Here came the sun

We awoke today to the first sunny morning of our trip, and most of us (save Dido, who is in grumpy mourning for his friends here) are ready to head home anyway.

This has been a stressful non-vacation dominated by the poor H's fruitless Indie Spirit adventure. I had hoped this trip, especially with Vous the au pair along, would let me relax and have concentrated visits with my friends. Not so much, but maybe next time.


Fatigue and losing in Los Angeles

I have lots of fun, hopefully funny and certainly pathetic tales to relate, and tried to post pics from the red carpet (which, oddly, was actually blue) but super-super Utterz failed me. All may have to wait until I am once again cozy in my snowy home, trusty iBook at hand.



To be sure, this latest blogging hiatus is mostly the result of laziness--I have yet to master the art of iPhone tip-tap-typing. As much as I love this little gadget, I find it slow slow slow for typing. I was going to post about waking up last Thursday, nearly ready to leave for LA; reading an email early that morning from a friend who had read the blog and who sent good thoughts for me not catching the stomach flu; until that second, I had somewhat miraculously forgotten about the flu, and certainly had no thought of getting it myself. How funny, I thought , not a little smug. Within ten minutes, I was running for the bathroom, and after that, wracked with nausea so severe that the H joked I must be pregnant. No. Just sick as a dog with a plane to catch. I loaded up on Immodium and anti nausea meds and crossed my aching, feverish fingers. It was truly a miserable day, despite smooth sailing, travelwise.

Nowhere to go but up, after that.


Input, Output, Conflict, and Life as the Mood Manager

There's a longer post coming that deals with all of those topics. Really.

But right now, I have to finish organizing our upcoming trip, and deal with Mr. Mood Swing, aka my darling H. He's having some Issues.

Stay tuned.

Cross your fingers

The uh, outpouring, has stopped. Let's hope poor little Babe was the only O to suffer so.

And to all, a good night.


A dark and pukey night

Not so dark, but definitely pukey. If you have a delicate constitution, you might not want to read what follows.

The stomach flu has arrived, dear readers, attacking the smallest member of the family first. She's a very rational puker, willing to have her hair pulled back out of her face, ok with sitting next to the toilet on her little step stool, calm in the face of the umpteenth towel/bed linen/t shirt change. It's kind of heartbreaking.

Meanwhile, I feel my own innards beginning to gurgle and I dread what's coming. I'm not so much of a good puker. I don't like throwing up. If I didn't object to it so strenuously, I probably could have made a good bulimic once upon a time, but I'll do almost anything to avoid vomiting. When I was pregnant with the Babe, I threw up every day, at least once, sometimes twice for about four or five months. I learned to be calm through that horrible spasming out of control feeling that I find the most awful part of the experience, even worse than the sheer grossness of it. (I, by the way, had nothing on pukiness compared to my friend Julie who threw up multiple times every day throughout her entire pregnancy. She wins that dubious prize.)

So here I sit, in the Babe's room, curled up in the glider chair I bought when I was pregnant with her, as I spent so many nights during her infancy. During those long nights, she was in my arms or latched on, drowning her sorrows, so to speak. But now, she's a big girl, in her pink-painted, wrought iron big girl bed. I am across the room, typing and listening to her breathe, stir, to the clock (also pink) ticking on the wall over her bed. If it weren't for the minor dread, it would be totally peaceful.


Feminists for Obama

A great article from Kate Michelman, past president of NARAL, echoing my sentiment that it is absolutely in line with feminism to support Obama.

Check it out here.


My Little Town

Remember the night of the dinner for The Foodie?

Here is what preceded the dinner: a cocktail party which I could not attend because I was home tending to short ribs, potato puree, swiss chard, pearl onions and nearly-flourless chocolate cake....

The first picture in the series shows my friend and my long lost cousin, for those with curiosity about such things...



