Saturday, February 28, 2009

Deep in the Doghouse

I can be such a jerk.

I've been miserable all day. Mad. Angry. Just out of sorts. Jeanine and I were due at a friend of hers tonight for dinner.

I whined.

Okay, deep down I was looking forward to some awesome Cuban food. I could not keep my mouth shut though.

We get the kids, go out the door... I slip on the last small piece of sheer ice on the driveway. I think I broke my elbow.

Do I go? Do I stay home?

Jeanine sends me back in the house. I'm not going to pay for this, she says.

I should go but it hurts. Half of it is how scared I was, I'm sure. It hurts to move but its just an elbow.

I'm deep in the doghouse tonight. Typing with one hand and wishing I hadn't been such a jerk all day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Banks Gone Wild

I've had it. Maybe it's my inner Republican coming out in full force but this whole bailout business is getting to me.

Yesterday, the NYTimes reported that AIG is still sucking wind and needs, oh, another 60 billion or so. Not to mention the US will end up owning about 40% of Citibank- not sure that's such a good investment.

The good news? It seems the death penalty is too costly, and many states are considering an end to it.

But reading just now about how Northern Trust, a bank who received 1.6 billion, and laying off 450 employees, had a party.

Sorry, they had a PARTY. As reported by TMZ, Gift bags from Tiffany's, sponsorship of a PGA gold tournament, fancy hotels, Sheryl Crow live for a private concert along with the band Chicago (I guess that was a tip of the hat to the recession)- millions spent.

I'm sure all the out of work employees enjoy chewing on that irony.

I have to wonder- why isn't this on the front page of the NYTimes? If they can report on Kansas giving up the death penalty based on cost, why aren't they working on the incredible bullshit going on with the bailout money given to banks?

I don't know about you all but I think handing over billions means there has to be some serious accountability. I want to know where every damn dollar is going. I want to read a business plan that shows they are capable of making change and if they are not? Boot them all. Hire new people.

Companies fail when they are poorly run. Handing money over to poorly run companies is not going to make them better. It will only prolong the pain.

Like I said, it's probably just my inner republican jumping out, but I am sick of reading about these abuses.

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The Cost of War

I'm still digesting the President's speech last night. Mostly, he did a good job being serious, focused and being honest about the problems we face.

I found one part of what he said particularly interesting... "We will never again hide the price tag of war."

It brought to mind the image of shopping for wars. Strolling down the aisles with your cart, looking at what you can afford. Taking over Canada would be a Bergdorfs item- way too expensive. And really, we'd have to allow all that marriage equality and import all those good social programs like universal health care.

Iran, not enough room on the credit card for that one.

Afghanistan seems to be attractively priced. Like shopping at Costco, we can get an enormous amount of grief and death at a low price.

Personally? I think we can't afford any of it. Not on any level.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cold cold cold

It's cold again.

Fucking cold. A friend send me a great link I love it. You can enter your own zip but funny, it always starts in Rochester, NY.

Where it's always fucking cold.

This is the hardest time of year. A few warm days and you lose your mind thinking it's going to be spring. Then winter blasts in a nice ice front to remind you, hello? It's still February.

I get in a serious funk this time of year. I want winter over, I want warm sun, I want the windows open. The piles of winter gear- boots, mittens, snow pants- have long since lost their charm.

By mid-March, I'll be in shorts, basking in 45 degree sun because I can't take it anymore.

Today? Just cold. Fucking cold.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Brothers Home

Ben missed his brothers terribly. He went out in the car and minus one big explosion upon walking in the door, there was a lot of love going on.

Brothers home. All is good. They all go outside- Ben says, let's not waste the sunlight...

Ben comes back in.

Can I have a ladder?


Do we have a ladder- bigger than the step ladder in the kitchen.


Do we?


Where is it?

Tell me why...

Well... we thought we would all climb on the garage roof.


I dunno. Just because. Where is it?

