Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Santa Isn't Black!"

When's the last time you heard THAT at a Christmas party?

I heard it last night. Uttered by a 7-year old girl, embroiled in an argument with, you guessed it, a black Santa. Santa tried, in vain, to explain to her (over the raucous laughter) that there were, in fact, black Santas. "Just go out to East Denver".

She wasn't buying it.

I can't really say I blame her. I had to convince black Santa himself (as I was delivering my Santa suit a few days earlier) that there ARE black Santas. As proof, I showed him my Christmas ornament of a black Santa sitting at a piano.

He didn't buy it either.

Of course, until recently, no one thought that there would be a black President in the near future either. Which would lead one to think that times are changing, right? But change is slow, and racists never change their spots. (They just blot on a little concealer). But every woman knows that concealer doesn't work for very long.

I discovered a heavily "made-up" man at Friday night's Christmas party (which had no black Santas). We were having an interesting conversation about the First Amendment. Some of you might think that those are mutually-exclusive terms, but they're really not. (Previous readers will remember that I took a class in First Amendment Law taught by Archibald Cox).

Anyhoo, there was a small hullabaloo a while ago when a kid wore a t-shirt to school that said something about Obama being friends with terrorists. The school decided that the t-shirt was disruptive. They gave the kid the option to turn the shirt inside out, change, or be suspended. He chose to be suspended. His father immediately alleged this was a violation of the First Amendment.

So this guy at the party brings this up with a very strong belief that the First Amendment was, indeed, violated. As someone who took First Amendment Law from the man who argued more First Amendment cases before the US Supreme Court than anyone else, and who had the most impact on how the First Amendment continues to be interpreted to this day, I explained to this man that kids in school do not enjoy the same First Amendment rights that the rest of us do.

This man was so annoyed that I felt I had to explain that this wasn't my idea. It's just the law. For a moment, I thought I had a real card-carrying member of the ACLU in my midst. But later, as he dismissed the notion of respecting others' religions, I realized that he was just another bigot.

I bet he would be surprised to know that Santa is black. (And God is a woman!

Friday, December 19, 2008

How To Drop A Baby

(I apologize if any of you were referred to this post and it was not here. In a moment of maternal guilt and panic, I deleted it. Then I figured what the hell.)

I gave birth to the most adorable child in the world. Now I know you are thinking that I am biased, but, seriously, he was the most adorable child ever born. That is, until I scarred him for life.

It wasn't entirely my fault. My mother was in town and she had me in a complete tizzy. At the very same time, Brody did something (I don't remember what) that warranted a time-out. I dragged him back to his bedroom. For some reason, he requested that he be put on the top bunk, rather then his bottom bunk. Not seeing any significance in this request, I agreed. The problem, though, was in the execution.

I am 5'2". Bunk beds are taller. Apparently, I didn't take the time to fully analyze the physics involved in lifting a 3 year old onto a bunk bed that was higher than myself combined with the relative weakness of my biceps.

Holding him, I took somewhat of a running start and stepped on the bottom bunk. My forward force suddenly stopped and we fell backwards. (This is the part I hate to admit). In a sort of innate self-preservation, on the way down, I dropped him. I didn't mean to drop him. I just did.

The cry was horrific. Worse since I knew it was my fault. He was lying face down over a plastic bin from Target. My first thought was "please don't let it be his eye, please don't let it be his eye." I picked him up and to my great relief, it wasn't his eye. There was, however, a huge gash on his cheek. Deep and wide.

Mommy emergency mode kicks in. Aidan (7) gets me a dish towel to hold over the gash. He also calls 911 and then hangs up, but that's a different matter. The police call me back and I explain that my son fell (no details) and has a cut and I am trying to decide whether I need an ambulance, but I think I can make it, so I'll drive to the hospital.

So I tell my mom to please hold Brody in the car with the towel over his face. She says, "Aidan can go with you. I'll stay here with Gunnar." With no time discuss the matter, we run out to the van. Aidan (remember he is 7) sits with Brody in the passenger seat (no one is buckled in) trying to hold the towel on his cheek. But he's a screaming, writhing, very annoyed little boy, so it didn't work out very well.

We get to the hospital. I try to explain what happened. They immediately take Aidan because, unlike my mother, they know that I can't deal with a 7-year old when I have an injured 3-year old. Person after person come in and ask me what happened. Each time, I have to say, outloud, that I dropped my child. Bad mom. Bad mom. Bad mom. They didn't say it. But I could hear it.

Eventually, someone came in and injected my poor child's face with what seemed like a ridiculous number of shots, and stitched him up. Crisis over, I started to feel light-headed and about to faint. The nurse gets me to lie down on the bed, puts a washcloth on my forehead, and takes Brody somewhere.

She calls my husband and tells him of my condition. We all wait for him to arrive. But. What? He doesn't. Finally, after their persistent calls, he shows up. Apparently, he didn't believe that I needed his help. I am a stud, but there are times when I really do need a little help.

So, every day since then (7 years), I look at Brody and see his scar. And every day, I think about the scars, both physical and emotional, that a mother leaves on a child. With any luck, the worst scar Brody will have will be the one on his face.

(I will provide a picture, I think, when I can scan one in. No promises, since the visual reminder is painful).