Post election letdown? Maybe. I am thrilled with the results, had a lovely day, and have spent every free moment slogging through my epic to-do list . Of course, having a to-do list is an accomplishment in itself, so I should, perhaps, cut myself a bit of slack. I still have five phone calls to make, more emails to send, a stack of bills to pay (but hey, they're opened, and the trash parts are thrown away! Do I get points for that?), a script to read, two trips to plan...and. and. and. More to come.


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Grumpy Girl

Yep, that's me. I woke up in a funk, and it's lasted all day, the kind of mood that makes everything so unbearably irritating that you want to go to bed with your head under a pillow all afternoon in the hopes that you'll wake up in a different mind, let alone frame of mind. I am annoyed by brainless advocates for one politician over another (fine to support who you want to support, but not because your boyfriend says it's a good idea), annoyed by others' insecurities that they take out on me, annoyed by...oh, everything, and I'm not saying, by the way, that any of those things are, you know, rightfully annoying. I am feeling very junior high, and hoping like crazy that it will pass. Quickly. G'night.


Pillory Hillary

As a new New Yorker, I have something in common with Senator Clinton. As a Yale graduate, I have something in common with her, too. We're both women, smart women, women who have made professional sacrifices to support our husband's careers. I don't think any of these facts are reason to vote for her on Tuesday, in part because I also, proudly, call myself a feminist and a liberal.

I am so tired of New Yorkers telling me how well she's "reached across the aisle" (as though, as a freshman in the Senate and one who arrived with unliftable baggage , loathed by the other party, she had any other choice) and what a "great job" she's done for New York. This letter, from a local activist, begs to differ. I think it offers an interesting perspective on what's wrong with the consummate politician, Hillary Clinton.

    Dear fellow Hudson Valley Democrats:
    When it comes to Hillary Clinton, there is no shortage of unfair and unprincipled reasons for disliking her -- and if you listen to AM talk radio for an hour, you'll probably hear them all.

    I reject the sexism of those who still think a former First Lady has no place in policy debates, just as I reject the absurd theories of those who think she had a hand in the death of her close friend Vince Foster.

    Having volunteered on Clinton's first senate campaign, I get mad when I hear Rush Limbaugh savage her as a liar and an opportunist. I'm also grateful to her for keeping Rudy Guiliani and Rick Lazio out of the Senate.

    But you don't have to be a sexist or a conspiracy theorist to oppose Clinton's candidacy.

    I don't dislike Hillary; I distrust her. And my reasons are both substantive, and based on direct personal experience. When a major issue hit the Hudson Valley, Clinton was less than honest with her constituents, and all to eager to take credit where none was due.

    For nearly 7 years, our communities were riven with controversy about a vast, coal-burning facility proposed by St. Lawrence Cement here in the Hudson Valley.

    Given the harsh health, scenic, noise, traffic, economic and other negative potential impacts, opponents naturally wanted to get the ear of Mrs. Clinton -- and we tried everything. She was approached at campaign whistlestops, at private dinners, and public fundraisers. Printed factsheets were pressed into staffers' hands, and handwritten letters beseeched our new Senator to help end this dangerous idea. But
    she refused to take any public stand.

    Finally, as the leader of the grassroots opposition, I tried an old-fashioned political route. A friend identified a celebrity donor in nearby Dutchess County who was opposed to St. Lawrence's plans, and hecalled in a big favor. Driving to the capitol in his limo, we met with Hillary first in a chamber outside the Armed Services Committee, then took a long walk and tram ride under the Capitol to her offices. Hillary was both charming, and surprisingly well-informed on our issue.

    At last, here was my big chance to make a full case for her involvement.

    But when I launched into a carefully-prepared spiel, the Senator stopped me: "You don't need to do the presentation," she said. "The plant is a terrible idea. Just tell me how I can help." Delighted, I described the various Federal permitting processes in which she could intervene, and the benefits of her taking a public stand.