Needless to say, no ladder was sprung. All boys disappointed they did not get to... um... walk on the garage roof.

There you have it. Brothers home.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Turned Corners

Zachary and Jake come home from camp today. I can't wait to see them and hear all about their adventures.

Ben admitted yesterday that being an only child was lonely. He missed his brothers. He actually missed them so much he went with Jeanine to pick them up.

Go figure.

I think we turned some corners this week. It's not perfect and we'll still have a ruckus tonight at some point. I understand a lot more about what Ben needs right now.

A lot of love, freedom and firm boundaries.

A friend called today and, in regard to another issue, likened the experience to being on an airplane. There are those who have bought a ticket and are sitting and there are those driving the plane.

Everyone needs to land safely.

Ben is in his seat but ready to drive the plane. In time, he will. It's hard to stay seated until the plane comes to a complete stop. And until you land on a river and survive, it's hard to appreciate what goes on in the cockpit.

We'll all get there.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Gizmo!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nature of the Beast

More shopping is the plan for the day. I'm doing my best to help the economy. Well, Ben is doing his best to help the economy.

The week has been sweet so far. I don't want to leave. Ben is in a great mood, we're having fun, no sassy back talk and he even just took out the vacuum without any complaints.

The only drawback is every day he takes a shower, I have to wait an hour before I can. Not a drop of hot water left after that boy.

It occurred to me, as I was walking along the beach today, that as I feel my own body relax, the pulse of going going going slow down, the effects are seen in Ben. He draws on my energy far more than the other two.

The catch is how to keep it when we get home.

I know exactly what will happen the minute his brothers return from winter camp. There will be immediate competition for who had the best time, who did the best things. It never comes from Zachary and Jake. I'm not sure there is anything I can do to avert the clash.

Maybe a few more long talks over lunch will help. Maybe it's simply the nature of the beast. If life were always vacation, then I would never get anything done.

I certainly can't keep shopping.

For now, I'm going to savor every moment. Fill the memory banks with the way I know Ben can be. When the pressure of life pushes both of our buttons, I'll remember how he snarfed down all my coleslaw at the restaurant, walking on the beach with the dog together, and cuddling on the couch watching TV.

And breathe before I open my mouth.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Evil Plan is Working...

So far, the week has been great. Ben and I have been chillin' and it's nice. Last night, we argued about whether to watch "John Tucker Must Die" or "Million Dollar Baby."

I won.

He watched on and off. He kept running into the other room to check his IM account. But when he was in the living room, he snuggled with me on the couch. It's been a long time since he's done that.

When the movie got to the VERY sad part, I started to cry. Okay, I started to sob. Sad is not the word for it. I could only imagine having to make that kind of choice with a child of mine and I could not do it.

Simply could not.

Ben was amused and somewhat concerned. Why are you crying? He asked.

I explained, I could not do that. I could pull the plug on your grandmother but she had lived her whole life and was old... different. I could not do that for you.

Mom, it's ok. I'm ok.

I know.

You would have liked John Tucker much better, he said.

Um... it's okay to cry at a sad movie.

Today, we went shopping. I'm not much of a shopper and it was a challenge to be interested, but not too interested. If I liked something too much? Back on the shelf. After, we went to lunch.

A nice sit down lunch- he was merciful on me and didn't insist on Burger King.

While we talked about every American Idol contestant that ever was, and what they wore, I slipped in a little drug/peer pressure conversation. He told me one of his friends had been approached to buy "purple haze."

She said no, he reported.

It was awkward, he said.

We talked about ways to get out of that awkward moment. He decided he would simply say, Thanks, already got some.

I'm not sure that's the best answer but it saves face, and I get it.

Overall, my evil plan to spend quality time with him has worked perfectly. I have one question though- what the heck is purple haze?

