Monday, September 28, 2009

Good, Bad, Beautiful and Ugly

What a day.

Let me start with some of the good stuff- my sister is happily ensconced in Ogunquit, and we spent her first weekend there with her, helping her get settled. The boys were all tremendously good all day yesterday, even with the rain. Last night, they were singing goofy songs and recording them on the computer.

Sometimes, they actually all enjoy being with each other - as long as no one else sees it happen. It was especially sweet to see Ben let go and be himself. He is, deep down, kind and gentle.

I'm going to be up in Maine next weekend, doing something, somewhere, to help with the ballot. I have felt incredibly anxious about getting there and actually working. I cannot let my most favorite state in the country go to the wolves of ignorance.

My sister is getting better. Every day is an improvement and while we don't talk about long term, we can talk about today. Today is good.

But when we got home today, Zachary and I looked all over for Charlotte Rose. She's the skinny sister of the two foster cats we adopted. About a month ago, in a regular vet visit, we found she had a serious heart problem. Every day, we've been giving her medicine, and when it actually got in her- she was not a fan of taking pills, lemme tell you- it seemed to help. Zachary couldn't find her- but I did. She was curled up, seemed asleep but she was dead.

Jeanine was here in the morning and heard her and Darcy, her sister, playing around, as they often did. Obviously, she went to nap. A few hours later, she was gone.

I've picked my cat, when I was still living at home, off the road after being hit by a car. I remember how devastating it was to hold her as she died. Nothing I could do. I held my sister's cat, just a few months ago, with it's neck broken from the dog, in a mixture of shock, outrage and guilt. It felt so small and helpless. Today, though, I found a 16 year old cat, who lived a long and good life, curled up in a favorite spot, gone.

I'm sad but mostly, I'm relieved. I'm glad Zachary didn't find her. I'm glad she was asleep. I'm glad I had the chance to have her as my kitty for a little while. She was a little arrogant (in a good, cat way) and loved to sleep under the covers. She was the smaller of the two sisters, but she always beat the crap out of the big one- but they never once drew blood or used their claws on each other.

Just like sisters, you know?

She loved to sit on my desk in the afternoon sun. Always, always on the pile of papers I was working on.

I'll miss her.

As if the Fates needed to drive it home to me once again, I hold the reality that sometimes life is good, bad, beautiful and ugly all in the same moment.

Got it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Single Babies

Ok, it's been a rough week. I'll get to that tomorrow. So much going on- in Maine the fight rages on with school children being used as a shield against the truth, just like in California, a federal census worker killed in the woods of Kentucky with the word FED written on his chest, and a heap of personal drama- but when I saw this today, I just had to smile.

A lot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Save the Insurance Comapnies!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Maine, The Way Life Should Be

I love the sign that marks the entrance into Maine on I95. "Maine: The way life should be." Every time I cross the Piscataqua bridge, I heave a big sigh of relief. I love Maine. Everything about it.

Today, I read a poll that says we are losing the battle in Maine for the ballot question that will take away Marriage Equality in that state. 46 to 48%. And that does not count for the people who will say they are for marriage equality but close the voting curtain and let their real feelings mark the ballot.

The reason why I love Maine so much is because people let other people be. There is an air of libertarian tolerance, not so much based in left wing, progressive thinking as it is in a none of your damn business mindset. I am, surprisingly, a very private person. I like my neighbors, love being able to stop and chat at times, but for the most part, I want to be left alone. I don't want anyone telling me what color I can or cannot paint my house, nor do I feel any need to control someone's choice.

Of course, I'll point out something ugly, but that's all I feel I have the right to do.

The question of marriage equality in Maine, to me, is just that. None of any one's business. It's a legal contract, no religious institution is bound by it, and it benefits families. The churches so adamant in discussion a political vote are risking their C3, nonprofit status. No one is making them do that and the laws are very clear.

I can't help but mention here in Massachusetts not only have we not had plagues of locusts, we also have all our churches. Not one was shut down or overrun by homosexual activists.

Not one.

I don't know if anyone from the anti-equality side realizes this, but we are going to have families whether we have rights nor not. Our kids are going to go to public schools, whether or not the right to marry is repealed. Your kids are going to be sitting next to our kids in class. They will learn about different families. The chance to stop that... well... was never a possibility. You can fight to change the curriculum to include God, creationism, and prayer but our kids are still going to have two moms or two dads, and there isn't a damn thing you can do to change that.

So all those precious images of the little red school house where everyone was uniform and the same are over no matter what laws are passed. I've been to my kids classrooms and nary a single pink triangle or rainbow flag or utterance of anything LGBT has ever happened. But all the kids know my sons have two moms.

