Monday, October 20, 2008

Anonymous Love

So, I got the funniest comment ever on my last post:

"Wake up looking like Cat Woman, or at least Cindy McCain!"

Oh, Anonymous, I love you and your snarky humor!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The "Jackassery" of the Right

I've been firmly rubbing my forehead to remind myself to stop furrowing it whenever John McCain or Sarah Palin open their fucking mouths.

I just cannot get over the tone of this clip. McCain's just so blase about his disdain for women's health. Ugh. The air quotes seriously required me to WALK AWAY from the TV. Seriously, women don't get late term abortions because they're inconvenienced, or uncomfortable, or because their feet are too swollen. They get them because THEY WILL DIE if they continue to carry the fetus that they probably LOVE and WANT. It is a shitty, horrible, hellish decision to make - how dare that idiot air-quote health???

Look, I know that there are lots of reasonable, loving people on both sides of the abortion debate. But the air quotes just highlighted just how ANTI-LIFE McCain actually is - whose lives, anyway?

In October 2007, he voted for legislation that would cut Health and Human Services grants to organizations that perform abortions. You know, the ones that provide low cost health care - not just abortion - to millions of uninsured women.

He has voted to require parental consent for teenagers who want access to contraceptives.

He voted against an amendment that would have allocated $100 million for the prevention of teen pregnancy by providing education and contraceptives.

He opposed legislation requiring that abstinence-only programs be medically accurate and based in science.

He voted to abolish funding for birth control and gynecological care for low-income women, and against funding for public education on emergency contraception.

He also voted against a measure that would require insurance companies to cover prescription contraception.

In April, he skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He's stated that he was against the act because there'd be too many lawsuits against employers.

In 1993, before voting in favor of the Family and Medical Leave Act, he proposed allowing the government to suspend the law if it found that the act would increase the cost to business.

He voted with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s positions only 7 percent of the time.

McCain voted at least six times to reduce, eliminate or restrict health insurance programs for low-income children and pregnant women.

In August 2007, he again voted against a bill to expand coverage of SCHIP (healthcare for low income children).

In 2000, he voted against providing tax credits to small businesses that offer health insurance.

He voted against a $3,000 tax credit to help seniors and their families cover long-term care.

He has voted seven times for measures that cut or restricted funding for Medicaid, and 18 times for measures that cut or restricted Medicare.

This year, he suggested that increasing cigarette sales to Iran would be "a way of killing 'em."

At a 1998 Republican Senate fundraiser, McCain proffered this “joke”: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?” Answer: “Because her father is Janet Reno.”

If these are the jokes he tells in public, what are his naughty jokes? Here's another public McCain knee slapper: "Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, 'Where is that marvelous ape?'"

And another: "The French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."

As for his running mate, she's made rape survivors pay for their rape kit, opposes abortion, and has shot wolves from a helicopter. After Obama won the nomination, she reportedly said, "So Sambo beat the bitch!"

It never ceases to amaze me that people are so willing to believe in his "compassionate courage" bullshit. Where is the compassion? If he were truly pro-LIFE, he'd support some bills that educate, that provide healthcare, that support children and families. Until he does that, he can cram his "moral" courage up his ass.

I started this post with the forehead rub, because I was going to write a quick little paragraph about the air quotes felt on every uterus, and then write about how I've been freaking out a bit about aging, and how I found an eye cream that actually works and reduces wrinkles, and how I'm worried that it works, because I think this is how all that creepy "enhancement" stuff that women do to stave off aging starts. No one plans for a full facelift, but you find a good eye cream, and then if the eye cream makes you look better, won't Botox still be subtle and good? Or a little brow lift? And then one day you wake up looking like the Cat Woman.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Spin Cycle

I come from a blue class, largely uneducated family. I am the first person to go to college. Leo's family is very similar, although he grew up in towns with a higher socioeconomic reputation, so he was exposed to more people with college degrees.

I am certainly not saying that college educated people are somehow better or smarter - believe me, I have worked with plenty of "educated idiots." I have also known a lot of blue collar people who are smarter than I will ever be.

But in the past couple of weeks, I've had several conversations with our parents and people my parents' age, and I am concerned - very concerned - about how they'll vote. I've been shocked multiple times at the way race and perceived elitism impacts middle aged Americans. I'm reminded that the racial divide was HUGE when they were growing up. And that their concern and defensiveness about the loss of their jobs and their sense of worth creates a wall of hostility about the educated elite.

Also, I think McCain and Palin did really well in the debates. I do. Biden and Obama gave really nuanced, thoughtful, quiet answers. Palin gave a loud, rootin' tootin', sound bite filled performance. The WINK!!! (Don't worry, I'll leave the rant about how winking in a job interview is totally unacceptable out of this post). McCain was on the offensive and planted a lot of fear-based ideas. Ugh.

Luckily for me, my family are die hard Democrats, so it looks like Thanksgiving will be safe. However, if you find yourself debating the candidates, STICK TO QUICK, CLEAR SOUND BITES. A thoughtful response isn't as helpful. Here's a few to get you started:

1. Elite is owning 11 houses - many of them mansions.

2. Elite is having your Admiral dad get you a job.

3. Elite is spending over $200,000 on household staff last year.

2. Health insurance costs about $12000 a year. $5000 won't even cover HALF.

3. Barak Obama doesn't care if you want to shoot deer. I'd advise against hunting with McCain.

4. Being a war hero does not make you a good President. It's a different skill set.

4a. I would certainly argue that he was NOT a war hero. He was an incompetent pilot that crashed three planes before going to Viet Nam. Once captured, he traded information for medical care. Once his captors realized who his father was, he got even better medical care. In all, he had about 20 HOURS in combat before he was captured. Since then, he's received 28 medals for his service. Don't let him guilt you into voting for him. Think about all the other un-Fortunate Sons who served with him, who evaded capture - or when captured, didn't collude - who never received ANY medals or praise or "hero" status.

5. Calling your wife a cunt - the year Backlash came out! - is crude and icky.

6. Singing "Bomb Iran" to "Barbara Ann" is tasteless.

7. Voting with Bush is not maverick-ish. Hell, calling yourself a Maverick makes you less of a Maverick. It's like yelling, "Hey, I'm cool!" If you have to tell people you are something, you are probably not.

8. His use of race baiting in the campaign is unprofessional.

If you need more:

Friday, September 19, 2008

At Least It Wasn't Regurgitation

Abby has been learning how letters form words. This morning I asked her if she'd like to learn to write a word. She replied, "Sure! YES!!", so I asked what word she'd like to learn.

"Hairless cat!"

Oh. Okay.

So now my four year old, who does not know how to spell ball or run or Spot, can spell HAIRLESS CAT.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things That Simultaneously Fascinate and Gross Me Out

1. The sexy M&M. The tagline should be "Eat me!" I am horrified. She's saying, "Hey, fuck me! And then devour me! Yum!"

2. Microwaved potatoes. Baked potatoes should be, you know, baked. However, I grudgingly LOVE them when they're so over-nuked that they're crunchy.

