Thursday, December 27, 2012

Conversation recap

Lost in my overly detailed recap of Christmas yesterday...Munchkin left for her annual Carribean vacation with her friend's family. And as it seem to happen every year, the storm rolled in right after she left...lucky little twerp.

But before she left, we had the following conversation about her packing.

Me: Are you all packed?
Munchkin: Yup.
Me: Where is your bag?
Munchkin (pointing): Right there.
Me: Only a backpack?
Munchkin: Yea.
Me: For a week? What did you pack?
Munchkin: Um...pajamas, underwear, three bikinis, a beach cover-up, flip flops and two pairs of sunglasses.I'll just wear my hat on the plane.
Me: That's all?
Munchkin: Kindle. iPad.
Me: Really. That's it.
Munchkin: Um...toothbrush, phone charger...
Me: You're not bringing any clothes?
Munchkin: I don't plan on going anywhere that requires them.
Me: For a whole week.
Munchkin: I dunno. [Friend's] Mom overpacks anyway. If we really need something, we can borrow it from her.
Me: You understand why this sounds ridiculous, right?
Munchkin: I know. I should bring my running stuff, but I kinda wanna be lazy. I can swim if I feel motivated.
Me: That wasn't really what I meant.
Munchkin: Well then no, I don't get it.

I have to admit, she knows how to travel:-)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One very busy Christmas

I'm late, I know, but Merry Christmas to all! It was a very, very busy Christmas around here, and I need a nap right now a lot more than I need to be back at work:-)

Munchkin had a great visit with Frenchie, and as I mentioned, it was nice to have him around. They were, as always, really well behaved and just basically a lot of fun. They babysat the girls all by themselves on Saturday night, which is probably the most effective birth control I know of;-)

Saturday was dinner with The Boy's high school friends, which we do before Christmas every year. We mixed it up a little bit this year and went to what I would call a "grown-up obstacle course" before dinner...kind of a toned down version of the show Wipeout. It' quite as much fun as that sounds:-). First, it is really hard, and second, the falling seems to hurt a little more than you might expect. Well, at least that's what I heard...since I didn't actually fall at all...(to fall, I would have had to have tried the parts that you can fall off of). It was fun, but I wouldn't rush back to do it again...and I can't imagine the place will be open very long before the mounting injuries lead to some legal actions! (Rumors of a woman breaking her ankle the day before were interesting:-)).

Sunday was Big Sis' birthday:-) Yay! We took the girls to the playground in the morning to get them good and tired out so they would take long naps. Munchkin and I took Frenchie to the airport and then we headed back home and got everyone packed up and dressed for birthday dinner. We have done this basically every year, but it is definitely a more casual event than it used to be, mostly because of the growing number of children! The girls were great...ate like champs (they always do) and never got cranky, but got tired enough to fall right to sleep when we got home.

Christmas Eve was more of the same...exhaust the girls in the morning so they would take an early nap and be ready for dinner. Papa Bear, Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate requested that The Boy, Munchkin and I come over a little bit early, where they proceeded to give us yet another enormously generous and incredibly flattering gift. Technically it didn't cost a penny, but it was a gesture that almost makes me a little flustered to think about, and will require an awful lot of effort from all of us that we might earn just a portion of the honor. So, many many thanks, again, to my pretend family for being generous beyond belief with their time, love and thoughts.

Dinner was at Big Sis' house, and was a fairly gigantic undertaking...this year it included not just all of us, but also many of our in-laws, a variety of Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate's cousins, two co-workers of The Brain Surgeon's who couldn't get home for Christmas and even some "extended in-laws" (like Twin Sister's father-in-law). I think the grand total was something like 40 people...quite the big deal!

The two best decisions she made were: 1) to not bother and try to cook this herself, and 2) babysitters! Three teachers from day care that don't celebrate Christmas came over to lend a hand with the large number of children. That was a big help.

Santa came on Christmas morning, which was really fun. The girls didn't quite "get" Santa, but they were aware that he was coming and that he was bringing presents. They woke up kind of late on Christmas Day (two straight late nights!) and were a lot more excited about the Lightning McQueen wrapping paper than they were about the idea of presents. And really, we didn't do much for them...they have plenty of toys and don't really get the whole idea anyway. There were a couple of things for them to puzzles and some Jake and the Pirates things...but almost everything under the tree was, as always, for Munchkin:-)

We went to Twin Sister's for breakfast with The Boy's family. We meant to get there in time to open presents, but we were behind our target of 8:00am and her oldest is five and wasn't waiting for us to get there...she had torn everything open long before we got there, and was already crashing for her Christmas day

Then back to our place and we had the pretend family over for Chinese Food in the afternoon and swapped all of our presents for each other. And that, folks, is an awfully tiring long weekend!!!

Hope yours was filled with as much love as mine!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Well, seems like it is Christmas again on earth did that happen? Time, as they say, flies...

The whole season sort of snuck up on me, and then hit me with a barrage of parties and commitments and visitors and shopping and decorating and eating. Especially eating!!!

As I mentioned a little whole ago, Munchkin got accepted to her first choice school; the only one she really ever wanted to go to (at least since she moved here and the lobbying effort by said school's alumni began...). She was, not surprisingly, over the moon, and I can safely and confidently say that I will not see many things in my life that bring me more pure joy that being with her when she got the news. She works incredibly hard and she deserves this because she did all the things she needed to to get it. Stating the obvious, she is a great kid, and I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to have the relationship that we have. It's never been the straightest road, but it sure has been a pleasure. I can't wait to see where it goes next!

Frenchie is here, which is contributing to her joyous mood as well. He arrived last week and will be with us until Sunday (except for the day that he went to New York to see another friend). Not a whole lot new there...they continue to figure it out, but he is really easy company and it's actually been really nice to have him around. It has brought some extra festiveness:-) I am fairly certain that he is going to end up in Washington D.C. next year, which is certainly good news. I am fully aware of my irrationality, but I am glad that he isn't coming to Boston...

I am so far behind in my Christmas shopping that I can't really see any way that I get half of it done before next week. A lot of it is just going to have to wait until after Christmas...I can get through the easier stuff (gifts for Admins at work, and for teachers at day care and stuff like that) but the more thoughtful gifts are going to have to wait.

I did, however, get Munchkin's already...she wanted a bike. She wants a bike because, wait for it, she has decided to take up Triathaloning next summer (is Triathaloning a word?). It isn't real hard to connect the dots and guess who else might be doing the same thing (I'm look at my former roomates who may or may not have ever been described as being smoking hot)...but I don't ask questions, I just smile and nod. Other requirements include a wetsuit, goggles and a helmet...

Christmas for the girls is still not that big a deal. They know who Santa is, and Rudolph, and they love the tree and all of the lights, but they don't really know yet that it culminates in lots of presents. I got them a couple of things so that they will have some stuff on Christmas Day, but mostly they are just gonna want to tear up the paper and make a mess:-)

Other than that, there are just a million Christmas parties to go to! Seems like there are two or three every week, and many more that I just can't make it to. Runs a girl a little bit ragged:-)

Also, my new favorite TV show is Hunted. Please discuss...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Very Best Secret

Tough week around here...maybe more on that later.  But...I have some very, very good news that I just have to share because I have to keep it a secret all day long.

Munchkin, as we have covered, applied early to the school that she has always known she wanted to go to. After applying, she did an interview on campus with someone from the admissions office. Said admissions person (who just may be a pretend family friend...) called me about a half an hour ago to give me the good news and ask if she could come by in person tonight to deliver the big envelope:-)

On the short list of "best things I will ever get to see", this is going to go really close to the top...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some nonsense, and some seriousness

The absolutely divine Katie and I managed to solve a whole lot of problems via chat yesterday, including the moving of Christmas to a much better time of year and the invention of the Thanksgiving Tree. Then, just for good measure, we made a whole lot of progress towards World Peace, and outlined some solutions to the fiscal cliff. And we did this all before 10:00 AM. You can thank us if you'd like, and we would be happy to give you the details. You're welcome.

In a slightly more serious vein, I am not going to be blogging much for a while. You may have noticed that I have been struggling to write much lately, and that what I have written has been unrelated to the day-to-day goings on around here, which is very much not my style. The truth is that there is sort of "a thing" going on that is dominating the agenda in my world, and unfortunately it is "a thing" that I can't really write about.

That makes it hard to write, because I just don't have much else to say. The election gave me a little bit of subject matter, but even that is gone now...and I wasn't quite as engaged in it as I was last time around. I have just basically always blogged in a manner that is mostly kind of "running journal", and I am not really sure of another way to do it.

So, I may check in occasionally (I am certain to have some Munchkin updates for you and some baby girl stories!), and I will continue to read and comment on blogs, and will still send emails and chat when I am trying to avoid working:-).  But I am not going to force any blog posts that aren't going to be very good.

I will, however, be back...I pinky swear to that!

Friday, November 09, 2012

My last election rant, I promise

I think maybe my post yesterday came across as a little more negative than I intended it to...I wasn't trying to be a total negative Nancy.

