Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Should be Writing About My Melancholy Instead

I feel sorry for Sarah Palin. She was Messiah-fied by the media after her first speech and now she is being crucified, even by members of her own party. Politics aside, I think of her as another woman, a mother, who struggles to balance family and work, who wonders if she looks good or bad, who thinks she needs to have a date night with her husband, who worries about her health and her family and her eating habits and her retirement. I may not agree with her at all politically, but at the end of the day, she is a sleep deprived mother (of a new baby, no less, and a teenage daughter who is pregnant), a wife, a daughter and a friend who is just trying to live her life.

Thursday’s debate is going to be huge. One of two things will happen: Either she will crash and burn in a monumental way, SNL-fodder way, making even Dan Quayle look like a genius, or she will rise to the occasion in an unbelievable way, thus making her and McCain’s election inevitable. I am still not clear why McCain chose her, since she is so lacking in experience. Yes, she runs a state, if you will, but let’s be frank: It’s not like she closes her door, sits in a big, wing-backed leather chair and rules (for some reason, Dr. Claw, the evil guy in Inspector Gadget, comes to mind). She is surrounded by her own entourage of aides, policy experts, panels, analysts, assistants and department heads, who help guide her and make decisions. When all else fails, she can rule by the doctrines of her political party. (Gay marriage? Deny! Less social welfare programs? Pass!) I don’t want to sound too naïve, by I truly believe that almost anyone can rise in politics under this paradigm.

Where else but in American can a poor student, heavy drinker, born again baseball fan rise to the highest political office in the country? Oh, that’s right, he is from a wealthy, white, politically connected family. Bush has lowered the bar, so maybe Palin does have a shot.

I feel like we are all learning a lot this election season, and it isn’t all that pretty. I also learned how to properly pronounce Nevada (Na-vaaad-duh, instead of Na-vah-duh and Pock-eeeee-Stahn instead of Pack-eh-stan). All these years, I have been sounding like an ignorant fool.

So Congressed overruled a 700 billion bailout (by the way, I read somewhere that “bailout” is leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. A little spin, like “economic recovery plan” might inspire rather than divide)., and instead we lost 1.2 trillion dollars. 1.2 trillion, which looks like 1, 200,000,000,000 (quadrillion comes after 100 billion, because how soon until we start talking about deficits in the quadrillions?). We are in such deep shit. It makes me long for Little House on the Prairie days, when you paid for things cash on the barrel (what an evocative image) and didn’t live in credit card debt and in credit hell. No one own anything anymore. Cars, homes, even the clothes and food we all buy is on credit. (see new poll at right.)

Bush is making another short speech for us today? Why?? Shouldn’t he be speaking to Congress instead? Or helping develop a deal that makes everyone a little happier? After all, HUNDREDS of congressmen and women refused to pass the deal, from both parties. But Bush wants to tell us once again how shitty everything is and how important this is. Thank you, Master of the Obvious.

By the way, America Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld was incredibly good. Read it now.

Anyway, this post isn’t supposed to be about politics or bailouts . But I have run out of time, as the girls are both up and talking to each other, which means my alone time is winding down. They had their 15 month appointment recently and they weight 24 (M) and 26 pounds (A). They are such little toddlers now. They love to “read” books, especially ones with flaps that need to be lifted. Avery can hiss like a snake and likes to say hi to things like ceiling fans and animals on the street, but won’t say hi to people. Madeline has huge feet (long and wide) and still loves collecting like items and moving them from place to place, I would love to see her daily To Do list. They are the lights in my life and the drainers of my energy.

Pictured above, the little ladies.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome to The Grapes of Wrath: 2008 Edition

Today is officially the first day of fall, which makes me very happy. This past week it has been downright chilly in the morning, so much so that I need to bring a sweatshirt with me on my morning pre-sunrise walk to the gym. The girls need to wear socks when we go out and usually long sleeves. And, best of all, no more air conditioning. That should help keep our electric bill down. Our electric bill is about $100 more a month than last year. Pathetic.

