Tuesday, September 30, 2008

gee, mom, what should I do next?

My plan for putting up a photo every day is falling way short, don't you think? However, I still want to attempt to post more often, so you'll have to live with another kid story for now. (BTW, it's not that there's nothing beautiful here - it's just that the juxtaposition of seeing beauty and having my camera with me doesn't occur that often).

Those of you who have young children or have had young children will understand why the happenings of this afternoon have left me wondering when Rod Serling is going to amble up to me.

I had a fairly typical day at work - there were lots of surly noises and other assorted vocal expressions on my part related to my frustration at spending every freakin' last minute of my work week working on cleaning up other people's papers, letting wonderboy assert his dominance by swallowing my acid retorts and letting him be, and downing several cream puffs and chocolate covered strawberries at the retirement party thrown by another co-worker who has bowed out of civil service. So I drove home, knowing I had a full evening's worth of activities I needed to accomplish on my own since DH has a class on Tuesday nights until late.

(By the way, I swear I am not making ANY of this up. It was surreal).

I got home and both kids were already home from school. Q greeted me with the news that Roxy (my dog) had relieved herself (both types) on the playroom carpet. Great. I walked into the playroom to clean it up to find daughter E closing up the Nature's Miracle bottle. "I cleaned it up, mom!" she told me with a brilliant smile. And she had, complete with application of enzyme solution that eats up the nasty. OK. Q then informed me that both of them had FINISHED their homework (not merely started it, mind you, but completed it.) I began work on making homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner, with whole wheat noodles and freshly cooked kernels of corn from the cob. Q took one bite and told me it was wonderful, and would I please save some for him to have later in the evening after his baseball game. When I asked for help feeding Roxy, Q took charge with a smile and sweet talked our sweet chronically ill puppy dog as he filled her bowl with the super expensive dog food and a spoonful of pumpkin. E then told me her friend down the street, Delaney, was worried because she didn't have a large zip-lock-bag to put her salt-dough in for their 4th grade projects tomorrow. She asked me politely if she could ride her bike down the street and give Delaney one of ours. As I subtly peered around for Mr. Serling, Q THEN told me that he'd already checked and his baseball uniform was already clean, and well, it seemed it was time for him to change into it. When E returned from her trip to rescue her friend, she likewise hopped to put on her soccer clothes.

The drive to our assorted playing fields was peppered with them quizzing each other on fascinating math puzzles they'd had today. They were silly and reserved and intellectual and funny. Q's game was cancelled because of earlier rain, and he was accepting of his fate of having to sit for an hour to watch his sister practice soccer. He was even entertaining and funny.

We came home and they took baths and went to bed when I asked them to.


I'm expecting to look in the mirror and see June Cleaver.

Monday, September 29, 2008

finally, I'm one of the cool ones

Cell phone conversation between me and Q today as I started my drive home:

Me: So things were good at school today? Did you get much homework?
Q: It was good. I don't have very much homework.
Q: Mom? I did kind of get into a marker fight on the bus.
Me: Kind of? And a WHAT fight?
Q: Markers. I didn't get anything on my clothes - it's just on my skin, but some others did. And it was so funny. (clearly glad he was included in this group of rebellious middle schoolers)
Me: Who was doing this? Everyone on the bus?
Q: No, just some of us. (hesitation....) And the bus driver said if any parents called to complain we would all have a referral written up.
Me: Huh. I guess I should call her then, huh? It sounds awfully dangerous. (spoken with more than a little sarcasm) Um, what do you DO in a marker fight? Throw markers at each other?
Q: No you stab them like a sword and mark on each other. It was really funny.
(silence while I imagine all the uniforms with marker slashes on them on the way home)
Q: Mom? You know that TV show about switching moms - wife swap? Before I started watching that, I never knew how lenient you were.
Me: LENIENT? Oh, baby. You know you should never tell a mom she's too lenient.
Q: I didn't say you were too lenient! You're just not crazy like most other moms are. You understand that a marker fight isn't like a fight where you really punch somebody.

I think I was just called a "cool mom" in a round about way.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Like, OMG!!!

The more I think and read, the more the nomination of Sarah Palin scares the CRAP out of me.

