Tuesday, December 30, 2008

let it snow let it snow let it snow


When I woke up this morning, it was snowing. The sky was dark and grey. The wind was howling through the trees, blowing snow into drifts. I was probably the only person in Vermont who thought: oh shit. Snow. Shit. Being with skiers, who live for fresh snow and new powder, I am the biggest damper on enthusiasm you can find. I panic about the ice under the snow. I freak when the car skids half an inch. I hate the thought of being stuck here another night because of inclement weather. A new storm is supposed to start after midnight and I want us to pack our bags and go home today so we're not stuck in the morning. Which is worse? Driving at night or driving through a storm? I'm thinking storm. I'm thinking I'm so done with this trip. I'm thinking I want to sleep in my bed, with my humidifier. My wireless connection that works all the time. Places I can walk to. A floor that isn't almost covered with frost. I've handled 4 nights here and it's actually been far more ok than I ever imagined, but impending winter storm warnings erase my mellow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the wired cup


The village at Stratton has a lovely little coffee shop called The Wired Cup. It's lovely to stop in and get coffee, to sip a cup of hot chocolate for awhile, they have delicious butternut squash and apple soup (truly, it was fabulous). But, I've been stuck here for HOURS and I have so little patience for being trapped somewhere with no other options. Ok, there are a few other options here: super expensive shopping, a stinky, sweaty ski lodge, a spa with no amenities. It's like if you don't ski, don't bother being here. My brain is sluggish, my back is aching, and I want to leave. So does Jack. But, Iz wanted to do one last run, after Dee had to do one last run with Jon. How many last runs are there? It's sort of like the Cher/Tina Turner farewell tours. They say it's the end, but it's not even close.

Friday, December 26, 2008

crossed wires

Experiencing Jon and his mother having a conversation is almost like listening to people talk at each other in different languages. Neither can understand what the other one is saying and both desperately want to make their point, so they keep talking and talking and talking, regardless of the fact the other isn't comprehending. It used to make me insane, especially as frustration and anger ramped up each exchange. For some reason, tonight I'm finding the humor within.

We're discussing what time to leave in the morning to ski. Jon's mom wants to leave at 7:30, getting to the mountain at least half an hour before the slopes open. I find that ridiculous. Jon's trying to get her to let go of that insane control and ease up a bit. 15 minutes into the discussion, he's talking about how weather affects crowd turnout and that rain will be good so it won't be so crowded tomorrow. She's still stuck on what time we're leaving. Neither was aware they weren't even remotely close, topic-wise.

On that note, I have to mention the travel humidifier I bought as a Hannukah present for Jon last year, that's been purring away in her living room since last December. I got it so we could leave it in the car, to use whenever we travel. She assumed, when he brought it in the house last winter, that it was a present for her. Even when he said he was taking it back, she refused to let it go. When I put the pieces together, I think Jon must have said the humidifier was a gift, she must have assumed he meant gift for her, and the miscommunication just continued from there. Totally typical. But, this time I said I was taking it back. She is not happy. But there's no misunderstanding with me. We're not leaving at 7:30 tomorrow either, regardless of what she thinks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

what I love about Christmas morning . . .


is that I don't celebrate Christmas. I don't have this hard deadline written in stone for when my shopping/organizing/wrapping needs to be done. Hannukah's way more flexible—there's just not as much performance pressure for one day. There aren't crazy expectations that have been building for a year for the BEST MORNING EVER. I don't have to expect the inevitable meltdowns after present-mania. We don't have to bundle up and visit assorted relatives so no one's feelings get hurt. We can sleep late, be super lazy, go to the movies, have chinese food. I'm not overwhelmed by mountains of shredded wrapping paper, disappointed egos unhappy with gifts, too many leftovers clogging my fridge. While part of me would love a tree, the lights, the cookies for Santa, the fantasy of Christmas, I'm happy with my scaled back reality.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

displaced anger


Anger hurts but even more, it makes you want to hurt. Scream. Destroy. Make someone else suffer as much as you are. And what's really screwed up is that initial anger comes from fear/frustration/disappointment/sadness/any and everything unresolved that evolves into that rage, that insanity, that meanness burning through your body, your brain, your sanity.

Is it worse to be the angry one or the anger recipient? They both suck. Feeling angry is so destructive on the inside, once you can see how it twists your brain. But when you're in it you can't stop. You just attack. And that poor person in your path is nothing but a target. A target who is kicked behind the knees and thrown into a hurricane of emotional violence. How nasty can you get? How low can you hit? How much pain can you cause? How long can you torture? How much blame can you heap on someone else?

Is there anyone out there who can withstand that attack and stay centered and be helpful? There are people in my life who expect that of me, but it's impossible. How can I not feel and be hurt? And then, how can I help a person in pain when they're hating me? It's not possible to be rational when that force is unleashed. The unfairness of it all makes me crazy. I get pissed. Really super pissed. And then it's a free-for-all that's impossible to escape.

