Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin in Comparison to Biden

Is this Candid Camera's PR stunt to relaunch the show? Has Ashton Kutcher gone politico on us?

It's all aflutter in the media today. Carville uses the word "vexed" to sum up McCain's odd choice of VP running mate. Begala says the choice is irresponsible. I'm on their team.

Sarah Palin. Heard of her? Nope. Me either. Joe Biden. Heard of him? Thought so. For the record, I'm so voting for his son Beau one day. He's not running for anything right now, but I'm keeping my sights on his political future.

It's no secret that I'm an Obamaholic. Of course I'm biased. But guess what, I'm a blogger, not a journalist. I simply opine, not report.

But seriously folks, let's look at a couple points regarding Ms. Palin.

1) She's a first-term governor of Alaska, the state of 670,704 citizens. And three electoral votes. And before she became governor? She was mayor of a town of 9700 people. Dudes, that's waaaayyy smaller than even Mac Daddy's hometown in west-of-nowhere Wisconsin! I bet most people in the lower 48 consider Alaska a foreign country.

2) Her lack of experience is laughable. Imagine the crib sheets she's gonna need when asked who our top foreign enemies are and how would she deal with them. Could she name all those dictators we're dodging? I can't but I'm not on a presidential ticket. Some doofus on Fox News actually said he thinks Palin has great foreign policy experience because Alaska is close to Russia. Hardy har har! Those conservatives are funny. Or are they just stupid? I somehow think the guy was not joking.

3) Palin could be McCain's granddaughter. Ageism is alive and well as much as sexism is. But guess what? I don't want a geezer drilling holes in my teeth, cutting out my tumors, flying my 747, driving my son's school bus, or controlling the red button. I don't even want the shaky handed white haired lady with too much red lipstick in the creases of her mouth at the Chanel counter apply my eyeliner. Yes, I am an ageist. But look, the reality is I'm petrified (see point #4).

4) McCain is 72 years old. He has battled cancer 4 times. He's not a spunky guy by any stretch. Should he not fulfill his bucket list, America is left with an inexperienced vice president to take the helm. Not to be morbid, but this is a real concern. McCain has defied the odds over his lifetime. He's no cat with nine lives. Not a hep cat, fo sho. We're at war with two countries and face potential nuclear threats from two more. Do you really want a newbie to make the call?

5) Did I mention that McCain met Sarah Palin one time before choosing her as his running mate? One time six months ago. Geesh, arranged marriages in India start off with more intimacy than that! I bet Pawlenty feels pretty snubbed. Romney too. I have more years of experience in student government than Palin has in public service. And look, we're only 4 years apart in age. I bet some of my schools were bigger than the population of Wasilla, Alaska.

Now let me tell you what's on my mind from a mom's perspective. Sure, Sarah Palin is a mom. A working mom, a term that makes me shudder. WE ARE ALL WORKING MOMS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! Now she's a hero for giving birth to a Down's Syndrome baby. Rather, a hero for keeping him. Devastating, no doubt. I'm not discounting the courage, faith, and unconditional love she and her family demonstrated. But listen, plenty of people have challenges and heartaches. I am so turned off that the media is using baby Trig as a pawn. What really eats me is that the McCain camp puts Palin on a pedestal because she is a working mom. If I hear one more thing about "from breast pump to Blackberry" I'm gonna poke someone's eyes out. This is a farce. Am I the only one to see the transparency of this decision?

In this case, the woman is spotlighted for balancing motherhood with her career, yet so many of McCain's policies and perspectives squash women. Fair wage? Nope. Education for women? Nope, they don't need it, remember? Maternity leave? Sure, unpaid and your job's not guaranteed. And healthcare for kids? Nah. Pull yourself up by those bootstraps and get yourself some of that tasty orange St. Joseph's aspirin. Palin is nothing more than an exploited pawn to make the McCain ticket look like it truly embraces the plight of the working mom and women in general. Seriously hanging-on Hillary supporters, are you going to fall for that? You are a smarter bunch than that. I could stomach Meg Whitman over Palin.