As an aside, Brody doesn't remember this incident. He has asked about the scar and his brothers have reported exactly what happened. So, I hear about it, all the time, especially around Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Have Been Adopted

Ok, I'll admit it. There have been times when I wish I had a daughter. It's only natural since I have all boys. And I'll have to admit that the thought of adopting a girl (my eggs are old) has crossed my mind.

Instead, I have been adopted. By my neighbor's dog. (It's a girl).
My screen door doesn't shut completely without a little effort. So Sprocket comes over and nudges her nose into the opening until she gets in. If the main door is closed, she pushes on the screen door repeatedly until we let her in. She comes to the living room searching out fallen crumbs (of which there are many) and then takes a nap somewhere. Today she crawled up onto the couch with a snowman.
She's lonely. Her family is busy and she is left alone frequently. Apparently she has decided that she just wants someone to keep her company. And that's ok with me.
I have also been adopted by her 7-year old master, Brit. He has a 16 year old brother and 2 working parents. Brit learned long ago that he had a lot more in common with my 3 boys, than with his older brother. So he comes over alot to play (at least he knocks on the door). He is a sweet little boy and blends in well here. What's one more boy when you already have three!
I love that Brit and Sprocket feel as comfortable in my house as in their own. They add something to my life and I enjoy both of them - together or separately.

My Son the Rock Star

Last week, my son and his friend, Kyle, performed in the junior high talent show. (My son is the short one). They played Good Riddance by Greenday. In the middle of the song, Gunnar jumped off the stage with his guitar and ran through the auditorium, much to the delight of the audience.

Gunnar is never happier than when he is on stage. He can barely contain his excitement. I'm pretty sure that he inherited his musical talent from me, but where on earth did this confidence to perform in front of people come from? I'm almost more proud of him for that than his ability to play guitar.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my 14-year old, Aidan, plays bass in the high school orchestra, and my 10-year old, Brody, is learning piano. I have a photo of Aidan and me before a concert, but I can't post it since it isn't very flattering of me. Sorry, I'm vain.
Brody wants to learn drums, but I'm not a total glutton for punishment! (Although it's only a certain amount of time before I cave).

Maybe someday they'll create a wildly successful brother band (like The Jonas Brothers or Naked Brothers Band) and buy their mom a big house and Mercedes. Probably not, since they can't be in the same room without beating each other up. I guess I need a job!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

1. I resolve to close my free legal service business and re-open as an elite law firm with no paying clients.

2. I resolve to tell my mother she is being a bitch when she is being a bitch (like when she asks me if I have gained weight).

3. I resolve to stop yelling at my kids when they poke my increasingly flabby belly.

4. I resolve to stop gloating about the election to my Republican friends (ok, this one might be hard to keep).

5. I resolve to relearn Russian since I just found a bunch of my college books in the basement and I can't believe that I used to understand it (it's a Flowers for Algernon kind of thing).

6. I resolve to limit my alcohol consumption to champagne.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I Need to Change My Locks

I left my house twice today - once to go to the eye doctor (who gave me the brilliant diagnosis that I am far-sighted which would explain the ten pairs of reading glasses that lie around my house) and to pick up my aspiring actor son, Gunnar, from school where he auditioned for the school musical. I called Aidan on the way home from the Dr. to see if he wanted a slurpee at 7-11. He said "yes." Then he told lme that Granny had come over and proceeded to whine to him about how upset she was that we didn't call her Sunday and that she was so bored and lonely that she cried. My son is not a licensed psychologist, which makes we wonder why she thinks this is an appropriate thing to say to a 14 year old. He is not responsible for her boredom. And if she was so bored and lonely, then she wouldn't have then left soon thereafter. (Although that was better for Aidan).

As I was waiting outside the school for Gunnar, Aidan sends me the following text:
"Granny tried to lock out Brody (from the house) and when I didn't let her, she told Brody I was a fuddy duddy in the kitchen where she thought I couldn't hear her." So now she's back to insulting Aidan (previous readers will remember the time she called him a "bastard."

I know one can't expect a pit bull to change it's colors. But my naive self thought that a grandmother pit bull just might. She has definitely aimed her arrows at Aidan, so far. My thinking is that she knows inherently that he is the one who is the most sensitive to this kind fo thing. Of course, this is not a conscious thought. It's just disturbing that my mother is now extending her damage on to the next generation. At least I can help him understand that she's whacked.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Christmas Wish

I have a personality defect that I am pretty sure I inherited from my mother. Obnoxiousness. I don't actually TRY to be obnoxious; I just sometimes end up that way. That being said, it is time for my annual X-mas card. Stop moaning! I don't write about how intelligent, successful, and athletic my children are (not that they aren't those things). I just put in some of the real stuff, which I have been told communicates what my kids are really like. I also tend to put in a teeny weeny smidge of my liberal nature. I don't mean to piss off the Republicans in this family (that is just an added bonus). Actually, by now they have come to expect this from me.

Anyway, given the result of this year's election - the complete repudiation of Bush and his cronies from even the most Republican of states - Democrats regaining significant control of the House and Senate - even the stock market reacting to the promise of intelligence in power. I'm feeling a little validated. I like that. So how much gloating is acceptable under these circumstances? You have to keep in mind that I have listened ad nauseum to certain members of this family airing racist statements, complete and utter ignorance, and yet feeling quite comfortable deriding me for my opinions.

