Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tinky Winky and Dipsy

My wife was giggling away at her computer this morning. I have to admit, no one would ever suspect how playful and goofy she is. Ms. Vice President tends to keep a big wall between her softer side and the rest of the world.

This morning, with her note to Zachary at camp, she included this picture:

She told him she missed his dirty socks but she was suffering along without them. I don't know what made her think of the picture of me with Zachary as a toddler and those two giant, stuffed teletubbies my sister had sent them.

God knows, Cathy, we would have had a dull life without the toys you have sent over the years.

Of course, you know those teletubbies were simply a way to indoctrinate the children into the evils of the homosexual lifestyle. Or agenda. Or whatever Jerry Falwell said.

I'm struck by the comment yesterday... do we live in fear? No. We don't. We pack our fears into a box and say, yes, they are real.

And no, I will not live by them.

Camp OUT is at the Farm School in Athol, MA. Follow the link for more information.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Reality Comes Crashing In

I officially miss my kids.

Maybe it's because Jeanine is back in Boston today, working, and I'm up in Maine with all the animals. Maybe it's because I received two letters from Jake and one from Zachary today.

Jake drew a picture of a tree, and then wrote a note requesting a care package: an action figure, the newspaper, a bathrobe and "sum pichers of the cats."

The newspaper?

Yes, I sent him without a bathrobe because he insisted he didn't want one. Not that I'm feeling guilty.

Action figure.... do you think he means this?

The special edition "Crazy Cat Lady?" Or is that too much like his mother? And look, she has a bathrobe, too.

Zachary wrote me, in typical Zachary fashion:

Dear Mom S,
I have sent out a letter and in my care package I would have the marvel bat 2 magic decks. Mom you can find them at Newberry Comics. Oh and some candy and comics.

Love, Zack

His required letter sending had taken place. I did send out care packages but before I received the letters. Allan is at work locating the marvel bat 2 magic cards from Newbury Comics. I'm surprised he didn't say, second shelf, to the left.

As Jeanine and I walked onto Ogunquit Beach yesterday, we watched cute little children playing in the sand happily. Jeanine sighed.

I miss the kids.

I rolled my eyes.

As Jeanine and I walked off the beach, late in the day, we watched no longer cute little children crying and screaming as their weary parents were trying to get them packed up for home.

Okay, I don't miss the kids, Jeanine said.

Today, armed with letters and faced with an old cat who insists on sitting on my lap even though it is 100 degrees, I miss my kids. The shooting at the Unitarian Church has left me feeling more susceptible. My idea of a safe place has been jarred. While the idea of anyone doing harm at a YMCA camp in the Berkshires is fairly remote, I think about Ben at Camp OUT.

All the kids at Camp OUT. They are all kids of LGBT parents. None of them chose to be a kid of a LGBT parent but there they are, hanging out together, trying to make sense of it all.

Are they targets? Should I not write about it? Should it be a top secret place no one knows about?

Maybe it's easier to shuffle my worries into a box called "I miss my kids." It normalizes the anxiety I feel about their safety in a world where LGBT people are still targets for extreme hate crimes.

A world I'm watching my oldest son come closer and closer to joining as different and there is not a single thing I can do to make it easier, keep him safe, or shelter him from what is to come.

A world that will take my other two sons confidence and comfort with their family structure and toss it in the air. No positive images on the daily news, only kids killed for being different, crazy people charged with hate coming into their churches.

When will Zachary's "Day of Silence" become a year of silence because to speak up is too challenging?

When will Jake's easy response, I have two moms and two dads, turn into a guarded shrug?

Like I said, it is easier to simply say, I miss my kids.

Otherwise, the reality comes crashing in, I am paralyzed by fear and the people who hate win.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tennessee Shooting

I'm still stunned by the news that an armed gunman went into a Unitarian Church in Tennessee that was in the middle of a performance by kids of the play "Annie" and killed two people, with the intention of killing many more.

A play, on a Sunday. Kids. adults. In a church.

He hated liberal views, he hated gay people. The church had just received a grant to create a LGBT and questioning youth cafe, space to be safe to be themselves.