The simple fact of her nomination is an indication of how deep US politics has sunk into to the quagmire of dumbed-down political games and all that is wrong in politics. She is perhaps the WORST candidate ever put forward for command of this country.

Here are a handful of some of the reasons that I think her nomination is a travesty.

1) Here is one response to her "cheesesteak" interview in Philadelphia. So what happened here is that a rare opportunity for the media to speak to Sarah Palin was granted during a campaign stop for cheesesteaks. (She has not had many opportunities to talk candidly with the media. The RNC is scared to death of what she will say, and apparently, for good reason. She doesn't have a clue. She is so out of her league that I would feel sorry for her if I didn't despise her so much.)
A grad-student journalist at the stop asked her whether the US should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Her response? "If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should," Palin said.
WHOOPS!!!!! See, that's Barack Obama's position, and not John McCain's. John McCain's explanation of her response?
"She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we're not going to do anything except in America's national security interest," McCain told ABC's George Stephanopoulos of Palin. "In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that's—that's a person's position… This is a free country, but I don't think most Americans think that that's a definitve policy statement made by Governor Palin."
Uh. Ok. I understand that the RNC has been trying to keep her interview exposure at zero, but "sticking a microphone while conversations are being held.." during a campaign stop, are normally interpreted as, umm, interviews. Welcome to a campaign!!!! (boggle) And with all due respect, I think that "most Americans" will think that she believes pretty much what she says, John McCain. Huh. A mere few weeks of rushed indoctrination wasn't quite enough, was it, to make this trophy candidate into interview-quality material? Mmm. Maybe you'd have been better off picking someone more, um, QUALIFIED??

2) Kathleen Parker is heavily pro-Republican columnist. Her response to the few interviews that Sarah Palin has had?
"Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson (ABC News), Sean Hannity (Fox News) and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League," Parker said.
Here's her plea to Sarah Palin to step aside for the good of the Republican party.

3) We've all heard the ridiculousness of her foreign policy "expertise":
Pressed on why Alaska's geographic location enhanced her world knowledge, Palin said: "Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of."

She said that when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin "rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska."

"It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state," Palin added.

She actually said this, folks. Not making this up. OMG. She believes she's an expert because she lives next to Russia. (faint)

4) Judge for yourselves. (parts of interview with Katie Couric.)

I agree with Kathleen Parker. She is clueless. She is out of her league. She is an embarrassment.
By the way, her comment that the recent financial crisis may lead to another Great Depression is directly at odds with John McCain's stance. She's obviously not as quick of a study as the RNC hoped. Her response to Katie Couric's repeated request for ANY examples of the claim that John McCain has supported more regulation of financial institutions over the last 25 years: "I'll....try to find you some and I'll bring 'em to ya." (smile)
Sorry, Sarah. This isn't a beauty pageant. You're expected to know the answers in advance.

Quite simply, the thought of her running my country makes me ill. She infuriates me. She is an example of our "fast food" society. No experience, no deep understanding, no knowledge - she's a media farce.

coming soon....

I have always loved to write. I wrote a story about global warming when I was 12 (I LOVE that I did this). I wrote for our junior high newsletter. I kept diaries and journals through junior and senior high school. I spent virtually every single weekend of my high school years with BF Mare where we would eat pizza and applesauce and write stories to read to each other until dawn. (No WAY will I ever share any of these stories with anyone other than Mare. That is a privilege that she and I will both take to the grave - RIGHT Mare???? BFF privilege, ESPECIALLY BFF from the tender years of high school. To everyone else in the world I'm semi-together and mostly mature and it's going to stay that way. Mare will keep this secret, and because Mare, like me, has much to lose, I know I'm safe. Heh.)

Anyway, I have always longed to have the word "author" tagged after my name. Even before I wanted to be a scientist, maybe even more than I wanted to be a musician, more than just about anything other than being a mother, I've wanted to be an author.

Well, that hasn't happened to me (yet), but it HAS happened to a friend of mine. My friend Holly Jahangiri has written and published a children's book (among other things), and because I am an enthusiastic supporter of not only my friends, but also of literature and children and especially GOOD literature for children, I have volunteered to have my blog host a spot on the Trick-or-Treat tour for this book. This will be next week on Thursday, October 9.