We spoke with our justice of the peace last night to go over details. We need to decide what to be pronounced: Should she say I now pronounce now legally married? Or wife and wife? Or woman and wife? Or partners for life? Nicole leans toward legally married, which seems very much her: Straight and to the point. I lean toward none of the options, of course, because they all sound so imposter-like, when you have spent 36 years hearing “husband and wife” and, more hideously, “man and wife.” So we need to work out some of these little details, but the bigger decisions, like date (October 24th) and place (gazebo at Look Park) are done. I’d also like to hire a photographer to take a few pictures, so if anyone in that area knows of any photographers (professional or otherwise: I’m fine with a hobbyist with a good camera and a good eye, too) please let me know.

I am beginning to reach political saturation and a starting to think who cares who wins this election. I can’t shake the feeling that regardless of who is in the oval office, nothing will change and I will still get the short end of the stick. Both candidates talk about tax breaks, but both also agree that those who make above a certain amount (us) will have to pay more taxes (great). So no matter who is in the office, we will pay more. Neither candidate make any promises to more equality for me and my family, but both make very vague promises to not take away more rights.

There was an article this Sunday about how almost 100 percent of LIRR retirees receive copious disability benefits (whether they are disabled or not). I hear stories all the time about able-bodied people who ate collecting disability. There is a report today about how NYC pays 74 million a year for teachers who don’t have to work. This 700 billion dollar bailout plan? Are you kidding me? And how about that tidbit that former Goldman CEO and now secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, who has 800 million dollars in Goldman stock. Don’t you think he has a very personal interest in keeping these banks afloat?? 800 MILLION. Think he is objective? Hmmm, what a coincidence, as the Church lady used to say. And McCain was the chairman of the Senate banking Committee, the very same committee that apparently approved a lot of the actions that got us into the mess we are in today.

Everything and everyone seems corrupt. I know this isn’t the most mature attitude, but today I just feel like it is all bullshit and everyone sucks. Every day huge news bombs are dropped on us; each one deserving of its own Time Magazine Special issue.

I feel like one needs an MBA to understand what is going on. So allow me to direct you to Nicole’s Brand New, Hot Off the Presses blog. Alas, she has no cute pictures, but she does have an MBA and a very down-to-earth way of explaining the mess we are in.

Pictured above, our visit to the community garden over the weekend, which you won’t see on Nicole’s blog. Not liek I am competitive or anything.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thanks, Weak Dollar, For Destroying Another Gift Occasion For Me

My brain hurts from trying to figure out the time zone distance every time I think of Nicole. She is in London, five hours ahead, and for some reason this simple mathematical equation makes my head hurt. It’s noonish here so it is quitting time over there for her.

The ladies and I are on Day Two of our alone existence. So far, it has been fine (knock on all wood). Bedtime last time was a breeze (both down by 6:15); they slept until almost 8:00; and except for a little moodiness during the day (it might be teeth or missing mommy, who can tell) all was well. But today is Tuesday, and I have to do this until Friday, with no good gifts to look forward to as an incentive since the dollar is so weak in England. So to make myself feel better, I’m heading up to Williams-Sonoma to buy cookie cutters.

Nicole’s first post, which I posted here and she posted on her Facebook page, has generated lots of discussion. I am loving the debate, and learning things from others. (By the way, she said it is ok to forward what she wrote to others.)

Below are my comments to Nicole’s post, because the girls are waking up and I don’t have time to be original. Above are pictures of Maddie grabbing her cow duck. I would love to frame these pictures and put them in the bathroom, but Nicole doesn’t believe in pictures in the bathroom.


OK, my thoughts:

It’s great that McCain does not endorse an amendment to the constitution banning gay marriage, but he also doesn’t propose/support an amendment in favor of it. Neither does Obama. Both want kudos for NOT supporting a ban, but neither is strong enough to stand up and say “Let’s get this worked out for our gay American friends!” As if the world will fall apart if the country recognized my right to marry Nicole.