I am a Unitarian Universalist. Yes, everyone, I am an atheist. It's the beauty of the church- you are challenged to think, consider and if you do not believe in God, there is room for you to believe in social justice, in community, in peace.

Four people are in critical condition. Greg McKendry, an usher, wrestled the man to the ground. He died, saving countless others as the killer packed 78 rounds of ammunition in his bag.

So as we examine whether or not Lawrence King was a bully that deserved shooting, as we examine whether or not gay history is something that is "too sexual" to teach in schools, I ask this:

When will we examine the right wing groups that create such hatred in our society? When will we put them on the stand and cross examine their lives, their homes, their parents? When will their hatred be abnormal?

A church.

On Sunday.

200 people watching kids perform "Annie."

If this doesn't call to mind the 16th Street Baptist Street Bombing, I would ask you why. That no children died is only a testament to Mr. McKendry.

This is about civil rights.

And this just got really personal.

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But Stewart Says it so much better...

Monday, July 28, 2008


A good friend of mine returned from a trip to family in Minnesota. While there, the matriarch, who is 92, pulled all the gals into her room and started to hand out something clearly precious to her-

her old dresses.

As she pulled them out, she remembered where she bought them and why- a special affair or party. It made for great storytelling.

Not really dresses anyone would want to wear in this day and age, but that wasn't the point. I doubt seriously she was aware she was getting rid of a collection she'd kept for years without thought.

When you collect all things penguin- my mother had so many different penguin things in her house it was hysterical- you do so intentionally. Everyone knows you have those things and adds to it over time.

And some people have collections they are not aware of- like old dresses.

Immediately, I thought of Jeanine and all her precious computers. She will be handing them out, at 92, with instructions and a promise to hand them back if they are not wanted.

Me? I have cookbooks galore. I know when each one was bought, what time of life it was for me, like The 30 Minute Menu, which I bought while working in the corporate world. Of course, I have a Moosewood Cookbook, bought at the same time I bought my first Cris Williamson record.

Another friend mentioned ancient marijuana smoking devices, along with books and records. Probably vinyl which will be utterly useless then.

I'm curious... do you have a collection you aren't aware of having but could see yourself handing out when your old? With stories to tell about each piece?

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

I have a problem.

My house smells like cat pee. My old cats, persnickety and defiant, have decided to pee and poop on the upstairs hall rug. Repeatedly.

Jeanine bought some smell remover, but it is not pet smell remover and while it makes everything fresh for a moment, the cats still smell the "sweet spot" and go back to do the deed again.

I should say, cat. Because I know which one it is. This information made everyone at dinner last night laugh hysterically. No, I did not do an anal measurement. One cat is very little and one is very fat. I clean the litter almost every day and let me tell you, one poops really big poops, and one little ones.

It's the little cat.

Jeanine, who has not been thrilled with the whole cat episode, only likes the little one. She's quite arrogant- the cat that is- and tends to usually have a look of disdain on her face.

Jeanine says she has personality. The other one- who loves to purr and have her belly rubbed- is boring.

Now I see what she loves me. I'm arrogant and usually have a look of disdain on my face, too. Although I will roll over in a heartbeat for a belly rub, too.

I don't know what to do to get the cat to stop peeing and pooping on the rug upstairs. But on a hot, humid day like today? I know I have to. Especially after Jeanine stepped in a pile yesterday- neither cat has much charm to her right now.

Any suggestions?

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Saturday, July 26, 2008


Yes, I'm suffering without my kids.

Like dinner tonight.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sally, Get Your Gun and Elaine? Keep Talking

As if Elaine Donnelly wasn't enough comic relief, in comes the news that Sally Kern has been caught packing some heat in the Oklahoma State Capitol building.

"Anti-gay Okla. lawmaker caught with gun at Capitol" Seems Sally carries with her a loaded .380 semiautomatic handgun.

While you might think it's because of all those crazy gay people threatening her but she's been carrying a gun for much longer than the youtube video controversy.

When asked about her gun, she said she was an "outdoors girl" who had "done some shooting."

I'm not sure what a .380 semiautomatic handgun and the outdoors have in common.

Kern was not arrested, although this was the second time she's brought a loaded gun into the Capitol building.

