Friday, October 31, 2008

A public service announcement

One way or the other, on Nov. 5, I plan to be hungover. And I'm either going to be in a really, really great mood (if Obama wins, needless to say) or in the mother of all shitty moods if somehow McCain manages to pull his own ass out of the jaws of defeat. In fact, in the latter case, cancel the Nov. 5 hangover--I'll still be drunk. I'm just going to keep drinking for as long as it takes to blunt the agony of a looming McCain/Palin administration.*

Luckily it seems like that possibility gets more remote with each passing day.

So now the only question that remains is: what should be on the Election Night drinks menu? Should we splurge for some really good champagne? Go with a tried-and-true Sauvignon Blanc? Break out the pinot noir? Just buy a case of beer? How will YOU spend your Election Night -- and what will you be drinking?

*It should be noted that under normal circumstances I probably have, at most, three or four alcoholic drinks in a given month.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sign language

I have nine million things I want to say about the election, but absolutely no time at the moment to post any of them. So here instead is a fun Peanut story from this weekend.

One of the amusing, if occasionally unsettling, things about having your kid in full-time day care is that it's really hard to keep up on all the things he or she might be learning there. This is unless you have time to demand that the teachers give you a full blow-by-blow at the end of every school day, which most of us don't. And I think the teachers get annoyed at the parents who ask for that much detail anyway. So thus it transpired that, without our knowing it, the Peanut has been learning sign language in school.

We discovered this a week or so ago during storytime right before we put her to bed, when she calmly raised her right hand and began making a bunch of signals neither of us recognized, because of course we don't know sign language. At the same time she recited the letters in her name, which has six letters, just like "Peanut." This amused us to no end.

Yesterday we were on the train heading into Boston, on our way to the always-awesome Boston Common playground. Mr. Fraulein sat down with the Peanut on his lap, right next to two elderly ladies. One of them gestured towards the Peanut and began talking excitedly to me. I couldn't understand a word she said, and it took me a minute to figure out that she was deaf. She and her friend began signing to each other. Finally the woman mouthed out a word I managed to catch--beautiful, she said, gesturing towards the Peanut again. And then she and her friend signed to each other some more.

"These ladies are using sign language, do you see that?" I told the Peanut. "Can you tell them your name?"

She nodded and held up her hand, methodically making the sign for each letter. The women beamed, and the Peanut beamed back at her new friends.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The real Palin to appear on 'SNL' this week

One question: How do they propose to control the live audience? Talk about your must-see TV. You won't be able to hear the actors for the booing. Get your popcorn ready!
(Photo credit CBS News)
MONDAY UPDATE: Well, they kept the audience from booing somehow. That surprised me. Maybe it was because she pretty much just sat there like a lump and didn't do anything!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


So McCain had a ton of low points in last night's final presidential debate. It's tough to pinpoint the absolute worst one but for my money, it was this nugget of pure unadulterated misogyny:

Just again, an example of the eloquence of Sen. Obama. He's for the 'health of the mother.' You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything.
Which he put in air quotes, no less. Nice job, McCain. In that moment he made the Republican party's rabid anti-choice agenda crystal clear. All American women in their reproductive years need to listen to what McCain says here, and more importantly, watch the video. Look at this man's face and tell me what you see there doesn't terrify you if you are a woman who could potentially develop a pregnancy that results in a life-threatening condition!

Understand what he's saying--he's saying the health of the mother doesn't matter. If you or I end up with an ectopic pregnancy, according to McCain, that's tough luck for us. The fertilized egg cannot survive an ectopic pregnancy under any circumstances, but the mother can, and often does, become infertile after suffering this condition. Or, in some cases, if she defers medical treatment, she can die.

But that's OK with John McCain. This now-dead woman might have other kids who are now motherless, but the important thing to this reprehensible man and his reprehensible party is she avoided having what in technical terms is an abortion. Even though the fertilized egg in question has no chance of becoming a fetus, let alone a viable baby. An ectopic pregnancy is a de facto miscarriage. Every time. But risking this mother's death by denying her medical help in this situation is just dandy with John McCain and the Republican party.

UPDATE: Plenty of others have picked up on this as well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Awe inspiring

If you want to have yourself a good cry over an amazing birth story, or just flash back to your own childbirth experience, especially if you had pitocin, go read Fable's birth story over at Girl's Gone Child.

My 401K down at least $9,000

Yesterday I got my 401K statement in the mail. I lost $9,000 in retirement savings in the year ending Sept. 30, which is before a lot of the worst stock market mayhem took place. So...yeah. If I were to check the balance now, which I won't because I don't feel like throwing up, I would guess I'd see that it's probably down something like $12-15K total.

