Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gimme Gimme Gimme (Amanda) After Midnight

I spent Saturday and Sunday with two of my college Girlfriends on a shopping spree in Michigan. (You know, we were doing our part to help the economy, see.)

Anyway, this involved a lot of visiting, laughing out loud, eating things we wouldn't normally eat, finding an amazing bargain on a new briefcase at the Coach factory outlet, and oohing and ahhing over the ridiculously cute baby clothes at various baby clothes stores. (One of my girlfriends is expecting a little boy on Valentine's Day, so, it was a perfect excuse to go baby shopping.)

We also went to see the movie Mamma Mia. We had such a good time. It's a perfect "go to the movies with your Girlfriends" movie. (If you like ABBA. I think if you hated ABBA it would be a horrible movie to watch...just sayin'.) Anyway, if you haven't grabbed one or two or four of your Girlfriends and gone to see it yet ~ go! You'd get a night out with your girls, plus the added bonus of Amanda Seyfried playing one of the principal roles. Seyfried played Lilly Kane on Veronica Mars, and, it is is nice to see her playing a role where she doesn't spend half of her time on screen with her head bashed in. (Not that she didn't totally pull off being a dead girl with her head bashed in, 'cause she did.)

Anyway, driving home, my Girlfriend CB and I got stuck in a traffic jam extraordinaire, and had a little adventure getting off the highway and trying to find our way into Ann Arbor. And all I can say is that CB rocks at map reading. Thank heavens. And thank goodness we had the Mamma Mia soundtrack, which we listened to for the entire time we were, er...lost? Having a back road travel adventure? Anyway, it was good music to be listening to at the time.

So, I leave you with a link to Amanda Seyfried singing Gimme Gimme Gimme (a man after midnight). What's not to love? (It's even better when you are not trying to determine if you are driving in the right direction.)


Edited to add: MAM brings up an extremely salient point, vis a vis, Pierce Brosnan's laughably bad singing voice. And I should warn you, yes, it is BAD. He cannot sing. (Although, I think he admitted his lack of talent in that area in several interviews.) Which is why, if you get the soundtrack, even if you are lost and one of your BFFs is doing a bang up job navigating from the passenger seat, you will have to skip over track 11 S.O.S. and also track 15 When All is Said and Done. (I'm warning you, if you click through, you will be treated to Pierce Brosnan...er...singing...allegedly.) (As always, these are not my YOUTUBE clips. I just found them as examples.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alma Mater, Wise and Glorious, Shrine of Light and Home of Truth

As I mentioned in my post below, I went back to college yesterday.

Even though my Alma Mater is less than an hour from my current home, and even though one of my Girlfriends works there everyday, I haven't often returned.

I did go to campus last October at Home Coming (at the urging of the above referenced Girlfriend), and I would say that is is likely that she will convince Husband and I to return again this year. (D~'s persuasive that way. :-) )

But, of course at Homecoming, the campus is crawling with alumni, whereas yesterday it was not. D~ and I and our daughters were interlopers on a campus filled with 18 to 22 year olds, going about their regular Sunday afternoon routine. (Which, truthfully, did not seem to match with MY college Sunday afternoon routine, which, as I recall, mostly involved long naps to recover from Saturday night.)

It was bizarre to be there, to walk around the campus with D~, which brought such a feeling of familiarity and deja-vu. (D~ was a sociology major and I was sociology minor, so, we had a lot of classes together, which we often walked to and from together. In the back of my mind yesterday, I felt like we needed to hurry or we were going to be late for Dr. Ward's Social Theory class!)

When I arrived on campus as a sophomore transfer student in the fall of 1991, I was recovering from what I would probably describe as the worst year of my life. My freshman year of college was a horrible, horrible year for me.

I spent that first year at a small college that has, in recent years, become a bit infamous for a tawdry affair between the college president and his own daughter-in-law, which culminated in the daughter-in-law's suicide in an arboretum on campus. (This story was fictionalized on an episode of Law & Order, as a matter of fact.)