3. Monistat makes an anti-chafing gel. I read that you can use it on your face as a pore minimizer thing, which in the moment, seemed totally rational. How innovative! So I bought some. And then I was too grossed out to actually apply the crap to my face. But I have these really cute orange Maryjanes that totally KILL my feet - blister, rubbed spots, you've got the picture. So I tried the gel on my feet. IT KICKS ASS, INTERNET. Get yourself some!

4. I took the kids to the library on Monday. Emma was in the bathroom (lately, she's had to pee at every public bathroom. WTF? I think she just likes to check out the amenities). So, I was loitering outside the bathroom when I noticed a display of Lois Duncan books - these young adult horror mysteries that I was totally crazy about when I was around 10. I checked them all out, and have read three so far. They all follow the same plot - plucky yet responsible teen girl realizes something is seriously, supernaturally wrong. No one believes her, but she still saves the day. I think I'm going to feel a lot like the heroine in the next six weeks. It terrifies - yet amazes - me that so many people are aware of just how incredibly fucked up McCain and Palin are, and yet are still going to vote for them, because you know, it just doesn't seem all that fucked up to them. Our news reported that "only" 33% of the nation believe that Palin is qualified to run the country. Imagine it - one out of every three people think she'd be okay. Huh. I looked at a picture of Australia today, and thought ALOT about french fries. I'm qualified to run the country!

5. We have these little heaters in our walls that basically run like blowdryers. I love the way they smell.

6. Why do I have such fondness for hair band power ballads? Why?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can't Say It Better, Part 2 OR I Love You, Tim Wise!

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise / September 13, 2008

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Tim Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White. He has contributed essays to seventeen books, and is one of several persons featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories, from Duke University Press. A collection of his essays, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, will be released in fall 2008.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No F-ing Way, Kid

Emma and Abby have been battling it out all afternoon. After breaking up the third brawl, I told them they have to be kind to each other since they're each other's only sister. Emma replied, "You're still young. You can have another baby!"

I Can't Say It Any Better

From Kathleen Reardon, published in the Huffington Post:

With all this talk about Sarah Palin redefining feminism and people who don't support her candidacy being sexist, I think we could use a little clarification.

Women's progress at work and in government is critically important. We are not, after all, living in the Dark Ages. But, and this is a VERY IMPORTANT BUT, consider the following scenario.

You're about to board a plane and a flight attendant says, "Today as part of our responsiveness to customers program you may choose Mr. Jones here as co-pilot. He will fly the airplane should something go wrong with the pilot, who isn't at his best today. Mr. Jones has been a pilot for twenty years and has an impeccable record. He is, however, a man. Because you support the advancement of women in the workplace, we also have a woman here who is willing to fly your plane. She is not a pilot but she didn't blink when asked to do this and for the past week a team of experts has been talking to her a lot about how to fly."

Who would you choose? If you chose Pilot Jones, would that be sexist? Or would you simply not be a complete idiot?

From Gloria Steinem's Op-Ed piece in the LA Times:

This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience. . . .

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

* * * * *

Did you watch the Charlie Gibson interview with Palin? I know everyone's all agog that she couldn't define the Bush Doctrine, that she called this war "God's plan" in her church, that she can't define her international experience beyond being able to see Russia from an Alaskan island.

Here's the quote that gets me, though:

GIBSON: But, Governor, we've threatened greater sanctions against Iran for a long time. It hasn't done any good. It hasn't stemmed their nuclear program.

PALIN: We need to pursue those and we need to implement those. We cannot back off. We cannot just concede that, oh, gee, maybe they're going to have nuclear weapons, what can we do about it. No way, not Americans. We do not have to stand for that.

It's exactly that patriarchal, Father Knows Best approach to international relations that frightens me. What are they going to do, ground Iran? Maybe not let it go to the prom, although it's already reserved this really rad party limo? "We do not have to stand for that"?

Don't misunderstand me - it scares the crap out of me that nuclear weapons are an option for so many countries and factions. I worry about my kids' safety, and am shocked about how quickly my perception of our safety has changed. During the Clinton era, I felt like we were generally OK. Now, I feel like the USA is the sandbox bully that the rest of the kids are planning against.

The nuclear argument smacks of hypocrisy, since we have a shit ton of nuclear arms. We were the first, we have the second highest quantity, and we remain the only country to have actually used them.

I firmly believe that most Heads of State are reasonable people who feel tremendous patriotism towards their country. Yes, there are despots. Yes, there are people who abuse their power (I'm looking at you, W). They are sometimes misguided and almost always fallible. The USA is not their parent or even their babysitter - we are their neighbor. We need to take some lessons in what it means to be a good neighbor.

I define myself as a radical feminist. I believe that Obama will defend the issues that affect women staunchly and without apology. In Glamour*, he states that insurance coverage for birth control is a "no-brainer." He supports education, gun control, health care, equal pay for equal work. I believe that he is thoughtful and introspective. He WILL blink before making big decisions. (Can I tell you how disturbed I am that Sarah Palin defines her readiness to be Vice President by her ability to make big decisions without pausing to blink? Have you ever been in disaster preparedness training? One of the biggest things you'll learn is to CALM THE FUCK DOWN and make deliberate decisions. Argh! Not blinking is NOT a good thing!)

I believe that defending all the social justice issues, including reproductive choice, accessible health care, equal pay and gun control are super important. However, I believe that the most important task the new President will have is to redefine our international image and start to repair our relationships with other countries. We've acted like loud, obnoxious idiots for the past seven years. (Aside: remember those innocent pre-9/11 days when our biggest complaint against Bush was that he was on vacation more than he was at work?)

*Yes. That Glamour. Let's face it: more people are going to read Glamour and People articles than the Huffington Post. It's important to read what the candidates are saying to people who don't consider themselves politicos. And to find out Fall trends in eyeliner. I am nothing if not shallow. Although let me go on record: I am OPPOSED to the new "brights". Teal eyeliner is not okay unless you're in a cabaret. Repeat this to yourself often.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Could You be More Generic?

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Crazy Talk

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So Pissed

I am so pissed at the spin being pushed about Palin's infant right now. I can't tell you how many times I've heard pundits give her credit for not aborting him because he has Down's. As though Down's is such a horrific defect that she's somehow a saint. I am so offended - for people with Down's, for simplifying abortion, for making a live baby seem like a burden to these people. I am offended for Sarah Palin - if anyone ever spoke about one of my children the way her "supporters" talk about her baby, I would be furious.

I am staunchly pro-choice, and feel like it's none of my business why any woman would have an abortion. I am staunchly pro-family, and believe that no woman should have to have a baby before she is ready (whatever that means). Emotionally, carrying babies and giving birth was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I do not wish it on anyone who does not want it.

I am also an infertile mother whose children are the biggest gifts I've ever received. I am appalled that a wanted child can be seen as anything other than a gift.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Having Trouble Falling Asleep? Read This.

Long time, no post! Until yesterday, I had worked everyday since August 4. You know how most of the world goes on vacation in August? No one who works in education does. Next time you scamper into the drugstore to pick up some more sunscreen on your way to the beach, please offer sympathy to the pallid teacher stocking up on glitter pencils the Back-to-School aisle.

