Friday, October 31, 2008

My piece of Real America

I don't shop at Walmart, but I do shop at Target.
I went to my brother's wedding to his partner last month. They've been together almost as long as me and Geekboy have been together. They love each other. I cried at their wedding.
I live in a red state.
Another brother just got transferred to a different military base. We're hoping that he'll be there for the rest of his hitch. He's served two tours in Iraq already. He's got twin girls on the way. I'd like him to be there for their birth.
I fired a gun before I learned how to drive. My dad belongs to the NRA. We were taught to respect firearms. Cooper won't have toy guys because guns aren't toys. He'll get his first gun, from his grandfather, when he's 12.
He already has his "reduce, reuse, recycle" sippy cup.
I know that you pay someone when you receive a knife as a gift.
My mom bakes her own bread, grows her own tomatoes, and wore birkenstocks before they were cool.
My parents live in a blue state.
I love the Constitution. If I was to name a daughter Madison, it would be after James, not after Splash.
I've eaten moose that was killed by a family member.
I've seen Rent, Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera multiple times. I'm asking for tickets to Wicked for my Birthday.
The first gulf war started on my 15th birthday. I remember because my oldest brother was on the front lines. We turned off the news long enough for me to open presents and then the news stayed on for the next three months straight.
That's when I remember my mom turning grey.
My sister and her husband have adopted four kids, two out of the foster care system. They live in a blue state.
My brother is raising his son after a nasty divorce. He lives in a red state.
My gay brother is a Republican.
So is his partner.
My sister chose to keep her baby and raise her daughter herself, and has turned out a beautiful talented wonderful teenager. They live in a blue state.
I believe in God. I go to church every week. I pray. I stand up when the flag goes by in a parade. I know there is more than one verse to the national anthem. I celebrate the Marine Corps birthday.
I give to charities for Christmas and birthday presents for family members, because there are so many more people in the world who need, where we only want.
That's my piece of America. It's a good piece. It looks like the America that my neighbors and friends know and live in more than the "real America" that gets used as a rhetorical weapon on the campaign trail.
I don't know the America where we hate each other. I don't know the America where we are scared of each other. That's never been my piece of America. I hope it never is.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Little steps

Cooper took his first steps on Sunday. I went to pick him up from the nursery at church on Sunday, and when I walked in the door, he let go of the table he was standing at and took four toddling little steps over to me.

We're going to beat this delay, one toddling little step at a time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


He's going to be a pterodactyl. Pictures will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It just occurred to me

We spent yesterday traveling to a large children's hospital to have a consultation with a pediatric surgeon about Cooper's diastasis. The surgeon doesn't think it needs to be surgically corrected, and does not believe it is contributing to his developmental delay, contrary to the opinion of the physical therapist. He says that this condition usually corrects itself by the time they are five, and his really is not that bad. So, yay for them not chopping open my baby, but I am now confused about what my therapist is thinking, and whether or not he knows what he is talking about. That will probably be another post.

Because it just occurred to me that I hadn't been making any plans for Halloween because I didn't want to be disappointed if we were in the hospital for Halloween, and now I need to figure out a costume in nine days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dream Town

I have a place I visit in my dreams. I always get there by train. It's just a few hours from where I am living, so I can go for a day trip. The sun is always shining. It's a small town, with victorian era buildings and cobblestone streets that meander around, too small for any vehicles so everyone is on foot. The people are friendly. There is always delicious food, and some new used bookstore to explore, and interesting things to be seen.

I went there last night in my dreams. I don't get to visit often, but when I do, it feels like the perfect vacation.

Cooper has a doctor's appointment Thursday with a new pediatrician. We'll see how this appointment goes before I commit to an ongoing relationship with this doctor. The referrals I got spoke highly of him, so that is reassuring. Next week we will be going to the large children's hospital in the next state for a consult about his diastasis with a pediatric surgeon. And then there's this dissertation thingie that I should be working on in between doctor's appointments and physical therapy sessions.

Hmmm, I wonder if I can book a return vacation.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The politics of address labels

I got a letter from the IRS on Friday telling me I owe them a lot of money. I do not owe them this money, but I now have to prove to them I do not owe them a lot of money. As I was addressing the envelope to mail in the forms today, I reached into my drawer of address labels. I do not buy return address labels. I donated to one charity group and now I will have address labels for life. You can tell how much I like you by which charity's label ends up on my correspondence with you. Bills get ugly address labels. Causes I believe in go on letters to loved ones.

My problem arose with labeling the envelope for the IRS. Because I donated to an environmental group, most of my labels support nature and birds and trees, and other "hippie" causes like that. I did not want to antagonize the faceless hardhearted IRS bureaucrat* who would open my letter pleading for clemency, so I searched and searched for the appropriate tone to strike on my letter. And then I found it. Oh Audobon Society, thank you for putting the majestic bald eagle on one of your address labels. See, I'm a proud American! My envelope proclaims it.

Or maybe I should just lay off the cold meds.

*I teach the bureaucracy in my 101 class, and know this is not true. But written here for dramatic effect. And because I am on cold meds.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Debate

I'm not a huge Sarah Palin fan. While I think she's an intelligent woman, I think she is, at this moment in her life, vastly underqualified for the position she seeks. Whether or not she ever would be qualified is a discussion lots of people are having all over the place. So I watched the debates last night while doing other things, because to give it my full attention would cause me too much pain. And yes, I must say, she exceeded the expectations of many, though those expectations had been set so low in the previous days that just by not wetting herself or accidentally setting the stage on fire I think she would have managed to accomplish that.

She was the pre-Couric interview Palin, who I still had plenty of problems with. But as many problems as I had with the talking points style of her debating, not answering the questions, winking at the camera, and thinking that just because she says it makes it true (and I just loved Biden nailing her on the maverick claim at the end, which was perfectly done in time and tone), can someone besides Chris Matthews please follow up on this:

"I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate."

I'm assuming that she hasn't actually read the Constitution, so let me tell you what the Constitution says about the Vice President.

Article 1, Section 3. The Vice President of 
the United States shall be President of the Senate, but
shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also
a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice
President, or when he shall exercise the Office of
President of the United States.

That's the section about the vice presidential role with the Senate. Article 2 of the Constitution discusses how the Vice President is elected (which is changed by Amendment 12, to prevent another Aaron Burr fiasco), acting as president in case of removal or death of the President and impeachment.

And then there is Amendment 20, which formalizes the line of succession, and actually makes the Vice President become President because if you actually read the Constitution, Article 2 doesn't say the Vice President becomes President upon death or removal of the President, just that he or she acts as such, so this codifies previous practice.

Now, I'm not sure where you are getting your Constitution support there for an enlarged role in the Senate. You sure aren't getting it from Farrand's transcription of Madison's notes. If you read those (Friday, September 7, 1787), you'll see that the Framers gave the job of Senate president to the Vice President so he would have something to do, and so a Senator wouldn't have to act as president and not be able to vote and represent their own state, not to enforce the president's legislative agenda on the Senate. They explicitly stated it was not to give the vice-president a legislative function. To argue that there is a robust legislative role for the Vice President's office is to ignore the entire concept of checks and balances upon which our Constitution was founded. This is the Cheney Doctrine we're hearing. It's dangerous. It's wrong. It's fundamentally against the principles upon which our country was based. Dare I say it's un-American? And just because you wink at me when you say it, doesn't make it okay.
Powered by Blogger.