Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As the hours tick away on this last day of the year, I keep thinking of a few things I wish were different in 2008...

I wish I had planned the summer better. The kids are getting older and cramming everything in, along with downtime, is a challenge. I kept telling everyone in February I thought it was going to be a tight schedule but no one took notice until mid August when they all said, damn, this is too tight.

I wish there was a better candidate for Clinton's senate seat than Caroline Kennedy. She's about as exciting as dry toast. The reality is, she can bring money into the party and while everyone will point to the media for creating her as a candidate, nothing could be farther from the truth. The green of money will make her a candidate. I will say, she's very progressive, so in the long run, it's okay.

I wish we won in California. It was so painful to see the loss, to recognize how many people there are who simply do not like gays and lesbians. Sure, we can cut their hair, or mow the lawn but don't ask for anything more. On the other hand, it was such a devastating loss it woke up many people who were complacent before. It will be seen in history as a loss that sparked change across the country.

I wish the Democrats had some guts and actually stood up to the bailout package and said NO. We are in need of a New Deal package, we need to help all Americans not just the wealthy executives who blew it in the first place. Maybe they should be mowing lawns and cutting hair and making room for new leadership. Instead they caved to Paulson and Bernake's panic attack.

I wish Michael Phelps could be frozen in time, spared the roller coaster life of instant fortune and fame. Watching him swim was such a treat, pure joy- what happens to his life now is beyond anyone's control.

I wish my kids would know through every hard moment we've had this year, how much I do love them. How hard it is to see them struggle.

They say hindsight is 20/20. I like to think of it as lessons learned and tools for making change.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sand Tan

Jake and I have come up with a new idea we believe will be the next best eco-friendly product to hit the store shelves.

Instead of that gloppy, sticky, pasty white sunscreen, we think you should use sand.

Yup, sand. Not only will it block the harmful rays of the sun, it will provide a spa treatment- a little dermal abrasion to whisk your pores back into shape.

I know. It's brilliant.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Great Company

I love hanging out with Jeanine's family. I get to pick on her and they all agree. Since there are so many people around? She doesn't even know I'm talking about her.

It's also nice to get support around difficult teenage boys.

As the years have passed, I've learned a lot about how this family works and moves. I have never really understood the amount of love there is. Oh, they fight, to be sure, but overall, there is genuine love for each other.

Everyone teases each other, playfully. Don't ever screw up in front of these people because man oh man they will never let you forget.

My family is like that, too, minus the playful.

We're all wiped out after a day of the beach, football watching, and swimming. Everyone has finally arrived for Weezie's birthday celebration. All the kids have grown and surprisingly, the adults have not aged at all.

I wish. We have all aged, and there are health issues running quietly just under the radar. I can't imagine losing any of these people. Ever. One of the hardest things for me when Jeanine and I struggled with our marriage was the thought that I'd lose the Go-Zam's.

The waves are crashing again tonight. The boys are almost asleep in front of the TV. I'm not sure I have the energy to go wash the salt and chlorine off me. I want to enjoy this moment.

Nothing else matters when you're surrounded by great company.

Lots of love.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Neither Great Nor Horrible

It's been a long day and I'm tired. We made it to Florida but not without major fireworks along the way.

Just normal teenager stuff, I guess.

It was hard to have my sister in law come up and nail Ben's outrageous sense of privilege. I mean, she had only spent a couple hours with him. But she's right. It does ooze out of his pores.

Because so much of the family is down here right now, we're actually staying at a hotel. It's a little odd to be here on the beach instead of our usual space. I'm sitting on a balcony, though, and listening to the waves crash.

It's a nice change of pace.

I had a terrible moment with Ben this morning. It made me feel like I was no better than my mother in the parenting world. Maybe worse because so many people think so highly of my thoughtfulness.

I was not thoughtful.

The irony? My mother would have cut me slack, soothed me, and said I did the best I could. She was generally very kind about my parenting.

It's not about me, though. an easy place to slink to for comfort- I'm a bad person- instead of realizing it's a hard moment in Ben's life. He's struggling, anxious and afraid.

And he's still a boy in so many ways.

Except when he uses the "f" word with me.

He's a good boy. I'm a good parent. Neither of us are great. Neither horrible. Just average and trying our best to figure out the world.

