Thursday, January 31, 2008

Drug-Addled Gasbag

Sick for nearly two weeks. Finally broke down and called the doctor. Diagnosis: I have bronchitis and what may be the early stages of strep throat. My doctor has prescribed some antibiotics and cough syrup with Codeine. I am sleepy as all get-out and a little nauseated. And yet, I haven't been able to sleep while at home this afternoon because first came the lawn care guys and quick on their heels, some people from the phone company who need to access a telephone pole via my back yard. Something about my neighbors' phone service, I don't even know.

Lawd, give me strength. Or as my mother-in-law is fond of saying, "Lawd, help me JEE-zus."

This may be the most pointless post ever -- in fact, I nearly went back and deleted it -- but I wanted to post what's been going on/where in blazes I've been.

I'm afraid to write more because inevitably in my foggy state, I would reveal something I'm not supposed to, like Viva's real name or the secret formula for Coke Zero.

I hope all is well with all of you, O Internets. Drop me a line sometime or have your people call my people or something.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In a Nutshell

If ever there was a good analogy for my day, it would be this scene from Seinfeld:

Cut back to Elaine at Mr. Pitt's. There are pairs of socks everywhere. Pitt has on the latest pair.
PITT: It's good, but...
ELAINE: But what??
PITT: Ultimately I don't think they'll stay up.
ELAINE (pulling up Pitt's socks): No, no! They'll stay up!
PITT: For a while, yes, but not in the long run.
ELAINE: But that's why I got you the tighter ones! (Holds them up.)
PITT: Oh, forget about those! (Takes the socks from Elaine and throws them on the floor.) Why do you keep mentioning those?
ELAINE: What do you want!?
PITT: I want a decent sock that's comfortable, that will stay on my foot!!
(Elaine curls up into a fetal position.)

Today, Mr. Pitt has been asking me to get socks from all corners of the globe, and they are all the wrong size.

I hate days like this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Queen of Everything

This weekend, Sweet Dub was out of town on business. Viva and I had a pretty mellow Saturday; we did the grocery shopping, tie-dyed a T-shirt and did some yard work. Then I got all dolled up, dropped her off at my in-laws’, and went to a work party. (And I did have to work for part of it, mainly with set-up.) Then I had to stay late to help clean up and figure out how to get drunk people home. I didn’t get home until 1:30 AM, then rolled out of bed at 8:30 AM, slightly hung-over, showered, dressed, and went to pick up my baby from her granny’s. I had nothing planned for Viva and I to do, and the house was a wreck – so I sucked it up, made a huge pot of cinnamon hazelnut coffee, and went for it. I think I did about 5 loads of laundry. I cleaned the bathroom. I washed windows. I set a playdate for the following day into motion. And all the while I kept my kid entertained. At one point, while I was washing dishes for the fourth time that day, Viva went into her room for a few minutes, and came back with a small circlet with points at the top, made out of orange construction paper.

Viva: It’s for you.
Mama B: Oh, that’s sweet. What is it?
Viva: It’s a CROWN. Because you are the Queen. The Queen of Everything!

Ain’t that the truth.

I think it goes without saying that I will be very glad when the King of Everything gets home today. I have missed him so much that when he called this morning I hugged the phone for about 5 minutes after we hung up. And I am not embarrassed to say so!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Do the Right Thing

That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mama B: So do you know why today is a holiday?
Viva: Mmmm…no.
Mama B: We’re celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday.
Viva: Oh, yeah. They’re having a parade.
Mama B: Yes, there’ll be a couple of parades today –
Viva: They’re having one at my school.
Mama B: Really? Where? Inside the school, on the yard?
Viva: Yeah. And, what’s his name again?
Mama B: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. [realizing it’s a bit of a mouthful] Dr. King.
Viva: Yeah, he’s gonna be there. He’s gonna lead the parade.
Mama B: What? But he’s dead, baby.
Viva: WHAT?
Mama B: [glossing over the assassination] Um, yeah, he died, honey. A long time ago.
Viva: Oh.
Mama B: Would you like to see a parade today?
Viva: [shrugs]

Fifteen minutes later, on the phone with the African-American Museum – assuming they’ll just have a recording explaining what’s happening today. But no, an actual person answers.

Mama B: Oh, um, yes, I was just wondering what the museum has planned for Dr. King’s birthday today.
Museum person: [pause] Well, I think we’re having cake at 1 o’clock.
Mama B: Ooohkay. Well, okay, thanks.

Fifteen minutes later, saved by the bell, or rather, the cell phone. Viva’s best friend’s mom calls and says they can come over for a play date. Phew.

And further discussion of Dr. King is tabled for the moment. Trying to explain the civil rights movement to a 4-year-old, without freaking her out or hurting her feelings, makes my brain hurt. I feel like I end up saying a whole lot of nothing.

