Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's a Fast-Paced Life Around Here

Excuse me, peeps, while my jet-setting life and I rush off for another wild adventure. This time to the little green patch of Texas that is Austin, to invade the house of Toddler Tamer, so the Papoose can spend valuable bonding time with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. And so I can have a glass of wine (or two, or three) with my brother- and sister-in-law.

We have big plans, people, big plans! Yard sale-ing, festival hopping, outlet shopping (be still my throbbing credit card), and little 'un chasing. It's going to be a blast. Once we get off the plane. The plane I am not looking forward to.

Oy. Wish us luck. See you in a week or so.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tina Fey Was Born for This Stuff

I so don't have time for this because I am desperately trying to finish up some copy editing before leaving for Toddler Tamer's on Wednesday.

BUT. This is so hysterical entirely because parts of it are almost verbatim exactly what Sarah Palin actually said in the Katie Couric interview. SNL must be praying that McPalin will get elected. They won't have to write anything for four years.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Color Me Internet-Obsessed

A fun little time suck: Colorstrology

My color is Lyons Blue. Rowr. Kinda fun because blue is my favorite color. Apparently, I'm also imaginative, charismatic, and social.

What secrets does Pantone know about you?

*By the way, the Papoose's color is Chinese Red and she's perceptive, kind, and magnetic. The Husband's is Hibiscus (heh heh, that's another word for PINK!) and he's determined, persuasive, and...wait for it...SPARKLY! Oh, he's going to love me if he reads this.*

In Which Katie's Crumbling Patience Is Almost Palpable

In for a penny, in for a pound, eh?

Okay, and following the advice below, starting....NOW!

A Call to Arms

I try, I try not to inundate my handful or readers with political ramblings. Aside from the odd link to the political ramblings of others, I've mostly succeeded. But I received this email from my mother-in-law this morning, and it resonated particularly with me. Ouiser and I were chatting just this morning about some of the very ideas in this essay, and some of the advice, taken out of context, could apply bipartisanly, so I'm sharing. Bold font is mine.


How to handle the fury brought on by this election? Register voters, hit the streets, pray. Stop talking about her. Talk about Obama.

By Anne Lamott

Sept. 16, 2008 | I had to leave church Sunday morning when it turned out that the sermon was not about bearing up under desperate circumstances, when you feel like you're going crazy because something is being perpetrated upon you and your country that is so obscene that it simply cannot be happening.

I sat outside a 7-11 and had a sacramental Dove chocolate bar. Jeez: Here we are again. A man and a woman whose values we loathe and despise -- lying, rageful and incompetent, so dangerous to children and old people, to innocent people in every part of the world -- are being worshiped, exalted by the media, in a position to take a swing at all that is loveliest about this earth and what's left of our precious freedoms.

When I got home from church, I drank a bunch of water to metabolize the Dove bar and called my Jesuit friend, who I know hates these people, too. I asked, "Don't you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?" And he said, "Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian."

I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman's name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it. Nor am I going to say the word "lipstick" again until after the election, as it would only be used against me. Or "polar bear," because that one image makes me sadder than even horrible old I can stand.

I hate to criticize. And I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn't have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated -- spiritually, emotionally and physically ill.

I say that with love. As we say in Texas. (Also, we say, "Bless her heart.")

We felt this grief and nausea during the run-up to the war in Iraq. We felt it after the 2004 election. And now we feel it again.

But since there are still six weeks until the election, and since the stakes are as high as the sky, which should definitely not be forced to endure four more years of the same, we have got to get a grip. There are millions of people to register to vote, millions of dollars to be raised. We really cannot go around feeling flat and defeated, with the need to metabolize the rotten meat that this one particular candidate and the media have forced upon us.

One of the tiny metabolic suggestions I have to offer -- if, like me, you choose not to have her name on your lips, like an oozy cold sore (I say that with love) -- is to check out a Web site called the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. There you can find out what she and her husband would have named you if you had been their baby. My name, Anne, for instance, would be Krinkle Bearcat. John, her running mate, would be named Stick Freedom. George would be Crunk Petrol. And so on.