Tomorrow, we will hit the beach. The Floridians we are visiting rarely like the beach in "winter" but luckily there are many other folks here, all from cold climates and dying for the sea breeze and sunshine.

It'll be okay.

I hope.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Radical Change in Ordinary Moments

All I can say is that is one helluva lot of work for a single day of celebration.

It's quiet in the house now. The boys went with Walter and Allan to sleep over last night. This morning? Haircuts. We are off to Florida to celebrate Jeanine's Mom's 70th birthday and there will be a family photo taken. I'm not going to have them look like orphaned children pulled off the streets.

The cats are snorting their catnip toys. I fear for the tree but it's going to be taken down today, along with all the dishes piled up being cleaned, the decorations all put away.

I think that's my favorite part of Christmas- getting back to normal again.

Jeanine is still sleeping and there is much laundry to be done before I can pack for the trip.

Last night, we all played the game the boys gave Jeanine for Christmas- Rock Band 2. Allan scored a perfect 100% singing "Spirit in the Sky." We had a fabulous dinner of homemade wontons, finishing just in time to see the Celtics choke and lose.

As much as I love being a grinch and complain, I have to say, Christmas was very nice this year. Jeanine and I talked about how we only have a few more years with the kids being so excited they have to be up at 6AM. We'll have to give the cats their little 'nip stash the night before so they tear across us in the morning.

This holiday has been filled with old and new friends. I've mended a relationship with a friend that was very important to me. We went bowling with our Moms group that has become my extended family the weekend before Christmas which was playful and fun. As we all lounged on couches eating pizza after, I tried my best to soak in all the love.

It's a little overwhelming sometimes.

Ben was thrilled with his gift from his most inappropriate Aunt- Flava of Love, seasons one through too many.

Zachary ended up outfitted for... something.

And Jake... Jake is still little, in so many ways. He pretended to believe in Santa, although quietly he did tell me he knew better. I told him the magic of Santa never goes away.

There were a few tears- the new Star Wars lego set was hard to assemble even with Mom Jeanine's help- but nothing dramatic. I took my dog on a long walk in the woods and it was a glorious, sunny day.

As I get ready for the clean up, I can't help but wonder what it will take in this society to recognize my family. Do we have to be victims of brutal crimes to be sympathetic? Do we have to be dying or sick in hospitals before someone believes asking for our rights is a reasonable thing?

Why can't it be simply because it's the right thing to do? In so many ways, as I sit here this morning, I'm like every other suburban housewife. I don't understand.

Maybe it's because no one takes the time to see the ordinary. It doesn't make you cringe, nor laugh out loud. I hope to create radical change in those moments. I do not want to be a victim to be heard.

For now? I'll go fill the dishwasher. Start taking the lights down off the tree. Wake my wife up and get her to unclog the sink in the bathroom downstairs.

Christmas is over. I love my family.

And just like every other suburban housewife, I will do my best for them in this coming year.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Be Safe and Be Thankful

A young lesbian woman, 28 years old, was attacked and gang raped on December 13th in Berkeley, California. According to the police report, the woman was taunted for being a lesbian by the men who ranged from late teens to early thirties.

As we all settle in to celebrate our families, please remember those who were not safe. Those who walked across the street, or went home from work, or simple drove out
to pick something up at the store. Every day lives shattered by acts of unbelievable violence.

No one should ever have to live through that. I know. I've lived through rape. It is my biggest fear for my children, for my family and my friends. It is a crime that robs you of your dignity. It is an act of rage and violence and leave you feeling humiliated.

It scares me to even read about. It shakes my core.

I had to check on a friend's daughter who lives in San Francisco. She lives in Berkeley. The age fit.

It wasn't her. But it could have been. It could have been any of us with a rainbow sticker on our cars- the victim, it seems, was identified that way. Or a haircut. Or a tee shirt, or... anything.

We live our lives out and proud. We know we have to in order to make progress on our rights. Studies show that if you know a LGBT person, you are going to support their rights.

If you know our stories, our struggle.

Our pain.

If I believed in God, I would pray for that young woman. It is exactly these kind of acts that make it impossible for me to believe in a gentle, guiding spirit that cares for us all. Instead I will do what I know I can- spread the word. Remind people that hate crimes increase when the economy is bad.

