Friday, January 30, 2009

Moving Forward

Denver... you have to love a city where they don't run you down when you're in the crosswalk. And everyone is actually in the crosswalk.

Strange for a Bostonian to see.

The community continues to digest the Prop 8 loss. Sure, people are talking about AZ and FL but the focus is on California. What went wrong? How could we have lost? Will we ever win a ballot question or are we destined to lose them forever?

The most productive statement came from Nadine Smith, of Equality Florida. We must, she said, be out on every form, every moment, of every waking day. If we travel, we fill out forms as married people. If we file taxes? We file as married people. When ever, where ever we can, we must identify ourselves.

It's Harvey Milk's message. It continues to be relevant.

It is an act of non-violent civil disobedience. We must refuse to be considered single when we are families.

There is still a level of finger pointing going on that makes me very uncomfortable. I don't see the point. Positive messages, like Ms. Smith's, is where we need to focus our energy.

Let's move forward, folks.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Perfect Parents

I'm at the Creating Change conference in Denver. A massive gathering of LGBT folks put on by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, it is something to behold. An entire hotel filled with every beautiful aspect of our community.

I've never been to one before and I must say, I'm a little overwhelmed.

I went to a session today on "Invisible Families," which talked about LGBT parenting and how we are identified in the community- or not. It was a six hour session and I'll be honest- I didn't stay for it all. But in one small group session, we talked about the changing nature of how we are seen in the community today.

One woman talked about her fears as a soon to be mom. The challenges that face her, her partner and their baby to be felt incredibly scary to her.

It is, I thought, but I didn't want to freak her out.

The irony is, most of what she needs to be afraid of isn't about being a lesbian and being a parent. No question there are hurdles and discrimination but when that sweet baby comes into the world, the obsession about when the last diaper was changed, how often they are nursing and please god, will there ever be sleep again takes over the angst about being different.

Until they are school age- then it comes back and rightfully so.

One point made, that hit home for me, was the concern that we are so afraid of being judged harshly simply because of who we are, we try to be perfect.

And there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

The pressure, though, is there. Some of it is self imposed but some of it comes from the community at large asking questions- do you have appropriate role models for your child? If you are two women, you must have a man in your life to help teach children manly things. If you are two men, well, how can any child possibly live without a mother?

Questions not often asked of heterosexual couples. Or single heterosexual parents, although I do think single dads deal with similar issues. I wonder if people who ask "do you know the father?" realize how incredibly insulting that is. Do they? Are they sure?

There is also an overriding fear of being too sexual. One woman quoted a couple in Canada who had a newborn, who swore they were in bed by 10:15pm every night and went straight to sleep.

As if that makes them OK to parent? I say get them a babysitter and remind them that without a healthy sex life, chances are they won't make it through the next 18 years.

And yet a Florida pastor urged his heterosexual congregation to have sex every day for a month. He believed sex was important to relationships. And that while "Jesus disapproved of pre-marital sex and promoted sex in marriage."

But since we're seen through the lens of sexuality, we have to go overboard to prove we are sexless. Only there to parent, nothing else. Because... well, I'm not really sure why.

Except that we all feel the pressure to fit in, to be okay in the communities eyes, and our community, when we become parents, changes drastically. We are thrust into school situations where we are the only ones. We want our kids to be accepted.

We want to be accepted. It's human nature.

So we tuck away parts of ourselves, and our struggles to look the right way.

I wanted to tell that young woman it would all work out. Get a strong group of other gay parents to have time with- some of it is for the kids but mostly? For you. So you have a place to say, I'm struggling. I'm scared. Where you don't have to be the role model for every gay person who ever had a child.

For goodness sakes, don't ever stop having sex. We didn't go through all this bullshit, discrimination and angst to give up an essential part of being human.

There are no perfect parents. Parents are, as a whole, are messy, make mistakes, wish back things we've done. It's the most terrifying and exhilarating experience you will ever have. You will feel joy and love in a way you never knew imaginable- unconditional and on a cellular level.

Try, please try, to let the world's judgment stop at your doorstep.

