Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Timeline Meme

I don't usually do memes, but this one sounds constructive. And it sure beats the series of posts that have been knocking around in my head and are basically a reliving of some of my most traumatic experiences. Now, doesn't that sound fun?

Timeline meme

25 years ago: It was 1979 and I was newly 5 years old. I was in my 3rd year of preschool, since my parents were planning a move and wanted me to start Kindergarten in the new place. I remember a few things from this year, like finding the black widow spider in our Albuquerque back yard and taking it in for show-and-tell after my mother killed it. And being regularly beaten up by my "friend" from across the street; I still have a negative association with the green roofing Lincoln Logs. And being such a slow eater that I got left alone in the lunchroom one day at preschool. That didn't bother me at all until I realized that I wasn't big or strong enough to open the doors to let myself out.

20 years ago: I was in the 4th grade, and reality finally hit me. Until this point, I had always been the best, the fastest, the smartest, the teacher's pet. This year I had Mrs. Neal, who believed that she needed to make up for all the spoiling I'd received over the past 10 years. She was very effective, but I know that she secretly loved me because of the really awesome book she gave me for Christmas (she gave everyone a different new book). This year I also painfully learned long division and got my first bra. My favorite T shirt had Garfield on it and said, "I'm cute, and housebroken too." I put myself on my first diet.

15 Years ago: In the fall of 1989 I was in 9th grade. My mother had gone back to work full time, and I celebrated my freedom by always being late for school. I learned to sneak through the greenhouse into my first period science glass so that I didn't get into trouble. I played volleyball and basketball, and I was on the drill team (pom pons, halftime shows), and was in several plays. I'd spent the previous summer getting over the worst relationship of my life and some really impressive depression. I had also taken Driver's Ed and earned my restricted license, an experience that you city folk really missed out on.

10 Years ago: I was in the first semester of my second year of college. At this point I was casting about wildly. I knew I'd made a mistake choosing my university, but it had felt so right at the time. I chose English as my major simply because that's where my best grades were. I was in year two of an unhealthy relationship with a rich asshole that I still remember fondly and often. I decided to pledge a co-ed service fraternity to meet new people and make better friends. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

5 years ago: In 1999 life was good. I'd been out of school for two years and I had a good job, great apartment, and wonderful boyfriend (who I met through that co-ed service fraternity in college). I had my first brand-spanking-new car, a leased, silver Saturn coup. I was in great shape and playing roller hockey several times a week. Although I didn't know it, I was about to become engaged to be married in a couple of weeks.

3 years ago: I was 27, the year I'd always imagined I'd be officially grown up. One look in the mirror showed me that I wasn't at all what I'd expected to be. I had a good job that I enjoyed, an adorable little pug named Lizzi, a great husband (though he was working in Michigan at the time and was only home on weekends, causing lots of stress and arguments), and owned a house. But my life seemed . . . ordinary, my career undistinguished.

1 year ago: I had just given birth to my daughter, Eleanor. I had expected to be squashed flat as a bug by post-partum depression and was surprised to find myself buoyant, instead. I loved my daughter, loved my life as a new mom, loved the 2 weeks of daddy and mommy and baby home alone together in our little bubble before daddy went back to work, and was very proud of what my body had done. But there were terrible things looming on the horizon that I was about to have to deal with.

This year: Oh, this year. I turned 30 in September. Ellie had open-heart surgery in January. She had lots of firsts, many of which are amazing and exciting and wonderful. I love her more than I imagined I would, but it's sometimes so crushingly depressing, this incurable Down syndrome, even though she's amazing, remarkable, and very high-functioning. Still, every new thing: is this normal? So, to be healthy, to be happy, I should focus some on me, right? Do I return to work, or not? Could I actually be a writer? I started writing again, for the first time since college. I like it.

Yesterday: For no good reason, I made a Greek meal for my family (Paul, my parents, my 96-year-old grandfather, my sisters and their partners) and then Paul, Ellie, Lizzi the pug, and I drove back to St. Louis from Northwest Indiana. Exhausting. So Paul and I capped off the evening with a nasty, meaningless argument.

Today: It was cold and rainy and Ellie and I stayed inside for much of the day and napped together in my big, warm bed this afternoon. I didn't get anything productive accomplished, except for some Christmas decorating.

Tomorrow: Tuesdays are busy with my Bible study and Ellie's Physical Therapy. I might go to a mommy/baby happy hour with some acquaintances, or I might stay home and try to get through one of my critical to-do piles. Maybe I'll even write a little. The sky's the limit.

Via frog, the most interesting (and, sadly, coincidently, only) combination of Christian, feminist, lesbian, and bibliophile I've ever met. Er, if you count knowing someone online for 4 or 5 years meeting. I do.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Funnest Game in the World

"Uh oh! Ellie's got mommy's glasses! Will you give them to me? Give them to me? Give them to me!"

This is the best game ever because it's the first game Ellie's invented and really really loves. I mean, she's played peekaboo for months and she'll gamely clap along with pattycake, but I always get the feeling that she's humoring me. This game is clearly her favorite thing in the world to do other than biting (she's teething, ouch ouch).

Whenever a four-eyed face comes into her general vicinity, she gets a very deliberate look on her face and then her little hand darts out as quickly as a striking viper and before you can blink your glasses are in her hand and she's watching you for your reaction. Now it's your turn. With the proper singsong inflection, you're supposed to say the above line.