During my year at that now infamous little college, a variety of bizarre and disturbing things happened to me. (I swear that I am not making any of this sh*t up. It was, hands down, the WEIRDEST year of my life.) I was stalked by a woman who threatened to stab me to death in the library. (She made this threat over the phone, not in person.) I was on the receiving end of some totally inexplicable anti-Semitism. (Inexplicable both because it was 1990 and I couldn't believe that such overt anti-Semitism still existed, and inexplicable because, well, I'm not Jewish. However, at the time, I refused to comment on my religious affiliation, because it seemed to me that if one is being abused for being Jewish, calling attention to the fact that one should not be abused because one is not, actually, Jewish, was the coward's way out. If that makes sense?) One of my professor's killed himself ~ in his classroom. Another one of my professors accused the administration of being responsible for the suicide because (it was alleged) the administration was making an issue of the professor's sexual orientation. I was cast as the lead in the winter show (The Glass Menagerie), angering a gaggle of upper class theater majors who then had me blackballed from sorority rush. An anonymous and scathing review of The Glass Menagerie was printed in the school paper which bordered on being libelous, and, an investigation would later reveal, it was written BEFORE the play opened. (Scandal.) The editor of the paper stepped down when she refused to reveal who had written the piece. I was painfully betrayed by someone I trusted. (To this day, I cannot say that person's name without sounding like Seinfeld hissing, "Newman!")

Additionally, I was involved in an intense and heart-wrenching relationship with a man who was three years older than me, and a senior, who repeatedly told me he wanted to marry me. For reasons that would not become clear until a decade later*, his mother hated me and refused to approve of our relationship, which caused the man (and myself) an immense amount of grief. (Literally, grief. On one of the last occasions we were together, just before his graduation ceremony, he read me a passage from C.S. Lewis's, "A Grief Observed", in which the author describes how much his misses his late wife, writing, "Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything." After reading that to me, he said, "That's how I will feel now, forever, because they are making me leave you.") (That guy was horrifyingly emotionally manipulated by his family, however, it took me a long time to realize that it wasn't fair of him to lay his grief about our relationship on my feet the way he did. It was not me who did the leaving.)

At any rate, the year was difficult. Harrowing, even. I spent the summer following it at my mother's home, curled up in my room, crying a lot. I worked for my father and my grandfather and my sisters dragged me out with them on disastrous double dates with friends of their boyfriends. I remember that summer as being gray and rainy, but, maybe that is a trick of memory.

I was nervous when I arrived on the campus of my new school, which was a bit closer to home and felt a world away, in attitude, from the hell that had been my freshman year.

Because I had been so badly and painfully burned by the sorority rush experience at my first school, I was not interested in the Greek system at my new school. I'm not sure what made me change my mind about it - but, I cannot stress enough, really, how relaxed and happy I felt in my first few weeks on my new campus. After spending my freshman year at what felt like The Stepford College, to suddenly feel welcomed and normal was just exactly the thing I needed. I met a group of women who were interesting and strong-willed and funny and smart, and who didn't all wear the same outfits (at the Stepford school, literally, every Wednesday the sorority girls wore exactly the same outfit - I mean EXACTLY. One house had pink jumpers, one house had red plaid skirts with white shirts, etc.) I decided to join their sisterhood because I LIKED them, because they made me laugh, because they were everything I had expected the quintessential college experience to be, and everything that my freshman year had so. not. been.

And I never regretted that decision to become a part of them, and I will tell you that several of them are some of my best Girlfriends to this day. (And many of them are reading right now. And I love them for caring enough to come and read what I have to say.) :-)

Which brings me to the point, I guess, of this post. When I returned to campus with my Girlfriend D~, it was such a strange sense of walking backwards in time.

There were parts of campus that are exactly the same as they were back then. (I walked into the bathroom on the first floor of our sorority house, and, despite the fresh paint and it felt exactly the same. It smelled exactly the same (like 12 varieties of Bath and Body Works shower gel all at the same time.) I swear I could see the ghost of my former self, standing in front of the mirror on a Saturday night, curling my hair and putting on too much mascara. I swear I could hear the sounds of my best friends chatting in the hallway.