At one point, I had to go to Costco to get refreshments for all our welcome meetings and parties. I hate Costco. I always food shop at the farmer's market, Whole Foods, and a local Whole Foods-esque store. I have to say, as much as I hate Costco, it was intensely freeing to push a cart overflowing with chips and candy without feeling the judgmental eyes of other shoppers. I could have thrown a couple of cartons of Marlboros in the cart, and no one would've batted an eye.

We also moved! We moved into this cute little cottage. I LOVE it. The neighborhood uses our yard as a cut-through, so when the cats escaped this morning, they were chased by an eager poodle. It was pretty awesome to look out the window, see the cats smugly sniffing the air, and then see them frantically haul ass back inside as the dog rounded the corner into our yard. I've never seen a poodle look so vicious. That'll teach them to take advantage of a not-quite-secure screen door.

Are you bored yet? Me too. Not much has been happening, though. Sorry. You might want to just skip this whole post. I won't be offended.

Emma started second grade. She's so over us. She had been complaining that I was working too much, so I left work early to pick her up and hang out at the beach. She totally ditched me to go to a friend's house.

Abby is super jealous about Emma going to school. I tried to soften the blow by explaining that while Emma's at school, she can use all the toys without having to share with Emma - she can even play with Troy and Kellydog, who Emma's pretty tyrannical about. Abby's eyes got wide and she explained that Emma can always see her, and she's watching her while she's in school. Every breath you take, indeed.

I met a dog named Buddha. Am I the only one who's offended?

Talking about offended, how about Sara Palin? Did she win the VP spot by guessing the correct number of jellybeans in the jar at the Republican Christmas party? I am so offended that I'm supposed to like her just because we both have vaginas. Do they think women are really that stupid? Ugh.

Why does spell check flag vaginas? It's not like I wrote "va-jay-jay." In fact, spell check only thinks the "va" part of va-jay-jay is wrong. Let me tell you, it is ALL WRONG.

I promise not to write again until I've actually got something to say! Just so This hasn't been a complete waste of time for you, here's my favorite websites this week: Want to know how much your town has donated to candidates? Which party Halliburton employees donate more money to? This is the site for you. I can waste so much time here. Just click. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Look, Ma, Hands Free!

If you know my family at all, you know we are cheap. Not frugal, CHEAP. Our glasses are actually old jars. When the kids' clothes get worn out, we sew them into napkins and little bags. We use our library cards for books, movies, and music. We buy everything except food and personal hygiene stuff second hand.

California enacted its hands-free driving law on July 1. Neither of us bought a hands-free headset. I think Bluetooth makes you look like a cyberwanker. Besides, I really don't talk on the phone while I drive.

The other day, Leo called me while driving home from work in Sausalito. I reminded him that it was against the law to talk on the phone and drive. He cackled and said he was wearing his hands-free. I snottily asked when he got a hands-free.

(Are you starting to hate the way the words "hands-free" look? I sure am. Bear with me - the punchline is the next part!)

He started laughing hysterically while he explained that his hands-free was an elastic band. He secured his phone to his head with an elastic. Ha!


Abby was looking at the book, The Little Goat, last night. It used to be mine, and is one of those 70's era Little Golden books that feature photos of wholesome kids and animals romping together and generally being BFFs. One of the pages feature the little goat getting a pail stuck on her head. Abby started laughing, and squealed, "Oh, look! The goatie! Has a! Pail on her head! How heee-stare-i-cal!!!!"


We were doing a puzzle last night. Leo spaced out for a minute, and Abby grabbed one of his pieces and fit it into the puzzle. She said, "Hey dad, you lose it when you snooze it!"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Sweet Smell Of Sulfates

We only buy good-for-the-planet cleaners. Philosophically, I know this is good, and I certainly feel smug when I sprinkle in the Seventh Generation dish detergent.

Here's my confession of the day:

I don't really think they work all that great. In fact, I think they suck. It kind of grosses me out. When I'm scrubbing the toilet with some wheatgrass, honey & love concoction, I ache to aerosol-spray the shit out of the bowl with some Scrubbing Bubbles. I treasure the light-headed feeling I get from inhaling too much bleach. I really miss that dioxin goodness so much. What do you think? Does baking soda and eucalyptus oil really get things clean, or are we just kidding ourselves?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shocking Healthcare Study.

Study: Most Children Strongly Opposed To Children�s Healthcare

I saw a plastic bag filled with poop and a blueberry muffin on the sidewalk the other day. What happened? Did someone hate their muffin so much that they pooped on it? Did they have an emergency poop on the way back from the bakery? Did they poop in the bag and then their friend said, "Oh, throw the rest of my muffin in there too?"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Abby's Nightmare Comes With Butter

1. Abby had a nightmare on Saturday night. She dreamed of a couple of boys that got a "bread infection." Their bodies started turning into loaves of bread. Eventually, they were unable to dance anymore, so they ate their arms instead. Can anyone really doubt that she's my child?

2. I took the kids to see Joan Jett the other night with friends of ours. I am amazed by how many people ask, "Who's Joan Jett?" If you were just wondering that, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Let me tell you, she was so so so awesome. The girls have been pretending to be guitar goddesses since the show.

3. I am starting to get really nervous about the election. I know that the Bay Area will vote for Obama, but I'm really worried about the middle of the country. If you have any ideas on how I can influence the Midwest and South, let me know. I'm not worried about my family - they are all diehard Dems. Leo's family are ALL Republicans, though. They're all also unwilling to think critically about politics - they're really dogmatic, even in the face of such blatant jackassery. I'm trying to think of a good threat - maybe that if they don't vote for Obama, I will make the kids leave them daily voicemails that say they forgive them for royally fucking their futures. What do you think?

xo have a great week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Let's Hope She Doesn't Figure It Out Soon

When Emma is wants something that I don't want to give her (her own iPod, a horse, more Littlest Petshops), she spends about 1548 hours whining or being snotty.

Recently, she's begun ending the whining period by proclaiming, "If you don't (insert whatever she wants here), I'm not going to speak to you for an hour!!"

Kid, you don't realize what a gift that is!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Celebrate Good Times! Come on!

Or is it "Celebrate! Good Times! Come On!"? I don't know.

I do know, however, that I am no longer the mother to any babies. Yesterday was Abby's fourth birthday, and her little chest has been puffed out all week with the abject thrill of being four. She wore a crown all day yesterday, and when people called her a princess on the BART, she eagerly - and loudly - corrected them, stating that she was The Birthday Girl.

She received a TON of great loot - gardening supplies, puzzles, beach toys and a tool box with real, grown up tools. When she opened the toolbox, her eyes widened and she said, "Oooh, look at those wrenches." She's been stealing Leo's tools to take apart our futon, so she's pretty psyched. I'm so glad she's interested in tools - my "toolbox" was always a kitchen drawer with a rock, hammer, and butter knife in it. I was also relieved that when she got excited about the wrenches I knew which tools she was talking about. It's embarrassing when a preschooler knows more about a subject than you do.