And when anti-gay measures are passed, like Prop 8.

Be well tonight... sit for a moment and appreciate your safety, the warmth of your home.

May it never be any other way.

14 More Minutes...

Of peace and quiet before I go get the boys from school.

Then all hell breaks loose.

Wish me luck... I'm going to need it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Almost All Set

I'm never really actually ready for Christmas. I always forget something- the coconut for the ambrosia salad, or a stocking stuffer I thought would be fun. I am always going to the grocery store, last minute, on Christmas eve for something.

I do love to stop by the mall to watch the men shop. It's amazing to me how men wait till the very last moment in time, and then are casual, as if there was nothing at stake.

Yes, it is a gender difference. I have never ever known a woman to do such a thing. And when I'm walking around on Christmas eve? It's all men. And me. Watching.

I've been at this since Thanksgiving, when I made sure all out of town folks were taken care of. I could start in July and I'd still be here, two days before, realizing there is much to be done.

Tonight I finished about 50 Christmas cards. Okay, I started them, too. But they will hit the mail before the day, and that's enough for me.

What is it with email cards? Hello? It's cheating. I don't care if it's environmentally sound... it's lazy.

Oh my. I sound like my mother. Who, I have to say, I hold in my head when it comes to buying gifts- she was the best at it. I also hold her in my heart- the part that gave me the best cinnamon rolls recipe ever, the love of ambrosia salad, and gold rimmed glasses for Christmas breakfast.

She gave me a lot of things I don't like about Christmas but I've let them go. I don't want to hold the bad memories anymore. It's too exhausting.

I find that my heart is at peace, for once. I've helped Jeanine with the dreaded cookie making that cost us about 15 couple therapy sessions- at least- because I simply could not make nice with the whole idea.

I made nice. I realized it costs me more emotionally to be angry than to smile. I don't need to be right. I only want to be happy.

The kids will race down tomorrow morning and stare at the tree. Then they will all sing, and dance and generally make loud, happy noises about how close it is to Christmas.

I don't remember ever feeling the urge to sing in my home as a child. It's very foreign to me. Sheer happiness.

It does require a cup of coffee, though. 7AM is still 7AM.

By tomorrow night, the cookies will have been delivered- locally, at least. Cards sent. Groceries bought. Presents for the cats and dog.

Everything is almost all set.

Let the songs begin.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chestnuts Roasting...

well, not exactly but I did finally get my photos to transfer...

Yes, that is a real birch tree bark.

ah, the tree...

and for some reason, Walter thought I needed a monkey on my desk.


Snow Day

Today is a snow day. Well, half a snow day. Before a flake fell, the schools were to be closed at noon today. As a stay at home mom, I find that ridiculous. First, no snow had fell. Radar, forecasts... whatever. The kids need school.

Especially on Friday before a two week break.

Oddly, my lovely wife has not come home yet. She, upon hearing that I had more children in the house than I started with this morning, decided that she would stop and do some Christmas shopping on the way home.

Hmm. Sounds suspicious to me. That was hours ago. I think I'll call- from the basement where she can't hear the children- and say everyone has gone home. I bet she shows up five minutes later.

I was accused by a friend of having "27 kids." Please. It really depends on which day of the week it is. Another asked how many pounds of meat I was getting for dinner tonight- you know, I can't help it that I feed a small army. Let's just say, a lot.

I didn't quite anticipate the massive food needs, though, and gave Jeanine a list to get at the store. Milk, bread, Valium...

that would be for me.

It is fascinating to me that while they will all go out and throw snow at each other, roll in it, play in it, they won't shovel it. I mean, why not dump a shovelful on your pal? Just off the walk, please.

Actually, I do love a snow storm. I was out playing with the very large snow blower that the four houses on our shared driveway pitch in and use. Kind of pitch in and use. Okay, basically, I use it and everyone occasionally tosses me a few bucks for gas.

I pumped up the tires, checked the oil and started it up. The sweet smell of greenhouse gases filling the garage.

I also pull out my Carhartts. Yes, I do have them. The overalls, the jacket. Jeanine says I look stupid in them but, hey, I'm warm. And she doesn't have to snow blow the driveway.