By the way, I bought this book several months ago, and I treasure it. It's called "Trockle" and is a story about what a little boy, Stephen, discovers about the "monster under his bed." The story is sweet and supportive of children and their imaginations, and the illustrations are beautiful. I don't have children young enough to give it to, and am keeping my copy for myself, but have several friends in mind for a gift this year.

Anyway, on October 9, I will be hosting an internet visit from Holly Jahangiri (author), Jordan M. Vinyard (illustrator) and Trockle (the monster that lives under Stephen's bed). I haven't done this before on my blog and probably won't ever do it again (unless another one of you readers writes a book), so don't expect my blog to become an advertising venue. This is a one-time thing for a good friend of mine who wrote a great book.

There will be prizes associated with this Trick or Treat tour. The prizes and rules for entering are below:

Grand Prize: A customized Halloween short story featuring your child (or grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend) with Trockle - written by Holly Jahangiri and illustrated by Jordan Vinyard.
Second Prize: A $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

To enter, complete the following steps:

(1) Purchase a copy of Trockle directly from 4RV Publishing (http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Store) between 12:00 AM October 5 and 11:59 PM October 13, and

(2) Send an email to president@4rvpublishingllc.com with your answer to the question posted at http://jahangiri.us/trockle-promo.html.

You may enter as often as you like, but all completed entries must be received before midnight on October 13! Winners will be announced at http://blog.jahangiri.us and at http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com. The winners will be chosen randomly from all correctly completed entries (see "To enter" above) and winners will be notified by email. IMPORTANT NOTE: The Grand Prize winner will need to work directly with the author and illustrator to create a memorable gift for that special child. To include the child's likeness in the illustration, you will need to provide a digital photo upon notification that you have won. Every effort will be made to deliver the prize prior to Halloween, but circumstances beyond our control may prevent that and we do not guarantee that it will arrive by October 31.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


A few days late, but we're in the playoffs!!!!

1) My boyfriend, the injured man in white in the middle, is being doused by champaign. Mikey, you are my superhero boyfriend (tm: J). I can't wait to see you and your torn whatchamacallit hip in the playoffs. If you pull any more superhero antics, I might just come kidnap you, or faint. One or the other.

2) Petey - little man on the ground...jeez. I want YOU at my next party.

3) Jacoby. (the one in the black vest taking it seriously in the back right.). My son wants to BE you. Seriously. Keep it up. You're allowed to loosen up a bit, though, when you've clinched. Enjoy, son, enjoy!!!

so, like, RANDOM, dude

J tagged me.

The rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on the blog.
3) Write six random things about yourself.

At this point, I'm gonna be a rebel and NOT tag the requisite six people.
I hope this isn't like a chain letter. If I don't pass it along, what? - the climate will start to irreversibly change, bringing out mass extinctions and putting unmanageable stress on the world's food and water supplies, and the U.S. economy will begin to crumble, with worries of the Great Depression on the tips of every journalist's tongue??

Six random things about me:

1) I absolutely detest gossiping about people and passing judgment. Those two things are immature and do more to narrow the scope of meaningful connections than just about anything else I can think of. However, they are a guilty pleasure. It does not really take all that much to draw me into a "gossipy" discussion. I nearly always end up with a distaste-hangover afterwards, yet I persist in being dragged in.

2) I took exactly ONE sip of alcohol in high school. It was at best friend Mare's house, and 2 seconds later, the doorbell rang. It was her priest. I'm not kidding. The timing was perfect. We never again tried alcohol together.
Well, not until college.
(And Mare, now that I've linked to your blog, you're going to HAVE to update it again...
Oh, oh - here's an idea! Mare, I've tagged YOU!!!)

3) I love canned ravioli, cooked in a pot with cubes of monterey jack cheese and pickled jalepeno peppers. That, and a can of Diet Dr. Pepper and the internet and I'm good to go for at least two hours.

4) If you cross one of my children, I will never forgive you. Literally. And I am, in general, a very forgiving person. More about this later.

5) I am unable to cheat in board games. But I will purposefully lose on occasion to let my children win. Why do I not also consider that cheating? Isn't it just as dishonest?