There are no perfect parents.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Like Mother, Like Son

Children never want to think they are like their parents. I know I don’t. The reality, however, is often different. While I have come to accept that I am a great deal like my mother- for better and for worse- my son Ben at 13 is not anywhere near ready to accept it.

But oh my, we are very similar.

Case in point, last night we went to the Rainforest Café. Zachary had to do a restaurant review for his class and he chose the apex of dining experiences for an 11 year old. Not only is it a restaurant that chirps, rains, flashes, and roars, it is in a mall.

As Ben and I sat at the table, having been abandoned by Zachary and Jake who set off to find the bathroom, I noticed a very beautiful little nine month or so baby.

Oh, no, Ben said. Mom… don’t.

I always have to ooo and ahhh over babies. I always make faces and clap and smile. Can’t help myself. I love babies.

I noticed the baby was not looking at me but looking at Ben.

Hey, the baby is more interested in you, I said.

And what did that boy do? Smile, make faces and laugh. Ben. Not the baby. Well, the baby laughed, too.

I didn’t say a word.

Ben recently had to apply to a private school- no he did not want to but we were trying to keep all our options open for him- and in doing so he had to write an essay about a person who has had the most influence on him.

This is what he wrote:

One person that has influenced me in a significant way is my mom. My mom has always been there for me when I’ve needed her and have not needed her. One way my mom has influenced me is to try your best. I’ve accomplished stuff that I never thought I could do like getting an A+ on a math test. Another way my mom has influenced me is to trust your heart. When I’ve had hard decisions to make I’ve trusted my heart. A friend won’t always be there for you but your mom will.”


Recently, in the middle of an argument, he said to me, You just think I’m going to follow in your footsteps!

He did not mean in a positive way.

It was an odd statement at the time. I looked at him and said, You have no idea what my footsteps were…

He doesn’t. I’d like to keep it that way. At least until he’s an adult. I mean, I didn’t find out that my mother almost didn’t graduation from college because she was caught skinny dipping in some random pool the night before the ceremony until I was 25.

I don’t know if he will but I do realize we share much in common. As a parent, my never ending task is to keep my stuff separate from his, not let my fears of my choices shadow his own individuality.

He’s a good kid. I mean, he makes faces at babies… how many 13 year old boys will do that?

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Few Questions For Monday Morning

I have a few questions... simple questions but ones that perplex me.

I am proud of the kind of food critics my children have become. Over the years, Jeanine and I have encouraged them to think about the food they are eating. It has it's drawbacks, though. Do other people's children ask for a specific style of sandwich cut? Zachary insists on triangles. Jake likes rectangles. Who can keep this straight at 7:30AM?

Does anyone else get up in the morning and look with joy for the newspaper on the front step? For eight years, I dreaded what would be on the headlines. Now, I find myself eager to see the news. Very strange.

I noticed yesterday that Ben's mustache is coming in. I also noticed mine is, too. As he edges into manhood, I'm edging into menopause. I'm wondering... will we start shaving at the same time?

The Republicans don't like the stimulus plan being presented by the Obama administration. Why is anyone surprised? A bunch of pork crazed maniacs when in power, suddenly the GOP is claiming purity. Please. Like a two year old caught with donut sugar on his face saying someone else ate the last one, do they really think anyone believes them?

You know you've been married a long time, perhaps too long, when you can anticipate being blamed senselessly for years to come. Jeanine insists I moved a cable of hers- you have no idea who many cables there are in this house due to her studio- and I know that for the next thirty years I will be blamed for it's disappearance. Does she think I went out back, dug a hole and buried it? And to what end?

With Gitmo soon to be shut down, does anyone else wonder if war crime indictments might be forthcoming? We as a country are quick to put to trial other leaders- will we have the courage to put our own leaders on the witness stand?

What do you think?

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Frozen Waves

It is cold here. So cold.

And so beautiful.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Living with the Consequences

My sister gets mad at me when I don't post on the weekends.

I try to remind her I announced a while ago I was going to stop posting on weekends, but she doesn't care.

Get to it!

We are up in Ogunquit this weekend. All of us. Well, minus Allan who is in Saudi Arabia for a conference. I brought the cats in hopes that they would eat the mice up here.

