Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Sunday Night Already

'Twas not long ago I surveyed the vacation time before us and declared it bounteously lengthy. Mine eyes blinked and forsooth it was all at once Sunday again.

How does that happen? One day you're looking at 4 days in front of you, and then all of a sudden you're looking back on those same four days, knowing they were fun but having a nagging feeling that somehow time travels faster when you are not on the clock for "the man."

Luckily, the vacation ended with a Leftovers Dinner at our house. We invited our friends to bring their leftovers, their kids, and their taste for beer, and it was total fun. The kids had a fantastic time. So fantastic that when I went downstairs to the playroom after Bambina was in bed I laughed hysterically for about 3 full minutes because it was TRASHED. Seriously trashed in that non-violent, non-rock star but completely-vaporized manner that only 12 kids can make happen. It was awesome. I love having kids in my house; I love the sound of kids having fun. After not even knowing Bambina's friends last year and not having met my friends' new babies till they were, like, two years old, I just don't get wiggy about kiddie mess. It's such a genuine pleasure to have friends and kids over that, as long as they stay out of my room and don't put a guitar through a TV or something, I'm all good. Same with kiddie drama. As long as no one is bleeding, I'm pretty sure they can sort it out for themselves without me getting all Kissinger on them.

The big drama of the night was a minor power outage on our street. Our house went dark for what felt like 5 full minutes (but was more like 40 seconds or so). And I mean DARK. The kids were all downstairs in the basement playroom when it happened, so there was a lot of commotion, mostly coming from my shrieking Bambina, who got mightily spooked by the whole thing. Luckily I am that person who reads those Worst Case Scenario books (yes, you will find one of those window cracker thingies in my car in case I go into a lake at full speed and have to get out of the vehicle against water pressure), so we had our emergency flashlight in the kitchen drawer. Good enough. NOT good enough, however, was finding out that all but one of my precious plug-in emergency lights completely failed. I have five throughout the house, designed to light up like flashlights if the power goes out. Only the one in our bathroom worked. So the poor kids in the basement were in pitch darkness--and I mean absolute total darkness. So I'm pissed at my failed anal-retentive emergency measures, but kind of glad I had this chance to find out before something really craptacular happened.

But poor Bambina. She was a wreck, only sort of recovering enough a little while later to let me put her down so I could go and pee. Much like the silver lining of finding out in advance of disaster that one particular brand of "emergency" lights are worth f*ck-all, this actually gave us one of those defining parent-child moments, where I think she finally internalized that I am always on her, always coming for her no matter what. She wanted to talk about "the dark darkness" for the rest of the night. Now, ahead of an event we don't let her perseverate on stuff because it just gets her wound up. But after an event, especially one as scary as this for her, we let her talk about it as much as she needs to because we've learned that that's how she processes it and puts it in whatever place she needs to put it to move forward. So we talked about the dark darkness for what felt like freakin' hours. But finally at the end of the night she got what I'd been saying all night: "My love, I know that was scary; but I want you to always remember that no matter what is happening or how scared you are, Mama is coming for you. Whatever is going on, it's okay to be scared. But just know that Mama is coming; Mama is always coming for you. Always. Always. Always." For effect I added, "There is nowhere on this planet that you could be that I would not find a way to get to you; nowhere. Mama is always coming to get you even if I have to crawl on my hands and knees to get there. "

Bingo. I could feel the weight lifting from her wee shoulders and the impishness descending:

"Would you crawl through spiders?" (She knows I fear and loathe spiders)
Hundreds of spiders, my love. Thousands of spiders.
[Cue two or three additional scenarios under which I would labor to get to my child, involving heavy rain, lots of mud, and superdark darkness); then came the preschooler masterpiece:
"Would you walk through poopies?"
Yes, my love, I'd walk through poopies.

And with that she said good night and went to sleep, afraid no more.


*Oh, but PS. I am so socially challenged that I keep saying really stupid things to my across-the-street neighbor. I feel like Basil Fawlty desperately trying to not talk about The War with his German guests; I can't stop saying moronic stuff in front of this woman no matter how hard I try. I'll spare you my other faux pas to share this evening's latest blunder: Her two boys are adorable, and Bambina really likes them. These are the kids we went trick-or-treating with, with whom she just went racing off down the street. I was trying to say as much to the mom, about how Bambina doesn't really enjoy the company of boys (and says so) but really enjoys the company of her sons. I can't even remember my exact, clearly-mixed up words, but essentially what I ended up saying was that the other boys are animals and her boys are nancies. Which was obviously NOT what I was trying to say at all, but it pretty much came out sounding that way. I know it came out that way because her response was, "Well! It's been so nice! Thanks for inviting us over!" Which is precisely what I'd say if someone just said something moronic and offensive to me. Seriously, this is the third time I've had diarrhea of the mouth with this woman, and I just have no idea what my problem is beyond the fact that I'm now in that Impotent Guy stage, where I think so hard about what might go wrong that I can't make the right thing happen. I'm not prepared at the moment to go and do the full-on, "I think I sound like an a**hole" mea culpa with her, since that would be all kinds of level-jumping weird. I'm just hoping that she'll consent to have another playdate and I can coach myself through it without inadvertently insulting 43 people in the process.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Other Things That Make Me Thankful

DeFuzzIt: http://www.thewoolenmill.com/Product.aspx?id=233&pid=0
This gadget is the greatest thing since the wheel. It gets rid of those little piles of lint on sweaters with just a quick brush. I am so addicted to this thing that I sat watching Dexter last night while de-linting about 5 sweaters. I simply cannot stop using it; I'm even at the point of trying to find clothing that needs de-fuzzed just so I can use it again.

Speaking of Dexter, that show just gets better and better. I've mentioned it before; about the police blood spatter analyst who is a serial killer of other killers. Michael C. Hall, who plays Dexter is an absolute revelation, and the writing is absolutely top-notch.

Freshaire paint. I'm in the process of painting a few rooms in the house. I got some Freshaire paint in Evening Peruvian Lily for our family room, and the difference between that and regular paint is unbelievable. Freshaire has no VOC's (volatile organic compounds), so it is better for the environment and better for you. I painted a full wall and the paint smell was gone in less than an hour. In fact, there is almost no paint odor to begin with, so I don't worry about me or my family breathing in toxic off-gases for hours on end. There are only two bummers. One: There are limited colors available. Two: It is only available at Home Depot, perhaps the WORST home improvement store to ever exist.

Lowe's Home Improvement. Hear me now and believe me later: I will never set foot in a Home Depot again (except to pick up that paint). I went to Lowe's just because I was at the supermarket near it. In marked contrast to the total apathy and borderline derision of Home Depot employees, Lowe's staff were all over me the second I walked into the store. "Can I help you?" Oh my lord, yes you can help me. Where is the X? "Follow me; I'll show you." When we got to the correct area, "Can I help you find anything in particular?" When I said what I needed the item for, the guy walked me through the pros and cons of each option then recommended the best one based on what I needed. Then on my way back to the front of the store I was asked no fewer than 3 times by different employees if I needed any help. Holy mother of hardware! This company knows how to do business, especially in a down economy. I felt like I was in my local mom and pop hardware store, only with more product available. I mean, they didn't just say, "That item is in aisle six on the right." They walked me to it. They then didn't just abandon me to figure it out; they stayed and helped me choose. Then they made sure on the way out that I had everything I needed. Unbelievably good service, unbelievably nice people. I cannot believe I endured the Home Depot for so long when Lowe's was only another couple of miles away. Go ye and do likewise.

livemocha.com This website helps you learn a language by offering free lessons and then connecting you with native speakers of that language who will correct your work and chat with you online to improve your speech. I haven't done the online chat thing, but I've done the Chinese lessons and submitted my work for help to native Chinese speakers who you can then list as your friend and recontact for help if you both want to. I have also gone to the section where people learning English have submitted their work and offered corrections and advice to them. It's a totally cool social way to learn a new language, whatever that language may be. Hat tip to the BBDD for finding it.

Finally, what I like the most is that it is 8:07am on a vacation day and Bambina--in an unprecedented move for a non-work day--is still asleep. Now, THAT makes me thankful!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Parlor Game

Perhaps a Thanksgiving parlor game as you sit around in your tryptophan stupor? Courtesy of the good people at Utah Savage:

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names): Jane None

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad): Edward John

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name): HaStar

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Green Dog

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live): Mary Boston

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning): The Orange Sidecar

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name): Stis

8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Strawberry Thumbprint

9. ROCK STAR NAME: (pet’s name, street name): Stephan Seven

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on): Tigris Todlaw

Call me crazy, but I think "Strawberry Thumbprint" is waay more porn than Tigris Todlaw. What are yours?

