Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In Which Our Heroine Pulls on Her Feminista Shitkicking Stilettos

I don’t often rant and rave over political issues, mainly because I (a) don’t consider myself particularly well-informed; and (b) would not stop ranting and raving, once begun.

But this – oh, and this -- blows my mind.

I can’t believe that there is now a whole pharmacists’ rights movement via which pharmacists are refusing to dispense contraception (emergency and otherwise) because it conflicts with their personal beliefs. Can you believe this shit? So if you are raped and want to prevent pregnancy? Well, sucks to be you. And if you have sex voluntarily and use a condom and the condom breaks, and you might want a backup form of birth control so you don’t have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy? Well, forget you. Why are you having non-procreative sex in the first place?

Click here if you’d like to send a message to Target telling them how much their policy sucks.

Oh, and another thing. If you are in California and registered to vote in the upcoming ridiculous special election, consider voting NO on Prop. 73. This is a ploy for parental consent if a teenager becomes pregnant and seeks an abortion. I think it is crap. If you already have a shaky relationship with your teenage daughter and she has to make a choice between dropping this bomb on you or having a risky, illegal abortion, nine times out of ten I would think she would choose not to tell you.

Don’t get me wrong. I would rather my kid not ever be in this position in the first place. But if this were the situation, I would rather she be able to undergo a safe, medical procedure and not have to endure the added stress of either a court fight to get a judicial bypass (so she wouldn’t have to talk to me, the mean mom) or actually talking to me, if she could tell from past experience that I was going to flip out on her due to my personal beliefs about abortion. This is assuming that I undergo some radical political/religious transformation and become a completely different person, of course.

I am pro-choice, and I plan to share my views with Viva as she gets older. That is my prerogative as a parent. A principal part of my job as her mother is to keep her safe and informed.

Down off my soapbox, now. Who wants to talk about shoes? Anyone?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

How are you feeling today?

I am feeling:

1. Sad, but appreciative. Rest in peace, Rosa.
2. Lucky. I could be here. Or here. Or even here.
3. Greatly loved. I woke up in Viva’s bed this morning, after a middle-of-the-night pee issue (hers, not mine). She slung one arm over me, pressed her giant forehead to mine, and said, “Oh! Mommy! Good morning!” in a way that made my heart helplessly and thoughtlessly swell up to the size of a dirigible.
4. Greatly loving. I’m diggin’ my hubs these days, not that I didn’t before, but for some reason I feel closer to him lately. Whatever the reason, it is nice to feel that re-sparkination.
5. Hopeful. Got a lead on a freelance opportunity. We’ll see what happens.
6. Headachy. I took a couple ibuprofen, hours ago, but they don’t seem to be working. Someone on our street is tarring their roof, and I have all the windows open because it is an overcast autumnal Los Angeles day and that is the only time I can have all the windows open. The majority of the year, I keep the windows tightly closed and the air conditioning on, because, well, it’s hot here. While I love the fresh air, I think the tar fumes are siphoning off all oxygen to my brain. Ggghhszzzch.

And you? How are you?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Fashion: In One Year, Out the Other

Friday night, after we put Viva to bed, Sweet William and I were lolling about on our bed, talking about everything, and at one point, Sweet William pronounced, "Oh, and by the way? I've decided I hate all my clothes. They all must go."

Now, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Sweet William is something of a clothes horse. I am too, or I used to be, when I had disposable income. But since the birth of Viva, we have eased back quite a bit on our clothing purchases, with some very sad results, for me in particular.

But shortly after he made this pronouncement, he went on a joy ride of clothes expulsion from our walk-in closet, and since I caught the fever of the moment, we now have five large bags of clothing and shoes sitting in our bedroom, to be donated to Goodwill. Our closet is, how do you say, nearly empty?

The pillaging of the closet was, I must say, quite fun.

"That sweater has GOT to go," I'd say.

"Really? Old Blue? But I love this sweater. Can I keep it for weekends at the park?" Sweet William would say.

"All right," I'd give in. "But you need to lose that gray Polo shirt."

"It's done?"

"SO done. Don't you think?"

"Okay, but you have to get rid of this pink shirt. I mean, look at that collar, come on. Where are you going to wear that?"

You would think I would be somewhat protective of my clothes, but since I am sick of all of them, too, I didn't care. It was really kind of liberating.

