesn't believe in) left her $50.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Argus!

Argus turned eight on July 5. Isn't he handsome?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Heart the Newseum

One of my favorite parts of our trip to Virginia was going to the Newseum--I could have spent another couple of days there. I know--I'm a dork. But fortunately Thomas doesn't usually seem to mind, so I dragged him along. The gallery of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs alone was worth the price of admission (20$), but I thought this was fun too:

Guess what they were all doing (besides escaping the torrential downpour)?

Why, watching the U.S. Open, of course!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Dammit, #27

I know, I know. It's late. Again. But there are more than a few things bugging me right now, so here's a small selection:

Dammit #1:
Some on the right are still saying that Barack Obama is insufficiently patriotic because he refused to wear a flag lapel pin. I'm actually a little pissed that he felt it necessary to start wearing one. Why? Because he caved. While admitting that calling Obama unpatriotic was "foolish," conservative columnist Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post that, by forgoing the flag pin, Obama " . . . has declared himself superior to an almost universal form of popular patriotism." WTF? So why did the flag pin only come into vogue after 9/11? And why do we only see them on scared politicians and pundits nervous about upsetting their critics? (And Jay Leno, but that's different.) Because a certain segment of the population deemed it necessary to prove your patriotism by donning a Chinese-made flag pin and agreeing not to question anything The Decider decided to do.

I'd rather have them actually read the Constitution and sing a bit of the Star Spangled Banner.

Dammit #1A:
About those flag pins: Most of them are made in China—unless you special order and specifically request American-made. Order minimums start at 100, depending on the distributor. I know—I checked.

Dammit #2:
The California hands-free law went into effect on July 1. In part because I rarely talk on the phone while driving, it's been nice if a bit odd to see so many people with two hands on the wheel. Well, except for those who are texting or dialing, because the law doesn’t cover that.

Dammit #3:
Why do people spend 20 minutes writing up a long question to post to message boards about whether anyone has ever heard of the disease du jour? Here’s my admittedly crabby-old-person advice: GOOGLE it. LIVE SEARCH it. ASK it. You'll save yourself 16 minutes (or in this case, 19 minutes, 30 seconds), and save me and a few others the two minutes spent wondering why you would spend 20 minutes writing up a post to ask . . . .

Dammit #4:
I saw this bumper sticker today: "When George W. Bush took office gas was $1.46 per gallon."

The car right next to it had a "W'04” bumper sticker. Yeah, so how’s that working out for you?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Sign of the Apocalypse?

Starbucks announced today that they will close 600 stores in the U.S., plus scale back the number that had been slated to open. That's 600 fewer chances for Hannah to tell random baristas that Mommy doesn't like Starbucks.

In somewhat related news, I have yet to receive my shipment of coffee from Joffrey's Coffee and Tea. Neither has Thomas. And yes, I'm outing them now--I think I've been very patient and waited long enough. But if you like--they're more than happy to give you 25% off your first purchase! Email me and I'll send you the promo code. But don't hold me responsible if your order never arrives.

Congratulations! It's a Book (Sort Of)

Well somehow it's happened. Somehow I've managed to write enough to have an actual book manuscript and I'm not done yet.

Me being me, I'll go one of two ways: 1) have a panic attack and hope my hard drive crashes again, or 2) spend the next month up all night making it even prettier and writing a proposal. Oh wait--there's a third option: If I increase my medication, maybe I can do both!

Monday, June 30, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Well, not my summer vacation, exactly, and of course it's not over yet. But the girls and I went to Virginia to spend a week with their grandparents; to visit a few of the tourist traps you can't go to when you actually live in a place; and to remember why I don't love Virginia in the summer. (Hint: When we landed and were waiting on the jet way for the stroller to emerge from the belly of the plane, Hannah stood for a moment, confused, before asking "UGH! What is that??" That, my little love, is what is known as humidity.)

Aside from the 18-hour door-to-door trip, we had a great time. We went to the Zoo, where we got to see all three of the pandas; the Botanic Gardens, which Grandma and I probably enjoyed more than the girls did; and out for a day of boating on Lake Anna, courtesy the neighbors.

The girls were astounded by the enormous copper screen at the Museum of the American Indian and by the prism window, though they were probably more charmed by the fact that they could dance in the rainbows it cast on the floor:

And I love how they were able to pull off the all American look just in time to hang out in the nation's capital:*

* It's all in the photography--thanks, Penny!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Sign that Women are Smarter

And meaner, too. Thanks Sarah!

A woman and a man are involved in a car accident on a snowy, cold Monday morning; it's a bad one. Both of their cars are totally demolished but amazingly neither of them is hurt.

After they crawl out of their cars, the man is yelling about women drivers. The woman says, 'So, you're a man. That's interesting. I am a woman. Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left, but we're unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should be friends and live in peace for the rest of our days'.

Flattered, the man replies, 'Oh yes, I agree completely, this must be a sign from God! But you're still at fault. Women shouldn't be allowed to drive.'

The woman continues, 'And look at this, here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune.'

She hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in agreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle and then hands it back to the woman.

The woman takes the bottle, puts the cap back on and hands it back to the man.

The man asks, 'Aren't you having any?'

The woman replies, ‘No. I think I'll just wait for the police....'

Women are clever, evil bitches.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Random Answers of the Week

Yes, Scott McClellan's book, What Happened, is as rambling and confusing a read as any of his White House press conference transcripts. And yes, Karen Hughes should be pissed, nay dismayed, that McClellan writes that he "honed [his] communication skills under her direction."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TuTu Time, II

Hannah loves ballet, too--especially the costumes! Her class played the blackbirds in Hansel and Gretel:

She was very upset that the costumes were to be donated to the school and wants me to make her one just like this. It will be very easy, she assured me, because we already have lots of chicken feathers to make the fringe.