First of all, go find out what your own name would be. Then for one day refuse to use the name of these people who are so damaging to earth and to our very souls -- so, "I don't have to understand anything, it's all fuzzy math. Trust me. I'm the decider." From now on, when working for Obama, talk about Obama, talk about his policies, the issues, the economy, the war in Iraq, poverty, the last eight years, Joe Biden. You don't have to mention Crunk Petrol, or his sidekick, Shaver Razorback.

And you sure as hell don't have to mention Claw Washout -- she is absolutely, hands-down the most ludicrous person ever to be nominated. She's a "South Park" character. There was a mix-up. Mistakes were made.

Everything you need to know about how to bear up during these two months is already inside you. Go within: Work on your own emotional acre. Stand still, and hurt, and feel crazy. Then drink a lot of water, pray, meditate, rest. Rest is a spiritual act. Now, I am a reform Christian, so it is permissible for me to secretly believe that God hates this woman, too. I heard God slam down a couple of shooters while she was talking the other night.

Figure out one thing you can do every single day to be a part of the solution, concentrating on swing states. Money, walking precincts, registering voters, whatever. This is the only way miracles ever happen -- left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. The great novelist E.L. Doctorow once said that writing a novel is like driving at night with the headlights on: You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey this way. It is the truest of all things; the only way to write a book, raise a child, save the world.

As my anonymous pal Krinkle Bearcat once wrote: Laughter is carbonated holiness. It is chemo. So do whatever it takes to keep your sense of humor. Rent Christopher Guest movies, read books by Roz Chast and Maira Kalman. Picture Stick Freedom in his Batman underpants, having one of his episodes of rage alone in one of his seven bedrooms. Or having one of his bathroomy little conversations with Froth Moonshine.(Bless their hearts.) Try to remember that even Karl Rove has accused him of being a lying suck.

Reread everything Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower ever wrote. Write down that great line of Molly's, that "Freedom fighters don't always win, but they're always right." Tape it next to your phone. Call the loneliest person you know. Go flirt with the oldest person at the bookstore.

Fill up a box with really cool clothes, that you haven't worn in a year, and take it to a thrift shop. Take gray water outside and water whatever is growing on your deck. This is not a bad metaphor to live by. I think it is why we are here. Drink more fluids. And take very gentle care of yourself and the people you most love: We need you now more than ever.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggety jig.

After a whirlwind tour of NoCA, the Papoose and I are back on Southern soil, and she is one well-traveled 10-month-old.

The Papoose was an angel on our flights, no crying, no fussing. But dang. She was all over the place! We got lucky on the way out and had empty flights with all three seats to ourselves. On the way home, I had someone next to me the whole time, but still had two seats. Somehow, her diaper leaked and she peed all over me during the flight. The good news is that I was wearing a dress over jeans, so I was able to just take the jeans off. The bad news is that there's a Southwest employee out there probably still trying to get the pee smell out of the floor of their plane. Stay out of row 17.

FYI, did you know that you can get a gate pass for whomever is dropping you off at the airport if you're traveling alone with a baby? So I didn't have to rely on the kindness of strangers to fold my stroller as I limped through security this time. This is a key improvement. Nevertheless, after our next lone trip to see Toddler Tamer in eight days, I'd just as soon not fly alone with the Papoose again until she's old enough for a DVD player or Nintendo DS or iPod or something.

I did not take nearly enough pics, but here are a few:

The Husband's aunt's newish kittens: Frou-frou and Caesar

The Papoose's Nummy (read: paternal grandmother) has French doors at the front of her house that look out onto her horse/goat pasture. The Papoose spent much time monitoring the goings-on of the pasture from those doors. Peer out the left door. "HO! Ah. HO! Ah." Walk, walk, walk to the other door. Peer out. "Ho! Ah. Ho! Ah." Repeat endlessly. This was, obviously, taken with her on the other side of said doors.

Farm-girl Papoose.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I really meant to write a real post before leaving on our little vacay, but it just didn't happen. The Papoose has been cutting four upper teeth for the past nine days and has been every bit as miserable as you can imagine. That might have something to do with the fact that I was underdosing her in a major way until three days ago; turns out she needs three times the Tylenol dosage I was giving her, according to her pediatrician, whom I guess knows what he's talking about with all his voodoo modern medicine (did I mention I don't like taking meds? Turns out I inflict that neuroses on my daughter, too). Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to be alternating the Tylenol with Motrin. Oops. Anyway, three of the four teeth are through now, and she seems to be feeling mildly better, especially if I shove a binky in her mouth.

