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Beloved and I took the girls on vacation this past week, which was school vacation week here in New England.

Originally, we were going to go to Spain – primarily Barcelona – but then the Economic Downturn hit the law firms, and our previously-thought-to-be-predictable bonuses were scaled back.  Fortunately, mine was not scaled back by much – we were still able to take care of most of our NEEDS.  It was scaled back enough, however, to make me feel that Spain was imprudent.

So we went to D.C.

We had wanted to take them for a long time, but many things were in place to make this year perfect:  Well, of course, Obama.  Also, E is doing key parts of American History in 7th grade this year.

J seemed considerably less excited leading up to the trip.  We couldn’t get her engaged in the travel books to say what she wanted to do – she kept saying ‘mm, yeah, that’ll be fine.”  So we were a little worried on that front.

We were also a little worried because this was (oddly) our first real “tourist” vacation with the girls.  We’ve gone on weekend trips, and we’ve gone to Disneyland.  But otherwise, the heavy travel that Beloved and I have done has been while they’re with the Ex.

Well, it was a resounding success.

We had a blast.  Oh, pictures, you say? I’ll give you pictures.

Washington Monument @ sunset, after a storm

Washington Monument @ sunset, after a storm

WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

Pandas!

Pandas!

White House

White House

And, um, Escalators.

And, um, Escalators.

We did pretty darned close to everything while there (6 days).  It’s easier to list what we did NOT do:  The Jefferson Memorial; the Aquarium; Georgetown.  We did (I think) every Smithsonian museum that was open, the major monuments, the White House Garden Tour (see Michelle, Malia & Sasha’s veggie garden):

White House Veggie Garden

White House Veggie Garden

We also were able to watch the Senate in session, which was high up on E’s list.  It was both our most frustrating and most rewarding experience.  We’d gone all over D.C. — the White House, the museums, the Supreme Court building — and been through many security systems.  To all of these locations, we’d brought our metal (beautiful) water bottles, and in all of these locations, it was okay.  Actually, we thought it wouldn’t be okay at the White House, and so we left our bags in the hotel (2 blocks away), but others had brought theirs and it was okay.

But the Capitol Building was different.  We waited in line for a long time in the morning to get into the building.  When we finally got to security, one of the very official military-esque security guards barked at J to go outside and dump her water and said “have that guard out there check it before you come back in.”  We went outside and dumped them and asked the other barky military man to check them.  He laughed at me and said, “I just saw you dump it, it’s fine.”  So we went back in.  But then the barky military man who was looking at the x-rays told us we had to throw them away.  No bottles or cans in the building.

We were sad.  Beloved was even a little indignant, but I attempted to talk him out of it.  He and J ended up sitting outside the building with our precious (beautiful) water bottles while E and I went back in to see if we could figure out what was going on with the tickets I was told were on reserve for us.  Turns out the info I had was all screwy (thanks Kerry-staff), and what we really wanted (Senate Gallery Passes) had to be picked up at Kerry’s office – across the street.

We did follow through, and were very glad of it.  We were able to see the Senate in session (Beloved went to a photography exhibit elsewhere, with the water bottles) – although we missed the exciting debate over the “Truth Commission” – and the girls almost peed their pants when John McCain walked in to the chambers and engaged in the (unpopulated) debate.  We had fun seeing how many senators we could identify, loved watching the procedure of the vote (where the senators walk in, stand at the top of the steps and just wave at the woman doing the roll call  — she sees them, calls out their vote, and they turn around and walk back out).

The girls also had a lot more tolerance for museums than I thought they would.  J was a lot more into the art than I think she expected to be.  We stuck with modern art, for the most part, and the girls were happy.

We walked a lot, and packed our days full.  I am thrilled with how the girls held up, and think they’re definitely more than ready for a Europe trip.  Hopefully next year …

But in the meantime, we are definitely due for a BEACH vacation. One where we sit in a chair and read a book for 6 days straight.  I’m already choosing a rental in the Outer Banks for August.  Now I just have to see if I can swing another solid week off of work, especially since there’s an October trial looming ….

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This is becoming a familiar feeling.

Where I avoid the news – paper, broadcast, internet – all damned day.  I do it purposefully.  If I accidentally click on my usual news sites, I quickly steer away.  If a blogger I enjoy dares speak of the AVOIDED, I again, click away.

Even when 70% of the stories ask if it was “soon enough” or whether the lead was anything more than negligible.  Even if they trash her for her negativity and her attempts at re-writing the rules:

I.

DO.

NOT.

WANT.

TO.

HEAR.

IT.

I don’t even know that I can put my finger on why.