In an odd sense of timing, I spent a little bit of time with So Midwestern yesterday discussing, via email, the relationship between my two longest-time friends (BFFb and BFFg) and me. And this sort of fits into that narrative. Despite being so very close, we are actually quite different, and have always approached things, good and bad, very different.

BFFg is just incredibly sweet. 100% positive and nice and friendly and caring and everyone who ever meets her for five minutes loves her, because chances are that she loves them as well. She is always, always one to see the positive in people and events and to think about everything else she could do to help. A huge percentage of the people that we went to high school with would describe her as a friend.

BFFb is and has always been the emotional one, as if everything that happens to him is the result of and in relation to something for which he has been incredibly passionate. He is a fiercely loyal and defensive friend (I think I have covered that:-)) and always willing to commit himself 100% to anything, and anyone, that he things is worthwhile.

I guess I have always been the contrarian. When everyone around me is wallowing in misery and pity, I tend to be the voice of the positive. When everyone else overwhelmed with a sense of joy or accomplishment, I am most likely making note of the things we should be concerned about. If BFFb is kerosene to any emotional fire, then I am the wet towel...positive when things are bad and negative when they are good.

So, in times like this, when we seem to be temporarily overtaken by an irrationally positive hope (well, everyone except for equity investors, it seems), I tend to be the one throwing cold water on everyone. I can't help's in my nature. I don't think it takes a psychiatrist to figure out some reasons why, but I tend to skip over emotions and head straight to the facts.

With that in mind, I am going to make one more note about the election and then I am gonna shut up about it for a while. This has to do with the growing number of voices who are reading this election as a definitive statement by the voters, and a clear indication that we are not buying what the GOP is selling, and that the party has to move to the center or die. They cite Republican stances on immigration and abortion most often, but also on taxes and spending and regulation.

I'm sure, given everything I just told you, that you will not be shocked to hear that I disagree with that. And frankly, you don't have to go back too far in history to figure out why.

First of all, I am not talking about Todd Akin. Any party that intends to nominate more people like him is going to lose an awful lot of elections.

I am talking about Republicans who simply hold beliefs that you and I and/or MSNBC may disagree with, but that are not unreasonable or irrational beliefs. In a Democratic society, those people aren't supposed to simply shut up and admit defeat because they lost a Presidential race by 2% of the vote and 7 or 8 seats in Congress. That isn't how this is supposed to work...those people are supposed to re-examine the case they made, and if they still believe in it, to re-present the case again in future elections.

To tell you what I mean, let's jump into the way back machine and talk about same sex marriage...

Until two days ago, no group of voters in America had ever voted to legalize gay marriage. A bunch of courts ruled that it was legal, or should be legal, and some voters elected not to challenge that...but never had a group of voters been presented with the question "Do you think we should begin allowing same sex couples to get married?" and answered "Yes". As a ballot measure, gay marriage had zero wins and a couple of dozen losses...including some resounding losses in very liberal states.

So, after a whole bunch of losses, were the proponents of gay marriage supposed to close up shop, admit defeat and move on? No, of course not...they made new arguments and better arguments and kept delivering their message of civil rights and equality, and now have reached the point where there are a lot of states (with plenty of "values" voters) that will listen and give them a yes vote. THAT is how Democracy is a moving target, and an evolving debate. When you lose a vote, you don't necessarily quit, you think about what you need to do to win that vote.

Another example: in 2010, Democrats took a whipping in the mid-term elections that was much more one-sided than this one. They lost like 50 seats and the House majority, and lost 7 or 8 Senate seats and some Governorships. The major reason? Their incredibly expensive, brutally flawed and very unpopular Health Care plan. By Rachel Maddow's logic, that should have been a message to Democrats that they were wrong and should change course immediately (please don't be mad at me, Ray-Ray...I still love you:-) And it's cool that I call you Ray-Ray, right?)).

And no, I am not going to sit here and try to defend everything the Republican party stands for because, frankly, the current state of the party was the primary reason that I voted to re-elect a President that I don't think is a very good President. They are absolutely too beholden to the crazies within their own camp and need to reign them in or get rid of them.

But there are a lot of reasonable Republicans who hold very reasonably beliefs: that our budget problems are important, and that the problem is that we spend too much, not because we take in too little; and that we need to more effectively seal our borders for economic and security purposes; and that the rights of an unborn baby to live are more important than the rights of it's mother to end her pregnancy; and that the Earth is indeed warming, but the extent of that warming caused by driving SUV's is entirely unknowable; and that the Federal Government has no business being an investor in banking, automotive manufacturing and energy...well, you aren't supposed to just drop those beliefs. You are supposed to come back next time with better arguments and make a better case that people will listen to.

And this goes for the left, as well. Barack Obama retained almost all of the support that he had in 2008, a resounding approval of his time on the job. Does that mean that all of the people who support same-sex marriage, and support the closure of Guantanamo Bay, and support higher wealth taxes, and who support universal health care, and oppose Executive powers of surveillance and assassination, and reject the idea that there is "clean" coal, and oppose fracking...that all of those people should shut up and admit defeat? Of course not. They should keep making their arguments until either this President and Congress or the next one listens to them.

Losers in a Democracy are not supposed to shut up and take it. They are supposed to recognize the reasons for their loss, live with the consequences, and try again to explain to their fellow voters why they made the wrong choice.

Soapbox officially close for 2012.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Reality Check

Question...who wrote this last week: "I still think Obama will win, and I don't think that we will be up all night waiting to find out."

Answer: This girl!

What, what? Who can see the future? (Or, who has Nate Silver's blog bookmarked...shhh...)

We are still in the post-election glow, where Congress is going to put aside their differences and work with each other and the President to reach consensus and tackle difficult problems. Democrats are going to respect their new broad coalition while Republicans are going to move to the center socially.

This, to me, is utterly ridiculous. Let's take a step back and really examine what we just did in our $6 billion election.

We elected the same President, and did so by winning just about the same states as last time. He ran on a platform that promised to pursue the same policies he has for four years. We elected almost the same exact House, switching about 5 seats out of 435. We elected almost the same Senate, switching 2-3 seats out of 100. (It's actually worse than that...where we did make changes, it is more often than not a replacement of a moderate with a hyper-partisan).

Exactly what message are we trying to send to our elected leaders? For all of the talk and all of the outrage, it seems to me that the overwhelming sentiment is "You guys are doing a bang-up job...keep at it!" What would make us think that we are going to get a different course of action out of the same group of people after we just re-affirmed what they have been doing?

I'm not saying we should throw everyone out every 2-4 years (and I voted for Obama), but shouldn't we maybe hold them all just a little bit more accountable than this? What is that about "insanity"...doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result...?

Just remember that when December comes and we are stuck in a totally manufactured "crisis" over the fiscal cliff. If you wonder why the President won't give and inch on entitlement cuts and why the House GOP won't give an inch on tax increases, remember this election. Remember when we told them all "Hey, we approve of your job performance, keep it up!"

If Congress has a 14% approval rating, how come they get re-elected 90% of the time? Hint: it's not because your Congressman is awesome and the other 434 suck...

Monday, November 05, 2012

You should CARE!

Tomorrow, of course, is election day. Given the newly growing emphasis on early voting, this has really been more of an election season than a single day. Which is all fine...there is no reason why everyone should have to show up on a Tuesday.

So today, Election Eve, I am going to do something that I never, ever see anyone do. In fact, I am going to do the exact opposite of what I see an enormous number of people do. I am going to tell you that I have no interest in encouraging you to go out and vote. In fact, given the choice, I would rather you stayed home.

I don't feel like citizens of a representative Republic should be begged or cajoled to exercise their right to participate in a government of the People. I don't think that someone should have to explain to you why you should want to vote. I really, really, don't think we should be encouraging people to cast a vote if they care so little of the process and devote so little attention that they need to be reminded.

We shouldn't be encouraging everyone to vote. We should be encouraging everyone to care. Don't go out and vote just because you can. Go out and vote because you care enough to pay attention, ask questions, identify the issues you really care about and make an informed decision.

I do care. I pay more attention than most. I ignore talking points ("Romney shipped jobs to China!" "No, Obama sent jobs to China!" "Romney hates minorities!" "Obama hates white people!"). I can explain fully why each side claims that the other is trying to "loot Medicare" and why they are both wrong. And right at the same time. I can explain why they both start their arguments about taxes and spending from a set of assumptions that is so faulty as to make almost all of their projections absurd.

I know that Obama didn't "save the auto industry". I know that he brought the troops home from Iraq because he couldn't get an agreement from the Iraqis to keep them there with immunity, not because he wanted to bring them home (or, rather, send them to Afghanistan). I know that he promised in 2008 that his health care plan would lower premiums, and that in September he delivered an applause line in his acceptance speech because they only rose at twice the rate of inflation. I remember when he promised a new era of foreign policy, and delivered on that by bombing a half dozen countries, carrying out drone strikes against our allies and giving himself the authority to order assassinations. Last I checked, Guantanamo Bay is still holding prisoners.

I know that Romney's balancing of the budget in Massachusetts is not an accomplishment, it was statutorily required. I know that "I will create 12 million new jobs" is not actually a plan. I know that preserving the defense department budget, preserving the current benefits in Social Security and Medicare and cutting everyone's taxes is not, shockingly, going to decrease the deficit. There is even a slight chance that it might make it worse. I know that "getting tough on China" is throwaway language. The same goes for Iran, Russia and anyone else.