I am not going to gloat as much as I would like to. I do think that it would be funny, though, to re-write the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" in a funny (ok, gloating) fashion. This is what I have so far. I am open to revisions.

Twas the night before the election, when all through the White House
Not a creature was stirring, not even the louse.
The ballots were cast by the voters with care
In hopes a new President soon would be there.
The Dems were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of Obama danced in their heads.
Ma with her valium and me with my rum,
Had just accepted the notion of global recession
When on CNN there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my stupor to see what was the matter.
When what to my pessimistic eyes should appear
But a map of blue states, a few red, there and here.
A black man in the White House, could it be true?
You mean someday a woman could be President, too?
The crowds cheered as they called them by name
Now Bush, now Cheney, now Rove and Condi,
On Rumsfeld, on Ashcroft, on Gonzalez and Libby.
Get out of the West Wing, get out of the hall.
Dash away, dash away, dash away all.
He walked off the stage and gave Palin a wink.
History was made, making all of us think.
But I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight
Yes we can - Yes we did - Republicans, good night!

My bad?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Fine Art of Preventative Medical Malpractice

It's 11:30 p.m. and despite my dire need for sleep combined with the consumption of a fair bit of alcohol, I am not sleeping. Why am I not sleeping and why am I drinking caffeinated diet coke? I'm glad you asked. As I stated in my last post, my 14-year old had a tonsillectomy two days ago. He is sleeping upright in a recliner (to minimize swelling) and it is my turn to sleep on the couch. He fell asleep about an hour ago, and I noticed that he seems to breath in about two deep breaths and then no breaths for 10 seconds (I counted with the tick of the clock, so I am not exaggerating). I find this rather scary. I told my husband. I told my husband, who like many men, think moms are over-protective.
Not to be dissuaded, I decided to call the doctor. I don't care if I wake them up. It's their job and that's why they get paid the big bucks! I explained what was going on to the on-call doctor. He said to ease up on the Percoset, because that can cause breathing irregularities. I said "so I shouldn't be freaking out?" He said " no, but if you have any concerns, take him to the ER." So I asked what kind of sign should I look for that would send me to the ER. In a tone that suggested I am an idiot, he said, "if you are concerned. I'm not there so I can't make an assessment." I felt like saying I wouldn't be calling if I wasn't concerned, and you're the medically-trained professional, and I don't really know when it becomes a dangerous situation since I didn't go to med school and you don't have to be here because I accurately explained what was going on. But I didn't. I said thank you, hung up, and immediately said to my husband, "these guys sooooo cover their ass."
In the evening of the procedure, my son kept complaining that he couldn't breath well and that it felt like there was a glob of blood in his throat that he couldn't get up or down. So, I called the doctor and described the symptoms. (The doctor that did the procedure was on call that night.) He said that Aidan's uvula was swollen and he should not be lying down. (This would have been useful information to have when they sent us home after the surgery). And, strangely, he added the comment that he wasn't here, so he couldn't make an assessment. That was the first time that I hung up the phone and said that they were sooooo covering their asses.
I get that doctors face malpractice suits and that their insurance rates go up. While everyone would like to blame this on the lawyer, I blame it on the malpractice. If they didn't commit malpractice, no one would sue them. Most people understand that medicine is not an exact science and outcomes will not always be the same. Malpractice occurs when a doctor does someting, or does not do something, that is an accepted thing under the particular circumstances (this is not the legal definition, but I don't do malpractice law and it's 1 a.m.)
So I would assume that the Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat office would have done so many tonsillectomies that they would recognize common results and would know when something was serious enough to go to the ER. By turning over the medical judgement to me, they are absolving themselves of responsibility. So when Aidan begins to have slower breathing or this pattern goes on for one hour, or two hours, or three hours, I won't know if he needs to go in and since they said they can't make an assessment, they are clear. Fuckers!
So, in my non-medically trained way, I woke Aidan up so that he would breath regularly, turned on House (which, ironically, is his favorite show), and gave him a big glass of 7-Up. He's not very happy with me right now, but, too bad. The doctors opted out of this situation, so I have to take over. And I don't know squat except that as long as he is awake, he is breathing and I don't have to be in a constant state of panic.

What Are You Thankful For?

I spent about 2 hours today at my in-laws for Thanksgiving (enough time for me to eat, drink and be a little bit merry) before my 14 year old son, Aidan (I don't want to hear any crap from you Jim - it's a common Irish name) called and asked me to come home. He had his tonsils and adenoids removed on Tuesday and he has been in an acute state of misery since then. Although he had said that he didn't mind if we left him home today, that was before my mother showed up shortly before we were to leave. She announced that she would not be going to my in-laws today and would stay with Aidan. So I told Aidan that he could either come with us or stay home with Granny. He had to think about those options for a while, but, in the end, decided to stay home. Luckily for him, Granny only stayed for 2 hours.

This brought back the fond memory of when my 4 impacted wisdom teeth were removed. It was spring break during my 2nd year of college (everyone else went to Mexico). I remember walking out into the waiting room feeling more than a little loopy to find my sister, Charmaine, holding a large bouquet of red balloons each of which had drawings of blood drippings She's quite the comedian!