And now it's her turn again. She's knows "give it to me." She understands it. She even knows how to release intentionally (a surprisingly complex skill). So you watch her and wait for her to make the next move. And she either smiles and drops the glasses into your outstretched hand or she grins and swivels away from you as fast as she can. That girl can spin on her tushie faster than I could on a sit-n-spin.

The best part about this game, surprisingly, is not the perpetually smeary lenses. It's the pure delight she gets from playing it. She gets that this is a game. She's directing it. It's predictable (from us) and she's running the show. Which is, apparently, absolutely hilarious.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sorry, World

Have you all seen the Sorry Everybody site? Some of the pictures are funny. Others are really creative. Or cute. Or heartbreaking (check out the Evanston woman and the Marine on P.10).

I submitted a picture of Ellie in her donkey suit, but I can't find it. If you see it, please let me know what page she's on!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Ellie Rocks!

Lest anyone begin to think that I'm being too serious, I'll share another adorable picture of Ellie. She's had an amazing week, with new teeth, pulling to stand, horn-playing, and truly lovely babbling. Here are Ellie and Lizzi preparing for an evening walk.

Orson Scott Card Goes Off the Deep End

Orson Scott Card has an essay on his site (Emotions, the Draft, UnBush, Black Voters, and Local Candidates) that I'd like to respond to. I enjoy Card's fiction. I have listened to him speak and enjoyed him there, too. Frankly, I was surprised to see him making such weak arguments here.

Point 1: "All the networks" agree not to show footage of the World Trade Center collapse because it will "enflame emotions". Yet some networks are willing to enflame emotions by naming or humanizing the soldiers who have died in Iraq. "We Americans can't be allowed to see footage that would inflame our emotions in support of the war. But anything that might inflame emotions against the war is the networks' civic duty to run."

We have all seen footage of the World Trade Center collapse, over and over and over. I'm sure I've seen it hundreds of times. Eventually, hundreds and thousands of survivors, family members of victims, and other traumatized Americans petitioned the networks to stop showing video of their loved ones being killed over and over again. This is a vastly different situation than one in which the government decides that the American public shall not be allowed to see coffins coming home from war, or hear the names of fallen soldiers read aloud. We have always honored those who sacrifice their lives for our country in this way. No one wants to see bloody footage of soldiers dying, but silence greeting our fallen trivializes their sacrifice.

Point 2: "Of course, the stupid answer to what I just said is, 'Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Therefore footage of 9/11 has nothing to do with this war.'"

It's far more "stupid" to conflate the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's ridiculous to assert that the war in Iraq (a preemptive strike without adequate planning) has made the world safer from terrorism. Iraq was run by an evil dictator, as are far too many countries on this earth. Sadaam was no friend to al Queda, and the terrorists had no home in Iraq. Terrorist attacks have sharply increased across the globe since the war in Iraq began. Terrorists are not "reduced to murdering Iraqi soldiers" exclusively by any stretch of the imagination.

Point 3: "If Kerry wins, the insurgents and foreign terrorists in Iraq will be vastly encouraged. In fact, Kerry's campaign has been one long promise of hope to the embattled terrorist movement within Islam. They firmly believe that if they can just keep up the pressure, the American Left will deliver them a victory just as forty years ago the American Left delivered the North Vietnamese a victory that they could not win on the battlefield."

Obviously, Card wrote this one before watching the recent bin Laden tape. Global support for a new American administration is what Islamic terrorists want? This one is so far out there and is such complete conjecture – unsupported by any facts whatsoever – that it's hard to know where to begin. And I'd be interested in seeing a version of history that blames Vietnam on "the American Left" by actual historians. Being an armchair revisionist historian is perhaps a danger of writing too much fiction.

Point 4: "Neither the administration nor the military is asking for more troops."

Military officials have repeatedly said that they do not have and have not had enough troops to do the job in Iraq. But Card is right that Bush is not planning to send more troops.

Point 5: "Kerry's election will be interpreted by everyone in the world as meaning that the American people no longer have the will to fight until our enemies are defeated."

This would certainly be an odd interpretation considering Kerry's repeated assertion that he is committed to "hunting down" and "killing" terrorists. Following that bizarre assertion was some blather about how Kerry keeps his plans top secret, insinuating that he doesn't really have plans. It's true that Kerry's plans, like most good foreign and domestic policy, doesn't fit well into 30-second sound bites. If Card had clicked on over to Kerry's website, he could have read at great length about Kerry's plans for fighting the war on terror.

I've got to stop now, but I encourage you all to read on. The essay is funny when Card talks about how Democrats are going to steal the election (especially given the actual result, where only in places where there was receipt-free e-voting were the exit polls substantially off-target). It gets pretty good when Card explains why African-American voters are just too stupid to realize that the Republican party is really the party with their best interests at heart. Then he devolves into a discussion of local politics, wherein he prefers a candidate to be "inept and ineffective". What a patriot.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I Want Change

1) Accountability for political advertisements (These are good suggestions).
2) Stop running to the center. Run on what really you believe.

In short – I want honesty in politics.

Bush address during election returns

Someone who knows things, please blog about this.

My questions:
1) Is it really illegal for an incumbant President to use air time while the polls are open to make a political statement?
2) What was Bush planning to say?
3) Why didn't he say it? Or if it was on tape, why didn't the news organizations play the tape?
4) Why is no one talking about this?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Birthday, Beautiful, and Patriotic

That's it. I'm doing NaNoWriMo this month, so things might be quiet here. You can go read my "novel" if you really want to lose all respect for me. Or you can just come by here from time to time to look at these adorable pictures of my kid.