I will not purport to be the most informed voter in America, nor the smartest or the least gullible. But I can promise you that I will cast my single vote with the best analytical reasoning that I have to offer. I will cast it with great care and seriousness. I would rather that my vote not be diluted by some nimrod who only voted because Kid Rock or Lena Dunham encourage her to.

We don't benefit as a nation from higher voter turnout. We benefit from higher voter engagement. We benefit when voters demand that their elected officials act reasonably and responsibly and hold them accountable for their actions, not just because they show up.

Frankly, in my perfect world, everyone else would stay home, and only my vote would count!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The Great Not-Quite-a-Hurricane-But-Much-Worse Storm of 2012 has blown through, and thankfully it was a little bit oversold around here. There are some power outages, and the coasts suffered some serious flooding, but we were very much spared the worst of the storm. It was rainy and windy and there are a lot of limbs down, but it doesn't seem like there is much severe damage.

Very much not true south of here, as a huge swath of the country, from central Connecticut, through New York and New Jersey and all the way down into the Mid-Atlantic got walloped pretty good. New York and New Jersey seem to have really gotten the worst of it...massive flooding and dangerous levels of power outages. Roads, bridges and tunnels seem to be closed in large numbers.

We never even lost power, which is a blessing. The girls thought the whole thing was quite an adventure - day care was closed yesterday afternoon, so we hung out in our pajamas and watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates all afternoon:-). We didn't really do a whole lot of storm prep, but Munchkin and I did bake a spice cake with cream cheese frosting on Sunday so that we would have some comfort food. The cake, not surprisingly, is gone...

The next big news, of course, is the election next week. I haven't voted yet...I am a traditionalist and like to vote on election day:-). Despite some apparent tightening of the race, I still think Obama will win, and I don't think that we will be up all night waiting to find out. Romney just needs to many things to break his way to pull out a victory...he needs to win a bunch of states that will be close, but that he seems to hold small leads in right now (Florida, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina) along with several that are basically tied (Virginia and Iowa). And even then, everything will come down to Ohio, which he appears to be losing by a small margin now and positively has to win in order to win the election. If Obama wins any of Ohio, Florida, Virginia or North Carolina, he will win...and he can lose all four and still find a way to win if everything else goes his way.

We have an interesting Senate race in Massachusetts, too. Scott Brown won the seat two years ago in a special election in one of the most remarkably astonishing elections I ever remember...a Republican simply can not win that race under any circumstances, and he somehow did. Now he faces a very stiff challenge from Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Professor and the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This one, I will admit, confuses me...most recent polls show her with a small lead, and yet I don't know anyone who likes her. And I don't know anyone who is going to vote for her except for people who always vote for every Democrat.

And it has been a funny campaign...he has consistently attacked her character, noting her phony claims of Native American heritage used to get preferential treatment in academia, along with her professional work on behalf of "big corporations" - the exact kind that she rails against so incessantly. For someone who has the likeability ratings that he does, that is a risky strategy. She, meanwhile, hasn't run against him very much at all...her message has really centered on the threat of a Republican majority in the Senate. She has run more against Republican leadership than she has against him specifically. She has taken a couple of half-hearted shots at specific positions of his, but they have been pretty weak. The real focus has been on running at the party level.  And, now that it looks like there is almost no chance of a Republican majority, I am not sure that her message remains relevant.

Obama will win Massachusetts by quite a bit, probably something like 60-40. That means that, for Brown to win, he will need at least 10-11% of voters to vote for Obama but to cross the party line to vote for him...a really interesting dynamic.  If I had to wager, I would say that she ends up winning a razor thin race, but I don't have a lot of confidence in could be very close.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Missing her already

I am leaving early tomorrow because Munchkin has a soccer game and I want to go watch it. She has...gasp...a grand total of about three weeks left in her high school soccer career. That is a little misleading because she is technically only doing three years of high school, but it is still a pretty monumental realization for me.

It seems like every couple of weeks she goes through another "This is the last time I..." thing. The last time she picks her spring semester schedule. The last parent-teacher night. The last back-to-school night with the other parents. The last Halloween. The last "Fall Festival" at school. Her first application (and hopefully the only one) has been delivered, which means she may very well be entirely done with the college admissions process already. Yesterday, we talked about dress shopping for her last winter formal (also misleading..."dress shopping" is generally done in the closets of her pretend sisters.)

Now, if all goes well, she will be about three miles from me in a straight line next year. And a grand total of four stops on the red line. I am not exactly shipping her off to another corner of the world. There will be no end to chicken finger Thursdays (because I will force her to go with me if I have to!) and I will likely see her all the time. But... I probably don't really need to explain this. It's just not the same.

There will be a lot of these moments between now and next Labor Day, when I pack her up and drop her at her freshman dorm. I can promise to be a blubbering mess at least three times over the course of the year. Maybe more.

Frankly, I am not really in the best emotional state to handle this these days, but I am sure I will manage. This is supposed to be fun, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I know I have been silent here for a while, which I apologize for. The stuff that is dominating my attention these days is not really stuff that I want to blog about, which leaves me with little to write about.

I can, however, cover the debate, right?! If the first debate was a resounding win for Romney, this one was a narrower win for Obama. He was much more engaged, much sharper and seemed like he was much more prepared. That shouldn't be a surprise, as he was pretty routinely beaten up after the first debate, which you would imagine would encourage him to take this one more seriously.

But, what I really want to talk about is moderator etiquette, because I feel like Candy Crowley was a complete disaster last night, and she committed a mistake that has huge ramifications. The moment in question was, by many accounts, the single biggest point of the night for Obama...Romney accused him of staying silent on the Benghazi attacks for two weeks, and Obama claimed that he called it an act of terrorism the very next day.

The truth is that Obama's rose garden speech depicted the attack as an extension of the outcry over a movie that Muslims find offensive. He did eventually refer to "acts of terror" but he never explicitly called this attack a terrorist action.

Side note: I find this to be incredibly unimportant, and the whole argument to be stupidly semantic. It also had nothing to do with the question they were both allegedly answering. But that isn't my point.

Crowley corrected Romney, saying that Obama had called it a terrorist action in his remarks the next day in the Rose Garden. I have two problems with this. First, a moderator should never correct a fact if that "fact" is open to some interpretation.  I would tend to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on whether or not he intended to label this explicitly...but there is clearly some room for argument. If a moderator is going to tell a candidate that he is absolutely, positively wrong, then he better be absolutely, positively wrong...not "mostly wrong".

My second problem is that this was a debate with back and forth, and Obama had plenty of time and opportunity to make that correction himself. It's his role to engage with Romney over facts and interpretations of events...not Crowley's. In fact, Romney was trying to direct that question directly to Obama, and she intervened on Obama's behalf. She is there to ask questions, keep them on schedule and follow the rules, not to insert herself into the debate. At least not in a "Town Hall"...if this were the two of them in a Meet The Press style interview, it would have been much more appropriate, but not here.

Until that point, I thought the debate was pretty even. That was a huge point for Obama, and he proceeded to really own that whole segment (a segment that probably should have been a liability for was his best work and Romney's worst all night). That segment, to me, was the only part of the night that was clearly dominated by one candidate...and the moderator played too large a role in that.

On another subject, the unwillingness of each of them to answer the questions they are asked is really maddening. This is where we really miss Tim Russert...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Had a fantastically relaxing long weekend! I made The Boy take Friday off, so we left right after we brought the girls to day care in the morning, drove a couple hours west and checked into a hotel in the Berkshires for three days of absolutely nothing:-) Smoking Hot Roommate and Munchkin took excellent care of the girls, even if they did possibly promise them that we were bringing back a pony...

We've been to this hotel before...when I was pregnant we spent a weekend there. So, last week when it was painfully obvious that I desperately needed to get The Boy a little bit of time to unwind, it seemed like a nice spot to do it. It is not quite foliage season (another week or two) but it is still a beautiful place to be in the fall...especially when we get unseasonably warm days like Friday and Saturday!

Basically, we checked in and, other than spending Saturday afternoon in town wandering around, we just bummed around the resort for the whole time. We played 9 holes of golf late on Friday, which was fun other than my complete inability to play golf.  We ate a lot, went for some long walks, had a lot of really awesome sex, lounged in bed, read, soaked in the tub, had massages and just basically acted like we had no other responsibilities:-) It was lovely!

He did break down and do a little bit of work on Sunday morning (I was getting a pedicure, so I couldn't stop him!) but other than that he did a very good job of relaxing. It can sometimes be a little hard to get him to disengage, but he didn't fight me too much this time:-)

So, all in all, it was a really nice weekend, and a much needed getaway. Frankly, it is going to be sort of a tough fall, so I am glad that he got the chance to recharge a bit...I am not at all ruling out the possibility of having to do this again before the year is out!

Monday, October 01, 2012


I haven't written in a while, and have fallen woefully behind in reading all of your blogs as well. It's been a tough week or so, and also extremely busy, so this sort of fell by the wayside.