Yesterday, Sweet Wills went to Ross and picked up a few dress shirts and some dress pants, deeply discounted. And today, while Viva was spending some time with her grandparents, we went shopping and dropped a small fortune on clothes. I am, right now, this second, wearing a brand new pair of jeans bought today in the Petite department at Nordstrom (Pet Peeve #489: I generally have to get all my pants hemmed, even when I buy petites. Why can't women's pants be sized like men's, so you just look for your waist and inseam size? Jesus!).

Oh, I forgot: while we were overhauling our closet, we came across our wedding outfits and tried them on. They fit. This led to the rather logical conclusion that we would be justified in eating ice cream, and fortuitously, Haagen Dazs was on sale at our local supermarket. Sweet!

In other news, I have no other news. That's why I haven't been writing. But I have gotten over my "I am a horrible person" mode of the past few days. I mean, how long can I self-flagellate? It becomes boring, yes?

In closing, I leave you with the wise words of George Carlin:

I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Breezily hilarious

By the way, Viva is at home today due to morning lethargy mixed with general grumpiness and congested sinus passages, which led me to conclude she should not be around other human beings besides me and her father. She has watched approximately 12 hours of public television, including horrible shows I would ordinarily not tolerate (e.g., Caillou. Why must he whine so much? I just want to slap him.). She has taken a 45-minute shower, about which she screamed for a good three minutes when I put her in, insisting "I don't want it!" and slapping the shower door with a spoon, and then refusing to get out until she was wrinkled like a 102-year-old woman.

She's not taking a nap.*

I have a deadline tomorrow.

Of course.

* Right now, on the baby monitor, I can hear her stage whispering, "I am sleeping. I am sleeping. I am sleeping...WAIT! Is it wake time?" Oh. My. God.

Hello out there

The beautiful thing about having a blog is it's not compulsory. I am not compelled to write it, and you are not compelled to read it. I am processing some shit these days, and if that means fewer people read my blog because it is not as entertaining as it has been, so be it. I don't mind.

The only thing that works for me is writing. I am not a big believer in therapy. I have tried it, and feel like it hasn't helped much. The last time I went to therapy, I really wanted to get to the bottom of IT. Whatever IT was that made me so screwed up, that kept me from moving forward, that prevented me from living my life as I wanted to live it. I decided that I was really going to commit to it this time. And thus, I stuck with a therapist with whom I felt no real bond, and I nonetheless tried to work out my shit, doing a lot of journaling, joining a writer's group, taking care of myself. And I felt like I made a lot of progress, so I told my therapist, "I don't think I need to come here anymore." His response: "I think you should come twice a week."

I told this same therapist that my motivation for doing something (and unfortunately, I can't remember the context) was that I was trying to be a better person. And he said, "So that's important to you? That you feel 'better' than, or superior to, other people?"

People, I merely gaped at him in astonishment.

I'm trying to be a better person than myself. That is hard enough; I don't need to try to be better than everyone else out there on top of it.

So, yeah, therapy, not my thing. And, yes, this blog will at times stray into self-reflection or veer off into some personal growth. Can't be helped. I will occasionally try to pull together something witty, or pass along some nugget from Viva. Bear with me. I am a work in progress.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Warning: This is a very long post with no neat conclusion. If you have enough of your own angsty crap floating around in your brain, you may want to skip.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not very fun to be around. And not just lately, but for quite some time. And not to everyone – my immediate family of Sweet William and Viva seem to like to be around me, most of the time – but to members of my larger family. For example, my sister. And my mother.

And I don’t know how it is with you, but that doesn’t feel very nice to me.

So I have been thinking quite a bit lately about what makes me such a horrible person. I know we all have our moments, but it seems that I have far too many of them around my family of origin. They push my buttons.

I spent time with my sister and her kids yesterday, and as has become her habit these days, my sister seemingly out of nowhere threatened to leave, started yelling, and began herding her kids out the door. Nothing I could say could improve the situation, because my sister has a bottomless well of rage to draw upon, and once she gets going, forget it.

I was not yelling in response. I said, if I remember correctly, “Please don’t leave. Please don’t do this.” Of course, that did nothing except fan the flames of her wrath, and she began yelling at me.

Sweet William intervened and said, “Come on, don’t do this in front of the kids.”