    She called in her chief environmental policy advisor, and gave detailed instructions: Get a memo on her desk right away, listing the necessary action steps and the policy rationales for each, and she'd get right to work on it. Her performance was smart and convincing, and her celebrity backer and I practically floated down the Capitol steps
    on the way out.

    The rest was silence. After promptly delivering the requested memo, I was never able to get her staff (let alone the Senator herself) to discuss the issue again, let alone take action to stop the plant.

    About a year later, Clinton was cornered on the SLC issue by an interviewer from The National Trust for Historic Preservation, who finally got her to say that she thought the proposal was "not the right direction for the Hudson Valley." These remarks were published in Preservation Magazine, which Clinton apparently thought no one
    would read... because when we then alerted local media to her statement, Clinton's staff denied the remarks and claimed she still had not taken a position.

    Only after nearly 14,000 residents and 40 groups wrote in opposition to the Republican administration of George Pataki did this terrible project get scrapped -- without any help from either of our Democratic Senators.

    But there was one more damning chapter in our Clinton saga.

    After we won, the group I co-founded received an award at the Waldorf-Astoria from the Preservation League of New York. During the awardceremony, it was announced that there would be a video tribute from someone who couldn't attend, but who wanted to pay her respects. Up on a giant screen came Hillary Clinton, talking about how we'd all fought
    such a good fight together.

    Those of us who had been in the trenches for years looked at each other in amazement. All the awful things people say about Hillary were horribly validated: She didn't deliver on her promises, and then she took credit for a victory achieved without her help.

    Now, some friends say, "Come now, Sam -- all politicians are the same. They tell you what you want to hear, and then do the opposite. Get over it!" Others say, "Well, Hillary dropped the ball on that one, but I still trust her on health care, education, abortion, the economy, et cetera."

    To these excuses I say: Other politicians from five states had the guts to take a stand on an issue affecting hundreds of thousands of downwind residents; why couldn't Clinton?

    Why should we expect her to act differently the next time a major regional controversy hits? If she won't stand up for the health of children and the elderly, and won't expend any political capital to save a broad swath of her own adopted State as its Senator, why should we expect her to behave differently as President?

    And why shouldn't I get behind another candidate who is just as strong on core Democratic issues, such as Barack Obama -- whose campaign overtly rejects this cynical brand of politics?

    The whole experience brings to mind that phrase famously mangled by our current President: Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on Hillary.

    And that's why Senator Clinton doesn't have my vote on Super Tuesday. She will almost certainly carry this State, but our votes can help ensure that at least a portion of New York's delegates to the Democratic convention are awarded to a more deserving candidate.

    Sam Pratt - Founder - Friends of Hudson

It's not that I don't respect Hillary Clinton. I do. But I don't feel, as I fear she does, that she deserves to be president. I don't believe in dynasties. I do believe that the boomer generation is far from the "greatest" generation, and they've screwed this country up beyond belief. It's time for them, at long last, to step aside.

Now some more, from another friend, a friend from Hollywood:

    This is a short (ish) letter about politics. From somebody with only the most basic understanding of politics. So, feel free to click over to The Washington Post right now. But I had a dream last night that George Clooney liked where I was coming from (and that's all. We were just friends, okay?) and I figured if Dream Clooney could dig it, maybe my friends could too.

    A lot of people I know are very conflicted about who to support -- Hillary or Obama. What I'm hearing -- and what I have thought myself at times -- goes something like this:

    Obama is smart and exciting, he's charismatic (okay, maybe not so much in debates). He's new and he doesn't have the baggage "Billary" does. But this is not the time for on-the-job training. Hillary may pucker up like she smelled something bad too often and I don't like her jewelry -- but she's brilliant and she knows what's up in Washington. (And she's a woman and how can you even think of supporting anybody else when you were raised by radical lesbians!?...or...maybe that part's just me...)

    There are variations on this theme, but that's the basic script.