They are, however, spoiled suburban cats and spent their time hunkered under the down blankets.

It came to my attention today there is a lot of outrage over the Portland, Oregon mayor Sam Adams. Some folks think Mr. Adams is being railroaded out of office because he had a consensual relationship with a 17 then 18 year old man.

They waited till his birthday to have sex, so it'd be legal. Nice.

When asked about it previously, Mr. Adams lied about it. Now he's been caught lying, he's crying homophobia.

Listen, if you lie about something, you gotta know it's not okay. And if you want to cry homophobia because the press is eating you alive, be careful. You might not get all the support you're looking for.

I think an 18 year old with a 40 year old is creepy. I think there is, no matter what, a power imbalance. Regardless of my opinion, though, is the reality of the kind of microscope elected officials live under. You run for office, you are going to be held to a higher standard.


I'm sick of the arrogance. And it is arrogant to think you can have a "relationship" with a almost 18 year old and get away with it.

See, just like my sister points out I have a responsibility to post- she keeps telling me there are people counting on me to write. I find that hard to believe but I do see the numbers on the site meter. I'm a blogger, not someone who ran for office.

When you are an elected public official, you have a different level to live up to. Sam Adams can stop crying homophobia and realize he fucked up.

And live with the consequences.

Like I'm living with a few mice up here.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama to Close Guantanamo

The headlines of the New York Times today brought tears to my eyes.

Obama to Shut Guantánamo Site and C.I.A. Prisons"

It really is a new day, a new era. Finally, we can lift our head up high again. Finally, we are not acting like terrorists. Finally.

Or should I say, At Last.

As the detainees are set free, sent home, horrific stories will be told. We need to listen. We need to teach our children what our forefathers knew- there is no safety when you hand over your freedom. When you let your government take away your civil liberties, everyone suffers. It is our responsibility to live free, to fight back when our freedoms are being taken away, even under the guise of "Patriotism."

We know better. We must remember how many have died to protect those freedoms.

Most of all, there is no peace when you torture people.

Torture. Plain and simple. We tortured people for years. Now we will have to be held accountable.

I heard a commentator on NPR complain that the crowd booed when Bush was announced on stage Tuesday. No respect for the office, he said.

Bullshit. Bush had no respect for the office. He deserved to be booed and it was a glimmer of the kind of protest we desperately needed while he was in office.

It happened. At last.

No one threw a shoe.

No more torture under this administration. Obama signed the order before midnight on the day he was sworn in- it was of utmost urgency.

It was.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Down For the Count

I'm down for the count today.

Zachary woke up sick at 3AM and I was very soon to follow. Hopefully, no one else will get it.

Here's a little treat from Bilerico and I ask... where would you put it?

I know where I wouldn't put it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Favorite Moment of the Day

Did anyone catch Marian Robinson, the First Grandmother, today? Did you see what she wore?

A purple coat. And a red scarf, mittens... it didn't pass unnoticed. I can only imagine a little humor as she donned these items.

It reminded me, at least, of a poem by Jenny Joseph...

Warning- When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

and pick the flowers in other people's gardens

and learn to spit.

Of course, Mrs. Robinson was nothing but gracious and smiling through the whole day. No sticks along railings, by any means. But I have to wonder if she knew what she was doing today when she chose the colors she would wear.

At least I hope she did...

Senator Kennedy Rushed to Hospital

Kennedy has been taken from the luncheon with convulsions.

Hopefully, it is just the news media overreacting. I fear it is not.

Senator Byrd also was taken from the hall, but it seems like a minor incident.

Such a historic day. Hopefully, there will be no sadness to attach to it.

And Right Now...

Rick Warren can suck my dick. I swear to god, using the lord's prayer as theater is obscene.

He is obscene.

Luckily, Aretha and her hat have saved the day.

Ding Dong, Bush is REALLY Gone!

Forget about Rick Warren. Forget about Gene Robinson's late addition and subtraction from Sunday's event. Forget about the lack of LGBT appointments to the cabinet. Let it go.

Just for today.

