Friday, February 27, 2009

OH, HAPPY DAY!

It's been a tough haul these last couple of weeks.  Something's just not clicking between Saia and I.  We're constantly on opposite ends of the spectrum, and never ever ever on the same page anymore.  And she's only 5.  What am I gonna do when she's a tween?

But luckily, like -- hands on my knees thanking every saint and god I've ever read or heard about kind of lucky, everyone seems to be in a better place today.  Or at least for the duration of time that it takes me to post this entry.

So, with blue cards all around today and their outstanding performance with the Pennies for Patients project, they received their very own Barnes & Noble giftcards today, and off we went.















Two-and-a-half hours later...


He'd finally read every book on the two lower shelves and she'd managed to take us on two separate trips to the potty. 

Thankfully, they also decided on the following:




And yes, I even managed to pick up The Watchmen for Amy and Caramelo (in Spanish) for myself.



Smile, sigh.

Now just need to go straight to sleep immediately before someone goes and ruins my whole damn day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

STONE COLD TONE DEAF, BUT THEY'RE ALL OURS (you may now breathe a collective sigh of relief)

Oh, God forgive me, how I detest this song. Like, skin crawling, body cringing kind of loathing. No, seriously.

But the kids learned it at school and have taken, oh lucky lucky me, to singing it on an endless loop for the past couple of days until I ingeniously hinted that we should record them so that we would always have it and, therefore, obviate the need to, you know, keep torturing me with the live version.

Once they watched it, being the children of narcissistic fire signs that they are, they thought they were just so fabulous that they insisted we send it to their Uncle Trevor in Iraq. But then, that would've deprived YOU of partaking of my joy, so, we're sending it cyberly to meet everyone's needs.

This one's for you, Trev. We love you. *muah*

video

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I.AM.TOO.WORKING.

I HATE THAT I'M NOT WORKING!

but i love that i can say that from the comfort of my kitchen in the middle of a wednesday afternoon.

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And lately I've taken to collecting things.  Not like the crazy old lady with all the cats down the street.  (Not yet.)  But projects, actually.  Anything to make me...feel...like...I'm...still...here.  

So, right now I'm currently helping get a non-profit up and running, helping with the kids' school yearbook, volunteering in their classroom, designing forms and elearning for anyone with even the notion of a process in their head, proofreading a friends' first novel, re-editing my own half-ass attempt at a half-written three-part tell-all article about the real consequences of a DUI, and, oh, yeah, still writing that amazing story that's, you know, sorta based loosely on my life...well, okay, maybe on the life I imagined I had, coming up with new and exciting Sunday dinner and desserts, wondering why I can't seem to find anyone who'll pay me just for being me, adding 3 more tasks to my 456th To-Do List since November 3rd of last year which aren't even mentioned in this post, trying to get through the first chapter of Michael Crichton's NEXT because, I don't why, fighting with admissions officers about getting myself re-enrolled in that damn MBA program, still trying to get through the first ten minutes of the last Indiana Jones movie without falling asleep, and let's not forget that I'm now officially on my last week of the No Plot, No Problem project during which I'm somehow to supposed to now magically churn out 45, 698 words before Sunday because I only managed to eek out 4,302 over the last FOUR WEEKS!!!

Hey, at least I didn't go inseminate myself with 8 eggs.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PENNIES FOR PATIENTS

Such a proud proud mama today.

The kids were tasked to collect as much spare change as they could pull together for a program their school is sponsoring called Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to primarily help children stricken with cancer.

So, partly because I've been feeling like we're bleeding ourselves dry giving and giving and giving to this school, and partly because I really did think it would be a valuable lesson for them, I convinced the kids to go around the neighborhood to solicit additional donations besides just tapping into our own piggy banks.

And to my utter shock, they agreed. Armed with only a paper bag and a flyer explaining the program, the kids climbed up the steps to the first house, rang the doorbell, and waited. I stood about 3 feet behind them, not really knowing what to expect, but admittedly not really expecting anything.