    I checked Obama out early on and he didn't seem totally ready yet. Give him eight more years to "bake", I thought. But I've been pretty disgusted by Billary's entitlement act since Obama won Iowa - so I did some more homework. I saw Obama in person a few times, I read stuff and I talked to all my friends. Two things sealed the deal:

    One -- Someone I know recently had dinner with a major GOP player. The player confided that the Republicans think they have a real chance against Hillary. Even after eight years of BUSH. So that's saying something. But -- they are scared of Obama. Really scared. Which leads to--

    Two -- I watched Obama speak to community college kids in East LA. Most have you have seen how he can genuinely move a crowd, how fine he is at delivering his message of hope. And this day was no exception. But he also took questions and talked at length about policy and strategy. I don't agree with everything he says, but I no longer feel he is naive about "how things work" in Washington. But is he "dirty" enough? Can he "play the game?" Maybe not. And that is why I'm voting for Obama. The reason people are turning out in record numbers to see him, to vote and campaign for him, to finance his bid (NO money from special interest groups, ya'll) is because he rejects cynicism. He doesn't deny that he has to battle it, in the world and in himself. But if anybody can inspire people to become their better selves -- it is this man. I don't believe Hillary has that power. No matter how much she smiles.

    We don't just need a new White House, we need a new populace. We need a new commitment from every person who can act, to act. Obama said he didn't have eight more years to wait because of the "fierce urgency of now." (thank you, Doctor King). He didn't want the hope he has beaten out of him over time. He understands how dire our place in the world is, and how dire the state of the planet itself. It's going to take more than a president to change it, it's going to take all of us.

    Ted Kennedy, maybe the most effective democratic legislator ever, understands this too. He and his family are throwing down for Obama because they believe he can transform our country in the same way John F. Kennedy did.

    The only thing that would make Omaba better for me is if he were a lesbian.

    If you are wavering -- I urge you to take the leap. Decide to believe and, better still, get involved. Dream Clooney urges you too.

    With love and, yes, HOPE,

    [my friend]

The friend who wrote this is a (striking) writer, a brilliant and passionate (and funny) woman whose shows you probably watch. If she says it's ok, I'll put her name on the letter.


The Ice Storm

We seem to be having an honest-to-goodness ice storm today, a thing that I previously thought was just a title, for say, a Rick Moody novel, or an Ang Lee film. But no, apparently there are actually days when for hours on end, tiny, soft pellets of ice--not snow, not hail, not rain--fall from the sky, coating the roads in a slushy pile that resists efforts at clearing it away and forms a slippery mush under car wheels.

Normally, I would seize an opportunity like this to spend the entire day, save school commute, at home, maybe continuing the massive office organization project I finally begun, to great delight, yesterday. Remember Freedom Filer? I got all my (two years worth!) of filing done yesterday in about three hours. I threw out a lot, got everything else organized in a system that will make taxes easier (I hope) and fit everything into one drawer of a wide two drawer filing cabinet. I am a convert. Now I just have to conquer the three eight-inch tall piles of mail that are still on top of my desk, and I'll be a new woman. I have some before, in the middle, and after pictures that if you're lucky, I'll post. Really lucky, that is, because what we all crave is pictures of other people's mess, right?

Anyway, Organize-Me Part Deux was not to be, because instead, we woke up this morning to a half-day of school, a half-day which as it turned out, neither of my children would attend because Dido woke up with a 101 fever and there was no point in forcing the Babe to go to school without her brother for a short day. Instead, I called the ped., and drove Dido to Great Barrington to confirm our suspicions that indeed, he's on his second bout of strep in three weeks. Home schooling looks good on days like these...except that I'd actually have to do the home schooling, and none of us would survive that. So...it's a day of online Elmo stories and Abbott and Costello movies and (fringe benefit) a lot of knitting time for me. I finished a scarf for the H last night and am midway through another project for myself that I had put aside to make his scarf, which turned out pretty well although (surprise!) he had some "notes" (Hollywood-speak for criticism) on the design. Welcome to my world.