Phenomenal Woman

One of the hardest things I did on Saturday at the Mass Equality gig, was get up on stage, and be in front of 500 people. I've done it before, I'll do it again, but the next day, I always wonder- was I stupid? I did I talk too fast? Did I act like a jerk?

After the night's adrenalin high passes, I always question myself. It's days later and I still wonder, did I do ok? Was I stupid?

I think it's time to let it go. I dug up this poem because I love it and it always makes me hold my head up high.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mea Culpa

I just got yelled at by two people.

Where's the posts???

Mea Culpa. I really have been remiss.

Last week managed to get a tad busy. Mass Equality had our big gayla bash on Saturday night. It was great. I was the co-host. I had a great group of friends who showed, cheered me on. It meant so much to me to have everyone there. The best part? Dancing until we could not dance anymore.

I also was packing Jake and Zachary for winter camp- yup. This week, both are out braving the winter elements, having a blast, skiing, skating, sledding. School is off for the whole week. They begged to go and, well, who am I to disagree?

Ben and I are up in Ogunquit. Just the two of us. Time to chill, hang out, spend time together. This has meant, so far, a massive dose of reality television shows. Soon to be shopping. I'm letting him decide what we do, where we go.

Well... not completely. I have my limits.

After thinking about the kid in need, and the kids we have, Jeanine and I decided this is not the right time to add another person to our family. Some day, yes, we will. I wish the reality was we missed our only chance but I know better.

After all the chaos of last week, I'm looking forward to a long, quiet week.


I know, I'm dreaming.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Universe's Pull

I was tired yesterday. Sleep wasn't my friend the night before. Every time I drifted into it I had the most awful dreams. Children, so many of them, being abused and I was trying to save them all.

I couldn't.

I hate those dreams. when it's me, well, I can wake up and know I'm ok. But when it's nameless kids, and many of them, it haunts me. I know it's happening all around me and there is nothing I can do about it.

Until the other day. I was sent an email about a kid who needs a home in Newton. Do you know how sometimes the universe works with all it's energy in one direction? Literally, 9 different people sent me the email.

Can you give a foster home for this kid?

Sixteen years old. The kid has been lifting some heavy, impossible loads. Out of respect, I will not list the details but you can know that this child reminds me of myself.

It is no longer faceless, anonymous many like in the dream. It's a real child.

Jeanine said we can talk to the social worker, have an interview, but we need to understand the effect it will have on our children. Our lives. It's a full time job and she already has one.

My projection is so thick, I can only see a kid who needs to be given basic safety. A bed. Meals. And some kindness.

It is not a limited resource in me. Can I do it for two years?

When I was young, I dreamed of running away and making a life for myself in the wilderness. I read the Foxfire Books. I wanted out, to a place I could breathe.

Like I said, the projection is thick.

I've come to accept that the dreams will never end. They don't happen every night now, and as time goes on, I'm sure they will lessen more. I've taken the broken glass that filled me and made a mosaic. There are still sharp edges but I don't bleed as often.

I have a lot I can teach. The level of pain doesn't frighten me.

I've done a lot of impulsive things in my life. Taking in a foster child cannot be one.

I cannot ignore the pull of the universe. Now, at a time when I am solidly on the ground and can actually do it. When I feel full enough, safe enough.

I have a call to make today.

Five Addictions

Okay, Jello Head, I will play nice and take my tag with grace.

Listing Five addictions...

1. Exercise: I might not look like I love to work out, but I do. If I don't run, swim or do something very active at least five days a week, I am beyond cranky. I don't think as well nor do I write as well.

2. Time Alone: I have to have my alone time. If I have a weekend- or a week- scheduled to the hilt, I am miserable by the end. I love my family, I love being surrounded by people, but I need the balance of being by myself.

3. As Sue wrote, I am also addicted to caffeine. And I don't care. I love it, I crave it and there is nothing so spectacular as a cup of hot coffee in the morning. There have been times in my life I've sucked down 6 to 8 cups in a day and I no longer do that but I will never give it up. I did while I was pregnant both times and since that will never happen again, I have no plans to ever change that.