Meanwhile, Donnelly was ridiculed by the Washington Post today in a piece, Sorry We Asked, Sorry You Told.

My favorite part was the "lesbian group assault" that Donnelly seemed fixated on happened in 1974. It was alleged- never proven. And it was the only one ever reported.

I think Elaine might have some fantasies going on that she can't get out of her head. Maybe she's kinda hoping a group of lesbians will show up at her door.

You gotta wonder when someone is so passionately against "women gazing at another woman's breasts." What does she dream about at night?

I might send her a thank you note. Her testimony was so damaging to her cause we might just see an end to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From Pam's House Blend

I just saw this on Pam's House Blend, Don't Ask, Don't Tell Supporter Donnelly provides comic relief during House hearing.

Elaine Donnelly, someone with no military background and of a group that does no research, actually is invited to testify at the subcommittee hearing.

Gotta be some big campaign dollars moving around to get in a seat that usually requires credentials.

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First Letter from Camp

Jake sent me my first news from Camp. Looks good to me.

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Three Days...

It's been three days since Jake and Zachary were dropped off at camp. I miss them, sure, but I do enjoy the quiet mornings. And it is quiet around here until about 11AM, when Ben finally rolls out of bed.

And then it begins.

Mom? What are you doing?


Your job is really boring. Do you know how boring it is?

Uh... I like my job.

Don't you wish you had your old job back? (My former boss was at the house last night.)

No. I like my job. Besides, then you'd be in camp because I'd be at an office.

(Friend) is at camp. I bet she's bored.

I simply shrug. I'm pretty certain I know who is bored. It's not his friend and it's not me.

Can I have a Red Bull?


Yesterday, he came home hopped up on AMP- two cans of it on an empty stomach. Not such a good decision, I pointed out when he could not sit still.

Oh, come on, how about a four pack?

I smile, No way.

Can I make bread sticks?

I had gone to the grocery store with Ben the other day and mysteriously came home with quite a bit of junk food- like Pillsbury bread sticks in a can.


Two seconds later, he's back in my office.

Can you help me twist them?


We stand at the kitchen counter, twisting the sticky dough and talking about movies, shopping and what he wanted for dinner. Mostly, the conversation is Ben's requests for R rated movies, expensive Jordan Air sneakers, and the 99 Restaurant.

I didn't say no a lot. I listened and nodded. Well, I did say no to the R rated movies. The shoes I asked about but made no comments to their expense and how pigs would fly before I spent that much on shoes that he will outgrow in 6 months- or less.

Why the 99?

French Onion soup. I love their French Onion soup.

There are other places that serve an even better one...

Lemme guess, you don't like the 99?

Not really.

Always fresh for you, right? No prepackaged food... except these bread sticks.

Um... you talked me into the bread sticks.

He laughed. And the Cheetos. Can we go get some soda? No, wait, Red Bull. I really want to try Red Bull. Please, Mom?

And so the conversation when on and on. He's only been up two hours today and he's driving me nuts.

I have to remember why I didn't sign him up for camp this week. Why I decided to let him hang out with me all day while Jeanine was at work.

He's twelve, soon to be thirteen. In another year? He won't stay home with me. I recently ran into another mom who's son is fifteen. She sighed and said, everything now is about his girlfriend and his friends. I never see him anymore.

In January, when camp registrations were due, in my heart I knew I had this summer, maybe next, before I wouldn't see him at all. Whether he's dating or he's just hanging out with friends, he's not going to ask me to come and twist dough with him.

He's not going to ask for Red Bull over and over again.

There is news a-poppin' - the House of Reps in Massachusetts is getting cold feet around voting on the repeal of the 1913 law- which is ridiculous. McCain is being a jerk- this time having one of his staff question the sincerity of Obama's speech at a Holocaust Museum.

I don't know about anyone else, but I cannot imagine anyone not being sincere while talking in a Holocaust Museum in Israel.

Student loans are falling through right before the start of a new semester thanks to the subprime crisis, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout could cost taxpayers 25 Billion dollars, and while gas prices hover at 4.50 a gallon, we're told this whole economic mess is imaginary.

