Friday, December 12, 2008

Get lost.

You know, I think I would post more if I had a way to upload photos to my work computer. Of course, then I would probably get fired for misappropriating corporate assets or something, but with photos there is always something to base a post around. A piece with no pictures is, well, an article. And if I classify it as an article, well, then I start to imagine there’s a deadline, and rules about the quality of my writing, and all of a sudden I feel the pressure to be a New York Times-caliber blogger. If I could just slap up a picture of Eeyore looking cute, or of me eating my 346th bowl of ice cream of the year, or of the snow on the Rockies, the prose becomes not much more than supporting text and more accessible to my enormous readership.

You know, I think that someone outside my office is clipping her fucking fingernails right now. I hear that nasty, telltale little metallic “chht” that one should normally only hear as she clips her OWN nails in her OWN bathroom. You can add any sort of attention to one’s nails in public to the list of déclassé activities that I look upon with scorn, which such list is headed by the ever-popular CHEWING OF GUM. Chewing, popping, slurping, general making of spitty sounds – ohhhhh, God, it makes me ill just thinking about it. Yes, I have been reminded that with two kids I will be forced to grin and bear it through the consumption of veritable mountains of Hubba Bubba, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. Plus, there’s a difference between a kid smacking his gum, as gross as it may be, and an adult who can’t be bothered to hold her slack jaw together enough to mute the wet, rubbery sounds within.

I’ll admit that I am hypersensitive to silly things like that right now. A couple of nights ago, I was in bed checking out LCD TV reviews on my computer, and R. was sitting next to me with his face next to my bent knee so he could see the screen. I could feel his breath all hot on my knee through my pajamas, in that steamy, damp way breath has when it comes through fabric, and I kept jerking away and making desiccated old schoolmarm faces. He quickly tired of my antics and left the room, but episodes like that are more and more common as I get to the irritable heffalump stage of my pregnancy.

This is where a photo of me would go if I could put one – smiling broadly so you could see both chins, wearing a short sleeved shirt as I held Eeyore so you could see the pale, flabby expanse of my upper arm flattened against my temporarily fabulous rack. I’ve actually got some pretty good arm muscles under all that flesh (flesh that reminds me an awful lot of the gelatinous interior of a fried turnip cake you’d get off the dim sum cart), but daily cookies and ice cream make it kind of a moot point.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Big Bad Wolf.

Who is scared by this whole “economic downturn” business? Yes, me, too. I don’t have any reason to think that I am going to be laid off in the immediate future, but I still think about the possibility all the time. In fact, money, food and shelter seem to be all I think about these days, and those thoughts have become all-consuming and occasionally depressing. After spending my days working and/or rushing around after my baby trying to make sure he doesn’t lose an eye, picking up the never-ending food and other detritus he incessantly flings around, and putting him to bed with a last pass around the house to clean his dishes and Windex his smeary prints off the coffee table, then I settle into the couch for an hour of self-defeating, tense-necked ruminations about money, and fear, and fear of no money. I can’t watch TV, or get involved in a book. I might scan a vapid magazine if I can manage it. I often fall asleep early, which could have something to do with the current pace of my life, but which I suspect is more likely a way to avoid these overwhelming thoughts. I feel paralyzed; we can’t make any plans. Forget about indulging in the idea of a vacation or even of a night away in the mountains; should we even waste money on a Christmas tree? The baby doesn’t know what Christmas is, and surely we will just spend all our time prying the ornaments out of his fist.

I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. In fact, to read about it in the papers, millions of people feel the same way. Unfortunately, this mass trepidation is compounding our economic woes. We’re scared to spend the money we do have, which sets off a chain reaction. When I decide not to buy any new clothes or books at my favorite stores, or to eat at my favorite restaurants, the combination of my reticence with that of so many other consumers translates into lost jobs at those establishments. That in turn results in less people with money to stimulate the economy. The government keeps trying to shock the system with injections of fantastical sums of Monopoly money, but so far nothing seems able to stem the tide. Consumers are going to have to be willing to risk putting some of their money out into the marketplace to keep things from grinding to a complete halt.

The most immediate economic decision my husband and I are facing right now is that we want to remodel our house, but for every argument in favor of forging ahead there is a counterargument that says we should just let it ride for awhile: our family has already outgrown our tiny house, but didn’t American families manage to cram into small houses in the fifties? Maybe we are just being greedy Americans. We might be able to do the remodel for less right now while contractors and manufacturers are hurting for work, but does that really matter when I might lose my job or R. might not be able to get more architecture projects? The increased mortgage will have to be paid somehow. But the finished product would be good marketing for his firm… we go around and around on this until I end up back on the couch, staring into space with a clenched jaw.

Just so you get an idea what we’re talking about, here is a picture of what our house looks like today (well, really a few years ago, but it hasn’t changed).

You can see, perhaps, why we might want to make some changes.

Here are snapshots of the front and back of the new house from a 3-D mock up my husband knocked up based on his detailed architectural plans.

Now, maybe modern is your thing, maybe it isn’t, but it is ours! The dark gray portion will be concrete board panels arranged in some aesthetically pleasing design. The brick will be painted not sure what color yet – somewhere from a grayish off-white to a light taupe, depending on what looks best with the other materials we use. Then there’s wood siding, which we’ll probably do instead of the Finnish wood panels we would both prefer but which are prohibitively expensive. It all looks a bit stark here, but imagine it with plantings below the windows and other signs of life. See the little window that’s like a porthole? That is a floor-level window in the playroom designed for two little boys and a couple of cats to lie down and look out. I don't want the economy to huff and to puff and blow it all down.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's in a Name?

One of the most difficult decisions about having a baby is what to name it. Here I am, 27 weeks pregnant, and R. and I have only just decided on a name for the new kid. When we had our first child, we went around and around on what to name him, too, but as soon as one of mentioned Ian we were both sold. This time, it was even harder.

Kate: “Ian is a Scottish name. Should we choose another Scottish one? I think I might be an eighth Scottish.”

R.: “Sure. I really like Duncan.”

Kate: “Oh, uh, OK, ‘Duncan.’ Maybe we should call him that for a week and see if it starts to sound like something I would like.”

A week later:

Kate: “What about James? We could call him Jamie.”

R.: “Uh, OK. I don’t really like that, but I guess it’s OK.”

Nosy Friend: “I never knew a Jamie that didn’t get his ass kicked.”

Another week and several perusals of the baby name book later:

Kate: “I wish our cat weren’t already named Alix. I quite like Alexander.”

R.: “Who gives a crap what that cat’s name is? She’s useless.”

Kate: “You’re just mad because she won’t come near you.”

R: “She won’t come near anyone! I guess Katrina must have traumatized her, but Jesus. Just because she had to eat people until she was rescued doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to pet her. You’d think it would be the opposite. I should be fighting her off to keep her from clawing my eyes out in the night.”

Kate: “Would it be weird to have a cat named Alix and a son named Alex? It’s the only name that sounds right to me, and it sounds good with Ian.”

R.: “We could re-name Alix. It’s not like she answers to her name, anyway.”

Kate’s Mom: “Oh, Kate, you HAVE to rename the cat. You’ll give Alex a complex if you don’t. He needs to have his own name.”

So now we have a son named Alex and a cat named Alice. She hates us all so much these days, anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if she just moves into the basement permanently when we bring the new baby home. It’s a shame, because she’s awfully cute.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Living the Dream.

My life seems like such a set of women’s magazine clichés these days:

“Mommy, Do you Have to Work?”
“Nanny-Cams – Invasion of Privacy?”
“Why is My One-Year Old Already Having Tantrums!?”
“Hot Wire Your Sex Life!”
“Double Coupons on Wednesdays”
“Costco or Sam’s Club?”
“No Time to Look Like a Goddamned Human Being”

It’s surreal. For so many years I skipped over those types of articles in magazines, and steered clear of impromptu meetings at my law firm on “balancing work and kids.” It wasn’t pertinent to my life at the time, but regardless - who the hell needed advice on making time for a 30-minute bath, needed suggestions on how to “set the mood for love” or had to use coupons? Not me, that was for sure. But what the fuck did I know? Nothing, that’s what. Which doesn’t make life any easier now that I find myself in the thick of it.

My mom reminds me that when I was small, life wasn’t about going to Paris, or out to the newest restaurants. She put that stuff on hold for years while instead there were beach trips and shared Stouffer’s frozen dinners and an ongoing roster of child care workers, each with her own set of quirky problems to deal with. It’s both a blessing and a curse that I had so much time as an unmarried woman with a reasonably lucrative career: now that I’m in the vortex I know what I’m missing since I had it for so long, but I also know that it will all be there when these crazy, early years of my children’s lives are over.

Because even though so much of daily existence right now is just squeaking by, frequently punctuated by fakey crying and a constant demand to be picked up by a 3-foot tall tyrant, if I choose to look at it from the other direction it can sometimes even seem idyllic. My house, which at one point not so long ago seemed so cold and empty I had to feng shui the whole place (shortly thereafter resulting, I like to believe, in a husband and a promotion at work), is now a cozy, lived-in nest that protects me and my family from the cold, cruel world. My husband, though busy doing more than his fair share to keep the whole machine running smoothly, appears to still love and want to be with me in the midst of all our chaos. And then there is our baby, who is simultaneously a pill and the smartest, most adorable little boy I have ever seen in my whole life.

Now if I only had time to even read those magazines for some pointers…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Now Here We Are.