And you know, I still believe without the fear mongering and the ridiculous tactics of the other side, most Mainers wouldn't vote to change this. They would complain, gossip, argue but not change the law. Not because they don't care- oh, they care- but because a decision has been made, they voted those people in there to make such decisions and what is done is done.

Doesn't mean you can't think it's ugly, like the color of your neighbor's house. Just means you don't have a right to change it.

Let's face it, marriage rights are simply going to be a reality, one way- state by state- or another- with federal recognition. While I won't hold my breath waiting for the federal work to happen, I do believe it will. Soon.

Maine is a beautiful state. It long ago captured my heart. I believe people in that state, for the most part, are fair minded. I hope this November they vote to continue the live and let live atmosphere I have come to appreciate deeply.

Republicans say, Be Afraid, Very Afraid?

I can't add much to what Maddow and Speaker Pelosi said except that I'm horrified by the Republican response. Be afraid? Is this their only hope, an assassination? What are they thinking?

I am not a fan of the march called for on Washington DC in October for LGBT folks. That said, I am getting a little fearful of a large gathering and what might happen.

Freedom of speech is essential for a democracy. But there is a fine line between rhetoric and calling for violence. Obama has been threatened more than any other president in our history.

Is this what we want for our country?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lions and Tigers and... Nazis?

The first few times I heard the right wing call Obama a "Nazi," I ignored it. Thought it was random. After all these years, I should know not a single thing comes from the right that hasn't been vetted, considered and framed.

Nazi? I'm not sure I even understand how they got there or who they are trying to rally. I mean, the skinheads aren't going to go run and side with Obama as the supreme Nazi. I just saw a photo of Nancy Pelosi branded as a Nazi- pretty sure they aren't going to go rally behind her, either.

The Nazis were not communist- rather anti- communist. They called themselves socialists, but in truth, they were fascists. State controlled, dictatorship that allowed no critique of any kind of the government.

I didn't see anyone going to jail for screaming "lie!" the other night. Or marching in the streets, or writing articles, or telling seniors they will be subjected to death panels.

Again, the Nazi image rears it's ugly head. Why? I'm not sure who they are trying to rally. Extreme right folks tend to think the holocaust didn't happen. Or that having an extreme nationalism, eugenics and separation of races is a bad idea. They kinda like that stuff.

Is this an attempt for the right wing to reestablish itself with the soccer moms of America? People who do think the Nazi's were evil but also can't stand someone standing up and believing social justice is a good thing? That the embracing of the far far right has left them powerless and they are coming back to the mushy middle, dredging up fears, and selling their snake oil policies to them?

Long live the health care companies! As if that will help under and uninsured. But fight against the Nazis? Well, that's noble, isn't it?

Several people have said to me lately, we have to keep a keen eye out for what is going on. All this progress will certainly be followed by a backlash.

And the right does nothing without a careful plan.

Lions and Tigers and Nazis... time to ask the question why.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ready for some Football!

Ok, let's just get this out- I picked the Titans to win. I don't think the Steelers can do it.

They aren't the Patriots, after all.

Life has taken off in a huge rush this past week. My sister moved out of her apartment, but without any place to go- she decided the kids rooms were simply too small for them to share- this is true but... it means she's in a hotel down the street. Hangs here during the day. It's all very disjointed, not something that works for anyone and something that has to work for now.

I watched the President last night- I have to say, it was the best speech I've ever seen him give. I loved how he defended Teddy Kennedy's view of social justice. Because it is about justice. It moved me. And it clearly moved him, his voice catching at the end.

I was horrified that someone shouted out, and that the Repubs held signs. Hello? What happened to holding back applause? Screw any working across the aisle, I say. Let's go kick their asses.

But then, I'm a hot head and it's not such a good thing for me to make such decisions. I couldn't help wonder, though, if his being young and African American had anything to do with the horrendous behavior of the GOP. Just wrong. Disgusting.

I start coaching Jake's soccer team this Saturday, all the way through November 21st. Somehow, I don't think I'll be wearing shorts then. Brrr. I'm not the best choice for coach at this age but I'll make them run and promised fun would be had. I hope no one expects any major strategy happening because I never played soccer.

I've had meetings every day this week. It feels great to get back into the swing. The kids are getting settled into school. Overall, things are going good.

Except that Jeanine picked the Steelers tonight. And is cheering away right now. Bah. I say Bah to her. But the Titans just sacked the shit out of Rothesberger and... ahhh.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Angry Response to Obama's Speech to Children

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Quick Story

I'm getting ready to have some fun today. Not much fun has been had lately and today, fun is on the highest order. I have some ribs in the oven, after having been patted down with a homemade dry rub (no, I'll never tell), to bake at a very low temp till about 5pm today, when I'll hand them over to Walter who is the rib maker extraordinaire.