At this rate I'll be working until I turn 80. Thanks Republicans!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Open letter to John McCain

Dear Sen. McCain:

You know what would be awesome? If you would stop calling us your "friends." I guess I can't speak for others but I know you're sure as hell not my friend. For one thing, I lack the nine-figure income you so prize in your closest associates.

Your party, the party of the ultra-rich who have been raping this country for the last eight years, is no friend to any middle-class American. It is no friend to the environment, to the economy, or to our national infrastructure. It is no friend to the poor or to the mentally ill or to any of those desperate for health insurance. It is also no friend to our allies across the world, whose good faith we have squandered through our endless wars aimed solely at earning money for major Republican party contributors.

So spare me the contrived intimacy. Do us all a favor and take your hackneyed "maverick" act back to the Senate, where with any luck an incoming Democratic majority will keep you from doing much more harm. And, please, for the love of God, get Caribou Barbie a one-way ticket back to Anchorage.

Looking forward to seeing a lot less of you after Nov. 4,



If there’s one thing that’s universally true about parenthood, it’s that every stage of your child’s life will provide you with new surprises. In the case of the Peanut, at the risk of sounding like an insufferable bragging mother, I have to say that her verbal skills were off the charts from very early on. When she was two she spoke in sentences—very short simple ones, true, but sentences nonetheless. Now that she’s four her grasp of cause and effect, and even more abstract concepts, is becoming clearer to us, and it’s nothing short of astonishing. She constantly makes observations about how one thing affects something else. But it’s her emotional development that is even more interesting to watch, though a bit nerve-wracking for me.

The Peanut comes from a long line of finely-emotionally-tuned, sensitive women. My mother, whom I love dearly and have a great relationship with now (though I didn’t always) is probably the biggest worrier I’ve ever met. Except for my mother-in-law, who exhibits many similar traits. My mother’s epic anxieties were a source of constant angst in our household when I was growing up. There’s no doubt that I’ve inherited these tendencies, though I try to keep them in check. Right now the Peanut is going through a stage (which may be nothing more) where she is extremely sensitive to any perceived emotional wound. Last night when we walked in the door, all I wanted to do was go to the bathroom in peace, and she wouldn’t give me two minutes to do it. I got impatient with her.

“Two minutes! Just let me be in here by myself for two minutes!” I said, shutting the door firmly. At which point I heard, from the other side of the door, a mournful wail.

“But now you’ll hate me forever!” she cried.

Can you imagine anything more heart-rending than that? The idea that my beloved Peanut, who I like to imagine, now, as literally a light that I carried inside me for 35 years in the form of one tiny, magical egg, might think that I could hate her?

I came out of the bathroom and kneeled down next to her. “Can I tell you something?” I said. “I need you to understand that there’s no way I could ever, ever hate you. You are my beautiful Peanut and I love you more than anything. I just really wanted some privacy in the bathroom for a minute.”

She stopped crying and nodded at me. And such is the resilience of four-year-olds that she immediately started chattering again, pulling out toys and running around the house like a brightly colored spinning top, the way she always does.

UPDATE: And then this morning, she was hanging out with me as I was getting dressed. She likes to help pick out my clothes for the day. I asked her to bring me a non-descript knit shirt from a drawer, and she did, taking her usual pride in "helping." "You look beautiful in that, Mommy," she said. How blessed am I, to have this Peanut for my very own?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Our next President

If this photo does not set your heart aflutter you may be clinically dead.

(Photo credit:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Scene: Our house, January 2004

Me: What is the deal with this super PMS I’m having? It’s like PMS on steroids. Why does my back hurt? Why do my breasts hurt?

Mr. Fraulein: I don’t know—late cycle? It can’t be that you’re pregnant yet, right? Since we tried exactly one time so far?

Scene: Our house, a couple of days later

Me: So I still haven’t gotten my period and I feel like my body has been taken over by aliens.

Mr. Fraulein: Um, I don’t know. How often do people get pregnant on the first try?

Me: No clue. I guess it’s time to buy a pregnancy test.

Scene: Our bathroom, later that evening

Me: Holy crap. There’s the blue plus sign.

Mr. Fraulein: SCORE!!

Fast forward to…

Scene: St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Boston, Oct. 1, 2004, 7:01 p.m.

Seeming cast of thousands of nurses, technicians, etc.: PUSH!!! PUSH!!! PUSH!!! Keep PUSHING!!!!

Me: AAAIIIIGGGHHHH! AAAIIIIGGGHHHH! Holy $@#, there’s the feet! Look at that-- I see FEET!

Nurses, etc.: IT’S A GIRL!!!

Mr. Fraulein: I told you not to be so sure it was a boy.

Fast forward to…

Scene: Our house, this morning

Peanut: I’M FOUR!! I’M FOUR!!
Happy Birthday Peanut!