Today she's suffering from a little birthday hangover. She asked if we could "separate" her birthday, so that she could have a bit of it today. I put a birthday candle in her pasta, but that wasn't enough. It's a little short notice to order a magic show, so she's out of luck.

Isaac the cat is suffering a bit of the birthday hangover, too. This morning, he started running maniacally around the apartment. I noticed a silver ministreamer floating jauntily from his butt. Gagging, I had to restrain him to remove it - he was so freaked out that he wouldn't stay still. It was so supergross, I still shiver thinking about it.

I'm feeling a bit maudlin, too. At seven, Emma is all bony elbows and scraped knees. Abby is losing her chipmunk cheeks and her leg rolls are all gone. The only time I wish I were pregnant again is when I'm cleaning the litterbox, but oh my god do I miss their little larvae bodies, their soft weight on my chest as they slept as newborns. It's not even that I miss having a baby - I miss Emma and Abby as babies. I miss those little babies so much, even as I cheer every new thing my big girls can do, even as I imagine myself at their high school graduations, missing their small seven and four year old selves.

Monday, June 23, 2008


According to KTVU, 21% of atheists say they believe in God.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Or Do They Golf?

Every once in a while, we watch Deadliest Catch, a show about king crab fishermen (is there a nongendered word for this job?). Fishing for crabs in the Arctic is really hard, really dangerous work - one might even call it Deadly. It's freezing, slippery, and the waves are HUGE. It seems like most of the hauling is done at night, since the traps are laid in the morning. They finish bringing up the traps, drink a beer, smoke a few cigarettes, and collapse in their bunks.

Here's what I'm wondering: for most guys with the same socioeconomic/gender/sexual/racial identities, there are few things more enjoyable than drinking a few beers and listening to classic rock while fishing on a boat in the middle of some lake.

Do the Deadliest Catch guys fish for fun? Or are they like OH HELL NO?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In the News

I'm having a bit of writer's block. We've mostly been spending our time swimming. Emma's school ended on Friday, so she and Abby have been having turf wars all day. Which is not to say that we've been bored, per se....

Saturday I took the kids down to Santa Cruz to go to the Boardwalk and watch fireworks. They didn't start until 9:30 (two whole hours after the kids' regularly scheduled bedtime), so the kids were tired enough to lay quietly on the beach while the fireworks boomed overhead. We had spent the previous hours riding the rides - Abby went on the kiddie roller coaster for the first time, and I forced them to go on my favorite ride, the Cave Train, which is indescribable.

Parenting is largely frustrating and messy, but there are times with your kids that are just sublime, and this was one of them - our feet in the sand, fleece blanket covering us, their sticky faces sleepily watching the sky.

Monday afternoon, we went over to San Francisco City Hall to watch people get married. Sure, there were protesters, idiots claiming that they knew what God thought about love, and that they had the right to ruin someone else's day (I imagine that these are the type of people that go to dinner parties and completely dominate conversations with their right wing crazy). But mostly? It was beautiful. The band played "Going to the Chapel", and the City Hall is just this gorgeous building. I cried like a baby, and Emma handed these guys (is there nothing you can't find on Youtube?) a note that said "congratulations! love, Emma" with hearts and a smiley face.

Yesterday and today, the university started to remove the tree people's platforms and supply lines. One of the protesters, Millipede, bit an arborist, and is now in custody. As I write this, helicopters are circling over our apartment, and the ruling just came down that the trees won't be cut down. I have such mixed feelings about the protest - I admire the commitment, and the idealogy behind the decision to live in a tree for a year and a half. I even agree that the trees shouldn't be cut. I just wish they picked a cause that would truly change the world for the better - why didn't they take to the trees to protest the war? Genocide, child abuse, slash and burn foresting? Just do a quick Google search for "Chevron South America" to get a good reason to sit in trees. And Chevron is local - why these trees, that were planted as shrubbery when the university was founded? The kids, however, fully support the tree people - Emma was horrified to know that one of the police officers that she really likes is working against the tree people.

Yesterday, I had an ovarian cyst burst. Major suckage, and my first sick day here. Still, we had dinner at our friends' house. They're originally from Germany, and have only been in the States for six months. Somehow, we got on the subject of movies. I told them about how Lloyd Dobler set my romantic aspirations pretty high. They'd never seen Say Anything, which was called Teen Lover in Germany. How can you explain how the sentence "I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen" meant so much?

If you think they didn't get the reference because they're so much classier than us, listening to Bach and eating stollen in a little sidewalk cafe in Berlin, rest assured, they are not - they introduced us to this German artist - the lyrics to this song are simply, "Kitty litter, kitty litter, makes a kitty happy."

I spent the rest of the night begging their third grader to let me play his Wii, while Abby destroyed almost all of their daughter's Barbie accessories. We are excellent dinner guests, I tell you.

Finally, we got a washer and dryer! We were told we'd have one by the end of last February, so we've been living week-to-week, only doing absolutely necessary laundry. I've been washing clothes that I had forgotten we had - it's like I've been on a shopping spree!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Love This!

Why do you need to read Oprah's lists when you've got my lists of awesome things?

1. The Secret Lives of Stormtroopers. OK, I don't give a shit about Star Wars, but I would love to pose little dolls all day.

2. My friend Jenn and her friend Melissa started selling cute little bags. If you look at the bags they've already sold, I've got the lemon owls one. So (sew!) cute. And little! If you don't like any of the current patterns, just check back later - they add new bags constantly.

Sew Bendy @ Etsy

3. David Sedaris has a new book. Yippee!

4. Lois Lowry's Anastasia books for kids. Not the maybe princess. Anastasia is a sassy 10 year old who lives in Boston and loves Gertrude Stein. And talks to a bust of Freud. I plan on reading the series to Emma this summer.

5. Trader Joe's Salty Caramels. Huzzah!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I love low bidding on really ridiculous items - they're totally worth $5 for the laugh, but no more than that. This week, I am the proud winner of the "bizarre chicken/bird sugar shaker". $2, friends! Just as cheap as a John Cusack newspaper subscription! Pictures to come when the chicken arrives.

Sadly, I didn't win the Lucite owl napkin holder. I was planning on using it as a file folder holder. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recapturing Youth

I think I am going to start wearing eyeliner all the time.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I am completely obsessed.

O Holy Crap

View the slideshow. Please.

Air Popper

Remember how we got that popcorn popper from the yard sale? I remember why we didn't have one - air popped popcorn sucks. The only way to salvage it is to drench it in butter, which defeats the purpose, no? Nothing beats popcorn made on the stove.

So, I'm trying to repurpose the popper. Do you think I can puff rice in it? Toast spices? Dry socks? What do you think it would be good for?

The Absurd Has It

If you know me at all, you know that I love the absurd, which is why I love glam metal, Rob & Big, cat shows, beauty pageants, and Heavy Metal Parking Lot.

So, friends, let me introduce you to Groomer Has It, a new show on Animal Planet. Wow. I don't think there is one non-quirky person on this show. You've probably never seen it, because it's on the loser hour on TV - 9pm on Saturdays. Oh well. It has it all - weirdness, snarky rivalry, people caring way too much about something that most people never think about: animal grooming.