I invited a bunch of people to Walter and Allan's. I called Allan and said, So... you do love me, right?

An impromptu party is the best of who we are. How can you go wrong with ribs?

Life has been kind of a mess this week. My sister went back into the hospital for a brief stay, another procedure, everything is fine. Just sucked the fun out of life for a little bit.

I'm trying to stay focused on my boys. Jake has the most adorable hair cut ever on the face of the earth, and is all excited about school. He hung out with his pal who is also in the same class at school yesterday. They were both a little nervous and excited. At least I think so because the friend puked on the back porch, just a little, and then was all fine. I'm easy, I got a hose, cleaned up boy and deck, and I was all fine, too.

Ben is quite upset at the prospect of having to go to bed at 10pm AND hand over his cell phone. I mean... do you think I'm that stupid? No more facebook updates at 2AM for him. As much as he complained last night about getting in the routine, he's still sound asleep. I'm not saying a word about being right.

And Zachary... that boy. He is all geared up for his new school. Cell phone- he'll be taking the T home- and laptop computer. Yes, the school requires it for 6th graders. He went to orientation the other day and had a blast. Like me, he had to be twenty minutes early, then miserable when he was twenty minutes early. Luckily, at camp one of his cabin mates is also going to the same school.

And that's what my quick story is about... I received a note from Zachary's counselor at camp. He told a story about Zachary that brought tears to my eyes. The counselor described one of the cabin chats with all the boys from their cabin sitting blindfolded in a circle, with one camper without a blindfold in the middle. The counselors asked different questions of this one boy in the middle. When it was Zachary's turn, he was asked to tap someone he loved on the shoulder. Zachary stood, thought for a second, then tapped every one of his cabinmates.

I love all my children. I know each one has some remarkable talents and great potential. There is something so ... kind about Zachary. Trust me, he whines about taking the dogs out, or emptying the dishwasher, or eating broccoli. He's not a saint. But there is a core to that boy that is truly unique.

That's all. I'm off to make potato salad. Do a little running. Find the cat and feed her three pills which is always a treat.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Pressure to Perform

I was just told by my lovely son Ben how he is going to get me some wrinkle cream for Christmas. He pointed to my forehead, my eyes, and said... here and here...

Just sayin', Mom.


So poetry and beautiful words were easy in Downeast. Now we are home, back in Newton, back to reality. Not so easy anymore.

The reality is, I have a relatively small house. Built in 1910, rooms are small. It has not been added on, with the exception of a horrid addition in about 1970. Think fake wood and stucco.

It's packed to the gills with Jeanine's studio, studio stuff, old computers who are her long lost children, probably close to 500 technical manuals... my sweetie is a pack rat. I need her mom to come up and toss stuff.

She won't yell at her mom.

And her mom is the only one who can yell at her about all the crap she has everywhere.

It would be great to think Jake and Zachary could seamlessly share a room. That's not the case. The basement has to be cleaned up so the drums can fit there. Then rooms, beds, desks, shifted, balanced... in the meantime, Jake tells me he's not brushed his teeth for the last week because he couldn't find a toothbrush.

Ew. I mean... ew ew ew.

The camp laundry has been fermenting for an additional two weeks and I can barely stand the smell as I stuff it into the washer. Most loads have to be done twice. The towels all need to become cleaning rags because they are too far gone.

I'm trying to fit in a depressed, sick woman into this. I love my sister. There is no question. But I find myself beyond stressed in trying to make it all happen. Jeanine and I had a terrible fight last night. Steam popping from both of us, for no real reason except the pressure to perform.

Did I mention the Maine Campaign is in full swing and I've promised to work as hard as I can for it? I believe in Maine, I believe the vote can be won. But it won't be easy.

I want to open my house and I don't want to open it right this second. I'm caught without a moment to breathe, a desk full of promises and bills, my mother's estate, now years later, finally wrapping up.

And I have wrinkles. Clearly, bad ones.

One of the old cats (not the fat one, she's healthy as a horse) has heart issues and I have to chase her around twice a day and get some pills into her. Take her to the vet for another chest xray. Doing better, still not the best. My god, I think. She's 16 and still breathing. Still quite content to sit on my keyboard as I try to type. That's better enough for me.

It all felt doable in Downeast. It was simply a question of opening arms, and wanting to. Here I realize, it's not that easy. I finish a conference call and have to see if I'm headed to the emergency room today or not. Ben is hanging out with friends, Zachary and Jake over to Tom's Pizza for a slice, have the dogs gone out?

I love my sister. But I have no idea how I'm going to do all this.