I can still hardly believe it’s true. And sure, I know I’m pregnant and hormonal and all that, but I just can’t seem to stop tearing up every few minutes when it crosses my mind again. We have a black president! We have a president who actually thinks before he speaks, can string a compelling sentence together, doesn’t have a VP who plans to destroy the world from behind the puppet theater’s curtain, has a beautiful family that includes a strong, smart wife, who believes in working hard and pitching in and making the world a more peaceful place…. it’s just such a victory in so many ways.

Even though it’s hard to imagine this administration truly solving all the terrible things going on in the world right now, at least I know that one thing is going to stand very, very strong: civil rights. Among all the problems we have to solve, setting America back on the path to protection of our freedoms is paramount. We have a president who knows that.

Maybe one day soon this feeling of cautious optimism will feel natural again.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween.

I know it’s not the time for it, but this is where I would like to be today. Europe’s largest urban mall opened today in London, and all my favorites and more are located together under one roof. I can’t imagine it will ever replace the pleasure of popping into the shops along the various high streets, but it looks pretty fabulous all the same. I fully plan to devote an afternoon to its exploration on my next visit in 2030 or whenever I next swing it.

I know I haven’t posted here for a few weeks, but hopefully you’ve been reading Rocky Mountain Liberal, my other blog. I’ve managed to be pretty prolific over there; what on earth will I do when the election is over? Hopefully I won’t be crying into my cups over being forced to live through another Republican administration, in which case I will still have plenty to write about but it will probably just sound whiny and defeated.

So it’s Halloween, in case you haven’t noticed. Eeyore is still small enough that we won’t be taking him trick or treating this year, but we will probably at least dress him up for answering the door for others. His “costume” isn’t much – my stepmother bought him some little mini-scrubs at the hospital where my dad had his recent heart surgery (he’s doing great) that say “Doctor in Training” on the back. He happens to own some of those revolting Crocs, which I did not buy him, and since hospital workers often wear them so they can just hose off the blood and guts, so shall he.

I’ll be sure to post a picture of him, as well as of the “Eternal Forest Tree Bark” I made for a Halloween party at work today. The recipe for this ghoulish delight came to me in a dream, but I can’t say the taste lives up to what I had imagined. It’s basically peppermint bark, but I used food color to tint the white chocolate orange, then instead of candy cane shards I used toffee bits. The whole thing is a little much, really, but the point was pretty much just to have something orange, and at that I succeeded. I’m sure it will all be eaten, since anything anyone ever makes and sets out on a table at work unfailingly is gobbled down. Even weird vegan shit.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cooking for Two.

I had read that a way to keep spice in your marriage is to do things together that are outside your regular routine. So last night, R. and I went on a date to a cooking class. As we drove over, we both sighed that we wished we were just going out to dinner and then back to watch some TV – a sign that doing something different was definitely a good idea. As we parked, we could see that the brightly lit kitchen where we were heading was full of people milling about:

Kate: “Yuck.”

R.: “Look at all those people. Do we have to talk to them?”

Kate: “No way, man, we’re on a date; let’s just talk to each other.”

R.: “Why are we doing this?”

But we walked in, got our menus and sat down, and proceeded to have a most excellent time. Not only did we learn a new cooking method, a patented process called “Glorious One-Pot Meals,” but I discovered that what I had read about romance was true. R. looked, well, hot with his messy haircut, gray long john t-shirt, jeans and an apron. I liked watching him get into preparing our dish, chopping garlic and tomatoes and brushing olive oil on baguette slices for the crostini. I especially liked seeing him relaxed and distracted from the awful economic news of the last few weeks, which has consumed our household like a flesh-eating bacteria.

As the night went on, I found myself hanging all over him like a lovestruck teenager; grabbing his elbow or sticking my face in his for a quick peck. And hey, so what if as soon as we got home he fell asleep without so much as a kiss good night for me; the benefit of doing something different was clear.

Aside from the lovey-dovey aspect of the evening, the next best thing was the class itself. First, the instructor was awfully cute and engaging as she described this method of cooking she had come up with in response to the discovery at age 29 that she had multiple sclerosis. She decided that one of the best ways to combat it was to eat as healthily as possible, but with no nutrition background she had no idea how to do that. Nor did she have any time to make extensive meals. One night she decided to just throw a bunch of ingredients into a Dutch oven, stick it in the oven at 450°, and let it cook. 45 minutes later she took it out of the oven, and saw that everything was cooked perfectly. She experimented with this way of cooking for awhile, and basically learned that this was a whole new method of cooking– so she patented it.

We made several recipes with her process, but the basic idea is that you take a protein, vegetables and a carb, and whatever herbs, spices, etc. that you want, layer them in a 2 quart, cast iron Dutch oven in their whole state (just cleaned, trimmed and scrubbed, or cut up if you want), then stick them in a fully pre-heated 450° oven. Exactly 45 minutes later, everything is cooked perfectly. Strangely, this is apparently even true if the meat or vegetables you are using are frozen.

I was definitely skeptical about the whole thing, but every single recipe we made was excellent. We made a ginger-citrus chicken dish, honey spiced pork, eggplant parmesan, a Portuguese shrimp dish with quinoa, edamame and tomatoes, a sausage and polenta dish – even a chocolate, coconut and hazelnut bread pudding. What was neat about all the dishes is that the ingredients didn’t seep into each other to make a big, messy stew, but instead stayed separate while still infusing everything with the flavors of all the ingredients. And SO easy: you just clean and assemble everything, toss it in the pot, and there you go. The only thing you really need to make sure of is that your oven is exactly 450°, which apparently is often an issue.

I immediately reserved her current cookbook from the library, and if the dishes continue to turn out well at home, then I’ll order her new cookbook when it comes out in January.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Idle Thoughts.

Most of you kids are probably too young to remember a time when Neil Diamond was played on the radio as more than an example of an oldie, but indeed there was such a time. Now, I’ve never been a particular fan of Neil Diamond, but when I was little my dad certainly was. Neil was always crooning from my father’s turntable, or from the 8-track in the car. I was reminded of Mr. Diamond today when someone sent me a note to say he is on a world tour and that surely I would be going. And… no, but it did remind me of a cheesy story. When I was 6 or 7 years old, for a talent show at school a friend and I did some sort of ridiculous tumbling routine to "Lonely Looking Sky" or whatever it’s called from Jonathan Livingston Seagull. We hadn't really planned it out that well so it was this sort of interminable few minutes of little girls doing somersaults to music on a stage in front of an awful lot of people. I cringe to think about it, but at the same time it sounds kind of sweet and innocent – more so than the idea of today’s little girls shaking their money-makers along with Miley Cyrus.

Speaking of work, as I was rather peripherally, it bugs the shit out of me when someone walks in to my office and walks over behind my desk. My office is set up so that I face the door, so it’s quite an invasion of space to join me behind my desk. There is one person at work who does it every time she comes in, and I’m getting so irritated by it I’m almost ready to say something to her. The only other person I can remember ever doing that to me was a young guy at one of my old law firms, who not only came around behind my desk, but tried to give me a shoulder rub. I told him to get his hands off me, and that was that. I wasn’t the only person he acted that way with, however, and not surprisingly he was canned. I’m not suggesting this woman needs to be canned, but she does need to stay away from my frigging desk.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Life Goes On.

A lot of small things have been going on in my small life:

1. I went to Florida for the weekend to visit my dad. He had open heart surgery about three weeks ago, and he is doing great. I don’t know what I was expecting when I walked in the door, but I was scared he wouldn’t look like himself. I was secretly expecting him to look older, thinner, frail; vulnerable. But I walked into the room, and he stood up from his chair, looking just like his same old self, and gave me a hug. Not a bear hug, mind you, as he is more than tentative about anyone getting near his scar, but enough of one that I felt overwhelming relief.

While in Florida, I was able to have lunch with our blogging friend, Broady. We had a very nice visit, and I even found time to have lunch on a balcony overlooking the water in St. Augustine. That’s the second time in 2 months we’ve been able to hang out, so not bad for living across the country from one another!

2. There have been layoffs at my job, and it has been unpleasant and upsetting. People I know pretty well were let go.

3. I got a new car. In the interest of downsizing, I traded in my 2006 Audi wagon for a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. I got it “used,” with a whopping 2100 miles on it. It even still smells new. Basically, the only difference between it and a new car is that someone else took the depreciation hit on it for me. I can’t believe it, but I actually like it better than my Audi, and my car payment is HALF of what it was for the Audi.

4. I’ve been tending to this. As you can see, he is in something of a stage.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

When Will I Learn?

Pregnant women are not supposed to make rash decisions, and I just did. In fact, I made the classic fat pregnant woman mistake: I just went in for a haircut at lunch, and instead of getting a nice little trim of my lovely long hair, I chopped it off. It’s a perfectly nice haircut, but all of a sudden I feel like my entire, pregnant self is exposed in a way it wasn’t with long hair. Maybe I was able to hide behind my curtain of long hair, but now everything seems on display. I HATE when I do shit like that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


If I weren’t pregnant, I firmly believe I would be putting the full court press on my husband to pick up sticks and move elsewhere right now. For me, “elsewhere” always means London or Paris, and I think he’d be alright with that if it didn’t cost so stinking much money to live there. Of course, it costs a lot less to live there than it does to visit, and soon our currency might be worth so little that we would be doing better if we were paid in euros than we are now. But… it’s not an option.