Nothing terribly exciting to report...girls have recovered from their colds of last week (did I write about that? They were sick in back-to-back weeks). The best news is that they have finally started to consistently go to bed in their own beds and sleep there all night...they have been sticklers about either falling asleep in the living room or getting up in the middle of the night and going there to sleep. Fingers crossed that we are finally done with that.

It is suddenly October, which is horrifying...when did that happen? And how? It was August like five minutes ago...wasn't it? The first of the Presidential debates is this week, but I would be surprised if much happens. I have felt since early in the summer that this was never going to be a race, and I am sticking to that. There is huge disappointment and discontent with the President, but Romney doesn't have the ability to articulate a case for his election. So, barring some terrible economic news (or, more accurately, news that is more terrible than the utterly atrocious current state of the economy) Obama looks to coast to an easy win.

I took the afternoon off last Thursday to go to Munchkin's soccer game, which was just about the best idea I have ever had. After running all over the place on a million things, it was an hour and a half of absolute peace and quite. And it was spectacular! Then I got sad remembering that she has very few of these games left:-(

Weekend was busy, too. The Boy had some stuff to take care of on Saturday, so I took the girls to a birthday party. There was a bouncy house, which is a cause for celebration. For LK, this was her second weekend in a row at a bouncy house...there was another party the weekend before that she got to go to with The Boy while I stayed home with a very sick MA. Hopefully, she does not think that this is the beginning of weekly bouncy house trips...

We are going to try to get away this weekend for a couple of days, but that is up in the air. We also may or may not take the girls with us...that is up in the air as well. The Boy desperately needs a few days away...even if we can't find a baby sitter, I may send him away on his own for a night. He could use some rest:-)

Worst of all...I am completely unexposed to the new TV season. Tragedy of tragedies...I have had so little time to do anything that I haven't watched any new shows, or the new seasons of old ones. What am I missing?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A little late...

It wasn't love at first sight. Definitely like at first sight. It was a good first date. Good enough to warrant a second, and a third. He was smart and funny and cute and easy to talk to. He came with the recommendation of someone I trust implicitly. He was grounded, knew exactly who he was and what he wanted. For a girl that was in the midst of the mother of all mid-life upheavals, that seemed a little foreign and kind of hard to relate to.

Thankfully, he was also persistent. Never pushy, never overbearing or clingy. But always there, never sending conflicting messages about his intentions. Always a gentleman, always an incredibly easy person to date. An easy person to date, attached to an incredibly difficult one.

And so like became more than like, and eventually love. I remember getting a text from him one day and noting the smile it brought. The tingle of excitement to see his name. There was nothing special about the message, only the boy who sent it. That, more than any other moment, is when I knew. When I was absolutely certain that this one had reached me in a way that no others had.

There were some bumps, although surprisingly few. Sometimes he had to remind me that even he has a limit to his patience:-). And there were always extenuating circumstances, always a higher priority. But eventually that all just didn't seem to matter. Eventually, this girl who alternates between being supremely self-sufficient and finding remarkable reservoirs of assistance found the boy who matched that perfectly. The boy who didn't need what she didn't have to give, and had in abundance the things she needed most.

I'm a better person because of him. I'm better because he makes me better. He makes me want to be as good as him. As kind, as smart, as selfless, as driven. He makes me want to deserve the immense amount of love that he has to give. He makes me feel loved and valued and respected and desirable. He makes me feel like I'm the prettiest girl at the party, every day.

Three years ago, I stood across from him and told everyone that matters to me that I wanted to marry him. I told everyone that matters to him that I would spend my entire life doing everything I can to justify the love that he gives me. Rolling around in my belly that day were two tiny little girls who will someday learn exactly how fortunate they are to have their Daddy. Thinking of them on that day, and thinking of him, I was more certain than I have ever been that I was the luckiest girl in the world.

And I was right. Happy Anniversary, buddy. You make all of this awfully easy.

{Yea, I am a couple of days late with took me a while to finish!}

Thursday, September 20, 2012

If you look closely, I really tried to not rant and rave here

Seems that I have done some political ranting lately, but nothing I probably owe you some updates. That said, I don't really feel like I have that much to update you about:-) I feel like I have been busy with a lot of random stuff lately, but nothing of note. This weekend, for example, we have a two year old's birthday party to go to - there will be a bouncie house - and another party after that, and then some random errands that need to get done on Sunday. Throw in a soccer game for Munchkin on Friday that I want to get to, and the whole weekend is pretty full.

The girls have decided that they have no interest in sleeping in their beds all night. LK usually gets up at sometime around 3:30 and comes into our room, demanding that Daddy sleep in the living room with her. She falls right back to sleep, she just wants to sleep on the couch with Daddy:-) I probably find that cuter than he does!

In more humorous news...he started P90X this week, which has led to four days of grunting, moaning and overall achy-ness that is, honestly, kind of amusing. On Wednesday, he stood at the sink trying to shave, only he couldn't reach his hands all the way up to his face without help. Watching him try to sit up in bed is also turns into a kind or groaning, half-roll lurch. It's sexy.

Thankfully, he is lucky to have a willing (and slightly mischievous) masseuse as a wife.

I never wrote about it last week (partially because I have been involved in something at work that is dynamically not all that different), but the teacher's strike in Chicago was a pretty big deal. Big because it involved a lot of teachers and a lot of students, because it involved a Mayor who should be a friend of labor (former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel), and because it covered the key issues facing most school systems.

Of course, I have opinions:-) - teachers shouldn't expect bigger raises than taxpayers are getting; asking people to work more and not expecting them to want to get paid more is kind of silly; teachers should be held more accountable than they generally are, but standardized test scores are not a good way to do it; ...and plenty of others.

But that isn't really my big question. My big question is: why are there public sector unions? I understand all of the economic arguments against labor unions, and some of them are valid, but by and large, I don't see industrial labor unions as inherently evil or anti-competitive. But unions of civil workers...? Whole other story.

Unions, as always, exist to represent workers in the ongoing battle between labor and capital. Capital tends to be concentrated in a few hands, so unions provide a means of concentrating the other great economic input and level the negotiating field.

So where, exactly, do police and fire and teacher's unions fit into this? Specifically, in the ongoing battle of labor and capital, who in this equation is "capital"? If no one profits from the operation of the school, and no one owns the school systems as a commercial enterprise, how can anyone be representing the capital half of that dynamic? And the only thing approximating management are elected officials...officials that the labor interests have the right to hire and fire (just like every other voter.)

Well look there...I am already back to ranting about politics...that was fast...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Continued nonsense

Mitt Romney has gone and put his foot in his mouth, saying at a fundraiser that non-income tax-paying Americans see themselves as "victims".  In response, it seems that every Democrat in the country has contacted their closest Republican friend, and the two have agreed to swap their talking points from the time four years ago that Barack Obama said that people in the midwest "cling bitterly to their guns and religion".

This is not unlike the ongoing "debate" over Mitt Romney's tax returns, in which the two sides have very conveniently switched to using the exact same arguments that their opponents were using when discussing Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Meanwhile, they have spent another $1.5 trillion this year that we don't have and are gearing up for a complete fabricated "crisis" over the debt ceiling.

Now Romney will try to softly back peddle, and the Democrats will try to skewer him for this. Honestly, I would rather he just move ahead and say "You know, it's a fundamentally unsound form of financing the government that half of people don't work, and half of the people who do work pay no income taxes. Everyone should have a stake in our policies."

Then, in fantasy land, it would be wonderful if Obama responded with "That is an incomplete picture of the Federal tax burden, because every worker pays Social Security and Medicare taxes, both of which are actually quite regressive."

Of course, that is much to close to an actual substantive debate, which we could never have...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I sort of teased the other day that I would write a "Your kids aren't that smart" post...and rather than be known as a tease, I figured I should write it. I can't be known as a tease:-)

There is an unadvertised benefit of having helps to keep you from obsessing over development. From the time a woman gets pregnant, there is a mountain of literature (most of it not worth reading) that tells you exactly how you should be growing and feeling and then how the kid should be growing and developing.

The problem being, of course, that children don't develop according to a set schedule. And more who do one thing or another behind schedule are not doing so because their parents have failed. The corollary to that, of course, is that you are not a morally superior parent because your baby can hold his head up a week before the books say he should be able to.

Honestly, it would be very hard for me to make an assessment of which of the girls is developing faster. LK walked first, got teeth first, slept through the night first, used the potty first and is generally better at it. MA ate solids first, grew faster, stood up first, sleeps better and communicates better.

Just to site two examples...MA learned to talk a year ago and hasn't stopped since. She yabbers all day long, makes whole sentences, asks questions and verbalizes her feelings really clearly. Verbally, she is far ahead of what would be considered normal development. But she still gets frustrated and occasionally hits or bites.

LK, on the other hand, doesn't talk nearly as much. She can, and her vocabulary is close to her sisters, but she doesn't enunciate nearly as well, and doesn't form the same kinds of multi-phrase thoughts that MA does. But, put a puzzle in front of her, and suddenly she becomes a genius. She has a couple of 20-24 piece wooden puzzles that she can take apart and put together without any help. Her sister? She talks a good game..."Momma, this one goes here?"...but basically she just shoves any two random pieces together without paying much attention to the picture.

