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Thursday, February 28, 2008

OK, I Know But...

Am I the only one who is noticing that we, Americans, have been and are presently, totally obsessed with STUFF? I have been hammering around at this subject for years... mainly, probably, because of my lack of it...

I was just talking with the Mother (mine) about this and with S.O. the other night... remember a Time Before Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? That damn program started it all. Remember it was on Saturday afternoons when absolutely NO ONE was watching TV because not programmer ever thought anyone would be interested in rich people - how boring! Now it seems that is all we are interested in. And as Michael Moore has so aptly pointed out we all think that someday that might be us, rich that is.

Am not religious, wasn't raised that way, but I am beginning to understand that passage about the rich man and the eye of the needle and milking the camel and whatnot... But maybe them biblical peoples were really talking about us. I mean, how pious, how balanced, how peaceful can you really be when caught in the throes of envy, or greed, or debt? All so stressful, in'it?

Where is the peace in stress?

I remember the peace I felt - and the possibility I felt - when I was a little girl B-LRF (Before Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) - when I felt successful and pretty and OK with myself... that last time was about, oh, 7 or 8... But how can anyone who watches, listens to, reads any media anymore really be OK without tremendous effort?

And can we just stop pretending that the media has no influence. Can I just mention a few things you NEVER would have wanted: an iPod, an SUV, an infinity pool, a Carnival cruise, Taco Bell... do I have to continue to make my point? Really, what was wrong with taco night at home with the family? What was wrong with a road trip and seeing giant dinosaurs or the world's largest ball of string? What was so awful about seeing all your friends from school one summer when you hadn't seen them in weeks at the community pool? What was wrong with the station wagon you could lay down in the back of and look at the clouds as mom drove? What was wrong with the surprising randomness of the radio when suddenly in a totally blue funk and yous absolute favorite song comes on the radio?

OK, OK... so, let's just face it. Let's just admit our sins and come clean. We have been dazzled by the shinny thing across the room and we have not been paying attention to the life right in front of us. Can we just admit that having all the stuff is way more work than we ever expected - that the 3,000 sq. ft. house is way too big to clean alone and we feel guilty nor can we really afford to have Conchita come in and clean. Can we admit that the SUV gets dirty and ratty too, just like any old car? Can we admit that even if the vacation costs you $3,000 you are just as likely to fight and not get along if that's what you do as if it's a $300 weekend? Can we just admit - oh please someone else admit this too! - that a $100 blouse gets stained as easily as a $12.50 from Old Navy and you can't throw it in the laundry? Can we just admit that inside a rich person is a beating heart, a spirit, a love, an ambition, a hope a dream and there is the exact very totally totally SAME! thing inside a poor person?

Come on, what is all the stuff for... really?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Three Year Old-ism

S.O.v.2 is having trouble relinquishing babyhood (as am I, hers, not my own) and so plays 'baby' often. In addition, she has a love/hate relationship with the Pull-Up. She wants to wear her Hello Kitty underpants but she clings to the modified diaper, most days wanting the Pull-Up. But this morning she just simply could not decide. Is there anything more heart wrenching and adorable than a 3 year old sobbing and saying "I want to go commando"?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stockholm Kitty

Over the weekend we went to my mom's house in San Diego to enjoy a day at Legoland with the kids, including cousins, and for S.O. and I to enjoy a childfree and relaxing time at a Veterens For Peace function on Sunday. We had a delightful weekend but decided to come home Sunday night instead of Monday morning as S.O. had an interview, I a dentist appointment... and thank goodness we did!

When I got in the house I heard that feignt muffled meow you hear when a cat is underneath the bed or clothing or something... When I got to our bedroom it was clear where our kitty, Wasabi, had spent the weekend! In our closet - shut in because Mifune (other cat) does not know how to work a door handle! Poor guy, he used a couple of S.O.'s dress shirts and his robe for a potty and had to sleep nearby of course. I mean, it's not cool for humans to have to do it but it's like an insult to cats! He looked crazed when I opened the door and reluctant to come out.

