Almost eight years ago, I was great with child. My belly was great, my ass was great, my feet were great....
We hadn't met Joe-Henry yet, a fact I now find so hard to fathom. I had never seen him or heard his voice, but he was profoundly a part of me, and it was his future I thought of as I cast my ballot for Al Gore. I felt confident, knowing that this great country that I love wouldn't fall for a frat boy, even if he was the son of a former President.
After we voted, we strolled down Hollywood Boulevard, and I made ready for my weekly doctors appointment. My fantastic ob/gyn, a liberal like myself, held my hand as she told me I'd be put on bed-rest due to my blood pressure. With only two weeks to go until my due date, I groaned, but felt lucky that they caught it, and knew I'd be okay. I thought I'd go home, and watch the election returns, knowing that there would at least be a new president by the time my boy arrived.
Except there wasn't. Talk about high blood pressure. I'm fairly certain George W. Bush is to blame for my nearly stroking out after my emergency C-section (leaving me wide open for Sarah Palin to give me shingles 8 years later). There would not be a FINAL count until December 18th, and even then, it has always remained the most questionable election in the history of the United States. Many people (Al Gore & Myself included) think that the election was stolen. Al Gore has actually moved on. I on the other hand....
Nearly eight years have passed since casting that ballot for Al Gore. My son arrived; the election fell to the bottom of my worry list when we learned that our baby had a rare syndrome called Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome; we lost sleep and learned to be parents. Our boy is getting tall now, loving sports and music and school, and can roll his eyes at his mother with the panache of a teenager.
But I still remember a more innocent time - when my son was a baby, and presidential hankypanky was the worst offense happening in the oval office.
My candidate has a pretty good lead, but the last eight years have shown us more dirty tricks than a naked magician. Still, I am trying to stay positive. For my son. Because now that I've known him a while, I think I'd like him to inherit a better America than the one he's known so far.
Normally, when horrible things happen to children because their parents made a mistake, my empathy for the parents can overwhelm me for days. Left your child in a hot car all day? - well, honestly, it could happen to anyone, meaning, OH MY GOD IT COULD HAPPEN TO ME. Those parents have to feel so awful, and their lives are changed forever and it's because of a mistake they made. "What were you thinking?" is something that would never come out of my mouth.
Yesterday though, I read this article about an 8 year old boy, whose father (a doctor) took him to a gun show that had a firing range, and with an instructor standing there, the boy held an uzi, aimed at a pumpkin and it recoiled so strongly (as Uzi's will do), and fatally shot the child in the head.
Hunting, somehow I get it. I don't agree with it, but I understand the tradition of "menfolk". And while I will never have a firearm in my home while I have children, and JH will NEVER be allowed to go into a home that has guns, I don't want to take away anyone else's right to own them.
But automatic weapons? They are not for sport. They should be outlawed. There is no reason for them other than to kill people. You don't hunt with an Uzi. Any rational sporting male will tell you this.
And so I can't get this thought to go away, no matter how much sympathy I feel for his parents:
This is posted, with respect, to my Mormon friends.
If I lived in California, I would vote No on Proposition 8. I'd write you a whole big long list of why's and wherefore's, but I'm sure I wouldn't do it as eloquently asJoe Vogel, a thoughtful young writer, who happens to be Mormon. The Mormon Church is leading the charge to vote Yes on 8.
Some highlights of "A Mormon's Lament: Church is On The Wrong Side Of History Again With Proposition 8":
"You hear of marriages ruined all the time because of abuse, neglect, or stress over finances. But I have personally never heard of a divorce caused by another gay couple getting married.
Yet instead of focusing on issues that can really help nourish our families we obsess over a word. A word we refuse to share. A word that has never been perfectly fixed. There was a time, after all, when inter-racial marriage was just as taboo and illegal as gay marriage. Marriage has been many things, but the common ideal has been and should continue to be a relationship built on love and commitment."
"Maybe you don't completely understand homosexuality. Maybe you think it's a sin. But shouldn't we leave that to God and allow others to be who they are and make their own choices? As followers of Christ, isn't it always better to err on the side of compassion and love?