So who is smarter? Beats is pretty clear that their brains work in very different ways...but they are both working. And, to take this a step further...MA is not a better speaker and LK a better puzzle maker because of the superior parenting she has received;-)

Parents love to take credit for their kids; development, and they really love to overstate their kids' development;-) Because there are million ways to measure development, and just about every kid will be ahead of the curve on some and behind the curve on others. It is much to easy to note the one thing he or she does really well, and then use that as a justification of your parenting skills.

And really, I get it...bragging about our kids is fun. I am not at all above it. Seeing them develop is an affirmation that we haven't broken them. Christ, at least 40% of this blog is unabashed bragging of a kid who isn't really even my kid!!!

But it still drives me a little crazy (and frankly, I kind of live in a place where the parenting competition is heavier than most). If I were more passive aggressive, I may well have said some things over the past two years like "Wow, I think I read where knowing colors by 12 months has a really high correlation to your likelihood of being on the Supreme Court"...

A guy that I work with showed me a hilarious Facebook post earlier this week because he knows I appreciate these things. A girl he had gone to High School with, in a blatant attempt to fish for compliments, had posted "Wow, is it normal for a 17 month old to know the alphabet and count to 12?" What she was really saying was "Please, everyone tell me that my kid is special, and that we are doing a great job raising him!"

Instead, the comments were largely stuff like "Yea, that is about right," and "That seems pretty normal...I think my kids were about that age." {Never mind that 17 months is probably a little early to be doing that stuff;-)}

Also, he showed me no fewer than six people in his circle of friends who had entered their kid in the Gerber Cutest Baby contest...because, you know, every one of their kids is absolutely adorable. I have no idea what my point is. Certainly, I have no interest in people loving their kids less or thinking them less special. And by all means, you are welcome to find your own kids to be the cutest ones in the class...I know I do:-).

But maybe it doesn't hurt to remember that, when judged by others, exactly one half of kids are dumber than average, and one half are uglier.

And now, I am going to hell:-)

{Update: Big Sis read this right after I posted it, and her response is "That is so true, which is why I find it so amazing that all of our kids are so incredibly smart and cute!"}

Monday, September 10, 2012

Catching up

So, I really intended to blog several times since I last wrote, but then I got sidetracked with awesome weather and random fun stuff and never got around to it...

As such, I never recapped the President's speech, which I thought was kind of mediocre. I just feel like we have heard all of that before...I was hoping that he would be less hopey-changey and more executive. He started out great, with a sobering call for "shared sacrifice", but as far as I can tell, the only sacrifice he is really calling for is a 3% increase in the tax rate on something like 100,000 people... Everyone else gets everything they want and gives up nothing!!! Yay!!!

Then he devolved into exactly what the GOP did the week before...a tirade of half-truths about how evil the other guys are. I certainly understand that this is how the game is played...and he should have little trouble winning re-election without any major new policy announcements, but it was still disappointing.

And honest to God, if he keeps up with this "We saved the auto industry!" shit, I may reconsider my (already tepid) commitment to voting for him in November. Sorry, buddy, but you didn't save the "American auto industry" and it is hard to argue that you saved a single net job. Also, Romney is right about the folly of Treasury continuing to hold shares of GM. Waiting for the stock to rebound is terrible policy - the government should not be in the business of speculating on common stocks.

That, however, all seems like old news. We have already had four days worth of terrible economic news and more partisan campaign bickering. I kind of feel bad for the people in Ohio, Florida and the other swing states...all of whom will shortly be absolutely barraged with the most ridiculous advertising you can imagine. By mid-October, Obama will be socialist Iran-sympathizer who personally laid off something like 4 million workers, and Romney will be a top-hatted robber baron whose entire fortune was built by stealing arthritis medication money from old ladies.

In other news...Munchkin has settled into her senior year of high school. Allow me to say that again...her SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL!!! She is applying for early admission into That School That We All Know She Is Going To, so she has sort of begun that process. The deadline is November 1, but she is incapable of not having the whole thing done well before then. I think she is going to go ahead and prepare applications to three other places in case she doesn't get in, but should hopefully get an answer before she has to submit them.

The girls are becoming potty training experts! LK managed to stay dry all day on Friday, and most of the weekend as well. MA is catching on, too...although they both need a little bit of work in giving me a little bit more warning on their bathroom activities before I put them into underwear... Getting close, though:-)

MA has entered a "why?" phase, where she asks questions about everything..."Momma, why you doing that?" "Daddy, why you go running? You get sweaty? You take a shower?" I should write more about the differences in their personalities...which are really substantial...and maybe I will this week. I may also write about "parental measurement", but I may also keep that one to myself;-) Short version...every parent I know is convinced that their kid is incredibly smart. Also, they think it reflects on their basic greatness as a parent.  Mathematically speaking, I can assure you that half of them are dumber than average...

Anyway, this is enough scatter-shot for one day...I gotta get some work done!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Much better!

My thrilling convention coverage continues...

Can someone explain to me why Sandra Fluke gets a spot in prime time? As far as I can tell, her major contribution to society so far has been being degraded by Rush Limbaugh...and if that is the standard, then this convention is going to need a much longer schedule.  They can't find time for the Vice President, or for any members of the Presidents cabinet...but they can carve out 15 incredibly valuable minutes for a random graduate student? OK...

Elizabeth Warren was...well, Elizabeth Warren. Full of lovely phrases about equality and fair play and wonderful chastising of the privileged, but not the least bit likeable and not a single concrete idea. I fear that she is headed for a pretty embarrassing defeat come November (well, I don't really "fear" it, because we won't really miss her). She is in a State where she takes a 3-1 registered voter advantage into the election, and where the President from her party, with whom she is closely associated, will likely win by a larger percentage than in any other state in the country save his own. She was saved the trouble of running a primary and will have tons and tons of money...and she is probably gonna lose by 8 points anyway...

The main event, however, was obviously Bill Clinton, and we once again got a glimpse of his brilliance in this forum. If you go into the way, way back machine, I thought his 2008 speech was overrated (but I thought Hillary's was underrated), but he was very much back to his old self last night. Frankly, the speech was too long, his command of the facts was questionable, and his history just a tad revisionist...but his persona is just mesmerizing. He may as well have been working a room with 10 people.

I found the tone to be really interesting. This was not a grand, visionary World Leader speech. Save for some passages about bi-partisanship and cooperation (which, by the way, I hope that the President was listening to, since he is just about the worst offender of this) the text was absent big ideas and really heavy on details. He spent a lot of time talking about why we should still like Obama, what he has done to make him proud and why he feels great about him being President for another four years. It is bothersome that so few other Democrats can make that same argument.

And taking the time to explain specifics about Medicare policies? I love it...and I can't imagine anyone else who would attempt to do that to an audience of 10 million or so. Sure, his facts are dubious (the argument relies on the assumption that you can just decide not to pay $700 billion and expect that not a single provider is going to cut back on a meaningful service) but his ability to explain that in 30 seconds is phenomenal. And for the nitwits on TV...that is a policy. "Restore the middle class" is not a policy. "Close the medicare drug donut hole" is a policy. {Frankly, it is a terribly policy, but that isn't the point...the point is that it is an actual action, not a vague idea that means different things to different people.}

Just one last note about Clinton's power to command a room. In 2012, in a Democratic National Convention hall, he managed to get a serious and heartfelt ovation for George W. Bush. Now THAT is an accomplishment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Wondering exactly what they are watching?

More than being dissapointed in the conventions, I have become really angry at the analysis of them by the major media outlets. They are suddenly incapable of saying a bad thing about anyone, and have dutifully opined that every speech for two weeks now has been phenomenal.

Well, sorry guys, you are all wrong. The have been consistently vapid and amateur, but concluding with some phrases delivered with great energy to rile up a crowd that is there specifically to get riled up, and would be excited by the details of a Chinese food menu.

To hear the analysts tell it, Ann Romney was likeable and approachable and sympathetic and helped everyone know Mitt just a little bit better. That is complete BS...she was terrible, her speech was terrible and it was time that the party completely wasted that they could have devoted to someone who could delivered an actual message. Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan were bright and energetic and substantive, and Romney hit it out of the park.

Well, I wrote last week that they were all wrong...and the complete non-effect of the convention on the polls says that I am right and they aren't. The beauty of this being my forum is that no one can disagree with me!!! Ha ha!!!

So, last night was more of the same. Julian Castro was actually OK, and at least spent a couple of minutes on a coherent defense of Obama. But frankly, a huge portion of that speech were complete throwaway phrases that appeared in a similar form in Marco Rubio's similarly overrated speech last week. He had one great moment on healthcare when he hit the "actually, he was for it..." line. That was a winner.
Michelle Obama was better than Ann Romney, but frankly it was still terrible. She stumbled over her words ("and, and, and..."), used too many throw away phrases ("at the end of the day?" c'mon...this a freaking national convention!) and delivered the whole thing on the verge of a half-cry that isn't convincing anyone who wasn't already 100% committed to Obama. The text lacked focus and message, rambled all over the place, and included almost no defense of her husband's Presidency other than "he loves me and our kids!" 