Mifune is STILL not getting along with him. We aren't quite sure why - something akin to survivor's guilt I guess. But the funny thing is, even though he was clearly miserable in there, he keeps wanting to go back in! He keeps standing by the door and letting out the most deserate meow. It's obvious, he has kitty Stockholm syndrome!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weird Dreams

What is it about dark chocolate that gives you weird dreams? I had restless and persistent ones last night about being married to a junkie and me just living with it... It was an exhusband actually which is, I think, weird. I don't usually have dreams with real life people from my own life, usually actors or unknowns - to me although I am sure they put in winning performances in other peoples dreams, they are usually very good. When it happens it is always disconcerting and makes me search more for meaning than I normally do. And they tend to stay with me longer throughout the day...

But nothing is weirder than the imagination of a 3 year old. S.O.v.2 has some pretty vivid dreams. When she remembers them she shares. Usually she just remembers having them but no details (who knew dreams started so early! But of course S.O.v.1 started having bad dreams about this age too). A while ago she shared with me the dream about being flattened - ala Looney Tunes (though she doesn't watch them and to my knowledge has never seen a steam roller flatten a cartoon duck) and then cut into pieces and eaten.

Last night she told S.O. and I the rules of the house. Too many to put down here but I will share a few:

"Number 1 - We don't throw in the house (very good),
Number 3 - We don't throw cupcakes in the house,
Number 3 - We don't put cupcakes in our hair,
Number 3 - We don't eat cupcakes on the floor,
Number 3 - We don't share cupcakes with the cats..."

Like that, you see where she is going with this... She always has some crazy three year old-ism... I must share them more often. When they are past this age (like S.O.v.1) you forget how damn cute and purely entertaining they can be.

Need I Say EVEN More???

What Is Sexist?
Submitted by christine on Fri, 02/15/2008 - 5:31pm. Be-Elected
BE ELECTED
by Christine Bowman


The National Organization for Women has endorsed Hillary Clinton. BuzzFlash has not.* Instead, we've been very critical of her record and of certain campaign moves. But we sure don't want her to lose because she's a woman.

NOW's President Kim Gandy has responded to email she has received with a commentary, "Below the Belt." She identifies media behavior that disparages Hillary Clinton and, she argues, women as a group. Listen up:


Excerpts:

The press have been brutal to Clinton, no doubt about it. Whether consciously or not, too many reporters, commentators, pundits and the like appear unable to critique Hillary Clinton without dusting off their favorite sexist clich├ęs, stereotypes and insults. Some of these remarks seem mild, while others are offensive and truly outrageous. Taken together, they create an environment of hostility toward all women, not just Senator Clinton. At this moment it feels like she is a stand-in for every woman who has ever tried to get ahead and be taken seriously by the powers that be.

There are four common themes in media coverage of Clinton's candidacy:

First, Clinton is criticized using a gender-based grading system. The media evaluate how she looks, dresses, talks, laughs and even claps. She is held to double standards familiar to working women. A man demonstrates toughness and strength; a woman who behaves similarly is called icy and rigid. His behavior shows compassion and warmth, but her similar behavior shows too much emotion and maybe weakness. He knows how to work the system; she is manipulative. He shows a mastery of the subject; she is nit-picky. He thinks through all the options before charting a course; she is calculating. Familiar?

Second, our society still has not come to terms with ambition in women -- it is suspect. Clinton is frequently charged with doing or saying anything to win. But I think it has an extra sharp anti-woman overtone as it is used against Hillary. In other words, everything Clinton does to win the election -- strategizing, organizing, confronting, comparing and contrasting -- is interpreted as calculating, fake or just plain evil. But when a man campaigns hard, refusing to cede an inch, they call it . . . running for office!

Third, Clinton is presumed to be where she is today because of her husband, Bill. The fact that Clinton has a famous former president for a husband is used to discredit her own achievements and to imply that maybe she couldn't have made it on her own. I’m trying to remember if any of these commentators implied that George W. Bush shouldn't be taken seriously as a candidate because his father had been president. Or that people shouldn't vote for a certain male candidate because he clearly got a leg up from his powerful family's money, legacy? Or say from the advantages bestowed by his wife's fortune? Who's to say that if Hillary had taken the fast-track first, instead of Bill, she wouldn't have risen to the top before him?

Finally, when all else fails, belittle the voters. Women voters are irrational and biased, and voting only on the basis of gender, the press are happy to intimate (at least about the women who are voting for Hillary), and they not so subtly imply that all voters are stupid and shallow. When the pundits try to mind-read the general public to guess why they cast their ballots one way or another, they often conclude that voters make decisions based on the same superficial traits that fascinates the talking-heads themselves -- like who seems "comfortable in their own skin" or who strikes them as annoyingly nerdy.