4. My iPhone. I love my iPhone. I am never far away from it. I have been found asleep, clutching my iPhone to my chest. It has my favorite music, my internet/email connection and the ability to text my wife all the time. The only time I put it away is when I go golfing.

5. Email. I am sooooo addicted to my email. I get hundreds a day and must read them. I read email first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If I'm in a long meeting, I have to check to see what's going on- thus the beauty of the iPhone. I went to a retirement party for a friend recently and left my phone in the car so I wouldn't be checking every five minutes. My kids were amazed. I said I really loved my friend.

There you have it. I could probably list another ten things I cannot do without but those are the big ones.

It's Official

I can't really feel the ground under my feet. I have waited for this moment for a long, long time.

My sister, Jeanine and I have the blessed opportunity to create our own foundation. I loved all the names everyone came up with but...

Two Sisters and a Wife Foundation.

We almost did The Grey House Foundation- it was Zachary's idea, and Ben added for it to be spelled with a "e" as it's more sophisticated.

Um... ok.

But in the long run, when it comes to be their turn to run it, as it became our turn to run it after my mother's death, I want them to come up with their own ideas. Their own vision, structure and rules.

Two Sisters and a Wife.

And no one is allowed to say "seesters" in front of Jeanine. Of course, we all can when she's not around...

It's official.

I don't know whether to dance, laugh or cry.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Whitman plans run for California governor

I guess the cat is out of the bag...

Whitman plans run for California governor

Ah, only kidding. That would be my evil non-twin Meg Whitman. But it was a fun headline.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Just Imagine...

Just imagine for a moment that you could name a foundation.

One that you'd have your kids on the board of, along with your wonderful wife and wonderful seester. One that would be making grants in many different areas.

What would you name it?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Don't Make Them Divorce

At this time in my life, I am watching many friends end their marriages. Some have been together decades. Some not. But it's their choice, often reached after painful years of trying to make it all work.

In California, all the same sex couples who married will now have their marriages terminated.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Who believes in the sanctity of marriage? Clearly not Ken Starr and company.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Gift Night

Dilemma de jour: This is one of those times I really have a lot to say but if I do I could jeopardize something very very important to me. I'm inches away from something I've wanted, waited for, dreamed about, for almost twenty years.

I can't blow it.

So, yes, I've been quiet this week. Yes, there is a lot going on.

Can't spill it. Yet.

In the meantime...

Allan returned from a two week trip to Saudi Arabia, where he did several presentations on Special Education needs and transitions.

He's very smart, our Allan.

One of the women he met there decided his boys should have traditional dress from their country. A skull cap, head dress, and white robe. They all tried them on last night.

Very cute.

I think I'll have them framed. I doubt they'll ever wear them but they are so very cool.

Last night, we all received gifts. Some were from another country, given with love from Allan, or a princess, and others.

Some were... bittersweet.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pierced Ears

Jake came up to me yesterday and said, Mom? Can I get my ears pierced?

The question surprised me but I shrugged. Lemme talk to your mom.

I texted her and she didn't care. I emailed a friend because it seemed like I should have more concern about such an issue with a 8 year old but she said the same thing- they let their daughter pierce her ears quite a while ago.

If they get bored, they can always let the holes close, she noted.

Sure, I finally said to Jake, you can get your ears pierced.

Okay, cool, he said and was on his way to do his homework.

When I tucked him last night, I realized I had not asked why. It's the drawback of being the third child- sometimes in the rush of the day, I forget to slow down enough to ask important questions.

I'm going to be Blackbeard in my class play, he said sweetly. I need to wear earrings for it.

You can just wear clip ons, I said.

Okay, he shrugged.

Slow down. Breathe. Yesterday was a blur of activity. A friend's father is ill, more bad financial news, another is considering a major political race...

and my son wants to be the best Blackbeard he can be.