Tonight we get our very own Massachusetts Senate candidate, Elizabeth Warren, who will likely be shrill and condescending and make no new friends outside of the specific segment of the party that loves her. Once again, the panels will talk about her clear vision and strong message...and the blue collar Democrats in Massachusetts that she will need to rely on to win will largely yawn and make no re-assessment of their opinion of her. 
My gut feeling is that this is a mistake, and largely driven by a feeling that they "owe" her because the didn't give her the Consumer Finance job she wanted. Obama is going to win this election based on likability, and she is not going to help him on that one bit. But what do I one pays me to recite party talking points on the air...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Everyone will be happy! And skinny and attractive!

Alright, it's Friday, it is a long weekend and there is no chance at all that I am getting anything else done, so I am going to blog. I have run out of clothes to look at online, so this is the next activity...

Convention thoughts:

Oh, poor thing...

That whole episode was just so very, very weird. You know how Republicans are fond of chastising Democrats for listening to celebrities? "Shut up and sing!" Well, you know what? THEY'RE RIGHT!!! For the love of God, leave the acting to the actors and the thinking to the thinkers. Whether you are George Clooney or Clint Eastwood, you aren't smart just because everyone you pay to hang around you says so...keep your mouths shut and we will all be better off.

I had almost identical thoughts on both Romney and Rubio: I though that they were both good, but the speeches sucked. Rubio especially was energetic and smooth and polished and had all of the stage presence that Republicans have wished that they could find since Obama took them to the woodshed in 2008. Of course, the content of the speech was vapid and woefully off-topic (he was aware that he was introducing Mitt Romney, right?) But then here the analysts go today doing exactly what they do with Obama all the time...mistaking a great delivery for a great speech. It looked and sounded great...but it doesn't read great.

Same for Romney: he was polished and comfortable and very Presidential. He just didn't say much of note. The first six or seven minutes, especially, were really terrible and some of the sentences just made no sense. He got going a little bit as it went along, but it still just wasn't a great text. In that forum, a great speech should answer three questions: 1) Why should you get rid of the other guy? 2) Why should you pick me? and 3) What will I do if you pick me?

I will give him pretty good marks on the first question, which is always the easiest to answer. I think we are all clear on what his criticisms of Obama are, and many of them are valid. The second question is one he has always struggled to answer...he seems to constantly be apologizing for who he is. He tries so hard to be "likeable" and "approachable", and it is totally not him. He would be much better off simply going with "You want a poker buddy, or do you want a Chief Executive? Because I am not gonna be your friend, but my credentials as a leader are impeccable and I will do this job better than anyone else you can find." He isn't going to be warm and fuzzy, and that shouldn't matter.

My favorite part of the analysis today, though, is all of the talk of his addressing that third question...all of the "firm policy details." Really? Do we honestly pay these people to be on television? "I will create 12 million jobs and strengthen the middle class," is not a policy detail. It is a promise and a lovely goal...but it isn't an actual idea. Which isn't to single out Romney, because Obama has been talking about "green jobs" for five years, and neither he nor any of his advisers has ever told anyone what the fuck a green job is. Really, my complaint is with the talking heads who can claim, with a straight face, that there was substance in that speech.

On to much more important's time to head to the beach!!! Last time this year, probably, but it should be a great weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I will admit to being less excited than I was at this time four years ago, but the political junkie in me won't let me totally skip the conventions, so I have watched quite a bit of the last two nights after the girls have gone to bed. As I am sure you all suspect...I have some opinions;-)

First of all, this whole thing seems like it is done in anticipation of losing. I don't know whether it is an unwillingness to accept Romney, or a feeling that Obama is just going to talk his way through the election pretty easily, or what...but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of passion in this convention. I am not totally sure that I am even know what makes me think this, but the whole building seems to be full of people who just don't believe that they are going to win.

None of the speakers have really been very good, either. I thought Ann Romney was terrible...fake and overly bubbly and not the least bit likeable. Chris Christie was OK, but he spoke too fast and the message was sort of scattered...a little bit about what is wrong with Obama, a little bit about how we could be better, and a little bit about why Romney is the guy, but none of it really seemed to tie together.

Condi Rice was pretty good, she is just not quite as comfortable in that forum as the other speakers. And they don't really know what to do with her...everyone likes her, but she seems a little bit too connected to W, and the GOP isn't quite ready to remember him just yet.

Paul Ryan...I don't know...he didn't quite do it for me, but it was close. I thought he had a really hard time with the pacing and the applause lines, and especially early on he just seemed really young. He started to get to a good message: "I had as much hope as everyone else did four years ago, but when can we all admit that Barack Obama is a terrible President?", but he didn't really hit that as much as I thought he could have. His opening line included the part about never seeing an incumbent want to talk less about his record, which should have been a great start...but then he didn't talk as much about that record as he should have.

And the entirety of the two nights has been completely devoid of any actual content...which is a problem...

So, I dunno...blah, I guess. I certainly didn't see anything that makes me think any differently than I did a week ago. When November gets here, we will hold out noses and re-elect the same President we did last time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer, we hardly knew ya!

Had a fantastic weekend, and really an all-around awesome visit with Tinkerbelle. She is definitely working on her petulant teenager skills, but she kept that to a minimum and we had a really good time. We spent the first weekend at the beach, then came back here for two days and went back to the beach for the last couple days. The Boy brought the girls back with him on Sunday, and then brought them to the beach Friday, so they were much more on their regular schedule.

The weather, as it has been all summer, was really was really nice on the beach without ever being hot. I got a lot more sun on Friday and Saturday than I thought I did, so I am a little pinkish today;-) The girls developed a new favorite beach activity...pouring water into a hole. giant bucket, buried halfway and filled with water, and a big hole in the sand and voila, they climb in and out of the bucket and dump the water out for hours. All I have to do is refill the bucket once in a while...

Now, of course, the summer is at a crashing end. The beach house is basically closed after this weekend (it is in use for a couple of weddings, and we could maybe go there in late September or October if the weather is really nice, but usually we don't get there after Labor Day.) Munchkin starts school next Tuesday and the regular fall schedule will set in pretty fast.

What the fuck happened to summer? And don't I say this every single year? And why do I live in a place with something like 7 weeks of summer? And why do I keep asking myself rhetorical questions...?

The Republican convention is this week, and I will probably force myself to watch some of it, although not happily. I can't say that I am any more excited to watch the Democrats in a week or two, either...they are all making me kinda angry. Some time this fall I am sure that I will talk about it in more detail...but for now I plan to hold my nose and vote for Obama. He has been a pretty terribly President, and has turned into a horrible whiner (really, you'd think that no President ever had to deal with a minority party before) and I have almost no hope that he will be any better in his second term. But the current state of the Republican party scares me, and Romney just seems to add up to a lot less than the sum of his resume I don't think I will be able to bring myself to vote for him.

But we will see...more of this as the fall progresses. Until then, back to the grind...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Also, I am pretty sure he believes in the Tooth Fairy

I am back at work today, sort of, and wanted to spew some more public policy junk while it is fresh on my mind...and then, before I could get to Medicare shenanigans, Todd Akin went and stole the spotlight.

Really, on the long list of stupid things that politicians have said, this one goes right near the is just outstanding beyond belief. I am not going to sit here and rail about it, because there is really nothing I can say that will do him justice, nor do I think anyone needs any context or explanation to make their own judgement.

You know what I am going to rail against? People in Missouri (especially those in the western suburbs of St. Louis who elected him)!!! He didn't become a US Rep by accident, nor did he become the Republican nominee for Senate by accident, either...he did it because people voted for him (well, in the case of the Senate Primary, he was helped by his now opponent, Clair McCaskill, who deemed him the weakest of the three challengers and then set about supporting his campaign. They kick you out of the Badminton Olympics for that, you know.)

First sign of trouble? According to Wikipedia, his mother's maiden name (Bigelow) is also his father's middle name...which means they may well be related. They may well not be, but I have no journalistic integrity that prevents me from implying it:-)

More seriously, this guy has sort of always been this way. He may have never said anything quite as dumb as this, but he is no newcomer to saying things that expose his overall intelligence level: he once said that Liberalism was built on a hatred of God, and also said something really kooky about Davy Crockett getting Blackberry messages from Congress at the Alamo, too.

Nor has his policy platform changed. He has been a vehement opponent of abortion, defender of guns, proponent of religion in government and several other cookie-cutter Republican positions. That is what his supporters vote for. And you know what else? Public Policy Polling says that the voters in Missouri won't hold this latest flap against him, either. Part of that is related to his relatively weak opponent...but that gets us to another issue entirely: why has the State of Missouri picked the two ass hats as its Senate candidates?!?!? Seriously...I know people from Missouri, and there is a lot going on there. You should have plenty of people to choose from, and who on earth wouldn't want to be a Senator?

I suppose it is too late to go back to the drawing board (unless Akin drops out and they find someone better) which means we are stuck with one of these folks. But really, MO, try and do better next time;-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Short days, short weeks and special visitors

Anyone else having trouble concentrating because your littlest sister is coming out to visit? Or is that just me...