Perhaps it’s because I can’t put my finger on WHY Hillary won’t just fucking crash & burn.  I don’t understand why people like her.  Why they vote for her despite her shittiness – the way she comports herself, the bullshit “misstatements” that she makes, her quasi-republicanism, her negativity, her miscategorizations.

Maybe I am just unhappy.  Unhappy to think that it’s true that a Black Man still can’t be president in this country. (And yes, I fully believe that a very large part of the results in Pennsylvania are due to racism.  The polls that I heard a week ago and two weeks ago were very racist, and very clear that the “rural” residents of the state would NOT vote for an African-American.)  And that a member of his own party will exploit this fact.  Will revel in it.

Maybe I am unhappy because once again, I am apparently worlds away from the vibe of this country.

I don’t want to let go of the hopefulness that something different could happen NOW.  In the wake of the crap that we’ve been handed over the past 8 years.  But not only does Hillary’s apparent semi-popularity dash my hopefulness — so does Obama’s lack of remarkability in the past weeks.  I am not sure I would go so far as to say he was unfaithful to the image I had at the start – the promise he offered and reinforced with his outstanding speech on race – but he’s stopped being remarkable.

I want remarkable.

I still see no sign that if he makes it to the white house, we will have more of the same.

You know,

Bush – Clinton – Bush – Clinton

BARF.

I know that the actual numbers make the pattern hugely unlikely.  But I wanted him to blaze through.  I wanted for us all to stand up and clap and shout as he made his way.  I didn’t want us to be clamouring for public perception and crossing our fingers that her bullying doesn’t work.

So I’m squirming.  But I’m squirming while I continue to donate, and while waiting for the discomfort to go away so I can start to hope again.

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I spoke with the other mom.  I was clear about my goals – I was careful not to spew accusations.

J sort of changed the landscape, because at school today – she got up the guts to say “I don’t want to be your BFF anymore.”

The reaction was tearful silence.

instead of calling the mom to say “your daughter is mean to my daughter” I had to call and say “I think my daughter hurt your daughter’s feelings.”

I tried to explain my hopes that our involvement – as loving and involved parents – can prevent our children from devolving into she-devils.

I think I’m optimistic.

I made it clear that if I am 100% wrong (I don’t think I am, and as of right now, either does the other mom) and my daughter is actually a meany-butt, I want to know, and I will deal with it.  I received similar promises in exchange.

I plan to organize a group outing for Saturday – several girls – including J and the ex-BFF – to go to the pool or to a movie or something.

I have to believe that kids are not evil, and that with a little support and encouragement, and a little bit of reinforcement that we are good people – we respect each other – they will follow suit.  They can watch their mothers talk, and they can watch us push aside our instincts – not our good instincts, but our mean-nasty-rip-her-throat-out-instincts — they can, too.  They can take deep breaths and realize that compromise and cooperation serve our interests more than do domination and castration.

Oh wait – we’re girls.

We can’t be castrated.

But whatever.

I want a KIND child.  I want a respectful child.

But a kind, respectful child who is no-one’s doormat.

——————————————————-

(and certainly not the doormat of her nasty-ass politician husband – Jesus, Sue – did you have to be so damned inflammatory?)

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Just didn’t do it for me.  I like Brooke, Amanda and Carly.  The rest can come or go, I don’t care.  (Although I most prefer for Katie and Kristie Lee – is that their names? –  to go bye-bye).  I spent most of the time looking for a video of David Cook’s performance to show J, because she wasn’t allowed to watch it on Tuesday night.

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{Before I get started:  Sue first of all, I know I owe you doggie biscuits. Your stupid-ass team won fair and square, and while I’m LATE, I’m not welching on my bet.  I’m just waiting to see if I’m sending for two or for one – did Mr. Nim get his way?  Or are the pants firmly belted at your waist?  Second of all – Leave me the fuck alone.  If I want to watch American Idol, I’m going to watch American Idol.  So shut up.}

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First of all.  I think dred guy is so fucking adorable.  I just love his face.  I like long hair – I don’t necessarily like it in dreds.  But there’s something about long hair on guys that I find really [cute?]

I don’t know that I think he’s all that great.  Other than by his eyes, and white teeth, and prettiness, I’m not really moved by him.  I also didn’t want to know that dreds “come off.”  Gross.

[Simon called him brilliant!  I just do not share that man’s taste.]

I told E when we started this show that I was not voting, but she could.

Instead, I am voting for 3 people.

1)  Little David.  (David A.) I wasn’t thrilled with his version of Imagine last week, with everyone else falling all over their puddles of drool – but tonight – the little boy, in my opinion, was amazing.  Just amazing.