Does it really help women everywhere when Alaska magazine puts Palin on the cover with the headline "America's Hottest Governor?" Yeah, I get the double entrendre. The problematic piece is the subhead "she's more than just a pretty face." Excuse me while I upchuck in the corner. Would we ever, ever make such statements about a male?

Here are some talking points that Republicans committed to memory today (I know this because I hear them all saying the same thing over and over again. Cliches, all of them.):

She governs the biggest land mass state. I guess size does matter if you're Republican.

When Sarah puts her mind to something, she does it. Well, ain't such gumption sweet? Just what I want in my PTA president.

She's got grit. Whoa, cowboy! I live in a house of dirt, I don't need more grit.

She's a mother. Um, yeah (insert Office Space inflection here). Last I heard the same people who tout family values don't actually value motherhood. Ironic, no? Picture this, a Democratic woman has a baby and goes back to the rank and file of work in six days. Heroine or heretic? You bet your ass that the Republican pundits would declare her a disgrace who was unfit for motherhood as well as a hormonal twit unproductive in the workforce.

She's a hunter. Am I to be impressed that she shoots the caribou and fries it up in a pan? Someone alert Charley to make a new ad campaign. Oh, and someone actually said that moose is Palin's "favorite meat product." I don't have a favorite meat product. Isn't Spam a meat product? Is that really the best they could pull out for her bio?

She has a son with Down Syndrome and a son off to Afghanistan. As my friend Julie said, it's like they pulled Sarah Palin from central casting. Is she really a mob member in the witness protection program who's been given a new identity? Is Sarah Palin real or is she an avatar? Are we in Second Life?

Sarah Palin is the most loved governor in all of America. I bet I could find 670,000 to give me an approval rating of 80% too. Just give me time to find more friends on Facebook. Let's not forget that GW Bush had approval ratings in the 70s at one time, and look at what a complete ninny he has proven himself to be.

Now it's clear that I too am vexed by McCain's choice in running mate. More than vexed, I am sore. Sore that he's choosing a woman as a political pawn to win the election rather than really, really think about the long-term ramifications on our country. But I guess being self-centered is the Republican way.
Palin in Comparison to BidenSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

A Special Birthday Toast for 5:00 Fridays

I'd like to start by wishing my Bird a HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY!!!

Five years ago I was still drinking milk at every meal and sipping on non-alcoholic sangria at block parties and weddings. Note, alcohol-free red wine blows. Alcohol-free alcohol blows. I drink neither milk nor non-alcoholic wine anymore.

Five years ago I went into labor at 8:00 PM, went to the hospital after downing some noodles and a burrito (yeah, I know, weird combination), barely missed getting an epidural since I was already dilated 8 cm, got comfy, joked with the nurse about not wanting to poop while pushing (I didn't for the record), freaked out, watched Mac Daddy share a chocolate bar with the nurse, stared in a trance at the monitors, pushed 3 times for a total of 20 minutes, and there was Bird, squealing and squinting in my arms.

As for me? A puddle. Emotion that I don't even have the words to express. My baby. My son. A first generation American. A family.

Bird and I are exactly alike, minus the 35 year age difference and gender discrepancy. He is the apple to my tree. We butt heads often because we are so much alike: stubborn, passionate, nitpicky, dramatic, emotional, and always think we're right. Mac Daddy and I like to say that Bird feels life passionately. His tantrums break the sound barrier while his laughter would make the palace guards bust a gut. Just like me. He puts hot sauce on everything and has a dentist's dream of a sweet tooth. Just like me. He loses himself in books and doesn't forget a thing. Just like me. He is meticulous, and perfection rules his world. Just like me. When he is older, I will explain to him that no one in the world understands him better than I do. I totally stole that from my friend Shan who says that to her son.

Bird is my first baby, my oldest, my guinea pig, my eyes to my childhood. He is inquisitive to a fault (consider this a warning Miss Ross!) and is a rather deep thinker.