When the gentleman came to the door, Saia spoke first. Like she'd been doing this all her life, she introduced herself, said the name of her school, and proceeded to explain without hesitation or even a hint of shyness what the program was about and what she was after.

"And you're just in kindergarten?" he asked, which became a common question throughout the remainder of the afternoon, it turns out. And they both smiled proudly.

Chago held out the bag. The man went back inside briefly, returned with a baggie full of pennies, and told them they were doing a great job. They both said, "Thank you, sir." And then they turned up the street. "My turn," Chago told her. And they were off.

And I just stood there, my mouth completely agape. Tears streaming down my face. I know I must've looked totally ridiculous. But I just couldn't believe how well they did, with no coaching, with no prompting. They knew what they were doing, they knew what they wanted, and they obviously knew how to go about getting it.

Between all the spare change they collected from our little neighborhood and completely emptying out their own (and our) piggy banks, they loaded up in their backpacks a grand total of $90.63!!   IN CHANGE, mind you!!  It was pretty amazing.

And they were just so proud of themselves, and kept asking how many children this was going to help, and whether or not they had saved anyone's life.

And I'm just feeling all wrapped up in a warm blanket today. So thrilled to see optimism and idealism in action. So excited to feel hopeful in a time when hope is finally becoming tangible. This is the kind of epidemic that needs to become viral. Oh, that humanitarianism becomes the next contagion.

[Family and friends, if you'd like to see the monsters in action, I've got a video link I can share with you via email. Sorry, they share a little too much personal information to post publicly on this blog.]

Monday, February 23, 2009

LORD, PLEASE HELP US RID THE WORLD OF THIS ABOMINABLE FIDELITY!!

So, Ken Starr (yes, THAT SAME Ken Starr) -- and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund -- filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and attempting to forcibly divorce 18,000 same-sex couples that were married in California last year? 

Yes, seriously?  Forcibly divorce!!  WTF?  Because the commitment and dedication and love that these marriages represent is just too much for them to bear (or perhaps live up to), I guess.

So now, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on March 5, 2009, with a decision expected within the next 90 days.

The Courage Campaign has created a video called "Fidelity" to help give a face to the fight.
 
Over 1 million people have watched "Fidelity." The more people who see this video, the more people will understand the totally uncalled for and unnecessary pain and the complete waste of time and our and legal resources caused by Prop 8 and Ken Starr's shameful and wantonly litigious proceedings.

After you watch the video, please join me and over 300,000 people who have signed a letter to the state Supreme Court, asking them to invalidate Prop 8 and reject Starr's case.  And, if you so choose, please forward this letter to others to ask for their support, too. 

So, with the economy in the state it is, with the victims of Hurricanes's Rita and Katrina, and the various floods, and tornadoes, and the number of deaths by guns, and the kidnappings, and the child abuse cases, and the domestic abuse and random assaults, and hell, just the damn poverty that still exists in this country, THIS is what Ken Starr feels is the greatest threat to America.

Fucking pathetic.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

IPHONE ART

It's an iPhone app called Scribble. Works like a charm when they've colored every inch of the paper activity placemats at restaurants. And then you can save and upload their artwork in two seconds with no scanning and no mess.

It's actually kinda sad to think that my children's children's children could possibly not even know what it feels like to paint with watercolors or draw with a charcoal pencil.

But on the upside, it's a whole new way to work on their fine motor skills.

BY SAIA


BY SANTIAGO

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MOVE OVER, MARIO LOPEZ

So, this week's Superbook for school is "Rosita Amor."

Chago usually breezes through his superbooks in a day, takes it back, gets the next one, and so on and so forth.  

But with Rosita Amor, we've had just a little bit of difficulty.  There are a number of Spanish words in the book, that are likely to be read by most of the children in an anglicized way, I know, but which we insist our children read correctly.  Like, Rosita Amor, Pedro's Bodega, and Puerto Rico, for instance.