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

In which I offer exhortations and platitudes befitting the scope and spirit of the holiday. Or something.

So I'm thankful. Inordinately and infinitely thankful. Obviously, for being alive.

For my first Thanksgiving post-transplant as a seemingly-normal member of society.

For my family who got me here.

For my donor who made "here" possible; who turned a daily nightmare into a bunch of dreams-come-true.

For my indescribably amazing BBDD and Bambina, without whom this new life would not be worth living. And to whom any additional words simply would not do justice.

For my Mom, who knows me better than I'd prefer, and who has always loved me regardless. Who brought me into the world and who pretty much continues to help me through it, thereby proving that a mother's work is never done.

For my Dad, who I miss randomly and excruciatingly on a sometimes-weekly basis, when I smell his old pipe tobacco, or see a man walking with what was his characteristic shuffle. Or, sometimes just when I walk into a hardware store and breathe in that alchemic elixir of lumber, WD-40 and paint thinner that characterized the Do-It-Yourself handyman nature of the Haggis household throughout my childhood. Sometimes the acuteness of missing him hits me so hard I can't believe it's been almost 3 years since he died, like maybe it shouldn't feel like a punch in the face anymore after all this time. But maybe it's more accurate to say that it will always feel like a punch in the face, only nowadays I don't so much mind being punched. I like that he's there, waiting to find me when I least expect it. I like that Bambina likes to eat "Bumpa Toast" (the Scottish version of grilled cheese), even when it prompts her to ask me to tell her stories about him and I ache that he can't tell her himself. I'm so sad he's gone, but I'm thankful and lucky and blessed that I had him for the time we had. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to say that. Thank God I am.

For my friends. My dear, dear friends who care about me sometimes more than I deserve, and who love me even though I routinely fail to reciprocate all of their wonderful acts of daily friendship.

For lovely blog readers whose comments and emails make me laugh, fume and feel lucky to be a part of the conversation. I would have lost my mind in 2007 without this blog--and without the three of you reading it. I'm lucky to have you. For real.

For the blessing of attitude adjustments. While I'd gladly go back, start out with some healthy bone marrow, and skip this whole transplant thing, I can't deny that it has been a gift in many ways. If I hadn't gotten sick, I'd have been working full time and I'd have missed this time being a stay-at-home mama to Bambina. Oh, she'd have been fine and I'd have been fine. But this time with her has been a flat-out gift, end of story. To be sure, we'd certainly be more financially comfortable with me working. But sometimes there is also a blessing in not being able to buy everything you want, to having to differentiate between a want and a need, and sometimes even getting comfortable with the fact that some needs will just have to wait (I'm talking to you, condemned deck at the back of my house). If I hadn't gotten sick, I'd never have found out who my real friends are. Or at least, I'd never have been able to be honest with myself about the fact that some people are just inherently Takers, and that even their "concern" for you is still and always about them, as you now realize your entire "friendship" was as well. I'm several hundred pounds lighter after this transplant, and that's a good thing, for me and for them. Call it human feng shui: releasing the energy that's holding you back so you are open to receiving the new and more positive kind.

For the blessing of living in a democracy. As bad as the campaign got (and y'all; it got BAD), we are witnessing another peaceful transfer of power in these United States of America. It's something we all take for granted, but when you consider the truly amazing feat in human civilization such an event represents, we ought to be more mindful of its wonder. When you really think about it, the only reason it works is because we all as Americans agree to agree that this is how it will go. If the military decided it wasn't going to happen at the same time whatever faction decided it wasn't going to happen at the same time when people no longer agreed that the Constitution was THE defining document of our nation rather than just a piece of paper--well, it would all just crumble. It happens all the time in other nations. We are lucky to live here, no matter how broke-ass it all may seem sometimes. Or, to put it more eloquently (with hat tip to JackandJillPolitics for the quote): American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it. - James Baldwin

Come to think of it, maybe that describes all of us. Which, if you really think about it, is something for which to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November Vacation Day

We're keeping Bambina off school today because the BBDD is on vacation. She'll go back tomorrow for her last day before Thanksgiving, but we just figured we'd have a fun family day before the Thanksgiving hoop-dee-doo starts. We were originally going to go to the Mayflower in Plymouth, but it is raining hard with no end in sight. Yesterday, Bambina's class did a Thanksgiving "play" yesterday in which some of the kids were pilgrims and some were Native Americans, meeting each other for the first time. The pilgrims said, "oh, we are so hungry" and the Native Americans shared their food with them, "would you like some turkey?" Not in the least bit historically accurate, but cute nonetheless.

So instead of having a Thanksgiving-themed day off, we're going to see a movie called Fly Me To The Moon at the Museum of Science. It's a 3-D movie about three cartoon flies who are onboard Apollo 11 and save the day. Then we're going to Chinatown for a late lunch. Can I tell you how hard it is to find a movie for a 4 year-old? We were thinking about Madagascar 2 or Bolt, but both are rated PG. I'm not sure at what age kids should go to PG movies, but for now I'm thinking if it's not G, she's not seeing it. Call me antediluvian, but I just want her to stay a kid for a little while longer before exposing her to tons of violence or sexuality, even in a cartoon format.

In the meantime I'm still working through the Lyme Disease. My hands swell up quite a bit, and I now have a fun random rash on my face. It's the same redness that crept up both legs (and thankfully went away), so I'm hoping it won't be there forever. But it's definitely noticeable and annoying. When we emailed my doctor about it, ie is it normal/okay, he pretty much wrote back, "Yeah, I have no idea." I'm only the second transplant patient he knows of who has gotten Lyme, so at this point, they have no idea what will happen or whether anything is normal or expected. So we just have to "monitor" it. Which means, "call us if anything bleeds; otherwise let's just see what happens, test case!" So I'm trying to be zen about it, and just letting it happen. But I would LOVE my hands to unswell and I'd love my face to be sans-rosacea, and I'd LOVE to not be taking gigantic antibiotics that are making it hard to determine if my GVHD is back or not. As I said to the BBDD last night (and on several misguided other occasions): "Someday I'll have normal health. I swear!" He's not holding his breath. And neither should you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bambina Weekend

Good times, folks. Good times.

Friday night was the preschool dinner, which went fine. After Bambina had a meltdown in the middle of it and I carried her out of the hall abduction-style with everyone watching. We sat down on the couches outside to have a talk, she agreed that she wanted to "try again," and we went back inside. Luckily, it was all preschool parents in attendance so they all found it humorous--and no doubt relieving that it wasn't their kid doing the marquee tantrum this time. We came back in and our friends laughingly said, "Welcome back!" It's good to have a sense of humor when your kid is being a pill. Then, finally, the food came and it became obvious that Bambina had been ravenously hungry. (Not that I hadn't been offering her food all afternoon before the dinner, to derisive, "I'm NOT HUNGRY!" responses). But as soon as she wolfed down some really not-yummy nuggets and pasta, she was back to her sparkly charming self. We could tell she was starving because she actually tried and ate pasta sauce, something she has made a life philosophy of avoiding. Tomatoes are her thing to avoid, and she will not eat anything tomato-related as a matter of principle. Not even ketchup. I even bring mayonnaise packets (pilfered from Dunkin Donuts) to McDonalds so she can dip her fries. So the night ended up being fine, also because the bingo thing never happened. The group ended up being largely toddlers who pretty much would have just tried to eat the bingo cards, so it never got off the ground. Awesome!