Monday, December 22, 2008

shows I didn't see


Tonight Iz and 4 friends went to their very first Broadway show, on their own. Not entirely on their own—they were escorted to the theater (and literally to their seats) by one friend's mom. And were descended on at the show's end by a total mom squad. But, they lasted the entire show by themselves and were literally giddy both with the ridiculousness of the musical and the fact that they were on their own. It was a very cool school night in my almost 10 and a half year old's life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

holiday excess



I was all set to write about consumerism and excess (and all too often tackiness) of the Christmas season, when I came across this Hanukkah dog outfit and realized we're all suckers for schlock. Is there no self restraint out there? I thought puppies in reindeer antlers or dressed as elves was just about rock bottom, but a satin yarmulke and tallis set for dogs? How desperate are people to throw money away? On garbage? On junk? If someone, anyone, took more than a second to think about what it is they're spending money on—the garbage they're creating, the landfills that they're filling, the clutter that's clogging their closets and their psyches, maybe they'd think twice and leave the filler on the shelves. Shopping itself can be a visceral thrill, but really, how long is that inflatable fruit cake going to be amusing?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

what can I do?

That's Jack's resounding slogan. I don't think a day of his life has gone by without him saying "what can I do" at least 20 times. Even when he's doing something else, he still can ask what can he do in anticipation of finishing. Before he was uttering complete words, his motto was "what kiy (long i) do?" As if I have a magic answer. Or any answer at all. Generally, no matter what I suggest, he says no. Or, his latest "ah . . . no" in a really disgusted voice. I just suggested playing guitar hero and he shot me down. If I suggest baking cookies, going to Grand Central, to the holiday fair at Union Square, bike riding, doing an art project, roller blading, chess, just anything thing you could think of, I get the "ah . . . no." I'm not the Wizard of Oz, or his entertainment psychic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

not a very good week


Today I went to the ENT, to make sure my ear was ok—part of my being responsible about the shifting vague pain in the left side of my face. 3 years ago my eardrum ruptured, twice, and I ended up in the hospital on 6 hours of antibiotic drips a day. I had actually seen this doctor for a consult in the hospital and she remembered me. She remembered the room I was in, that I had my laptop with me and was working, that I was a writer. At some point I have to let go of the misconception that I fade in the woodwork and leave no impressions on anyone. So, my eardrum looked "pristine" as doctor noted, but I have a full-fledged sinus infection. Not a surprise. But man, Monday was my cracked molar discovery, yesterday was my dental extravaganza, today a sinus infection. And I completely lost my voice an hour ago. There's nothing left but subtle croaking. What can tomorrow bring?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

it's not a tiara


I've been having shifting pain in my jaw, ear, face, neck for awhile and chose to not quite ignore it, but not quite address it. Until the ear part made me think my eardrum was back on the road to rupturing (it happened twice in 2005—pain a second close to childbirth. without drugs). I'm seeing an ENT tomorrow, but called my dentist before the weekend wondering if there was a tooth component in there as well. And the answer was . . . yes. One of my molars was cracked. How? Most likely clenching my teeth when I sleep. I had no idea I was even doing that. On Monday they poked around in my mouth and there were some dull achy spots, but when the dentist ran an ice cube over the front of my teeth, in one spot if felt like she rammed a burning knife way up my gums into my brain. Not a pretty picture. So, today, after laying out $2400, I spent 2 hours with my feet higher than my head, having my poor tooth drilled like it was pothole and now have a temporary crown to show for it. Aside from the month of low level pain and the very long dentist visit with my mouth wrenched open like it was a gateway to hell, this might not even work. Root canal still is a possibility in my very near future.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

is it me?


Last night, In the spirit of family movie night, I agreed to watch Meet Dave. On one hand, it was one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen. I missed the first 5 minutes, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have made a huge difference. The premise: ridiculous. A planet in need of energy wanted to drain all of the earth's oceans. These aliens were inches tall and their spaceship was designed to look like a human. Dressed in an all white suit because the only visual record they had of earth were broadcasts of Fantasy Island. Galaxy Quest did a way better job with that premise. These aliens were devoid of emotion, but being on earth and interacting with a very trusting woman who hit Dave (Eddie Murphy, whose face has gotten even more disturbingly elastic) with her car and her "I think I'm a loser" son, unlocked and unleashed all sorts of typical human behavior, like discovering a secret love of the Village People, hairdressing, ghetto speak, and the need to excel at carnival games. Suddenly, members of the crew turned gay, fashionista, homeboy, and the women's uniforms got exceedingly shorter and tighter. Being a New Yorker, I have to mention that if you hit someone with a car, you don't invite them into your apartment for homemade breakfast. Nor is your apartment, in a tenement walk-up in Soho, filled with 6 or so spacious rooms.