6) I turn into a total banshee at the sound of smacking gum. Seriously. I C.A.N.N.O.T. stand it. I considered divorcing DH for buying the kids huge packs of bubble gum once. I yelled at my sweet daughter just last night as we were buying her best friend an itunes internet gift card because she was smacking gum in my ear. The new student in my office smacks gum. I literally stuck my fingers in my ears the other day when she started, and I think she got the message because she hasn't done it again. I'm a bit embarrassed, but it got the point across.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

what's the payoff?

Amidst the dry leaves and dirt and dead plants that are what make up the terminally neglected, sad "garden" on one side of our patio, I found this little rose. Did you see Wall-E, when the robots discover the one tiny little plant that finally blooms on the abandoned and lifeless planet Earth? That's what I thought of. I thought this picture would inspire hope and make me glad, but I find it quite depressing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

welcome back favorite friend

Today is the first day of autumn!! This is one my most anticipated days every year. I have waxed philosophic and danced with fluffy words in so many past blog entries as the autumn returns that I won't do it again here. At least, I won't do so today. I have been especially looking forward to autumn this year, as I have dedicated this (school) year to myself. I'm no longer PTA president. I have no responsibilities at UU (haven't even attended in 1.5 years). Me and my family - that is the plan for this year. I will make time once again to read and knit and cook and do things with my children. I will finally learn to can and quilt.

So. Today, I will be rushing home from work to attend a Girl Scout planning meeting for a camping trip next weekend - one that I have volunteered to be one of the attending adults - meaning E and I go camping next weekend (!). I will then rush home to host a PTA Reflections planning meeting at my house. Auspicious start.

Here's an autumn project for me:

Lemon basil
I need to do something with this...

Sunday, September 21, 2008


My pretty girl. You can't see it, but her tail is thumping rhythmically on the floor because she never ever stops wagging it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm nabbing the experiment that this blogger is doing, and am going to try to post at least a photo every day.

It's sleepover night. I took three 9 year old girls for pedicures, then picked up a pizza. They're in the sunroom now, chomping on pizza and root beer and gossiping. It's going to be a long night...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

my comments on being pro-science

edit: I came in this morning with the intent of taking this post off since it's so awfully fluffy, but Mare had already commented on it so I'm leaving it. Take this as it is - written after a few glasses of wine and after seeing a lovely rainbow.

In hindsight, I suppose it is really no surprise that I ended up as a scientist.

There is one incident from second grade that I clearly remember, and it was certainly suggestive of the fact that I'd end up where I am now. We were learning multiplication and our teacher, Mrs. England, was using flash cards to drill the class. She was sitting in front of the class on her wooden stool and was rapidly flipping through the fact cards, her thin lips pressed into the persistent grimace that was her teacher face. I was not a happy girl. You see, Mrs. England never explained the concept of multiplication to us. We had been asked to simply memorize the facts and the class was collectively reciting them back to her. I felt like a fish out of water. While the rest of the class was dutifully, if more than an little monotonously chanting multiplication facts in unison, I was determined to figure out HOW this new math was working. Unfortunately she and the rest of the class were zipping through the rote memorization too quickly for me to work it out. I was so frustrated that I started to cry. When Mrs. England asked me what was wrong, I told her I was sick, so I was sent down to the nurse's office. I can acutely remember the combined medicinal and musty smell of that primary school's nurse's room as I lay there on the little white cot waiting for my mom to come pick me up. The sick feeling in my stomach was a combination of frustration at not being able to figure out why multiplication worked like it did, and the abject worry about what my mom would say to me when she realized I was faking it. In fact, my mom did immediately know that I wasn't sick. Her response was to give me a big hug and take me home.

At that point in my life, I was only just beginning to realize that beneath every action, there lay a series of logical steps. Cracking the code of logic beneath something magical like why the stars twinkled or why the sunsets are so beautiful only heightens the sense of awe for me. It is what makes me gaze at a rainbow (I saw a 4/5 full one tonight!) and is what makes me hold my breath in reverence at the simple movement of the wind.
I am not an excellent scientist. I'm merely an adequate one, but I do know enough to understand that explanations - logical explanations - exist if you know where to look for them.