I did suggest the other day, however, that “wouldn’t it be fun!?” if we rented a house in London for the last month of my maternity leave. It would be a nightmare getting an 18 month old and a 2-month old over there, but once we were there I think it would be great! I could serve up pre-fab dinners from Marks and Spencer every night, and push the kids all around town in their stroller as I “researched” my first novel. I have no idea what this first novel would be about, but it would be set in London and I’d need to know on what corner my protagonist’s favorite Prêt-à-Manger was located.

Of course, this fantasy overlooks some basic facts, such as:

1. It would cost $6 or $7000 to rent a decent, furnished house for a month.
2. Getting around London with a stroller would be horrible. I’d end up spending hundreds of dollars on taxis.
3. The first three months after pregnancy were a little bit of a nightmare for me. Not only did I remain a beached whale/sharpei for rather a long time, I was depressed, confused, and overall not very functional.

Add a toddler to that and I might be spending the last month of my leave in a psych ward. But it’s a wonderful fantasy, and I’ve been trotting it out in my head a lot lately; especially at this time of year where the leaves are starting to change and the evenings are crisp. I love London in the fall.

Maybe we will give it more serious consideration if McCain is elected. Then again, at that point maybe we will really need to start looking for jobs abroad. I know that’s the cry of the over-educated liberal, but fuck it. If it’s an option, why not? It’s not like I’ll be able to tolerate being around the Colorado “moral compass” for another second.

Which reminds me (and really, this is my final non-sequitur of the day): one thing that pisses me off most about the whole Republican vs. Democrat thing is the way that the Republican party paints Democrats as a seething mass of amorality, and themselves as these pillars of righteousness, guided at every turn by the strength of their “morality.” First of all, it’s absolutely absurd to argue that they are “moral” as a group and we are not. Second, just what does “morality” mean, anyway? To the Republicans, it seems to mean a rigid set of rules about what is “right” in a religious sense, and which should in all cases be imposed on everyone else. To me, it means knowing what is “right” in a more fundamental sense, and knowing that the pool of what is right is a lot more broad than what a certain church says. An example might be that the love of another person, given freely and with compassion and understanding, is “right,” regardless of the gender of the lover and the one who is loved.

Er, how did I get there? I guess that’s all I have on my mind these days.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Days Ahead.

This morning I made the mistake at looking at pictures of myself during my last pregnancy. As I was getting ready for work, I thought that for 17 weeks pregnant I’m looking much better than I did last time. I figured I could give myself a nice boost by looking at my old pictures for confirmation, and so I did. And… it turns out that at 17 weeks I was looking reasonably intact last time, too. But by 24 weeks… not so much. Then, I looked like someone had blown up a body-shaped balloon under all of my skin, but solidly; I looked a bit whalish, if truth be told. So as I shove a chocolate-glazed doughnut into my maw, I realize what’s in store for me. Why does eating everything in sight have to be a part of my personal pregnancy process?

In other news, I bought a ticket yesterday to visit my father, who had heart surgery last week. Apparently everything went very well, and it was surprising to hear him sounding just like himself the next day. I must have caught him at the end of a cycle of painkillers, however, because each time I’ve spoken with him since he sounds rather loopy. Still, it keeps him from feeling the pain of a 67-year old sternum that’s working to knit itself back together, so there you go.

My weekend in Florida will be the first time either R. or I have had an extended period alone with the baby. I know how tired I am at the end of a weekend day chasing him around, so I feel a little guilty saddling R. with 3 nights and 2 full days of it. Still, we’ve got to do it sometime, and I need to see my dad. Too bad the circumstances aren’t better, with me heading off for a weekend in London or Paris (I can’t believe there was a time in my life when that was not uncommon for me.) But despite how bad my last flying experience was, which left me very relieved I had no trips at all in my known future, I’m trying to look at the positive: several hours ALL ALONE, just me and my books and magazines. As long as I can read the words through my tears of panic, which I’m not allowed to smooth away with blessed vodka, it could be rather nice. It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve thought a flight might be nice.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Other Things on My Mind.

I’m having a hard time lately with the whole “working” thing. My brain is everywhere else, and yet it’s needed at my desk, where it’s paid to think about stuff. And by stuff, I don’t mean:

Presidential politics;
Dreaming of winning the lottery;
How my dad’s chest is now wired together;
Why my fingers still smell like garlic from cooking dinner last night;
Why my pregnant tummy just looks like a sloppy beer belly;
How I will starve myself to a size 4 after this baby is born, and
What to name the new kid.

Not one penny of my salary is allocated toward analyzing these things, not even the clearly important issue of the garlic smell. Which, I’ll have you know, comes from a rather nice dinner I prepared last night: chicken breasts with roasted figs, gorgonzola and prosciutto, as well as a lovely, basic risotto – all drizzled with a balsamic reduction. I didn’t take a picture, which is just as well, because it was basically all just kind of reddish, but it tasted great. Who knew a balsamic reduction was so easy to make?

On another topic, let’s talk about the whole Baby Number Two thing for a moment. As you may recall, before I found out that Eeyore was a boy, I had my heart set on having a little girl. A girl was just always what I had assumed I would have, probably because I had never known anything different. I’ve always had a close relationship with my mother, and I wanted the same thing with a daughter of my own. So when it became clear we were having a boy, I cried for a little bit, and then I got over it. Once I actually met Eeyore, I couldn’t imagine him being anyone different; he’s a perfect little person.

When I got pregnant again, I proclaimed that I would be fine with another boy; in fact, I’d probably prefer it because now I know how wonderful it is. But for some reason, since the beginning I have just felt that this one is a girl. And last week, I found out just how excited I had actually been by that prospect. Unfortunately, I found that out when my doctor told me we are having another boy. “Oh, honey,” she said, “That’s a penis.” “Oh, okay,” I said, and then I burst into tears.

And I’ve had a hard time getting my mind around it ever since. I look at my beautiful son’s open, adorable face, and know that as soon as the new baby gets here everything will fall into place, but for now I’m still mourning the loss of a relationship I’ll never have; just a little bit.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me.

I realized this morning that it has been three years this month since I started this blog, or at least its predecessor. In honor of that, I thought I'd post one of my favorite old posts today, which is not likely to be one of yours. It's ridiculously juvenile, but I remember laughing when I wrote it and I could use a laugh today, so here you go:

I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all!

Huh. “Yankee Swap.” I had never been to one before. It was a very nice party, as parties go, and it was reasonably amusing to have the fake competition over the crappiest shit you have ever seen in one room. Except that there was one woman there who was subconsciously asking me to pull her hair out by the roots and make her eat it. She kept picking this revolting, plug in leprechaun that everyone kept pretending was a “gnome,” and when people would choose it on their round and come to take it away from her, she would cling to it for too long and generally be a bad sport about handing it over. Then she would pick it again whenever she had a chance.

I happened to have chosen a high number, Number 28, and for those of you unfamiliar with the Yankee Swap, that means that my turn came late in the game such that I was permitted to choose from all gifts that had previously been opened. When Number 28 was called, I pretended to look around like I had all this wondrous bounty to choose from. Then I announced that I was going to choose my own gift under the tree, which had yet to be opened. The hostess said, “You are?” I said, “No,” and smiled at the bitch clinging to the fucking gnome; just enough so my incisors pointed out daintily over my bottom lip like the sweetest little fangs. She looked at me balefully.

“I’ll take that,” said I. She clung to it like a life raft. “Pass it over, honey,” I said. She held it tightly, perhaps thinking she looked really cute as she clung to the rotten fucking leprechaun. Everyone was watching us. I reached out and pried the hideous, plastic figure from her grasp. She still held a sweaty piece of paper in her hand. “It’s no good without the instructions,” she said. “Then give me the fucking instructions,” I replied. The party broke up soon after.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Wheels are Grinding.

Apparently people aren’t so interested in my other blog. I have only the merest trickle of traffic there, which perhaps ought to tell me that not everyone is as up in arms over the state of the nation as I am. I think I’m so focused on politics right now because it gives me something to think and write about that is outside my everyday routine. Because let’s face it; my everyday routine is not only dull, but I’ve pretty much run it into the ground as a topic for discussion. What, am I going to tell you yet again about how I watched CNN from my couch last night? How we wanted to take Eeyore on a walk before dinner but got home too late? How R. and I have barreled into adulthood and sometimes want to cry from the perceived limitedness of it all?

Going to work and raising a child and worrying about one’s parents and finances and future are perfectly normal components of a life, but I’m having a hard time right now thinking of ways to spin them into daily reading material. I can tell you once that my child’s laugh has some strange connection straight to an actual, physical place in my heart I had no idea existed, or that after I give him his bottle before bed he likes to turn over on my chest, hug me and lie there until he falls asleep, so that I never, ever want to get up, but then I’ve told you those things and they don’t really need to be repeated.

All this is why writing about politics is working for me right now, even if it does lead to a very Washingtonian, unhealthy obsession with politics, the media, the whole kit and caboodle. I’ve needed something to write about to try to pull myself out of the torpor I’ve let myself sink into – a catalyst to feeling more involved with the rest of the world outside the protective four walls of our little family home.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Weekend in Hell.

Have you ever had a weekend where you could have just died and that really would have been OK? This was one of those weekends. I woke up Saturday morning to find Eeyore had had an awful blowout; the kind where you pretty much have to scrub everything within the vicinity of the crib. Thankfully, he seemed none the worse for wear, but I, on the other hand, had some sort of flu. I laid in bed all day long, unable to really move, while R. took care of Eeyore. I couldn’t even watch TV, which is when you know things are really bad. Then, during the night, R. came down with whatever I had, times 2. He spent today in bed while I took care of the baby in a decidedly half-assed manner. When I had a second to think, all I could think about was how I’m behind at work and how I really need to hunker down this week and just work and not piss around thinking about politics or anything else.