Dave did the most shameless commercial promos I've ever seen in a movie: he must have repeated "Welcome to Old Navy" 30 times at least. The good cop/bad cop, we're being visited by aliens, the maniacal take-over by Ed Helms, channeling Evil, all were so painfully derivative, you'd think it would be hard to watch. But no. We watched until the very end. And laughed out loud through much of it.

So, is my taste slipping? At this point one could argue that I don't have taste anymore. But, in the end, it was a satisfying movie night and everyone was happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

great expectations


While I'm a huge fan of kids and technology, there's something very disturbing about how they think that it's all meant to be a money-making scheme, with dreams of fortunes pouring in before they've actually done anything. Stores on etsy? I don't see any handmade crafts to sell. Shops on ebay? Stocked (in theory) with items I never said were ok to sell. And then the disappointment about not being a huge success before anything has even been started. Is this just at my house or is this more widespread? I'm supposing this is yet another manifestation of entitlement.

Friday, December 12, 2008

when it's not about me


Today Izzy found out that she got one of the leads in her school play. She's going to be Lina Lamont, the stunning yet stupid silent screen star of Singin' in the Rain. Even though she had an after school class, I went to pickup, thinking she would either be devastated or thrilled by the announcement of roles. I saw her quietly walk across the yard, with a stoic look on her face. She pulled me in close, told me not to show any reaction, and then whispered her part in my ear. I screamed, I was so insanely proud of her and she quickly told me to pull it together and cut it out. Jack had the same reaction—we both screamed, she blushed and then told us we weren't being sensitive to everyone else's feelings.

I had no idea, before these play auditions, that she had any interest in performing. In fact, I had no idea she could sing, or act. That she could channel her sometimes ridiculous behavior into a remarkably comedic performance. It's amazing the joy and pride you can feel that has nothing to do with you. My heart was/is overflowing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

paying for what?


Iz and I weathered the cell phone insanity and got her all set up. The whole thing is ridiculous. My plan with at&t is apparently so good (1500 minutes/$49.99) they don't offer it anymore so to get a family plan I'd have to pay more to get less. That didn't work for me. We headed up to the at&t store where I was shocked to find they don't have phones on display. The salesperson pulled out beat up samples for us to look at. Iz liked a teeny tiny samsung that I was sure she'd lose in 5 minutes, but the color wasn't working and we were told that was the only color available. The woman was trying to sell us on a plan for $39.99 that really would cost $56 per month after taxes. I wanted a go plan, pay by the minute, free to me, but who am I? Just the consumer. Before she could get me to sign on the dotted line, we escaped to a cell phone store on 14th street to see what our options were. They had Iz's phone in a lovely blue, but the guy at this store only wanted us to sign up with t-mobile. He bordered on hostile but I stuck to my guns and went the at&t route. She picked an older motorola—no camera—because it was black and silver which matched what she was wearing. She left it home, charging, two days in a row.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

cell phone dramady



Iz is ready to walk home herself which means it's time to set her up with a cell phone. Even though we live across the street, it's still 3 city corners to cross and I want to make sure I can reach her and vice versa, that entire time. So, I called at&t to add a line. Turns out it's not that simple. To start a family plan I'd have to give up my current plan and then pay more money for less minutes. Not too enticing. I can get her a go phone and pay 30 bucks a month, plus a texting package, which adds up for someone who doesn't talk on the phone. There's also the iphone tangent, as in I want one. That would cost $30 extra a month, plus texting, on top of what I have now. All in all, that's a bunch of extra bucks to throw out every month, not counting the price of the phones. What to do? At the moment, nothing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

dance party



Sometimes, when the mood is right, we turn off the lights, blast itunes and have a dance party. Both Iz and Jack can groove and their taste in music that moves them is as eclectic as mine. Hey, it is mine. Tonight was all about the Eurythmics (Would I Lie to You–the greatest dance song ever written), Sting Me by the Black Crowes, What I Like About You (the Romantics), and Rubberband Man by the Spinners. By that point we were hot and sweaty and slowed it down with Dancing Queen.

Sometimes life is so good and you feel so blessed you want to capture and remember that moment forever. Tonight's dance party was family bliss.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm not kidding


Entertainment at sea can be fabulous. Last night we watched Mama Mia on a giant screen, under the stars, on lounge chairs with pillows, blankets, and freshly popped pop corn. It was an amazing night.