One more thing: Hillary Clinton, and women in general, aren't the only ones subject to gender-based assessments. Barack Obama and John Edwards have also been degraded when the media detect in them "feminine" characteristics or behaviors (like paying attention to your appearance) that supposedly are unbecoming in men. That's right, both women and men can be poked with the "girls are icky" stick.

Regarding women and men and politics, we really ought to be past the tree house-years. It's not just those in the public eye who are hurt when the media promote sex stereotypes. Daughters everywhere are hearing the message that a woman can't be as competent and effective a leader as a man. Or that all strong women are ball-busters (or nut-crackers) -- right up until they finally reveal that they're just weepy wimps. (Never trust a crying woman. She's after something, you know.)

Just so you don't think I’m making this up, here are a few (of course I had to leave out MSNBC's Chris Matthews because he deserves a whole list all by himself) -- of the latest offenders:

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2008
Relaying a joke told by Penn Jillette: "Obama is just creaming Hillary. You know, all these primaries, you know. And Hillary says it's not fair, because they're being held in February, and February is Black History Month. And unfortunately for Hillary, there's no White Bitch Month."

Katie Couric, CBS's 60 Minutes, Feb. 10, 2008
Interviewing Clinton: "What were you like in high school? Were you the girl in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand? . . . Someone told me your nickname in school was 'Miss Frigidaire' -- is that true?"

David Shuster, guest-hosting MSNBC's Tucker, Feb. 7, 2008
Regarding Chelsea Clinton making calls for her mother's campaign: "[T]here's just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea is out there calling up celebrities saying, 'Support my mom.' . . . doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"

Lester Holt, MSNBC's primary coverage, Feb. 5, 2008
Incredulously, apparently shocked by exit poll results: "With the field of Democratic candidates reduced to two, we asked primary voters, 'Who would make the best commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces?' And here, it was Hillary Clinton who was the clear favorite. The first woman candidate with a serious shot at winning the presidency beat out her male rival -- look at these numbers -- 50 percent to 35 percent. Keep in mind, this at a time the nation is fighting on two fronts."

Andrew Sullivan, TheAtlantic.com, Feb. 4. 2008
"The second bout of public tears just before a crucial primary vote - after no evidence that Senator Hillary Clinton has a history of tearing up in front of the cameras - provokes the unavoidable question: should feminists actively vote against Clinton to defend the cause of female equality?"

Bill Kristol (New York Times columnist), panelist on Fox News Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008
"Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women . . . . White women are a problem, that's, you know -- we all live with that." After other panelists stated their disagreement, Kristol responded: "I know, I shouldn't have said that."

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Jan. 30, 2008
"Like Scarlett O'Hara after a public humiliation, Hillary showed up at the gathering wearing a defiant shade of red."

Mike Barnicle, guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Jan. 23, 2008
"[W]hen she reacts the way she reacts to Obama with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court, OK?"

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2008
"It's odd that the first woman with a shot at becoming president is so openly dependent on her husband to drag her over the finish line."

Tucker Carlson, MSNBC's Tucker, Jan. 22, 2008
"It takes a lot of guts for a rich, privileged white lady who is one of the most powerful people in the world to claim that she is a victim of gender discrimination. . . . She hasn't driven her own car in almost 20 years and she's a victim of discrimination? I mean can't we both agree that's just BS?"

Gail Collins, The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2008.
"The women whose heart went out to Hillary knew that it wasn't rational. . . . they gave her a sympathy vote."

Chris Matthews, guesting on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Jan. 9, 2008
"Let's not forget -- and I'll be brutal -- the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator from New York."

Sexism, like racism, is not a progressive value.

*(BuzzFlash doesn't endorse any candidate in a primary.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Need I Say More?

This from the Huffington Post yesterday:

Why Is David Shuster E-Mailing With Anti-Hillary Group C.U.N.T.?
New York Observer | Felix Gillette | February 13, 2008 12:05 PM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read More: C.U.N.T., Chelsea Clinton, Citizens United Not Timid, David Shuster, David Shuster C.U.N.T., David Shuster Chelsea Clinton, David Shuster Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Breaking Media News

It was a little before midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 27 that MSNBC correspondent David Shuster hit the "Send" button on a curt e-mail to Republican rabble-rouser Roger Stone.