I also understand that there is an amazing and wonderful variety of kinds of people in this world. There are many who are not as fascinated by science and logical explanations as I am. Many are quite willing to accept life as it is without feeling the need to search for the "why." And that's fine - that's great. No problem. Variety is the spice of life and all that.

However, I do add the caution that the fact that one does not feel the need to search out and understand the science behind our world does not eliminate the fact that it is there. With a little time and experience, most children figure out that even if they close their eyes, others can still see them. You see, science is not a religion. It is not close to anything remotely resembling a religion. It is not even mysterious. Science is the result of the collective knowledge that is the result of thousands of years of billions of thinking humans. It didn't come about by accident.

There are a couple of things that I've read about Sarah Palin's take on science that are, ehm, confusing.

1) She believes that both evolution and creationism should be taught in the classroom.
One of these is backed by the previously described years of collective knowledge and supported by factual scientific evidence and theory. The other is written in the Bible. One should be presented in the academic environment from which it was born . The other should be presented in the religious environment from which it was born. I do not understand the confusion here. If you do not believe that scientific fact is compelling enough, why on earth would you insist that your religious beliefs be presented as, um... scientific fact? Pick one or the other, and keep it in its respective home. Or, like most of the country, allow for the fact that both can co-exist, but keep each in its respective home (Personally, I do not subscribe to this latter suggestion but realize that the majority of people do.)

2) Governor Palin also seems confused on the issue of climate change.
From the Associated Press:

She has told the Internet news site Newsmax, "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location.... I'm not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made."

In an interview with a Fairbanks newspaper within the last year, Palin said: "I'm not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity."

But in a recent interview with Charles Gibson, she said:
Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that," said Palin to Gibson.
I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change.
While vague, and only slightly less worrisome from the persepective of a scientist, these last statements seem awfully out of line with her earlier stance. Politics, anyone?

In case you are wondering, I did finally figure out that multiplication was only a fancy way of doing addition. I honestly don't remember if Mrs. England taught me this (doubtful) or if my parents did, or if I just figured it out on my own at last. In any case, I'm glad I did, because I use it an awful lot these days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

my comments on being manipulated

First, thank you to all who have asked about my family in Texas. They are all well, per a couple of quick cell phone calls this afternoon. None of them have electricity at the moment, and I've heard rumors that it could be as much as 3 to 4 weeks before power is restored to all of the greater Houston area. Mom and Dad are well stocked up on peanut butter and diet root beer and have an ongoing battle of Gin-Rummy, so they should be OK for the time being. In my opinion, Houston and Galveston got off lucky on this one though. But for the flap of a butterfly's wing, it could have been so much worse.

Once I learned not to be a scared little rabbit sometime after high school, I discovered that deep down, I was actually fiercely independent. When asked to name the single most trait that I hold in the highest importance, the answer comes immediately to me: honesty. As a result of these two truths, I find that I am most comfortable when people are direct and up front with me. I detest trickery, I react violently to passive aggressive behavior, and I will walk away from games.

When I feel as if I am being manipulated, I become very angry.

Both major political parties are in the "business" with the sole intent of winning the election in November. I know that. Every word that is uttered, every appearance with children in hand, every kiss bestowed on the spouse, every sound bite repeated on the evening news has been orchestrated. Elections have become a contest of media manipulation. These are all things I realize. However, the selection of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee for the Republican party has left me feeling very manipulated and very angry. Prior to being named as nominee for the second most powerful position for the most powerful nation in the world, I had not heard her name. I see the selection of this generally unknown, untested woman for VP, without any opportunity for public vetting as an essential a slap in the face to the American public. How am I to view it as otherwise? I resent that John McCain and the rest of the Republican party players believe that it is acceptable to throw an unknown into the mix with only 2 months remaining until elections.

John McCain, you are wrong - this is not acceptable. I feel manipulated and that makes me angry. I cannot imagine that you would come up with the name "Sarah Palin" as the best candidate for Vice President of the United States. Rather, you came up with her name from the equivalent of a computerized checklist. You determined she had the best shell design for playing this political game. She filled your check list for religious affiliation, to attract the conservative voters you cannot connect with. She is a lifetime member of the NRA and an avid hunter, to attract the bubba constituents you don't. She is a woman, which plays perfectly into your desire to attract the frustrated Hillary Clinton supporters. She has 5 children and is a "hockey mom" and attractive to boot, which plays into the "celebrity" bent that you and yours use have used to demean Barack Obama. I cannot see any reason that you would select this unknown and untested woman to be a heartbeat from running the most powerful nation in the world other than the fact that she fits like a glove into your political game.