“That’s the problem!” my sister yelled. “Nobody ever lets me talk!”*

“Nobody’s saying you shouldn’t talk about this, but let’s not talk about it in front of the kids,” Will said. My sister took off down the hallway ,and Viva started sobbing like her heart was breaking, which it was, because she’d only seen her cousins for about ten minutes before the shit hit the fan.

* This is because once she starts talking about stuff that bothers her, she starts screaming. And always in front of the children. I just can’t have that.

What started all this? My VIBE.


Apparently I give off such a strong VIBE that my sister can sense it and work herself into a rage within about 5 seconds. I am not even being sarcastic here, because I am pretty sure that yes, I do give off a VIBE, or bad ENERGY, or whatever the hell. Let’s backtrack, shall we?

I called my sister – who has been nameless in this blog for some time, because I can’t think up a pseudonym for her that someone somewhere wouldn’t construe badly in some way. Okay, today I officially christen her Lola. – Anyway, as I say, I called my sister a couple of weeks ago to suggest we get together since the kids hadn’t seen each other since our camping trip, and as it is October and closing in on Halloween, I suggested we visit a pumpkin patch together.

She was enthusiastic, so I looked up some pumpkin patches online and called a couple to get hours, locations, features and prices. I was looking for something where the kids could, in addition to picking out a pumpkin, go through a maze, or get their faces painted, or go on a hay ride, or pet some critters at a petting zoo or some added value of some kind. I gave Lola all the info and we agreed to meet at 10 AM on Sunday at the pumpkin patch.

Now, we arrived at the pumpkin patch at 10 AM only to find that it was nowhere near ready to open. According to the Website, they were supposed to have been open for several days already. Not so. Not opening until Wednesday.

Okay. So I called Lola, who was on her way but certainly not near the pumpkin patch. I suggested we meet back at my place to figure out where to go next.

At this point, yes, I was irritated, because I actually did call this place prior to driving out there, and the recording gave me misinformation. And the other pumpkin patches that I had looked at were not close. Not at all. But please note: I was not irritated with her.

We met back at our place, and the kids all converged on Viva’s room, and they all started playing, tra la la. I asked Lola if she would mind just bagging this trip and maybe we could all go out and play ball at the park, because to my mind the most important thing was that we all just spend time together and even if we couldn’t have an outing to a pumpkin patch, at least we could get out of the house. So we decided to go to the park, since my older nephew is crazy for kickball. In the meantime, the kids were all playing basketball with this.

Here is where I morphed into the horrible person no one wants to be around.

“Okay, so let’s go to the park, you guys,” I said. The boys continued playing basketball. Viva became very occupied with putting away some of the toys they had all taken out.

A few minutes later: “Hey, you guys, let’s put the balls away. We’re going to go play ball at the park, okay?” The boys continued playing basketball. Lola was playing with Viva and helping her pick up her toys, which I told her not to worry about.

“Hey, guys. Do you want to go to the park? We can play ball at the park,” I said.

“You know what? Let’s just do this some other time,” said my sister. “We’re going home.”

I think what happened here is that she thought I was pissed off at her kids for continuing to play basketball when we had decided to go to the park. I wasn’t; I just know that you often have to tell kids something five times before they get it together and do it. I wasn’t yelling at them, and I wasn’t being nasty to them, I swear.

I will admit that it irritated me that she did not say anything to them along the lines of, “Hey, let’s go,” or anything like that. But I wasn’t being pissy to them at all. It takes me forever to get Viva out of the house, and I knew that the longer we stayed in that room, the harder it would be to get her out of it. And I’ll admit, I wanted to get out of the house and get some air instead of playing with MegaBloks or Thomas the Train or whatever the hell, ad infinitum. I am sure Lola was perfectly happy, because she had already gotten her kids out of the house.

So, yes, I was a little edgy. I admit that. But I wasn’t rude. I didn’t sigh heavily, or roll my eyes, or anything (okay, maybe I did, but I was out in the living room, out of their line of sight, with a wall between us).

Lola started yelling at me about how I always have to keep to a schedule because of Viva’s nap and that I am so stressed all the time and so regimented and how all the evil that exists in the world is traceable straight to me. Which is odd, because this had nothing to do with being on a schedule, and I am fairly certain the all the evil that exists in the world can be traced back to eyebrow waxing.

