Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Redneck Semantics

Apparently, despite seven plus years of higher education in English-language-related fields, I have been left with a horrible deficit in my skills. Did you know that fleeing the scene of an accident is NOT the same as just leaving it?

A city councilman for one of the local municipalities was arrested for DUI this week. The facts of the case are being reported thus:
Councilman pulls out of a driveway.
Councilman smacks into the back of a PARKED TRUCK.
Councilman does not stop, but rather continues on to his son’s home where eventually authorities are called.
Councilman had consumed significant enough amounts of alcohol to still fail sobriety tests by the time police arrive at his son’s home.

Pretty straightforward, right? Enter the aforementioned son. He appeared on the local news looking very professional in his Grizzly-Adams-esque beard, NASCAR t-shirt, and trucker hat. This dutiful son proceeded to explain that his father:
“isn’t known as a ‘drunk’, as ya might say.”
“didn’t really flee the accident, he just leaved.” (Yes, “leaved”.)

Now, I don’t know this man, so I cannot attest to his reputation. He may indeed not be known as a drunk. But when you are intoxicated enough to hit a PARKED VEHICLE at 1:00 p.m. on a weekday… well, I’m not sure you really need reputation to precede you.

And I hate to squabble over wording, but those seven years in school did teach me a thing or two about synonyms and context. It would seem to me that unless you leaved after the police arrived and gave you permission to do so, to flee and to leaved are about the same when it involves your departure from the site of a traffic accident.

The other high point was when the son said Councilman was “seventy-somethin’” years old. That part I understand, since I’m not so good with the cipherin’ myself. But if you’re going to be on television, at least get Maw to pull out the family Bible and find a neighbor who can subtract.

There is a small rock-star-wannabe part of me that’s sort of impressed. You’re 70-something and you can still party like that before sundown?

Rock on, Councilman. Rock on.

Just call a cab next time.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Momtini: Threat to Western Civilization

For some time, I have been reading a blog called Suburban Bliss, written by SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) Melissa Summers. She's got a refreshingly honest and realistic take on both the joys and the challenges of parenting. Melissa has now written a book that I WILL be buying and you should too!
Melissa was recently on the Today Show representing a group of moms who have playdates during which they (*GASP*) HAVE A GLASS OF WINE! Long story short, she took a lot of shit from Meredith Viera and basically was portrayed as a drunk who is endangering her kids. For anyone who knows her and reads her blog, she is very much not that- just a mom who had the novel idea that a group of mommies sitting around in someone's backyard might like ONE glass of chardonnay. It's not a new idea. Mom's groups have been doing it forever.
Please go read her blog. Go here to see the video of the whole debaucle- just click on "launch" in the box on the right. And please read the text of my email to NBC regarding her appearance. If you agree, email them yourselves. The more shit that network takes over this f***ed up sexist ambush disguised as an interview, the better.

As a long time reader of Melissa Summers' blog, Suburban Bliss, I looked forward to her appearance on the Today show. I was shocked and disappointed with the way she was treated.
Shame on NC and shame on Meredith Viera! Melissa was clearly nervous, and Meredith bullied her. Your so-called expert contributed little to the discussion except for trite, overly-simplistic, and ultimately useless advice that about mothers needing to find healthy ways to relax.

Melissa's message was skewed entirely thanks to sensationalistic anecdotes about drunk driver moms. The tone of the entire piece was inherently sexist- Mommies can drink, but only under husbandly supervision. Neither Meredith or your "expert" could seem to make an allowance for the fact that these smart Moms are capable of controlling themselves in the presence of alcohol enough to avoid endangering their children. Apparently they're incapable of using good judgment when it comes to the booze. The message was clear- Moms, you cannot be trusted. Unless, of course, Dad is standing by- and your interviewers weren't interested in discussing the dangers of the beer in his hand!