Other parts of campus were nothing like they were when I was there. Brand new buildings replaced old ones, it was a curious sense of familiarity and confusion. What happened to North Hall? What happened to the library? Are you kidding me there's a tanning salon in the student union? (I wish I was kidding about that, actually. Hello skin cancer!)

It was surreal to walk by the theater where I did Shakespeare and Strindberg and French farces and student written one-acts. It was surreal to see the fraternity house where, that first autumn on campus, my heart, which had been in deep freeze since the whole "her absence was like the sky" conversation, started to melt a little bit. The same house where I drank cheap strawberry wine in a purple room with a boa constrictor and most of my theater troupe, The Smiths and Nine Inch Nails playing loudly in the background. (The boa constrictor was not actually consuming any alcohol. I don't think.)

It was strange to look at the fraternity house where I met Husband one October night in 1992, at a fraternity-sorority mixer called, "Let's Screw". (Yeah, um, it wasn't actually as bad as it sounds. It involved everyone being given a nut or a bolt and trying to find all the other people at the party whose nut or bolt matched yours, and finding out 5 things about them. I don't know, however, that I will ever tell my children the name of the party where their father and I met.)

It was surreal to walk around the places where Husband and I got to know each other, and fell in love, and out of love, and back in love again. This was the place, where, I really became the person that I am today. Where I got to know myself. And it was strange to back there, because there are times, in my life right now, where I feel lost in the mundane of being a mommy, and being a lawyer, and balancing the check book and deciding what to make for dinner, and I think I lose sight, of ME. It was nice to be reminded of where that person, that "me", of where I came from.

So, I don't know that you can go home again, really. But, you can go back and revisit, and, sometimes, for a moment, it feels the same.


*As it turns out, the reason those parents hated me had everything to do with wanting their son to become a priest (which he did ultimately become) and nothing to do with me, personally. It would have been nice to have had that information at the time. I don't know if he is happy as a priest. I hope so. The situation worked out in my best interest, and I would like to think that it worked out in his best interest as well. I don't think I will ever know.

My pretty ladybugs

Yesterday, Lana and I met my friend D~ and her daughter V for lunch.

D now works for our alma mater, and yesterday morning was "bid morning" - the day when the sorority pledges run over to join their new sisterhood.

Because D is employed by our alma mater, she is one of the advisors for the sorority we both belonged to, so, we took Lana and V over the college, and decked them out in red feather boas and ladybug wings (ladybugs being one of the mascots of our sorority). I have a much longer post brewing in my head about returning to my alma mater, but, right now, I'm just going to give you these photos of our two gorgeous girls.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer's Last Hurrah

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Gabe had a friend over yesterday who (either inadvertently or on purpose, I don't know which) called Lana, "Llama".

It's actually not that far a stretch from Lana to Llama. Although many people mispronounce Lana's name like beginning of the word "land" with an "a" on the end, her name is more correctly pronounced like the word "llama," only exchanging the "m" sound for an "n" sound.*

Do you suppose more people would say it right if we changed the spelling to "Llana"? (Or, you know, that might lead to her being called "Yana," which would just be ridiculous.)

At any rate, after several instances of being called, "Llama" by Gabe's friend, Lana had had enough.

Which is when I heard her yell something that I really never expected either of children would have a need to yell across our yard, ever ~ namely,


It gave me a giggle.


*we choose to pronounce her name this way because it was the way she, herself, pronounced her Vietnamese name, which was "Lan". We just westernized her name by adding the "a" sound on the end.

Friday, September 19, 2008

You Are Only My Mommy

Lately Lana has been extremely, even demandingly, affectionate. I'm not sure how to describe this exactly, except to call it, "attack affection". She lunges herself at Husband and I and wraps herself around our necks or legs or waists or whatever part of us she can get a hold of, and announces, "I LOVE YOU! HOLD ME!"

We try to accommodate this need for affection as well as we can, but, it's difficult to, for example, chop an onion and hold a five-year-old, even a really light one who is hanging on to your body like a monkey. (Believe me, I've tried.)