Groomer Has It is a competition pitting animal groomers against each other to win $50,000 and a mobile dog grooming trailer. The judges are intense. The contestants are soooooo fascinating.

Watch full episodes here:

Until the teasers for next week, I thought last night's episode was going to be the best. The groomers had to style a dog of their choice from the Long Beach dog park and then stage a fashion shoot for the premiere grooming trade magazine, Groomer to Groomer. I shit you not.

Next week? The judges won't be judging them: their clients, with translation provided by pet psychic renowned Sonya Fitzpatrick, will!

I cannot wait! If you want to come over and watch, let me know!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bad Dreams

Me: Did you have sweet dreams?

Abby: No. I had a nightmares.

Me: Oh. What did you dream about?

Abby: I didn't dream. I had a nightmare.

Me: Oh. What was it about?

Abby: PIRATES!!!!!!!!!! (laughs crazily, then runs away)

Later, while playing by herself....

Abby: (under breath) Those were horrible pirates!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Knocked Off the Throne

I have never won a game of Solitaire on my office computer. When I finally do, I think my screams will be heard in San Diego.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Love the Girl Who Holds the World In a Paper Cup

Leo's at work and all I want to do is sit here and listen obsessively to Me First and the Gimme Gimme's version of Danny's Song, but the kids will not go to sleep.

I do love a good cover. I am a big dork.

Goddamn, I love 70s soft rock.

Swipe You A Drank

All the places they sing about (Blake's, GBC, Ramona's, etc) are places they can use their meal plans. This is exactly why I love college students.

Hate the Wait

I was super psyched to order my discounted composter from Instead of lugging my stuff to green bins, I can compost it myself and use the dirt in my plants. Hooray!

Except for the 4-6 week delivery time. What the hell? What delivery service takes 4-6 weeks to get from Oakland to Berkeley?! Even if they're being super green and walking the composter over, no way does it take 4-6 weeks.

Bah humbug.

I'm also just a teensy bit irritated that Emma has today off from school for Malcolm X's birthday but I don't, even though I work for an institution known for its activism. I could be relaxing by the pool and reading By Any Means Necessary, but no, I'll just get to work on my monthly report!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Would Have Liked Crazy Train

1. I've been doing a little more research into KOA. From what I've seen, the main organization doesn't have a connection to any church or the KKK, but they do have a Value Kard. Argh.

2. I really want a pair of hot pink sneakers. Someone stop me.

3. Why does everything taste better through a straw?

4. I really like the way pigeons move their heads when they walk. I don't get why people hate pigeons. They're pretty rad.

5. I think you can judge a lot about a generation by their drugs of choice.

6. I once saw a fabric store called "Sewer's Dream". I wonder if the owners never realized their gaffe, or if they noticed it after the sign was made, and decided to just go for it anyway. Ha.

7. Did you know that there's a large Port a Potty storage/rental on the Bellingham waterfront? Who looked at that beach, with the sparkly water and redwoods extending right down to the beach, and said "Let's put rows and rows of Port a Potties here?" Asshole.

8. I've never been able to sing. What I lack in pitch and tone, I make up for in volume. In third grade, I was asked to just mouth the words when we performed for our parents.

9. In seventh grade, my chorus teacher was this big dude who wore the typical bad teacher ensemble - loud polyester pants, short sleeve button down shirts, big glasses, and a combover. He also always had a line of spit between his upper and lower lip, no matter how forcefully he sang. He made us learn antiwar songs, like One Tin Soldier and Blowin' In The Wind. Maybe he had longed to be a hippy, but felt trapped in a small New England town? I don't know. I do know just how uncool a bunch of mumbly, embarrassed seventh graders can make Bob Dylan sound. He also tried to reach us with Fly Like An Eagle by Steve Miller. Now there was an embarrassing song to sing, with all the tick-tock-ticks and the do-do-doo-dos. I think he was trying to reach us with contemporary music, but failed to notice that Steve Miller was no longer contemporary. Sure, maybe a few years later, when we raised the first bong to our lips, we would have been happy to hear The Joker, or Led Zep's Ramble On, or some Bob Marley. But not in seventh grade! I would have loved to see him make us perform Talk Dirty to Me or Welcome to the Jungle. Ha!

10. Note to parents everywhere: if your high schooler is listening to classic rock, you can be almost guaranteed that drugs are involved.

11. Years later, when I was a sophomore in college, I returned to my middle school to see my cousin graduate. Yep, I went to a school system the "graduated" you from almost everything. As the lights went down in the auditorium and the curtains parted, I heard the familiar tick-tock-ticks. There were the eighth graders, tick-tock-ticking and do-do-doo-doing behind this dude who never talked when he was a student in my grade. He sang his heart out, all 70's rock star style. This dude was my age. Had he been doing this for years? How do you ask a dude in his 20s to sing at an eighth grade graduation? How do you agree to sing at an eighth grade graduation at the school where you were a total outcast? If you never spoke while you were a student, how was your vocal styling noticed enough to have you hired? It was supremely weird, friends.

12. If you've never heard the song, enjoy:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bluetooth Makes You Look Like An Asshole

We went to the REI members-only used goods sale. The deal is, if you're a coop member, you can buy all the stull that was returned to the store in less than perfect condition. They put tags on everything so you know why it was returned. Lots of stuff makes sense - the pants that didn't fit well, the shoes that were slightly too small. Lots of stuff makes perfect sense - the first owner was an asshole.

Pants marked "returned because they looked used and dirty." Because you used them and made them dirty, fool.

Kid's shoes that were marked "child refused to wear them." There's a wad of gum on the bottom that begs to differ, pal.

A pair of sneakers with totally worn soles marked "hole in sole on first wearing." Did you walk across the country on that first wearing, friend?

Who are these people? What gives you the courage to stand before someone and claim that you wore an obviously trashed pair of shoes only once? I don't get it.

Also? Next month I'll need to get a headset to be able to talk on the phone in the car. I hate Bluetooth. I'm going to look for a headset that makes me look like a Time Life operator.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going to Hell

I was looking for camping spots for this summer yesterday. I was looking at the Lake Tahoe KOA. I've always disliked KOAs because they utilize one of my biggest pet peeves - cutesy misspelling/using the wrong letter on purpose. Did you realize the K stands for Kampground? Grrr....

But whatever. Are all KOAs religiously affiliated, or just this one? Is the K actually for Krist? Because this website was crazy. There's a counter that shows just how many people are dying as you peruse the site. Makes you want to whip out the s'mores and sing Kumbayaa, huh?

Best of all, there's a simple quiz you can take to see whether or not you're going to hell. I'm always interested in my afterlife options, so I took the test. I am going straight to the fiery pits of Hell. Yippee - I won't have to worry about the campfire burning out. Do you think there's mosquitos in Hell?

One of the arguments to stop wasting time and start getting on salvation was,

Would you sell one of your eyes for a million dollars? How about both eyes for ten million? No one in their right mind would! Your eyes are precious to you... but they are only a "window" for your soul. Your soul (your inner being, your life, your personality) looks out through those eyes. Consider how precious your eyes are... then realize that Jesus said that Hell is so horrible that you would be better off tearing out your own eyes than ending up there for all eternity (Mark 9:43-48).