At any rate, Sweet William ended up (at my pleading) following Lola down the hall with a wailing Viva and insisting that we both stop this foolishness this instant.

We ended up going to the park and then having pizza and going home hours later, having both apologized for being idiots.

But I am still left with the question of what to do about my horribleness, and what I can do to mitigate my impatience with Lola. I do get frustrated and impatient with her, because she is, if anything, even more indecisive than I am; because she is subject to fits of rage; because she makes poor decisions and then acts victimized by them; because she wants me to act the way she expects me to, and not the way I am. I love her, but she drives me mad.

I’m just thinking.

Friday, October 14, 2005

In Search of Clarity

I am very, very confused these days. I had decided not to freak out about my job search and just to spend some time focusing on meeting deadlines for two grant proposals I was writing for the charter school with which I am volunteering. That is what I have been doing for most of this week. I am pleased to say that I think I put together a pretty great grant package - I think it is well-written, I think it makes sense, I think it has a cohesive and professional look, I included all the stuff they asked for and carefully chose just two pertinent supplemental items which were not required to round out the application. I hope we get the money. Viva and I went to a dinner at the home of one of the other parents last night, and the parents all seemed suitably impressed by what I had put together.

So this morning I just needed to tweak it a bit and put it in the mail, and I was looking forward to having a somewhat low-key day in the sense that I didn't have any obligations hanging over me, aside from laundry, running to the dry cleaners, Office Depot, Goodwill and the supermarket. I thought maybe I could write a bit and kind of mellow into my weekend.

Instead, two representatives from my former employer have called me in one day. The first left a message asking me to call back and schedule an interview for a full-time job. The second one left a message asking me to call back about some freelance work.

I wish that if God/Fate/a plate of cheese had some great plan for me that the signs would be clearer than this.

Just this morning, after dropping Viva off at school, I sat down and wrote a "To Do" list so I wouldn't waste my whole free day. Sadly, it did involve items such as "do laundry," "go to post office," and the like, but it also featured "e-mail [contacts in the work world, who shall remain nameless] about freelance work." Basically, I had decided to let everyone know that I have abandoned all hope of a full-time job and that if they hear of any freelance stuff, to send it my way. Of course, what with cleaning, washing clothes, and paying bills, I had not sent the e-mail when I got the first message about the full-time job. (I was in the laundry room when the first message came.)

Zrrrrrpp. That's my brain. I am quite possibly one of the most indecisive people you will ever meet, and thus, I feel like some indistinct feline animal, caught between two hyenas, turning and snapping at one and then the other.

What about THIS option? [Turn, hiss] What about THAT option? [Turn, snap]

I'm taking some comfort from my horoscope, believe it or not, which indicates that two friendly eclipses this month will bring a new perspective: "you will suddenly understand the situation in a new way, which could lead you to a breakthrough solution." Come on, eclipse! Bring it on!

I may be grasping at straws, but you gotta take hope where you can find it.

And the person who wants me to do some freelance work for her was supposed to call me 20 minutes ago. We had a phone conference arranged. [Turn, hiss, lunge!]

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

From the Mailbag

Hello, and welcome to a brand new feature at Mama Blah Blah. It's Mail Time! [cue Blue's Clues mail song: "Here's the mail, it never fails, it makes me want to wag my tail, when it comes, I want to wail, MAIL!"]

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?
A: Cleveland.

Q: Do you consider yourself a social critic?
A: I wouldn't say I'm a social critic. I'm not even a critic. I'm just critical. Indeed, I'm hypercritical of everyone, most especially myself.

Q: Where can I get that little number you wore to the Emmys?
A: Cleveland.

Q: Are people afraid of you?
A: Considering that I am a life member of a Super Secret Society bent on taking over the world - oops, I've said too much.

Q: Boxers or briefs?
A: I prefer these.

Q: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
A: Not in Cleveland. Hopefully on a book tour someplace tropical. With tropical drinks. Mmm, drinks.

Q: How's your job search going?
A: Ooh, hey, we're out of time, but thanks for all your questions, and check back often for another exciting installment!