It was a positively shameful display of sexism and bias that did a huge disservice to women and to at-home mothers everywhere. Melissa has my sympathy and my support even if your network cannot fathom women who are capable of being social human beings without sacrificing good care for their children.

Congratulations. I am officially a Good Morning America viewer.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unprotected Sex & Fashion

Husband and I have started talking about having another baby. There. I said it. On the INTERNET for God and Oprah and everyone to read. (Question… are Oprah and God the same person? Similar uses of ridiculous power for good, I’ve noticed. And wouldn’t that just trip out the religious right- God is a black woman who lives with a man unmarried and gives money AWAY?)

But I digress. Talking about the baby. This is the part where my Mom would quote my father’s cousin, a Catholic priest named Father Pat. Father Pat was fond of saying “every baby brings its own loaf of bread.” It’s a lovely sentiment and I get the point- people should relax and have their families, God will provide, yada yada yada… I don’t discount the idea, although I think it’s a little overly simplistic. Chances are it was a well-meaning attempt to calm the fears of Catholic women with no birth control options and hence, little control over the number of babies they would have and the circumstances they would be born into.

At the moment, our kid would have to show up with a loaf of bread, some nursery furniture, a vanload of cash, and a nice Guatemalan nanny. And since I’m pretty sure those items wouldn’t be hidden in the box of elephant-sized sanitary pads the L&D ward gives you, we’re waiting.

But you know what I’ve noticed? (DAD STOP READING NOW!) When you’re over the age of 16 and gainfully employed, having unprotected sex when you know you could conceive is kind of a turn-on. Even if you plan to divert the troops, so to speak, it’s kind of hot knowing that you’re fertile and he’s there and y’know… STUFF is gonna happen! It’s kind of like the thrill of having sex in public and the potential for getting caught. Or so I’ve heard… ‘cause I haven’t done that… lately
Mom, you can let Dad come back to the computer now.

In other news, I had a lovely visit with an old Kick-Ass-Women’s-College friend last night. She was in town for work so we cruised over to Carraba’s for a glass of vino or six. She is one of my favorite women on earth because she’s accomplished and she’s funny and she’s smart and she’s a great friend and basically I think she poos ice cream. But I have to hate her just a little bit because she has more style in her well-manicured pinkie finger than I have in my entire body. She swings out of the hotel last night after several hours on the road looking all kinds of polished sassy in some Capri pants, one of those supercute cardigans that are so “in” right now, and heels. Oh, and of course, the perfect bag. She looked like something in Oprah magazine- you know the “after work” look that’s perfect for cocktails? Casual, but not overly so. Fun, but not too young. And here’s the thing… she’s like that ALL THE F***ING TIME! I swear she made some kind of deal with Satan and got a homing device that detects perfect accessories.

Now let’s compare… Her = Polished Professional Chic. Me? I rolled up in a big comfy men’s sweater and a pair of jeans that I actually made my husband sniff to be sure they were “clean enough” to wear out. My roots have grown out enough that I am dangerously close to finding out what my natural hair color would be. To my credit, I was carrying a very cute black tote… yeah, it went really swell with my BROWN BOOTS. My look was less polished professional chic and more butch homeless foreigner.

I had a really wonderful time- catching up, drinking. She told me about what we are referring to as the Crazy-Ass-Baptist-Wedding. (Apparently I’m not honoring Husband as the “spiritual head of household”… not that I’d know how to.) I regaled her with Girlfriend tales and how we came to the conclusion that vibrators are not items that should be hand-me-downs.

And through all this lovely happy wine-infused time together, she looked hip and fabulous as always. It’s so comforting to find some things never change.

But it’s a good thing she’s my friend. Otherwise, I’d have to beat her down with her perfect bag. Bitch. (Love you! hee hee!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

We know our place.

Just in case you were wondering who's running the show at our house, I offer this:

Yes, that would be the relatively small CAT taking up the entire large DOG bed, while our ferocious guard dog just lies there and takes it. The cat has broken her and she seems just fine with it.