I am only working half a day, then going to pick Tinkerbelle up at the airport, and then getting the girls at day care, getting packed, waiting for The Boy to get home and heading to the beach! So, really, I can count on the whole afternoon to go according to schedule right? I can't imagine anything possibly going wrong!

The rough plan is to stay at the beach until Monday, then come back here for a couple of days...I think I will work Tuesday and Wednesday. I want to give Tinkerbelle (who is approaching "petulant teenager" years) some time to herself. She may decide to stay at the beach with Munchkin, but I have a feeling she will want to come back here and be independent for a little bit. If I know kids at that age, giving her some time to wander by herself will make her feel like quite the grown-up. I may suggest she try and track down some of the pretend cousins that are her age, too...

Then probably back to the beach for a couple of days before she heads home. That plan, however, is open to significant change and flexibility at any moment:-). However it turns out, though, you probably won't hear much from me!!!

So, until then...toodles!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paul Ryan

So, the big non-Olympic news of the last week is that Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan is young, bright, articulate and handsome, and is widely known as the architect of the House Republicans budget plan. He was chosen over a number of other candidates, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida seemed to be the most likely alternative.

For some background, Romney seems to have been sliding in the polls a bit lately. A month ago, the race looked to be tied, and now he seems to be behind by 4-8 points. Given the consistently atrocious economic news from here and from abroad, he should have been able to at least hold steady during that time, and probably should have been making some gains. His slipping is a pretty clear sign that whatever message they were delivering all summer was not working.

As a side note, the campaigns and the pundits are reading WAY too much into those polls. There is no way on earth that the race was ever really tied, and it defies all logic that Obama magically pulled ahead by a huge margin during a time period when all of the news was bad for him and no one really pays much attention anyway. Just plain common sense should tell you that Obama has probably been ahead by 2-4 points the whole time. But, I suppose they have to do something for the summer, and overreacting is their only choice...

But I think this guided Romney's VP pick. Generally, a candidate can go a number of different directions with their VP selection. They can try to pick someone who is similar to them in order to re-enforce an image (like Clinton did with Gore in 1992). Or, they can try and pick someone who is viewed as strong in an area that the candidate is weak (like Obama did with Biden in 2008). Often there are those who think a VP can help turn a swing state, although there isn't much evidence that this actually works. Sometimes, a campaign is just lost, so they pick the craziest VP they can in hopes of shaking up the race (which is how we all met Sarah Palin).

I think Romney has gone a different way...he has picked someone who is heavily associated with an issue in hopes of driving the debate towards that issue. He is appeasing his base, and Wisconsin is maybe (in a very broad definition) a contested state, but I really feel like the primary purpose was drawing Obama into a discussion about the budget.

In that sense, I love the selection. Not that I necessarily love Ryan or think his budget proposal is much better than Obama's, but to me this should be the issue, and it constantly baffles me that young people so blatantly ignore it. I certainly understand why none of the other candidates appeal to people under 35 or so, but it consistently puzzles me how Obama can remain so incredibly popular after basically telling us to go and fuck ourselves for four years.

I can promise you that the budget discussion will be ill-informed, misleading and full of half-truths and blatant lies...but I am all for anything that ensures that we at least have the discussion. Just as a heads up, Obama is going to tell you that we can solve all of our problem by "asking the very richest Americans to pay their fair share." Which is only mostly a lie because he doesn't define what is "their fair share" is...otherwise it would be totally a lie. Ryan (and by extension Romney) is going to tell you that we can solve our problems by cutting taxes further and making some minor tweaks to Medicare and Social Security that won't really require anyone to sacrifice. I probably don't really need to explain the idiocy of that.

One thing is for sure, none of them are going to actually tell us the truth: the fiscal management of the Federal budget has been so bad that we can not even stop the accumulation of new debt without substantial new tax revenues and substantial spending cuts. And not just taxes on "the top 1%", and not just cuts in "wasteful government programs". No, everyone is paying more, and everything is getting cut.

But I will take a bad debate over no debate for now, and for that reason, I am glad that Ryan will be in the race. His proposals have all kinds of flaws, and all kinds of absurd assumptions...but he is at least willing to put his ideas on paper and talk about that. Just being willing to move the discussion forward makes him better than most.

So, short version...I like Ryan, but I don't really love him and I have a LOT of issues with his grand plan. I suppose it shows well on Romney that he is willing to pick someone how may upstage him at times. But mostly, I think he will be a welcome addition to the race, and that we will all be better off for having talked about the things that he is going to make them all talk about.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In my next life, I wanna be able to wear a field hockey uniform in public

I feel like I owe you a lot of catch-up, since I have blogged only once or twice since before we left on our college-hunting trip. A number of you have asked about further information regarding Frenchie's college plans, which I think I have limited to "He is probably coming to the States." So, yes...he is almost certainly coming here for college, which is a pretty big leap for an 18 year old, but both he and his parents are gung-ho about it. I think they have always been proponents of the idea, and it is just slightly possible that his feelings for a particularly charming New England girl have brought him around to their way of thinking.

His father works, after a fashion, in the defense and aerospace industry, and as such he spends considerable time in Washington, DC (like...I'd say two or three trips a year, at least.) Because of that, being close to DC has a certain appeal to it, and I have long suspected that he may end up at a certain esteemed institution that you might assume derives its name from the first name of our first (and greatest...yea, I said it!) President, but is in fact named after an area that likely takes its name from either an 18th century tobacco merchant or a King of England.

I still think that this is the most likely place he will end up, and it was on our tour last week. Frankly, Munchkin really loved the school, and I did, too. Not enough to leave Boston for, but it may well have been her favorite non-local school. Funny thing, though...I think she would have liked it more if he wasn't going to go there. She seems to not like the idea that she might be picking a place because that is where he is going. Again, I am not totally sure how her thought process would work if she was really thinking about these schools, but that was my gut feeling.

Speaking of Frenchie...he has been here for a week and is headed back home tonight. They were here for a couple of days, then headed to the beach for a bit, and have been back since Saturday afternoon. There are some differences in the relationship that I don't want to go into here, but they had another great visit and will probably start counting down the days until the next one soon (probably Christmas?)

And speaking of "counting down the days"... one week 'til Tinkerbelle! I feel like I haven't seen her in forever (it was New Year's) and since she never got out here either of the last two summers, this will be her first trip to the beach in three years. I am pretty sure she is taller than me;-) and almost certainly has bigger boobs, too. She is, after all, 13...and most 13 year old girls can yes to both of those.

I think I will take some time off, although I don't know whether it will be the whole week or not. I may work like two days, give her some time to herself, and then plan on spending the rest of the time at the beach with her. Chances of me getting a single picture with both sisters and both daughters? Hmm...maybe a possibility...

All of this, and I haven't even gotten to either an Olympic round-up (I love the Olympics, I think we all know that) or a discussion of Mitt Romney picking a VP candidate...maybe I will blog more than once this week!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

More babies!!!

Not sure what she tried to make it happen, but Big Sis woke up this morning in labor, headed to the hospital and had herself a baby girl at 1:14 this afternoon:-) She is so awesome that she gets two middle names...Aunt Smoking Hot Roommate's first and middle name (which is also my name, of course!), along with Big Sis's maiden name (which is also her brother's middle name). Which actually means that her first and two middle names are Smoking Hot Roommate's full, pre-married name.

If you followed that, then congrats...:-)

Anyway, Mom, Dad and Big Brother are doing great and I can't wait to meet the little princess!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Baby updates!!!

Somehow in my traveling, non-blogging and general awesomeness, I forgot to mention that I have a brand new niece:-) Twin Sister and her Wife had another little baby girl last weekend, right before Munchkin and I left. We got to see her on Sunday night before taking off on Monday:-)

Ten fingers, ten toes and seven pounds of absolute adorableness! Baby, Mommy, other Mommy and big sister are all doing great. She hasn't met her cousins just yet, but I think we will bring them over to meet her sometime early next week...

Big Sis, however, remains stubbornly still pregnant!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Tales from the highway

I'm back...from four days on the road, one day of work, and then a couple more days at the beach:-) All in all, it's not a bad way to live!!!

I can't begin to tell you how much fun Munchkin and I had. We left Monday morning, drove to Providence and then to New Haven (what, you need me to spell out the schools for you? C' are all better than that...) and spent the night in New York city. We saw two places in New York on Tuesday, stayed there again that night and then headed further south to Northern New Jersey on Wednesday morning, Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon and then stayed in DC that night, saw one school there and drove back on Thursday.

Along the way, we ate an enormous amount of junk food (although we didn't eat at any Chick-fil-A's...honestly, we were afraid of making a political statement and didn't really know which political statement we would be making by eating there. Thankfully, McDonald's has remained silent on all major social issues...) We also listened to a huge amount of terrible music, and sang entirely too much of it out loud. We almost certainly went over on the Demi Lovato allowance...

And we talked a lot, of course, about a million things...some silly and some serious. Frenchie is here for a week now, so she was thinking about that leading up to his visit. Her feelings about him are as deep as they have ever been, but I think they are getting more complicated as they both get a little bit older. It still breaks my heart just a little bit that she sees him as little as she does...she deserves to have a simpler boyfriend situation.