For the record, I used to have a smidgen of respect for John McCain. How can you NOT respect a past POW, someone who laid his freakin' LIFE on the line for this country? I thought that perhaps he personified the best of the GOP, that he was maybe really in this because he thought he could make things better for our country. However, his selection of Sarah Palin has left me with no doubt that he is beholden to the policicos. He's playing the game.

You don't throw in a total unknown at the last minute when you respect the electorate. You don't do that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

my comments on being pro-choice

So how long did you really think it would be before I put up a post on Governor/VP candidate Sarah Palin? I have a whole host of thoughts and comments about the current situation. Rather than spew them all out at once, though, I'll make an effort to do it piecemeal.

First, an observation. There is One Thing about her nomination makes me very happy. The press seems to be going on and on about HOW YOUNG she is. Young and vibrant and full of energy!! Young! they say. YOUNG!!! they proclaim!!! At this point, I would like to point out that I am the identical age that she is. I also point this out frequently to my son who is fond of calling me "old lady."

This post is less about Sarah Palin herself and more about what the media and certain political pundits have been spinning. Have no fear. I have plenty to say about her, but I'll say it later.

Several years ago (13), I was pregnant with my first child. I was 31. One of the many prenatal tests I was offered was the triple-screen, which would purportedly shed some light on the probability on whether the the baby I was carrying had a genetic defect (Down's Syndrome). Mine came back elevated, with a 1 in 99 chance of the baby having the disability (normal probabilities for my age should have been more like 1 in nearly 1000). As a result of those results, my doctor recommended that I receive a high-level ultrasound and an amniocentesis, which is a direct extraction of the baby's DNA from the amniotic fluid which can then been conclusively examined for genetic abnormalities.

I was a mess. I spent hours online researching Down's Syndrome and the risks associated with amniocentesis. I discovered there was the possibility of spontaneous miscarriage associated with the procedure. I agonized endlessly over the situation. To say I was distraught is an understatement.

We drove down to the South Side for the ultrasound and the procedure. I was lying on the bed when the doctor came in with the enormous needle used for the procedure and with a sudden rush of clarity, and purely on instinct, I sat up and told him to go away because I was going home. My earlier agonizing was simply a distraction. My heart spoke so strongly to me in that moment that there was no doubt that I knew there was no reason to impose even the smallest theoretical risk on the baby I was carrying. I knew that the results of the amniocentesis were irrelevant. This baby was fiercely mine and even were I to discover a genetic abnormality, I was having the baby. Of course I was! The test was not going to result in any change in action on my part (I was not going to abort the baby), and it was entirely informational and only for my benefit. I knew that I could survive 5 or so more months not knowing the genetic fidelity of my baby. The risk, no matter how tiny, was wrong for me to take.

I am staunchly pro-choice.

My point is that for the evangelical right to latch onto the fact that Sarah Palin carried her baby with Down's Syndrome to term as "proof" of her pro-life values is not only a political game but is an insult to people like me. Pro-life versus pro-choice has virtually nothing to do with a wealthy, white, married, happy young woman deciding to carry a baby to term with a birth defect such as Down's Syndrome. I cannot think of a single contemporary of mine who would make the decision to abort in a similar situation, and nearly all of them are pro-choice.

For me personally, and for most cases, I believe abortion is wrong and it would be quite convenient and probably even more comfortable for me to say that I am pro-life because of that. However I cannot. I believe that the reality is simply not that easy. The circumstances surrounding women faced with the decision of whether or not to abort are vastly different from case to case, but are almost surely all a highly complicated web of morality, reality, and raw emotion. My decision to be pro-choice is rooted in my belief that I cannot understand the nuances of every traumatic situation that young, pregnant women are faced with. I cannot understand the emotions of someone who has been raped or someone who knows their child carries a fatal birth defect. I cannot put myself in the place of a woman who is truly destitute. I cannot say I understand how it would feel to be 14 years old and be pregnant or be the mother of a pregnant 14 year old. I believe that if abortion were illegal that many women in these situations would resort to illegal and dangerous abortions anyway. Sometimes, aborting a pregnancy may be someone's only choice.
Being pro-choice does not mean that a person believes abortion is the right choice.
I am insulted and offended that anyone would use Sarah Palin's baby as "evidence" of a pro-life stance. I believe it is a shallow political ploy that sheds little to no insight on how she might influence laws that actually impact the fate of unwanted children.

If you want to convince me of her values, her "pro-life" values, then show me that she supports legislation to provide the means to support unwed, poor teenagers that find themselves pregnant and without family support. Show me that she supports the research that might some day provide cures for genetic defects. Show me that she cares about all segments of society.

As a wrap-up, I'll mention here that I refused the triple-screen test when I was pregnant with my daughter. Although I am a scientist and think information is power, I do realize that sometimes there are limits to its usefulness.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I uploaded a few more pictures from our New England vacation to Flickr. If you click on my "Random Sights" link to the right it'll take to you my account. Once there, click on the New England vacation set, (or go to my photostream and click on the set from there).
They're not in any particular order.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


This is what happens to your camera when you leave your climate-controlled air conditioned house and walk outside in an attempt to take pictures to capture a tropical storm as it begins to move through your area. (Hint: tropical storms generally carry tropical air with them, which is most usually very warm and humid)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


First day of school. Ahhh. (that's a good sigh)

It was a nice day today. I took off from work so I could help herd the new kindergarteners into the school without losing any, and then I helped open milk cartons and mustard packets for them at lunch. I cannot stress how lucky I feel to be able to prioritize my life like this. That flexibility is wonderful. Seriously. I know how lucky I am.

Anyway, after a quiet afternoon, my son Q had a baseball practice this evening. E and I took him up to the field, and DH met us a little later when he dropped by after work. It was a long practice - about 2 1/2 hours, so after an hour or so, E and I decided to go home early.

I've told several of you before about E's "special powers," I think. During the 2004 playoffs, the Red Sox were down to the Yankees 3 games to none. It was the crucial turning point. It was game 4, the inning was bottom of the 12th, and the game was tied. If the Yankees won, it was all over. We were sitting around the TV, exhausted and sad. Little E, 5 at the time, who loves to occasionally sleep with me in my bed, was frustrated because I kept making her sleep in her own bed. She looked at me. "Can I sleep with you?" I was watching the game, and shook my head no. "Mommy!! PLEASE????" My answer was nope, eyes still on the game. She thought a minute. "If you let me sleep with you, I'll use my special powers to make the Red Sox win..." she offered. I looked at DH. What the hell? "OK." I told her. She closed her eyes and got a focused looked on her face.

The very next pitch, David Ortiz hit the 2-run home run that won the game for the Red Sox, who then went on the win the next 3 games, becoming the only sports team ever to win a playoff with a 3-0 deficit to begin, and, of course, won the World Series, ending the 86 year drought.

I'm not making this up. The timing was perfection. We joked about E's "special powers" after that, with a lot of humor but just a little ... hmm... fear?

So we were driving home tonight, just me and E. The road to our neighborhood is a little, windy road that is really only 1 1/2 lanes (very poor planning when a boat landing is at the end....try squeezing past a semi-large boat at 50 mph as you round a curve). It was dark and we were chatting about something inane. A car rounded the bend ahead of us with its brights on. It was annoying, but not dangerous. E suddenly screamed "DEER!!!!!!!" I slammed on the brakes, my heart pounding, and she laughed. "Not really mom, I just yelled that because I was pretending that car was a deer." I started to lecture her on not causing the driver of a fast moving vehicle to have a heart attack, but needed to stop because - a deer bounded out in front of me at the next turn. Because I had already slowed way down, I was able to hit the brakes, and it simply ran off, startled.

When E was about 4, she used to tell me that she had teachers. A "black man and a white woman" taught her about special powers. I just don't know what to say. I am going to be very kind to this child, though, because I do not want her to ever hate me. For the record, I also let her sleep with me pretty much whenever she wants.