Perhaps you feel safe because you don't believe in Hell. This can be likened to standing in the middle of a busy highway and shouting, "I don't believe in trucks!" Your belief or disbelief in trucks will not change reality. The same applies in this situation. Your disbelief in Hell will not cause it to cease to exist. God has given us HIS WORD on the existence and purpose of Hell... LOOK HERE to see what God says in the Bible about Hell.

Um, where do I have to go to get a million dollars for one of my eyes? Did I miss the sale? Perhaps I'm not in my hellbound right mind, but that seems like a pretty good deal to me, especially if I get to wear a jaunty patch!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Self Help Sucks

Don't call something a "journey" unless you actually go somewhere.

I really hate self help. You know what? You're fine, just how you are. Your life is never going to be perfect. Life often really bites, or is boring, or frustrating, or stressful. But it's also beautiful in its messiness. Stop worrying so much about your self, and start enjoying yourself. Put down The Secret, and go lay in the sun. You'll feel better. I promise.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sweetheart of the Yard Sale

I love yard sales. This morning, we made big cups of tea and little snack containers full of frozen veggies for the kids (why do my kids love to eat frozen vegetables so much? I dunno), and headed out to hit the best of Berkeley. We scored!

For $22, we got

  • a Sigg waterbottle
  • a popcorn popper
  • a Moka pot
  • one of the newer Moosewood cookbooks
  • a set of six mugs that are all different bright colors (like a disco version of fiestaware)
  • a baseball card size picture of a kid playing banjo for my dad
  • a light for a bike
  • a headlamp for camping
  • a cute sugar bowl with bulbs and seeds painted on it
  • a mug that has two little birds on a branch painted on it
  • a Chinese vase that had cherry blossoms, a river, and houses painted on it
  • a cup of mango sun tea
  • a hula girl
  • a toy car
  • a headband that makes the wearer look like a daffodil (no accounting for the taste of a 3 year old)
  • a backpacking backpack that's sold online for $350
  • oven mitts with penguins on them. penguins that I thought were super cute, but upon closer inspection, were doing unmentionable things. Birdy-style.
If you ever want to go yard sale-ing, please please call me first! Yay!

Friday, May 9, 2008


1. Best joke ever, courtesy of an avant garde classmate of Emma's.
Q. What did the broccoli say to the apple?
A. Dolphin

I love the simplicity, the multiple meanings, the shadings of amusement. It's like 40 year port for humor.

2. Do you know about the Duggars? They're those God fearing people who shunned birth control and have a herd of kids that they homeschool and name J-names? The Duggars are expecting their 18th child. Holy crap on a cracker. Can you believe that shit? 18 pet fish would piss me off. Imagine the laundry. Think about the laundry!!!!

3. It's almost cherry season! I can't wait!

4. Got a haircut and dye job today. My hair is almost blonde. It's pretty sassy.

5. Abby gave me the highest compliment today. While Leo is a "bad dog," I am a "special unicorn." Yes!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Oooh, I almost forgot! Yesterday, Emma (who is going to skip over 8-12 and just turn 13 in October) said her lunch was "hella good". When I asked her to repeat herself, she blushed furiously and said that lunch was so, so good.

What was this scrumptious lunch, you ask? Sauteed spinach and tofu with sesame and garlic. Sucker!

Perfect Government

Remember when you were 16 or 17? When you could drive on your own, but driving was still new enough that it was an activity, not a tool? When being in a car, with no destination, was enough?

Some of my favorite memories are of driving around with a girlfriend, late at night, windows down in the summer, singing at the top of our lungs, over and over, to the angry song of the month.

This is how you know you're no longer cool: replace that girlfriend with two kids strapped down in the back seat. Replace the middle of the night with after school. Replace "no destination" with grocery store, or dentist, or park.

Oh well, at least the song's still cool.

Perfect Government - NOFX

Even if it's easy to be free
What's your definition of freedom?
And who the fuck are you, anyway?
Who the fuck are they?
Who the fuck am I to say?
What the fuck is really going on?

How did the cat get so fat?
Why does the family die?
Do you care why?

Cause there hasn't been a sign
Of anything gettin' better in the ghetto
People's fed up
But when they get up

You point your fuckin' finger
You racist, you bigot
But that's not the problem
Now is it?

It's all about the money
Political power is taken
Protecting the rich, denying the poor
Yeah, they love to watch the war from the White House
And I wonder...

How can they sleep at night?
How can they sleep at night?
How did the cat get so fat?
How did the cat get so fat?
How did the cat get so fat?

Yes, I realize the lyrics win me the Neglectful Mother of the Year Award. Give a mom a break, will ya? Besides, we all just mumble through the "fucks". That's my excuse, and not the point.
Back to the kids-are-so-cute punchline.

On the weekends, I make the kids snuggle with me before we get up. It buys me a bit of time to stare at the wall rather than having to leap up to make breakfast. This morning, Acorn was sitting in the window by my bed.

Abby turned toward him, and quietly started singing to him:

"Hey Acorn! How did you get so fat? How did the cat get so fat?"

From all the extra treats I give him to make up for the way you manhandle him, kid.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


OK, I know that English is a living language. It changes as our culture changes. I'm OK with "email" and "fax" and "bungee". Really.

However, Facebook is not a verb. Sorry, kids, it's not, and it never will be.

You don't taco, you eat a taco.

You don't magazine, you read a magazine.

Hell, pick any verb - you can read, check, use, post on, devour, obsess over, avoid, follow, or accept Facebook, but you cannot Facebook Facebook.

Thank you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sweet Irony

I was deliberately cut off by a woman with "Department of Peace" and "Love Your Mother"
bumper stickers.

She was probably just late to her Practicing Kindness workshop.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Roses and Thorns

Things I Love This Week
  • plum blossoms
  • lemurs
  • cheddar cheese melted on Triscuits
  • Happy Colas
  • the smell of whatever is blooming outside my apartment
  • The phonetically spelled comic books that Emma's been writing
  • The taste of the Jamaica I taught myself to make
  • Abby's self portraits

Things I Hate This Week
  • My Beautiful Mommy (just wait, the image will change every 10 seconds - I think. Otherwise, click the link!)
  • when people over-fake tan - a little orange is good, but please don't make yourself look like a Cheeto
  • the way Vans feel on my feet after a long walk
  • competitive parenting
  • the knitting project that I worked on ALOT when I was at a conference, but has been sitting on my bookshelf, untouched, ever since
  • when the times on my cell phone and computer are off by a couple of minutes. How is that possible?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Things I Covet

Old Fashioned Calling Cards
A Pair of Pet Pygmy goats
A Good Dye Job
A Vat of Haribo Happy Colas that I Could Swim In
A Vase of Ranunculas or Wildflowers
Weekly Massages
A Beach with Hot Sand that I Could Bury My Feet In
A Vanagon with a Pop Top
A Never Ending Supply of Books (yes, I know, the library - but without waiting for people to return the books I want)
A New Digital Camera
The Apple Skirt from Made With Love By Hannah
The Two Bird Necklace from Small Things Designs
A Bungalow with Cosmos Out Front and a Great Lawn in Back and a View of a Beach

Monday, April 21, 2008

Reasons Why Bill Cosby Is Awesome

Besides being a technological visionary?
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1. He introduced a new generation to really great jazz.
2. Pudding pops
3. Picture Pages
4. The man can ROCK a sweater
5. Leonard Part 6

And now......