For the rest of the day today? I'm headed to the back room for a round of Dance Dance Revolution- Ben's favorite video game- and then a trip to the grocery store so we can make our own french onion soup with all those crazy fresh ingredients I insist on.

I can't change the world in a day.

But I can make soup with my son.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don't Start Dancing... Yet...

“If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I’m
afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost,” said
Wildmon, “I’ve never said that publicly until now—but that’s just the
reality of the fact.”

From Gay Marriage to End “Culture Wars”? JULY 21, 2008 on

Thank you, Arthur for this heart warming quote.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Newsweek's Hate Crime

I am stunned by an article put out by Newsweek, Young, Gay and Murdered. At best, it is poor journalism, at it's worst, it is a hate crime in itself, paving the way for a "gay panic" defense for the kid who pulled the trigger.

Remember? Larry King was killed? Shot point blank in the head?

Read the article and you'll be informed that in fact, Larry was the problem. He was always the problem. And while kids are experimenting with sexuality at younger and younger ages overall, being gay is dangerous. Heterosexual play is fine but, "Kids may want to express who they are, but they are playing grown-up without fully knowing what that means."

What does that mean?

The article is one of the poorest forms of journalism I've ever read. If it is an Opinion piece, okay, but to write "Even as homosexuality has become more accepted, the prospect of being openly gay in middle school raises a troubling set of issues" and to state it as fact?

To whom? The author? Is he an expert?

I can go on and on about this piece- and I will- but for today I am so deeply troubled by yet another piece of crappy, sensationalist reporting that is only geared towards selling magazines. It is obviously too boring and too common to focus on a 15 year old boy who snuck a gun into school and blew off another kid's head. A kid with drug abusing parents, with divorce and lack of parental supervision. A kid with an obsession with Hilter.

I know, been there, done that. No one wants to read that story.

Instead, let's focus on the victim. Let's dissect homosexuality at a young age. Not all kids sexuality, not all kids experimentation at younger and younger ages, but homosexuality.

Young, Gay and Murdered. Lesbian assistant principal suspected of a "gay agenda." King's troubled past leading him to a group home placement shrugged off as a minor event in a series of his own trouble causing.

As if kids get taken out of homes because they "accuse" their parents of hitting them. Another top notch effort of reporting, the adoptive father gets to simply say, "Not true," and that's it.

Because it's really about this bad boy, who wore girls clothes, got what he deserved. Homosexuality was the evil here. Playing "grown up" without knowing it could get you killed.

The article takes a kid who is dead and reports how he asked for it?

That, in my opinion, is a hate crime.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sock Free

The good news is I'll be dirty sock free for a month...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Packing for Camp

It's that time again. Zachary is packing for his month long trip to Camp Becket, a fabulous camp in the Berkshires. He loves it, he goes for a whole month- did I mention it's a month?- and no, there are no shorter sessions.

A month it is.

Except for first time campers who are 8 or 9 years old, they get to go for two weeks. Guess who is going for his first trip to overnight camp for two weeks? That would be Jake.

We have two trunks in the middle of the back room floor, piles of pants, shoes, laundry bags, watermelon flavored toothpaste and blueberry scented shampoo.

Better not be any bears out there, I said to Zachary who chose the berry scent.

Mom... they've only had ONE bear ONCE.

Just sayin'

Jake has been running around saying he was very "excited." He loves his new toothbrush, his new rain boots and bathing suit he picked out. Not to mention a way cool new digital watch.

I want to cry. My babies are going away. Zachary turns 11 while out at camp, and Jake is only 8 years old. They are too young, too little and they need their mommy.

I know, I know, balderdash. I need my babies, they are perfectly fine without me. They will grow and flourish and learn new things and develop a confidence that makes my heart burst with pride.

Another mom, her first year, called me. You mean it doesn't get easier?

Nope. Still makes me cry.

A few more things to pick up- batteries and the self addressed stamped envelopes to write home with that are never used- and they'll be ready for their adventure.

For a month.

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The Girls

Okay, there were not bonnets but note all the fabulous fashion.

I'm not allowed to name names (yeah, that's Donald) and those are not leggings, I am not doing a Jennifer Beals, they are WOOL SOCKS.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Way Life Should Be

I only have this to say to my editor at

nice picture.