Just yesterday Bird informed me that horseradish is named so because it's a radish with a strong flavor and since horses are strong, they called it horseradish. Well wallop me upside the head with a rolling pin and pop me under the broiler! Makes total sense, doesn't it? Find me a better explanation for the etymology of horseradish. I'm telling you, Bird put a lot of thought into that and likely had many a silent debate in his head before nailing down the goods. Smart boy, that Bird.

Oh, have I mentioned that he also drives me crazy? That's because he's me. I live with a mini me who enlightens me to my faults and I don't like that much self exploration. Mac Daddy gets particularly wired because he has to live with two little people with such big personalities. Cue violin music here.

So today's cocktail is for my Bird. My first baby who has started kindergarten. My baby who is one shoelace away from being self sufficient. My baby who still nuzzles into the warmth of my chest and caresses the inside of my arm. My Bird who gives extraordinarily wet kisses, a thousand at a time. My Bird, who giggles at eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses while begging for just one more. My Bird, whose time to fly the coop is thankfully years away.

Cheers to my Bird!

Baby Blue Martini

Pour one shot of each into a martini shaker loaded with ice:
Hendricks Gin (my personal fave!)
De Kuyper Blue Cura├žao
pink grapefruit juice
pineapple juice

Pour into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with a sliver of lemon peel.

Sit back, admire your parental accomplishments, squeeze your kids, and take a long, slow, deliberate sip. End with an audible "ah."

A Special Birthday Toast for 5:00 FridaysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kindergarten Tears and Triumphs

Cesar Chavez. Jim Henson. John Lennon. Jane Goodall. Albert Einstein. Pablo Picasso. Mahatma Gandhi.

Those are the faces peppering the halls as you enter my son's school. An international studies magnet school (public! free!) in our homogeneous neck of the woods is a dream. Five foreign languages taught starting in kindergarten. My Bird's gonna learn French! Curriculum designed to cover a global perspective. Again, a dream, considering my children say the words for grandma and grandpa in three different languages. We are the UN of families, and we are not alone as soon as we walk through the brick corridors of my son's school. My. Son's. School.

I have no reason to feel such trepidation. No reason to be anxious. No need to be so scared. So sad.

Millions of parents do it every fall. Most live to tell about it. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

I couldn't.

Let me get one thing out in the open. I cried. More than tears welling up in my eyes with a dumpling stuck in my throat but less than Niagara Falls. I'm saving up my boo-hooing for Tuesday, when school officially starts full time. Five. Days. A. Week. Oh, and when I have Mac Daddy at my side to mop me up. I treated today as a test drive. Denial. They say admitting it is the first step to recovery.

Bird, my Baby Bird, started kindergarten today. A milestone indeed. I suppose this is the stuff that makes people hate and doubt "mommy bloggers." I say fuck you. This stuff is important and has an impact on the human spirit, certainly a mom's spirit. Sending your child to spend more hours with someone else than you is a giant step. We spend so much time wishing away the time that we often forget to enjoy the ride. "I can't wait for him to talk. I can't wait for him to walk. He's making me nuts. When will school start?" Well folks, school has started, and I miss my Baby Bird already. Day One.

I have arranged my work schedule to eat three squares a day with my boys. I also take them to school and pick them up everyday. Now Bird is sitting in some cafeteria eating a ham sandwich and edamame out of his Batman lunch box with rowdy 5 year olds talkin' smack about Star Wars and Bumble Bee. Oh, and some little bully's gonna tease him about eating edamame and other stuff like snap peas and hummus. Bird told me that he met a bully today, in fact. I guess the kid headbutted Bird in the belly. When I asked Bird what the kid's name is, he responded, "I didn't ask, Mommy. I don't care what his name is because I don't want to be his friend." Then he asked me if I thought the bully would beat him up for not being his friend. Gawd, I can't handle the social pressure at the tender age of 5 (technically 4 til Friday!).