Cosby Narratives Vol. 1: State of Emergency

That's right, Bill's releasing a hip hop album to push back against all the "obscene" lyrics in hip hop.

I admire his creative endeavors, and I'm sure it's a great album. But I'm getting a little bit tired of hearing about how terrible hip hop is. Sure, it's happened to most icons - Madonna, Iggy Pop, Elvis ALL had people talking about how obscene they were. But that's what artists do - they push boundaries. I wonder how much of hip hop's bad rap (ha ha, I made a funny!) comes from a racist fear of "menacing" black men talking about sex?

Sure, there's a decline in "message" music - Common Sense is now just Common, BDP is no more, lots of the greats who wanted to talk about Black power and pride just don't sell records. But that's not 50 Cent's problem. His job is to be an entertainer, not an educator.

You know my style, I say anything to make you smile. (I love you, Curtis!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Exploding Toilet!

Dale sent me another fabulous news article:

Best line ever? “It was kind of hot there for a minute.”

Just Call Me Chesty

Leo said that the shirt I'm wearing makes me look a little too busty for work. I think that's like saying someone looks a little too awesome for work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chipmunks are People, Too

It makes me so freaking mad when I Google image search "chipmunk" and pictures of squirrels come up. One animal is nothing more than a rat with a fluffy tail, and the other is THE MOST PERFECT ANIMAL ON THE PLANET.

Get it right, people. Please.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Monkey's Hungry

We were at the table tonight for dinner. The girls were being really quarrelsome towards each other.

Abby: Emma, you're a monkey. A STINKY MONKEY. I am a delightful flower!

Emma: (scowling) If I'm a monkey, and you're a flower, I'm going to eat you for dinner!

Score one for the big sister.

Friday, March 28, 2008

McCain Doesn't Have A Chance

Abby at the playground today, speaking to a kid she just met:

"I'm boting for Obama. My sister Emma? Emma is boting for Hillaryclinton. They're both good, but Obama is my friend. Who are you boting for?"

Other kid, who has obviously been taught that it isn't polite to talk about sex, politics, or religion:

"Let's make a flower cake."

This morning

Abby: "I never trick squirrels, because they don't talk."

Thank You Dale!

Remember last summer's awesome headline "5 Pound Chihuahua Saves Baby From Rattlesnake?"

My friend Dale has discovered something even better:

It's totally worth the click.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Career Day

Emma's class just had Career Day. There was me, an architect, a lawyer, a person who sells investment products, a pharmacy technician, and a scientist.

The scientist had the misfortune of going last, directly after me. My presentation ended with a group hug and unicorns prancing around the classroom.

He started to get really frustrated because the kids didn't know that hydrogen, not water, was an element, or that we were mostly made of carbon. The kids wanted to know if he blasted things out of space (no), if he ever cured a disease (not yet), if his laser could kill someone (sadly, not even a too inquisitive first grader).

The important thing to remember when presenting to six-and seven-year-olds is to roll with the questions, be as funny and gross as possible, and keep it simple. This dad did none of these. He was visibly frustrated, and one of the kids asked him what he liked to do.

Dad: "I like to run."
Kid: "I can run faster than you!"
Dad: "No! No. Actually, you couldn't."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Deborah Madison

At dinner tonight, she was one table away from me. I could have touched her.


After over 2 years of wearing them, I've just noticed that under direct light my glasses throw a shadow that makes me look like I have a unibrow.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I just overheard Abby whine to Emma, "I don't know how to love!"

I can't see them, so I don't know what they're playing, and I don't want to interrupt them, so I'll just keep eavesdropping in the hopes that I'll be able to figure out what she's talking about.

That kid would make an excellent soap opera actor.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't Take This Personally, But...

My mother in law left today. She was here for 5 long days. I can't tell you how many sentences she started with "Don't take this personally, but...". I can tell you how much this phrase makes me grind my teeth. How the hell else am I supposed to take whatever crazy judgement you're about to make?

Some highlights from the trip:

1. She is 66 years old. She lives in an apartment building in Connecticut. One of her much younger, married neighbors is in a band. She went to one of his "gigs" (Yes, she used that word. Several times.) over the summer. She brought a bunch of her thongs, and threw them onstage.

2. We were watching Dennis Miller's new game show "Amnesia" (which is pretty dumb, by the way).

She kept mentioning how attractive the contestant was. She culminated her gush by asking me to buy him for Christmas for her.

3. She hates cilantro. She asked to eat Mexican and Chinese food. Try to find a Chinese or Mexican restaurant in California that doesn't use cilantro. We went to this great Mexican restaurant, and she ordered a plain quesadilla.

4. She was grossed out by how "ugly" Berkeley is. She lives in this nasty, flavorless apartment building overlooking a swamp. But, yes, Berkeley, with its views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the canyons, and multitude of flowers is U-G-L-Y.

5. She told Leo that the area between her vagina and rectum is especially small, so she is extra concerned about hygiene.

6. Right before we were leaving to go to San Francisco, she needed to go to the bathroom. When she got into the car, she apologized sarcastically, saying "That was a load I couldn't carry all day."

7. She read a bunch of "dumb blonde" jokes to me. Hello, have you not known me for over 10 years? I've always thought misogyny was hil-a-ri-ous.

8. When she was in Palm Springs, she bought this little ceramic bowl with a small, nightlight sized lightbulb in it. You know, this kind that barely gets warm. She placed large crystals of sea salt in them, to help cure her allergies. Newsflash: being in a room with slightly warmed salt will cure your allergies.

9. She is allergic to our cats, so we kept her bedroom door closed. One night, Leo didn't shut the door the whole way, and the cats got in for about 10 minutes. She got really pissed at Leo, and said "Gee, I can see just how concerned you are about me!!!"

I am so, so happy that I have my life back.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Imagine My Pride!

We're thinking about toilet training the cats. Apparently, all you need to do it put a disposable roasting pan in the toilet, below the lid. You fill it with litter, and as the cats get comfortable, use less and less litter. Then, you make a small hole in the pan. Every day, you make the hole a little bigger, until the cat is "eliminating" directly into the toilet.

You know, I was happy when the kids learned to use the toilet, but this would be something to really be proud of.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sequins, Big Hair, and High Heels

I went to a beauty pageant last night. Really. One of the prequalifiers for Miss America.

If you ever have the chance to go to one, GO. Really. It's such an interesting cultural phenomenon. The sequins! The hair! The stripper heels!

Did you know that they use the swimsuit segment as a physical fitness test? It has nothing to do with how good you look in a bikini! I guess asking the contestants to run or do push ups or arm wrestle or something would just be impractical.