The night before I went to a show so bad I had to walk out, which I've done maybe twice in my life. It was an original Princess musical called "Destination Anywhere" and it went from mediocre to unbelievable to atrocious to impossible to sit through far more quickly than one could imagine. The premise, or so it seemed, was that a woman had been dumped by her boyfriend and had to get away. Anywhere was fine. Hence the show's title and the first number—a not-very-catchy song that featured 60s styled stewardesses dancing in silver sequins and ended with a toy plane traversing the stage. The next song: Viva Las Vegas. Ok, she's going to mend her broken heart in Sin City. That turned into an Elvis tribute as the most faux Elvis I've ever seen launched into "A Little Less Conversation" as he rose up onto the stage. Surrounded by 10 other dancers in matching Elvis outfits, it was truly Elvis-mania. I'm waiting for the soul, the edge, the edge of Elvis but there was none to be found. Next up: Heartbreak Hotel. The blond singer who was trying so hard to be a soulful Britney belted this one out only she couldn't belt. The dancers were sexed up chambermaids and it was quickly apparent they wanted to seduce everyone who came to stay. I figured this had to be why the show was rated PG-13.

And then, without explanation, the show turned into Sweeney Todd, transporting itself to old-style London. Dry ice filled the stage with smoke and dancers slunk about in the dark, as if waiting for Jack the Ripper to attack. The women sang a remake of "A Few of My Favorite Things" about jewelry. It was bad. Really bad. But the kiss of death was when the male singers, dressed in Sherlock Holmes outfits with top hats instead of caps, started rapping. I got ready to go, waiting it out to see if the next number might possibly help. Roxanne. Nope. I left.

I heard today that the show hit The Lion King next, before a Time Warp from Rocky Horror finale.

A quick disclaimer—I didn't take the photo. I didn't stick around long enough.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

here comes the sun

It's sunny. The sky is blue. We're heading towards the beach. Deep sigh of relief. As long as Iz and her twisted knee, Jon and his completely clogged nose, and Jack and his misery can buck up, it'll be a day in turquoise water and white sand. Mmmm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

life at sea



Life at sea is remarkably like life at home. Everyone’s happy just sitting in the cabin and playing Spore. Well, not me. I’m never happy sitting and playing Spore, although, to be honest, I’ve never tried. But just talking about it makes me kind of crazy.

Being on a cruise is too much like being in Florida. Lots of marble, fancy restaurants, and too much air conditioning everywhere. We’re in the Caribbean and I’m freezing most of the time. It’s also anything but beautiful out. It’s not raining—that was yesterday—but it’s super overcast and so windy it’s hard to sit outside. So, Iz and I are sitting outside a wine bar, listening to a string quartet, with laptops set up on a marble table, flanked by faux greek columns and hand blown glass sculptures. In bathing suits. It’s all a bit surreal. So many people who seem so happy and I’m not sure why. My theory has to do with the ease and convenience of walking everywhere. No cars. No traffic. But that’s my day to day life. I love being in a house when I’m on vacation, not surrounded by people, fighting for a deck chair or a table for lunch.

Having said that, I’m wearing flip flops. We spent yesterday at a beach with the most stunning turquoise water I’ve seen in a long time. It was so delicious to lie on a chair, watching clouds float by in a brilliant blue sky. It’s amazing that someone comes and cleans our room twice a day. I LOVE that. He leaves chocolates on our pillow at night.

OK, the string quartet stopped and now it’s a doowop group.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

my life as a cruiser



We realized, after thinking about this cruise coming up on Sunday, that it'll be Iz's 4th journey through the caribbean. She's only 10. And I couldn't figure out how many cruises I've been on—they just run together in my head. There was the ship with the really tacky carpeting and terrifying chandeliers (Carnival), the ship with the surprisingly limited food (the line from Italy that I totally can't remember), the ship that was the actual Love Boat (ok, that was kind of cool). The cruise with the horrendous weather and freezing temperatures (that was Scandinavia and I'm never going back). The cruise where we met Mim and Emma and hauled out butts to Trunk Bay (the most beautiful beach I've ever seen), the cruise where my face swelled like the Elephant Man and I ended up in the hospital when I got home. The cruise we all surprised my mother for her birthday—she had no idea and burst into tears when we all showed up at her cabin. The time Iz had her entire head braided and beaded. The beach we visited in Mexico 2 weeks after a major hurricane. The waiter that figured out my mother and brought her one of every dessert without even asking. The trip my mother was convinced my sister was gay (she isn't). The time people we were traveling with forgot their passports and somehow managed to get on the ship anyway (I'm sure they thought it was a miracle from God). The shopping sprees for expensive watches. The delicious 24 hour pizza bars. The ice sculptures. The lead singer who snapped and pointed at every opportunity. Toga night. Roman-esque steam rooms. The stars in the mediterranean. 4 people living in 100 square feet for a week. 4 people sleeping in 2 twin beds because 2 of us were afraid of bunk beds.

Monday, November 17, 2008

be the soda machine



A very wise therapist who's prone to analogies, told me that in the midst of someone else's meltdown, to think of myself as a soda machine. Inanimate, strong, cool, large, implacable, an entity with no emotion, actions, input, no ability to argue, yell, fight, be snarky . . . I love the concept: be the soda machine. Putting it into practice is ENTIRELY something else.

Not naming names, I just have to add that 5th grade is exhausting from a purely emotional place. The anxiety surrounding an audition for the 5th grade play is like an endless stomach ache. For me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

too much technology

Friday night, while at a kick-ass Toshi Reagon show, I got an email notifying me that my website had been updated. Curious to how that happened, as I wasn't anywhere near a computer and hadn't been updating, I clicked on the url only to find that Jack had published his very own website. I was extraordinarily proud of his hard work, not to mention designer's eye, and left the site up all weekend.

But, tonight I wanted my site back up, so I hit the publish button, fully expecting it to override his site. Nope. I mean NOPE. If I could make that extra black super heavy bold, I would. I spent the last 2+ hours working 3 machines trying to figure out how to ditch my very creative son's handiwork. I had to find where the site was hosted (in my name folder/library/application support/iweb). I deleted his site. Nothing. Went to mobile me (stupid, stupid name) and deleted his site from there. I re-did all the info with my web host. Then, in sheer and total frustration I shut everything down and stormed off to bed. But, even though I had been dead tired 2 hours ago, I couldn't let this go. So, I booted everything back up, researched more and tried uploading all folders, AGAIN, to mobile me. That finally worked.

Now I have to explain to him tomorrow why he can't blog as his site is no longer. That will probably be worse than this was.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

joe the plumber


While there have been countless mindboggling moments in the McCain/Palin sideshow—let's just take a moment to remember the Katie Couric interviews, the "economy is strong" statement, the suspended campaign, the Pretty Woman shopping spree to rattle off a few—it's hard to find anything more ridiculous than the inclusion of Joe the Plumber on their campaign wagon.

Obama's got President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore all stumping for him at the moment. McCain's got a non-licensed plumber who owes back taxes, uses a pseudonym and has been dangerously spouting off political advice and opinions.

They scary part is that crowds apparently are going wild for him. It's the American Idol factor live. You could now call it the Sarah Palin factor. Who needs experience or talent to find instant fame?

Monday, October 27, 2008

friends don't let friends . . .



. . . wear socks with sandals. Alas, I have a good friend who persists in this fashion-backwards behavior. In fact, when I saw him today he said not only did he wear socks with sandals just for me, he went one step further and wore Thorlo socks—those navy blue toes stood out even more against the white socks and tevas. Again, just for me.

In the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, the socks and sandals pictured are not those of my friend, just a random stranger who also is apparently comfortable with this fashion faux pas.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

living the american dream



This year, after much debate, Iz decided to be Sarah Palin for Halloween. While I tried to encourage her to be Sarah as a beauty queen, or Sarah in camo as a local Alaskan, she only wanted a power suit and heels. I scavenged the Salvation Army to find her a fitted black blazer, skirt and pumps. Total cost? $25.

I wanted to outfit her with a Miss Wasilla sash, or perhaps a maverick sign. She said just the thought of her as Sarah Palin was amusing enough.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Loser

It's hard to figure out exactly where this loser story starts. Could be that I managed to lose both Iz and Jack's passports. Could be that I didn't realize it until we had to shell out the extra $120 bucks to expedite new ones. Could be that I dragged everyone to only open passport office in Manhattan this morning, with every form filled out, paper-clipped together and uber-organized, but forgot to bring their birth certificates. In retrospect, it was the last one.

After that we had a birthday party, a middle school tour, and two session of our school's halloween bash to survive. It's been a long long long day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

what to wear



Another thing I've been wondering . . . where does Sarah Palin keep all her clothes? While she has her look down to a science—short black skirt, simple top with 3/4 sleeves, classic pumps—I don't know that I've ever seen her wear the same outfit twice. Turns out she hasn't had to worry about closet space, that her very polished look is the result of a very recent $150,000 spending spree. So much for the "I'm just a hockey mom," and her constant claims that she and her husband are middle class like the rest of us. Funny, I'm middle class and no one's dropping $75,000 for me at Neiman Marcus. And while that sounds like fun, where would I store everything?

Speaking of dropping money, it seems as if she took her kids on state business trips, whether they were invited or not, and charged Alaska for their airfare and expenses. It's hard to imagine the pre-teen set would be relevant at government summits, but they got to stay in ritzy hotels, at the tax-payers expense for days.

Now I know there are far more important issues to discuss in this election: the global economy meltdown, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Wall Street bail out, but should the very expensive shoe be on the other foot, right now the RNC would be spinning these shopping sprees into threats on our national security. Can't you picture soundbites like: "HOW CAN THEY BALANCE THE BUDGET WHEN THEY SHOP TILL THEY DROP?" or "SHOES FIRST, ECONOMY SECOND."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

motherhood and politics and rumors

I've been wondering about the whole release-of-medical-records thing. While on one hand, knowing the health of the potential leaders of this country is totally important. If an elected official had six months to live, that would be an important fact to know during election season. On the other hand, it's very strange, and feels more than a bit intrusive, to know what medications Joe Biden is taking and results of tests that are usually very private.

Which brings me to Sarah Palin. Why isn't she releasing her records? I'm thinking that a woman who popped out a baby in April and has been running around the country non-stop for months must be in awfully good shape. Make that great shape. Thinking back to when I had kids (and it's only two compared to five), there's no way my body would've been able to withstand that pressure. A new baby keeps you up at night. Then again, perhaps she has someone dealing with night time feedings. Childbirth itself is an exhausting experience and it takes time to heal. Hormones are coursing and pumping and changing. There is, at least for most people I know, an emotional pull to take care of and be with your child. Maybe by the fifth, that lessens. I remember watching her repeatedly whack her baby on the back (ok, whack is a little extreme) after her convention speech. I remember noticing that not once did she look down at him, whisper in his ear, kiss his cheek or offer and of the gestures moms automatically give their babies. She looked like a frantic burper before she handed him off to her 6 year old. I remember rumors floating online that the baby wasn't hers, he was the child of her teenage daughter.

Sometimes, I still wonder the same thing. Either that or she has one talented personal trainer, a full-time nanny, and little to no emotional ties.

Monday, October 20, 2008

the secret of politics


John Hodgman (I'm a PC) on the Rachel Maddow show just talked about the magical thinking of both Sarah Palin and George Bush—that they both think they're qualified to run the country just because they believe they can.

Isn't that what "The Secret" is all about? I tried to read it—I thought I was missing some fundamental truth of life that would make me wealthy and successful if only I read and embraced this book as so many millions had. But I couldn't get past the first chapter. The same people were quoted over and over admonishing readers to THINK POSITIVE. BELIEVE IT AND IT WILL HAPPEN. DON'T EVER DOUBT because if you do, even in your head, the forces of the universe will sense it and deliver doom and gloom to your doorstep, instead of a million dollar check from Ed McMahon. It seemed to be about self-delusion so powerful that you'd trick everything and everyone, including yourself, to believe things that just aren't true. Bush and Palin are such strong believers in themselves and their abilities, they don't even bother to pay attention to anyone or anything else.

Monday, October 13, 2008

gratitude


I am so incredibly grateful that my amazing, wonderful, remarkable friends took my child to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua today. Which means I never have to see it.

Last night I suffered through Legally Blonde 2—just about the stupidest movie ever made. I hate wasting another moment of my existence on this planet thinking about it except to say that it starred a chihuahua—coincidence? Does a chihuahua in a film guarantee its inanity? Who was more mortified about participating in the film, the writers or the actors? Is a whole generation of girls going to think that you can get into Harvard Law and pass a bill in Congress just by being friendly and cute and knowing more about hair care than anyone but a professional should?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

700 billion

With only 40 days left in charge, who would possibly have thought that Bush and his band of cronies could find yet another way to screw this country? But, they have. The repercussions of handing 700 billion dollars over to a couple of people, not expecting accountability or disclosure to ANYONE in government, is mind-boggling. Then again, so many of the appalling decisions of this administration leave me slack-jawed.

Even more stomach-turning is that half (give or take on any day) the people in this county will vote for McCain/Palin, who could very likely be even worse. If that's at all possible.

Monday, September 22, 2008

in the blink of an eye

Last night, as we were waiting to cross the corner of 12th and University, we heard a thud. A really loud THUD. I looked over and saw a bicycle flying up in the air, as person hit the street, a cab in between the two. For a moment, everything stopped. Then several people ran to help. The bike was totalled, both wheels twisted and torqued. The rider, assuring everyone he was ok, picked it up and walked away. The cab driver just sat there for a couple of minutes—stunned. We saw some friends across the street and stopped for a moment to compare notes on what we had just seen (and chat about the off-broadway auditions Alice had been running all week). I took the accident as an opportunity for a real life lecture about safety on wheels and potential dangers lurking at every corner in the city. Jack said, "ok mom," hopped on his scooter and jumped off the curb. Iz froze. And started sobbing about how she could have been killed, might be killed, would never ride again . . . totally and complete panic. Jon told me to leave her and stick with Jack, that he'd handle this particular meltdown. 3 minutes later, my phone rang. "Do you have tissues? She's got a bloody nose." Her first, ever. Jack and I circled back and saw Iz, covered in blood, back in the saddle (more literally, back on her scooter) crossing 5th Ave. She had blood on her legs, arms, hands, shorts, shirt—it was still dripping down her face. She called herself the bloody scooter and flew down the street, doing tricks the whole way home. Lesson learned? Bloody noses trump panic attacks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

abusive relationships

If you were in a relationship and you were lied to, given no voice, and treated like you were stupid, would you stay? What if your partner drove you into debt, destroyed where you lived, and ruined your reputation? People would tell you to GET OUT. Hopefully your self-preservations skills would make you open your eyes to that fact that you were being used, taken advantage of, exploited. Doesn't matter how charming or personable the other person is, no matter how attractive the package, it's still abuse.

That's what's happening with this country and not enough people are acknowledging how badly we, as a people, have been treated. The war, the economic breakdown, the lack of health care for so many. How about approval of torture, taking away individuals rights, spying on citizens.

Have we been so battered we're afraid of change? To stand up for ourselves?

People, we HAVE to BREAK UP with the Republican party. We've been abused for far too long.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

a moment of reality for all the jews out there

To all of you who are supporting McCain because Republicans support Israel, get over it.

This country, our country is in a state of crisis. If McCain/Palin are elected our daughters' reproductive rights would be in jeopardy. Our children could be taught creationism at school. We would be continuing the disastrous track record of the past 8 years. Businesses will continue to collapse. The number of those who can't get jobs will continue to grow. Our standing with the rest of the world? Our educational systems? Health care? Come on. We need to deal here. HERE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

judgement

This morning I saw a man, wearing a jacket and tie, standing in front of the New School with boxes of super small bright green covered Gideon bibles. As I walked down 6th avenue I saw a woman with a stack handing them to anyone who would take one and several people thumbing through as they strolled down the street. And then a woman at my coffee shop was holding a bible studies brochure. My first reaction was to get in her face and ask her just how she could support Sarah Palin and John McCain. No, that was my second thought. My first thought was: idiot. And then my mind raced thinking about how small-minded she was, didn't she know the division religion caused in this country, why and how did she buy in to all that nonsense. I was pissed and offended and inappropriately judgmental.

Just because someone had a bible or was carrying a pamphlet was enough information for me to categorize them into something stupid and evil. It would almost be funny if it wasn't so scary. I am scathingly judgmental about people who hide behind their religious beliefs. But I am equally as rigid about them being wrong.

Monday, September 15, 2008

fear

Yesterday, we were out of the city, and while Iz was swimming in a friend's pool, a younger kid slid towards the deep end. He couldn't swim, panicked, grabbed onto her and pulled her under. She's not the strongest swimmer and she was/is terrified. Her first words this morning were could she have drowned? I reassured her that in that situation, no she couldn't. Plenty of grownups were there (although I wasn't) and someone would have come to her rescue. Last night though, I had endless nightmares about not being able to save her. She was trapped in an elevator without air and I couldn't open the doors (my biggest fear). She was on a rollercoaster that was out of control and no one could stop it. As she gets older and grows more and more independent, I can't always be there to protect her. When she was little I could check on her in her crib to make sure she was still breathing (I only did that when she was really little), take her temperature endlessly to keep track of a fever (I still try but she won't let me), mash her food into tiny pieces, hold her hand as we crossed every corner, not let go of her in the pool. But I can't be there all the time to make sure nothing bad happens.

Which leads me to a bigger fear and other nightmares. The Wall Street disaster that's pumping up the news today terrifies me. I don't even pretend to understand leveraged buyouts or bundled mortgages, but the fact that renowned institutions could fail so catastrophically, billions (BILLIONS) of dollars lost. Thousands will now be jobless. And what happens? This should send not a ripple, but a tidal wave of fear through the country. But, it will pale in comparison to what Sarah Palin makes for dinner.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

a rock and a hard place

I know so many people who want to do something to help. To get Obama elected. Even more, to keep McCain and Palin as far away from Washington as possible. But what? What can we do? We can donate money. We can take road trips to states where people are more undecided than those of us in New York City. Jon's ready to volunteer and the days leading up to the election and wants us all to come. That's a nightmare for me. What are we supposed to do? Be stuck in the middle of nowhere, I'd have to entertain kids while the panic inside's just rising. We did it last election and it was one of the most worst experiences I've ever had. I couldn't help, couldn't work, couldn't volunteer. I had two little kids to take care of. And the flight home from Florida, the day after the election, was one of the most painful experiences I've lived through. Half the plan was gleeful, the other half barely fighting back tears. It was sort of like coming home from a superbowl and being fans of the losing team, only this was our government that was relegated to 4 more years of a continuing nightmare.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

it should've been hillary

It's easy to look back and speak with confidence about what should have been. But I've always said Hillary was the answer. She is tough, strong, she has backbone, she fights. When she's shoved, kicked, relegated to the corner, she's showed strength, temerity and humor and came back almost every time.

I bet, if she were in Obama's position, she'd be blasting back. Indignant and furious. Strident and outspoken.

It should have been Hillary. And yes, Biden is right, she should have been the vice presidential candidate. If she were on the ticket, none of this circus would be happening. We'd be talking politics and agenda, not moose hunting and teen pregnancy.

9/11

This morning at drop-off another mom said she didn't feel comfortable about going to a back-to-school picnic tonight because of the day. I thought she meant because it was Thursday, that everyone would be worn out after their first full week of school. She meant because it's 9.11.

After that day, I never imagined I'd be ok again. I never thought I'd be able to sleep through the night, stay calm when I heard a siren, not panic when a helicopter hovered over the neighborhood, not be terrified every time a plane seemed to fly too close by.

That morning while I sitting on Iz's bed, brushing her hair, I noticed a small black cloud hovering over one of the towers. We live in the west village and our bedrooms face south; the twin towers were part of our daily view. It was the most beautiful day, the sky was crisp and blue and the cloud seemed so out of place. My friend Sally called to let us know a plane had hit one of the towers, which explained the black smoke hovering up so high. Minutes later a huge orange ball of fire exploded out of the tower on the left. Jon shouted from our room that he had seen another plane fly behind the building. The tv was on but no one had reported that explosion yet—it was like watching a scene in a high budget disaster film, only it was happening out our window. We heard that a plane flew into the Pentagon and time slowed down. That too felt surreal. We were under some sort of attack. Reality was shifting into this place I'd never been. Would we be attacked again? We bombs coming, gas attacks, aliens? Would we be ok?

We just stared out the window and tried to be in touch with people. Phones went dead. Traffic was stopped in the streets. I swear I saw one of the towers slightly shift. How was that possible? It was a HUGE structure, dwarfing everything else in its vicinity. But I know I saw it move. And then it just pancaked flat. It was gone. It was just gone, like someone erased it. I'd been there. Up at the top. With my entire family. And suddenly there was just one tower standing and smoke billowing everywhere.

The other tower fell and there was nothing. Smoke. White smoke. A powerful smell of burning. We looked out and saw lines snaking around the supermarket. We went to buy water and diapers (Jack was 4 months old) and discovered the line wasn't for supplies, it was to donate blood at St. Vincent's. Hundreds of people were desperate to do something to help.

My sister-in-law worked next door to the towers and we couldn't find her. At one point our buzzer went off and the doorman said she was on her way up. She got out of the elevator, covered in white dust, with people she had brought with her from her office. I burst into tears, so relieved she was ok. She took charge and made lunch for everyone as we all tried to figure out what was happening, how we'd get people home, what to do next, what any of this meant.

The city was shut down south of 14th street. We live on 12th, so things were silent, except for emergency vehicles. The hospital gave out masks, for kids to wear, to protect them from the smoke and dust. Missing people posters were hung on our building, our mailboxes, at the supermarket, in all the store windows. It was so quiet. No one talked. No one smiled.

I never thought I'd be able to look downtown without crying. I never thought this anniversary would come and I wouldn't feel great pain. I never thought anything would ever be ok again. But kindness and sacrifice and empathy came out that day. I was never more scared to live in New York. But I was never more proud to be a New Yorker.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

back to me

I am one of the few people on the planet at the moment with nothing to do. It's unnerving. And slightly surreal. Usually back-to-school means total chaos, tons of work, PTA meetings, fighting to get new projects out into the universe. But this year—nothing. What's even stranger is that I'm not panicking, which is my usual reaction to too much time on my hands. I'm not exercising like mad. Apparently I gave that up a couple of years ago. I'm not anxiety-ridden, freaking out, floundering in the depths of despair (except when thinking about the impending election). I'm ok.

some things never change

I watched Obama on Olberman last night and felt like it was John Kerry all over again. Lengthy explanations, calm, detached demeanor, head-shaking at those silly Republicans, twisting the truth.

Hasn't anybody learned from the past? Who's running Obama's campaign? Who's advising him? Niceness, logic, and explanations don't work. It has to be huge, tabloid headlines to get anyone's attention. Don't count on people thinking, being smart, discussing the issues and coming to their own conclusions. IT'S NOT HAPPENING.

I feel like I'm watching a party floundering in jewish guilt. Don't insult the other side, don't hurt anyone's feelings, don't say anything you'll regret. SCREAM your opinions. SHOUT the truth. Challenge the lies—call them out. Just tell it LOUD. Be outraged. Horrified. Angry. Enraged. INFURIATED. There are millions of terrified Americans out here worried about their lives, their country, their children, their planet.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND FIGHT FOR US. FIGHT BACK. FIGHT HARD.

Monday, September 8, 2008

an open letter to Barack Obama

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be pissed off. Call McCain and Palin liars. Out them for who they really are. They are LYING. Their ads are lying. We live in a country where people have been trained to believe advertising. Don't take it for granted that the American people are smart. They're not. Collectively we're not. We've had 8 years of a nightmare president that WE VOTED FOR. Don't expect insight or intelligence or growth. People don't think. FIGHT BACK. Get aggressive. Challenge them. It's not the issues. It's the soundbites. The war hero and the right-to-life hockey mom. People aren't looking any deeper than that. You can't make them with logic, with sanity, with reason. You have to fight back on their level or you will loose. And that terrifies me.