She redeemed herself by providing me with a constant supply of hot tea with lemon and honey as I suffered in bed. Eventually, though, even her caretaking abilities could not make up for the even more painful presence of my mother, and I had to retreat to my empty dorm (which provides no food service or anything else during spring break). Sadly, it was better to be alone in the dorm than in the house with my mother.

So I am thankful that my son finds my presence to be helpful, comforting, and sympathetic during this difficult time. God knows I didn't learn this skill from my mother!
The photo is Aidan and Charmaine during Charmaine's last visit.
When stating what you are thankful for at your very Republican in-laws' house, don't say "A Democratic President, Senate and House of Representatives."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Music That Used to Be About Music

Am I wrong to think that a musician nominated for something on the American Music Awards should show up in some kind of outfit that doesn't suggest they just rolled out of bed and picked up the clothes that were on the floor? I mean, are you trying to say that you are so cool, and this is so routine, that you treat it as though it is no more special than going to the grocery store? That pisses me off.
I mean, I'm pretty sure my kids nominated me for Mother of the Year. When it comes time for the ceremony, I'll put on a suit, maybe even a dress (if I really have a chance of winning). More importantly, I will bring on stage with me a posse of scantily clad women dancing around me in a type of sexual worship. Oh. Ooops. I'm not a man. Nevermind.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Case of the Missing Scallops

While some might assert that any attempt of mine to make dinner is somewhat of a mystery in and of itself, today it reached a new and unprecedented level. My scallops vanished. Did you ever see the movie "The Vanishing"? (The original foreigh version is waaaay better than the US remake). It was terrifying. And I am very concerned that my scallops have been buried alive somewhere just like that woman. But I have gotten ahead of myself. It all started with my grand plan to make dinner tonight (damn the Food Network and that bitch, Rachael Ray)!

In these economically-challenged times, I attempted to make dinner from what I had on hand. A few days ago, my mother brought over a package of frozen shrimp and a package of frozen scallops (a.k.a., the deceased). My eldest son LOVES seafood, and given his mom's equal (if not more) dislike of seafood, he never gets it. So, I thought, ok, I need to figure something out for this. I scoured through my many unopened cookbooks and found a recipe that actually called for shrimp and scallops. And, hallelujah, I had everything else that the recipe called for.

But then, it happened. I put the shrimp in the fridge to defrost. Then went to get the scallops, but they weren't there. Ok. Did I already put them in the fridge? Umm. No. Ok, let's go through the freezer again. Umm. No. Ok. I threw out some freezer-burned stuff in the freezer. Did I accidentally throw them away. This will require that I dig through the trash. This is my fricking dinner, so ok, I'm a trooper. Damn it. They're not there!

Pantry? Cabinet? Under the sink? In the oven? Downstairs fridge or freezer? Downstairs trash? No. Take a "What Not to Wear" break. Start over. Empty freezer - again. Downstairs fridge and freezer. Cabinet. Trash (yes, I did that again). No luck. I had to accept the fact that the scallops were gone.

Yes. Dinner went on. It was pretty good. But there was an empty feeling in my stomach. There were no scallops. And the question remains - whare are the fricking scallops? Seriously.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes We Can - And Yes We Did!

This isn't the election night speech. This is the "Yes We Can" speech after New Hampshire. The end of this speech was incapsulated into a greeting card thing that I received months ago from the Obama campaign. With a little help from my eldest son, I recorded it and saved it as my ringtone. Then I sent it to every Republican that I know. I don't know about them, but I thought it was funny!

Monday, November 3, 2008

One More Sleepless Night

It's 1:15 a.m. and I am not asleep. I stopped trying after 1 1/2 hours. Nothing on tv, which surprises me given all of the channels (although I'll have to say there are some fabulous special offers on products that end back pain, a steam cleaner that cleans and disinfects everything from cabinets, toilets, sneakers and even a colon cleanser). So I opened up a diet pepsi (yes, caffeinated) and raided my kids' halloween candy.

My brain can't stop thinking about the upcoming election. I am still stunned that the race is this close given the debacle of the last 8 years. So I am not comforted by the Sunday morning pundits all predicting an Obama win. The percentages reported in the polls for the battleground states are small. Small enough for the underlying, and often, unexpressed racism that still exists to tweak those percentages in the other direction. So I can't sleep.
And I can't sleep because I am so sad that Tim Russert died before seeing the conclusion of what he considered the most fascinating and historic presidential election of all time. I know that I keep coming back to him, and everyone thinks I am nuts since I didn't know him, but I can't help it. If I apply my Psych 101 training, I might conclude that Tim's death brings me back to my father's sudden death when I was 17. But it's not. At least not completely. I'm gonna go with my original reason as stated above.

Anyway, if Obama doesn't win, my 9 year old, who took a lot of crap from my in-law family, will be bummed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Whatever Happened to Woodward and Bernstein?