But hey – on the upside, my mom is having surgery on her shoulder next week and my father is having open heart surgery – should be a banner week for all. I haven’t been focusing on my dad’s surgery the way I should; I think I am in some sort of denial. It’s a valve replacement and single bypass, which are very common and have a great recovery rate. Still, that’s all well and good when it’s somebody else’s dad. I’m in a very large vortex of Catholic guilt around both of these operations. I know I should be there for both of them, lending moral support – especially for my dad’s. And I’m not, and my guilt tells me my excuses are feeble. I don’t have any more vacation days, we are careening towards the end of our savings, how can I be both places at once so why not neither. I’m just sort of paralyzed – I don’t even check fares because I know they’re high and I think if I don’t look the whole issue will disappear.

I know; it’s screwed up. Believe me. Even if you’ve turned your back on Catholicism, there’s no turning your back on the accompanying guilt.

I feel like I am in the most bizarre state of limbo I cold ever have imagined, and it just keeps going on, and on, and on. It takes me forever to take any action, and I keep waiting for the day when I wake up and know how to behave like a functioning member of adult society again. One who writes thank you notes, returns phone calls, buys plane tickets and deals with family responsibilities outside these four walls. Instead, I have turned completely inward, unable to take care of the simplest things. How is going to get better with another tiny baby on the way?

Well, enough pissing and moaning for one evening. I did start another blog, although I haven’t added anything new to it yet – it’s in my links list.

Friday, September 5, 2008

We All Need a Break Sometimes.

I’ll just tell you: I didn’t even watch McCain speak last night. For once, R. and I were actually in the land of the living, and had people over for dinner. Plus, what did I need to watch it for? I knew how it would go. There would be some smirking, some shoulder shrugs reminiscent of George W., and then some statements about bipartisanship that would stand in glaring contrast to the slash-and-burn, liberals-are-lazy-and-hate-America tone delivered by his “pit bull in lipstick” the night before. And who cares what he has to say? That nightmare with a beehive and tacky glasses will be president within two years, and she already rendered him completely obsolete with her “New Star of the GOP” speech the night before that the pundits are slavering over, so why not just spare myself the boredom?

Not that I’m over it. Au contraire – instead, I’ve decided that I need another blog; one devoted to politics (or what politicians wear, of course). I doubt everyone who comes to this blog wants to read about my liberal-leaning musings, and I’d like a place where I can write solely about politics and another where I can keep writing about anything else I feel like. That still might include describing my desire to beat Sarah Palin around the head with her own peep-toe pump, or it might involve a pie that I bake, but I don’t want to be limited on either front.

So now I just have to find a good name for this other blog, which is never really a fun task. Maybe I’ll call it “Maureen Dowd” just to see if I can bring traffic my way.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin Cows the Media, but Not Me.

I don’t even know where to begin. Sarah Palin’s speech was divisive, belligerent, smug, and at the same time totally lightweight. So why is the goddamned media fawning all over it like it was the best thing since sliced bread? I can see how it was effective for all the people who are already inclined to vote Republican, but I found her completely repellent. After everything I had read about how engaging she is, how personable, how charming, I was expecting to be greeted by someone that I might have a tough time resisting on a personal level, disagreeable though I might find her views. Instead, she seemed dead set on whipping up a nasty partisan frenzy; punctuated repeatedly by her pursed schoolmarm smirk. By the end of her tirade, I loathed her and her “I represent the little people” B.S. with every last boiling blood cell in my veins.

Let’s review:

1. She came out and spent a good 10 minutes introducing her hillbilly family, as if we haven’t read enough about their sluttish and/or unethical escapades (oh, sorry, that’s the escapades of “real families, just like yours”) in the news the last few days. I thought it was particularly charming that the pregnant teenaged daughter’s boyfriend was trotted out on the stage in his Sunday best after the speech, chewing gum like the child that he is. What a nice touch to validate the pre-marital sex that she deplores in order to show what a loving mother she is.

2. Her first “political” statement was to tell America she would be there as a voice for special needs parents in government. While that is certainly a laudable sentiment, positioning it at the top of her speech seemed designed to show what an understanding, sensitive mother she is. Again – fabulous – but perhaps not the most important issue on the country’s agenda this year. And arguably not on hers, either, as the entire Republican Party seemed to take a pass at babysitting poor little Trig during her speech. He was trotted out on the stage at the end, too – couldn’t one of her precious family members have stayed in the hotel room and made sure he was safely tucked into bed, where he should have been at that hour, instead of surrounded by the bright lights and screaming crowd in the arena?

3. Finally, Sarah started the mud-slinging. She compared her own experience to Obama’s, belittling his work as a community organizer and championing her own extensive qualifications as the mayor of a small town as the sine qua non of executive experience. She followed that up with a contemptuous dose of “I don’t trust the liberal elite,” and there you have the substance of her speech.

4. Oh, wait, she did talk a lot about drilling in Alaska as her way to address our energy crisis, so that was pretty useful.

5. Oh, yeah, and then told some lies: namely, that she didn’t support taking federal money to build the “Bridge to Nowhere,” and that Barack Obama never authored a law in Congress.

Ugh, that’s enough. She was nasty, and her speech (along with everything else I’ve heard coming out of the Republican Convention) sought to perpetuate the partisan divide in this country. Contrast that with Obama’s convention speech, in which he enumerated several issues on which the parties traditionally disagree, but on which he believes we can surely find common ground. He spoke about rebuilding a nation that is sorely divided; Sarah Palin sought to drive that stake even further into the ground. The Republican Party seeks to wrap that up even tighter in a soft blanket of sexism – simultaneously sporting their buttons that say “Hottest VP from the Coolest State” while accusing the Demorcats of sexism at every turn for daring to challenge Palin’s qualifications.

And speaking once again of qualifications, if I ever thought there wasn’t a danger she would actually find herself in the highest office in the land, seeing the tiny, waxen figure of John McCain come shuffling out at the end of the speech disabused me of that notion. I think he might already be dead. So watch out, lucky world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fun 'n Games in Minneapolis.

For the most part I can leave the charming Sarah Palin alone for the day, since there will surely be plenty to say tomorrow after she makes what amounts to her debut to the American public tonight. It’s only a debut because even though her candidacy was announced several days ago, the McCain campaign thinks it is appropriate to keep her from having to actually sit for an interview where she would have to answer a few questions about herself. Why? Because the “hostile media” clearly has it in for her, so they will bring her out “when the time is right.” I’m sorry, WTF? John McCain thinks this woman is capable of running our country, yet she can’t handle a few pointed questions from journalists? Of all the paternalistic crap I can imagine from the Barefoot-and-Pregnant Party, this takes the cake. Not to mention, for all the disagreements I have with Sarah Palin on the issues, she strikes me as a woman who could more than handle herself in an interview. So cut the nonsense and require her to give one. Jesus.

While I’m throwing a bone to the ladies here, rather than at their heads, I’ll toss another one to Cindy McCain. I feel kind of bad for her. She is clearly a perfectly lovely woman, as long as I don’t get into any kind of political discussion with her, and she never looks like she wants to be anywhere near this mess of national politics. She hangs in the background, looking reasonably chic in her throwback sort of way, and smiles when she needs to. I don’t know if it’s shyness or sadness, though, but there is something about her that seems pretty self-protective and closed in on herself. So, I might say some not-so-nice things here that I extrapolate from her Republicanism, but the truth is I don’t have much of a bone to pick with her other than I don’t want her anywhere near the White House.

Speaking of which, guess who will never be anywhere near the White House, or even Capitol Hill ever again, unless McCain picks him for a Cabinet post? That’s right; Joe “Stick a Fork in Me” Lieberman. Wow – that man is going to be the biggest pariah in town when he gets back to D.C. I can’t believe he had the nerve to stand up there and exhort Democrats to “think” about the choice they have to make here. Sorry, buddy, some of us have already thought about this in pretty great depth, and we decided that this wasn’t much of a decision at all. We aspire for a little bit more than the world your candidate promises to leave us with. And Lieberman’s poor wife, Hadassah, sitting out there in the audience next to Cindy McCain: you can’t tell me she wasn’t sitting there wondering what planet she was on. Did she really sign up for this, too? Maybe she could have taken a page from the Todd Palin book of political spouse behavior and kept her membership in her previous party. Of course, in his case that would be the Alaskan Independence Party, of which he was apparently a member until 2002.

This should be quite an administration.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin: Not the Pick of a Maverick.

I read over and over that John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate highlights once again his “maverick” status, but I can’t see how that is so. How is it “maverick” to choose a running mate straight out of the conservative base of his party? How is it “maverick” to choose a woman as your running mate then sit back and watch as the world is distracted by the soap-opera of her family drama and the continuously evolving list of her potential drawbacks?

Maybe it’s maverick to choose someone who would be singularly unprepared to take the reins when you die in office, but other than that this is all just classic, old-school Republican tactics to me. John McCain didn’t have the strength of his own convictions to pick one of the two pro-choice people he supposedly wanted most as his running mate until it became glaringly clear that the fire-and-brimstone crowd would hang him out to dry if he did so. Instead, without properly vetting his last-minute decision, he offered the iron-fisted evangelicals Sarah Palin on a silver platter, hoping he’d be killing two birds with one stone by choosing a woman for whom lots of independent-minded women surely would leap on board the Straight to Oblivion Express.