I don’t care how maverick McCain thinks he is or how maverick/pro-change Obama thinks he is: In the end, both will capitulate to the doctrines and dogma and desires of their respective parties. Both presidential noms and Biden (not Palin) are very much members of the DC Insider’s Club, as was Hillary. No surprises there. Palin? To me, just a distraction. At this point, 99 percent of this election is focused on her. We (I mean “we” in the universal sense) are all so busy busy busy debating, discussing, denouncing and demonizing Palin that we are completely distracted from the REAL issues.

Frankly, neither candidate really has any plan to increase rights for me, and it is quite frustrating. In my lifetime, I hope to see this corrected. I take comfort in the fact that no civil rights movement has ever failed (in other words, laws protect, even when hatred and prejudice exists) but I am getting a bit impatient. Here is a sample thought process: If I die in a car accident alone, what hoops will Nicole have to jump through to make sure no one takes her children away from her? Until the adoption is complete (and 15K later) our girls are considered all mine and not hers and in the event of my death, wards of the state. My straight married friends don’t need to worry about that, thank goodness. But these sort of things can keep me up at night.

I identify with democrat for many reasons, but that is not to say that I am thrilled to bits with Obama. I am not. I am still perplexed by the Messiah-fication of Obama, who was a virtual unknown to the rest of the country (but not Illinois) until the last election’s DNC. But after his big speech, he became the kinder, gentler politician who could do no wrong, a media and political darling. Instant superstar. Sounds a little like Palin, no? Except she is getting the nasty end of the media. And while it was discouraged to be brought up during Hillary’s campaign, I think it is worth it to revisit sexism.

But why I vote for Obama: Obama most likely won’t take rights away from me or appoint justices who might takes rights away from me. I can’t say the same about McCain.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Now A Very Good Word From My Sponsor.....

We have been talking politics in our home. A lot. In fact, on the drive up to Massachusetts on Friday (to pick up our Big Gay Marriage License), we spent most of the three hour trek up discussing various elements of this year’s election, politics, etc. I think it wouldn’t shock anyone that we are both democrats, both voting for Obama, both bitter that Hillary wasn’t selected as a running mate; but we both can concede to certain republican ideologies and principles, too.

Nicole became so enlivened by the recent turn of political events that it wasn’t enough to just talk it out with me. For the first time in, I don’t know, ever, she typed out a fast and furious manifesto that I happen to think is brilliant. I find this essay about politics to be quite politic (in the true definition of the word: tactful, diplomatic, shrewd). But I am not exactly the most equitable judge. She has allowed me to post her manifesto here, so you can be the judge. I think she has a future as a blogger!
Or politician. Or, a the very least, doctoral-of-something student.

Are we that gullible?

No, we can’t be. I was convinced that after McCain announced his pick for VP that the majority of women would see right through it. I told myself, “Women are smarter than that. We won’t fall for such an obvious ploy and this will backfire.” I was wrong.

As I listen to the chatter and read my friends’ Facebook comments I’ve come to realize that McCain’s move was sheer brilliance. McCain was right to underestimate American women. He made the right bet that we would pull our heads from out of the sand long enough to catch a few sound bites, conclude that Palin is just what we need (she’s an everyday Jane just like us, right?), and proceed to stick said head right back into said sand. Ignorance is truly bliss.

The women I know are intelligent, sophisticated, successful. So, what makes them like Sarah Palin? She has very little in common with these women and Palin doesn’t represent Feminine values. Yes, she wears lipstick and skirts, is a mother and wife. But, if you think about it she mimics the Masculine and the values of the fundamentalist right-wing party. She’s a modern day Jim Crow, if you will. Palin was chosen to humor women. We may not be exactly equal but it’s close enough. Clearly the right-wing values us; that we made it. If we have a female VP what could we possibly complain about?

