Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst....

.....or pack for a trip abroad with an eight year old. We are heading out on a trip to Scotland to celebrate my fantastic, sexy, amazing husband's "significant" birthday, and I spent the whole day packing. And while I was packing, Joe-Henry seemed to sound more miserable, more stuffed up, and then, oh no, he actually took a nap.

Which is shorthand for "he's sick".

So - hubby stays home from work with him tomorrow to take him to the doctor - his throat is so swollen and bright red, and he's running a slight fever, and feels "heavy". The hope is that he gets it out of his system before we go.

In the meantime, I have packed all the "remedies". I've followed my list to the letter, and I'm drinking Emergen-C until it's coming out my ears.

"No cold approach, no altered mien,
Just what would make suspicion start;
No pause the dire extremes between,
He made me blest-and broke my heart.?

Robert Burns

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Enigma Wrapped In A Riddle

Joe-Henry has been asking us to download music he hears onto his iPhone (my old phone minus the phone part, lest you think we're spoiling him rotten.) We have a deal with him: for every song he downloads, he must play 30 minutes of music on piano, drums, guitar.... so yeah, we're bribing him, basically.

So far the music he's chosen has been stuff he's heard on Madden 09 (heading banging rock, with some rap thrown in for good measure). We listen to it first to make sure there are no bad words, which is really his rule as much as ours. But the other day, he asked for two songs. I loved how different they were, and I loved that I discovered some new music through my boy. I'd heard of Joe Satriani before, but hadn't ever listened to his music. This was his choice, which I dub to be "awesome" (and he rolls his eyes at me every time I say it):

The other song he wanted was this:

Oh, and a ps: remember his "girlfriend"? Last night at dinner, after really hearing nothing about her for a long time, he said "Oh, and Jordan broke up with me at recess today. She said if I didn't play with her for at least 10 minutes every recess, 'we were through'*. It's okay though, because I always had to be the "daddy". Ugh. Girls play weird."

*he actually used air quotes here.

I love that I never know what's coming next.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beautiful Protest

I miss the 60's. There was so much to protest, and people sang about it.

Thanks so much, Mary. Your passion and voice made the ugly truth go down so much easier.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It Explains So Much

From the New York Times article "Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government":
"The atmosphere was rowdy at times, with signs and images casting Mr. Obama in a demeaning light. One sign called him the “parasite in chief.” Others likened him to Hitler. Several people held up preprinted signs saying, “Bury Obama Care with Kennedy,” a reference to the Massachusetts senator whose body passed by the Capitol two weeks earlier to be memorialized."

From President Obama's speech:
"Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma. And yet, just over half of our citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation. And half of the students who begin college never finish."

There is much work to be done.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An Open Letter To My President

Dear Mr. President,
I am writing you today because I read something that made me fear for the soul of our country. I'm writing because I felt that if I didn't, my silence would be one more nail in the coffin of this amazing country of ours.

You inherited a country situated squarely in the crosshairs of disaster from so many sources: the economy, war, health care. You were elected for your ability to speak sensibly. So many of us were thrilled just to hear a president speak in full sentences again, but the fact that you seemed to have common sense, and better yet, common DECENCY made many, myself included, feel hope stirring in our dormant souls. You made us believe that we could once again be great, that we would be heard. You made us feel that even dissenters would be listened to.

Mr. President, there are those who would put fear into our hearts about healthcare reform. But when I read this on the front page of the New York Times today, my blood went cold. If this isn't call for reform, then we have lost all hope. Here is a portion of the article, because I know you're a very busy man:

The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.

The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.

Either way, Wall Street would profit by pocketing sizable fees for creating the bonds, reselling them and subsequently trading them. But some who have studied life settlements warn that insurers might have to raise premiums in the short term if they end up having to pay out more death claims than they had anticipated.

If this doesn't call for health care reform, or doesn't at least call into question both the banking and insurance industries, then what? This ghoulish idea reminds me of the old B movie "Soylent Green". Billions would be made from the deaths of our fellow citizens. To simplify even further: Death = Profit.