She is doing well in kindergarten. I spoke with her teacher on Monday for about 15 minutes, about how she was getting along in class. Mrs. K~, Lana's teacher, who appears to be 16-years- old but obviously must be at least 24), said, "Honestly, if you hadn't told me that she had only been speaking English for 18 months I would never have guessed." She said that, from her point of view, Lana understands everything that happens in class, has no trouble with her "skill ring skills"*, and is socializing very nicely with the other kids. Mrs. K~ is not concerned about the trouble Lana has pronouncing consonant blends, because evidently (?) lots of kids who speak English as their native language have trouble with "fricatives and blends" in kindergarten. So, it's a relief to know she is doing just fine at school.

The other thing Lana has been saying, A LOT, is "You are my only mommy" or "You are only my mommy." I think there is a huge difference between those two statements, and I'm not sure if she means both of them.

When she says, "you are only my mommy" she will often add, "not Gabe's mommy" as a clarifier, which makes it pretty obvious what she is trying to insist that she should not have to share me with Gabe. (Sorry, sweetie, but, Gabe is part of the package.)

However, there are times when she says, "you are my only mommy" without insisting that I am NOT Gabe's mommy, and I don't know if she means that she no longer remembers her foster mother or, if she's just being affectionate or what?

I probably should not dig too deeply into this, as it is likely that she is simply marking her territory, so to speak.

Needless to say, the comments from her that I am not Gabe's mommy are going over like a lead balloon with Gabe.

There is some constant bickering and arguing happening between the two of them almost constantly, and, quite frankly, they are making me a little nuts.

I've been cranky and nutty and frustrated about several things, actually, like:
1. the above mentioned bickerfest between the munchkins
2. stress at work caused by the fact that we represent a large financial institution, and let's just say that this is not a good time to be representing the banking industry
3. the stress at work caused by J~'s continued absence
4. a company that we paid $200 to plant a tree in our front yard BACK IN MAY, has still not planted a tree in our front yard...and our home owner's association requires that the stupid tree must be planted, and I'm ticked that I paid to have it done, and it's not done, and now I'm probably going to have to get ugly over this stupid tree and threaten to sue them and (I realize that you will find this laughable, since I am a lawyer), it ticks me off that people don't do what they are supposed to do. (Welcome to my entire existence as an attorney, the veritable realm of all things people are supposed to have done that they don't do and, voila, enter the lawyers.)
5. I have been unable to find an all-inclusive family vacation for spring break (we have Easter week off as does the rest of the country) that costs less than $10,000, and thus, we are not going anywhere for spring break and this makes me irrationally and unreasonably depressed.
6. both husband and I have been struck by the head-cold-that-won't-die, and that just sucks

I'm going to quit rambling and complaining now and just hit publish.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Always a Bridesmaid...

Somewhere lightening is striking twice.

When one is the oldest of six children, one has the obligation to stand up 5 times with one's siblings on their wedding day. Add in a few other close girlfriends, and I'm looking at being a bridesmaid for the 9th time this coming December, when my middle brother, and the only one of my siblings not currently married, gets hitched.

The bride is a size 2. My two sisters, and the bride's sister, also size 2s. Maybe 4s.

I think I have mentioned before like I look like a behemoth of a size 16, 5'7", next to my adorably petite sisters, over whom I tower, like, well, a tower. (They do tend to wear heels a lot more often than I do, though.)

(This makes sense, as my two petite sisters are genetically sisters, whereas I am not, genetically, tied to them.) (Don't try to think about that too long. It will make your head hurt.)

Moving on...

My brother J~ and his longtime fiance L~ have finally decided to tie the knot. They came to this decision rather abruptly and are getting married the first weekend in December, which meant that bridesmaid dresses had to be ordered immediately.

Here's where the whole lightening strikes twice thing comes in:

I received instructions from brother's fiance, that I would need to order a floor length satin gown in one of six styles, in the color, "Apple". (She wants everyone wearing the same color, but, different styles. Is this some kind of wedding trend?)

Guess what I have HANGING IN MY CLOSET in one of the acceptable styles?


Amazing? No?