Diversity is not just about different genders or ethnicities. Diversity of thought is important as well. Sarah Palin may bring gender diversity but she will not bring a new Feminine way of thinking to the White House. Women bring more that just estrogen to the table so what is the Feminine? I am not a Women’s Studies scholar but I will give you my thoughts. The Feminine is our maternal, peaceful, loving, collaborative side. Men have it as well; some more than others. It is what drives us to care for our children and children of others, to be charitable, to be diplomatic and choose aggression only when threatened, to embrace family, and to connect with others.Most women speak as if they are proud of these values (family, education, charity, peace) but their actions are incompatible if they vote for McCain/Palin. Have we been completely indoctrinated into a culture that snuffs the Feminine? Have we been so brainwashed that we ignore, even deny, the Feminine – what makes us different, special – and adopt the Masculine? Clearly, this is what some women admire in Palin. Who doesn’t want to be the chick who can give guys a run for their money; whether it’s slaughtering caribou, on the sidelines of a hockey game, or in the government offices of Alaska? She must be able to translate this sassiness into something great in DC. In fact, we think she has so much potential let’s put her one step away from the highest office in the country. Really? What’s that about?

We’re scared. For seven years we have been bombarded with propaganda. Al-Qaeda is coming back any day, Iraq is threatening, some Muslim or another is going to sneak in with all the other illegal immigrants (they’re scary, too) and bomb the hell out of us. We watch “24” and thank God that the Republican administration is full of Jack Bauers without whom we all would have died six times over and without a doubt Jack wouldn’t work for Democrat. We need men to keep us safe – let’s ignore the fact that they are the ones that got us into danger.

We’ve brushed aside the Feminine for the good of a nation. We’ve come to believe that striking first is the right thing to do, that lots of guns at home keep us safe, and that healthcare and education are other people’s problems – those issues are important but just not now. We’ve come to believe that it’s OK to be second class citizens, that it’s OK to make 70 cents on the dollar, that we should be proud that a woman actually tried to run for President. Isn’t that an achievement? No, it’s not. A woman should have already been President. We’ve been humored, placated. We’ve been complacent.

Since when is shooting animals out of a helicopter a good thing? Since when is pro-life with no exceptions a good idea? Since when do we believe that the government knows what’s better for us than we do? Should the government tell us what to do with our bodies, what books our children should read, who we should worship? Sarah Palin wants to do exactly that. Doesn’t exactly sound like Feminine values to me. In fact, it sounds a heck of a lot like what fundamentalist men have been trying to accomplish for years.

Whether you are Republican or Democrat is not the issue. What concerns me most is that lack of objectivity and critical thinking. This Alex P. Keaton behavior in which folks are do-or-die Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) regardless of the changes in that party’s dogma. And the dogma has changed.

I was amused recently when an old friend reminded me that I was pretty conservative in high school. In fact, there was a time during my teens and twenties – dare I say it – when I identified with Republicans. Frankly, the Republican economic theory (aka, “trickle down”) directly benefits me and I do subscribe to some of its ideals. But what was once a party that believed in small federal government and low taxes has morphed into a right-wing fundamentalist, imperialist, and intrusive ideology. Yes, the “Family Values” ideology has been part of the Republican dogma since the eighties (and I wasn’t a fan of it then) but think about how much it’s devolved over the past 20 years.

We think we’ve come a long way and we’re proud of ourselves. We’re politically correct now. We don’t talk about the d*kes, t*wel heads, n**gers, j*ps, ch*nks, w*tbacks, and k*kes the way we used (although, bitch and fag are still fair game). Yup, I just used those words (or at least I would have if I weren’t afraid that Facebook would shut me down regardless of my intent). You don’t use them anymore but if you support the fundamentalist right-wing ideology you vote for something much more subversive and much more dangerous. I’d rather you use those words as then I would at least know who I’m dealing with. The right-wing hates anyone who is different. Are you an immigrant? Oooh, scary. Are you gay? Oh dear lord, please don’t try to marry. Are you black, Hispanic, Asian? Wow, not sure how to deal with you. But, wait, please, please, don’t be Muslim. That’s really scary stuff. Those are the kinds of people that attack countries with no provocation. Those are the kinds of people that send their children to die on a bed of lies. Wait a minute that sounds a lot like us…odd.