I almost changed the world today, but then I decided to sleep in. I was signed up to canvass with Forward Colorado, an organization that promotes the democrats running for federal office. I volunteered last weekend to canvass in an attempt to remind supporters to vote and to convince the undecided of the error of their ways. Three hours later, after knocking on God knows how many doors, and talking to four people (two of which said they don't care), I decided I didn't really like canvassing. But all of the campaign experts say that grassroots politics, e.g. canvassing, is critical, particularly in tight races. Personally, I found it depressing. So, although I had agreed to canvas today for the dems, I bailed. I know - Obama's impending defeat rests firmly on my shoulders. I'm in one of the 6 toss-up states for Christ's sake! Our country's fate depends on people like me, and I failed.

I know. I don't have as much influence as the moderators of vice-presidential debates who let candidates avoid answering questions in order to spew their well-rehearsed sound-bites tthereby turning a "debate" into a commercial. Nor can I have as much impact as the temporary host of Meet the Press (Brokaw - God love him) who let Bob Schaeffer(R), a.k.a, Moron from Hell, Candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado, take over what was supposed to be a debate - by refusing to stop talking and by continually interrupting Mark Udall.

So, really, it's not my fault. It's Tim Russert's fault. He had the audacity to die just when the American people (ergo, the world) needed him the most. He was the ONLY person in the media who was willing and/or able to call politicians to task, no matter what their party affiliation. They could not avoid answering questions or give sound-bite answers. He wouldn't let them get away with that. He understood that there was too much at stake. And he had the balls (sorry Gwen) to demand real answers. Does anyone else miss him as much as I do?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Power of Parenting and Archibald Cox

I believe that it is very important to begin brainwashing one's children as soon as they are expelled from the womb. This morning I happily realized that I have been quite successful at this. My 9-year old excitedly called me downstairs to show me the players he created for a video football game. There were 2 running backs. One was named Barack Obama, and the other John McCain. Obama ran with the ball, gaining about 50 yards. McCain - well, let's just say he didn't do so well.

Of course, I am not the only parent that brainwashes their children. Many do. I saw a story on the news today about an 12-year old child who was suspended for wearing a homemade t-shirt to school that said something to the effect that Obama is friends with terrorists. He was told by the principal that he could either change his shirt, turn it inside-out, or be suspended. He chose to be suspended. The child's father believes this to be a violation of his First Amendment rights and is threatening to sue.

Luckily for me, I took a class in law school entitled "First Amendment Law" which was taught by a visiting professor from Harvard. You may have heard of him - Archibald Cox. (If you don't know who that is, look it up). The University of Colorado School of Law is highly-regarded and very selective in their admissions process (which would explain why they didn't accept me when I first applied). After transferring there, I was worried that my intellect may not match that of the other students.

Professor Cox was tough - very tough. He had clearly spent many years using the "Socratic Method" to torture Harvard law students (it's worse than waterboarding). To my surprise, as the students began to recognize that Cox was far more challenging than other professors, they began to skip class. And I don't mean a class here or there. I mean every day. How could they skip? This was Archibald Cox! He's a First Amendment Law legend! He wrote the fricking text book! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity! What a bunch of wimps!

The problem for me was that with the resulting small size of the class, Professor Cox had fewer students to call on. And for some unknown reason, he liked to call on me a lot. (I'd like to think it was my due to my extraordinary wit and intelligence - but it wasn't). He was very old at this time and wore huge hearing aids. I was very shy back then and terrified that I would expose my ignorance every time I spoke. As a result, when called on, my voice would get very, very quiet. Professor Cox didn't seem to recognize my fear, so he would say "What ?" while fumbling to turn up his hearing aids. But the fear and humiliation were worth every second of the torture. He told us stories of his time as the Watergate Special Prosecutor (fired by Nixon) and the many times that he appeared before the US Supreme Court (more than any other attorney). It was fabulous. He was fabulous.

One day we had a visitor in class - famed photographer Annie Liebowitz. She came to watch him in preparation for her photo shoot of him for a cover of Vanity Fair. She saw me being humiliated. But I digress. I brought this up only to get to the matter at hand, which is that the Supreme Court has routinely decided that students do not enjoy the same degree of First Amendment rights as the rest of us. Bummer for this kid's dad. He thought he'd get rich being an ignoramous (oops, I mean Republican).

For more on Archibald cox, read the following article.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think it would be really cool to have a tail that you could use like a monkey." Uttered by Gunnar while watching an episode of What Not to Wear in which a weird woman walked around with a fake tail attached to her buttocks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Lesbians and a Baby (Repost)

I went to a baby shower that was being held in celebration of the birth of an adorable little baby girl to a lesbian couple (in vitro). It wasn't much different than any other baby shower that I have attended (other than the joke about the immaculate conception). Personally, I have no problem with gay people having children. Especially gay women. I know that fathers allegedly bring something to the parenting table (other than DNA). But who's to say that a lesbian woman can't bring comparable benefits? In my house, my husband and I have completely different parenting styles (his consisting mainly of yelling). But theoretically it's a team effort. Sometimes my approach works. And sometimes my husband's approach works. But I don't think that his penis makes any real difference.

Two women still make a team. Now I don't know if this couple is married (in a non-legal way), but I don't really care either way. Is there something about a marriage certificate that qualifies any of us to be parents? Lots of people are having kids without the "benefit" of marriage and no one seems to care. Of course, the big question, is whether gay people should be allowed to marry at all. Some argue that gay marriage threatens the institution of marriage. I really don't get how ANYONE'S marriage, or non marriage, impacts MY marriage. Does a marriage between a man and woman strengthen my marriage? I don't think so. Gay marriage isn't legal, yet the majority of marriages break up . So, what's the problem? Religion.