But the point of this is to tell you that the Papoosekin and I will be visiting her Nummi (read: paternal grandmother) for the next week, so you won't hear from me for at least that long.

Oh yeah, and she weighs 20 lbs now (the Papoose, not the Nummi)!!! Can you believe it?!?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

Happy Hour Sue asks, "Do you remember what you were doing?"

Yeah, I remember. I was at work. We lived in Philly at the time. My supervisor told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. I couldn't even understand what that meant. A plane landed on it? Crashed in the street? I was picturing some little, tiny puddle jumper. I could never have comprehended what actually happened without seeing the pictures. I imagine that's true for most people.

I worked in Center City, Philadelphia. There was no work done that morning. Coworkers were on the phone with loved ones, or trying to reach loved ones. I don't think we had text messaging seven years ago, did we? A lot of people's calls were going straight to voicemail. They let any employees leave who wanted to.

Businesses were wheeling televisions out onto the street so we could all watch. I remember standing out on the sidewalk, with tears streaming down my face, eyes glued to the screen. Then the second plane hit and the mayor evacuated all buildings over seven stories, including ours. I realized I'd been standing outside for 45 minutes and ran back in the office, knowing the Husband was probably getting worried (we worked in the same office then).

Most of my coworkers, including the Husband and I, took the train in, which we didn't really want to face at that point. We were scared. We didn't know what would happen next. In fact, I think Septa shut the trains down. Someone had a car and drove about five of us home. It took a couple of hours. The whole city was trying to drive home. We listened to the radio the whole time. We watched the television for about two more hours once we got home, until we realized it was just the same nightmare playing over and over with no new information. None that mattered anyway. Sometime in there I called my parents and let them know we were home okay. Then I think we slept for about eleven hours, traumatized, like everyone else.

Seven years later, watching this still makes me weep. I haven't watched any of the movies, listened to any of the horrid tapes. I don't believe any good comes from dwelling on it. But I do believe in remembering those who died and those who lost loved ones, learning what I can from tragedy, and I will do so today. And I'll give my daughter and husband and extra hug, and move on, and live.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Favorite

I've missed a couple Fridays, I know. I warned you. But I'll make it up to you anyway. I've actually been stockpiling favorites, but have been too lazy to even post them. So, here are my favorites from the past three weeks:

This, in which Mr Lady will make you lose your lunch with hysterically gross left-in-car stories.

This, in which Amalah makes me glad I birthed a girl.

And this, in which Heather makes me wonder if Chewy is as smart as Chuck.

Enjoy! And happy Friday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Master and Commander

Gloria Steinem, as usual, gets it exactly right on Palin here.

Link via Suzanne Reisman at BlogHer.

And Heather gives a big and eloquent voice to what many of us are feeling here.

The Hell?

Check this out, then tell me if you're not as flummoxed as I am.

Methinks Oliver Stone has a death wish.

Vote for My New Banner

I've been working on some potential new banners for this blog. I think it's painfully obvious that I need one. Let me know whether you like choice 1, 2, or 3, or none (but if you say none, you'd better have some suggestions for me!).


Come on, you know you want to be one. Here's your chance for an easy, peasy random act of kindness for today: Sign this petition at Sleepless Nights and help a 2-year-old sistah out. In Australia, of all places, so your kindness can be international.

It's important, yo. For reals.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ecological Footprint Calculator

The Earth Day Network has a very cool new gizmo up on their site to help you see exactly how horrifying your own, personal ecological footprint is. Seriously, it's a really fun/eye-opening activity, and you can do the fast version, if you're pressed for time, or the more detailed version, if you want a more accurate idea of how your lifestyle affects the planet.

I was humbled to see that it would take 5.2 planets to maintain my lifestyle if everyone lived the way I do. There are suggestions given at the end for how to lower that number. Looks like I need to go vegan and stop flying. Heh.

That's not likely to happen, but it is a little bit of inspiration and a reminder of how important it is for me to do what I can: buy a little more local, try a little harder to reduce packaging, and (for the love of canvas!) remember my cloth bags at the grocery store.

How many planets do you use?