I saw some girls up there who clearly have no friends. Do you know how I know that they have no friends?

A friend would not let you get up on stage and slowly "breakdance" and "sing" in sequins. She wouldn't. She would tell you the truth, so you don't have to see it on YouTube.


Abby's latest:

"I love you. Mommy, I love you so much. I love you with all my heart. I love you so much I'm gonna puke."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

I went into a public bathroom yesterday. It was small - only two stalls. As I entered mine, I heard, "Hello? Hello?!" from the next stall.

She sounded like she was having a bit of a crisis - teary and congested. So I responded, "Um...hi?!"

Right after I said hi, she started speaking in rapid fire Chinese.

She was talking on her cell phone.

Who the hell has a serious conversation on a phone in a public bathroom?

How did she wipe? Did she touch her phone with her dirty hand?

Why was I the weirdo who thought she was talking to me???

PS I've always wondered how people with super-long nails wipe, too. Think about it.

It'll haunt you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Despite the rain this weekend, we decided to head over to Stinson Beach. It was raining when we arrived, but completely cleared up within ten minutes. The beach was pretty deserted, and littered with driftwood and seaweed from the past week's storms.

The best part was that a huge old plank of redwood washed up. We made a see-saw from it. I had Emma stand at the end, and I would stomp on the other end as hard as I could - she FLEW! It was awesome.

I wish we remembered the camera - the pictures would have been perfect.

Shinky Dinks

I am currently obsessed with Shrinky Dinks. Emma got a pack of the "jewelry making" ones for her birthday, and we finally started making them last week. They are awesome - I didn't remember just how much they shrink, or how dramatically. They're so much fun!

I just ordered 36 blank sheets of it. Fantastic. My plan is to trace stuff from our Audubon guides. I have no idea what I'll do with them. Any ideas?

Monday, February 4, 2008


Don't forget to vote tomorrow!

Slighty bored

Things I Love Today
Postsecret (
Spicy salty olives
Apple green
Ocean smell
Dirty Jobs

Things I Hate Today
Unlocatable Bad Smells
The Moment of Truth
Rain on my glasses
The little pieces of cat litter that get kicked out of the litter box
The sound of one walkie talkie left in the "on" position

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Don't Shake Her Hand

A couple of months ago, right before we moved,
I was laying down with Emma at bedtime.
Emma had been quiet for several minutes, and I was
almost convinced she was asleep. Right before she
drifts off, she often says something sweet.
This night was different -
she yawned cutely and said:

"Mom, did you know that if you fart in your hand,
you can put the smell anywhere you want?"


Friday, February 1, 2008

Groundhog Day

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. I think this is the holiday I hate the most. Before you whip up the spinach dip, think about this:

1. Why the groundhog? Why not a chipmunk, or even a ferret?

2. Why the hell is a rodent going to look at its shadow?

3. How do you know if it sees its shadow or not? Does its pupils dilate or something?

4. They've been doing this for almost 200 years in PA. They've called the groundhog "Phil" for all those years. Now, unless there's something I don't know about the life expectancy of the groundhog (or if Phil is somehow a supernatural groundhog, which would actually help this holiday make MORE sense), it seems disrespectful to name groundhog after groundhog "Phil". It's not even all that great of a name. It's like those people who replace their pet, and then just name them their old pet's name. Tiger, Tiger 2, Tiger 3, etc. If you can't get excited enough to name it something new, you probably just shouldn't get it. Do you hear me, George Foreman?

2. Phil doesn't just appear on the morning of February 2. He's pulled from his stump! You mean to tell me that for 200 years, some Pennsylvania asshole has just found this groundhog in the stump? Phil's planted there!

And you thought Valentine's Day was a manufactured holiday that leaves you with a sense of disillusionment.

Extended Adolescence

I was listening to NPR this morning. The director of "Rock the Vote" was interviewed about harnessing the "youth vote." She was asked who was included in this demographic. Turns out, 18-29 year olds are considered "youth."

Are you kidding me? A 29 year old is a youth?

Our culture's extension of adolescence is ridiculous. I have students who call their parents for advice EVERY DAY. Legally, they are adults, but they consult their parents about course schedules, friendships, even what to eat for dinner. Their parents call the university to complain about roommate issues, course evaluations/grades, and their child's sleep schedule. It boggles the mind. I would have been mortified if my mom called ANY administrator when I was in college. Students have handed me their cell phones so I could speak to their parent.

Did you know that many Fortune 500 companies now include parents when they hire new employees? They report receiving phone calls from parents trying to negotiate salary/benefits. Parents send their child's resume. Many companies now hold parent seminars and tours. Several will even send parents a framed job offer letter.

Where are the grown ups? As much as I love Jackass, it frightens me to think of all the men that emulate 37 year old Johnny Knoxville.

Can you imagine seeing It's a Wonderful Life-era Jimmy Stewart clamping a lobster to his pimply ass? Laughing that jackal-ish cackle?

I long for the time when we all grow up and start acting our ages, with some dignity and charm. I think we may just be the most distasteful generation.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kids Are Kind Of Dumb

Once a week, Emma's first grade class schlepps a few blocks to the
YMCA for swim lessons. Can you imagine bringing 14 seven year olds
a couple blocks, getting them into bathing suits, making sure they
don't drown eachother, getting them dried off and dressed again,
and back to school?! That's reason #47 that I'm not a

Leo goes to help the boys in the locker room. This week, he
overheard them talking about High School Musical, so he told
them that he played Troy in the movie. Now, these are media savvy,
street smart kids.


For those of you unsure of who I'm referring to,
here's teen heartthrob Troy:

This is Leo:

HAHA! Kids are kind of dumb.

What Would Tatiana Do?

By now, I'm sure you've all heard of the San Francisco Zoo's Tatiana the Tiger. You know, the tiger who killed a guy, and maimed two of his friends, on Christmas.

You've probably wondered "Why?" Why would a well-fed tiger wreak such havoc on one of the holiest days of the year? What caused her to reach down deep for the super-feline strength needed to leap over a moat and wall? Well, friends, as someone who works with 18-25 year old males on a daily basis, I am not at all surprised at Tatiana's behavior.

In fact, I am amazed that more young men don't meet this kind of fate. This age group luxuriates in jackassery. This is the population that dies from soda machines being rocked onto them, from snake bites to the hand, from being pushed - while naked - in a shopping cart through busy intersections. They drunkenly climb sculptures, swim in fountains, and sing "Buy You a Drank" loudly and off key. And, you know, I kind of agree that this is a time in their lives when they should push the envelope a little - to discover their personal boundaries/values, to have a little fun, etc. In the past, I've struggled to articulate to students where the line that you shouldn't cross is.

Thanks to Tatiana, I now can. "Would your behavior cause a tiger to leap over her enclosure? Would she quickly kill your friend, and then ignore juicier passerby completely to hunt you down in a nearby cafe?" Tatiana single-pawedly drew the line in the sand.

I'm thinking of printing up a few "What Would Tatiana Do?" shirts to wear to judicial meetings. I could pass out those ugly little rubber bracelets to students to remind them of the far-reaching consequences of their actions. What do you think?