Then we went to the Museum of Science yesterday. We saw the Birth exhibit, which has a little booth in which you can watch actual movies of babies being born. Bambina and I went in while the BBDD loitered outside with the rest of the dads. We saw a woman give birth in a hospital setting and then a woman give birth at home. Real live movies of actual real live births. Bambina was totally riveted. She only freaked out when she saw blood come out with the baby in the hospital film. I tried to explain that no one was hurt or actually "bleeding, bleeding" as in an injury, and that the baby is protected by being in that fluid, and blah blah blah. She wasn't having it. I thought, "oh great, I've traumatized my kid" but when it was over she wanted to stay and watch it again as long as I promised to "cover my eyes when the blood comes out." The home birth one was actually a little more disturbing for me because it was kind of a hippie experience. The mother was saying things like "I just focused on feeling like the sun itself was shining out of my womb" that made me all cringey. Bambina liked it better though, because the mother gave birth in a bath, so the actual moment of birth seemed more peaceful for both mother and baby than it had in the hospital setting where there were lots of raised voices and grunting and knees up in the air type stuff. I think she liked it because, in talking about her birth (of which we know nothing), we try to imagine together what might have happened. We have decided together that she was probably born at home (we tell her that it's cultural; that in many other countries babies are routinely born at home, so it is likely that in China she was born at her Sheng Mu's home [Chinese for birth mother and which sounds nicer than "chinese mother"]). After seeing the movies she likes the notion that she was born at home and not in a hospital. My sister was born at home, so she loves that she and her aunt both arrived the same way. Although when we asked her later what she thought of the movies she said very simply, as most kids do, "I never want to have a baby in my tummy." I remember thinking that myself after watching my first childbirth movie too. So my work of freaking out my kid for this year is now done. :)

While at the museum some Harvard grad students were doing a voluntary study on how kids learn. Bambina was all over it; she loves quizzes. The study involves finding out at what age kids can discern "pretend" from "real" in a detailed way, to determine if there are earlier ages at which kids can begin to be taught history or science in a way that they can comprehend as "real." They showed photos of real people and cartoon drawings, like a "sailor" "princess" or "Native American." Then they told a quick story about each, like "the sailor had magic beans that let him live forever" or "the sailor sailed the seas and then retired to a cottage where he grew beans." Is this person real or pretend? And if so, why? It was fascinating to watch her responses, and seeing the difference between a photo of a real person with a pretend story and a cartoon picture of a person with a real story. The best part was when the researcher asked her "and why is that person real/pretend?" Every single time she looked at the woman incredulously and said, "Because!" As if, DUH, LADY; CLEARLY it's pretend!

On the way home in the car she said, "Would you like me to tell you a story?" Of course! We love her stories. She started telling us about the time she and her "stuffies" (stuffed animals) climbed to the top of the PETCO store and pulled the sign down. Then they climbed to the top of the Staples store and pulled the sign down. Then they switched the signs, so people were walking into the "Staples" "and saying, 'oh where are all the notepads I only see dog food!" And all the people were walking into the "Petco" "and saying, 'oh where is all the fish food I only see paper and pens! And me and my stuffies laughed because it was so funny." She was a few sentences into her next story when I pulled out a small bag of chips left over from our lunch. I ate two chips and was about to put the bag away when she stopped talking mid-sentence and pivoted like an adult: "Me and my stuffies were walking...wait a minute...what are you eating?" It was like her junk food radar could detect the sound of one single chip crunch from the front seat, over the sound of her own voice and the noise of the car. And the on-cue "wait a minute!" was hilarious.

As was my realization that I talk too much trash while driving. We were behind a car going kind of slow, so I said, "I wonder what's going on?" Then we heard from the back seat, "Come ON dude! MOVE!" Once again, I am Mother of the Year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some Sunday Stuff

An absolutely interesting and frightening look at the financial crash, and the people who saw it coming. You'll be horrified to read about the know-nothings who have been managing your money. It's a long article but it's worth the time--and the ulcer you're going to get from reading it.

http://www.portfolio.com

In other news, I saw Campbell Brown on CNN ask a guest whether Obama should not play a more active role in immediately working on the financial meltdown issue. Hellooo?! From the same people who accused him of "presumptuousness" before the election for having a loose transition team already in place! Listen: George Walker Bush is the President of the United States. Henry Paulson is the Treasury Secretary. End of Story. Obama has responded by saying that in American we have "one President at at time." Thank you. How inappropriate--and unconstitutional and dangerous--would it be for the guy who just won the election to start undertaking policy moves and influencing decisions in a manner implying that he already holds the office? Take it out of the current situation of GWB running down the clock, fiddling while Rome burns and everyone waiting for President-Elect Hopey McHopestein to take us out of the wilderness in the absence of any real action from the sitting President. Let's instead make it a President-Elect Sarah Palin freelancing on a current sitting President Obama. Not so pretty now, is it?

Beyond the constitutional issues, there are the political issues. To wit, who in their right mind would want to touch this problem even ONE DAY before it is officially theirs to be saddled with? That is a political nightmare, to be held responsible for something before you have the official authority to deal with it. It's a nightmare even after you have the authority, to be honest. But jumping in early while some other guy is still officially holding the flaming bag of dog shit is just political suicide. As much as people want to see action on the automaker situation and the economy in general, the fact remains that George W. Bush is the President of the United States. As such, this is his "baby" (to quote FDR) until January 20th, 2009. So stop wondering aloud, chattering class, why Obama doesn't care enough to get involved sooner. It's called the Constitution of the United States.

And next, the now-famous video of Sarah Palin giving an interview in front of turkeys being slaughtered. To be honest, I don't see why this is a big deal, beyond showing her cluelessness. But for the people getting lathered up over the "gruesomeness" of it, I'm just gonna say it: If you plan to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, this is how that turkey gets to your table. Turkeys are slaughtered so you can eat them. Slaughtering an animal is not pretty or pleasant. If watching it makes you uncomfortable, you might want to rethink eating turkey. Or at the very least, you might want to say a little thank you at the table to the turkey who gave his life for your dinner. Seriously. Long time readers have heard my story of visiting the slaughterhouse as a kid because my Dad wanted us to absolutely understand that our dinner didn't come from the Meat Department at the store. I was unaffected at the time, but looking back it was an important lesson to be mindful of the creature that existed before it became classified as "food."



And, finally, a link to links about the Prince William full-frontal pics. Apparently the heir to the throne heard nature's call during a polo match or something. Luckily, the paps were there to catch the whole thing on film for those individuals who want to see someone urinate. OF COURSE I LOOKED!! I don't have much comment beyond the obvious: do all guys hold their penises that way while peeing or is that some fancy royal method?
prince-william-penis-photos

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Quickie Nooner

A quick midday post during lunch before I get back to my ill-advised participation in the PTA event tonight. Once again, what was I thinking?! I have beaucoup thoughts on the auto bailout, the Fairness Doctrine, the potential closing of Gitmo. But for now you will have to settle for bitching and moaning about committee work.

Although, I think I have a pretty good out from future events. My transplant doctor emailed me today to tell me my CD4 count (the measure of how well you fight infections; 100 is pretty much a basement level for safety). Oh yeah. It's 29. Which is to be expected considering the quantity of immunosuppressives and the duration I've been taking them. I've been immune suppressed for more than 18 months, and will be for probably another year (if all goes well), which is not really recommended for anyone. It was a wee bit of an unwelcome reminder that life is not back to normal in the least. Life is good; don't get me wrong. But it can sometimes be easy to jump in with both feet when I shouldn't even be dipping a toe. So, message received: do not get too cocky with the wee bit of health I have, as "normal" seeming as it may be.

On the subject of health, I'm still waiting for all the Lyme symptoms to go away. Now I'm down to puffiness in my hands and ankles. All the rash is gone, the joint pains are gone, but damn if I don't look like Puff Mommy. I believe the term is "cankles," if I'm not mistaken. And the bending of fingers early in the AM is not entirely without effort, due to said bloatation. So, two more weeks of antibiotics and hopefully it will all be gone.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend; I'll be back on Monday to hector you about being thankful and grateful in advance of the holiday. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bunch of Thursday for ya

It's been a busy week here at Chez Haggis. You know, watching The Big Three automakers fly to DC in their private jets to ask for a handout with promises to "get leaner." How about flying Southwest for starters, guys? I know the Nightmare Scenario that is being painted: that a failure of even one company will ripple through the economy, that 10 non-auto jobs are tied to the auto industry, etc etc, that 2.5 million jobs could be lost. So why not do what regular folks--and regular companies--have to do when they find themselves unable to meet payroll and debts? Declare bankruptcy and reorganize. I just think we need to take our medicine on this one; that the long-term costs of propping up this ailing industry will be worse than facing the short-term devastation of letting the chips fall where they may. After all, we've seen evidence with the financial sector bailout that any so called "oversight" of funds is a joke. So any notion that we'd have some control over these guys and their private jets once they had our check in hand is laughable. I say let them go bankrupt and let's use some funds to help those displaced workers get retrained and have some financial cushion in the interim.

I also note with interest that whomever is the Al-Qaeda "number two" guy this week has released a cable-access quality video dissing Obama. The Obama transition response is no response because why would you get into a tit-for-tat with a terrorist, right? The Rightosphere response is not, "Oh wow, I guess his "fellow" Muslim terrorists don't really like him after all; we must have been wrong!" Nope. Malkin's response conveniently ignores all of the previous charges that Obama and terrorists had so much in common (like Muslim fathers! And weirdo names!) and turns it around: "B-b-b-but I thought Obama’s election was supposed to change the world’s attitudes about America! What happened to “The World Wants Obama?” And I thought only us meanie conservatives were the RAAAACISTS?" What a moron. Like anyone was saying that somehow al-Qaeda would magically fall in love with America because of Obama. It's the straw man argument, setting up a scenario that never happened in order to appear right about something today. This is the argument of someone who has nothing really to say on the topic but just likes to pretend that she was right the whole time. And her readers, I suspect, will fall right into it, never questioning, "But wait--you said time and again that the terrorists would LOVE Obama; doesn't this video make you wrong?"

Speaking of wrong, I have learned my lesson about being a joiner. The preschool has a community dinner tomorrow night, which I stupidly said I'd help plan. Forgetting that whenever you agree to "help" plan something everyone else decides they now don't have to do it because thank God someone new signed up. So I've been busier than, as they say, a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. Like, leave the house in the AM and don't get back till 4, running errands, buying stuff for the dinner, planning the kids' activities for the dinner, etc. I finally ate lunch on Tuesday at 2:15pm, and E does not miss her lunch for no one nor nobody nor nuthin'. So I can't wait for this stupid dinner to be over (because now I have to be the Kiddie Bingo caller since no one wants to do it and that leaves....me), so I can ruminate on all the ways I'd rather just be Bowling Alone. Oh, because I also said I'd run the preschool Thanksgiving/Pre-Chanukah food drive. Is there no end to my foolishness? Apparently not. I assumed the staff would make the big food boxes and signs and whatnot. Nope. So Bambina and I were buying and decorating boxes, lugging them to the school, xeroxing signs, blah blah. All for a lackluster response so far which is frustrating. Anyway, lesson learned. DO NOT VOLUNTEER FOR ANYTHING AGAIN. Just be the lady who shows up at the dinner, offers a hearty thanks to the volunteers, and brings in some canned goods when requested.

In other preschool news, the moms in our kids' classroom went out to dinner the other night. It was so great to find out that all of our kids are, in their own ways, developmentally the same. All are doing the rather disturbing, "see my boobies!" or "you have a penis!" stuff, obviously with no sense of the sexuality of such remarks. All are lacking nuanced social skills, which makes them appear rude most of the time. All are really sweet kids just doing their best in a big world. What was most interesting was the fact that all of the girls had already wondered aloud where babies come from, whereas none of the boys had asked at all. Not one. It was very interesting. All of the boys were acutely aware of their penises, apparently. But not so concerned with the provenance of babies. (Foreshadowing, perhaps? ;) ) All the girls' moms had already bought books and were already answering all of those uncomfortable questions about how babies get out and how they get in there. Oh, and apparently we are the only family that does not shower together. Am I behind the times? It's not that Bambina has not been in the shower with me from time to time or that I'd particularly object to her seeing man parts if said man was related to her by paternity (although you'd have to inquire of the BBDD whether he'd be up for such a viewing), it's just that the shower is often the only place where I have a few minutes to myself, so I'm loathe to share it with her for that reason alone. I remember seeing my dad naked on occasion and thinking...exactly nothing. Which I think is the point of having your kids see you naked now and again, to have it be no big deal. So if she sees me naked I could not care less, but sharing my shower? That's a different story all together.

In additional child development news, I was thinking the other day as I watched Bambina swim with her instructor. Yes--she swam! All by herself (and a barbell floatie)! I was so proud of her. I realized that sometimes we don't give kids enough credit for the giant things they achieve. Think about it and put yourself in her place: Just 6 weeks ago she was terrified of the pool. Terrified. Screamed if she was placed in the water. Cried for a day before her class' swim day. Absolutely terror-stricken to the point of coming undone. Six weeks later: she's swimming by herself in the very pool that used to make her want to vomit from fear. Now, think about that from your own perspective. Can you imagine tackling your worst fear in just 6 weeks? And not 6 weeks of intensive therapy. I'm talking about 6 1/2 hour lessons once a week. This kid overcame her absolute worst fear in a grand total of 3 hours. All I know is that you will not convince me to touch a spider in 3 hours or less; it's just not gonna happen. Think about that, and then--if you have kids--think about whether you perhaps owe them some credit for something they absolutely overcame that maybe you just saw as them doing something they were supposed to do. Now go immediately and tell your kid how proud you are of her, because the courage it takes to be a little person doing something so big ought to be noted and cheered.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quack Quack

On Congress' lame duck session, which began today, I was going to write a gigantic screed. But now I'm too tired. So just a few thoughts:

Will Lieberman keep his chairmanship? Will the Dems vote him off the island? It's anybody's guess at this point. I think that whatever happens, his credibility at this point is about the same as John McCain's. Lieberman is a has-been, and a truly disappointing one at that. It's one thing to disagree on the choice of nominee for your party; it's one thing to support the nominee for the other party; but it's entirely another thing to speak at the convention of that party and make statements that imply the Dem candidate does not love America and is to be treated with suspicion. Lieberman bet on the wrong horse, and a very large part of me wants him to be summarily dismissed from the Dem caucus for his beyond-the-pale remarks about Obama. Another part of me wants him to live in this purgatory of his own creation, where the Republicans don't want him and the Dems don't need him. It would be a fitting end for a truly disappointing Senator.

On the potential auto industry bailout. How can I say this diplomatically? Hells Naw!! Where are all those conservative principles of thrift and self-reliance when it comes to corporate America needing the handouts? Let's be honest. This is not an "auto industry" bailout. It's a GM and Ford bailout. Why? Because they did not take seriously the notion of Innovate or Die. Is that my problem? That, my friends, is called capitalism, right? The best flourish (hello, Saturn and Honda who apparently seem to be doing just fine in other regions of the country), while those who refuse to change (hybrids, fuel efficiency, updated designs that never saw the light of day in Detroit) end up--as they should--in the dustbin of history. Let's just take our medicine, shall we? What's the alternative?--rewarding these Welfare Queens? Or is it only welfare queendom when it's not a major corporation looking for a handout? I say nay on that mess.

On HRC, SoS: Hmmmm. Intriguing, no? HRC out of the Senate is HRC without a power base from which to cause agita for PBO. HRC in at State brings international name recognition, which creates momentum. From HRC's perspective, it might be wise, since two more terms in the Senate will simply create more votes she'll have to explain if she runs in 2016. On the other hand, isn't HRC more of a hawk than PEBO? How is that going to work if they have fundamentally different visions for how State work should be executed? By which I mean, would HRC gaily consent to carrying out the marching orders of the PBO administration? Furthermore, what would be the role/complicating factor of the Clinton Global Initiative, which kind of acts sometimes as a diplomat without portfolio? It will be interesting to see what happens. I'm liking Hagel for it, and hating Kerry. Your thoughts?

THIS JUST IN: According to the UK Guardian, HRC WILL ACCEPT THE JOB. Sorry Chuck Hagel; I totally had your back!

Proposition Hate

Here's my opinion (as if you couldn't guess):

Gay Americans should be able to get married. End of story.

This is one of those cases where I just simply literally do not understand why anyone would give two shits whether gay people get married or not. I mean, seriously: what's it to you? Your church doesn't have to marry them. Your minister doesn't have to preside at the wedding. So why do you care if the state says it will marry gay people?
It affronts your morals? Hey, listen, I could rattle off about 100 things right now about various elements of organized religion that affront my morals, but I don't get to ban them, do I?

And then the Mormon Church, which politicized itself in a manner unprecedented, now expresses shock! horror! that it is being held accountable for its politicking by protesters. You don't get to fund a massive political proposition-to the tune of tens of millions of dollars--from your tax-free perch and then get all wiggy when people start treating you like a political machine rather than a church. Hey kids, if you want to play in the political field you've got to take a few flyballs to the head. You cannot have it both ways.

And, finally, here is Newt Gingrich--a man on his THIRD marriage, a relationship which began before he was divorced from The Unfortunate Second Mrs. Gingrich--talking to us about Christianity and religion being attacked by secularists. Am I the only person on whom the richness is not lost of such a disgusting, dishonest excuse for a husband accusing others of attacking Christianity? The man is a cheater, the lowest form of life in the relationship world, and he's harrumphing about gays ruining marriage?! Why is he not laughed out of this debate? Oh, that's right. Because he's against those who seek to "impose their will" on others. Riiiight:

From the November 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: OK, now, the culture war. I know you've been flying around the country, and you're doing stuff. In the last three or four days, this is really nasty stuff. I mean, you know, hyper -- we're gonna show you some of the video. A woman getting a cross smashed out of her hand. We had a church in Michigan invaded by gay activists. We're gonna show you the video on Monday of that -- we have exclusively. We had a guy in Sacramento fired from his job. We had boycotts called on restaurants.

I mean, it is getting out of control, very few days after the election. How do you assess that?

GINGRICH: Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact. And, frank -- for that matter, if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that these secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they're the opposite, of what you're taught in Sunday school.

O'REILLY: Are you surprised at the speed of it? You figure that there'd be --

GINGRICH: Oh, I --

O'REILLY: -- a two-week breathing, you know -- wham.

GINGRICH: No. I think -- I think when the left -- when the radicals lost the vote in California, they are determined to impose their will on this country no matter what the popular opinion, no matter what the law of the land. You've watched them, for example, in Massachusetts, basically drive the Catholic Church out of running adoption services, drive Catholic hospitals out of offering any services, because they impose secular rules that are fundamentally --

O'REILLY: Yeah, and that's -- right --

GINGRICH: -- sinful from the standpoint, you know.

O'REILLY: Of the church --

GINGRICH: And so I think, we need -- look, we need a debate. [Gingrich's wife] Calista [Gingrich] and I just did a YouTube video on the Capitol Visitors Center where there's also an effort to take "In God We Trust" out of the Capitol Visitors Center.

O'REILLY: OK, we'll talk about that when we come back.

GINGRICH: That's how bad it is.

No, let me tell you how bad it is, Newt. The voters of a state voted to enshrine prejudice and bigotry in their very constitution in a manner akin to the anti-micegenation case of Loving v. Virginia. As the old saying goes, if this is the law then the law is an ass. Simply put, gay Americans are just that: Americans. Entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as each of us, entitled to equality on every level.

Or, put another way: It seems so obvious to me that I can't even believe I'm writing this post.

Monday Night Goofball

Check back tonight for a post, darlings.

Friday, November 14, 2008

School Daze

As always, when a new President with kids is elected, comes the discussion of where in DC his kids will attend school. The question, "Public vs. Private" is asked, the declaration that "sending your kids to a DC public school will send a powerful message in your confidence in American public education" is bandied about. I even heard a woman on NPR yesterday (a DC resident) "respectfully request" that the Obamas send their daughters to a DC public school.

Okay. How to say this gently... LADY, ARE YOU HIGH?!!

Why anyone who had other available options would voluntarily put their kids in a DC Public School is absolutely beyond me. Sure, some are better than others. But most are horrible. As in, terrible. As in, third world. For real. We left DC a little earlier than planned for my transplant, but the fact that we would be moving by the time Bambina was of school-age was a given. We could not afford private school, the school she was assigned to was indescribably bad, and we just could not run the risk that she would not get selected in the "lottery" for open slots at better District schools. I'll gamble on a bunch of things, but not on my child's education. To be sure, the schools are on their way thanks to new mayor Adrian Fenty and his new Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee. But the obstacles they are facing from the old guard just point to the ongoing intransigence of the culture of mediocrity that has plagued DC schools since the 80's.

So imagine you are the President of the United States. Even leaving aside for a moment all the security issues surrounding your child. Would you send your kid to a school with crumbling infrastructure, broken toilets that haven't been fixed in 3 years, test scores in the cellar, and late night drug activity in the playground? (That was the school for Bambina in our district). Of course you wouldn't. You'd be the shittiest parent in the world if you did. So why do people expect the incoming president-Democrat or not-to consign his kids to that, when the vast majority of Americans--and the majority of DC residents--wouldn't do it on a bet?

Hearing this DC mom on NPR yesterday, I involuntarily snort-laughed. I mean, since when did putting your kids in a crappy DC school indicate your belief in the American Public Education system? DC is outside the mainstream of American public schools. It has the third highest per-capita spending per pupil in the country, with the worst return on investment. Maybe putting your kid in a public school in Greenwich, CT would indicate a belief in American public education (it being tied to property taxes and all...), but to intimate that somehow someone doesn't love and support American public education because they won't collude with DC's culture of mediocrity and apathy? That's bull. I am publicly-educated and so is the BBDD. We want nothing more for Bambina than that she have a similarly-public education. But that doesn't mean we have to accede to appalling conditions just to say we support public education.

So I say to the Obamas (because I know they are listening): send your daughters to the school that will guarantee them the best education and the best step forward they can get. It's not up to you to provide a vote of confidence in a failed system, and anyone who expects you to is delusional.

It's All About the Puppy

Enjoy~

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

9 Out of 10 Dentist Agree...

...that I am a bad mother.

We had our pediatric teeth-cleaning today, and Bambina has a cavity. They had mentioned at the last cleaning that she has very deep grooves in her molars, so to take extra care in brushing them. We obviously got right on that, did we not? Nice. So now we're all flossed/flouride rinsed/psychotic brushing regimened-up. Not because I want my daughter to have a beautiful, healthy smile. No darlings. Rather, because I cannot bear the feeling of abject failure involved in having a 4 year-old in 2008 remind me of Scottish dental standards circa 1976.

In other domestic news, today is now the second consecutive day where Bambina has witnessed me getting up in someone's face regarding the home front. In any other week, you can find me gaily chatting with strangers, fellow parents, shopkeepers and sundry tradespeople like I'm running for office. This week has apparently brought the perfect storm of Things That Require Me To Get Snippy. Yesterday the preschool. Today the gas company. The gas company to whom we paid a few thousand dollars in June to install gas heating in our home. The gas company that was so unresponsive over the course of five months that we finally cancelled the installation and awaited our refund. The gas company that had dug up half my street today as I arrived home mid-day. The gas company that knocked on my door to tell me they were "here to install the gas line" as if they were Ed McMahon and the Prize Patrol. The gas company whose representative then wondered aloud whether I was entitled to my refund since the men had actually shown up to do the work. The gas company representative who became the lucky recipient of the most restrained outrage I could muster in the interests of setting an example for my listening child. The gas company representative who was told in no uncertain terms that I was not hanging up the phone until I spoke to a supervisor who would in no uncertain terms tell me when I could expect my money back for services not rendered. The gas company supervisor who relented as I detailed all the ways in which "there will be a very major problem here" if the obvious and ethical thing were not done. The gas company that had my daughter parroting back to me what I apparently say to her when I'm displeased with her behavior: "Did you tell them that if they didn't give you your money you would be Very Unhappy And That There Would Be Consequences?" Yeah. That gas company.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Segue; But Short Story is I'm Pissed. Profanity Warning!

First, a great post by Fester about the Republican Party's seeming obsession against gays, and how it affects their ability to speak to people in our and future generations. His key point? "Sanctity of marriage to my ears means that people I went to school with, people who I have grown up with, people who I have worked with, and people who I am friends with will have a massive target on their faces and on their backs for being who they are. I won't vote for a party that actively looks to fuck over my friends or people who are similar to my friends." Amen to that.

http://www.newshoggers.com

And speaking of fucking over, I am LIVID at my kid's preschool. They did a special vacation day program today, so the regular teachers were not there, and the kids were combined into different classrooms. No big deal. So I drop her off in a new room and go on my way. I arrive ten minutes before she's due to get out to find her classroom dark and empty (she's a half-day student while most are full-day). I start searching the other classrooms; also dark and empty. I go back to her room and see that her belongings are not there but the other kids' things are. This tells me that wherever she is, she's not returning to this room. It's now 5 minutes till the end, so I know no one is coming back. So I search the playground; not there. I then go to the office and ask, "Where are the kids? Where is my child?" Nonchalantly: "Oh, she's right here." Long boring story short and sort of boring: the teachers took the full-day kids to a show that was at the facility and just dropped my kid off at the office on the way to the auditorium WITHOUT TELLING ME. I was like, "How is it that I, the parent, am searching the school to find my child? How is it that I hand her over to two licensed teachers--thereby establishing chain of custody for my daughter--and she is not subsequently handed back to me by those teachers in the place where I left her? How does that happen where my child is "dropped off" at an office--albeit full of really lovely ladies--but not one of them a teacher, not one of them full-time watching my child (which I do pay for), and not one person in the entire organization sees fit to tell me ahead of time?"

I'm not conflict-avoidant by any means but neither do I get off on it. But today I was so rattled by the fact that someone could just transport my kid somewhere--even within a school--and not tell me, I just couldn't make nice even with ladies I have to get along with for PTA reasons: "I just have to say right now that I am extremely irritated. I'll have to contact you later because I don't want to say too much at the moment, but I just want you to know that I am incandescent at how this has transpired." Then I went home, calmed down, wondered how I came up with "incandescent" in the moment, and fired off an email to the director detailing my "grave concern" at the lapse in the chain of custody--and at the very least the lapse in communicating to me that my child would not be in the place and with the people with whom I entrusted her. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK??!!! I'm searching the school for my 4 year old? I don't fucking think so!!

It rattled me because, even though I knew in my head and heart that my kid was no doubt just fine, the mere inkling that I could not locate my daughter just absolutely shook me to my core. Like, I left her here, with her stuff, with YOU. And you just left her in an office with secretaries? All nice ladies, but NOT licensed teachers, NOT insured for child care, not trained in child care, and NOT the fucking people I entrusted my kid to! Which is what it comes down to: trust. I said in the email that I want to be able to trust that when I leave my daughter in their care in X location that, unless I'm told otherwise in advance, she will be handed back to me in X location by people licensed to do so. I still love the school and love the program and so does Bambina. But damn if I'm not going to make their lives a little bit hellish for the next couple of days so they get just a small soupcon of what it feels like to briefly have NO IDEA where your kid has been taken. You fuck with my kid, you are absolutely fucking with me. And you don't want to experience the kind of bad day I can bring you in that regard.

So. Deep breath. Letting it out... Okay. On a happier note, the show she was supposed to see with the other kids was SteveSongs. He was walking into the building today for the show and--damn is he cute. A total Hebrew Hottie. I made the mistake of saying to Bambina as we walked by him unloading his gear and waved hello, "Mama thinks SteveSongs is very handsome." She said in her usual roar, "What you mean "handsome"? Why is SteveSongs handsome?" Sheepish wave to Steve--oh yeah--and his wife in the car. Way to go, Mama.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Political Droppings

A couple of thoughts on the latest political stuff:

Sarah Palin's new desire to speak to any media outlet anywhere. Y'all. When the possibility of her being our VP loomed large I couldn't bear to watch her, hated the sound of her voice, got jittery thinking about her at the proverbial 3am. Now that the VP slot is filled, I'm just gonna say it: I can't get enough of this lady. Keep her comin! She is a woman on a mission to unite the Republican Party under her leadership, and I am more than happy to oblige her in her quest for relevant column inches and TV appearances. As a Dem, I absolutely support the GOP rallying around Palin as their standard bearer. I'll be over here watching that--with all my moderate friends who say rather aptly, "I didn't leave the party; the party left me."

Next, because I do try to be equal opportunity in my disses, I have to BEG the Democratic party of Virginia to absolutely NOT let Terry McAuliffe be the party's nominee. We're trying to win here, people! He's wrong for so many reasons. He's damn charming and raises money like he's printing it in his basement, but man is he wrong for that job. Let's all just say no to that little vanity project, shall we?

Joe the Dumber (AKA Senator Lieberman): My gut instinct is to want this guy thrown out of the Democratic caucus like yesterday's trash, in spite of reports that Barry wants him to stay. I was a bit dumbfounded by PEBO's (Pres Elect Barack Obama) magnanimity, but after reading that article yesterday in New York Magazine, something tells me that there is a larger strategy at work here. Perhaps it's to emasculate by offering forgiveness, or using Lieberman for his vote to pass legislation, or perhaps a simple case of "Keep your friends close, your enemies closer." In any case, I definitely do NOT think it is a case of Obama being too nice a politician. He IS from Chicago after all.

And a final note on Rahm Emanuel. First, if we can't have a Jew win the Presidency, at least we can see him stand near the President as his Chief of Staff. (Which reminds me of that old in-joke: "Son, the day will come when the wearing of a kippah will not bar a man from the White House. Unless, of course, that man is Jewish...") Anyhoo. Emanuel is a good pick; he's solid in terms of understanding Congress, working with Congress, and the all-important talent portion of the competition: knocking people's dicks in the dirt when necessary. Rahm has a brother Zeke and another brother Ari, who is most famously known as The Guy On Whom They Based Jeremy Piven's Character Ari in HBO's Entourage. With that in mind, I offer you the Wonkette "Which Emanuel Brother Are You?" personality test: wonkette.com

Enjoy!

O'Bama

H/T to Oliver Willis for this one. Based on his grandfather's ancestry, There's No One As Irish As Barack Obama:

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Best

Today was a great day. We saw friends, watched football, the kids played together beautifully, and I was able to actually bend my knees, darlings! I jokingly said to the BBDD, "Thank God for antibiotics," but really--thank God for antibiotics. Three days of them and I'm feeling so much better than I did, leaving one to ponder what would happen if these bacteria all became resistant to even the big guns like doxycycline. We'd be screwed I suppose is the short answer. So--in all seriousness--I am today thanking God for antibiotics, because I now have a faint idea what arthritis must feel like, and that shit is life-changing in all the wrong ways. Not to mention my ongoing disgust that there was an arthropod attached to my body for THREE DAYS (the average amount of time necessary for the tick to "share" the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria) without me noticing. I get that it's the size of this period: . when it "inserts its mouthparts into the body until it locates a blood source," but damn, that is Nasty with a capital N. Especially that line about "mouthparts." Eeeeew.

In other news, there is a great article in the WSJ this weekend about the ascendancy of conservative "Populist Chic" and how it has destroyed the conservative tradition that most recently ostensibly stood for education, intellectual rigor, and elite participation in our democracy as an antidote to the liberal populism/"radical chic" of the 1970's and '80s. I don't agree with all of the author's premises, but his point is a good one: "There was a time when conservative intellectuals raised the level of American public debate and helped to keep it sober. Those days are gone. As for political judgment, the promotion of Sarah Palin as a possible world leader speaks for itself. The Republican Party and the political right will survive, but the conservative intellectual tradition is already dead. And all of us, even liberals like myself, are poorer for it."
WSJ.com

A longer read is this: www.newyorker.com wherein Obama's campaign apparatus/strategy/execution are discussed at length. Exceedingly interesting window into how it was won.

And this, an article on the upsurge in babies named Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha or Obama: nytimes.com. Baby Sister will be all set as soon as we work to elect President Petunia Stinkyfeet in 2012. YES WE CAN!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gettin' Medieval On Your Ass

I was going to name this post "Weekend Update" but it didn't quite capture the quality of what's going on.

First, I have Lyme Disease and am now on massive antibiotics of the most unpleasant nature in order to stem the rapidly spreading bulls-eye welts and my rapidly-progressing arthritic knees and wrists. No joke. I can't bend down and can barely hold anything heavier than a book. What the hell?!! How--and where--did I get bitten by a damn tick?! I've barely left the damn house in a year and a half! Ach. Who knows. All I know is that doxycycline is wildly unpleasant but sadly necessary for a full 4-week cycle.

So I've got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Then this evening the BBDD and I attended a friend's birthday event at one of those Medieval Castle places. I've never been to one, never really wanted to go, and didn't really know what to expect. It's like dinner theater except there is no real "dinner" and the theater is seeing the other attendees getting so drunk they actually find the pseudo-Shakespearean ribaldry funny. We obviously had a great time because we were there primarily to celebrate with our friend enjoying the party of his choosing. But damn, y'all. I can't drink alcohol. Which means this was three hours of totally excruciating "entertainment" along the lines of what a sober person feels at an office karaoke party. In addition, I was--no surprise--having ALL kinds of germophobic issues with the food and the venue. It's "medieval" so the food comes to the table in a big bucket and is served onto your plate by a wench. Fair enough. But I don't eat food from a communal bucket, not even for Sarah Palin's wardrobe budget. I sure as hell don't drink from a bowl that just had the server's thumb inside it. And I don't eat uncooked veggies unless I've washed them myself. So for dinner I ate: one package of peanut M&M's that I'd--thank you lord--kept in my purse for Bambina meltdowns. It was one of those nights where you just keep telling yourself, "This night is not about me, this night is not about me," you smile, you laugh, and you pass the time thinking about what you're going to make for dinner the second you walk in the door.