Yes, that's right. Bird will be 5 in two days, making him the youngest kid in kindergarten. Yet he makes the cut off. And you know what, he's totally ready. I know he's ready. I know Mac Daddy and I made the right decision to send him to kindergarten. No waffling here. The simple truth is, I'm not ready. As one feels intimate with one's mortality after a tragedy, I feel time slipping away more briskly than I thought possible. I never understood the whole time flies speech from seasoned parents when my guys were newborns. Now I've been initiated into the club. I get it. Every second is palpable. I hear the sands' of time grainy count down. My heart beats to the tick tocking of the clock. I get it. Time is the elusive beast.

My Bird, in the end, fared exceptionally well today. He took a good 10 minutes to let go of my leg and squeeze past the book shelves in the library to join the throng of kids. He refused to sit at a table with other kids, choosing an empty table instead (totally unlike his gregarious personality). Bird and Deal (who was also stressed, sensing it from us, no doubt), proceeded to color and draw rocket ships, aliens, and such. When it was time to get in line, Bird grasped my legs again. I silently willed him to break away lest I cry. My tears would have exacerbated an already tender situation. Alas, I realized I left my keys by the bookcase and had a legitimate excuse to step away. Those wily teachers took that opportunity to whisk him away. I took an extra long time to gather my keys (and umbrella that I would have forgotten on this soggy day) so I could do some quick yoga breathing and put on a happy face for Deal.

Deal and I spent the day as we usually do: gym, Starbucks, Target (2 1/2 hours!). In fact, at Starbucks, Deal insisted I buy an extra Horizon vanilla milk for Bird to enjoy when he gets home from school. That's my sensitive boy. I'll be too much of a wreck to blog when my baby goes to kindergarten. Now I know what my mom means by the "baby of the family" mess she blabbers on about when she refers to me. Even pushing 40, I'm still a baby.

My poor Bird spent 30 minutes of his first day of school with his head under a desk because we had tornado warnings in our county. Apparently the teachers and staff operated with aplomb. Teaching is tough enough without Mother Nature stumbling in the path. And let's face it, all the other mothers are probably more challenging to deal with.

When I picked up Bird from school, he greeted me with a gigantic grin and an ecstatic, "Mommy, my day was awesome!" At dinner his thank you for the day was that he got to go to kindergarten.

And so it goes. Once again my children are the ones teaching me a life lesson: Children are way more flexible and resilient than we give them credit for. Moms are another story. At least this mom is. I'm torn between tears of sorrow and tears of pride.
Kindergarten Tears and TriumphsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Disneyland Stream of Consciousness: What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Up at 5:30 AM. Wake the kids (seriously, waking sleeping kids is a crime.). Get dressed. Shoes on. Teeth brushed. Backpacks loaded. Still half alseep. Final check of the lights, locks, blinds. Double check the dishwasher cycle is over. Lock the door. Jam into the car. Count headlights. Park the car. Jot down the parking space lest I forget. Pay a fortune for curbside check in (2 suitcases and 2 carseat bags...gone are the days of traveling light). Airline indsutry BLOWS. Chow down on breakfast. Spill yogurt on clean shirts. Potty once. Then again. Board the plane. Chew gum to ease the ears. Deal tells us gum is on his back. We freak out that it's all over him. Actually he swallowed it. No more gum for Deal. Make Bird spit it out. 1 hour in the air. Jimmy Neutron on the laptop. Kids napping. Medical emergency. Pilot calls for all medical professionals on board to help. Wish I went to med school. Emergency landing in Kansas City. (Does it count as a state I've been to now?) Paramedics rush on board. Firetrucks line the plane. Kids awake. Damn. 2 hours later, still on the ground awaiting paperwork. Take off. Salt water taffy instead of gum. Fantastic Four cartoon on laptop. Battery dies. 3 hours to kill. Playdoh. Coloring books. Legos. Leapster. Chex Mix. Mixed nuts. Fruit snacks. Rice Krispie bars. Hot Wheels. Finally land. Install carseats. Drive in hellacious LA traffic. Amex fucked up hotel reservation. 2 hours later still without a room. Screw it and take a more expensive room for the sake of the kids. Approaching meltdown stage. Dinner at Wolfgang Pucks. Serve Bird undercooked chicken. Return it and tell waiter not to bring more. Recooks what we returned and brings it back to the table...with one bite taken from earlier! Pretty sure that's against the healthy code. Make note to write letter to Wolfgang himself. Kids fall asleep at the table. Carry those heavy boys home. Strip them and brush teeth while they are sleeping. They're up at 6:00 AM. 3 hour time difference is already killing us. Smoked salmon and huevos rancheros for breakfast. Off to Disneyland and California Adventure. Kids nap (thank god for small favors). Meet the mouse. Can't figure out what Goofy is. Pay too much for sunblock that mom forgot to pack. Have a blast on Toy Story and Soaring. Ride more rides at Disney. Watch tiki chow. Eat. Eat. Eat. More rides. Bird loved Star Wars. Pirates of the Caribbean rocked (Seriously, I thought the pirates were real people when I rode that ride 20 years ago so I expected them to be real today. Guess I was fooled.) Captain Jack Sparrow now looks like Johnny Depp. Commercialization abounds. Met a pirate. A real one. Really. Saw Indiana Jones wrestle a politically incorrect brown guy in a turban. Carousel. Dumbo. Pinocchio. Requisite photos in front of Cinderella's castle. Parade. Dark out. Too tired for fireworks. 8 1/2 hours at Disney. Hotel. Carry in two sleeping boys. One beer and Biden news before bed.