Two summers ago one of my best college Girlfriends got married in July on a boat which left from Mackinac City and sailed to Mackinac Island and back. It was a beautiful wedding. For which I wore a floor length red satin gown.

Well, that gown is COMING OUT THE CLOSET AGAIN, MY FRIENDS. I have achieved the nearly unachievable ~ the Nirvana of bridesmaids everywhere.


How 'bout them apples?


(PS - Yes, I took it to the bridal shop to make sure the color was the same after 2 years. It is.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hot Blooded, Check It and See, Got a Fever of 103*

Actually, it's more like a fever of 100.3. Which sounds very similar "103" but which is statistically (and medically) less significant than a fever of 103, although, in truth, I still feel pretty crappy.

I'm taking a sick day. Ensconced on my couch with the entire series of a brilliant little show called Freaks and Geeks. Evidently it aired sometime in 2000, when I was busy nursing the most sleepless child in America and watching every Law & Order episode ever made at all hours of the day and night. Who knew this little gem of a show was airing? Not me. But, I'm enjoying the heck out of it today. Wrapped up in a blanket, it's raining outside. If I didn't feel like something the cat dragged in I might call it a perfect sick day.


*I believe that Foreigner's Hot Blooded has some of the most misunderstood song lyrics of all time. I admit as a child I thought they were saying, "Hot Blooded, Chicken and Sea, Got a Fever of 103" - which, really, when you think about, makes no sense at all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

Seven years.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I was in Trusts and Estates class. We took a break because my professor was a chain-smoker. We took that break at 8:45 AM. I left class and went to the Ladies' Room. I was wearing my best suit because I was supposed to have an interview later that morning for a clerkship with a large firm in my city.

My professor came into our classroom and said we needed to go watch the news, so, we were all gathered around the television when the second plane hit the towers. And when the plane hit the Pentagon.

Campus closed and I had to go get Gabriel from the campus day care center. I had to take him to my interview. The interview was strange and surreal and we talked only of the events of the morning and not about the clerkship.

Three of my cousins were living (and continue to live) in New York City. None of them could be reached until hours later.

I went home and watched the TV and held my baby and held my husband and at 7:00 PM my phone rang. It was mother, telling me that the doctors had given my grandfather a few weeks to live. I sat down on my kitchen floor and cried for a long time.

My professor stopped smoking. I didn't get the clerkship. My grandfather died the day after Thanksgiving. For weeks my normally pacifist Husband walked around humming Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher."

I have never been the same.

So. Where were YOU when the world stopped turning?


*Alan Jackson Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You Can Tell Me To Put On My Tinfoil Hat

I read this news story at msnbc.com with a wide range of emotions.

Fears Grow of Terrorist With 'American' Face.

Essentially the story discusses the fear that Al Quaeda has been training Westerners in part of Pakistan called Waziristan, where the Al Quaeda training camps are located, and that these Westerners, because they appear to be "American" will be more easily able to attack us.


But, then, I had several questions, and a few moments of deep thought.

Question 1 - If we KNOW where the terrorist camps are located, why are they still THERE???? We are talking about the US government - a government that can find, oh, I don't know, tiny specs of ice on Mars (Spacemom correct me if I'm wrong), but, cannot find a terrorist training camp when we practically know its ADDRESS??? (Okay, please, nobody write me a novel about how we aren't invading Pakistan because of strategic foreign relations decisions because I'm not buying it. I realize Bush has said that Pakistan is "cooperating" in the "war on terror" - I think it's a bunch of hooey. If they were cooperating they wouldn't be hosting sleepaway-camp for a bunch of people who want to blow up a bunch of other people. Dollars to donuts, Bin Laden is hanging out in a cave in Pakistan RIGHT THIS SECOND and if we weren't so busy waging a war in Iraq and so busy NOT getting in Pakistan's face about WHERE BIN LADEN IS, and WHY THEY HAVE TERRORIST TRAINING CAMPS THERE, we might have caught him by how.)