And because of our last name, the kids really don't have any trouble at all rolling their r's, but for whatever reason, these words for Chago just demanded emphasis.  And nothing that I could say or do seemed to deter him from that path.

We must've read that damn book 10 times, and every single time just as I'm saying "It's just another word.  Just read it like you would any other word on the page,"  he's already halfway into his emcee voice as he says, "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroh-SEE-tha  Ahhhhhh-morrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"  Like she's running up the aisle on the Price is Right, boobies jiggling and all.

"Bubba, there's no need for all the emphasis.  Just read it normally," I plead.

"PEHHHHHHH-drrrrrrrrrrrro's Boh-DEHHHHHHHHHH-gahhhhhhh!!" he continues.

"Chago, come on, son.  Is that really how you're gonna read it tomorrow?"

"But I really like that word," he says.  "Boh-DEHHHHHH-gahhhhhhhh," he repeats, letting it roll slowly around his mouth and off his tongue like maple syrup or creme brulee.

"Yes, babe, they're great words, but we really just need to get through this book sometime tonight."

"Okay, okay," he says.  "Rrrrrrrrroh-SEE-tha missed all the flowers of...of...PUERRRRRRR-toh RRRRRRRRRRRRi-coh!!!!!"

Oh, forget it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AND NOW...A LITANY OF AILMENTS

"Time to go kiddos," Amy hollers as she heads downstairs to round them up.

And I can hear the negotiations begin even before she finishes her sentence.

"But, Mommy," he cries between brushes.  "I'm just sooo tired." [After 4 days off, I would imagine so.]

And when Amy doesn't reply, he tries another angle.

"And, Mommy..."

"Keep brushing, boy," she says sternly.

"But my tummy hurts," he whines.  Brush, brush, brush.

Silence from the Momminator.

And it's a virtual certainty that Saia shifts directly into the Angel Child with the Glowing Halo when he's heading down this path, knowing full well that she'll reap all the glorious praises and be able to taunt him with it mercilessly for the rest of the day.

"All done," she sings sweetly as she bounces off the step stool and stands by the back door, all dressed, bed made, hair brushed, and ready to go.

"Great job, baby girl," Mommy says, tossing a sideways glance back at the procrastinator.

"UGH!!!" he yells as she shoves his Lion King toothbrush and Wall-E toothpaste back into the fingerprint covered medicine cabinet.

And I can almost hear the wheels churning in his head. There's just got to be a way.

And the in a much calmer voice he says, "Mommy?"

"Yes, son?"

"Mommy, can I tell you something?" as he stands there, hair still unkempt, with no shirt, no shoes, and a thin strand of icky blue gel still clinging to his chin.

"Of course, son," she says in that exasperated tone that he knows all too well, but has yet to figure out how to completely sidestep.

"I just don't think I'm going to go to school today."

And the last thing I heard was the crashing sound of thunderbolts and a not-so-mild volcanic eruption.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER

Rain, rain, and more rain.

Stayed home all day on Sunday, to the sheer joy and pleasure of our little can-we-stay-in-our-PJs-all-day-mom monsters. Mommy made popcorn and we watched The Waterhorse. Again.

At one point, the Captain of the military was ordering his soldiers to "fire at will" upon what they believed to be an invading German submarine in the Loch.

"But why do they want to shoot at Will, Mom?" [I know, I know, it's like a neverending series of bad puns with these two.]

Played a round of Operation.  Saia won.  Again.

And then it was dinner time. On the menu last night:
Slow-roasted Pork with homemade onion gravy
Rosemary and Olive Oil Fingerling Potatoes
Buttered Brussel Sprouts
and Flan with Carmelized Walnuts for dessert
Read books before bedtime, and Saia even had time to write in her diary (which she hides nightly in a new location).

All in all, a very Leave it to Beaver kind of day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

THE MONSTER INSIDE

"Mommy, look, read this. It tells you all about my little monster inside," he says while Amy is dressing for work this morning.