Today is a day of pure celebration. Unlike election day, when we got a kick in the stomach with Prop. 8, AZ, FL and AK, all horrific setbacks for the LGBT community, today is a day to celebrate.

We have a new President. He is taking office today.

LGBT issues have been mishandled, fucked up and poorly advised. No question.

But Bush is gone, people. Pinch yourself, it's not a dream. It's a reality. Whether or not you believe Obama is just a big screen for projection, or the next messiah, or something very human in between, he is NOT Bush.

We have a President who is going to bring troops home from Iraq. Now. A President who is ready to address Gaza, now, the economy, now. We have a majority of Democrats in the legislature.

I personally can't stop smiling.

I told my kids this morning that today was a day that the first African-American man would be sworn in as President of this country. A country that in it's very recent past turned hoses and dogs on people because of their color. A country that legally recognized slavery.

Remember, I said, where you were. People will ask you in 10 years, 20, 30... where were you that day?

Tomorrow? We go right back to holding the administrations feet to the fire. We do not wait 10 hours, 10 days or 10 months. It is a mistake we've made in the past- one not to be repeated.

But today is a day to celebrate.

Ding dong, Bush is really really gone.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

New York, New York

I am so glad I don't live in New York City. Aside from the expense, the constant assault on your senses, there is that post traumatic stress syndrome from 9/11.

I cannot imagine how it felt to watch a plane land in the Hudson River yesterday. From my own little calm haven, I saw the news flash up and immediately freaked.

Not again...

It was not the same. All the passengers got off the plane safely and the pilot is being heralded- rightly- as a hero. Birds caused the problem- Alfred Hitchcock is smiling somewhere.

I bet you all are going to listen now when the crew goes over that emergency evacuation information we all often sleep through. I know I will.

For a moment, though, anyone looking out their window along that river must have started to shake. Having lived with PTSD for a while now, I know it can be the smallest of things that can set you off. Give you nightmares for weeks.

A jet landing in the river is not a small thing.

The new administration cannot start soon enough. Repair to all our relations with all countries needs to begin now. I want to stop feeling like I have a bulls eye on my back simply because I'm American and have an idiot for a president.

My thoughts are with all of New York City. Hang in there, it will get better. The cowboy is gone and a true statesman is taking over.

Hopefully, just in time.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Lesson Learned

Today was a very productive day. I cleaned up all the construction mess, finished off painting around the new windows, washed every sheet, blanket and bedding item. I mopped floors and made beds and shoveled the walk.

I also hung curtains. Okay, they are Roman shades, not curtains with lace and frill but they had all come down to have the windows replaced. I went to hang them up.

Now, I am not someone who uses power tools. In fact, unless you count a swiffer mop, I really have never used a power tool. Sure, I've had to screw things together and I always do it by hand.

But there was Jeanine's drill. And the shades. What's the worst thing I could do?

It took me a while to realize I had to drill a small guide hole first. Once I did, they shades went up, boom boom boom. Easy. I was quite proud of myself.

In fact, I was feeling quite butch. Ha! I can do this stuff, too.

Until I looked closely. I had hung them all up backwards.

All of them.

Lesson learned- stay away from the power tools. I must accept the things I can fix, and bug my wife to do the rest.

Besides, the windows are so beautiful, I don't think they needs any shades.

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Coffee. How many of you absolutely, without question, need to have a cup of coffee in the morning?

I do. Even if it's just one, I have to have my coffee. The only time I gave up coffee was when I was pregnant.

Enter, the wife. I love my wife. She is an amazing wonderful woman. She does, however, love her technology to a point of concern. When she buys things for the house, they almost always have a remote and need programing.

Like the coffee machine she bought for Maine.

But when the coffee machine is too hard to figure out, I draw the line. I have to have my coffee. I don't want a machine that can dance while grinding beans, while filtering water, while displaying three different time zones. I want something that gurgles, perks and gives you coffee when you press "start."

The machine she bought started to beep at me this morning as if I sent missiles screaming across the ocean. Pressing buttons to no avail, I finally unplugged it.

No coffee machine should beep at you. It's cruel and unusual punishment.