Days earlier, Mr. Stone and others had filed papers with the I.R.S. to form a "527" organization dedicated to educating "the American Public about what Hillary Clinton really is." The organization was called "Citizens United Not Timid," i.e., C.U.N.T.

"Hey Roger Stone," wrote Mr. Shuster in an e-mail to Mr. Stone's personal Web site, the Stone Zone. "Why not put your own name on this?"

Mr. Stone was in no mood to take flack from an uptight reporter unable to take a joke. Mr. Stone felt the suggestion that he was hiding behind the site was ludicrous. After all, he had invited reporter Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard to sit in on the organization's planning meeting.

The next afternoon, he responded. "Hey David Shuster," Mr. Stone wrote back. "I in essence did when I let the entire planning meeting be on the record for a reporter."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?

I have been wondering about why Hillary Clinton's campaign for President is seemingly imploding. Then I realized, Duh, of course it is. Wonder! Why has it done so well so long is what I should wonder about!

I mean we should have all realized the country was not ready for a woman for president when the media made hay of her cleavage and no one was outraged. Nothing like the indignance that was exhibited by liberals with a platform (unlike us liberals with blogs that three other people read) when the Foxies made the connection between the way Barack Obama dressed, sans tie, and Ahmadinejad's tendancy to go without his as well.

The dislike of Clinton (by the way, why is it OK to call her 'Hillary' but we say 'Obama'?) is as without comprehension as the adoration of Obama is without substance. But this really isn't an essay against him. It is obvious to me why we don't like her as a nation. It has some to do with the Right vilifying her and some to do with the fact that she stayed with her husband after he cheated on her (we like think she should have thrown all his clothes out the window onto the White House lawn in outrage and righteous indignation, making a scene and not caring because she was standing up for her rights as a wife) but the real reason she'll never get elected (my prediction) is that we don't want to be in trouble with mom.

If she were prettier she might not evoke the stern momness she does. But of course if she were prettier we'd think her too dumb to be president and she never would have made it this far (we also would have accepted her staying with her husband if she were prettier, but that she is so smart makes it seem that much more calculated and weird "what was she thinking?"). We categorize as human beings and the more complicated life becomes the more we do it. It is a defense mechanism, as well as a survival mechanism. It is too risky to take each person for who they are, to understand them.

Right now the liberals in the country are excessively priding themselves on seeming to take Obama at face value - but really they are just being swept up in rhetoric (anyone who's been to college will recognize this phenomena from either rhetoric class or debate club or even a beautifully written but lacking in substance term paper, usually written by one's self!). He just sounds good! He just performs well on the platform, sounds intelligent (and his wife, by the way, seems to us like the type of woman who WOULD throw his clothes on the White House lawn if she caught him in any shenanigans!), looks good. Liberals are excessively priding themselves on being able to like him despite the fact that he's African-American.

But it's like being at a party and getting caught up in the excitement, going off to toilet paper the Principal's house, doing a really amazing job of it because just everyone was there! and then being put in detention all day on Monday morning (believe me... really, I'm serious... I know!). But if he gets the nomination - which the media is now solidifying with their own 'done deal' rhetoric (and if you don't believe they have any power in that direction Exhibit A: John Edwards campaign - The most forward facing and progressive of all three major Democratic campaigns. Disclaimer: I was a supporter, and yes I voted for him in the CA primary even after he'd suspended his campaign because I want him to weild control over Clinton and Obama to keep their eyes on the ball! Us, remember us? The American people? We he work to pay those taxes, wouldn't it just be nice if the government would spend some of it on us - instead of handing us a few hundred bucks in May and saying "Here, go buy yourself something pretty") then there will be a moment when the nation will panic (the Republicans already are) and think to itself "Oh my god, what if he wants to pimp the White House?" Especially if, as I read the wish in a comment post to an Alternet story, he should choose or even consider Harold Ford Jr. (Rep. from Tennessee) for Vice President.