She takes the envelope and flips the blank note over and back with a puzzled look on her face.

"There's nothing on here, Bubba."

"Yes, yes, there is. It's right there. It tells you all about MoMo, my little monster."

And she looks up at me and back at him, and then points to a random place on the page. "Here?"

"Oh, I see what's happening," he says. "You just can't see it, Mommy, because you're a grown up. Only children can see it. It tells me right here all about how he's a good little monster for now -- you know, because he's still small -- but then," he slides his finger along the blank page as though he's reading to her, "it says he's going to grow up to be a big monster soon."

"Mm..." she says. "So, are you just pretending to read this or is this something you can actually see?"

"Oh, no, I can really see it. It's non-fiction," and off he goes back downstairs to retell the story to his sister.

"Should we be concerned?" we wonder.

And then over the kids' monitor we hear him telling her, "And he tells me what to do, Saia. But don't worry, I won't let him harm you."

[Tuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, Tuh-nuh-nuh-nuh]
That was the Twilight Zone, by the way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

SAIA SAVINGS AND LOAN

Another Terrible Mom moment brought to you by the makers of Doesn't This Ever Get Any Easier, and sponsored by the How Much Have We Already Put Into This Damn School company.

---

"Do you have any cash on you, babe?"

"No, I'm tapped out," Amy replies as she's heading out the door. "Why?"

"Today's their Valentine's party at school and they'll want to send Valentine Grams to each other, and it's Thursday so ice cream day again, and then they need to buy those mystery bags for the Open House tonight, AND we still owe them for all their blue cards this week."

"You won't have time to stop on the way in?" she asks.

"No, not today. We won't make it on time, and Chago will NEVER let me hear the end of it if we're late again."

"Okay," she laughs, "let me see what I can find."

So, I get my things together and head down to the garage. Amy's got the kids loaded up and all their valentines perched neatly on the front seat ready to go.

As she leans in to kiss me goodbye, she slips 10 bucks discreetly into the palm of my hand like I'm a bellhop in Vegas.

"It's from Saia's piggy bank," she whispers. "That girl's got some cash in there!"

"Ugh," I look at my watch. "We'll just have to pay her back later."

"Again," we both mutter under our breaths.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TACKLING THE OCTOPUS

Okay, I can't take it anymore.

I HAVE to say something about this woman, this excessive obsessive breeder on welfare. Because I just can't decide anymore if she's a complete imbecile or an evil genius. I mean, it goes beyond the what-kind-of-woman-would-take-that-kind-of-risk debate. And has moved right into the how-can-she-use-my-taxpayer-dollars-to-fund-her-15-minutes-of-fame?!?!

And this is not at all about women choosing to have large families on small incomes or even about women choosing to sustain high-risk pregnancies.

This is about the freakshow that has become of Nadya Suleman. It just seems like it's one thing after another in a series of outrageous factoids with this woman:

1) First, we heard she's a single mother -- the community compassion swelled
2) Then, that she's already got 6 at home -- her own mother labels her as obsessed with having children
3) Then, that all 6 at home are all under the age of 8!!!
3) She's unemployed -- and whatever alternative source of income she had, she spent on in vitro services
4) The alternative sources of income turned out to be the fruits of a lawsuit and disability checks
5) 3 of her 6 children at home are disabled and receiving federal assistance
6) She flat out lied that she was not receiving federal assistance
7) She's supposedly going to school, although that's not been confirmed, and expects to suddenly be able to care for her 14 children once she receives her degree in, what, social work -- is she serious???
8) The donor is alive and well and choosing not to be involved -- and she's okay with that
9) She used the same doctor for in vitro procedures for all 14 of her children
10) The fake father's name on the children's birth certificates is an anglicized version of her own father's name
11) And now they're saying she's had work done to be like Angelina Jolie -- WTF??? Maybe she should've been more like Angelina and sold the first pics of her octet for a couple mil to help the orphaned children of New Orleans.