I love my wife. I do. But I think I'm going to hunt down a very simple, old fashioned Mr. Coffee today to use when she's not here to make the thing behave.

I need my coffee.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We Will Transcend

I have to be honest. I ran off to Maine today, to our house in Ogunquit. I had yelled at Zachary yesterday. He was nervous about a visit to a school he is applying to, and I had no patience for it.

He didn't deserve it. Not at all. I should have been calm, reassuring, and talked to him about trying new things. How bravery is doing something you are scared of- not at all about not being scared.

I didn't. I yelled.

When Jeanine got home from work, I asked her if I could go away for a couple days. I needed some time, some quiet, and a place to regroup. The holiday break, on top of the week she was gone, had stretched me farther than I could stretch. I found a new way with Ben that is working so well and requires me to dig deep into a place of calm I don't naturally go to.

It's been worth it. And it is hard.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a loving wife who understands. A second home I can leave to, that is full of comfort and peace. I know my blessings are many.

I also have good friends. One sent me this link this morning.

I have wonderful men in my life, who I adore. I would add them to the "ladies" mentioned. Respectfully.

Parenting well, more than having a political voice, more than anything in my life, is the most important thing. When I die, I will not wonder if I wrote too much about HRC, or too little, I won't remember Obama's lack of LGBT appointments to the cabinet. I won't worry about ticket sales to an event I hosted.

I will only think of my wife, my children, and my friends.

Thank you, Libby. You touched my heart with this.

I know. We will transcend.

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Ground Control...

to Major Tom...
commencing countdown, engines on.
check ignition and may God's love be with you...

I'm telling you, it's never dull around here in the morning.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clean up time already?

It's very quiet today. Ben is home sick, lying like the dead on the couch with a high fever. Yesterday it was Zachary.

Jake asked me this morning if he was next.


I must admit, I'm a tad obsessive about washing my hands in the winter. I spent two years sick as a dog when Ben first hit daycare and I learned my lesson. Of course, when they are little, it's hard to keep them from poking you in the face with their germ filled fingers.

Now, I'm just cleaning up buckets of... um... well, you know. I don't think Ben is ever going to learn to hit the bathroom until he has to clean it up himself.

I wonder if the Obama administration is going to go through the same growing pains. It seems to be the case so far. Some good choices like Clinton, some bad choices like Richardson and some weird choices like Gupta.

Some infuriating choices like Rick Warren.

The press has been pretty eager, along with many political groups, to make nice about the direction the president to be is taking.

How long will they be cleaning up, though? When will the tough questions be asked? I can promise you that as a member of the LGBT community, I'm not jumping up and down about John Berry, an openly gay man, being nominated to be the director of Office Personnel management.

It's the highest appointment ever for a gay person. Kinda sad, huh? I mean, can you name the last one? or the one before that?

Honestly, I didn't even know there was such an office.

Obama is also asking Bush to get the rest of the bailout money. That makes me very nervous. It reeks of passing the buck, not of expediency. Is he already covering his tracks?

The cleaning up of messes will only last so long. The good will of the LGBT community was severely strained with Rick Warren's invitation. While some still are clamoring to be supportive, any are not. Personally, I'm not buying John Berry as a valid token of affection.

All eyes are on this administration, waiting for great things.

I keep thinking, that like my son Ben, he's not going to figure it out until he has to clean it up himself.

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The Wife is Home...

and all I got for you is this silly picture... but it did crack me up.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thanks, Hillary!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Drag Party Time

It's that time of year again. The drag party is next Saturday. What to do, what to do...

The theme is a little shaky- recycled? You can use an old outfit, an old number. As if those guys are recycling those dresses a 100 times already.

I have to be honest, I'd rather hang out, have some great food and wine, and skip the dress up part. I'm usually up for the wild abandon, coming up with a great song to lip synch to but this year I can't seem to get the enthusiasm going.

Anyone have any ideas for me?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Onion Reports...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Reefer Madness Meets "Teh Gays"

One of my favorite camp films of all time is "Reefer Madness," a 1936 film that showed teens how a puff of weed would make them insane, wildly sexual, maniacs.

As if they weren't already.