Monday, October 10, 2005

An Open Letter to Christopher Columbus

Dear Mr. Columbus,

May I call you Chris? I am writing to you today because today the United States of America celebrates you and your “discovery of America” via landing off the Florida coast back in 1492. Well, sort of. I think only public schools, banks, and government offices celebrate you, because everyone else seems to be going about their business as if they have never heard of you.

Chris, I have to say that I’m disappointed in this whole charade. We all know you didn’t actually discover America, since there were indigenous people living here already, we all know you did not open a new route to India and that in order to cover your ass, you decided to bring back slaves. Apparently, you had some experience with this, as before you set sail on your famous journey, you were a slave trader for the Portuguese, bringing West Africans to Portugal for sale as slaves. I realize there are a lot of reasons why you and I might not get along.

But in all honesty, Chris, I have to say the reason that I’m really irritated with you today is that, after a long weekend away, I have piles of laundry to do, and I’m low on quarters, and the banks are closed. And the people at the supermarket are hoarding their quarters since they won’t have coin delivery until tomorrow. And all this is because of you and your damn holiday.

Quite frankly, I think I would be less ticked off if this were due to something other than this bogus damn bank holiday. So, Chris, on behalf of me and my Gingaskin ancestors, and the many others who got screwed by your legacy of genocide, slavery, and colonialism, I’m flipping you off.

Lisa Blah Blah

P.S. Dude, do something about your official portrait. That hairdo is really a hairdon’t.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bookworms and Inchworms

Currently reading:
The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, The Music, The Seventies in San Francisco, by Joshua Gamson
The Unofficial Guide to Buying a Home, by Alan Perlis and Beth Bradley

Recently finished:
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro - I have only seen portions of the movie on cable. The book is just as agonizing in terms of the main character having a stick so far up his ass you are squirming in pain.
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett - One of the best books I have ever read. Beautiful. I need to buy a copy so I can read it whenever I want.
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro - I liked this one, too. Kind of creepy and unsettling. If you liked A Handmaid's Tale, try this one.

Next at bat (not necessarily in this order):
The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clark
Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates

Book reports later, along with "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essay.

Inchworm, Flinchworm

Do you remember that toy, the Inchworm? It was a ride-on toy, bright green, with a huge garish smile and a hat? I had one when I was a kid, and when you would ride on it, you would go forward, but also up and down. Oh my God, I just found a picture:

(I love the Internet.) It was the coolest thing, so I have a bit of an affection for the inchworm.

Not so for Viva.

Lately, Viva has become entranced by picking flowers. We usually pick them up off the ground as we walk to school, so she can give one to her teacher, who she adores. The other day, when we were leaving school, I had parked next to a bush with yellow flowers. Viva, of course, wanted one. I plucked it off and handed it to her, we got into the car and were driving along when suddenly she started screaming in terror. Of course, I was on Beverly Blvd. trying to make a left turn, so I couldn't immediately pull over, but she was screaming about something on her hand. I could tell she wasn't hurt; she was just holding her hand out in front of her and screaming her head off.

Common sense would tell you to shake your hand and the bug would fall off. Not so, Viva.

I made the turn, pulled over, and ran around to the other side of the car, yanked open the door, and grabbed a bright-orange inchworm off her hand. Poor inchworm, it was just hanging out and squiggling around, and then the next thing you know, it was unceremoniously deposited into the gutter (in the admittedly tony neighborhood of Hancock Park, so not a total loss for the inchworm).

Viva was a mess, her face covered in tears and snot. We hugged. "I want FWIES," she said.

Trauma, then junk food. Makes sense to me. McDonald's drive-thru, a buck-oh-eight. I know, my life is just impossibly glamorous.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Caloric, Euphoric, Alas Poor Yorick

I forgot to mention that We Are On A Diet.

Viva, of course, is not, although since her tastes run to fresh fruit and veggies, yogurt smoothies, rice milk, whole wheat toast, and cheese of any variety, she eats pretty healthily anyway. She does have a weakness, and it is known as FWIES. If we are out in the car and drive by the Golden Arches, it is ON. Here in California, a small order of McDonald's fries costs $1.08. I know this, and I always have exact change at the drive-thru window. For those of you collecting evidence of my madness, there you go.