But the list truly does goes on and on. Every day a new tidbit is released or discovered. And when she hired a publicist first thing I actually thought, now there's a smart woman. Let the press be handled by the pros. You just stay behind the scenes. But after that first statement released by her publicists when she was still in the hospital, we haven't heard hide nor hair from them. And you know they're just chomping at the bit, pulling out their own hair everytime she opens her mouth. They're all about spin control. But baby, this woman has done spun out of control.

And the only saving grace, the only really good thing I can see about any of this is that at the very very least all of these children, including the 6 which may have flown under the radar previously, will now be watched like a hawk by the vulturous media, so the chances of them growing up healthier and in a safer environment (albeit in the not always gentle limelight) than they might have prior to the circus coming to town is pretty high. And thank the gods for that one.

But the worst part about this is that as soon as Oprah and Fox and MTV and VH1 and TLC start the bidding wars for the rights to her story/reality show, we've once again validated her fucked up rationalization and condoned her behavior (and the reprehensible behavior of her fertility specialist) as a society.

Meanwhile, you'll also notice how the right-to-lifers are conveniently quiet about all of this. Why aren't they coming to her aid? Isn't she their poster child? Or maybe the fact that there's no father in the picture automatically disqualifies her from their "protection"?

Speaking of, and then I'm done bitching about this, somebody needs to tell that delusional woman that no matter how many times she uses the word "unconventional" in an interview, it doesn't legitimize her selfish decisions or rationalize her horrendous judgment. She's not unconventional at all. In fact, she's conventionally greedy and the epitome of child exploitation.

Ok, toxins all out. Your turn to purge. Trust me, you'll feel better.

Monday, February 09, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SONIA!!

Feliz cumpleanos, chiquita. Hope you had a great one.

And please, it's really not necessary to share any pictures. :P
POST-POST NOTE:

Okay, had to post this pic created by one of Sonia's friends from work. It's just too clever, and I wish I'd thought of it first.

Now would be a good time to long onto Blogger, Sonia, and give the woman her proper credit. :)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

OFF-ROADING


So, you know you're a redneck when you move to a major metropolitan area and still seek out little farm animals, random cattle ranches, and any unfenced and unposted property suitable for off-roading on the weekends.

And just in case you couldn't picture the absurdity in your heads, here we are in full motion:

[sorry, technical difficulties -- will try again soon, but you can view it on our Facebook page if you just can't wait]
video

Friday, February 06, 2009

LAW AND ORDER


"MAAAAA-MAAAAA!!!!!" she screams, as she zips in from the patio with him hot on her little tail.

"NO, MAMA," he yells from the patio, "SHE'S LYING!!!!" And he frantically kicks his shoes off before coming inside to level his defense.

"Mama, Santiago..." huff, puff... "Santiago..." she tries to quickly get out. "He...tied me up." Her hands very dramatically positioned upon both her flushed cheeks after she theatrically swipes the back of her hand across her forehead and as she heaves in and out trying to catch her breath or possibly incite hyperventilation if this so happens to not go her way.

But it was too little, too late. The boy was in. And the appeal process had begun.

"Mom," he says very calmly, standing shoulder to shoulder with his quote-unquote-victim and looking me straight in the eye. His hands outstretched, palms up, as he prepares to plead his case.

And she opens her mouth, feigning offense, knowing she's usually done for at this point. Because he can argue and negotiate himself out of World War III. And as she begins to try to interject, I raise my palm to shush her and say, "It's his turn. You'll get your rebuttal in just a second."

He grins a little until I flash him the look, and then he straightens up, consciously composing himself as he calmly says with a slight shrug of his shoulders,"She told me to."

And with a final over-exaggerated gasp and a roll of her eyes, she concedes and marches off to her room.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

SOMETHING'S OBVIOUSLY BUGGING ME TODAY

It's raining today.

I love the smell of rain. Well, I guess it's actually the smell of the wet dirt. But you know what I mean.