Nothing about all this is maverick other than to show just how badly a hastily made decision, one that shows a distinct lack of good judgment, can turn out. Shouldn’t we already know that from 8 years of watching George Bush shoot from the hip, using his own “maverick” style to take us into a needless conflict in Iraq? Don’t we need someone to make decisions for our country that result from genuine, thoughtful reflection, maybe a little consultation with someone other than the Dark Lord of Observatory Circle, rather than someone who keeps us on our inexorable march down this dangerous path?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oh, the Delicious and Fortifying Juice!

I am deeply offended by the McCain campaign’s assertion that “liberal” blogs were mud-slinging by perpetuating the rumor that Sarah Palin is actually her son Trig’s grandmother and that her daughter, Bristol, is actually his mother. You will note I refrained from mentioning it here, even though you know I was salivating over it here in my living room. I could hardly wait for the national media to get on board. But of course, it was too delightfully salacious and they weren’t going to go there. Apparently fearing, however, that their baser instincts would get to them, much like Bristol’s got to her, the Palins announced today that there’s NO WAY Bristol could be Trig’s mother, because she is 5 months on her way to becoming the mom of some other lucky little devil! See? There’s no way she could have given birth to Trig because he’s only 4 months old, and Bristol’s been knocked up longer, get it? So we’ll take that story for now, but I can’t say that I am fully convinced there isn’t something even fishier going on here.

Either way, it’s hilarious, even if it is “private pain” and all that for the family. A McCain aide says McCain knew about this before he chose Palin as his running mate, and didn’t think it had any bearing on whether she was right for the job. While I agree that the fact that her daughter is a randy idiot teenager has little to do with her qualifications to step into the job of the most powerful person in the world if called upon to do so, which, of course, are nil, I’m still going to go out on a limb and say that there’s no way McCain knew about this in advance. There is no way in your God’s sweet heaven that had McCain known about this total embarrassment that he would have shoved this whole mess into the limelight. The Republicans can sling all the bullshit they want about how wonderful it is that Bristol “chose” to have the baby, and she’s so lucky to have a supportive family, but the bottom line is that this is nothing but an embarrassment and having to pretend it’s lemonade doesn’t change the reality.

As for Bristol’s “choice,” who knows if she actually had one? With Mommy being a pro-life zealot and in the public eye, I can’t imagine she did actually have a choice. Let’s hope she’s happy with having the child and marrying its father, because she’s going to have to live with it for at least 2 years until she can get divorced and take her baby with her to college in New York City, where she can become a liberal feminist author or something to seriously embarrass her parents. Ah, I jest: you can kind of tell from her vacant teenaged expression that she drinks the evangelical kool-aid. You know, except for not having sex before marriage. But at least she made sure that if she was going to do it, she wouldn’t do it without that forbidden contraception!!

One last comment: am I wrong, or does the Republican Convention so far seem like a complete and total mess? It’s like the waiting room of a funeral parlor. At least they got Laura Bush and Cindy McCain out for their joint speech on charity hurricane relief: awful. Sure, it’s a good message and all, but with the shy Cindy belted tightly into her welcome-home-honey frock coat and the frighteningly Joker-like Laura up there delivering the type of speech acceptable for a good 1960’s political wife, all I could see was “this is how the Republican Party truly likes its women.” Of course, the maverick McCain wants to prove us wrong by showing us strong women can run the White House with a rifle in one hand and an unborn child or two in the other, but … I’m not buying it. Maybe he wants her to totally screw up so she will have to pull out, he can take credit for having chosen a woman an an evangelical, then move forward with some other, more mainstream pick?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Disappointing State of Affairs.

Yesterday we celebrated my child’s first birthday. R. made him a cake, and we blew out his candles for him before he plowed his little hands into the frosting just like millions of kids before him. He didn’t smile much, but he certainly didn’t seem unhappy as he smeared his face, arms and clothes with frosting, and bit into one of his candles. It was our baby’s first major milestone, and I felt very protective of him as we celebrated it.

In fact, I feel very protective generally of my child right now, maybe ferociously so. That’s because frankly, I feel very, very nervous about what could be about to happen in this country in the next few months, and I can thank John McCain for that gift. With his jaw-droppingly reckless choice of a running mate, he has ensured that if he wins this election the freedoms we citizens possess and the stature our country enjoyed in this world before the current administration will be permanently destroyed.

While I’m not McCain’s biggest fan on his own merits, at least he holds some positions that didn’t scare me into next week whenever I thought about the possibility of his being elected. He’s pro-life and doesn’t support gay rights, but it was generally understood that those were topics for which he didn’t care to wade too far into the mire. With Sarah Palin, however, he has brought into the equation a gun-toting “hockey mom” who as a devout, evangelical Christian supports teaching creationism in the schools and is strongly anti-choice. This selection was obviously geared, among other things, to bring the Christian right on board, as they had been making noises about not supporting him. Ms. Palin has brightened their day, however, as evidenced by James Dobson’s statement that he will now pull the lever for McCain. Fabulous! God forbid McCain could have instead held his finger up to notice that the winds of change were trying to blow people together instead of rip them even further apart. With this pick, it seems like as Americans we are now having some sort of monumental, epic battle for our fate. On one side, people desperate to move past the last 8 years to a model of a strong America that values all of its citizens and communicates with its neighbors. On the other, a vocal group that has co-opted the Republican Party so that it’s forced to push this message that all manner of intolerance and interference is appropriate in the name of God.

If this ticket is elected and Old Man McCain croaks on the job, which at his ripe old age is certainly possible, then we’ll find ourselves living in a shitty TV movie. How can anyone in their right mind think that this former frigging beauty queen who has ZERO world experience is an appropriate choice to run this country? It’s bad enough that she stands for all the intolerance and stubborn, backwards lack of thought that I can’t abide, and that if she’s in power she’s going to work to inflict her way of life on me and my children, but worse is the thought of how she would deal with world leaders. What’s she going to do, get pissed off and take her hunting rifle to them? She may be all spunky and whatnot, but that’s not really going to cut it when she has to deal with Putin.

I am just sick about this on so many levels. It takes the level of discourse back from the potential Obama framed in his convention speech of trying to find some common ground even on our divisive issues, to having to account for someone who has inserted a card labeled “Jesus provides an excuse for everything” where her brain should have been. An evangelical NRA member isn’t going to be the type to look for compromise. And she REALLY needs to stop making her speech where she talks about Hillary Clinton’s 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling and how we as women aren’t done yet – don’t insult women who lived the struggle of sexism firsthand by smarmily acting like you earned what you just got. Is she so clueless as not to recognize she is only in her current spot because an old white man saw the opportunity to use her to secure his own power? His choice of a completely unqualified woman as some kind of pablum for women voters anxious to see a woman in high office is beyond insulting. Women supported Hillary Clinton because she was actually qualified to hold the job.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Just In: McCain panders to Americans with Vaginas.

Well. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’m not particularly impressed by McCain’s choice of running mate. My first impression upon hearing the news, since I had no idea who she even was, was that McCain is clearly pandering right now. Maybe that sounds sexist of me, but I don’t think he chose her purely on whatever credentials she brings to the table. And then I heard something about her credentials, and my opinion remained the same. Her credentials appear to include being (1) a good old boy conservative, just the kind of asshole you want to smoke a cigar with after a day of hunting innocent animals so you can hang their heads on your library wall, (2) governor of a state not exactly known for its environmental record, or more recently, for its lack of corruption, and (3) looking a good deal like a 1960’s throwback version of Mariska Hargitay. And let’s not forget her stint as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska; I’m sure that really prepared her for any future discussions she might be expected to conduct with world leaders. So it smacks to me of hoping to pick up some disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters who will respect that Ms. Palin has a vajayjay.

I would be really interested to hear the opinion of some conservatives on this choice. Am I totally off base? Does she bring something to the table that conservatives are seeking? I suppose if she is quite conservative that will help placate the farther right wing of the Republican Party, but there are plenty of people who could have filled that role. She is supposedly a “reformer,” so maybe that’s her draw. I don’t know… this just seems like something to surprise with, but not necessarily something that is going to help McCain in the long run. I suppose we shall see.

I noticed this morning that Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin have something in common, and that is the look that each is projecting. As Cindy stepped off the plane with her husband in Ohio, she looked like she had just finished baking some cupcakes for the PTA meeting at little Timmy’s school in the all-white part of town. Sunny yellow dress paired with a white cardigan; her white-blonde hair scraped back in a girlish ponytail. Sarah Palin manages to look more serious than First Robot McCain in her rimless glasses, but in almost every shot I have seen of her so far she has her hair pinned up on her head like she’s off to her mother’s prom. What’s up with that? Not a good sign.

But you know what? Mostly I’m just terribly, terribly disappointed that the Republican Party put a woman on the ticket in what I think is poor faith, and that she represents so much that I don’t believe in. She “supports oil drilling in ANWR, is pro-life and is a devout Christian.” And she pronounces “nuclear” just like George W. Bush does. What more could I ask for in a candidate? A lot. If this ticket wins, this country is done.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Denver Day Four (or, Please Let the Clinton Show be Over).