Until the fifth storm of the year and then I'm grumpy and get mad that no one else has helped.

I'm certain I just heard the Christmas tree fall over. It's time to heard the children back outside.

Enjoy the snow today! And if you don't have any? don't tell me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Personal Responsibility

If you take every penny you have and put it on the craps table in Las Vegas, one roll of the dice could leave you broke.

Or rich.

Either way, it's your responsibility. There have been grumblings that perhaps the Federal government will step in to solve the Madoff debacle. It would be a huge mistake, in my opinion. People who bet everything on one person had to know there was a real possibility that they would lose.

Just like at the craps table.

Which brings me to our esteemed president-elect Obama. Rick Warren, a serious homophobic bigot, will be delivering the invocation at the inauguration.


Some have claimed it is the responsibility of the Inaugural committee. I disagree. It is the personal responsibility of the man at the top. As Pam Spaulding said, "the buck stops with the man at the top of the food chain."

She's right.

This is a moment of setting a tone for the administration. While I understand Obama's message has been to bring everyone in under the Big Tent, to hear all voices and to have them work together, there are other evangelical, fundamentalists who are far less rabid about LGBT issues- and women's choice issues- than Warren.

While it is not the end of the world, or my hope for the Obama presidency, I do feel the tire tracks of the bus I've just been thrown under.

And it doesn't feel good.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Uh Oh

My sister yelled at me yesterday.

What is up with the blog?? Do you know that some of us depend on reading it EVERY DAY?

I hung my head. I knew she was right. I have been remiss.

I don't care if you are busy, she added. No one wants to read about that. Now get to it...

And I didn't post yesterday. I'm sure I'll be hearing from her again this morning. I will say I got to go to a kickin' holiday party last night for Berklee College of Music as the lovely wife attachment to one of the Vice Presidents.

Very nice. Amazing music being played, as you would expect, but in a small space there were three different bands playing. It was very cool.

I will also say the kids have been singing very loudly every morning how many days till Christmas and I am so unprepared I'm about to lose my mind. Meetings, phone calls keep stacking up and I keep looking at what was once empty days on my calendar and wondering when it's all going to get done.

This morning, they added a new verse to the song to commemorate the new snow on the ground.

I am sorry I have fallen behind on my daily posts. Sorry my seester. I'm back on it. In the snow. With eight more days till Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Billion Dollar Wish

I continue to follow the Madoff case closely. It's the who's who of the money world, many of whom were taken for huge sums of money.

It makes me wonder... what would I do with a billion dollars?

First, I had to be sure what a billion was. I asked Ben.

So, it's 1,000 million, right? 800, 900 million, then a billion.


You sure?

Yes, Mom.

We won't mention that I worked at an investment firm. I will say not one of the clients had that kind of money- I didn't need to know the right number of zeros for a billion.

These days, talking about a million almost seems trite when hundreds of billions are being talked about daily in the newspapers. Most people in the world will never see anything close to a million dollars. Ever.

When I read about these clients who had massive losses, people who lost nearly a billion dollars... I wonder.

What would I do with a billion? 1,000 million dollars. It's an absurd number. I would have a few absurd things to do. Like buy a jet. I hate airports, I hate having to strip to my socks when I board a plane. I'd buy a jet. I have no idea why I thought of that first except we're getting ready to travel in airports over the holidays and there will certainly be problems.

I'd buy land and have a world wide competition to design the most amazing, beautiful LGBT center for Boston. We don't have one. I'd made it happen.

Next on the list would be to create a 100 million dollar scholarship fund for artists. Little broader than Ruth Lilly who gave Poet's Magazine 100 million.

And before I knew it, even if I was invested in the most conservative vehicles, I would have made the money back that I just spent on my plane, my LGBT center and my arts program. I'd have to start over again.

Maybe it's me but I simply do not understand that kind of money. And I understand money.

What would you do with a billion- don't forget all the zeros and how quickly it grows at that size...

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quiet Sunday Morning

It's quiet this morning. Ben and Jake are at their dad's house and Zachary and his good friend are here munching in the other room on their most favorite sleepover breakfast- fried egg sandwiches.

These two are the sweetest of boys. They played video games last night for a while then went up to Zachary's room- and Zachary played his saxophone for his pal. Christmas songs.