What you don't see in this picture is us, sitting on the couch and knowing better than to try to correct the situation.

The hierarchy has been established. It goes like this:
Bob, the 11 pound cat
Daisy, the 80 pound dog
Mom & Dad, with their supposed higher intellect and opposable thumbs

We are nothing, if not well trained.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Anne Coulter needs a hug and a cupcake.

Oh, Anne Coulter.
You’d like me to hate you. I’m just the kind of woman you want to seethe with rabid hatred for you so that you can point and say “see??? I try to talk sense and these crazy femi-Nazis hate me- they can’t tolerate anyone who doesn’t buy their agenda.” I won’t even start a discussion about your brand of “sense” because as my Grandmother would say, there’s no use arguing with the once-born. I will say this, though:

I don’t hate you, Anne. I wish I could. Then I could write you off and just spit when I heard your name.

Truth is, I feel for you.

Here’s the thing, I don’t buy it. I don’t buy you- the whole act. You’ve tried to sell us on the idea that you’re frustrated and furious with the idiocy of liberals and feminists and other evil-doers. You’ve ranted long and hard about how unhappy you are with us and with our ways. You, a woman by all reports, have publicly asserted that women are “not that smart” and that we just don’t understand the first thing. And that you’re what all women would be, were they smart and practical and came to the sweet conservative light.

Sorry, sweetie. As they say down here, you’re sellin’, but I ain’t buyin’. I mean, you’re obviously angry. And bitter. And cold. From the hardened angle of your face to your vitriolic speech, you’re the human equivalent of a cactus. That part is legit, I’m sure.

But I don’t buy the why.

The first time I saw you on television, all I could think was “Dear Lord… that poor woman is miserable!” You may hate feminist, liberal women, but it’s not for our lack of sense. It’s for our comfort level with our selves. It’s for our happy lives and relationships. It’s for our kinship with one another. It’s for the sense of purpose and rightness we have even though the reigning political regime finds us contemptible.

I think, Ms. Coulter, that sometime early in your life, you quickly realized that you weren’t going to meet the plastic standard for Barbie-doll beauty. And you realized that you didn’t have the heart it takes for deep, happy meaningful relationships. And you realized that while you were smart, you weren’t any genius. And instead of trying to find some positive, productive use for the talents you DO have, you got very very angry.

I think, too, that it was about this time in your life that you realized most of the power in this society lay with a group of white, privileged men spouting simplistic moral platitudes. And I think you realized you wanted a piece of that power- whatever little bit they would grant you for preaching their revised Gospel. And I think in your insecurity, you truly craved the approval you got from them when you did it. And instead of being angry at those men for loving you only conditionally and for using you as a token to advance their own cause, you got angry at the women who were strong enough, confident enough, brave enough to fight those men.

So I don’t buy it, Anne. I don’t think for a minute that deep down in your heart you really believe all those hate-addled things you say about other women. I think those are lies you tell yourself to justify how you’ve spent your life and to comfort yourself about the things you weren’t brave enough to be. And I know that you’re frightened every day that your anti-woman-neo-Nazi-conservatives will abandon you the moment you don’t endorse their party line with enough zesto. And then you will be alone.

Ultimately, you’re an just an insecure needy woman so desperate for approval that you will turn on women everywhere. You’re the girl in high school who would leave her best friend hanging on a moment’s notice if that arrogant football player called. You’re the woman in the board room who will vote down the maternity leave policy to side with the chauvinist CEO. And when that football player never calls back or that CEO fires you, you blame the player’s prior girlfriends or other women executives for “ruining it for you.”

You don’t scare me, Anne. And I don’t hate you. But I know what you need- some good true women friends.

You won’t have to hate anyone for us to love you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's National Delurking Week!

What does this mean, you ask? Well, if you are a “lurker,” now is the time to post a comment and “come out” as a reader of my blog!