My friend S. once had a talk with her daughter’s teacher wherein the (not African-American) teacher expressed concern about how “sensitive” her daughter was. Apparently the teacher was discussing African-American history and noted that “A. gets very upset when we talk about slavery.”

S responded, “Well, maybe that’s because it’s upsetting!”

Viva, like many kids her age, gets pretty pissed off when she is not treated the same. The way I tried to explain who Dr. King was, was to say that he worked very hard to make sure everybody got treated fairly. Her little brow furrowed, and she said, “Well if people weren’t being fair, he should have called the police.” I thought for a quick second and then said, “But the police weren’t being fair, either. That was part of the problem.”

My main problem is that I am a wimp. I don’t want to introduce the idea to her that people who look like her were (and hello, are) treated unfairly, simply because they were/are brown. I just don’t want to be the one to break her heart like that. I know, I know, she will find out eventually. This is one of those hard life lessons. Any tips from those of you who have been there?

Updated to add: I found a link for a kindergarten lesson plan to teach kids about Dr. King. I think the books listed, along with the activities, will help going forward.

Friday, January 18, 2008

And Now, the Man on the Street

I was listening to Morning Edition this morning on KPCC, one of our local public radio stations, and naturally they were interviewing people about the primaries. One gentleman the reporter spoke with said he was voting for John Edwards because he believes he’s electable. He went on to say (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he doesn’t think Hillary and Barack have a chance, and that although he admires Barack Obama and thinks he is capable, “America’s not ready for an African-American president.”

I don’t understand this argument. It’s the primaries. You should vote for who you think is really best for the job – who can do the most for the country – not for who you think can ultimately win the nomination. How else can your voice be heard? I glared at the radio for a second and said out loud, “Fool, then you are just playing their game – or they’re playing you, more like it.”

This man went on to say that America is too racist and sexist, and that maybe if it was 2050, Barack would have a chance. He then brought up immigration, making it clear that he was Latino, and saying that Americans want to send back even people who’ve been born here, who are second or third generation, in fact, who were here “before any of them, I mean, when they came over on the Mayflower, we didn’t ask for their green cards.” This is where he completely lost me, and I turned the station. But I can’t let it go.

When people say, “America’s not ready for an African-American president,” or “America’s not ready for a woman president,” all I hear is that they’ve given up on any semblance of equal representation. These are bogus statements. If you can vote, you are America. Don’t act like America is something separate from yourself. Be honest and say, I am not ready for this particular African-American as president, because you don’t agree with how he claims he’s going to lead the country. Not because he’s African-American. That means that on some level you agree. That means on some level, you’re letting our negative racial history live on and worse, to continue.

If you want to vote for John Edwards because you think he is the best person for the job, because you agree with his policies and think he would move this country in a positive direction, great. If you are voting for John Edwards because even though you like Hillary or Barack’s stance better, you think neither of them will win, then you are part of the problem. Don’t fool yourself. And don’t blame the entire country for your own racist malarkey.

Off my soapbox. I think I stubbed my toe.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hey, Jack Kerouac

Oh, yeah - one of those blog posts? Which I was going to write about? Yeah, I just remembered, and all this went down right around the holidays, so in the madness, I never got around to writing about it.

Sometime in December, Sweet Dub called me up at work and totally out of the blue, said, "So, how do you feel about Vancouver?"

"It's supposed to be beautiful," I said. "I've been wanting to visit. So what, to live there?"

"Yeah, it looks like I might get a job offer," he said. "But I told them I'd have to talk to you first."

"Yeah," I said. "Okay, why not. Vancouver."

"Are you serious?" he said. "You would actually just pick up and move?"

"Why not?" I said.

"Wow," he said. "Okay, I'll talk to you later."

As it turns out, we are not moving to Vancouver, because for one thing, as his trusted boss says, "Nobody moves from Hollywood to Vancouver." Sweet Dub is in the movie bidness, and while Vancouver has been nicknamed Hollywood North* due to all the production and post-production there, it is still not as happening as Hollywood itself. It seems he would be less busy than he is here and probably not the best move. Also, since who knows if I would be able to work there, they'd have to offer him quite a stack of cheese in order to make it viable for us. And furthermore, after researching Vancouver in an admittedly cursory way, it appears that there are maybe two black people in the entire city. Perhaps that is a lowball estimate, but even given that Canada does not have the same complicated history with black people that the U.S. does, I don't know that I'd feel comfortable there. And if Viva and Sweet Dub and I get stares and invasive questions in greater Los Angeles, I can only imagine what it would be like there. This is not to say that Vancouver is not diverse; it has a sizeable Chinese population (29%), with some South Asians and Filipinos thrown in there for good measure. Its black population is 0.9%. Yeah, you read that right.