In the same style...

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Here Comes the Sun...

The sun is in the perfect spot on the horizon and the light is pouring into my office. Sure beats a SAD light box, not quite as good as Hawaii. It almost seems to radiate enough heat to go sit outside in but I know better.

Our president-elect has been making the rounds in the last couple weeks. Most recently, splashing the airways with his Surgeon General nominee. While the media seems thrilled with opining over the choice, I can help but wonder about the real tasks of the administration ahead.

We love a sunny outlook in this country. Perhaps because we were weaned on Bambi losing mom, but when anyone even begins to tell a happy tale, we are quick to believe.

I love the sun. I don’t particularly like reading about the bombing in Gaza, children found huddled with their dead mothers. Or the reality that one out of every seven homeowners will be foreclosed on this coming year. Or how billions upon billions of dollars are needed to move our public school systems forward in order to remain competitive with the rest of the world.

I know I have to. I am in the sun. So many are not.

I hope Obama stays clear of the media drama. That he stay focused on the war, the economy and education and not the pictures of his “abs” from the beach or his choice of an appointment to a relatively minor post.

The LGBT community has been disrespected- see Rick Warren’s part in the inauguration events next to our, um, marching band- and passed over in this administration already. I’m not surprised. He said “gay” a lot in his campaign speeches which was great but the actual embrace, a real seat at the table, is still a far away dream.

To be honest, if he gets the war, Gaza and the economy right? I’m happy to let him slide until he builds the credibility to go ahead and make a few things happen- like the end of DOMA, DADT and a fully inclusive ENDA. If you’ve fixed those things, some civil rights should be a piece of cake.

Let’s not forget, rights are free to give. They don’t increase the budget. Leaves the country with good feeling, no raised tax ceiling.

This is Obama’s moment in the sun. He may never again reach such high levels of popularity. Please, for the country’s sake, may he not be blinded by it. I don’t mind a somewhat goofy choice for Surgeon General and as long as the General in Regional Command is dedicated to leaving Iraq.

I hope he uses the power of words carefully, especially when talking about the economy. A single Hank Paulson speech can tank the markets for weeks. What we need is economic stability, not the current panic driven roller coaster.

Mostly? Let’s all stay focused on the real issues of the day and not be suckered by some of the ratings-driven, sexed up nonsense the mainstream media throws at us.

Because just like now, as the sun is slipping down behind the house next door, the sun will go away. I hope we have the real change we need when it does.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It Doesn't Make Sense

My son came home from school yesterday after having watched a movie about the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's.

It was horrible, he said.

As he described the church bombing, the hoses and the police dogs, he asked me, why?

People who were in power wanted to stay in power. They wanted to beat them down but they fought back.

Jake was listening to this conversation. After about an hour, he came up and asked me, Why did they kill the girls that were changing their clothes?

I said, They bombed the church. They didn't care who was inside.

He kept asking questions, throughout the rest of the day. Finally, I said to him, You're trying to make sense of this. It doesn't make any sense.

Eleven gay bars in Seattle had ricin threats sent to them in the mail on Tuesday. Last night, hackers brought down a bunch of LGBT blogs.

"Pam's House Blend,, American Liberalism, are some of the sites affected. I haven't gone down the whole Soapblox blogroll yet, so far it seems the state blogs were not affected; I assume the hack is restricted to only one server."

As I listened to my sons try and digest the horror of the Civil Rights movement, I wanted to say something about what is going on today in the LGBT movement. How transpeople all over the south are being killed with no real police effort to do anything about it. How Sean Kennedy's murderer is being set free after little time in jail.

How could I? How could I explain that people do hateful things to people who are different and that I, their mother, am one of the targets? Just because the one I am in love with, the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, share the responsibilities of adulthood with, share my bed with, is a woman instead of a man.

It doesn't make any sense.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Not the Beach

It's been a long day. Tomorrow, if the storm ends up scaring the school officials, promises to be longer.

Where is my wife??

Oh, that's right. The beach.

It is clearly not the beach here.

Too tired to write tonight.

Monday, January 05, 2009

My Seester

One of the highlights of the trip was going to Savannah to see my sister.