Over the past few days I’ve come to realize a few things…

- Women don’t have a cause. We’ve lost all interest in the feminist movement. We’ve grown complacent. We have come to believe that the man will keep us safe. Why don’t we think we could do it better? Do you really think a woman would have attacked Iraq? (Sarah Palin would have but that just proves the rule.) Why did McCain choose Palin and not another more experienced strong Republican woman? Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman come to mind and I am sure there are many other solid choices for VP. What was his motivation?

• People don’t want to think. They choose a side. They find people they identify with. They stick with it. They ignore the overall impact – on themselves, those they love – in lieu of feeling a part of something. I am amazed that the people who benefit the least from Republican policy identify with and vote Republican.

• People don’t want to take responsibility. We’d prefer to leave the decisions to our organized religions and/or political parties. It’s much easier to point to our religions and say, “Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. That’s how God wants it.” Believe it or not, you can be Christian (I was raised Catholic so this is the religion I am most comfortable discussing) and think for yourself. In fact, I would argue that Christ’s teachings advocate individual responsibility and ownership for your actions. Christ preached the Feminine; peace, love, charity. If Christ were running the country things would be a lot different. The sick wouldn’t go untreated, the hungry would be fed, we would truly strive for peace. For those of you who are Catholics or are part of an organized religion my goal is not to offend. That said, Christians should take the time to read the Gnostic Gospels and the vast amount of credible research on Christ and his teachings. I wonder why we prefer to hide behind religion but I guess the answer is clear. Why is it that your divorce, your abortion, your theft, your aggression, your lack of charity is OK? When you go against your religion’s teachings God’s Ok with it but my homosexuality is not. Because you confess and I don’t? Isn’t that convenient. I guess it is nice to have unlimited do-overs in life and our organized religions provide that.

• People won’t accept the fact that what we should be really afraid of is not outsiders but ourselves. It’s the people who are working hard to quietly erode everything this nation was built on - our rights, our privacy, our independence. Every time we make a decision like, “I think it would be great for Jennifer and Nicole to marry but there are bigger issues like national security.” or “Sure, I think a woman should be able to choose but Republicans won’t be able to overturn Roe v. Wade so what’s the big deal?” or “They would never tap my phones so I think it’s fine that they go after suspected terrorists,” we come a step closer to what we truly fear.

I’ve asked a lot of questions in this diatribe but here’s the really important one. Did you really think it through when you chose your candidate? There are a lot of reasons to vote for McCain (some of them are actually good). Palin isn’t one of them. In fact, I dare say that if you are truly objective and think critically you would realize that Palin should be the final nail in the proverbial coffin. And this year, and maybe only this year for you Alex P. Keaton Republicans, you should vote the Democratic ticket.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cue The Violins [For Me] But Not The Scary Vampire Music [For Madeline]

I am going though one of those stages when I feel really frustrated with the twin thing. It goes without saying (but bears repeating) that I love both of my children and I grateful every day for both of them. I would never wish that I only had one because can’t imagine my life without both these girls. I don’t wish for less of them, I wish for more of me, because twins are freaking hard.

When I used to spend days with my nephew when he was this age, we would go to the playground twice a day. I can’t do that alone with the girls because they go in two different directions and climb in two different directions and fall in two different directions and they both require my constant attention as a safety measure. I can’t let them walk slowly down the street holding my hand because it is impossible to do with two. I can’t take them to the Children’s Museum because there is a no stroller policy there and I can’t carry two babies around. Petting Zoo with two seems like a nightmare. Mommy and Me classes scare me, since in my case it would be Mommy and Me and Me. Even giving them a bath is hard. I consider myself tough and capable, but I have my limits.

The worst part is it makes me feel like I am a bad mother. I am not fishing for compliments here, but I know I could do better. Or, maybe let’s not say a bad mother but a mother in need of improvement. I am not exactly lounging on the couch all day watching my stories, but with one, I know I could be more active. I am physically able to run after a child all day but I am obviously not able to be in two places at one time. And 15-month olds never seem to want to be in the same place a one time.