Earlier in the night, Zachary had come up to me and said, Mom, you are so stressed.

I was. I couldn't deny it.

You need to relax, he said.

Too much to do, I said to him. He and his friend looked at me and shook their heads. I made no sense to their eleven year old minds. Recently, Zachary had compared me to Zeus and himself to Atlas.

You rule the sky, he had said. I just hold it up.

Such a middle child. And how foolish I must have sounded, as ruler of the sky, saying I could not take time to relax on a Saturday night. He knew he didn't HAVE to hold up the sky. There was Hercules to be tricked, after all.

Last week was absolutely insane for me. So much going on, many things to do. I've hardly had time to breathe. I need to slow down today. Take a walk. Read the paper.

And listen to the collective wisdom of two fabulous eleven year old boys.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Men and Greed

Last night Bernard Madoff was arrested for running what was basically, the mother of all scams in the investment industry.

The other day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich was caught trying to line his pockets by offering his pick to replace Senator Obama up for sale.

Men and greed.

Oh, sure, women are greedy, too. No question. We rarely rise to the same levels of power, though. I do not think we are above it, we simply haven't had the same opportunities.

With Madoff, I can personally say, it was clear it was a scam to me. For a long time. I've worked in the investment industry and served on investment committees for a long time. I knew, many people I knew also knew, that there was no way anyone could ever have those kind of returns.

It simply was too good to be true.

Why did people invest? Because they didn't want to see the man behind the curtain. They wanted the money.

I cannot even begin to explain the good Governor. He had it made. He had power and political clout. I guess it wasn't enough.

The fascinating thing to me, is that they don't realize they will get caught. Madoff had been doing this for YEARS. Decades. How he could have lived with taking money from people knowing they would never get it back is beyond me.

But did both men really honestly believe they would get away with it? I think Madoff knew the gig would be up eventually. Blagojevich was just an idiot.

I look at the three, privileged white boys I am raising and wonder how to keep their feet on the ground. How to install a sense of dignity and moral compass that is strong enough to weather any kind of temptation- and especially money and power.

I don't know how. But I know I have to.

Because men and greed... it's a bad combination.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Urgent Help Needed for Date Night Ideas

Quick... I need something fun to do with my wife tonight. She wants to go to a movie and there is not a single movie out (Milk has not made it to Boston yet) that I want to see.

I have to come up with a fun alternative and I have no idea what to do.

We had a big party here last night with lots of fancy food so a dinner out isn't really going to cut it. It's raining hard so a festive walk down Newbury Street is out of the question- but would have been my second choice.

Help! Any ideas? Otherwise, I'm destined to go see the James Bond movie and I really don't like James Bond movies.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I Am An American

I have spent much of my life as a victim. As a lesbian, as a woman, I have been a victim of hate, of violence, of job discrimination.

I'm done. I don't want to be the other. I don't want to be on one side while the rest of the world, divided by what often feels like an arbitrary line, sits on the other.

I am an American. I am responsible for three kids, my wife- my family. I love them and it is my job to take good care of them- the best care of them I possibly can. I pay taxes and a mortgage. In order to do that, I need to be an excellent employee, work hard, put in my best effort.

I am motivated by being a good role model for my children. I need to support them emotionally, and provide the best education possible. My marriage, more than just our community wrapped around our relationship, keeps us intact. It provides laws to do so, too.

Marriage is good for society. It keeps families whole and provides safety nets- especially for children. It has for a long time. It will continue to for a long time.

I'm not looking for any special treatment- except on my birthday, when I love my kids waking me up at the crack of dawn to provide me a "leisurely" breakfast in bed. I don't except to pay less for gas, or to have a special line to get past airport security faster than anyone else.

Most of all, I don't want pity. I am stronger than most people. I can haul wood or groceries or laundry endless distances. I can stay up all night and rub a sick child's back until they can fall back asleep again. I can cook dinner for my family every night or for 50 people on Superbowl Sunday.

I can hold unbearable past experiences and still breathe in the joy of my life today.

I am a good friend. I care deeply about my neighbors, my community, my country. I donate my time, my money to help better the world.

I am not on the other side. I am not a tiny piece of a small fragment in this country.

Don't ever feel sorry for me.