Some religions consider homosexuality to be a sin. I'm not sure how the inability to legally marry, and, thereby, gain the numerous legal benefits of marriage, reduces homosexuality, but I haven't been to church lately.

I'm not a card-carrying lesbian. I am not trying to marry a lesbian. I am just annoyed that so many people believe it's ok to impose their religious beliefs on others. It's the same with abortion. Whether or not I personally would have an abortion, doesn't mean that I (or the government) can make that decision for other women. It's personal. Honestly, I believe that men should not be allowed to say anything about this issue at all. I've been pregnant, and given birth. It's no picnic.

And now, the elephant (or presidential candidate) in the room. First, Republicans are in my bedroom deciding who I can sleep with. Then they allow insurance companies to pay for Viagra so some old man can get it up, but don't allow insurance to pay for birth control, despite the fact that the birth control would prevent the very pregnancy that might result from the Viagra and that might require an abortion. I consider myself to be an intelligent person, and I don't get this.

The next President will most likely enjoy the HUGE privilege, and resulting impact, of selecting several Supreme Court justices. Women fought for many years to gain the right, first to birth control, and then for safe abortions. Many people don't realize that this very access to choice will be up for review in the Supreme Court. Anyone judge who says that they are obligated to honor the previous decisions (such as Roe v. Wade) of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice Roberts) is full of shit. The Supreme Court can do whatever the hell they want. Thanks to Bush, the Court already has 5 Catholics. The next President can seal the deal for generations. I'm scared. Are you scared?

I'll add something to this in light of the recent passage of the health care reform bill. Right now I'm in Tucson for the Rockies spring training and we are leaving to golf (I don't golf. I'm there for moral support).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Velvet Coffin and John McCain (and this is not a reference to his advanced age)

Ok, so I'm flipping through the October issue of Oprah and I see this article about career stalls. The signs: 1. You're not being included in meetings the way you used to - CHECK; 2. You begin to sense that your boss and teammates aren't talking to you as often. - CHECK; 3. Pay raises and promotions are passing you by. - CHECK. Whoa nelly!

The article goes on to cite the 3 most common reasons that careers might stall: 1. Boredom - CHECK; 2. Underperformance - I'm not sure I'm willing to check this one; and 3. Embedded reputation from past errors - uh, they got me there. Bad email fiasco. Enough said.

So, last month, in my final act of what Charmaine refers to as false pride (which I consider real pride), I quit. As the article says, people in this situation always wonder why they didn't leave sooner. As one staller put it, "I see that time now as if I were in a velvet coffin. I was so comfortable, I didn't realize I was dead." Now that's depressing. I don't think that I was "dead." I was just extraordinarily pissed off.

But did you know that John McCain voted against equal pay for equal work? He said that women just needed more education and training. Yeah, he graduated in the bottom 1% of his class (which is basically one question shy of failing). And he could be president. After my first year of law school, I was 3rd in my class. (It went down from there, but that's a long story). And yet, despite having achieved a doctoral level degree (the highest in my company), I was paid less than everyone except the office manager. What's up with that? Maybe John McCain can advise me what further education I need. Check him out below.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Republican Cell Phone

My new cell phone is a republican. I tried to download a ringtone and wallpaper from Barack Obama's website, but my phone said this device was not compatible with this download. Say wha? I think this confirms what Hillary once said about the vast right-wing conspiracy. Think of all of the young people (ok, stop laughing, I don't mean me), trying to download the ringtone so that every time their phone rings, everyone in the vicinity hears the voice of change (and sanity). Of course, Verizon doesn't want this because then they won't continue to get tax subsidies when they outsource jobs to India. But, before I get on my soapbox (which is a clear and present danger), you have to watch this video of Barack on the Ellen Degeneres show. It's been a long time since we had a president who could move this well!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

15 Minutes? I Just Need 30 Seconds

I have now arrived. I was on tv last night. Ok, I was just attending a city council meeting and it was televised on the government access channel (people skip by it on the way to NBC). And yet, I feel a little famous. Especially when the music teacher at my son's elementary school told me she saw me on tv ( while she was switching channels). For about 30 seconds, I was the central focus on channel 8 as I made my public comment regarding my support for building a baseball field (read previous posts for context). While I would like to characterize my television debut as an overwhelming success, I will have to admit to a momentary inability to find the proper word (any word). At least I know that I will never be a news anchor! This picture is the stadium in Omaha where the College World Series is played. The team in the dugout is Fresno State which won the series this year. Go Fresno!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why Can't Women Be Football Coaches?

Did you notice the number of men coaching women's sports in the Olympics? (A bunch). Did you notice the number of women coaching men's sports? (Zero). What's up with that?

I want to coach my son's football team, but I'm pretty sure they won't let me. The youth football league here is whacked, much like the youth football league everywhere else. And I'm not sure why moms put up with it.