I'd still like to visit, but for now, I guess we're staying put. I was kind of excited to have an adventure -- whee, new things, new places, new people, free health insurance! -- but maybe something else will turn up. If nothing else, this lets us know that options are out there and that Sweet Dub is a valuable commodity** -- this was not an opportunity he sought out, they came to him. Yeah, that's right. Sweet Dub is the shizzle!

* Not North Hollywood. Completely different.

** I mean, we knew that already, but I think this whole escapade at least reinforced that with the upper management of his company. Maybe they will find or create another internal opportunity for him.

Monkey Mind

Here is what happens lately when I think about blogging. I think, "What should I write about?" I think, "I had a really good idea yesterday for a post, what was that, about the thing, and the person...?" Then I think, "I should write about Barack and Hillary - what was it that so-and-so said on such-and-such blog, that was really insightful, I should link to it..." Ten minutes later after reading more about it I think, "Well, I can't say it better than that, he/she hit the nail on the head. Why am I so uninteresting?" Then I think, "Shit, I'd better call so-and-so about this one detail on the proposal I'm writing. I wonder if she has a good case study I could use?" A little later on, I think, "Jesus! The day is half over and I still have so much to do. I haven't even eaten lunch yet. Where did I put that piece of paper with the budget information on it? I really have to pee. Wasn't I going to blog today? I should blog today. It's been awhile. What should I say? Is today Viva's art class? Am I supposed to pick her up today? The estimated client numbers I pulled out of the ether for this proposal are completely inflated. Who knew that this type of therapy was so time-intensive? I said 200 families served annually and it's probably less than half that. How can I spin this to our advantage? What are we supposed to have for dinner? Did I pay my cell phone bill? I better check that. What time is it? Jeez, I should have left 15 minutes ago. Where did I park?"

Sorry, folks. I'll try to do better. But you see my brain, she is all over the place like a dog-sled team composed of cats hepped up on speed. It is somewhat exhausting.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Big Brains

Since we don't have anything else to do, we have decided to make ourselves crazy trying to figure out what to do about school for Viva. I think I've mentioned this before, and no doubt I will mention it again.


The preschool years represent a critical window of opportunity that we can't afford to waste."
Maryann O'Sullivan, Founder and Former CEO of Preschool California


Viva enjoys school.  She is reading at a very basic level. She can add and subtract.  She is learning how to tell time and count money.  She is, just as importantly, very social and gets along well with her peers.  That said, she is only 4 years old. Because we have swallowed the whole "first five" shpiel hook, line, and sinker, we are spending an obscene amount of money on preschool.  It would be nice to catch a break and get her into a good public kindergarten. I am putting in an application for her for Fall 2008 for a progressive, constructivist charter school and hoping like hell she gets in.


Sweet Dub's best friend has a daughter that is one year older than Viva. His daughter is also very bright, and she went to a very good preschool up until this fall, when she started public kindergarten. 


"She's bored," Sweet Dub's friend said. "They have kids in her class who don't even know their colors."  He also said that the teacher doesn't have time to teach to these varying levels, so she teaches at pretty much the lowest common denominator.  This is exactly what I was worried about. 


On the other hand, there is one part of my brain that says, "It's just kindergarten. Chill out and supplement school with what you do at home."  What do you think?


P.S. Still no Internet access at home.  Completely unacceptable.

Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

12 30 07 Blog Blackout

Hello, and welcome to our program.


Since returning to work from medical leave, I have been far too busy to blog at work.  And since my Internet capacity at home lately seems to be quite hit and miss, I'm not posting from home either.  Right now, I am typing this at home on Sunday in Word and hoping to be able to post it later – perhaps Wednesday when I am back at work, when it will be three days old and late late late.  I can't even email this to myself or to the blog because of my irritating Internet access (read, lack thereof).  I am not sure whether my old modem is just not communicating with my wireless modem or what on God's green earth exactly is happening, but it is irritating that when one finally gets oneself together to post something, one can't because one's high-tech gadgets have decided to get all temperamental on one's ass.  Why, for example, can one be searching on Google one minute and the next get an error message saying one is not connected to the Internet?  This is the type of thing that might make a person with anger management issues rip the modem out of the wall and toss it into the fireplace.


Fortunately, I have been reading a lot of Zen work lately, so I choose to view this as the best possible thing that could happen.  Perhaps there is a good reason I haven't been able to blog.  It will all reveal itself to me, and I will in turn reveal it to you, and then we will all have a good jolly laugh and eat piles of frosted donuts.


I hope you weren't worried during this long blog silence.  Fear not, the Blah Blah family members all are fairly well, excepting our runny noses.  Our Christmas season was not without its drama, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.


All the best to you and yours.

Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.