Totally takes me back to our ranch in Texas. Walking across the muddy roads in our cowboy boots, checking the fence for broken barbed wire. And always right after the first rain came those little red furry bugs. You remember? They were the cutest little things, bright crimson spots zipping across the cattle trails. And if you could manage to catch one, it'd scurry all over your hand, tickling you until you just had to drop it, and then off it would go again to bury itself in the muck until the next rainstorm.

Well, come to find out the little f*ckers are actually called Red Velvet Mites. And while they are, to be fair, very good for the environment, THEY. ARE. STILL. MITES.

And since I'm apparently on a bug kick today, do you also remember those other tiny backwards crawling thingies that lived in these little inverted sand cones? Well, they're called Ant Lions. Who knew? This site has a ton of videos of the little suckers digging their pit, capturing and killing their prey, and sucking out every last little drop of life: The AntLion Pit.

I can't even count all on my fingers and toes how many of those predacious creatures I cupped in my hands and tenderly poked and prodded into digging itself, butt first, into the crook between my fingers.

Oh, oh, oh, and what about those doodle bugs?!?!? AGGGHHHH!!!!!

Oh, wait, you know what, according to The AntLion Pit site referenced above, the AntLion is actually also known as the doodle bug.  Hm.  But for us, a doodle bug was that little black beetle that rolled poop for a living with its hind legs! And that's all they did. Morning til night. From the cow patty to the other side of the road and back again. Rollin', rollin', rollin'.

Come to think of it, maybe we called it a "doo-doo" bug.  Hmm...  Now that would make more sense.



Okay, the Gods of Google have kindly revealed to me that it is actually called a Dung Beetle.  Also, very sensical.  Smart people, those entomologists.  But what I loved most about my quick 2.5-second research session was that it turned up in the top 5, the mythological story of Sisyphus and his neverending curse to roll a boulder uphill as an example of the absurdity of man's search for meaning,  and then some fantastic blogs about about how this little insignificant beetle with a pretty crappy occupation (ha!) has learned over time to just step aside when the shit begins to roll down hill.  

Lessons for the ages, I tell ya.  Wall Street, are you listening?

And then, of course, you can't have claimed to have had an actual childhood without having caught at least one earthworm before the age of 8. 

Bleccchhh! When I think about how much time these little creepy crawlies spent in my hands, in jars in my room, under my bed, until they dried up into crinkly little earthworm crispies. Oh, I'm sooo not gonna be able to sleep tonight!!!

And let's not forget the stink bug!!  Oh, man, I think we actually used to use that as a weapon -- yep, I remember distinctly flinging them across the yard at my brother's annoying little friends like putrid kicking paint balls!!!   

Man, those were the days.

Okay, your turn. What are some of the bugs and worms from your childhood that you would never DREAM of letting your children (or nieces/nephews) near now that you're a much more hygienic, way overinformed, but supposedly rational-thinking adult?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

SOMEONE'S HILL, SOMEONE ELSE'S MOUNTAIN

"Come on, beauty," Mommy says as she bends down so that Saia can scramble and claw her way up onto her back for a piggyback ride down to bed last night.

"But what about me?" Chago whines.

"Well, bubba, I guess you're stuck with me," I say as I turn around so he can climb aboard.

"But Mom!" he says. "You gotta squat down like Mommy does. All the way down," he says pointing to the carpet.

"No, no, baby, trust me," I say. "I was a cheerleader. This is how we did it. It works great." And I bend my right leg back so that he can use my calf as a step stool as I reach back over my shoulders to pull him up. It's an effortless, seamless, one-step move. Done it a hundred times (a hundred years ago, yeah, but still.)

Saia could've done it in a second. But...

"AGH!!!" he yells at me, and I suddenly feel like Lucy from the Peanuts, depriving him of his brief moment of joy.

"No, hold on, pop, you're almost there. You have to step and pull up at the same time," I say, lunging a little further down now and stretching as far back as I can to reach his little hands.

"Mom!" he says as he slips off for like the 5th time, "Can you just do it the right way now? I just can't do it your way."