Did you know Mary Bonauto is from Maine?

The Way Life Should Be, on


Donald cooked lobsters, Hara cooked corn, and Allan made a salad. I think. I dunno, I was on the porch watching the tide.

If you don't eye it carefully, it might go and reverse itself, you know.

It was wonderful. Sue, this is for you.

It's not simply the lobsters. It is the people around the table, the wine, the ocean breeze.

Okay, the lobsters are fairly spectacular, pulled from the ocean that day, cooked to perfection. Someday, I'll learn how to cook them myself but for now, I rely on Donald's expertise.

No more fog rolling in, no more boat to row, or fish to catch. I'm home again.

Back to work.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Campaign Time

Thank you, Donald. Not only are you cooking the worlds best lobsters for me tonight? You gave me a great video to post.

No one spared, as it should be, please this isn't the New Yorker....

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Smell Of Canvas

(I’m working on a book of essays and the tentative title is “Triggered.” The following is an excerpt from the opening piece)

It’s a perfect word to describe my life for the last two years. A minefield of triggers, some so benign, like the kids pulling the cords of a hammock, strung tight, a makeshift bass, it’s hard to imagine they create the need to run.

My father had an old washtub turned upside down, with a long two by four from which a string was pulled tight back to the washtub. It was his bass.

My kids are giggling, my wife showing them how the sounds can change, and I’m in the basement of my childhood home, standing on the tub, pulling the string. Two years ago, I couldn’t stop the flood of images that would drag me to a dark place, where I couldn’t breathe.

Where my fears were tightly wound around my throat, keeping me from screaming.

Now I simply leave the sound, walk into the house, and mentally pinch myself. I am here. Not there. It’s okay. I listen to my kids’ voices. My father is far far away and I am the grown up now.

It will never happen again.

The funny thing about these triggers is that you cannot reason with them. You cannot hold your hand up and say, stop. No more. Some hold more power than others. The musty smell of canvas brings an involuntary wave of nausea so great I fight not to vomit. I am in the tent, the suffocating tent, with my father. We’re on the camping trip, where we drove over a stream of flooding water to pitch the moldy piece of army surplus with it’s wooden sticks fastened with flimsy metal joints. I can feel something in my hands, not completely clear; my hand remembers what my mind has tried to bleach clean.

I stay clear of canvas.

I’m better now at recognizing the moment of contact with a trigger. A touch, a smell, a sound can suddenly set off a rush of anxiety so great I want to run to the corner and put my hands over my head.

As effective a dodge from the onslaught of images as it was in the elementary classroom of my youth from a nuclear attack.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Fog Rolls In

I’m back… if you don’t count the fact that I’m sitting on a porch watching an enormous fog bank creep in off the ocean.

I still haven’t read a paper in over a week I’m hoping someone got Jesse Jackson back on his medication and everything has quieted down. I am keenly aware of the mounting racism in this campaign- if it had been Clinton? The misogyny would have been off the walls.

Each week that goes by, I get a worse feeling in my stomach. I am starting to think a man who is a total nutcase, older than the hills and the biggest flip-flopper on issues we have ever seen in politics, can actually get elected.

My sister says she can’t vote for Obama because his middle name is “Hussein.” I love you, my seester, but I’m calling you out on that one. It is perhaps the most racist thing you’ve ever said. The man is a Christian- that bugs the shit out of me but I’ll still vote for him. The alternative is too scary.

McCain is volatile- he’s proven that over and over again. If I had better internet connection right now Id list all the times he lost it or used vulgar language with people, but I don’t so you’ll have to look it up on your own.

He can’t even say the same thing two days in a row. Sure, all politicians give lip service to the crowd in front of them but McCain seems to do it and be indignant when he’s called on it.

Oh, yeah, that’s because he’s mentally unstable.

We re-elected Ronald Reagan even though he was half gone with Alzheimer’s. Perhaps we are drawn to horribly dysfunctional people. I look at Obama and I see a married man, with a smart, capable wife, two great kids… um… what’s wrong? No drama?