When we did walk in the door our new babysitter was still alive and seemingly unfazed by her evening with Bambina. As you know, Bambina does not get cranky when tired (well, not entirely); she gets punch drunk. So when the babysitter arrived for this, her first gig with us, she was greeted by Bambina who was (as she called herself) "naked as a jaybird," tap dancing, while pretending she was a Rottweiler puppy named Strawberry Soup.

It was certainly bizarre, but still way better than medieval dinner theater.

Yes We Have No Obamas

I didn't post yesterday. This video explains why:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Some Snippets

As always, Wonkette has the funniest take on a couple of things going on:

On Rahm Emanuel's consideration of the Chief of Staff job:
Possible next White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is being terribly cruel to his fan base by reminding them that he is already married, with children. “I do know something about the White House and I have children now. I have a family,” he told WLS-TV in Chicago. These “children” of his might require more of his time or something, more time than a Chief of Staff could really afford, so he might have to stick with his day job of being a huge dick to all his colleagues in the House of Representatives.

On the Obamas' new puppy:
Oh look at those Obamas once again “doing the right thing” and being decent or whatever. The terrorist cell “PETA” just sent us this email, claiming that “Obama and his wife, Michelle, have announced that they will adopt a rescued dog for their daughters instead of patronizing a pet store or breeder.” Oh la dee dah, President Hopes-a-lot, going to save an innocent puppy (probably a “street organizer” single-parent puppy) from euthanasia while shutting down Joe the Breeder’s puppy mill, HENGHH?

And, of course, The Onion:
Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job
WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."

Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

WASHINGTON—After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome. Faced with losing everything, Americans took a long overdue step forward and elected Barack Obama.

Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.

"Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, 'Things are finally as terrible as we're willing to tolerate," said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. "To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you."

Added Obama, "It's a great day for our nation."

First Against the Wall...

...is apparently Sarah Palin, in the blame-game that has been simmering among former McCain campaign staff. I've never been a fan of Sarah Palin, and I certainly feel vindicated as reports of even MORE ludicrous spending sprees by her and her family come to light, as well as her ongoing proud KnowNothing-ism. But my only response to all of these attempts to rehab John McCain's image is this:

He Picked Her.

He selected a person he barely knew based on, reportedly, the advice of Karl Rove and Bill Kristol. He went against his better judgment on the advice on people not even employed by his campaign, one of whom who played a giant role in smearing his Bangladeshi-born daughter just 4 years earlier. He did the political equivalent of meeting someone in a bar and asking her to marry him. That goes to judgment. As in, a serious lack of it. So insult Palin all you like, folks. But:

John McCain Picked Her.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What The Election Means To Me, By E

IMHO, the major takeaways from this election:

First, this was a landslide. It will hopefully stem any Rethuglican desire to contest the election. After all, when you get your ass solidly handed to you in a decisive and clear smackdown, it's best not to look like a sore loser.

Second, Obama knew something the McCain campaign didn't: The demographics of America are changing. A national candidate can no longer ignore non-white voters and expect to get elected. And it's about goddamned time. We can talk about how this is "a black thing" but let's not forget that 62% of Asians went Obama, a similarly large percentage of Latinos went Obama...and...not the least of which a large number (though not a majority) of whites went Obama. Obama won because he put this all together. Look at the 2004 Bush victory map compared to last night's: America is a different place. The "real America" is the one reflected in last night's vote. McCain completely missed the mark, making Joe the Plumber his American Everyman. He may be, but so are Cho the Plumber and Roberto the Investment Banker. Non-whites are not all poor immigrants. They are as American and middle class as you and me--and Joe the inescapable and unavoidable plumber.

On the topic of the 96% of African-Americans who voted for Obama, let me say this: certainly some may have voted for the historic nature of a black president. But let's get real; they didn't come out in droves for Jesse Jackson or Alan Keyes. The majority of black Americans are already Democrats, so it's not like they voted against their own belief systems just to vote for a black man. Rather than--as the WSJ wants to do--make this about blacks voting for blacks (forgetting that blacks have been voting for whites since blacks got the damn vote), the WSJ and the Republican Party should be asking why more African-Americans are not Republicans. The answer, they already know. So do you and I. How do you allow rallies for your Vice-Presidential candidate to devolve into shouts of "N***er!" and expect a single black person to want to support you? How do multiple videos of your supporters outside your rallies show them openly admitting that they will never vote for "a black," without any protest from the candidates running? Rather than getting all up in the face of black people who voted for a candidate who happens to be biracial (FYI, he's NOT "mixed race" as the WSJ called him today. Hellooo?! Is this 1963? He's a product of "race mixing?" It's "biracial" and "multiracial." But again, the fact that "mixed race" made it past the WSJ editors shows how much they Just Don't Get It), they should be asking themselves what they have done to deserve a single Black or Asian or Latino vote. What has the party done to make itself inclusive? Perhaps what they need is more "race mixing," huh?

The generational divide is clear, and not necessarily based on voter age, but rather state of mind. Obama is a post-civil rights, post-Boomer president. The torch has been passed to him by and for those who don't want to fight all those old battles and who don't respond to old-timey divisive rhetoric (except for all those Southern states that went for McCain...). I'm not sure about your family, but mine is interracial, so anything that smells like calling someone not a "real" American or allowing racism against any group to flourish at a rally is an absolute dealbreaker for me. My family is, I believe, where America is headed. How many interracial (not just black/white) marriages do you know? How many "mixed race" (I'll stop saying it as soon as I can say it without the Orval Faubus accent) kids have they produced? How many of your family members or friends happen to be gay? Do you want to live in an America where they are seen as somehow a cancer on the country's values? I sure don't, and I sure as hell won't vote for someone whose party says so via its "base."

And on the issue of governing: President Obama is going to have to be an effing GREAT president because we know that when you are a minority you have to be twice as great to be considered half as good. An adequate President Obama will be a massive failure. Nothing less than Jackie Robinson/Jesse Owens stuff will do. But no pressure, Barry!

Another thought on the race issue: Bambina doesn't get race or ethnicity yet, only skin color. She knows that her skin is brown and that Obama's is browner. I didn't vote for Obama because he's biracial, but it's a bonus as much as I'm not supposed to say that in the interests of political correctness. But hear me out. Growing up it never once occurred to me to question the notion that People In Charge Look Like Me. They just always did. Imagine growing up where that is not the case. I am hopeful for the day when a brown-skinned person in the White House is seen by my daughter as no big deal and obvious, much as my generation views interracial dating and gay marriage as seriously no big deal. She's only 4, but she's not stupid. She gets that she's brown; she gets that he's brown and his two little brown girls (and a puppy, mama!) will be in the White House. If you're white and not inclined to think about stuff like this you don't get why it matters. But believe me, it matters. It matters. It matters.

And finally, I hope what this election says is the following: Let it never be said in these amazing United States of America that having hope for a better country and a better tomorrow has to be synonymous with the cynical notion of having "drunk the kool-aid." There are so many reasons I supported President-Elect Obama. A key one was his statement that, "in no other country on earth is my story possible." I happen to feel the same way, every day. And no one is going to tell me that that is drinking the Kool-Aid, folks. Where I come from that's called patriotism. Here in Real America.

A Little Comic Relief

This made me laugh:

The Speech

As promised, here it is:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could

be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has

not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding

hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot.

Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a

people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Night LiveBlogging

For those of you who'd like a recap without sitting around all night watching TV:

No surprises so far @ 8:02pm
As expected, Barry takes my fatheadedly liberal homes of Massachusetts and DC. Also NJ, Delaware, Maine, Illinois, Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland.

McCain has South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

8:20ish:
John King, bless his little Magic Board heart, is at the Board. He's making a key point, comparing McCain's precinct by precinct performance to Bush's performance in 2004. It shows, in almost every case, even in rural areas of states like Kentucky, that McCain is underperforming Bush 2004; a fact that cannot be attributed to increased African-American turnout. It shows he has failed to connect with Independents even in those most rural areas. As expected, the corollary to that fact is that he has almost universal support from Christian evangelicals in both rural and urban areas; the old "Sarah Palin energized the base but alienated everyone else" theory that may now be a fact.

They just called New Hampshire for Obama! Independents in that state went 60% for Obama, only 38% for McCain. Like I said, the Palin Drag Factor is likely now an indisputable fact.

Current Electoral Tally at 8:32pm:

McCain = 34
Obama = 81

May I add, rather disloyally, that I hope we Dems don't get a filibuster-proof House and Senate? It's bad for democracy no matter who is in power, and I really hope we don't get it, especially with "winners" like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid at the helm...

8:40pm HUGE NEWS!!

Current Electoral Tally at 8:40pm:
They just called Pennsylvania for Obama!!

McCain = 34
Obama = 102

My other dorky boyfriend, Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com, crunched the numbers 10,000 ways and found that if Obama takes Pennsylvania and either Virginia OR Florida, the race is over; McCain can't make up those numbers...

Current Electoral Tally at 9:00pm:
They just called Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico for Obama, North Dakota, Georgia and Wyoming for McCain.

McCain = 64
Obama = 174

On the Senate front: Jeanne Shaheen in NH and Tom Udall in New Mexico! Two pick-ups for the Dems, which means a majority.

Oh--and PS--I'm watching CNN. We switched to Fox News for a while to see how the other half was reporting, but they were incompetent in the extreme, mistakenly calling Ohio for Obama instead of Wisconsin. Don't go there, folks.

Current Electoral Tally at 9:23pm:
They just called West Virginia for McCain.

McCain = 69
Obama = 174

Huge News at 9:34pm:
CNN calls Ohio for Obama
McCain = 69
Obama = 194

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. I'm just saying...

9:43pm: Correction--CNN has not called New Mexico for Obama but Fox News did. So the 194 does not include that state.

Current Electoral Tally at 9:48pm:
Okay, they just called New Mexico for Obama, Louisiana for McCain
McCain = 78
Obama = 199

Current Electoral Tally at 10:00pm:
CNN calls Iowa for Obama, Utah for McCain:
McCain=89
Obama=206

Folks, I think this thing is really going to happen. And it's going to be a big, huge win for Obama and a big, huge loss for McCain and the Republicans. I'll post after the fact (so as not to jinx anything) with thoughts on such a win or loss...

Current Electoral Tally at 10:10pm:
CNN calls Arkansas for McCain:
McCain=95
Obama=206

Current Electoral Tally at 10:22pm:
CNN calls Texas and Mississippi for McCain:
McCain=135
Obama=207

Current Electoral Tally at 10:45pm:
Fox News has called Virginia for Obama; CNN still has not, so I'm not adding that yet.
I do have to say that CNN is cool with all their bells and whistles. They are hologramming people into the studio from Grant Park, Chicago. As Will.i.am says, "This is like Star Wars!" You should turn on CNN just for that alone.

The Map So Far:


From fivethirtyeight.com

Polls close on the West Coast in 5 minutes. Stay tuned.

Current Electoral Tally at 10:58pm:
CNN calls Virginia for Obama. The last time VA went Dem it was for LBJ in 1964.
McCain=135
Obama=220

Once they call California it's the official ballgame, folks.

They just called it! California went for Obama!
President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama!!!!!!!


YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


11:18pm: McCain Concedes, rather classily. Can't say the same for his audience. Oh but wait. Now he's making it all about Obama being black. Obama never ran as the black candidate, even though he is black. Light applause when he says nice things about Obama. Okay, he's back to classy, urging all Americans to offer goodwill to the next president. Not to be nasty, but this feels to me like his attempt to go back to being "the old McCain." I grant him the classiness of this speech, but remind him that he could have won if he'd been this guy the entire campaign. I just don't think he really knows who he is, which his terrible campaign reflected.

They just called Florida for Obama. This is a rout, y'all. We're now at:

McCain=155
Obama=333


They've just called Nevada for him. He's now at 338.

And might I add that thank God, Obama has also won the popular vote. Gergen says his popular vote total percentage will be the largest since Lyndon Johnson, making him a national winner, rather than a segmented, state-by-state president.

Now for the Obama speech, because this needs to be the speech of a President-Elect, not a jubilant candidate. Let's see what happens:

11:57pm
First of all, a cute family. If you doubt that the American Dream is available to all, this night is your answer. Change has come to America. Classy ode to John McCain. Shout out to Joe Biden. Shout out to Michelle, the love of his life. Sasha and Malia, you have earned the new puppy that is coming with us to the White House. Shout out to David Plouffe and David Axelrod, the masterminds behind the campaign. This victory truly belongs to you. You did all this work not to win an election but because you understand the enormity of what lies ahead. The road ahead will be long, the road will be steep, but we as a people will get there. I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face, I will ask you to join with me in the remaking of this nation. This victory is not the change we seek; it is only the chance to make that change. Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism...to look after not only ourself but each other. While the Dems have won a huge victory tonight we do so with a measure of humility. Quotes Lincoln: "We are not enemies, but friends..." Speaks to those whose support he has yet to earn..." Okay I'm just going to stop here because this is a great effing speech and I am ruining it by paraphrasing. I'll post the video for you tomorrow.

Good night, and God Bless America!

1 Day To Change

For real, the BEST reason to vote Obama I've seen in two years:

1 Day To Change

Posted using ShareThis

Tiny Kid, Big Questions, Tough Answers

This is a completely non-political post. The other day Bambina and I were in the car talking about the day her new baby cousin was born. She first asked "what does 'being born' mean?" I answered that it was the day the baby comes out of the mother's tummy and enters the world; that it's your birthday. Then. "Will Baby Cousin stay with Aunt and Uncle forever?"

Oh God, here it comes. "Yes, my love, he will. When a baby is born, some different things might happen. Most times, the baby stays with the birthmother and father forever. Other times the baby goes to live in an orphanage or foster home. Other times, the baby is adopted by a family who becomes the baby's forever mommy and daddy, forever."

"Why?" Okay, how to make this make sense for a 4 year-old? "Well, sometimes when a baby is born the mother and father might not be able to take care of the baby for lots of grown-up reasons that have nothing to do with the baby herself. And so, in China for instance, the mother will put the baby in a very busy place to be found right away, and that is how a person in China would make sure that her baby is adopted and loved and taken care of by a forever family." Oh god, I'm sucking at this!

And then it happened. The question I've been dreading, preparing for, anticipating since 2005:

"Mama, why did my Chinese mother not stay with me forever? Did she want to stay with me forever?"

That sound you heard was my heart breaking inside me, looking at her sweet little face asking such a huge, adult question.

We've talked before about the rules in China about one child, and just in general about how having a baby in your tummy doesn't mean always that the mommy is able to be a forever mommy. But I still tried to come at it like we were starting from zero. In effect, I went into prepared speech mode (don't lie, don't appear taken aback by the question, keep it age-appropriate) and did okay, I think, but damn if I didn't cry my eyes out later that night:

"Well, Sweet Girl, I don't know. But I bet she did wish she could stay with you forever. I bet she and your Chinese father thought and thought about what to do, and I bet it was super hard for them to say goodbye to you. In China, the only way for babies to be adopted is for the parents to put them in a busy, busy place to be found, and that is what your Chinese mother did for you. You were found right away, and that is how Mama and Dada ended up getting the call from China saying that we could be your forever Mama and Dada."

I was expecting a follow-up question, but not this one: "Where did she put me?" I answered her, and she seemed okay with it. As I frantically searched my mind for other prepared speeches, her next question turned the tide: "Can you turn the music back on please?"

With that, my daughter told me she'd learned enough for one 4 year-old day, once again demonstrating that she's the one guiding ME through all of this. I know that we will converse about this again in different ways as she grows, but I find myself working it into conversations more and more now as I see her mental gears turning, figuring out that her story is a little different than her friends' stories, and trying to make sense as a child of what is a very adult situation.

In any case, whether you are an adoptive family or not (maybe especially if you are not), you can help Bambina and other kids who were adopted by talking to your kids about adoption as simply another way families happen. Feel free to NOT put words like "abandoned" and "gave up" into your child's adoption lexicon, opting for terms like "placed for adoption" or "made a plan" to have the baby adopted instead. Because seeing my sweet Bambina's face asking if her Chinese mother wanted to stay with her forever--and imagining what any mother would feel as she said goodbye to her brand new infant daughter--I simply do not believe that "abandonment" played any role in it. My daughter was placed where she would be found quickly. It's that simple, and I suppose, it's precisely that complicated.