When it is the two of us it is a thousand times easier. Over the weekend, we took the girls to a café and then for a little amble in a new community garden. We each held a baby on our lap at the café (there were no highchairs) and gave them little bites of chocolate and our Napoleon. At the garden, Nicole followed one and I followed the other, chasing them around the dangerous rocky paths and down the little slopes. It is much more civilized and manageable with the two of us. And it was fun, a happy family memory carved out of such an otherwise ordinary afternoon.

Instead, by myself, I feel like I am just trying to stay one step ahead of their many needs. I am more of a Toy Arbitrator and a Need Meeter and Day Scheduler than I am a mom. I want my kids to remember me not as a mom who always makes sure they had milk after their naps, but rather as a mom who played with them. I want to go to the parks ad the museums and the classes and the story hours. I want to hop in the car and visit my stay-at-home friends with their kids. I want go on overnight trips to visit faraway friends. I want to go to bed and night and feel like I was an engaged, active and involved mom. I just want to do all of those other things I imagined I would do as a mother but at this age, this stage, I just can’t. And I am having a hard time trying to accept that this isn’t the way I imagined motherhood to be.

Again, I reiterate that this doesn’t mean I wish I only had one baby. It just means I wish I could hurry up and learn how to be a mom to twins.

One thing I think I am doing well is keeping a record of their lives that they can look back on some day (that would be this blog). Some sticky notes: Madeline is starting to experiment with Control, so if you aren’t looking a her, she will take her chubby little hands and turn your chin to face her. Avery performs several trick on demand: Most adorable are Hot Stepper (she steps in place really fast, knees extra high and steps extra fast) and Ski Jumper (she assumes a tuck position, and holds her arms behind her back like ski poles). She also does Knee Walker (self explanatory). They are good little eaters. For breakfast today they each had a waffle spread with yogurt and topped with Cheerios and blueberries. They still go to bed by 6:30 and sleep till 7:00ish and are mostly taking one long nap (almost three hours) and one siesta (about 30 minutes of quiet crib time in the afternoon). They babble all the time and say things that sound like words, but I am still waiting for context. When Nicole comes home they run to her.

They stare at people sometimes like they have never seen another human before in their lives. They love playing a new game called spread the love. I’ll upload a video of that. They love music and “dancing” but Madeline is afraid of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Nicole asked me “Why are you playing them scary vampire music?” What is it about organs that makes people think of vampires and monsters? Organs make me think of church. Po-tay-toe pot-tah-toe. But I guess I’ll need to take Back off any playlists, until Madeline chills.

Oh, and I have a puzzle for NYC moms: Does anyone know of a place that rents jogging strollers? Nicole leaves for London on Sunday and I want/need to rent a double jogging stroller for four or five days, so I can burn up some of my own energy, since I won’t be able to go to the gym. I googled but only came up with one place, which didn’t respond to my emails. Any thoughts? You would think this wouldn’t be an impossible get in this city.

Anyone watch Rachel Maddow? I’m intrigued.

Pictured above, some snapshots from our café and community garden adventures. That empty plate used to be a delicious Napoleon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Things I Don’t Want to Hear on a Plane: A Fearful Flyer’s Manifesto

Things I Don’t Want to Hear on a Plane: A Scared Passenger’s Manifesto

I’ve written before about my unnecessary, unnerving and unavoidable [albeit sudden] fear of flying. I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know how to make it go away. It isn’t simply a control issue thing, as many people project, because I am also terrified when Nicole flies. She has to text me the second the plane lands otherwise I am asking around to people on the street “Did you hear anything about a plane crash?” I’m not kidding. Well, maybe that does, now that I think of it, include elements of control issues. Anyway.

I think all airline employees (pilots, flight attendants, security people and counter service people) should act like the passenger they are dealing with is scared out of his or her mind, like me, so I put forth these rules to follow:

1. No Conditional Tense: Please avoid using this tense at all times when on a plane. I don’t need to hear the insinuation that that an action (staying alive) is dependant on the occurrence of a condition (landing safely/not falling out of the sky). So I don’t want to hear a pilot say “We Should be landing” or “We Should have you on the ground…” Just say we WILL be landing or we WILL be on the ground.