She didn't see anything that changed her mind about her college plans, although she definitely liked some of the schools more than others. I am not sure she really went in with an "open mind" in the normal sense, but she listened and asked questions and looked around with interest. I am glad she did it, and I think she is, too...I will feel better about her decision knowing that she at least sampled some alternatives. Bottom line, she couldn't stand to be that far away from me...and I kinda feel the same way:-)

And now, unfortunately, I am back at work...FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK WITH NO DAYS OFF!!! What the fuck?!?!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Little mini-vacation for me, starting in...oh, about five hours. My bosses might tell you it started two days ago, since I haven't gotten anything done, but at least I have been here:-) You are all going to have to survive without me for a little bit...quiet crying is acceptable.

Headed to the beach for the weekend, and then Munchkin and I are taking a little road trip next week to visit some colleges. We are leaving Monday morning and will make our way south as far as Washington, DC and then back again. On the way, we are going to visit about a half dozen schools, take the tours and bum around a bit. We may very well buy some T-shirts...

I have a lot of feelings about this. First of all, it makes me baby sister is GOING TO COLLEGE. My baby sister that I held on the day she was born (and silently promised to always protect:-)). My baby sister whose first real word was a shortened version of my name, and whose first steps were towards me (is all of that true? It certainly is in my head:-)). And of course, my baby sister who moved in with me as a skinny 10 year old and has blossomed into a brilliant, stunning and remarkable young woman...seemingly in a period of about four minutes.

Second, it makes me feel old...probably should NOT have scheduled this the week after I turned 30.

Third, it makes me incredibly proud. The schools on this list are many of the very best, most selective schools in the world, and she will get into every one of them if she decides to apply. She will get into them because she is brilliant, because she works incredibly hard, because she excels at everything she does, because anyone who interviews her will beg her to come to their school, and because she has a remarkable life story that would have done enormous damage to most kids, but has just made her that much more stronger. And they don't even know the half of it!

She will get into all of these schools because she deserves to get into them. And that, folks, makes me feel better than I can put into words.

And finally, I think this is gonna be really fun. We are gonna be in the car all day and hotels at night and we are gonna eat junk food and listen to terrible music (total time spent with Demi Lovato on the radio? I'd say 4 hours...) and laugh. I am running out of things to do as her Mother, I have to enjoy them while I can!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Guess who got completely sideswiped with a massive surprise birthday party? Yup...this girl (imagine me pointing at myself). I mean...TOTALLY surprised...I didn't have the foggiest suspicion until we showed up and there were like 100 people there that I knew. I am almost a little scared by The Boy's ability to keep that from me, and to conveniently schedule an entire weekend when I never quite realized that we were staying home and making other arrangements for the girls in order to leave Saturday and Saturday night totally open.

We dropped the girls at his parents, put them down for a nap, and hung out there for a bit in the early afternoon, then headed back home. The Boy went for a run, and I took a nap, which I think is kind of the same thing, right? And everything seemed so totally normal, right up until we got to the bar and...SURPRISE!!!

The first reaction is "wait, why is Munchkin here?"...but then pretty quickly it moves through surprise and then just plain gratitude. It is so incredibly touching to have people come out to be with you like that, and even more touching that others would go through all of the trouble to make you feel so special. Lots of my friends and The Boy's friends, and the pretend family, most of the guys from work, even a couple of the school parents that I am close just all made me feel really special.

Super special thanks to The Boy for knowing just how to make me feel really loved. And also to Smoking Hot Roommate, too, for handling most of the organizing and logistics. I like to think I am pretty perceptive...but I missed the boat on this one big time!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

O. L. D.

I hope you are all diligently baking my birthday cakes for only have three days left, and they will have to be big enough to fit an awful lot of candles on them...

No major crises about turning over another decade...I am pretty much OK with it. I hate getting older, but whining and crying about it won't help (which won't stop me from whining and crying, but will make me get over it:-P). I guess I am pretty content, and am not going to feel all that much different on Sunday morning than I do on Saturday least I hope not.

It helps that The Boy is older than me, as are all of his friends. Same with Big Sis...and most of my friends are around my age, so many of them are ticking of 30 this year as well. All except for the youngster of the group...Smoking Hot Roommate has plenty of time left.

No beach this weekend for a couple of minor reasons. The girls are headed to The Boy's parents for the night on Saturday, which is quite the birthday gift:-) We don't have any big plans...dinner, hanging with some friends and then enjoying the peace and quiet. I'm giving myself an extraordinarily awesome birthday present, too, because I totally deserve an extraordinarily awesome present, right?

Other than that, pretty low key birthday. SHR and I are going out with some girlfriends tonight, but it won't be a late night...The Boy has a golf tournament to play in on Sunday, so I will have the girls all to myself when they get back from his parents. I think we will undertake one of their favorite new hobbies...walking around looking for geese, or "Hunting Gooses!" as they call it...

And both Big Sis and Twin Sister's wife are on "Baby Any Minute" alert:-) Big Sis especially, but Twin Sister's wife is only a couple weeks behind. Could be any minute!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


One of The Boy's good friends got engaged over the weekend, to a girl that he met and started dating about two years ago. Their meeting is one of my favorite dating stories...

Simply, they were stranded on a train. They happened to be standing next to each other when a subway train got stuck for about an hour (they were in a train stuck behind another one that broke down.) They must have been feeling randomly chatty, because they somehow struck up a conversation during that time, exchanged numbers and, now they are gonna end up married.

I can't really say that I believe in "soul mates", at least in the sense that there is one and only one person you are destined to end up with. Nor can I see that I really believe in destiny...but really, if I think about the chances of those two both being on that train? And standing next to each other? And who talks to people next to them on the train? I dunno...just seems like there was something else at work.

(Also, they are adorable...)

It also gets me thinking about how people meet...and surely some of you must have good stories of meeting your husbands or wives or girlfriends or whatever. I got set up with mine, which is boring, but I am sure someone can do better than that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Things we shouldn't mention

Someone turns 30 in 9 days. Let's all just ignore that, K?

Monday, July 09, 2012

In need of rest!

Absolutely phenomenal weekend...if you can call five days a weekend. We headed out after work on Tuesday, got to the ferry with about three minutes to spare and made it to the beach house in time to get some very cranky toddlers to bed. While it was blistering hot across most of America, bordering on downright dangerous in most of the midwest, I can happily report that it was absolutely divine on "Island that shall not be named but is in fact not remotely a mystery and has been identified in the past" (I think that is the actual English translation of the Eastern Algonquin word...)

The house was still largely occupied by members of Smoking Hot Roommate's mother's family, so there were a ton of people there, and tons of activity. LK has finally gotten to the point that she will put her toes in the sand, although it was a long process to get to that point...(what can I say, she has some complexes;-)). They really do love the beach, which makes me super happy. I don't know what I will do if I have beach-hating children...

We also found out that they love lobster, especially MA, who devoured most of the tail of a three-pounder. Let's hope she doesn't get too attached to that habit. Also, ice cream, but we already knew that;-)

The bad news is that the girls got WAY out of their normal routine...waking up late, staying awake until almost 11:00, napping from like 3:30 until after 5:00 (normal nap time is from about 12:30 to 3:00 or so). They are not going to be really fun campers at day care today, but the teachers there will get them back into their routine in no time. They have a magic way of doing that...

Overall, summer plans are pretty well set. Munchkin and I are heading on a college tour in three weeks, and Frenchie is coming after that for a week or so. Tinkerbelle is going to come for most of a week, too, maybe by herself and maybe with one of our cousins. Super excited about that, obvs;-).

And now, back to work...phooey...vacationing is MUCH more fun...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Three Things Before the Fourth

I was going to write about health care and the Supreme Court, but I can't bring myself to be that serious (short version, the ruling seems really confusing...not that the law was upheld, but that it was upheld in the way that it was). Maybe next week, although frankly there will probably be a bigger news story by then. So, on to my three things...

First of all, Magic Mike is awesome...just thought you needed to know that. It's not a terrible movie, really, and there is just so much campy man candy that it can't be counted as anything other than fantastic.

Second, I am pretty sure that Munchkin got maybe a little bit drunk at the wedding she went to on Saturday, but she won't cop to it. She stayed with another friend of hers, so I didn't see her until Sunday, and she had the good sense to not claim a hangover...but she was definitely dragging a little bit.

Third...headed to the beach for the next five days, and looking forward to it very much! Weather should be good, there should be tons of people around and everyone should be in a great mood. There will hopefully also be fireworks!

And that's all for now...class dismissed!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More responsible parenting

Munchkin is coming home this weekend...she is going to a wedding on Saturday of a girl that she worked with the last couple of years at the beach.

(And yes, the thought of her being at a non-family wedding by herself makes me want to put her in a dress that is clearly marked "I am only 17"...but that is not my point here).

Her plan was to come home Saturday morning, go pretty much straight to the wedding, and then head back to the beach on Sunday. Smoking Hot Roommate and I nixed that plan, however, and we are making her come home on Friday because we have an incredibly important matter to attend to on Friday night.

A monumentally important, potentially life-changing event that will almost certainly mark one of the seminal point or her, or really anyone's life. Magic Mike, of course...

You can admit it, I am the best big sister ever.