"Yes, you can, baby. Try one more time."

"No, Mom," he implores, shaking out his tired little arms. "I'm just not as young as I used to be."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

IN GOD WE TRUST, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF YOU?

So, there's a poll being conducted on MSNBC asking people to vote on whether or not "IN GOD WE TRUST" should be removed from U.S. currency.

To vote you can go here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103521/

But the reason I'm posting is because of the tone of the email that's circulating the poll, and also because of the limited phrasing of the "choices" provided in the poll.

First of all, the message in the email essentially says "if you're Christian, forward this to everyone you know to keep this on our money -- and, by the way, this is not up for discussion, so don't write me back."

The questions on the polls are essentially: 1) remove from our currency as it is a violation of church and state, or 2) leave in for its historical value.

And both of these issues bother me for very similar reasons. Yes, there is a historical religious context upon which this country was founded. But there is also a patriarchal racially-intolerant context upon which this country was established that we, as a progressive and, well, thinking society, realized was ass-backwards and wrong, and have been working to eradicate for, like, ever.

So, the it's-the-way-it's-always-been argument just doesn't sit well with me, and really, as a supposedly forward-thinking superpower, actually hinders our own spiritual growth and undermines our global credibility by leaps and bounds.

And the other argument, the implied one, the one that says "if you're Christian, don't let them take this away from us" is one that I'm less comfortable writing about because I know how many of you will take offense to this. But this isn't about YOUR being Christian, it's about everyone else in this country (and that doesn't just mean the atheists) who don't believe in your SAME idea of God -- because maybe they believe in multiple gods, or spirits, or higher powers, or, yes, even nothing -- and who are, therefore, automatically disenfranchised, excluded from the theoretical protection of an almighty power watching over our financial establishments and our witnesses swearing on bibles and our political officials taking oaths of offices.

Because if they don't believe in exactly that, and if they believe in something different, then where does that leave them? Does that mean they believe in the power and freedom and opportunity this country offers any less than you do? Does that mean they're just a bunch of liars on the witness stands? Does that mean the only honest politicians are the ones who believe in God? Really? Do we want to go there?

And why is that ok with the rest of you who insist on God being included in everything? Why is it ok that by insisting on that that you're automatically telling a significant portion of the population (people who have worked just as hard as you to contribute to their communities, to raise good children, to help our flailing economy, who have good work ethics) that they don't belong here?

How is this any different from segregation? How is it any different from homophobia?

To exclude anyone from anything simply on the basis of their not fitting into your box, however you define that box, is discrimination.

And that just doesn't have a place in this world anymore. Does it?

Monday, February 02, 2009

WHAT HAPPENED TO PHIL?

We finished our homework, finished our dinner, and crowded in close in front of the news waiting, as patiently as is possible for two 5-year-olds, for any sign of Punxsutawney Phil. And nothing.

We changed the channels, surfed our 4 local stations for the entire 30-minute segment. Up and down from channel 2 through channel 5. Over and over again. And nothing.

I checked Animal Planet, the Weather Channel, even CNN. And nothing. (Anderson, why have you forsaken me???)

And the kids were just crushed.

It's Groundhog Day, for crissakes! I mean, I know it's a total fabrication, a series of lies and tall tales woven by our ancestors into a rational explanation for another damn six weeks of winter (or not) and carried on to this day for no other reason than for the poor little town of Punxsutawney, PA to eek out a meager tourism trade. But it would be like suddenly telling the kids there's no tooth fairy. Or no bigfoot. Or no Easter Bunny. Or that wishing on a falling star doesn't make it come true. Or that crossing your legs while going over a railroad track will ward off bad luck. Or that avoiding stepping on cracks will keep your mother's spine intact.

I mean, COME. ON. PEOPLE.

I can't keep all these lies going all by myself!!!

But Thank the Lord in all Her Glory for YouTube:


Looks like another 6 weeks of winter, folks. Well, at least for those of you NOT living in Cali! :)