This is the part where my Dad and some other folks say “what’s a lurker?” A lurker is exactly what the name implies- someone who “lurks” out there reading your blog but never commenting. Lurking is fine, I suppose. I mean, it’s legal in most states. But… *sniff*… it doesn’t show me any love!

So, there you have it. I’m being a needy bitch and calling on my readers (all three of them) to delurk themselves and let me know you’re out there. Show me some love and I’ll post pictures of my naked boobs! Ha! So that’s a lie! (And believe me, you’re better off for it… the boobs, they are sad.)

But just now, when I talked about my boobs on the Internet, my Mom made the I-raised-you-better-than-that noise. It goes something like this: a quick clicking little “tsk”, followed by a short impatient sigh, and then your name with one of the syllables VERY emphasized.

So, for instance, if you were my sister Tallulah*…

“tsk- *sigh*- Ta-LLU-lah!”

To do this correctly, you shouldn’t raise your voice one bit. In fact, it’s most effective when performed at a muttering volume. It’s her way of saying that we haven’t done anything wrong, per se, nothing she could actually be mad about or yell at us for doing. But we have been crass and she can’t actually laugh at us (because she’s the MOM, people, the MOM!), but secretly she thinks it’s funny. That’s the awful quandary my Mother finds herself in a lot of the time… her daughters are HILARIOUS- the kind of hilarious that’s great for an HBO comic, but concerns her a little coming from her offspring. She wants to laugh, but she also wants some reassurance that we know better and would conduct ourselves differently in the presence of others.

And we allow her that little delusion… you know, that we would conduct ourselves differently… we are her life’s work, after all.

Now get to delurking!

*Names, as always, changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Another pleasant heathen Sunday (Sundaaaay).....

(Lying in b ed this morning at 9:00)

Me: I guess we'd better get up if we're going to make it to church at 11:00.

Husband: Or... we could do like yesterday and go downstairs, have cinnamon rolls in our jammies.

Me: I can't believe you're luring me away from church with cinnamon rolls... you evil seductor!

Husband: Yep, that's what's on my business cards.

So there you have it, friends. Everyone's soul has a price and apparently mine is available for just $3.49 in your local grocer's dairy case.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Alliance for the Oblivious

Conversation between me and a male coworker/friend:

HIM: Your alma mater has an Alliance for Women. That’s sexist. I’m going to start the Alliance for Men!

ME: We already have one- it’s called the Federal Government.

HIM: Seriously! It's offensive!

ME: Yeah? So's several thousand years of patriarchal rule.

*SIGH* I am weary. Where the hell is that revolution already?

Seems Britney and Paris topped the worst-dressed list. Well, DUH! Bare vulvas are SO last season!

And the GOP thinks homosexuals threaten the institution...

Even at our house, some things are off limits. So I will spare you the preface to this conversation.

"Are we gonna quibble over international organizations or are we gonna have sex?"

"Can't we do both at the same time?"

Good Lord, we are weird people.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Be blessed. Or else.

Living in the South, you come to terms with a couple of things:
1. There is but one kind of tea. It’s iced, it’s sweet, and it should come with a wedge of lemon, nothing else.
2. The city will shut down completely at the first HINT of frozen precipitation of any kind.
3. ANY food can be fried- chicken, okra, oreos... Just try us…
4. Religious reference can and will be worked into every kind of polite conversation. (And the Lord’s name often gets worked into impolite ones.)

#4 is my current amusement. Coworker Wally and I have taken to bidding each other farewell with “Have a blessed day/evening/one!” People ‘round these here parts (hee hee!) just love telling people to have a blessed day as they depart. It’s like “see ya later” in other parts of the country or “ciao” in Italy. Most folks will offer this phrase as a congenial sendoff, but some people are a little more adamant. Case in point is our building’s night guard who pretty much orders you to “HAVE A BLESSED ONE!” as you head out the door. It’s kind of scary- almost like you’d damn well better have a blessed one (one of what she never specifies) or she will track you down and taser your ass into beatification.