Moving on,
Question 2 - What, exactly, is an "American" face? We're a pretty diverse nation as far as faces go. In my family alone (by which I mean my family plus aunts/uncles and cousins) we have such a mixture of races and ethnicities that we are practically our own little UN, but, we're all Americans. I'd be hard pressed to describe an "American face" - American dress, American accent, American mannerisms, typical American facial hair, sure. But, American face??? I mean, if they want to talk about "white" faces, why don't they just come out and say, "Fears Grow of a Caucasian Terrorist" - I mean, that's what they're really getting at, isn't it? (Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Al-Quada has a bunch of angry Sioux teenagers in Pakistan that it's been training, or a group of 20-something-Latinas from Phoenix that they've recruited, but, I don't think that's what this article is saying. I think this article is saying they have some pissed-off and disenfranchised white and black guys who appear to be American or European.)

Moving on,
Question 3 -
DOES THIS AUTHOR NOT FRIGGING REMEMBER APRIL 19, 1995 IN THE SAME TERRIFYING WAY THAT I DO?? Because, as I recall, that was pretty much the biggest terrorist act perpetrated on the United States until September 11, 2001, and WHO WAS THE TERRORIST?

A white American guy named Timothy McVeigh. (Allegedly acting only with another white American guy named Terry Nichols.)

My point is, we've already seen that an American/Westerner can perpetrate an act of terrorism here. We saw, and it scared the crap out of us, it changed our lives irrevocably (didn't it?), so, why are we surprised to hear that it might happen again?

Here is where y'all might tell me to pull out my tin-foil hat.

Despite our government's position that McVeigh and Nichols acted alone, I think Al Queda (or a prequel to Al Quada) was behind the Oklahoma City bombing too.

I have never believed McVeigh and Nichols acted alone. Never. Not from day one. Remember John Doe #2? Target of one of the largest manhunts in our nation's history, and then a few days later, HE DIDN'T EXIST?

I think the FBI decided he didn't exist because his existence meant a wider conspiracy was afoot.
I think all of Terry Nichols curious trips to the Philippines were for the purpose of meeting with terrorist operatives there. (McVeigh's defense attorney has a pretty strong argument for that in his book, "Others Unknown". ) (Make no mistake that I think that McVeigh and Nichols were/are guilty as sin - I just don't think they pulled it off on their own.)

I think that Al Queda has been recruiting Western operatives for more than a decade, and the OKC bombing was their first success.

Here is an article from the Arizona Daily Star and Wall Street Journal that pretty much sums up why I think this. (A caveat - I think it's highly unlikely that Jose Padilla was John Doe #2.)

Where am I going with this? I'm not entirely sure. I guess most importantly that it should NOT come as a surprise to us that a terrorist could look like any one of us, because IT ALREADY HAPPENED. And it shouldn't come as a surprise that terrorist operations in the middle east are interested in recruiting disgruntled Americans/Westerners to their cause, because that's already happened, too.

That's it.

I'll just go make myself a pirate hat out of some Reynold's Wrap now.

Ta-ta for now,

Monday, September 08, 2008

I don't claim to be guilty, but I do understand*

Hypothetically, if a lawyer sued a person, at the request of a client....

And, hypothetically, when the person received notice of the lawsuit, which he knew was coming, he became despondent....

And, hypothetically, he took the notice of the lawsuit, and went into his living room, and sat down with two liters of gin...

And never woke up....

How culpable, hypothetically, is the lawyer?


PS...in truth, none of this is hypothetical. It happened. And I feel wretched. This is not the first time this has happened to an attorney in my office. It is the first time it's happened to me.

I am told that I did not put the gin in his hand. I am told that the reason I was suing was far from the worst problem he was facing. I am told that his first ex-wife will now receive social security benefits for her minor children, which was good for her, since he wasn't paying his child support...

I would like to think that maybe he just intended to get rip-roaring intoxicated and deal with the situation in the morning. I'd like to think he didn't really mean to die that night. But, I don't know.

Did I kill a man?

* Leonard Cohen, The Law

Sunday, September 07, 2008

This is how we spent our Labor Day Weekend

It was all too much excitement for my nephew, M.