What are we going to do when the convention is over? R. and I have been fairly well glued to the television every evening, watching our party in turn inspire us and cheese us out. Somehow, I don’t see myself as rapt for the Republican convention, although I’ll surely tune in for some of the bigger names and for the CNN commentary. For me, there’s the contrast of feeling my heart swell with pride to hear our Democratic leaders invoke the party’s ideals, which I see as equality, fairness and compassion for other human beings, and an understanding of the human condition, with the indignant contempt I feel when watching some of the cold-hearted swill I hear pouring from the mouths of the Republicans. Yes, folks, I take a partisan point of view, as you know.

But it’s not as if I don’t see the Democratic Party as having any flaws. For one, our delegates are just as hokey as Republican delegates. Why do so many people feel like they have to dress up like a frigging hog pen at a Fourth of July state fair? Red, white and blue cowboy hats, beanies, and hideous pantsuits; whirring miniature fans attached to their hats, moon faces everywhere. It’s repellent. But the bigger flaw I see is our party’s need to genuflect to the Clintons. Who died and made them kings of the fucking world?

I used to LOVE Bill and Hillary Clinton, and while I can still look back with that feeling on the years when he was president, now they way they run their machine like Mafia bosses is astounding. I was relieved they finally came through for the actual nominee last night, but it wasn’t without first commandeering the whole convention as their own little dog and pony show – will they? Won’t they? They seemed to be doing anything they could to keep the spotlight on themselves, diminishing the glow that should have been focused on the real star of the show. And don’t get me started on these “PUMAs,” the “Party Unity My Ass” group. You know what I have to say about that? Sure you do, because it’s FUCK YOU. How dare you play fast and loose with our country’s future because you’re all pissed off that someone who LOST THE RACE wasn’t anointed despite that fact?

It’s amazing how people can see the same thing so differently. Apparently many Hillary Clinton supporters see the Obama camp as having somehow treated her unfairly, acted in a sexist manner, and generally resorted to the low road to cheat her out of the nomination. I, on the other hand, see the opposite. I’m amazed by how low the Clintons sunk in their bid to crown her Queen, and saw the Obamas as consistently trying to take the high road in spite of it. I’m having a hard time bouncing back from that point of view, so that now whenever I see Hillary speak it’s hard for me to focus on her message. All I can see is her naked desire for power, and her determination not to let anyone, or anything, stand in her way. Believe me, I’m not happy with this state of affairs, because I am a feminist, I used to love her and wanted to continue to do so, and I wanted her to be president. Other than her, I’m not sure I see any female politicians coming up who have what it takes to win a national election, and that is not a good thing. I assume she will get another bite at the apple, particularly if she continues to succeed at helping elect McCain, so I sincerely hope that by then I can get over my very conflicted feelings about her.

In other news, Eeyore turns one year old tomorrow. R. is making him a cake, I’ve got the presents, and we’ll be having a party of three. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to throw a real party when he doesn’t even know it’s his birthday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Denver for the regular folk.

Really, I should have known. I might have thought we’d glimpse a little piece of the action on our Tuesday night out on the town, but of course anyone interesting was at the convention waiting to hear Hillary Clinton lie about wanting Obama to win the election. R. and I drove downtown for a drink before our dinner at Fruition, a restaurant that receives more accolades than it deserves (if you go, do not order the black cod even though it looks so good... see below). After finding a parking spot well away from where I wanted to be, we looked for a place for a drink. Jax – where I used to love to quaff an apple martini at their concrete bar - private party. The lame bar of the McCormick and Schmick’s across the street – where I would never choose to go on a normal evening - private party for the National Press Club. Since we didn’t have time to walk over to Larimer Square for a drink at the bar at Rioja, which is what I really wanted to do, we made do with the bar at Sullivan’s. Eh. Crowded, but with a lot of suited and booted yahoos like ourselves hoping to see something.

I will say, however, that Denver has a very different vibe than normal right now. For starters, it’s very odd not to be able to park downtown, or have a drink or dinner wherever you’d like on a Tuesday night. It’s also different (and refreshing) to see the streets teeming with people on a summer evening; strolling along the sidewalks or spilling out of the bars and restaurants. Denver actually looks alive. The downside to that is it looks alive with the citizens of Washington, D.C., which means, of course, dressed in the manner particular to that city. Men in navy blazers and khaki trousers (yuck!) and women in sleeveless shifts with a couple of strands of thick pearls knotted up around their necks. These folks were keeping me from my champagne cocktail, along with a bunch of dirtball kids carrying signs with slogans like “Drop pants, not bombs,” which would make any parent proud.

At Fruition, the only sign that anything was going on in town was the table next to us of 3 couples; two of which were in from DC and one of which lived here. The Denver couple were the only ones keeping the normalcy of a conversation going, as all the others could talk about between fiddling with their blackberries and answering their cell phones was what it’s all about in D.C. They were dropping names left and right, discussing stories they were writing, and so on. My thought is that if they were at the restaurant during the main events of the convention, they can’t have been writing any highly sought after stories, but I’m just guessing.

To cap off the evening, I woke up at 2 this morning dreaming of throwing up. And then I did, the foul brine of littleneck clam chowder in my throat, so I can’t say I’m looking at the night as a total success.

Overall, I’d have to say that for me the whole show might as well not even be here. R. and I are home trying to work around chasing our little wombat around the room, and everything is playing itself out on CNN just as it would be if we lived anywhere else. Funny that the whole thing will breeze out of here on Friday morning and it will be like it never happened. Maybe even in the polls, unfortunately.

Friday, August 22, 2008

And so it begins.

I could feel the bilious bubbles of envy burping up in me. I walked over to the 16th Street Mall at lunch, and out and about were all sorts of people with various credentials swinging around their necks. As I passed two guys with such plastic cards flapping around their necks, one said, "He works for the Senator..."


News of the Day and an Unwitting Meltdown.

Well, obviously it’s this whole VP bullshit. I can’t help but think that whoever Obama picks, it’s going to be a colossal non-issue. The media has built up the “unveiling” to such a fever pitch, I think he’d have to pick Jesus Christ to live up to the hype. And among all the flesh and blood potential contenders, there’s only one who could even provoke any interesting discussion, and that’s Hillary. Since the media has written her off, and unless Obama pulls a rabbit out of his hat, who could possibly generate anything interesting to say? So with all that, I’m not sure why this has been built into such a big frigging deal. That said, if it isn’t the dame, I sure hope it’s Joe Biden

And now I’ll segue to the topic of climbing the corporate ladder. As you may know, I am a commercial lawyer for a company in Denver. There are five or six lawyers in my immediate little group, and until recently I was the most senior as “corporate counsel,” while everyone else had the queer title of “Senior Attorney.” A few months ago, another woman in the group was promoted to corporate counsel, which is fine and dandy (if there’s one thing this legal department is good at, it’s promoting women). However, her promotion and a bunch of over-the-top awards she has received this year seem to have gone straight to her head, and she has managed to secretly alienate others in the group with her now-apparent naked ambition. In group meetings, she often sounds as if she is attempting to run the meetings in conjunction with the head of our group. She now questions the other lawyers’ opinions and judgments in a way she never did before, and her tone is decidedly hierarchical. At first I wondered if it was just me who thought this, and if it was a case of sour grapes because I had been the golden girl in the group until she came along, but I talked about it with another person in our group and learned I wasn’t alone in noticing the transformation.

So what is it that causes some people to act like total shitbags as they claw their way toward the glass ceiling? I’m of the opinion that if my basic work personality, which has gotten me this far, doesn’t work for moving me higher, then so be it. When that’s the case, it’s time to evaluate where you are and either decide you’re OK with it or select something new. What’s to be gained by changing your personality for the worse as you gain some perceived power or position of authority? I just don’t get it. People are already set to envy you when you’re promoted above them, why give them more fodder for their backbiting?

And finally - my husband is going to Breckenridge tonight for a bachelor party. It may just be trailing from bar to bar getting hammered, or there may be naked women involved. Of course he assures me he isn’t the type to “like” that kind of thing, and that really, it just makes him uncomfortable. I believe him, as it’s not as if he ever goes to strip clubs in the regular course of life, and if some stripper gyrates her pelvis in his face and he feels awkward about it, I’ll sure feel so sorry for him for having been put in that situation. But the person I really feel sorry for is me, and all the other wives and girlfriends who have to think about the fact that their husbands are in the same room with naked women other than themselves. I can’t even let myself think about the idea that they could be doing something more than just looking at these women, like getting a lap dance. From what I’ve heard, there are always some jackass guys in a group like this who are revoltingly gung ho and who make it their mission to ensure that the guys who aren’t as into it get their chance at participation whether they like it or not. What if that happens with my husband? Especially at a time when I’m no longer confident about my own naked body, the thought that somebody else would be rubbing up on him with her bare, never-borne-a-child boobs in his face makes me want to curl up in a little ball and bury my head under a pillow.

I know R. has been getting exasperated at me when we talk about this, because there’s nothing he can do about it other than tell me it’s not his thing. But I don’t think there’s any way to truly convey to him what it feels like to have to accept something like this just because it’s often what guys do at bachelor parties. There’s no comparison to women hiring a stripper for a hen party, because for the most part I think that to women that kind of thing is just a joke. There is no real element of sexuality to it. For men, though, and feel free to correct me if I am making an incorrect assumption, there is. I don’t mean for an individual, particular man, but the concept as a whole – it’s a sexual environment. Oh…. I don’t know. I’m sure some people, possibly even my husband, think I’m overreacting, but I can't help the way I feel: ashamed of my own body when I compare myself to the idea I have in my head of some younger, sexy girl naked and near my husband, jealous, and angry for being put in this position of having to be "cool" with it or end up in a fight.