Up at 6:30 AM. Peterson Automotive Museum. Photo taken with Grease Lightning and Speed Racer. The Grove. Farmers Market. Playground. See an old friend. Chill out. Trying to keep boys awake until 10:30 flight. Boys asleep before the red eye takes off. Everyone sleeps but me. Two heads on my lap. Glad I didn't have to pee. Arrive in NC at 5:30 AM. Wake the boys. Breakfast. Fantastic Four. 3 hour layover. Sleep on the plane for 30 minute flight. Home. Mac Daddy lost Deal's teddy bear. Boys and I take monster 3 hour nap. Mac Daddy drives back to airport to retrace steps to find Beary. What a guy! Turns out Beary was in the car.

Not one shred of groceries in the house. Dinner out. Everyone in the family asleep at 7:30. Woke up at 8:30 the next day. 13 hours of sleep does a body good. A new day. Must scold American Express for screwing up our trip. Another letter to write.

And today, kindergarten test drive. One full day. I'm pretending it's just for play, not for keeps. Can you spell D-E-N-I-A-L?

We'll always have Disney.
Disneyland Stream of Consciousness: What I Did on My Summer VacationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Life in 6 Words

Mommy Pie has tagged me. That might explain the four pieces of pie consumed by my family last night (strawberry, lemon meringue, coconut cream, and coconut custard in case you were wondering). And yeah, I had a taste or two or five of each.

So in this little meme I'm supposed to define my life in six words. I'm a chatty one so keeping this to six words is a doozie of a challenge. Here goes:

1) MILF (surely acronyms count)
2) anal
3) tired
4) Obamaholic
5) writer
6) chef

Now here's my tag:
Cubicle Monkey
High Heels and Highchairs
A Crafty Mom
Apathy Lounge
Slacker Moms
My Life in 6 WordsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The Incredible Edible Egg

San Diego Momma has doled out the most eggsellent writing idea for today's PROMPTuesday. I have 10 minutes and 250 words to write about an....drumroll, please, egg. An egg. So what comes to mind? Fertility? Chickens? Omelets?

Here's what came to my mind:

At 20, they were plentiful. At 30, their legions were slimming. At 40, worthless. From enviable to inviable in 20 years.

And yet, the swimmers came. Somewhere between 32 and 42, there was a love connection. Puzzle pieces adjoined. Penetration yielded penetration. One egg is all it took. And from that egg was borne the son who starts kindergarten tomorrow.
The Incredible Edible EggSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend