Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

Julian hopes your holiday season continues to be filled with toys, while Simon hopes it will be filled with tuna. They both agree that tuna filled with toys and toys filled with tuna are bad ideas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Further Proof The End Is Nigh

Here is a picture of the skirt I found at the thrift store the other day. If the pattern hadn't been so cool, I probably wouldn't have even tried this skirt on. Luckily, I did, as it was a great buy ($3) and fits perfectly. No straining of the zipper, no muffin top.

Why, you ask, would I have passed on this skirt?
Clearly, this whole vanity sizing thing is out of control if I am now a size 0.

So if you find yourself feeling excessively belligerent, hungry, if you suspect you are coming down with something, and have thoughts about shuffling off this mortal coil, it may not be due to all the stress of the holidays. The cause of your distress may be standing right next to you in checkout line.

Don't worry, though. Rumor has it, they have hung up their saddles and are every bit as enamored of cheap cashmere and 500 thread count sheets as the rest of us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm Dreaming Of A Drunk Christmas

I covet these candy cane shot glasses.

However, I think these would be incredibly dangerous for someone like me. Because while my first thought is "yum", my second thought is "how many shots would it take to get those to dissolve?" And trust me on this one, I have more self-control and, apparently, a stronger desire to know THE TRUTH than Mr. Owl.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh How I Love A Good Conspiracy Theory

Years ago, a friend of mine met a famous journalist who had interviewed Barbara Bush. the interviewer had asked the former First Lady what she thought about the prospect of her son becoming President. Apparently, Barbara started going on about how absolutely intelligent and perfect for the job her son, Jeb, was and the reporter had to delicately explain that she had been asking about her son, George. At which point Barbara got a bit awkward and managed to say something very diplomatic along the lines of, "I love all my children." Keep in mind, I got this story second (or is it third) hand and it smacks of urban legend. But it sounds totally believable, doesn't it?

I'll admit, every time I see a photo of Barbara Bush, I am reminded of that scene in Austin Powers when Austin is introduced to Basil Exposition's mother and Austin attempts to remove her "wig" while shouting, "that's not your mother, that's a man, baby!" Something about her just strikes me as off.

And now I found this article which suggests she is the actually the love child of British occultist Aleister Crowley (a.k.a "The Wickedest Man In The World") and feel that everything is explained. I mean, it certainly places her comments that Hurricane Katrina refugees who had been evacuated to Texas were "underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them" into a context. And if you believe that there is a genetic component to drug use and addiction, it explains her son's well publicized alcoholism, as well as his religious zeal.

However, as wonderful an explanation as this is for our President, I must remain skeptical as this conspiracy theory fails to offer any insight into why Dick Cheney is the way he is.

P.S. Before anyone gets angry, please remember that I called myself a Cylon yesterday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Robots, They're Just Like You And Me

According to this website's advice on How To Spot A Cylon, these are some defining characteristics for which humans should be on the lookout
Do they ask questions about classified subjects?
Do they seem unusually strong, smart or self-assured?
Do they say God instead of Gods?
Have you seen them before, but you know it's not the same person?
Do you see them hanging around secured or restricted areas?
Do they seem to hear music that no one else can hear?
Do they seem unusually fearless, as if death has no meaning for them?
Do they exhibit sociopathic behavior around other humans, especially defenseless children?
Are they unusually adept, almost empathic, with machines?
Does their spine glow red when they get... excited?
I don't want to alarm anyone (Fred) but it would seem that Julian and I are Cylons. Julian gets a bit emotionally attached to trucks and televisions and he is a frightening little sociopath (though some may call this normal toddler behavior and the so-called defenseless children with whom he associates display similar behavior). Not to mention that he is unusually strong and fearless (though, again, does death have meaning for a toddler?) As for me, I hear music no one else can hear and I have developed an unnatural attachment to this laptop computer. Admittedly, I am an older model, farther back in the evolutionary process.

I am telling you all this for your own good. You must remember, the Cylons look like us now. Be aware. Be vigilant.

Monday, December 17, 2007


My friend, Maria, used to say that she was planning on having no regrets and would "never to be able to climb onstage with Frank Sinatra." She said this back when we were nineteen. I am pretty sure that if I asked her, today, that she, like the rest of us, would be able to name one or two things she would have done differently, if she had the chance.

However, as much as I like to complain about how tragic and sad my life is, I don't know that I have any big regrets, or at least, nothing that was within my power to have gone differently. yes, I look back and think I should have handled certain events in my past differently, but in order to have done that, I would need to know then what I know now and that wouldn't be possible.

A few weeks ago, I posted a video of the Doctor Who Children in Need 2007 special wherein Doctor Number 10 (David Tennant) encounters Doctor Number 5 (Peter Davison). It was sweet. Also, it mirrored a wish I have had that I could go back in time and tell my younger self that everything will work out, that I will be okay, that no matter how weak and hopeless I feel in the moment, I have the strength to get through it, that my future is not as bleak as I may have felt it to be.

Which brings me to New Order's song Regret.

It was released in the spring of 1993, when I was working on my thesis and looking with terror at the yawning abyss of the unknown that was the future. I remember sitting in my bedroom, at the computer, typing away. I remember how afraid I was at the prospect that I couldn't count on staying friends with anyone once I left, that I would no longer be a student, and that I would officially be an adult in every sense of the word.

So I listen to this song and it feels like a conversation between my 21 year old self and my 35 year old self across the fourteen year span (with a few comments by my older self to Fred, explaining the person I once was to them, though Fred actually knew me back then, so really, he doesn't need much clarification). And I can see that girl I once was an say "It will be all right, you may regret everything now, but someday, you won't. You may lose people along the way, but you will find others who mean more to you and you may renew some of these friendships which you are so sure you will lose. You'll be happy for every single moment, you will not want to change a thing."

Of course, the way we know it is a song and imaginary the fact that if this were some sort of time machine, there would have been a line which could be interpreted as "you had better stop mooning over these issues and work a little harder on that thesis, missy, because you will regret that spending all this time being depressed over a boy and over the future when you could have spent it researching and writing."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance

I understand anger. I understand saying things you cannot take back. I understand being hurt. What I cannot understand is suddenly losing the love you felt for someone else.

Understand it or not, it seems like it is a constant theme in my life. I become friends with someone, that person continuously tells me how cool I am, how much I mean to them, and then I am abandoned. And because I do not understand how someone can suddenly cease to care, I keep banging my head against the wall, trying to break through and renew the bonds of friendship that have been severed.

As you may well imagine, I am a bit skittish when it comes to making new friends. I hesitate because, frankly, I don't want to risk giving a piece of my heart to someone who will carelessly discard it. And my fear that this will happen makes me tedious with the friends I already have (for is there anything more tedious than having someone suspect you will grow tired of them or so insulting as having one constantly doubt your loyalty?) Someone I knew in college once described it as "putting so much importance on the last six seconds and ignoring the last six months."

I tell myself that just because this happened to me when I was ten (then my friend abandoned me because I skipped a grade and she didn't. Also, I was told later, because I started to develop breasts), just because this happened to me when I was sixteen (that time, the friendship ended because my best friend did what he had done many times before, blew up at me and stormed off, but that time I didn't call him to apologize for whatever I had done that had set him off-not that I ever knew, but I had previously apologized, all the same), just because this happened in college, does not mean it will happen to me as an adult. In theory, adults are more mature and simply do not have time for that sort of drama. And I am busy with Julian and Fred and the demands of life, it isn't like I have all that much time to dwell on whether someone wants to be my friend or not.

But just because we are grownups now and should be able to talk through our issues with the people we claim to love doesn't mean this actually happens. And just because I am a wife and a mother doesn't mean I don't sometimes get sad when I think of the friendships I have lost.

The thing about thinking that everything is your fault is that it means that you have the ability to control what happens. It isn't true, however. There are things outside of one's control. No matter how much you may love someone and no matter how willing you are to discuss whatever conflicts have arisen, you are only in charge of yourself. You cannot make someone be your friend. You cannot make someone love you. Even if they once did.

So while I can't understand how you can love someone and call them your best friend one day and then, literally, the next day want to have nothing to do with them and ignore all overtures of friendship and reconciliation, I have to accept that this happens.

Sometimes, the only thing you can do is stop trying and let go. And take comfort in the knowledge that Sinead has been there, too, and to wonder if I should get her haircut (see second video).

"Sometimes they have indescribable odors"

Chinese parents buy foreign toys for their own children.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Adoption Gone Right

An animated version of the book Little Miss Spider. Susan Sarandon narrates.

Adoption Gone Wrong

Biological connection has been on my mind this week.

It started with the episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where the man finds out that his wife has been having an affair and the son he adores, the child who is the center of his life, is not his biological son. It ended badly, with the lover asking for custody (um, the kid is three and you are only now interested because it turns out the sperm that made him was yours? What about the man who has raised him?) and then the father (the real one, the one who tucked the boy in at night and hugged him when he had nightmares) killing his wife when she told him she was taking his son away. I was angry and bitter, despite the fact that I knew it to be fiction, at the notion that biology meant something, that anyone would suggest that taking a child away from the father he knows simply because he doesn't share the same DNA is a good thing.

But then, the pitfalls of foreign adoption seem to be this week's big news. First, there was the Newsweek article detailing how some adopted children have severe emotional and behavioral problems. Then came the story about the Dutch diplomat and his wife who have abandoned returned the South Korean girl they adopted seven years ago (when she was four months old) because she has failed to adapt to their culture. Finally, Guatemala has approved the law which will tighten the requirements for adoption, but will allow pending adoptions to go through.

While my gut reaction to the Dutch diplomat's story was "there has to be more involved than what has been reported" I have changed my mind and decided these people are selfish and awful people. They adopted this child at four months and she has lived with them for seven years. Any failure for this child to integrate into their lives is theirs and not hers. Because it defies logic that a four month old baby would already have absorbed so much of its natal culture that it would be unable to adapt after seven years of living in another one.

Still, I would rather the child be given back to the adoption agency than that she be in the care of people who do not want her. Because surely being raised by people who do not want you is worse than being raised in an orphanage, no matter how well off the people may be. You don't want this child to end up beaten or dead because the parents couldn't cope with raising her.

I used to say that I wanted to adopt children, that I didn't see the point in making more children when there were so many children in this world in need of homes and families. But who can say that the love I would provide would be greater than the love an individual child may experience at a particular orphanage? I have met an adult foreign adoptee who remembers the orphanage before adoption and has extremely positive feelings about the place. Isn't it arrogant to assume that the life one can offer in America is superior simply because we can offer more a child more material wealth? What surprised me about the Newsweek article was how few of the profiled parents who adopted older children (and by older, I mean children over the age of two) mentioned seeking out therapy/family counseling before having problems. Personally, if I was suddenly gifted with a toddler, I would seek out some help not simply because the child may have problems stemming from what he/she experienced prior to arriving on my doorstep, but because the transition must be a terrifying experience for this child and I am not sure that simply providing hugs and kisses would be enough.

All this is making me wonder if I am an imperfect person and an imperfect mother. Julian had nine months to leave a physical mark upon me before we ever met and then for years after as I fed him milk created by my body, from my blood. As Julian grows, I am struck by all the ways he is like me and not like me, all the ways he is like Fred and not like Fred, all the memories of my own childhood which rise to the surface due to something Julian does, and all the physical similarities which cannot be ignored. To love one's biological child means loving someone to whom one has a tangible physical connection that all can see. To love one's own biological child is a form of self-love.

So while I do believe that I could love any child, what if I am wrong? Obviously being a parent means so much more than simply providing genetic material and a warm place to grow, but what if, for whatever reason, I couldn't love another child as much as I love Julian? This isn't the sort of thing one learns about one's self until the deed has been done.

Am I being too hard on all those adoptive parents who have returned their adoptive children? They must have entered the relationships with high hopes and the belief that they would love this child with all their heart. Something went wrong along the way. But regardless of what happened, it is hard not to judge them harshly because they were adults and had some control over the turn of events, whereas the children involved were completely helpless. While there may be no clear villains, it is clear who the victims are.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow And Subsequent Fallout

The view from our front door last Wednesday night

The garden

The view from the back door

Julian helped shovel.

And then Julian and Fred built a snowbear.

All this snow inspired me to, finally, buy a pair of waterproof boots (though not technically snow boots).

Julian was kind enough to model them for a photo. I also designed and knit myself a hat. Julian was not quite as accommodating for this photo.

Which meant I had to model the hat myself.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Drag Kitty

No, that isn't Simon in a wig, but I appreciate that the manufacturers of this fabulous product have been kind enough to use a cat model who looks enough like Simon that we all get the general idea of how Simon would look if he chose to go as RuPaul for Halloween. Because, as anyone who has met Simon can attest, he could totally pull it off.

However, as much as he loves to sing, I think Carol Channing may be a bit of a stretch.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

You Got Philip Glass In My Sesame Street...

Absolutely anything I might say, be it witty or ironic or profound, could not possibly do this justice.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh, So That's What It Stands For...

Airline's 'MILF' Promo Not What You Think

But they say they "had no idea" what the term meant. Um, I have a feeling that even my parents have heard the term by now. Don't people in advertising and marketing consider themselves to be ahead of the pack when it comes to trends and slang and stuff?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Same Old, Same Old

Or when the going gets tough, the desperate talk trash.

I don't know. Personally, if I were Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't be bringing the words "character" or "financial irregularities" into the debate. And while bringing up kindergarten essays of Barack Obama's does demonstrate that he has been interested in becoming president for decades, I don't really consider an essay by a five year old to demonstrate the same level of ambition as, say, staying in a marriage with an adulterous husband and voting to support an unjust war. But hey, that's just me.

As I have said before, if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, I think we are all but assured four more years of a Republican presidency.

However, I guess one positive about all this is that she is demonstrating that a woman can go negative just as strongly as male politicians. Sadly, this isn't what I have in mind when I say I want full gender equality.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Holiday Pictures A Go-Go

Last night, we put up our holiday decorations.

Which, for us, meant putting up stockings, stringing some lights around the fireplace, placing some ornaments on the mantle and calling it a day.

We really like the way this turned out.

While we have always planned to eventually get a tree, we never do. A tree seems like so much more work and I can't imagine it being that much more festive.

Obviously, we are not about to let symbolism get in the way of lights and sparkles.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Not Quite What I Expected To Hear Before My First Cup Of Coffee This Morning

"There's a monster in the center of my life!"

Now, if I had said this, it would have made perfect sense (as Julian is the Monster Man and he is the center of my universe). But it has been over fourteen hours and I still have no idea what Julian meant by this (Fred, also, is mystified).

However, I am pretty sure the robots weren't involved.