Anyhoo, it was Sweet William's decision to stop eating dinner. This has simplified my life immensely, since now I just have to make sure I have something for Viva to eat, and I can happily have an apple and some tortilla chips and I'm good to go. This has not been too much of a strain for me, since neither of us is a real hardass about it. If one of us occasionally wants ice cream or a cookie, we eat it. No biggie.

However, I was just reading some of my favorite blogs, and I may even start a blogroll at some point (what an empty threat - do you realize how long it took me to clean my carpets?!), and anyway, one of my regulars mentioned cupcakes and brownies in the same post. In the same sentence, even!

This is where Trouble starts. Because this post immediately made it necessary for me to go to the store, and pick up supplies, and bake them into chocolatey goodness, because I don't want storebought brownies. (I'm currently leaning toward brownies with ice cream on top, you know, right out of the oven? Oh, yeah.)

That would be wrong. I know Sweet William would simultaneously want to kill me and kiss me. But you know, neither one of us is overweight. I actually weigh ten to twelve pounds less now than I did before I got pregnant with Viva. No one wants to hear that, but I want to also say that while I did not have a huge ass before I had her, the one I had was kind of cute and round and I was happy with it. The one I have now makes my former ass look like it was on steroids. Why does that happen? My ass kind of slunk off to hide. I blame the breastfeeding. I think it took all of my good fat.

Perhaps some brownies and ice cream will lead my old ass out of hiding, no?

I feel this is a good theory, not one grounded in science, but one which I am prepared to try and substantiate. Mmm, brownies, with a nice juicy rationalization on the side! It doesn't get better than this!

Thank You for Your Valued Patronage and Trust

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

So, when people find out Viva is in preschool now, they say, "Oh, how does she like it?" and I smile nauseatingly and gush, "Oh, she LOVES it!", which she does, but not like you could tell by looking at this:

Could this look more like a mug shot?

The group shot is even more hilarious. They posed the whole class outside looking straight into the sun. Preschool is hell.

Grammar Rocks!

Last night, Sweet William was helping Viva with her toileting. After she has done her business, she often likes to hang out on the toilet, just sitting there, singing to herself or playing with some of her tub toys. Sweet W was trying to move the process along, so he was telling her to wipe and then "Pull up your Pull-ups."

"There's only one Pull-up, Daddy," said Viva. Sweet William came bolting out of the bathroom to tell me, "Our child just corrected my grammar! What are we going to do with her?"

I dunno, perhaps we could join the carnival circuit. Or Carnivale. Hey, whatever happened to that show? Oh, right, we don't have cable anymore. And yet the world goes on.

Finding the Jobbinest Job that Ever Jobbed

I have decided I must just stop even blogging about my job search. It's tiresome. But I have just learned about this new job opportunity, so you know, all is not lost (shout-out to Mr. X, a Ranting and Raving Bitter Man, for the tip). Also, I hear there's an opening on the Supreme Court, so I might go for that. I'll let you know how that goes.

Wacked out on Wowee Sauce

From CNN: "President Bush says the possibility of an avian flu pandemic is among the reasons he wants Congress to give him the power to use the nation's military in law enforcement roles in the United States." Emphasis mine.

Bird flu, how convenient. What an opportunist Bush is -- oh, yeah, um, you know, the President should be able to use the military to police the country. Oh, because of that pesky bird flu, you know. Hey, if you don't support me, the terrorists have won. Quarantine. Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea. What were we talking about again?

Gene Healy, a senior editor at the conservative Cato Institute, said Bush would risk undermining "a fundamental principle of American law" by tinkering with the act, which does not hinder the military's ability to respond to a crisis.

"What it does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role," he wrote in a commentary on the group's Web site. "That reflects America's traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that's well-justified."

Healy said soldiers are not trained as police officers, and putting them in a civilian law enforcement role "can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty."

Read the whole story here.

Given that there are now myriad stories circulating that Bush is drinking again, I must say this: he must have some pretty strong stuff. And if he actually pushes this one through Congress, then I'm going to want some. To take with me to Canada.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On My Left, Morons. On My Right, Idiots.

I have a really, really low threshold for people who waste my time. It dips even lower when I finally get around to doing something I've been meaning/wanting to do for a while, but just haven't gotten around to.
I speak, my friends, of the carpet cleaning.