On Saturday, as we were driving the boat out into the middle of the lake for some tubing-fun, my sister-in-law mentioned how much her (late) mother had enjoyed water-skiing on the lake. Two minutes later this butterfly landed on my sister-in-law. Coincidence? (Am I the only one who has heard that when you are visited by a butterfly, you are being visited by a lost love one?)

Lana and my niece Jo-Jo (her nickname, not her real name)

Lana, always wanting to "go faster"
Lana and Husband

Husband and I (keep in mind I had very recently been dunked in the lake. Several times. And it was very, very cold water!)

Husband and Gabe

Saturday, September 06, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten

I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own*

I have been remiss in posting much of substance these day. I do apologize. There is a lot of political stuff on blogs right now, and I just don't have the emotional energy to talk about politics in a public forum very much right now. I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative, which means I don't fit in either party. I am moderate on gun rights. (I.e. I support the right to own guns. I don't support the right to own bazookas. I, in fact, enjoy shooting at things like clay pigeons and targets, but, I don't think people who've been convicted of violent crimes should be able to buy weapons. I don't feel that this position is radical in any way.) I want this war to end. (The War in Iraq was something we had no business starting.) I know that I am very lucky to live in relative economic security, such that the high gas prices are an annoyance to me rather than an actual hardship and I have (for the moment) very good health care benefits, but, I am concerned about sustainable energy and the future of health care in our country.

But, the things that are immediately pressing to me are more personal, and not political. J~ is still very sick. Things at work are tense, and I have been working a lot more hours than usual. My county recently made a local rule change at the courthouse that makes my Tuesdays extremely stressful. (It is way too technical and boring to describe, but, suffice it to say that it has added about 2 hours to my normal Tuesday work day, which means I'm going in early and not getting home until after 7:00 those days, and that sucks.)

Because of the things that have been making me so worried, I have needed to surround myself with those people who make me feel the most calm. We've spent a lot of time in our back yard, with our closest friends, swimming and lying in the sun and visiting and watching our children play.

On one particularly beautiful day, I went sailing with my girlfriend K~, which was especially lovely. It was a beautiful day to be on the water. (We also came in 2nd in the race we were participating in, even though we did get caught in 30 minutes of dead calm, which was not very high on the fun meter.)

Here are some photos of our day on Lake Erie.

* Billy Joel, Summer Highland Falls

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Harold and Kumar may have gone to White Castle, but, Gabe and Lana went to Arkansas...

(No alligators (or Lanas) were harmed during this photo shoot.)

Harold and Kumar may have gone to White Castle, but Gabe and Lana went to Arkansas

No alligators (or Lanas) were harmed in this photo session.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I Went to School With Twenty-Seven Jennifers*

At the beginning of each school year, I am always interested to hear about the names of Husband's students.

Most of the students he is teaching right now were born in 1992-1993. (It kills me to know that these children were infants when I was a junior in college, which really doesn't seem that long ago!)

This year, the most popular names in my husband's classroom are (comprising a variety of alternative spellings) Zachariah, Jacob, Taylor and Caitlyn.

Caitlyn is particularly popular, with 9 of his 45 female students named that. (Or Kaitlyn, Katelyn, etc.) It seems like perhaps Caitlyn is to the 90's what Jennifer was to the 70's, at least in our little corner of the world.

If you have some time to waste, you can to the site below, and find out all kinds of fascinating information about the statistical popularity of yours and any other commonly used name in the United States.

Name Data Compiled by the Social Security Administration. (Warning: This site can be strangely addictive.)

Then come back and tell me, what was the number one name the year YOU were born?

My year, of course, was one of the years of Jennifer.


Mike Doughty, 27 Jennifers - go hear it on Youtube here (although I will admit that the grammarian in me takes issue with the line "you might the one that I have been seeking for". )

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The End, Again

Yesterday was a sad day for anyone who has been touched by adoption from Vietnam, and especially heartbreaking for those still hoping and praying for a referral.

Laura and Kelly and Elaine and S. have really said everything that I would like to say. And I'm so very sorry for everyone whose hopes and dreams were crushed yesterday.


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