My seester.

I love my sister. She and I have been through a lot and have always been each other's reality test when it came to long buried family events. Like the time my mother got up and left the restaurant when my father went to the bathroom. And him jumping in the back of the open station wagon window.


No one else ever admitted it happened. But we both remembered it. Keeps you from feeling crazy, having someone remind you that you are not making it up.

She recently bought a house just outside of Savannah, moving back to the east coast after years in Arizona. It's nice to be in the same time zone but I do miss waking her up too early.

She bought a beautiful home on a bunch of acres of land. Odds are that she'll fill them up with animals of some sort. She has a big heart, that one, and when there is a lost puppy or stray cat that passes by, it doesn't stay homeless long.

I can tell she's worked really hard to put her life together. So many people for so long have taken advantage of my seester. She's finding some good boundaries and I'm very proud of her.

We don't agree on politics, religion, issues around race, or socio-economic class. We still find a lot to laugh about all the time. Something about surviving it all leaves us with the ability to tell stories that make most people wince from the level of pain but we're laughing so hard we're about to wet our pants.

Sure beats crying. It is, however, an acquired sense of humor. I don't recommend it.

For long ago reasons, my seester and I talk to each other in odd accents. It drives my wife crazy. The kids have even picked up on some of them. In defeat, Jeanine finally started calling her my "seester" and of course we loved that.

It's been a long road and in many ways, she's my only family of origin left.

I love my seester.

Even when she makes me laugh too hard.

Back To Reality

I have to be honest- I did not read the paper or watch the news while I was away. In the airport, CNN was reporting on the mess in Israel.

At the same time, as we waited in Atlanta for our flight to Savannah, there were many soldiers walking about, obviously going back to work after a break. One in particular caught our eyes.

He was young, only 18, and looked scared. I'm sure he wouldn't like that description of himself but he did. Walter couldn't stand it and went and struck up a conversation with him. He had just finished basic training and was going back to base after a short break.

He was from a small town in Florida and the army was the only way out. The army recruiters did a number on him and he took it, hook line and sinker. He did not think he would see any combat and if he didn't like his deployment, he could transfer.

Well, we thought, you could ASK. Doesn't mean you could change.

In the meantime, Israel's ground forces were moving forward. Rocket attacks were being reported on the television just over our shoulders. It broke my heart, this young man's belief he could pick and choose.

Would he be alive in a year, I wondered.

I have three sons. People have always said to me that boys are easier than girls. Sure, they're rough when they are young but then they tend to mellow and you never worry about them getting pregnant.

No, you worry about them being drafted.

I don't believe this country can enter one more conflict without having a draft. Our military is stretched to it's limits. Young, poor kids will continue to sign up as a means to get out of hopeless situations but not in the droves needed.

Not even Obama will be able to fix that. Bodies are needed. Period.

Six years, he said. The last two are cake, just on the reserves. I wondered if he had any idea how many reservists are on their third and fourth tour in Iraq.

Catching up on the news has been hard. The Rick Warren debacle is nothing compared to this nightmare brewing, again, in the Middle East. My hope for the end of war is gone.

And my fear for my boys renewed again.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy Birthday

Everyone is crashed. We're in the hotel watching the end of the Penn State game- ouch. I won another football pool this week (Patriots game) and my boys believe I have it rigged.

Not so. Just have a pattern I pick in the squares.

We're going to visit my sister in Savannah tomorrow. I love that city. So old, haunted and beautiful. Kinda like my sister.

We all cooked and cooked and I hope the birthday party was a success. I mean, Iowa won. I think that was all that really mattered.

Seriously, my mother in law is a good woman with a kind heart and deserves a lot of love on every day.

Of course, I don't live here and I'm not sure what her daughters that do would say to that.

Walter took the boys for a last swim in the pool. Jeanine is packing the bags. The wind is whipping but there is no snow involved. I don't mind.

Happy birthday, Weezie.

Much love, the ferocious otter.

Not Jeanine's other weird girlfriend she brought down once, long ago, as we quickly sorted out today. She was weird. I am ferocious.

As in otter.