Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Where is Elizbeth?

I've been worried about Elizabeth Edwards over the past couple of weeks. She hasn't been anywhere near as visible on the campaign trail as in the past. She was with John in New Orleans today, of course, but otherwise, not so much. Anyone know? But here's hoping it's not bad news.

The Weekly Dammit, #22

'Tis the eternal season of political nightmares, so I'll start there:

Dammit #1:
John Edwards bowed out today. He had the most comprehensive, detailed platform on issues ranging from the environment to education, veterans affairs to jobs creation and solving poverty in America. He is a champion of the middle and lower classes, and, no it does not (should not, anyway) matter that he made a boat load of money and had a huge house. In his mind, it is right and good that those who have had (or made) opportunities--and done very--well extend a hand and help others up the ladder.

Dammit #2:
This one rates as a Super Dammit: A caller to the NPR program, Talk of the Nation, described himself as "a long-time white male Democrat" who would vote for Hillary if she were the eventual nominee, but never for Barack Obama. He would vote for John McCain instead, as would many of his friends. The reason? The perceived lack of substance to Obama's plans. Oh, and they can't bring themselves to vote for a black man.

Dammit #3:
In California, if you register party affiliation as "Decline to State" (VERY different from "Independent"), absentee voters have to request a Democratic or American Independent ballot in order to vote in the presidential primary. Thomas dropped our forms off two weeks ago, getting his new ballot same day because he took them the Decline to State ballot. They "lost" my paperwork, so after a few phone calls, I find that I can 1) just go to the polling place and vote there, or wait for the new ballot, mail it back and not have my vote counted for three days.

Dammit #4:
We're leaving for Disneyland on Friday morning and, after a very healthy month or so, Hannah and I are both sick. Thomas seems to have avoided the worst of it, possibly because he's been working a lot as well as training for a triathlon. Charlotte is still healthy because, after 18 months of physical therapy she is much stronger than the rest of us. Which, by the way, is an anti-Dammit :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hannah’s First Ditch Day

We went to Disneyland over Super Bowl(R)(TM)(C) weekend last year—the first time for me as well as for the girls—and it was so much fun. We lucked out twice: first because the park was sparsely attended, what with the Big Game(R)(TM)(C) and all, and second because the weather was almost too nice—sunny and hot. We had to buy shorts and hats for the girls. We decided to take a chance on the weather and go again this year. I am SO excited! Ahem. Of course by that, I mean that I am excited to see Hannah’s reaction when we tell her why she doesn’t have to go to school on Friday. It’s actually kind of silly how excited I am to tell her, to see her beautiful little face light up. (Charlotte already knows, but Hannah misinterprets the signs “mouse” and “house/home” as Charlotte saying that she wants to watch Mickey Mouse Playhouse.)

I could have just called Hannah in sick on Monday, but at my age I felt completely ridiculous lying to a teacher—not that I was ever good at it anyway. There was also the certainty that Hannah would go in on Tuesday screaming, “I went to Disneyland!” So I finally worked up the nerve to ask if it was sort of, maybe, ok if we, you know, hypothetically speaking, took Hannah out of school for a day to go to Disneyland. After laughing at me, Mrs. B assured me that it would be ok, to just call Hannah in sick on Monday. I decided to push my luck by coming back a couple of days later, saying that we might want to leave on Friday morning instead of afternoon. So, you know, Hannah wouldn’t be in on Friday either.

I already liked Mrs. B, but I will now say without hesitation that she is the teacher I would have liked to have when I was a child. And saying “It’s kindergarten—just go already!” was just icing.

The Year's Sweetest Words

"This evening, President George Bush delivered the last State of the Union address of his administration." --Countless News Anchors across the US and around the world.

I'm saving my rendition of "Ding dong the witch is dead . . ." for another 12 months. In the meantime, I'll be hoping against hope that W doesn't find another way to try to get us all killed in the little time he has left in office.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Weekly Dammit, #21

Dammit #1:
When I got my first paycheck for my work on, Thomas bought me a pair of SHURE sound canceling earphones. I have small ears so the buds don't fit. None of them. Which means I can still hear Mickey Mouse Playhouse unless I turn my volume way up.

Dammit #2:
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama aren't doing themselves any favors with the intensified sniping at one another. I experienced an incredible sinking feeling when I watched the debate in South Carolina, the same sort of feeling I get whenever I realize that the Democrats have found a new way to shoot themselves in their collective ass. Perhaps there's a less-than secret reason their mascot is a donkey.

The bright spot, when he finally got a word in edgewise:

JOHN EDWARDS: "Are there three people in this debate, not two? I also want to know, I also want to know, of behalf of voters here in South Carolina, this kind of squabbling, how many children is this going to get health care? How many people are going to get an education because of this? How many kids are going to be able to go to college because of this? We have got to understand, you know, and I respect both of my fellow candidates, but we have got to understand this is not about us personally, it is about what we are trying to do for this country, and what we believe in."

Dammit #3:
I'm letting Charlotte watch TV while I write this.

Dammit #4:
The real reason Charlotte is watching TV is because I'm trying to catch up on my homework for my life coach. Which I put off again.

Dammit #5:
I went to the gym last night for the first time in . . . . I think I damaged my heart. I kept ending up at my regular walking pace on the elliptical. In case you were wondering, that's not a good thing: At one point my heart rate was at 171--albeit briefly.

Dammit #6:
Heath Ledger. Dammit. Idiot.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today's Random Question

Why do the people who write death notices (not the official obituary) for a ninety-five year old person use the phrase "Cause of death not given"?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The (Used to Be) Weekly Dammit, #20

Where does the time go? Wherever it went, I didn't see The Dammit there. So let's see if I remember how to do this:

Dammit #1:
There is no The Weekly Dammit #18. Well, technically there is, but I never actually published it. It exists only as a draft. It was FABULOUS but now hopelessly out of date.