Sweet William has been known to rent a steam cleaner and clean the carpets himself of a weekend. But this was before we had an active 2.5-year-old (necessitating more frequent cleaning) and before he became a yoga zealot (necessitating two hours of Ashtanga on a Saturday morn, cutting into the weekend time he spends with Viva, which he treasures).

I asked the carpet cleaners to come and clean our carpeting and our giant red sectional couch (which can be viewed in the Flickr yoga photos to your right) this morning at 9:30. They told me they would put me in the 8 AM to 12 PM window, and someone would call me in the morning to pin down a time. I emphasized that I wanted a mid-morning time. By 10 AM, naturally, I hadn't heard from anyone. Mind you, I had already moved all breakables and anything that could be moved onto the beds (nightstands, lamps, etc.). I was ready.

I called them. And called them. And called them. Because, you see, their toll-free number was busy. Are you kidding me?

So then I finally got through and I left a message. A nice man named Douglas, who no doubt is trained to deal with annoyed people like myself, called and explained that my technician, Jerry, was in my area and should be on his way, but he gave me his cell phone number just in case. I called it. The connection was spotty, but I could hear Jerry say, "Damn! Now I have to go all the way home!" So not what I wanted to hear. I argued with Jerry for several minutes, called Douglas to cancel, and he told me to hang on, he'd get someone else in my area to do it.

Oops -- my cell phone just rang. William, a different technician, is here, in my building. Hang on.

Holy shit, William is like eight feet tall. Note: it is 11:15 AM. The cleaning is about to commence. More on this as things progress.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Wuv, Tru Wuv

The Impressive Clergyman: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...
[cut to Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik]
The Impressive Clergyman: And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva...
[cut to the trio again]
The Impressive Clergyman: So tweasure your wuv.
Prince Humperdinck: Skip to the end.
The Impressive Clergyman: Have you the wing?
[cut to the trio once more]
Prince Humperdinck: Man and wife. Say man and wife.
The Impressive Clergyman: Man an' wife.

-The Princess Bride, of course

Four years ago:

Still reeling from the shock of September 11.

A tabloid editor in Florida was reported to have contracted anthrax. He died the next day.

Gas was $1.53 a gallon.

And, and: I married Sweet William in a small civil ceremony. At the reception, one of the songs we played was the Police’s “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.”

Happy Anniversary, my love.

If you don’t know the story, Sweet William and I were introduced by his mom. She and I used to work together, and we became friendly, and she decided that Will and I would really get along. I was resistant, but finally let her convince me to meet him for coffee. Six months later, I moved in with him, and six months after that, we got married. And here we are, four years later, and, we’re pretty much none the worse for wear.

I love my husband, and let me tell you why.

1. When I was sick and sleep-deprived, he got up and put the baby back to bed in the middle of the night – more than once, and despite also being sick and having to go to work at 7:30 a.m.
2. When the kettle is whistling and I have my hands full, he (without being asked) turns off the kettle and makes me a cup of tea and goes about his business.
3. He keeps his sense of humor even when we are both sick and exhausted.
4. He wants to share everything with me – not just material things, but experiences, no matter how small or silly, like our neighbor’s face when she made herself up to look like she had smallpox.
5. He plays silly games with me – we once took turns over several weeks hiding a rubber red number 5 from each other so it would pop up in weird places (e.g. in the medicine cabinet next to my saline solution).
6. He is always on my side.
7. He never does anything half-assed. Once he decides to do something, it’s full steam ahead.
8. He is pretty even-tempered and overall, very good-natured.
9. He will make up interpretive dances for me and dance, poker-faced, for a solid five minutes while I am peeing my pants laughing (think ‘N Sync/Michael Jackson/Michael Flatley dance moves set to, say, Led Zeppelin or the White Stripes).
10. He is solidly loyal: “Fuck everyone on the other side of that door.”
11. He believes in me, despite myself.
12. He has a beautiful smile.
13. He has a core sense of decency and common sense that floats to the surface in every trying situation.
14. He is stubborn as an ass.
15. He is so in love with our child that it makes me weepy to think about it.
16. When he comes in the door at the end of the day, you would think we were the only people in the world.
17. He brings me ice cream, unbidden.
18. He takes out the trash.
19. He tells me I am beautiful even when I am breaking out.
20. He loves the way I look no matter how I cut my hair.

Happy Anniversary, honey. Here’s to four times four times four, to well, you know. Smoochos!