We didn't elect you for politics as usual. We elected you because we believed that you would do the right thing, not just the thing that would get you elected next time. Please, Mr. President. Shake us up, bitch slap us out of our zombie-like state and LEAD us.

Please. Please.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

You CAN Go Home Again

I spent so much of my growing up time tapping my foot, waiting to blow the small town dust off my britches, and then spent the NEXT twenty years looking over my shoulder heaving a sigh of relief that I HAD escaped. Last weekend, I roadtripped with my sister and Joe-Henry back to the old stompin' grounds to hang with my brother, his daughter and her sweet family, and to catch up on the lives of friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in at least 30 years. And I realized how much I had missed it - this town where I grew up. It seems more beautiful to me each time I visit.

We packed baseball gloves and ice cold pops and I took my camera. I burned some cd's for the road, and both coming and going we sang and soaked in the gorgeous scenery. The Columbia Gorge is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and just outside the Dalles, we saw a herd of Big Horn sheep grazing the narrow rock wall above us. There was no stopping to take pictures, the road was too narrow, but suffice to say that we were all in awe. I did manage to get some pics once we hit the Palouse, but mostly the camera was used to take shots of sweet Isaac, my nieces two year old boy.

Joe-Henry fell in love with Isaac, and although they'd met before, Isaac is more mobile and talkative now, and Joe-Henry really relished being like an older brother. It's a role he'd be very, very good at, and I loved seeing him have the opportunity to be a good role model. He also wore out all of our arms playing catch, and one evening he was just so close to driving me crazy that my brother suggested a drive. I took my camera, and we went up to a big ball field and while Joe-Henry and my brother and sister played and JH ran and ran and ran, I managed to get some shots of the most amazing sunset I've ever seen. The hills surrounding the valley I grew up in are so luscious and voluptuous. I never saw them that way before, but this time they just took my breath away.

We played a killer game of Monopoly, and now I'm convinced that my fairly quiet, sweet brother has a secret cave of money somewhere. He truly has a killer instinct at that game, and should he ever decide to do so, he'd be an EXCELLENT land baron! We also laughed so hard we all leaked from somewhere. Drooling, weeping, peeing - we did it all. My stomach hurt the next day from laughing so hard.

Our last night there, Joe-henry and my sister watched Isaac while my brother went to his Fantasy Football meeting and I went to have dinner with friends I hadn't seen in forever. These were the people that started me on the path to the Theater, people that even all these years later I feel completely comfortable with and truly love being around. We met doing Babes In Arms at Lewiston Civic Theater in 1977, and even though the years have taken us all in different directions, it took no time at all to feel as though no time had passed. It filled up my heart to the brim and over just to sit around the table and tell stories and laugh. My fondest hope is that it won't be another 30 years before I see them again!

Coming home that night, I was swinging on a star, and I guess Joe-Henry was a big help to my sister, because as you can see, Isaac pooped out before his mom came to get him!

We made the drive back the next day, taking our time stopping to stretch and take in the charms of the small farm towns along the way, marveling at the changes in the scenery, what with the wind turbines and the millions of wineries populating what used to be miles and miles of nothing.

But the best part of going away is always coming home, and my husband, who should win some sort of prize just for being a sexy kilt-wearing beast, surprised me by painting the dining room while we were gone. He had two whole days to himself, and he chose one of those days to do something he knew would make me smile. I love that man to the moon and back again.

And now the countdown to our next trip begins. Less than a month to go, then SCOTLAND! My traveling shoes are so happy.

O Captain, My Captain.

Yesterday, JH was trying his best to entertain himself while I attempted to file away months worth of crap on my desk. He decided to put on his nice jacket, shirt and tie (which he's nearly outgrown!) and his captains hat, and walk sentry in front of the house with his nerfgun. After he did this for a while, he went to his computer downstairs and just did some typing while he "took orders" from an imaginary leader.

I used a sepia treatment on this one because it was sort of blown out, exposure-wise, but I loved how serious he was. It looks like he's my great-great grandfather who was in the Russian Army.

Eight years old is really, really fun.