My son is the one tackling the quarterback and causing a fumble (#12). Cool, huh! (Feel free to praise the unbelievably skilled amateur photographer who was able to capture this fraction of a second)! Anyway, what is it about a vagina that precludes a person from coaching football? Look, I'm not asking why a woman can't be elected president (I'll address that in another post). I'm just asking why a woman can't teach a bunch of children how to hit each other. I mean, moms, especially stay-at-home moms, have seen more tackling amongst their children than the most voracious armchair quarterback man. Sure, we are usually trying to stop the tackling, but it can't be that hard to switch it around. It's a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, and you hit the ball. (Oh wait, that's baseball.)

But something is seriously wrong when a stupid volunteer coach argues with, and then yells at, a parent who fails to understand that "conditioning" is more important than trying to prevent an asthma attack. Or when a coach gets annoyed when a parent removes their child from a practice that is completely surrounded by lightening. (Colorado has the highest number of lightening-related deaths in the country). I could be wrong, but I doubt that women would endanger children as much as men. Oh I forgot, it's a man's world. More evolved men even admit that as witnessed by the following video.

The Trouble With Birthdays and Husbands

I have been advised that in the interest of my neighborhood friendships, I need to remove this post. If you have already read this, please try to erase it from your memory banks. Thanks.

Four Indians and a Computer

I am truly sorry to all of you faithful readers for the delay in my posts. I am having HUGE problems with my computer. It just took me about 20 minutes to get on the internet and every minute or so I get pop-ups trying to sell me anti-virus software. I attempted to address this problem by downloading the most recent version of Norton. I paid $80 and it failed to download. So I started a "chat" with Norton. After about an hour working with Deelip, he/she (I can't tell if it's a boy or girl) came up with the ingenious solution that my computer has a virus. Hmmm. I wanted to say that that was I bought the "anti-virus" software, but I was concerned that my sarcasm would not be understood given both the email format and the language barrier.

Deelip couldn't help me so he/she transferred me to Dilip (I'm not making up these names). He/she then decided that I needed to purchase their virus removal service ($100) so that the initial software could load. So he/she transferred me to Kishore. Kishore gained remote access. Then after a while, the chat disconnected. When it became apparent that the virus removal hadn't worked, I started another chat. After another long wait, I was transferred to Rakesh. But since this entire process took 4 hours and I still had no Rakesh, I bailed. So now I'm out $180 and still have viruses and no anti-virus software.

Since then, I have been emailing Norton (I refuse to start another chat) demanding a full refund. Apparently no one actually reads my emails or the history of the matter, so they explain how to download the anti-virus software (which is impossible due to the virus). Woe is me!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vocabullyishness R

Don't feel bad if you don't know the meaning of vocabullyishness. I'd tell you to look it up, but you won't find it there. Why not? Because I coined it.

Ya see, I'm sitting at work catching up on Maureen Dowd's columns in the New York Times, when to my great vexation, I stumbled upon an unfamiliar item in the lexicon - solipsism. I moved on to her next column, and there it was again, solipsism. What is the meaning of this curious word, I pondered, that it would be felicitous in two sequential columns? Extreme egocentrism. No, I'm not talking about my mother right now. It's the definition.

Do you ever discern that some writers take pleasure in bestowing words they cognize no one will comprehend? To the ambit of being loquacious? Me too. I deem this praxis to be an impudent essay to cause us sycophants to feel middling.

In other words - vocabullyishness.

My Little Rockies Players

Every spring, the temperature begins to rise, snow gives way to rain, and tulips begin to emerge from the thawing earth. With it come the sounds of spring (and I don't mean the birds). It's the yelling at children to get their cleats and water bottles and bat bags. It's the calls from parents asking if practice is cancelled due to weather (a secret hope of all parents). It's the whining of kids that their coach isn't putting them at first base, pitcher, catcher, or whatever position it is that they want. It's my mother bitching that she thinks my husband is forcing the kids to play. It's more yelling at the kids to finish their homework before practice. Yes. It's baseball season. And as you may have guessed from my tone, it is the bane of my existence (that and my mother).

But in this day and age of video games, they are being active you say. I know. It teaches teamwork and camaraderie. Yeah. Sportsmanship. Blah, blah, blah. What's important here is that I have to get three kids to three different places at the same time practically every day. Sure I have a spouse, but the kids still outnumber us. My mother solved this problem by not letting my sisters and I participate in sports. There are selfish moments, like when Everybody Loves Raymond is on tv, that I consider just that. But I am reminded that I have Tivo. I don't want to be a martyr, but, hey, if the shoe fits!

Really, it's not all bad. I get to fancy myself a photographer, take thousands of pictures of the team and at the end of the season, spend hundreds of hours figuring out how to make a slide show for them.

Below is my first creation. I can't figure out how to get the music to play here, so you'll have to take my word that it has it (Centerfield by John Fogerty and Time of Your Life by Greenday)

And now - football season...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Granny Say Whah?

My mother called my 14-year old son a "bastard." In a joking manner, you ask? No.

You might wonder how a 74-year old woman would think it appropriate to insult her eldest grandchild in this manner. Excellent question. After much thought and deliberation, I don't know. Yet, it brings back fond memories of her referring to my sisters and I (in public) as "the three bitches." All the more annoying since only one out of three of us is really a bitch! (Try to guess which one.)