I mean, what do you think Michelle Obama would do if anyone, let alone her husband, called her a cunt? That’s the woman I want in the White House as a role model to kids in this country.

Maybe as Americans, we simply like our broken people. Projects. Our current president is clearly stupid and that didn’t bother us at all. Stole an election? That’s okay; we’ll give it to you the next time.

I mean, Phil Gramm calls the entire country “whiners” and babies because of the economic slump and McCain applauds him? What happens? Is he run out of the country by the millions struggling to pay 4.50 a gallon for gas? Is he hounded by the millions losing their homes in the subprmise crisis?

Nope. He raises 22 million dollars for his campaign.

But his middle name is “Hussein?” Please, this is the one time I wished I believed in God so she could swoop down and bitch slap this whole country.

The bank of fog I’m watching roll in is a force of nature. The bank of fog covering American’s eyes about the real McCain is a mixture of too much Fox Fantasy News Channel and inexcusable ignorance.

I have a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I honestly am starting to think McCain has a shot at the presidency.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's Sunday? Already?

It's been days since I've written. I miss my blog! But it's been good for me to take the break, to reach inside and to sit with a lot of big feelings that come up.

Ms. Moon, it was indeed refreshing and eyeopening.

As of Friday, though, it's been Moms' Weekend. Every year, for a weekend, the Moms and kids come to Ogunquit, Maine to stay at our house for a weekend. We eat, we drink wine, we eat more, we talk and talk and talk...

It is shocking to me, often, how many people don't take the time or care to know about their deepest inner selves. To think about and discuss interpersonal relationships. Not my Moms. We all get into the minutia of life and laugh on our way there.

We have the setting, that's for sure.

It is intimate and we have a chance to check in about our kids, where they've been over the last year, and our daily lives. More than that, we have time to both sit quietly on the beach with each other and take turns playing with the kids.

And did I mention we eat?

I don't mean to brag but we are all great cooks. Not good cooks, but great cooks. One cooks amazing desserts and Brazilian food- well, really, any ethnic food. One is the salad queen but please don't ever think salads are all she can do. One doesn't do the kitchen much but when she does, a great spanakopita comes out.

We love each other and over the years have come to delight in this treasured weekend.

I am truly blessed.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

McCain really does equal Bush

McCain campaign takes on a Democracy Superhero Librarian...

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Step Right Up, Folks, and Win a Fabulous Prize

In these economically trying times do we need a man who says- and I quote- “The issue of economics I’ve never understood as well as I should.”

I’m sorry, he’s been in the Senate for over 20 years, and gosh, never took the time to learn the issue of ECONOMICS?

Perhaps that’s why he got in so much trouble with the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal that almost brought the country to it’s knees. John McCain was quick to turn his public shame into campaign finance reform.


Well, yes except for that cute blond, Viki Iseman, he went to extreme lengths for, so much so his staff was freaked out and tried to separate them.

Hopefully not at the hip because that’s not an image any of us need to go to sleep with tonight.

While the mainstream news media went gaga over the idea that McCain was getting more than free peanuts on the aircraft loaned to him by Iseman’s boss, they missed a more important point.

Even after all the “shame” he wrote about in his 2002 memoir, “Worth Fighting For,” he was willing to go that extra mile into questionable ethics when it came to that perky blonde.

A champion of deregulation, Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients.”

So... Johnny does what Johnny damn well wants to do? I wonder if he called her a cunt?

In the meantime, Americans are considering voting for a man who openly admits he doesn’t know much about economics during a time when we are in desperate need of sound economic leadership. Not only does he not know about economics, the Keating Five Scandal drove American Savings and Loans the bring of disaster.

That’s Mom and Pop in the Midwest going to save their fifty bucks they have extra from their paychecks.

Johnny? Well, he does have that wife with a few hundred million. Not only that, his district re-elected him even after the Senate Ethics criticized McCain for questionable conduct.

Now we’re going to give him the responsibility of the nation? Because he said he was sorry and then, went and did it again?

Would you rehire an accountant who cheated you out of money? Would you go back to a bank that lost your money once, apologized, then lost it again?

The bottom line- and I wish Americans would really start watching the real economic line, not the bullshit Republicans pull out to promote more tax cuts for the rich- is we can’t afford to have this man in charge.