2)  The other little boy.  The gay one.  I hated his interview, and I hated his text-message-talk.  And I was less than thrilled with his attitude with Simon afterward.  But his performance, in my opinion, rocked.

3) Uh, that cute boy?  The one who did The Breakfast Club Song?  I think his name is Michael [Recap says he’s Michael Johns].  I thought he did a great job.

4)  {yeah.  from my #s, it looks like I’m not voting for David A., I’m voting for the Hello dude.  David A. doesn’t need me.}

Others who I think were good but who don’t need my vote:  “Hello” (the Lionel Richie song) – holy shit.  He was really amazing.  It gave me chills;  Long Hair Boy.  Even if his dred did fall off.  He didn’t give me chills, but he’s not going anywhere.

People who should go bye-bye:  Chikezie … i didn’t think it was as unique as those I mentioned above.  It wasn’t different-enough.  Luke … whoever thinks that Wham should be given another shot is just totally fucked up.  No way.

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First and foremost:  I love Obama.  I love him.  I want him to be my president.  And if he gets to be my president, I want him to do well.  And if he does, he will be my Kennedy.  I will swoon for him.  I will pay gobs and gobs of money to attend fundraisers where he just might appear.  I will love him more.

And if Hillary wins, I will hate her.  I will hate her more than I do today.  I will despise her for her manipulation of the only party that offers the tiniest spark of a chance of _______ [God – what can you plug into this blank that hasn’t been used before?  Not hope – absolutely not.  Solutions?  ptooey.  A country we can be proud of?  I think I’ll choose that – I will gladly shoulder some of Michelle Obama’s flack for saying what millions of us feel.  Even millions of us who have lived in this country as part of the powerful majority – we feel that way.]  I will be angry.

And I will vote for her anyway.

Despite my love and my pledges of undying support, I did not watch the debates tonight.  I went to dinner with my friend.

What???!!!

The girls are gone!  I was looking forward to this week!  And then I had to go and get a stupid cold and use the time to do nothing but sleep extra, and that was not my plan!!  I didn’t want to just SLEEP.

So, I let my friend drag me to the cool part of “town” over across the river.  Where the smart people live, and the pre-children people live, and where the post-children people or “my kids are in private school” people live,  and I let her take me to a funky and delicious restaurant.  I can’t wait to go back with Beloved.  He would love it.  I would love to return.

Conversation was good, sharing was had.  Parenting – romance – career.  The whole shebang.

And all of that was a follow up to an awesome day of work  – a day where I felt happy that I put the time into school that I did, and where I felt – even moreso than usual, which is a lot – that I made the absolute right choice for my career, my life, my personality.

The timing is nice, too.  Only a week or so after worrying that I’m not stretching and growing enough, I’ve had the most yoga-esque week of all, with many new skills and opportunities, and general happiness with the way of things.

On the homefront:  1)  I love my husband; and 2) my apartment is cold.  Despite the fact that in years past, we could not ever get the place below boiling point, blaming it on the boiler that our apartment sits on top of – we are now cold.  I’m chilly!  I need a blanket!!

I think it’s kind of nice.

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Beloved and I went out to dinner tonight.  First he came and collected me at my office.  That was fun.

As we were leaving the office, at 7:15, my phone rang.  I was assuming it was my office mate, who had just left, and so I answered the phone.  Oh, no, I was wrong.  I should not have made such an assumption.  I ended up sitting at my desk, with my coat on and my husband in the [empty, dark] office next door, taking notes frantically and negotiating what documents I would be receiving possession of before next week’s depositions.

But then there was dinner.  Where we discussed Barack (our boyfriend), Beloved’s Book, my evaluation process (eek!!!), food, and – for one brief moment – the children.

This was the context (boy=blueish; girl=pinkish]:

Who would be the weirdest person you could run into in this restaurant, right now?

Does it have to be someone who would be in Boston?  

Yes.

[random classmate from school.]  What about you?

[J’s teacher.]

Much laughter ensues, at the thought of running into J’s teacher in the restaurant.  His was funny.  Mine wasn’t as funny.  I wanted a do-over.

E!!  E would be the funniest person to run into!  

more laughter.  

E, in the corner, with a book and a raspberry brandy.

No!  She would not!  She’d be saying, “can I have more ice cream?  Those three balls of sherbet were NOT enough!”  

No, she would say, “Mom!  Can’t I have some PRIVACY?  Geez!!!”

_______________________________________

We took a cab home.  The cabbie gave me Swedish fish.  Seriously.

Once home, we quick changed into comfy clothes, threw on some totally inappropriate shoes considering the 19 degree weather, and ran outside to gaze at the eclipse.

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