As you can imagine, it doesn't sit well with Mama Bear when someone messes with her cubs! So, the next time Granny's meanness resurfaces, I will tell my husband to swing her over the pool again, only this time, let go.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The bored buffalo

The employees at Custer State Park in South Dakota very explicitly request that patrons not leave their vehicles, as these are wild animals. It has been suggested by some that I have trouble following rules.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Haircut

Don't ever let your child go to the barber shop with their dad.

Ten Reasons I Love Omaha

1. It's the home of the College World Series. Final game between University of North Carolina (purple) and Fresno State (who went on to win the championship). Lots of cute boys!

2. No one is in a hurry. And I mean NO ONE! Not the dude at McDonalds, not any of the waitstaff in any of the restaurants, and not even the elevators.

3. Lesbian t-shirt shop with all of my favorite feminist quotes imprinted on t-shirts. I purchased "Well-behaved women seldom make history," "This is what a feminist looks like," and "Speak your mind even if your voice is shaking."

4. Museum of Military Vehicles. The photo speaks for itself!

5. Applebee's restaurant, which, despite it's excruciatingly slow service (see #2 above), still managed to smush Brody's finger in a chair, and now, despite my complete inattention, persists in prodding me to sue them. (And they say lawyers are litigious). Go figure.

6. Hot, humid, rain, mosquitos. Enough said.

7. The mind-twisting logic that says a casino attached to a hotel, but partially over the Missouri River, is not on land, and, therefore, legal.

8. It's nine hours away.

9. My mother isn't there.

10. Hmmm. I'll let you know when I think of something else.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Moment of Silence

Tim Russert died today at the age of 58. Moderator of my favorite show, Meet the Press, he was my hero. He was the voice of impartiality in politics. A democrat (of course), one could never tell his personal beliefs during his interviews. He interrogated each guest equally as vociferously, regardless of their party. And that is how he was able to get to the true essence of a politician, any politician, in a way that the common man could understand. Meet the Press will never be the same. Politics will never be the same. I will never be the same. My reaction is completely ridiculous given that I don't know this man. But I can't stop crying anyway. So, a moment of silence, even for those of you who are not enthralled with politics, for a man of the highest quality.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Baseball or hockey? You decide

Nine-year old baseball is a rough sport, and not just for the players. The picture on the left is the result of a very fast ball striking this young man in the eye. At the time of this picture, three days after the incident, he was unable to open his eye. Strangely, he still wants to play baseball.

The picture on the right is the bruise that I am currently sporting on my upper abdomen as a result of a first-baseman not catching the ball, and allowing it to hurl toward me like a bullet. Why, you ask, was I not behind the backstop with the rest of the parents? Because I chose to risk life and limb in order to take very exciting action photos of the children. I may have to rethink where I am going to stand.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Coincidence or self-fulfilling prophecy?

In my previous post, I discussed the emotional pain felt by an older sibling upon the birth of a younger sibling as symbolically expressed in the Youtube video entitled, "Charlie Bit My Finger". Strangely, Aidan's finger (the one that flips people off) was fractured during a baseball game on Sunday. So, his finger was not only figuratively hurt, it is now literally hurt. Coincidence?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Charlie bit my finger

Last night, Aidan called me urgently to the basement where he was on the computer. He excitedly showed me this youtube video laughing hysterically throughout. When I recovered from my own hysterical laughter, it occurred to me that this video perfectly symbolized the "pain" the oldest child must feel upon the arrival of a younger sibling. (My older sister can definitely confirm this.)

Compounding Aidan's pain, later there arrived yet another sibling. Of course, at about that time, the second child also experiences the displeasure of being displaced. This could explain why I once found Gunnar attempting to suffocate Brody with a pillow when he was a baby. While I have no specific memory of this, I am convinced that, at some point, my middle sister attempted to eliminate me as well.


Never leave a toddler alone with an infant.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What I do at work

Brody had an assignment last year in which he had to describe what his parents do while he is at school. His answer reads as follows:

"When I go to school my Mom goes to work. At work she eats donuts and dances in her chair. Then she has lunch and after lunch she is hiper. When I go to school my Dad goes to work. He welds at work. My dad has ice cream for lunch. He dances in work. "

I didn't know I had so much fun at work!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Day You Were Born

Gunnar had an assignment to interview me about the day he was born. Other than the excruciating and seemingly neverending pain, I couldn't remember much. The problem was that he didn't want to hear about that. Nor did he want to hear about how the nurse screwed me out of my epidural and then lied to my ob/gyn about it.

I'm not sure what I said to him. I basically rambled about how he was induced on my parents' anniversary and that after he was born, we couldn't decide what to name him (we'd only known he was a boy for 5 months).

TIP: When mothers tell you that you forget the pain, they're lying. It's all you remember! That and your husband's complete incompetence at scoring drugs when you really need them.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Catch. Jeez, you ain't got no skills, lady!" uttered by Brody upon my failure to catch a big, round, spiky, orange rubber ball that came spiraling at my head.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My name is Briana. I am a working mother of three sons (four if you include my husband). I am an attorney/landman/transfer agent for a small oil company (don't ask). My boys are Aidan (14), Gunnar (12), and Brody (9). They and their sports consume my life. I am a soccer mom, extraodinaire. My kids don't play soccer; however, they do play baseball, basketball and football. How much do I spend on gas every week? Ignorance is bliss, as they say, so I won't be calculating that anytime soon.