Martin Luther King once lamented in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail:
So often the contemporary Church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church's silent---and often even vocal---sanction of things as they are."
In all the nastiness of this election, I haven't mentioned my very favorite Public Servant. My father-in-law, Chuck McQuary, one of the most knowledgeable, hard-working, self-deprecating people I know, is running for City Council in their beautiful town of Carpinteria, CA.
If you are so inclined to spend twenty minutes viewing a small town's candidate statement for election, you can check it out here. He's the second candidate interviewed.
In this nasty election season, it's really refreshing.
My Sweet Hubband's birthday was back at the beginning of October, and I decided that I would get him concert tickets. I know he loves music, I know what music he loves, and TOTAL BONUS, I get to go too, and we get a date out of the whole deal.
So, knowing that he had just picked up Randy Newman's new cd "Harps and Angels", and seeing in the newspaper that Mr. Newman was coming to the Aladdin Theater, I snapped up a couple of tickets. They were pricier than usual, considering it's a general admission theater, but it's a smallish venue and I thought it would probably be alright.
I got a sitter for the night, which is a rarity around here, and met my sweetie in downtown Portland after he got off work. We ate dinner at a Brew Pub, and took in the brisk, beautiful evening and even managed to get some shopping in. Just like the old days. I snapped up some fantastic bargains at J. Crew, with my sweetie cheering me on. Initially I thought they might have an age limit there that we would surely exceed, but it turns out, I can still pass for under 40, and the sale they had was too good to pass up!
Then it was off to the Aladdin. Because we had taken our time, the theater was packed and we wound up in the balcony, right behind my gynecologist and her husband. (TOTAL BONUS: We'll have something to chat about the next time my feet are in the stirrups!)
As we found some seats, and took the measure of the room, two things were clear: With just the lone Grand Piano on stage, there would be no band, just Mr. Newman and his fantastic playing and funky, croaky voice; and we were NOT in the minority age-wise, for once. The sea of thinning hairlines and reading glasses was jarring at first, knowing as I do that these people, they weren't our parents, they were us. But after that first moment it was just plain reassuring.
When he took the stage just after 8:00, he really TOOK the stage - he tripped over something and nearly landed in the lap of someone in the front row. I thought it might have been planned, but it was clear it wasn't. Still it started the concert off perfectly, because it made him seem like one of us, and set up an intimacy that didn't feel staged. It was like hanging out with him in the living room, chatting, sharing fond memories.
If you don't know his work from anything but his work with Pixar, here's a little homework assignment for you: before you listen to the following tune, check out a few of these gems: First, there's Louisianna, 1927, and then Dixie Flyer. Oh, and if you are anticipating the election but still wondering if America's good name can ever be recovered, Uncle Randy has a few words of reassurance for us: A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country.
But it was this song, last night that got me. It's full of longing and the complexity of life with all the stupid mistakes we humans make.
Enjoy. Or don't. But I sure did. It was one of the best concerts I've been to, one I'll remember always. Thanks, Mr. Newman.
My husband is an artist. He's working a job to pay bills and support his family now, but he's an artist. If you need further proof, check out this fantastic piece of writing (his!) at the Utilikilts website.
Oh, and he shaved his head the other day, and has taken over badass Vic Mackey in the sexy bald men category.
At JH's parent-teacher conference today, we were wrapping up, and he said "Can I say something? I just wanted to say that I love my school and I'm so thankful that I have teachers and friends who really care about me and how I'm doing. I feel like people here really support me and it feels so good to come here every day."
Writing it down, I'm not doing it justice. I realize he sounds a little like Eddie Haskell, but I assure you, he wasn't kissing up. Just being honest.
His teacher completely welled up, and on our way out she took me aside and apologized. "I've never done that before!"
Proud to bursting and counting my lucky stars.
And I know there is still time for him to turn into a sociopath. Or a teenager.
Last night at bedtime, JH and I were talking about his day at school. He's been working hard at sorting out his feelings about P/R, and realizing that they are very different people. I haven't been pushing the conversation about him lately because a) we've already talked about it and I don't want to hit him over the head with it, b) I think that other than limiting playdates, there isn't much I can do about what he does at school and c) I trust that he'll figure it out.