But to get back to my original point: We don't want a Mom in the White House. Men do not evoke the same emotion because most men are not the disciplinarians in their household (and if they were in yours, you're probably not afraid of Clinton). Bush is like the 'drunk dad', man you can get away with anything if you can manage to distract him long enough. (Didn't we elect him because we 'wanted to have a beer with him?' Little did we know he wanted to have many, many beers with us.) Clinton (Bill) was the benevolent father who just wanted you to do well in school, would listen to everything you had to say - for the ten minutes a week he spent with you - and left all the discipline to his wife. Bush Sr. was the nasty, one cocktail a night "to calm my nerves if you could just get those kids to shut up!" father. We didn't like him so we voted him out. We didn't like Carter because he was too earnestly good because he felt he could trust you let you fall on your face - so we voted him out and elected a father figure who seemed to have it all under control - Regan - who left all the discipline to mother so he would never, in your eyes, seem like the bad guy. But after growing up and looking back, what did he really do to take care of us... he was charming, and compelling and... and... "was that really an insult when he said that to me that way when I was 6? Was he really laughing with me or was it actually at me? And what ever happened to my college fund?"

So there it is. We don't want Clinton as President because she will make you do your homework and your chores and no arguement about it from you, little mister! We may need it as a country, but we don't want it. We want to be wooed, we want to be paid attention to and made to feel special. We want to be able to be dropped off at school and say with pride, "That's my daddy!". Is it no wonder that all the youngest of voters are the most enthusiastic about Obama? By the way, on the otherside some of the most enthusiastic young voters are all for Huckabee, because they want the Wizard of Oz in the White House - it is magic you know!

So we may be wooed, we may be allowed to eat all the ice cream and cake and candy before our dinner we want, we may be allowed to shirk our chores and our homework but we'll pay. We'll have the hangover in the morning but our leader very well may be a caught in the headlights doe, looking around wondering why the rhetoric doesn't work with real life, why the corporations won't roll over and give up control, why won't anyone agree on anything, why is it so difficult to get out of Iraq without making it a bigger mess... Or we'll really panic at the polls and vote for the familiar, comfortable old white man...

Woo woo

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lonely

I've been missing things and people this week.

I've been missing the Bay Area. I grew up there, in Hayward for my childhood and part of college and Oakland and Berkeley where I lived where I was going to college and then trying to 'make it' as an actress after. I miss the places I used to tread. I miss, oddly, walking alone... and some of what I thought at the time were the most scared or lonely or fearful in my young life I now long for. I remember going to movies alone in Berekely, sitting (and laying) near Strawberry Creek on the campus of UC Berkeley between classes when it was warm reading and dozing, I remember this little cafe on University Ave. that I would go to and study at - they had the best lentil soup. I remember and miss the soup cafe at the intersection of Telegraph Ave. and Dwight(?)... and the salad restaurant that you couldn't ever find a table after standing in line for 20 minutes... it's not only college that I miss...

I miss people. I miss Bay Area-type people. They were willing to take a chance on new friends... I miss LA too. I miss the places we'd used to go and the way they would change - you'd think about going to some restaurant and head there only to find that it had closed just last week. I miss my friends...

I have noticed in my life that I am not so much drawn to people (that just doesn't work for me, everytime I am drawn to someone either they don't like me or turn out to be crap friends) as people are drawn to me. This is how I have gotten the BEST friends of my life. That is not arrogance, au contraire (SP???), I only mean that I don't know what I'm doing but I am graced to have people in my life that know way better than me!

All my best of friends have been people that have been the one's to either 'make the first move' or been the persistant friends (because there always is one) and then once I fall I am like the stalking one (don't let me go!). When I make the choice it usually doesn't work, or it ends up being one of those cordial friendships where everyone is oh so happy to see you but a 'real' friendship, ya know where you, like, call each other on the phone and stuff... hasn't really happened so much for me out here. Except for my one, very busy gal pal, Judy.

But I miss my friends! I felt like, when we lived in LA, that I had 'made it' friend-wise. That all the people I considered to be my best pals were the best people that I was likely to ever meet and become friends with. And I was happy. I was content. Not with how much time I got to spend with them - this is the great downfall of couplehood - you never get to spend enough time with you friends after. And AC (After Children) is just that much worse, which is why friends with children end up spending so much time with each other and not with the sans children friends.

And then being 'out here' does not help matters much.

I attribute much of my melancholy for all things past a reaction to S.O. having lost his job. You know, when you teeter on the edge of a precarious lifestyle you tend to think back. Maybe I am just longing for easier lifestyles, ones that can't be lost with a job loss.. or maybe I am longing for parts of myself that I left behind in those places. The Bay Area, san Diego, Los Angeles... all dynamic stimulating areas... and here I am.... in the... desert.

We have lived here coming up on five years and thus far I do not have a friend that I long for...

I love LA

I love SD

I love BA