Let me have the full responsibility of being an American. Because we deserve an American workforce free of discrimination, we deserve the strongest military in the world and every child in this country deserves a family.

I am an asset to this society. Let us all erase the lines of Us and Them. Think of what we can do if we do it together.

I want excellence. Don't we all?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Beautiful Site

I walked by the White House today on my way to the conference. I saw something that gave me goosebumps.

The platform for Obama's inaugural speech is being built.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Few Miles Away

I've made it to DC, and spent some time this afternoon wandering the streets. It's a pretty city- at least where I am- and it is a beautiful, crisp day.

Something old tugged at me. Always does when I'm in this city, which is probably why I rarely come here.

My birthmother lives here.

I was given up for adoption when I was born. I've always been proud of being adopted, as was my mother who raised me. I have an adopted son. Both my siblings were adopted, too, from different birth mothers.

When I was in college, my sister's birthmother found her. She was dying, and wanted to let my sister know how much she loved her and wished she could have raised her.

It tore my mother apart. She asked me if I wanted to find my birthmother. I said no. I saw the look in her eyes and it was the only answer that would not hurt her.

I lied. I did want to find my birthmother.

Being adopted, I also wondered who was the woman who gave me up. Why? Why didn't she want me? Was she a whore? Was she some bad person who did bad things- and by blood so would I?

Mostly, I wanted to know who she was, what she looked like. I had never been with a single blood relation in my life until the day Ben was born.

When I was twenty five, I decided I could not wait until my mother died to look. I asked her for all my information and she gave it to me. It was not a hallmark moment.

I hired a private detective and found my birthmother, although it took almost two years. I wrote her a letter.

A month later- one spent anxiously checking the mailbox every day- she wrote back. My heart dropped. I was overjoyed and scared and relieved. I found her.

The details of my adoption were a young masters degree student at Syracuse University had a summer fling with a construction worker in a small, resort town outside Syracuse. She said he was very sweet but not very nice. He did not acknowledge the baby was his. She didn't want to marry him anyway.

She could have had an abortion- even in 1962- but chose not to. She never held me. Never saw me.

We corresponded for some time. I never called her- she asked me not to- and she never called me. We shared photos, favorite writers, and she told me my medical history.

Gradually, we fell out of touch. She didn't want a daughter and I didn't really want another mother. Mine was a handful. She never told me much about my birthfather- just that he was blond and blue eyed and Irish.


I went back to my room and looked her up. She is only a couple miles away from where I am right now. She's 72 now- we've both gotten much older. I have two half brothers- I knew that many years ago but they were both young and she carefully guarded them.

I understood and left it be.

I realize this is unfinished business for me. Maybe it's because my mother is dead. Maybe it's because I never heard her voice, or looked into her eyes.

I have her eyes. Ben has them, too.

I don't know what I'm looking for right now.

I only know she's a few miles away.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What to Do?

I'm in a mood.

Bad mood.

Ben, my lovely oldest son? Had a band concert tonight. Last week, we bought him a new button down white shirt, black pants for the concert. Walter, Allan, Jeanine and I were all going. Jake and Zachary, too.

This morning? Ben told Jeanine he wasn't exactly in band. Mind you, Jeanine is insistent the boys all take music lessons and participate in band. She's a musician, yes, but we both believe music teaches a great deal more than just music.

Mom. I'm not in band.


I never joined this year. I don't have a concert tonight.

And then he said, Don't tell mom.

As if.

I didn't blow. I simply said I was very disappointed he lied again. Later, I repeated the disappointment and said both his mom and I were angry but no punishment was yet decided.

We needed some time.

Remember those eggshells as a kid?

I'm off to DC tomorrow. I am incredibly disappointed. But mostly? Concerned. He's begging for help in the only way he seems to know how.

Now what to do... I wish I knew.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Prop 8- The Musical

This is great fun. Please enjoy. But I have to say one thing- where were these people before the election?

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Good to Go

Jake has discovered toilet paper.

And soap.

Now, this is a good thing, for the most part. It's meant a lot of running around with the plunger but I'm glad things are getting cleaned up. At least I can't imagine they are not getting cleaned up with the amount of toilet paper he's going through in a single sit.

It's a proud moment for a mother. You can hound kids forever but they will finally do what they are going to do when they are ready to do it.