Personally, this is one thing Bush is a beacon of wisdom for- "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.

McCain's promises are no more than a carnival barker's call. Step right up, folks, and win a fabulous prize...

And we'll all end up with empty pockets at the end of the night.

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Released Hostages

The released hostages from Columbia are a sight for sore eyes, I am sure. Their families, waiting 5 and a half years have been rewarded with their loved ones, in one piece.

And yet we continue to hold our hostages in Guantanamo. No trials, no contact with family, tortured regularly... so when we think of the terrorists in Columbia, we best go take a peek in the mirror.

We are no better.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

In Memory of Jesse Helms

Worn Thin

(This post is from Sept. 22, 2006- about two weeks before my mother died, she was scheduled for surgery. She decided against it at the last moment.)

When I was little, my mother sang to me and I thought she had the most beautiful voice.

Hush little baby don’t say a word
Momma’s gonna buy you a mocking bird
And if that mocking bird don’t sing
Momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

There was something about her voice. The combination of how deep it was and the breathy softness of her singing was so comforting. She would take a long, deep breath and always start by humming first, as if from a far away place, a gentle place, a low rumble slowly became words.

My mother felt safe in those moments. She would rub my back and I would fall fast asleep listening to her voice, as it trembled slightly with her fear of hitting the wrong note.

The night before my mother’s last surgery, a few years ago, I laid down next to her and rubbed her back. I remember wanting to sing, softly, the way she had sung to me. The way I sing to my own children. I held her. She was terrified.

In the morning, we all stayed with her until the nurses gave the shot to relax her, in preparation for the anesthesia. The room was stark, covered floor to ceiling with white, enamel tile. There were four bays for patients, but she was the only one that hour. She looked so small.

This time, the night before her surgery, I do not know who my mother will have hold her. So many people have been pushed away. Dismissed. Or simply worn thin by her need to be in control and the center of the universe. The world revolves around her and she thinks she’s an awful person. Nothing matters but her woes, over and over. Her insecurity eats at her. People see power and confidence when they meet her. I see a scared, little girl who flails at anyone who tries to help her.

This time, I won’t wrap my arms around her. It hurts too much. Too many times her voice has come from the rage bubbling just under her skin. Thick, intoxicated, it cuts to my core.

I don’t know who will hold her. I don’t know who might sing for her. I only know it won’t be me.

And if that cart and bull fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Finding the Right Voice

Yesterday, we hung out at the beach, played all day. It's a testament to a tremendous effort that the boys not only love going to the beach, but they stay all day without a peep of complaint.

Later, we stopped at a new hot dog shack in Perkins Cove. It was once where you bought tickets for the Ugly Anne tourist fishing boat or a soft serve ice cream cone. Don't ask me how they worked together but it did, and they were there for many years.

But times change, and while you can still get tickets for the Ugly Anne, the tiny store front is now a Hot Dog stand. We saw the Frito's, Chili and Cheese combo and had to try it.

The dogs had a nice snap and were served in a grilled bun. They scored very high, although more Frito's were needed and a little more cheese. Overall, while it's no Flo's, the infamous hot dog shack of Cape Neddick, it isn't bad.

By the end of the day, the boys headed back to Boston with Jeanine. They are off to Cousin's camp in Maryville, Missouri, with cousins coming in from Iowa, Florida, with Aunt Toni in charge.

For a week.

I have a week, alone, in my house in Ogunquit, Maine. Do you have any idea how close to heaven that is? It's not just the CD player blasting Joan Armatrading, or the fact that the house is actually clean, or sitting on the deck with the breeze keeping the bugs away and the temperature oh so slightly chilled.

It's a week to read the stack of Nation magazines I've fallen behind with. To pull out an essay or two from MFK Fisher's The Art of Eating to remind myself how much I love her work. To eat when I feel like it. To walk the beach, endlessly, with no one waiting for my return. To wander down for the best mussels on this coast at 98 Provence. To pull up a seat at the upstairs bar at MC Perkins Cove to have their amazing Caesar salad with white anchovies- anchovies so good even my kids eat them. And the sesame crusted deep fried rainbow trout with Chinese fermented black beans will make you rethink fresh water fish forever more.