Oh my God, listen to me - I am SO pregnant.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ruminations of the day.

Have you ever had a bad dream that infected the rest of your day, even though it was only a dream? I had a dream right before I woke up that my husband told me he wanted to “break up” and that he was “fucking” this tacky blonde watching television in the next room who I think might have been Heidi Montag, of all “huh?” kind of people. The message was delivered completely without inflection, and even while I could feel my own heart start to race and my voice rise in the panic of floundering around for him to take it back and throw me some kind of life preserver, he remained impassive; a little disgusted. When I woke up, I was relieved it wasn’t true, but somehow the feeling that actually, it was, has stayed with me. I feel sort of off kilter, like suddenly I need to make sure it’s not out there, waiting to happen. As a consequence, I picked a meaningless fight with my beleaguered husband before leaving for work, so now I sit here, continuing to stew. The fight I picked was particularly lame – involving his using my camera to take to a meeting to take pictures of the client’s house. He called me selfish and asked me if I was ten years old, both of which were fair comments.

I left home sulking and feeling a lot shittier about the day than necessary. Why does that kind of thing happen? I’m sure I’m not the only one who works herself into a state after a rotten dream. Dreams like that, about rejection, or death, reflect our deepest fears, so even when we know it was only a dream, there’s still that unpleasant residue of knowing it’s always a possibility. And with death, of course, a certainty – but hopefully not in all the terrible ways I’ve dreamed of my own and other peoples’ demise.

But anyway.

Back to politics.

I’ve been complaining about the convention, but the truth is one can’t live inside the Beltway for 10 years and not be REALLY excited that the whole political machine is coming to town. Living in D.C. is like living in Hollywood for wonks – it’s just as exciting to see the presidential helicopter fly overhead as it is to spot a B-list celebrity. Seeing the president himself ranks even higher – at least seeing Clinton did. I can’t imagine that seeing Bush would be any more rewarding than seeing Kevin Federline, except that I might be able to ignore K Fed and I couldn’t promise not to rip Shrub a new one.

Working from home with Eeyore next week is the best thing I can do to make sure he’s safe, I think, but I am a little sad not to be able to wander around town for a little rubbernecking. I could sidle over to the cheesy brewpub next to the Pepsi Center that as the “CNN Grill” is the site for the dorkiest political team in show business’ nightly circle jerk, hoping to get a glimpse of American’s favorite personification of Max Headroom, the androgynous Anderson Cooper. I don’t know where NBC will be, but boy, what I wouldn’t do to see my teen idol, Tom Brokaw. I knew R. was the one for me when he spoke and I could hear TB’s dulcet tones coming from his mouth (R. has a great voice).

The Denver Post has published a list of all the parties and events taking place in Denver over the course of the convention, and I can’t believe I am so totally out of the loop that I won’t have anything to do with any of them. There’s an Emily’s List party with Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Nancy Pelosi, various cocktail parties hosted by area law firms – Brownstein Hyatt seems to have rented out the Capital Grille every night for a pre-convention martini-fest, presumably to make the DC folks feel like they never even left home – and all kinds of Young Democrats happy hours and post-convention drinking binges. God, do I feel old and irrelevant. R. reminds me that we have plenty of years to make up for the weirdness that is our lives right now, but it’s still bizarre to be thinking of child safety over participation in society. Well, hopefully all the focused attention will at least turn out a little guy who will also be interested in politics.

And not like his mama – whose interest in politics often degenerates into topics such as how D.C. Republican males = fat asses and no chins.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Countdown to the Convention.

I’m a little peeved with my kid’s school. The administration has done everything in its power to scare parents about the potential dangers of keeping their children in school next week during the Democratic convention. There will be little to no access to the parking garage, and no parking available in the street around the building. All doors will be locked so there will be no access to the school other than by elevator from the parking garage. But hey – they have extra food and water in case of a full lockdown because of rioting, tear gas or whatever kind of terrorist attack might be happening in the street outside Eeyore’s classroom. I get the message – they want us to keep our kids home, and so we will. But have they offered to refund the enormous fees we pay for one week of school? Of course not.

So I will be trying to work from home as much as possible next week while R. and I balance working and watching Eeyore. It promises to be a close runner up in the hell stakes to our 2 week trip to the east coast. I wonder how much of a cluster the convention will really cause in Denver? I think about 50,000 people are expected downtown, but that’s no more than go to a Broncos game on a given Sunday afternoon. Will it really be that bad? I guess the issue is more about what kinds of wack jobs comprise that number:

1. Politicians
2. Media
3. Delegates
4. Nutball Protesters
5. Terrorists

That’s actually a pretty unappealing crowd.

Politicians and Media: these first two groups are some of the most self-important people around, and there could be some concern that they might suck all of the already thin air out of the city of Denver. Having lived in DC for 10 years, I’m well acquainted with the intense pomposity that these people exude, and it should be quite a contrast to the guarded good nature of most Westerners. None of the politicians, their attendant lackeys or the media will even notice, however, because it’s hard to see anything in with your head up your own ass. What’s to notice when you have your own little world transplanted with you from Washington? All that’s changing is the venue for their pontificating. Although now that I think about it, I expect they will at least make time to malign the Denver scene, since it’s not nearly as chic as their own Dullsville of the East.

Delegates: eh. Democratic delegates, at least based on what I saw at the caucuses, are an earnest, smarmy bunch. The kind of people I steered clear of in college and law school; neck cords taut with fervor as they educate you vociferously about their opinions, high on their belief that they are part of a giant civics lesson. If you’re planning to frequent Denver’s downtown bars and restaurants during the convention, make sure you’re seated several tables away from these folks or you will sorely regret it.

Nutball Protesters: You know, I’m cool with people walking down the street with their banners promoting immigration rights, peace in the world, etc. But I’m not so into giant throngs of dirty college students preaching anarchy, flipping over cars or camping in their frigging tents in the park next to my house. I’m just over that kind of shit. And don’t get me started on pro-life protesters, pious heads bent in self-righteous prayer as they hold hands and make me throw up.

Terrorists: Not really anyone’s favorite group of people, and hopefully not coming to this particular party. Apparently last week a Somali man was found dead in a Denver hotel room with a pound of cyanide. That doesn’t sound promising.

Anyway, lots to look forward to from the confines of our tiny little house. We’ll be putting up the blackout curtains so none of those stinky students come begging for a shower or orange juice.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Never again.

Oh, I’m still here. Or rather, I am back after a grueling 2-week odyssey around the southeastern United States in a rented PT Cruiser (mmm, lovely) with my husband and child. This trip, ridiculously classified for purposes of time off from my employment as “vacation,” was the farthest thing from a holiday that I could possibly imagine. It was work, and harder work than any regular old day job at that. We flew into Atlanta, and over the course of the next two weeks racked up 1800 miles on that piece of crap toy car as we drove to Charlotte, over to Raleigh, down to Savannah and south into Florida, then back up to south Georgia and, gasping for air, over the finish line back into the Budget parking lot at the Atlanta airport.

All of this delightful travel was to present the royal baby to his extended family for viewing. Initially I had hoped to rent a place at the beach for a week then do a little extra family visitation, but one party’s mother was miffed that we had not visited her home while we had made time for visits to Mexico, France and England over the last couple of years, and so our plans for any selfish use of the “vacation” were scrapped in order to placate and mollify. That said, that part of the trip was probably the nicest, as the mom in question went out of her way to make our visit as easy as possible by setting up an adorably decorated separate room for Eeyore complete with loads of toys and books, cooking us lots of Southern treats, and generally being a doting mother and grandmother. In fact, I have no complaints at all about the actual visits to family; it was great to see everyone and all our hosts were very generous and tried to make what was obviously a supremely unrelaxing adventure as easy and pleasant as possible.

Anyway, there’s no point in bitching about it too much, because it’s over and I don’t want to think of it as shitty when it wasn’t, really. It’s just a fact that travel with an-almost-one-year old is tough and we were stupid to have tried to pack in so many people and destinations. But now we’re home and tasked with trying to undo some of the bad habits we got into on the road, such as bringing Eeyore into bed with us when he’d wake up at 5:00 in the morning crying at the top of his well-developed little lungs.

There is one highlight from our trip, however, and that was meeting the most delightful and talented Broady. We Lilac-Architects drove the hour from my dad’s house in Florida to the very cute home she shares with her husband and 3-month old baby. She and her husband made a fabulous dinner, which I’m not sure how they managed with a tiny baby but they did, and we all had a great time getting to know each other (she confirmed this, so I feel comfortable speaking for her, too). Actually, it was kind of a bummer, since both R. and I really liked both her and her husband a lot, and it’s not that often you meet people you’d like to actually hang out with. In fact, the older I get it hardly seems to happen at all, so this was especially nice. Eeyore was also very interested in Broady’s baby, but mostly in just climbing over him or trying to poke him in the eye. I was a bit embarrassed by Eeyore’s Russian-tank behavior, but what could I do?

Meanwhile, I haven’t even seen or read the news in 2 weeks, so I can’t even comment on what’s going on in the world today (except, of course, (1) to wonder WTF Obama was doing chit chatting with an evangelical pastor and (2) exhorting him NOT to choose Kaine or Bayh as his running mate). I’m sure after I have a chance to regroup and rest up from my vacation I’ll find something to say…

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Partisan politics.