Yesterday, he came out of the bathroom and showed me his hands.

Look, Mom. I washed them!

Very good.

When I went into the bathroom, I found he had washed them with approximately half a bottle of the hand soap. Soap was all over. But his hands were very clean, no question.

We may very well be changing the definition of family in some people's eyes, crumbling the very bedrock of society in others. I'm tired of arguing the point.

But I can say with confidence, everyone has clean hands. And... uh... everything else.

Good to go.

Where is the Justice?

While I was preparing for my trip to DC for the blogger's conference yesterday, Jeanine emailed me.

I'm going to Hawaii for work. Early January.

Now, I don't mean to be bitter, but... DC in December for two days versus Hawaii in January for a week. Who has the better job?

A friend said, Now, you can't compare apples to oranges.

I said this is not apples to oranges. This is a juicy, perfectly ripened mango that drips down your chin to a half eaten snickers bar you find under the car seat three years later.

No offense, Mike.

Another friend said, hey, at least you don't have a crabby boss.

First of all, Jeanine's boss is a lovely man. Very nice. Secondly, I'm my own boss and I am crabby. Often.

There is no justice in the world.

I need a better job.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Big Ol' Blogger Convention

I've been invited to attend a big blogger event this weekend in DC. I'll be there with all the big wigs. Me and my little blog.

So, I've gotten several Republican Senators to resign via my blog... what have you done?

At which point I will offer to refill their drink. I mean... um... ah... I've solved the problem of kitties pooping out of the litter?

Wait, no, Janet did that.

Um... ah...

I hope to get a rejuvenation, new enthusiasm. I have to admit, post election, I've found myself thinking, well... what is there to say? Although being in the room with the likes of Mike Rogers and Pam Spaulding is a tad intimidating.

I guess I'll be running to the bar often. Best bring a lot of cash.

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

It's that time of year. The holiday season where people get trampled for cheap goods on Black Friday.

I'm trying to be as chipper as possible- I got to go to Costa Rica last year and I promised I would be in full holiday cheer this year.

As time goes on, I have found the traditions our family has set up creates a safe, fun place. I love Christmas Eve, when Walter and Allan come and stay at our house. There is Fondue at a friends house, and, of course, the cookies.

Jeanine makes approximately 2500 cookies to be shipped to relatives, friends all over the country and the local ones are delivered by me and the boys. Aside from the inevitable mess that my kitchen becomes during the mad rush to get everything baked in short order.

The cookies have a dark history with Jeanine and I. I hate the chaos and she loves it. I hate the mess and she doesn't notice it. We spent many an hour in couples therapy talking about the cookies.

Can't you do a craft together? The therapist suggested.

I hate crafts, I hate glue, I hate mess. NO.

The answer was one year in a warm climate without any Christmas hassle, and the next year at home, cookies and all.

I don't struggle with old ghosts anymore, although I will say I missed my mother on Thanksgiving day. For a moment, I thought- I have to call...

But there is no one to call anymore.

My problem is the loss of any real meaning. I don't care about stuff. My mother was the best present buyer in the world, always finding that perfect gift that was neither too expensive or too cheap. It let the other person know she knew who they were. Because Christmas wasn't about stuff but people.

I'm trying to install that in my kids. It's not easy.

All I want to do over the month is see people, have great food, drink amazing wine and laugh. Celebrate.

The kids are looking forward to a good haul. Can't blame them, I know that's what I did as a kid, too. I get frustrated when it's ONLY about the stuff. Ben announced his list had only two items on it this year.

A very expensive new cell phone and a trampoline.

I said to him he might want to add some things he has a chance of getting. He will not get a new cell phone- he has one. And the trampoline, we have explained over and over, will cost us our house insurance. We cannot get one.

What proceeded ended up being a barrage of how much I suck and how Christmas always sucks because we suck and never give him anything good.

I did not blow. I calmly said, try to ask for something possible so you won't be disappointed.

A friend of mine, who grew up in a family of enormous wealth, raised her kids on the notion that Christmas was time for homemade gifts and a performance. Music, a skit... something.

Maybe I'll suggest a dance of the cookies...

Any way you cut it, it's suppose to be the most wonderful time of the year.

No pressure.

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