Dammit #2:
Apparently the Bush administration played a round of "Is Your IT director Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" and lost. Assuming the overwriting of back up disks containing two years worth of email and other information was unintentional. Yeah, yeah. That's it. Unintentional.

Dammit #3:
I hired a life coach to help me work through the "do I want to finish my book and keep freelancing or get a regular job" thing. I really like her but she keeps giving me homework. Which I keep forgetting until the night before. I never wanted to go back to high school and here I am paying someone for that same vaguely panicky feeling . . .

Dammit #4:
That whole Iranian Revolutionary Guard thing in the gulf may actually
have been a hoax. And the Pentagon says it didn't say it was actually the Iranians saying "I am coming to you . . .You will be exploded in minutes." It does, however, still appear that it was the IRGC's boats. Seriously--does this shit ever end?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Random Question of the Day

Does "Dermatologist tested" mean "Tested on dermatologists, not rats"?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Beecause Every Monday Needs a Good Laugh's Dan Froomkin pulls together some of the more amusing? maddening? mind-boggling? quotes from W in advance of his Middle East tour:

"I can predict that the historians will say that George W. Bush recognized the threats of the 21st century, clearly defined them, and had great faith in the capacity of liberty to transform hopelessness to hope, and laid the foundation for peace by making some awfully difficult decisions," Bush told Yonit Levi of Israel's Channel 2 News. Bush held several interviews with Middle Eastern journalists last week in anticipation of his trip to the region, which starts tomorrow.

"When he needed to be tough, he acted strong, and when he needed to have vision he understood the power of freedom to be transformative," Bush said of himself to Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

As for the people of the Middle East, Bush told Hisham Bourar of al-Hurra Television: "I would hope that they would say President Bush respects my religion and has great love for the human -- human being, and believes in human dignity."

The Bush record, the president told Nadia Bilbassy-Charters of al-Arabiya Television, is one of liberation -- "liberation, by the way, not only from dictatorship, but from disease around the world, like HIV/AIDS or malaria."

On a personal basis, Bush told Bilbassy-Charters that he hopes that people would know "that he hurts when he sees poverty and hopelessness" and "that he's a realistic guy."

Check out the blog post for more!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Lessons Learned

We're having some nasty weather in the Bay Area today. And yesterday, with more to come tomorrow. Heavy rain and winds gusting to 71 miles an hour, with several feet of snow being dumped in the mountains. Nothing like a little bad weather to teach you a few lessons (well, except a precocious five year old).

So, to the lessons:
  1. Chickens don't like rain.
  2. Chickens don't dislike rain enough to resist the potentially suicidal temptation to dig a lake under their food bowls.
  3. Twice.
  4. The bucket of mulch I had been planning to put in the garden was perfect for filling in Lake Sophia/ZsuZsu.
  5. Low-rise pants are not the best to wear in a driving rainstorm.
  6. My water-resistant jacket isn't.
  7. 50-mile an hour wind gusts are not enough to take down the neighbor's bug- and disease-infested apple tree.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Feeling Optimistic

Putting aside the question of what if any influence they should have on presidential elections, the Iowa caucuses are finally over.

Barack Obama, First place
John Edwards, Second
Hillary Clinton, a surprising Third

I would have preferred the order Edwards, Obama, Clinton, but this will do for now. It's not that I don't think Hillary would do a good job. I think that I think that she might. Do a good job. And it's not that I'm looking for the warm fuzzies--we had too many idiots vote for another idiot just because they thought he might be fun to have a beer with. So, no, not looking for the warm fuzzies or a cold beer. But, though I love Bill and would vote for him again tomorrow (assuming he wasn't running on a platform of "change"), I don't know that I trust Hillary, or the idea that she can make things in Washington any different than they have been for the past couple of (few?) decades.

I like John Edwards, and Barack Obama runs a close, close second. (Of course, if Joe Biden could keep his feet out of his mouth except when he's orating, he'd be higher on my list.) I don't, however, see how Edwards, Obama, or anyone else, is going to get us out of Iraq immediately. Whether or not it was ever a Pottery Barn policy: We broke it. We need to find a way to fix it and I don't think just packing up and leaving is going to work. And not because some terrorist somewhere is going to see it as a sign of weakness, but because we broke it and we can't just leave it.

So now what? It's the economy, stupid. It's the war, stupid. It's the environment, stupid . . .

But I can't really complain; no matter who I like more right now, Edwards, Obama and Clinton are all superb candidates. The second most important thing to remember is that GWB is on his way out.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Interior Design for the Dollhouse Crowd

One of the few things I dislike about our house is that, while we have three bathrooms, we all share the one bathroom on the main floor. For Thomas, I guess the worst part is that, well, he has to share a bathroom with three females. For me, it’s the eternal game of hide-and-seek with my personal care products.

When I’m in need, I must first go calling at one of the two established dollhouses, and then check in at the myriad shanties that pop up over night like little pink mushrooms. (Shoeboxes, hats, baskets, etc.) If I don’t move quickly or quietly enough, the trip is accompanied by little shrieks of “But Mommy! That’s the CUSHION for the SOFA!” Or “NO!! That’s NOT a tampon! It’s a PILLOW!” God only knows where the new heads for my Venus razor might be—or to what purpose they have been put.

Yes, the tampons are bolsters. The panty liners are sofa cushions—and look! Reversible! See? If you take off the little pink covers you can make a nice, long, comfy white cushion! Now if only the pink cushions stuck as well to the furniture . . .

It matters not where I put them: There is no place to hide anything that my little magpies might be able to use in a new interior design scheme. And I just found the razor heads: Individually packaged, they make excellent coffee and side tables.