Hey, McCain – grow up. Oh, wait, if you grew up any more you’d be dead. But really, this new round of attack ads is pathetic. I’m not the only one who has noticed that they don’t have anything good to say about McCain himself, just the same tired old horseshit of trying to paint one’s opponent in a ridiculously over-the-top, negative light. Well, it worked for Bush against Kerry, so I suppose it could work here, and wouldn’t that be great! We were so very, very lucky to get another 4 years of George Bush’s intelligent, thoughtful approach to leading our nation straight into the dumpster of history; I’d just love for us to do it again.

Because here are the risks of falling for McCain’s schtick, as I see them:

1. The Increasingly Supreme Court. I know all we over-educated folks realize the impact the president has on the makeup of the Supreme Court, and so we all get excited to think about the changes the president we support could make there. For conservatives, I guess that means an opportunity to drive a final nail in the coffin of affirmative action, “protect unborn children,” bolster the powers of law enforcement against that tiresome 4th Amendment, and make sure we all have our fair share of guns. Liberals see it as a necessity to protect the last vestiges of civil rights in this country. And then there are us left-leaning lawyers, who long to feel lifted up by the beauty of a well-written opinion that respects the human condition, instead of smothered by the contemptuous, arrogant trash that spews from the mouth of that vile troll, Scalia.

2. Endless War. Not only because of our presence in Iraq, but because of our bull-headed reliance on massive amounts of oil. As long as we continue to focus on that above all else and fail to switch the majority of our focus into the development of clean, renewable energy, we’ll remain beholden to the Middle East. And no, drilling off our coasts, a yearning first step toward the ultimate goal of plunging our pipeline-sized fingers into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, isn’t a long-term solution. Maybe if we embraced finding innovative solutions in this area, we could actually be at the forefront of something as a nation again besides distributing our brand of democracy to a world of unwilling recipients – since we’ve long since been lapped at manufacturing and generating technology and the kids smart enough to invent it.

3. All Women forced to Dress and Behave like Cindy McCain. Do you think once Roe vs. Wade is overturned that will be the end of it? Get out your tea dresses and vacuums, ladies, and yes, your pills, too, if you'd like.

4. Listening to Me Bitch for another 4 Years. Or less, if he kicks it early, but then we’d have President Romney so, no, I’ll still be here.

I know how ridiculously partisan I am, and I’m sure I piss off half of you, but I don’t know how to feel differently. I just can’t get my mind around a conservative perspective. We see things from such completely different angles; I know that sometimes we’re like exotic animals to each other, and not the cool, furry ones.

So I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from your fearless leader, and tomorrow I’ll write about kittens or babies.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First pass.

Have you noticed how testy some in the media are getting about Barack Obama? The group that was once ready to anoint him now has its claws out. Two columnists provide bitter and petty examples: Maureen Dowd in the New York Times and Dana Milbank in the Washington Post.

Maureen Dowd’s contempt for the presumptive Democratic nominee seeps through her sentences like syrupy poison: when Obama told her that he didn’t know the protocol for giving gifts to world leaders outside of state visits, she said “he could be forgiven for not knowing the customs of a trip that had never taken place before — a mere presumptive nominee of one party being feted like a president.” When he told her that on his stops someone makes sure to buy a snow globe for one of his daughters and a keychain for the other, she writes, “‘You have a snow globe aide?’ I marveled.” You can almost see Ms. Dowd curled up on her cushion like a self-satisfied cat, lapping up her sour milk with her acid tongue.

Mr. Milbank writes equally as if Obama had asked someone other than him to the prom. In his column he gripes that Obama has already elected himself president, and one can easily envision the petulant moue of his lips as he observes that Obama is outdoing the current president in “ruffles and flourishes” when his motorcade is larger than Bush’s and he meets with the Pakistani prime minister while “Bush held quiet signing ceremonies in the White House.” What a picture of our self-effacing current leader; riding alone with Laura in a Buick, or benevolently signing God-knows-what sort of destructive legislation into law while the Democratic nominee tries to build the kind of relationships that he would need to be able to draw on if he were elected president. Why is it presumptuous for Obama to act as if he will be elected (when he is, after all, one of only two candidates) and that some good can be had from setting the stage for when he is? That just sounds like good planning to me.

I don’t understand the press’ need to build up people seemingly for the sole aim of having someone to tear down. What drives this constant back-and-forth? Are journalists trying to prove their relevance by telling politicians that they helped enable the climb, and they can just as quickly yank them back down the ladder? Or do they simply imagine that they are so much more clever than the rest of us that they can say anything and America will buy it? In trying to seem so big, they sound very small.

Mommy, Esq.

Last night R. and I were sitting on the couch; he was working on our house plans and I was staring mindlessly at the TV screen where Tori and Dean were acting out some not-so-important scene.

R.: “What’s wrong with you tonight, honey?”

Kate: “I don’t know. I’m so bored.”

R.: “Bored?”

Kate: “Yeah, I just feel like my life is in total limbo right now. I’m bored at work but can’t look for anything else because I’m pregnant. I have pregnancy mush brain so I can’t get myself to focus on what I could do to make life more interesting. I come home, play with Eeyore for awhile and put him to bed, then I sit on the couch and watch TV, and there isn’t even anything on, then I go to sleep and repeat.”

I know I’ve said this more than once now, but I can hardly describe the mind-bending nature of my life compared to what it used to be. Having a child is one of the most wonderful things I can imagine, but at the same time the toll it takes on individuality is severe. I know intellectually that this will change in the next few years, when our children are talking and walking and reading and exploring, but right now and for the next 2 or 3 years at least, I think this limited horizon is how it’s got to be.

But that’s too bleak for words, and I know that some of this whining is coming from a lack of energy and ambition on my part – when you only have 2 hours a day to relax, and you’re tired because you’re pregnant with yet another gift to the planet, motivating to do something constructive takes an inner strength that I’ve yet to tap into.

So I decided (as I have decided before and not followed through on) that I will write a column. I don’t have a place for this column to be published, but of course there’s always right here if nobody else wants it. For now, though, I need a goal, and my goal is to write a few pieces, and then submit them to some papers and magazines and see what happens.

Next issue: what the hell should this column be about? Last night I had a ridiculous dream in which Broady and her husband had a column in their city’s newspaper called “Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood,” or something like that that wasn’t ever really clear. They wrote about being parents in their town, and it was a huge success. I was so jealous in my dream, and when I woke up I thought maybe that was a good avenue for me. The more I think about it, though, I can’t see writing a column only about parenthood, because I’m so personally conflicted about it. I’m hardly going to write a blurb in the local rag about the best ice cream shops and playgrounds unless I’m saying something nasty about the other mommies who frequent them.

So what do you think about “Mommy, Esq.”? Does a title like that allow for pretty much any kind of topic, political, cultural or parental, or is it just dorky? Maybe I don’t need a title at all, just an angle. Maureen Dowd certainly isn’t titling her New York Times column “I Think I’m the Greatest,” even if each entry has that particular bent.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Political Tuesday.

MSNBC says this morning that Obama is in “serious talks” with the governor of Virginia, some guy named Tim Kaine, for the position of VP. Really? No, seriously, are you kidding me? All this talk of the various no-named men that Obama is purportedly considering is making me ill. Evan Bayh, Sam Nunn, and now this guy. Who are these people? OK, obviously I know who they are, but only barely and mainly because I lived in D.C. for so long. I can’t imagine that someone as savvy as Obama is going to pick some random milquetoast to balance out his ticket – please, no? We have to actually win this election. Maybe he thinks having someone non-descript will put us on even footing with the Republican Party, which is comprised of white lumps with interchangeable, doughy faces, but I don’t think that’s going to work.

If he feels like he needs a boring white dude, John Edwards would have been an excellent choice, but I expect he’s down for the count what with the affair/love child and all. As an aside, what’s with politicians and their need to cheat on their wives when they’re going through serious illness (see, e.g., Newt Gingrich and John Mccain)? I would have thought Edwards was above that, but apparently not. Anyway, another white dude I like very much, but who is apparently not beloved by many other than Democrats inside the Beltway, is Joe Biden. But I don’t think Obama will choose him, because Biden is edgy and sharp, and that probably won’t go down well with today’s voters.

And then there is Hillary Clinton. The blood between them has got to be pretty bad. I’d never want to see her again if I were he. But… in my opinion, the only way he’s going to win this election is if he chooses her. She is the only person out there who has the ability to instill a renewed excitement into his presidential bid, which I perceive as flagging in the run up to the general election. The polls show McCain and Obama as running very close, with some polls showing McCain ahead. That’s not a good place to be at this turning point in history – are we going to regain some respect in the world, maybe even find a way to play a role in future society, or are we going to continue the path into oblivion that the Cheney administration has started us down? Hillary Clinton is the only person I see that can fill in Obama’s gaps and get us over the hurdle; she can bring the votes we need. The media seems to disagree with me, however, but as we’ve learned they are a pretty clueless group, so who gives a good goddamn what they say.

So anyway, that’s how I see it; it’s that black and white. Some of us see the path forward through being citizens of the world, and others want to live in 1950’s suburban America. That retro dream can’t cut it long term, though – the rest of the world is moving past us, and we’re not in a position to turn so inward-facing that we can exist on our own. It sure would be nice if we could make the leap forward now instead of inflicting God knows how much more damage on this country before simply annihilating its relevance in the world.