Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain Don't Die

America's going to hell in a handbag.

I guess I sound negative but I'm so completely dumbfounded and disgusted by the latest turn of events in the presidential race that my fingers lack the happiness to type.

Plainly speaking: Palin.

Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a day in age when credentials qualified one for the job of next-in-line to the Oval Office rather than the vomit of one too many a political think-tank?

Oh no, that would not be sexy. Nope. Because we all know that the political science/ history professor at the local state commuter college is not as hot as the breast pumping Governor of Alaska.

Yikes. I'm sorry, I heard she actually breast fed in the office -- how crazy! How wholesome! How motherly (for 5 minutes).

Do I sound intolerant? Archaic? Crazy and wickedly medieval to not be happy with the so-called "conservative" woman picked to be McCain's running mate? Guilty. So tolerate me in my dissent and I'll tolerate you in your idiocy. Sounds fair.

If I sound ruffled it's only because I've been on a handful of "Catholic" sites where woman are rallying behind Palin. I can only gander they're cheerful for a handful of reasons:

1. Radical feminism is the norm in our culture and anyone who says 'boo' to it gets roasted at the stake. So even the girls who give up their BA's and MBA's for their babies feel obliged to do a constant "this works for me and not for you / and not for you but for me / and not for you but for me" song and dance until every last child is registered for Head Start.

2. They're plain stupid and buy the lie that someone can be a good mother even if they are not ever physically present; I'm sorry but I want my Governor or VP to be putting in at least a good 60 -- 80 hours a week -- heck if my podiatrist husband has to, shouldn't my flippin' politicians?!!

3. They like to see the glossy photo's of Mrs. Fancy Pants having her cake and eating it too when really she has no cake at all because it's sitting on the counter in her Alaskan chateau being iced by her housekeeper.

Got it, McCain?! So don't try to buy my vote with the "Mother" card. Mothers wipe noses and butts and pour juice and are there to hear how your day was the second you walk in and drop your book bag on the table. Sure there are some women who manage to do so while holding certain types of jobs -- like running part time hot dog stands or selling awful, evil direct sales products but the second a mom begins to rack up the hours away from her youngin's, she becomes less and less "mom" and more and more "(Fill in the blank)" and unless you're radically blessed with days comprised with more than the typically allotted 24 hours, I've got 4 words for you:
I Don't Buy It.

So that's the main reason I'm disgusted with Palin: A mother of 5 young children has no place taking such an active role in politics. period (like I said, tolerate me in my dissent, all you promoters of "tolerance.") The other two reasons are a bit more obvious: Inexperience and Alaska.

Inexperience: At 44, Palin's only been on the political scene for 8 years. She has more experience as a beauty queen than as a Governor and, heaven forbid, a Vice President and, heaven forbid, a President.

And Alaska: She's from Alaska. I know, technically, that's in America but come on? Don't they have caribou up there? Couldn't McCain have picked someone who's rubbed elbows a bit more with main stream America?

Politics Schmolitics Bo Bolitics. I'll still take McCain over Nobama but only because I have to.

Excuse me now while I sit on my porch and pen anthems to Ron Paul, dreaming of what could have been.
Photo courtesy of Cranky Dude

Monday, August 25, 2008

La Vie En Rose

My mother has always liked things quiet. She'd nix the jazz when my dad would leave the room and her nerves would visibly settle.

She could go days in silence. I've become alot like her.

So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at her house on Thursday to have her hold out La Vie En Rose and tell me, "This is my favorite CD."

She turned on the movie's sound track and spun around the room.

"I studied French in high school so I even understand the words," she smiled as she sang along.

We loaded up the van to head for the Jersey Shore. Haven said, "Let's listen to the 'French.'"

Everyone laughed.

My dad had brought it along. My mom sang soft and slurred with her hands flitting an imagined cigarette. My dad commented on the arrangement.

"The orchestra worked well with Edith," he said.

"And she with them," she replied.

We had 4 splendid days at the beach. I forgot my camera cause I'm a jerk so I'll just have to remember my boys charging the waves and the perfect swim I had all alone while my folks watched the kids. I'll just have to remember the feeling of freedom -- running along the beach with my boys, leaping and laughing.

When we loaded back up to return home Haven again asked for the 'French.'

Of course they complied.

As mom and dad sang along, I imagined serving them cocktails in my guest cottage when they are old and gray. Offering cigarettes. A newspaper.

"Wouldn't it be great, mom, if you lost your mind and you really, truly believed you were the great Edith Piaf? Wouldn't it be great?" I asked her.

She nodded, smiled bright and kept singing with the music.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Second in Art and Angst

What the flip (as Chip would say)?!!

So I was on Netflix recently and discovered there's been a documentary made about the band Danielson Famile.

Odd, annoying thing is that the Danielson Famile is really the Smith family. Mine and theirs were childhood mates. Our parents played Kumbya around the campfire back in the day. (I'll admit I'm name dropping but not in a "Carson Daly called me on the phone" kinda way.)

As I was watching the movie, it dawned on me: Megan Smith travelled the world singing and dancing and I moved to Pennsyltucky and made babies with a foot doctor. And that's life. I'll admit, I'm jealous. I am. But just a little. Cause I love the life I lead. Wouldn't trade it for the world. But if I could have a little stardom in Barcelona in addition to my precious domesticity, I wouldn't mind. Come on, Megan. Not fair.

I think their music is totally weird and at times horribly grating and at times very beautiful. I like it though and I believe they made art in every sense of the word. I don't know if they're still together. I guess I could search for a website.