2. No Turbulence Predictions: So I am on the plane, strapped in, trying to stay calm and relaxed before take off, reminding myself continuously that this is a safe and efficient form of transportation and telling myself that I am ridiculous, when the pilot comes on and says that he expects a smooth flight after North Carolina, which our pilot did indeed say on our flight down to Florida. Or on a return flight from England once the pilot warned that things might get a little bumpy over the Atlantic. Which, by the way, is most of the flight. Do they have to give these updates? As a passenger on a plane I expect that there will it pockets of turbulence, so please don’t tell me that the first 500 miles of my trip might be a veritable roller coaster. That’s sort of like driving in a car and someone announcing every pothole. “Here comes a pothole! Oops. There’s another one. Oh, and another. I bet there will be more!”

3. No Interrupted Announcements: Never ever ever start an announce “Good morning, this is the pilot….” and then switch off and leave us hanging. So many times I am on a plane and the pilot will start to make an announcement, only to suddenly stop. Most unnerving is when they stop at critical junctures, like our destination. “Good morning folks! We’ll be on our way to [switch off….long pause] Los Angeles just as soon as we are cleared for takeoff.”

4. No Technical Difficulties Announcements: Why the hell do they tell us that they are sorry for a delay, but they are fixing a mechanical error, and it should be completed in a few minutes and we should be on our way. Tell me you are waiting for the luggage to be loaded (fine) or waiting for snack cups to be delivered (fine). Don’t tell me we are sitting in this plane, take off delayed, because there is a mechanical issue or electrical issue. Just don’t.

5. Do Not Disturb the Pilot: If I asked a flight attendant a question, I don’t expect him or her to call the pilot. On our last trip to Florida, I wandered to the back of the plane and hung out n the galley with Madeline. I asked the flight attendant when we would be landing and he said “Hold on. I’ll check” and proceeded to intercom to pilot. DO NOT disturb them! Don’t you know they are busy keeping us alive? I don’t want my legacy to be a black box recording of a pilot saying answering my timing questions.

6. Don’ Use Jargon: The pilot said that our takeoff was delayed today because of “sequencing in New York.” Now does he really expect that anyone on the flight other then himself and his crew knew what that meant? Is that the new word for “circling the airport?”

That’s all I can come up with now.

We are back, safe and sound, and I am watching the RNC and sitting here typing this. The girls were pretty damn good on the plane. Both were great on the way down. Coming back, both were a little harder to contain, but that is because they just spent a week at the paradise that is Nana’s house, with the lake and two pools and driveway rocks and a sprinkler and grass and docks and fish and car rides to Target every day. They were running and playing and frolicking from the minute they woke up until the minute they went to bed. We had a great time. The girls had a great time.

Some Sticky Notes: Madeline hugged Avery for the first time. The both loved being in water. Madeline is fearless, and runs down the beach into the lake, without stopping. Avery spent a little more time paying with the sand. But both were little guppies.
Avery loves playing Peek-a-boo, and covers her eyes accordingly. Madeline covers the back of her head. Both are officially off diluted juice and are now drinkers of only milk and water. Both seem to enjoy cats. Madeline says MOM (more like ma-hum) a lot; Avery says words that sound like Mommy, Happy and Baby, but not really in context., as much as I want to think she is. Both are much more interested in books (thank God) and bring them over to us when they want them read. When I ask Madeline is she wants to go for a ride in the car, she will walk through the kitchen and into the garage and to the car. Both hand me their pacifiers before they get out of their crib because they know pacifiers are just for night-night. 15 months and 2 days. Where does the time go?

Most people have busy summers. We have a busy fall, a very busy fall. Things are going to get a little hectic round these here parts very soon. But before all that, Nicole will be off to London for work for a week. How how how how am I supposed to do it all alone?

I just bought that new book American Wife and can’t wait to read it. I read Sittenfeld’s first book (Prep) and loved it. American Wife should be interesting, politically, that is. Interesting timing.

Tune in tomorrow for even more disjointed ramblings.

Pictured above, pictures.

Monday, September 01, 2008