At any rate, Wally and I like using the idea of telling people to have a blessed something for the sheer entertainment value. Neither of us is particularly outwardly religious and frankly we’re both good candidates for a sound smiting should the Almighty find herself in the area. Suffice to say, we would be the last people picked for the company evangelization team. Come time for a drinking…er, I mean, bowling league, though, we are SO in!

Wally and I recently took our crusade for blessedness to a new level by pulling our Director into the act. We’ll call her Dorothy Director, or DD for brevity’s sake. DD is a tough New Yorker and a good Catholic. She’s a great person and has a pretty good sense of humor, but is so NOT the type to either evangelize publicly or to engage in blatantly irreverent humor in the workplace. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not uptight per se, but she is a very good model of professional decorum. She’s wished Wally a “blessed day” a few times after I egged her on incessantly, but yesterday…

(On a departmental planning call- our first contact since the holidays.)

DD: Hello Wally! Did you have a good Christmas? A good New Years?

Wally: We did, thanks! It was very very nice. How was yours?

DD: It was blessed.

*THUNK* HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! (Sound of me hitting the floor laughing hysterically.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Farewell, 2006! (You f***er.)

I am not sad to see this year end. Quite frankly, it hasn’t been our best. It has been a year of losses, great uncertainty, and many sleepless nights. 2006 was marked by a great sadness that made us both feel as if we were perpetually draped in a very heavy, very wet, very cold blanket we couldn’t remove or shake off. The year began well enough, with our dream of a family budding inside of me. We were all smiles and breathlessness with the magic that was our lives- and the magic of new life.

But 2006 had it in for us, that bastard.

It was 12 months of bitter heartache, watching one thing after another crumble in our very hands. Aside from the baby’s death, most of our troubles wouldn’t have been all that maddening… if they had come in 2005. But under the weight of Cecilia’s stillbirth, the world seemed a much more bleak and vicious place. Sadness gave way to frustration, frustration gave way to anger, anger gave way to exhaustion. When you are grieving, it consumes all that you are and all you have to give. And you cannot fathom how anyone would dare to trouble you with the insignificant little details of living when you are so clearly completely eaten up with your loss. There is not room in your heart or head for anything else. Even those of the most patient and forgiving nature can be sickened into irritable, short-fused ogres by the poison of their grief. So it was with us- two of the most positive, kind souls turned angry and bitterly antisocial.

But we humans are amazingly resilient creatures. Slowly but surely, we’ve begun the long journey out of the grief and torment of this nightmarish year. There have been setbacks- the recent loss of a four-legged friend made us wonder if we were really ever going to be ok. And the truth is that we very likely won’t be “ok” ever again- at least not in the way we knew before 2006. But you learn to redefine ok. You learn to accept that losing a child plunges you into abject darkness, and that even when you emerge from the darkness, your baby’s death ultimately casts a shadow you will never entirely escape. But you do come out into the light and warmth of things like your marriage, your family, your friends, your own health, the promise of another child. That first baby (and that shadow) will forever be with you. But you learn to love the shadow for what it is- the cool comfort of the memories of your baby’s short life. The trick is just not to linger in the shadow for too long.

So here are my resolutions.
2007 will not suck the life out of me the way 2006 did.
I will live much more in the light now that I can. I will return to the shadow occasionally, to be with my little girl when I need to, but I will always keep one toe out in the light. I will be grateful for the beautiful soul of a man that is Husband. I will love him and our families and myself more completely and without the hesitance that grief has tried to impose on me. I will not be afraid of loss anymore.

There. It is so resolved.
Because it’s that easy.
Of course not.
But hey, I’ve got all year to try, right?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Jack Daniels Robbins 2003-2006

So long, sweet licky-faced boy. We were so lucky to have you.