As we snuggled in the dark, we had this conversation:
"Mom, all my friends have playstations and Nintendos, but I don't".
"I know, Bud. Dad and I don't think the time is right for those things now. We want you to play outside and run around and use your imagination".
"P/R has all those things too. He told me they got them for him because he told them to. It's like he's the boss at his house." Then without a word or any prompting from me he said this: "I'm glad I'm not the boss of our house. It's too big of a job for me. There's too much responsibility for a kid to be the boss." Then he gave me a huge hug and a million kisses.
John, there is no "pro-abortion" movement. Abortion is a difficult, awful, painful solution. And everyone who physically endures the procedure has a uterus. And for those of us who fervently support Roe v. Wade, it is the "Health" of the mother we are concerned with. Luckily for us, not everyone who supports Roe v. Wade has a uterus.
Not having access to a safe, legal abortion (which is what John McCain wants - he wishes to overturn Roe v. Wade) is why these women and countless others have died.
That he put the "health of the mother" in airquotes, with such a sneer, has guaranteed that he will not get my vote.
Cleaning house today I was listening to Mark Knopfler, this song came on and it made me so instantly happy. Not because it's a happy song, for it's not. But it's a celebration of an artist, someone I had never even known about until this song. So listen to Mr. Knopfler first, then skip on down and take a listen to his inspiration.
It will lift you up, get you through the weekend, and if it doesn't, if it doesn't even make you tap your foot, just one little bit, I will do your dishes.
The last months I have become increasingly on edge. It has very little to do with the daily minutia of parenting and life, and almost everything to do with the upcoming campaign for the presidency. And the fact that the economy, bailout and all, seem to be sending the markets further south. Funny, because we are not really "market" people, although we do have some small investments. No, the feeling has been mostly annoyance, with the candidates of course, for what they say and do (or don't say and do). I get all steamed up because Sarah Palin seems ridiculous to me and I can't fathom anyone actually falling for her "America's Gun-Totin-G-Droppin Sweetheart".
And then I see this. This clip is a pretty straight forward clip of McCain/Palin supporters walking into a rally, being asked questions by an Obama supporter. It reminds me of those old newsclips of the Little Rock Nine, and the hatred that they had spewed at them by ignorant white people, God-Fearing-This-Is-America-Goddammit White People. It points out pretty well that we haven't come as far as we'd thought. And it also points out the absolute fact that the McCain/Palin ticket is playing directly to these crowds, fomenting their hatred of "The Other", and it makes me fear for the safety of the Obamas.
So the next time John McCain calls Senator Obama "That One", or Sarah Palin talks about him as "Barack Hussein Obama" or says he "pals around with terrorists" remember that THESE are the people they are talking to. And THESE PEOPLE? They are dangerous.
I have no debate transcript this morning, because JH wasn't here for the whole thing, and my brother came over to watch, and what I did happen to tweet was merely for the sake of of blowing off steam, so there is a LOT of cussing.
I will only say this: if America falls for her adorable act, I will be ashamed of my country.
Aside from the fact that she pulled the cutesie-poo thing when she got stuck in a bind, aside from the fact that she couldn't say the word "Gay", aside from the fact that she came across like Yosemite Sam's adorable kid sister, aside from the fact that she WINKED AT AMERICA - more than once, aside from the fact that she couldn't say the word "NUCLEAR" (dear God, please not again), aside from the fact that she couldn't seem to keep the "g"s on her words that ended with "ing", aside from the fact that she is VASTLY underqualified to share a stage with Joe Biden, much less the office of Vice President...
The reason Sarah Palin bugged the crap out of me during the debate is this:
She talked down to me. When she addressed the camera, talking to American Families Everywhere, her Little Mommy Sunshine act was an embarrassment to the women who have worked so hard to earn her the opportunity to share the ticket with John McCain.
Joe Biden won hands down. He was statesman-like, he has experience, and class. I got the feeling that he truly felt for the people of America in this crisis, and not only wants to help, to serve, but he has the goods to get it done.