No, I have no problem eating alone in a restaurant. Bar seats are always fun and everyone around, especially in a resort town, are happy to strike up a conversation. Sometimes, I prefer a table, alone, tucked away, where I can listen to different people talking, create characters and life stories from what I see in a moment.

I love my family more than life itself. I was keenly aware of the fact that Jeanine had all three boys on a plane today. They landed safely and the Joan Armatrading came out. I started to relax. A little.

It's hard for me to let go. I wondered if Jake ever packed his toothbrush like I asked. I hope Zachary actually changes his clothes, at least once. I know Ben will be struggling without his cell phone- lost in a cab in NYC, the replacement has not come in yet.

I promised myself this time to write- to work on longer pieces, to work on the essays for my book.

If I don't post this week, it's because I'm working hard on getting back to the roots of my writing. I'm tempted to repost some of the pieces I wrote when I first started this blog- when no one was reading it. They came from my core. Often, I would take a photo and then write the piece.

I haven't done that in a long time. I miss it.

Sometimes, you have to go away to come back fuller, deeper, richer. I hope to do that. I've struggled lately with what is the role I want to take in the blogsphere. I feel the need to reinvent myself, in someway.

Or not.

But, no matter what, to find the right voice for me. Not the perfect voice, not the most beautiful but the right one.

For today.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Vitter and Craig's Marriage Amendment

Enough goofing around with pretty princesses. My piece, "Vitter and Craig's Marriage Amendment... and Now for the Punchline" is on gaywired today.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pretty Pretty Princesses

I had it slightly wrong- sorry. Band's name is the Pretty Pretty Princesses.

The song? Rainbow Unicorn.

And that's for meow mix.

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Day Two, Summer Camp Finds the Groove

Today, after the plumber came and inspected the sewer pipe issue, we went to the beach. I find it amusing that now I need a full sized cooler to take the food for the day- and there are only four of us here.

Sandwiches, cherries, yogurts, chips, apples, muffins, sodas and ice water.

They still required a trip to Charlie's for french fries, hot dogs and, of course, clam strips.

While there was some mud slinging- literally, not figuratively- and a few time outs issued, the day was gorgeous. At one point we were all lined up on our towels, half snoozing. I realized they are all as tired as I am right now. The giant push to the end of the year is hard on them.

Tonight, sun soaked and fresh from showers, we're hanging out watching television. Much more along the lines of the kind of summer vacation I was thinking about.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Spam, Spam... oh, and some spam

I know you've all seen this and I can't help it. After going to Spamalot, my only sadness in the show was the classic Spam skit was not performed.

I just pulled it up to show the boys.

After spending the last few days singing "Pretty Pretty Princesses" from the Mighty B, they are now chanting, Spam spam spam spam...

As it should be.

Summer Blogging

Remember when I wrote in February about how I wanted to spend a lot of time with my kids this summer?

To have a "Camp Sara" and have structured days with different activities?

Remember how sweet that sounded?

Guess what... the reality is a little different. For one, summer caught me by surprise. I'm not ready. Can I please have two more weeks of school, sans any events/parties/conferences?

Secondly, the crew is less than excited about arts and crafts with mom. Partly because I personally hate arts and crafts- ew to glue on your fingers. Scissors make a mess and cleaning up after paints is enough to make my eye start twitching.

I didn't blog yesterday because I had a house full of kids, a small plumbing emergency and hot, humid weather. Oh, wait, I forgot the three glass half gallon milk bottles that came crashing out of the refrigerator when Ben pulled the door open, a tad too hard.

Milk and glass, everywhere.

Not really any time to sit the kids down and give a thoughtful creative writing exercise. Or even have a fun egg race. To be honest, I didn't even make lunch- I sent Ben and Zachary to the pizza place around the corner to pick up food.

The thing is, with my earnest excitement about having the kids around more this summer I forgot a very important piece- I am going to be flat out with all summer long.

There is no vacation. This is my heaviest work season.

So, please, be patient with me. I will continue to try and post every day, with pictures on weekends. But if I miss a day... well... say a prayer for me.

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