Just did (I pasted it below). So check them out. Or at least watch the movie instantly on Netflix (also below). Especially, if you're one of my siblings and want to be jealous along with me (think about it: our moms made the same hippie homemade bread and wove baskets and crap and the Smiths went and made a cool band and what did we ever do, Jesse, Jenny, Andy, Mary and Tonya???!!! -- huh?! -- order takeout? Have a party when mom and dad were in Hawaii? Go camping??!! LAME!! I tell you!! LAME!! We did our hippie heritage wrong.

I guess I shouldn't moan too much as we still have time. Got that? My house. This Saturday. 2 pm. Bring your tin cans and spoons. Your penny whistles and banjos. We'll set the porch on fire.

On another note in regard to art (I'm done with the angst), I've been reading the second book in Anne Rice's trilogy on Christ. It's excellent. I loved the first one too. She depicts Jesus in his tender humanity while preserving his innocence. I might write more about it when I'm done. In the meantime, read up and give me a call as I'm dying to have someone to talk it over with.

Here's the linkage:

Danielson Movie


Christ the Lord: Out of Nazareth and The Road to Cana by Anne Rice

Saturday, August 16, 2008

4!: 1! 2! 3! 4!: 4! 4! 4!

They say kids grow up quick but this is ridiculous.

A few weeks ago, Pete buzzed off Haven's curls (revealing the most delightful ears on the block) and broke out the size 5 clothes.

My baby is a boy.

Today, I lift a sippy cup in a toast to all your drama (like your mama), your ludicrous bedtime story requests (tell me about "a pizza cutter, a man who is strong but kind, a thing that spins called a 'spinnerit,' a purple suction cup ...."), your kindness, your sensitivity, your warm, pudgy cherub-like shape that has yet to grow long and lanky and too horribly grown up looking.

Today, I toast to you.

A pre-haircut photo with brothers ... still a baby.

And just a few days later ... my big big boy! My big boy who doesn't want his photo taken. I remember this drama. He was mad that he couldn't work the yo-yo and is trying to kick me away from him. Like I said, drama-like-his-mama (and would you check out those ears!)

Happy Birthday, Haven! I love you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Embarrass Me Apple

Fair one,

Your parents only took you out to dinner twice when you were growing up.

I asked you about it recently:"Old Country Buffet and Sizzler, right?"

You answered, "OCB and Ponderosa ... And Oh," you paused, "it was great ..."

I could see the aisles of side dishes in your eyes. Creamed corn. Mac and cheese. The big slab of beef under the hot lights ... The soft serve machine! Nirvana for a young boy sustained souly on hearty but homemade casseroles.

I wonder if you ordered a Coke. No. I'm sure it was water. "Nine waters please," your dad must have said a little nervously.

It's the same kind of nervousness you have when we go for walks like we did tonight and I spot an apple tree I had never noticed before and I get so ridiculously excited that I uncontrollably jump for apple after apple while 4 small dogs yip and nip and yap into the calm evening air. Shattering it.

You whisper, "They're sour. Leave them alone. STOP IT. Stop picking apples!"

"No, they're great. They're Granny Smith's," I yell. "I'm going to make a tart,"
jump, ker jump, ker plunk, ker plunk.
Apples falling on my head. Dogs gone wild. I suggest we bark back and you run away. Alright, walk away real fast.

As I caught up I studied your bearded profile and thought that I like how you get embarrassed when I don't. I like that you're sensitive and strong but still seven years old in some ways. Still surveying the big wide world with kind appreciation. Still polite as you were at Ponderosa that special night.

"Your children are so well behaved," the waitress must have told your mother.
"Thank you," I'm sure she whispered back.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Walnut Grove

There's something about huckleberry picking that brings out the Laura Ingalls Wilder in me.

We went early this morning to one of our secret spots. We sat in the shade. The baby slept in his stroller. Haven plucked and popped berry after berry into his finally silent mouth.

Gussie sat on my lap as my arms reached and stretched to pick the tiniest berries of the most perfect shade of blue -- blue like a robin's egg or like the sky before a storm.

We sang hymns.
"Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling ..."

And we picked and picked and picked. Hands swept over the sweetest blueberries ever made. We were all alone, just the four of us. My cut off jeans transformed into a long, flowing poplin skirt and my buzz cut became a bun, set up high.

I took a break to nurse the baby.

"Calling for you and for me. See on the portals he's waiting and watching ..."

Our favorite spot is behind a Slovakian graveyard. We pass the stones as we arrive and when we leave. We linger. Gussie loves the flags for the soldiers and I love the old names. The Myrtles and the Sophias. The Margarets and the Floralines. The girls who knew hard times in these coal mining hills. The girls who never encountered the concept of folks having disposable income (it really is an oxymoron, anyway, don't you think? ...). The girls who lost husbands and sons in the mines in these here parts (I wonder if their husbands found fulfillment in their jobs ...).

I stare at the dates that have become the summary of their days and feel connected to the Gertrudes and the Marys who also trampled this ground, toddlers in tow, to fill their baskets. The women who never had to learn the hard way the best things in life are free -- sky rocketing gas prices didn't keep Flo and Mable from the mall as they didn't have a mall. But they did have these berries and they did have babies. I'd like to think they simply knew they already had the Best Things. I'd like to think it was more simple back then. Just like I imagine a flowing skirt is rustling the grass at my feet.

I read their names and imagine what life was like when they were young mothers. Perhaps it's some sort of a communion of saints. That or a play date separated a bit by time and space. I read their names and am thankful for the simple life I lead -- thankful for the timeless happiness found in a morning full of berries, babies and singing in the shade.

"Calling, oh sinner, come home."