Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Turning Red To Blue

On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a South Carolina Campaign for change event sponsored by the SC Democratic Party. Here are some photos from that event.

How appropriate!

From the oldest..............

To the youngest

and everyone in between

Even Fashionistas!

Ok so everyone wasn't inspired for change!

Many thanks to Miles our photographer for the night. No wonder we only have shots of ladies! Who could say no to this face?

The SC Democratic Party is hoping that Red+volunteers=blue!

Cheering For Sarah Palin

Today I am rooting for Sarah Palin. I know, I know ironic. I am rooting for her in the way you root for your kid when they wait for the last minute to do an assignment. You know you don’t want them to fail but you kind of hope for a not so good grade so they can see the importance of proper prior planning. Maybe I am the only bad mommy but how can I be right if they get an A after waiting to the night before to even start the thing. I digress. I have seen and heard the reports of her going to the UN today to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other world leaders. One reporter referred to the meetings as foreign policy speed dating. As I lay in bed this morning getting my last prayers up I included one for her to not screw this up. I know I should be hoping she does so it will fly in the face of all those people who are talking about her being a ‘sharp’ woman, able and smart enough to run our country. But truth is I do not want her to screw this one up too badly. Our image as a nation has taken enough hits that we do not need anymore. You see most people would assume that a nation’s leaders represent the best and brightest it has to offer. If she walks into these talks and says or does something stupid what does that say about us? Remember these people have been talking with W over the past 8 years and have lost all respect for America. What will Sarah do today?

Obama and McCain have the respect of a lot of leaders around the world. It has been reported that the President of Georgia called Joe Biden before calling W when Russia invaded. So we know about them. Now here she is with a shiny new passport with 2 whole stamps on it and she wants a meeting with someone whose support is vital to our efforts in Afghanistan. We need his support if we are to have any chance of dealing with the Taliban. Forget the fact that she could make us look bad, screwing this up can cause loss of more lives. I have family and friends in Afghanistan and their safe return is a daily prayer of mine. I have attended enough funerals over the last 8 years. So today I am cheering, and praying for Sarah Palin. DO NOT SCREW THIS UP!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Whose Kids are These? Part one

My 12 year-old told me the other day that he has “girl issues” he wanted my perspective on. He says his new girlfriend was upset that his old girlfriend asked him if they could go out again. The new girlfriend is mad because he even spoke to the old one. OK now as I try not to choke on my coffee. I told him that his new girlfriend’s insecurities were not his problem, but he had to make sure he was being sensitive to her feelings. I asked was he bragging about the old girlfriend, and how did she even find out as he should have said no and moved on. We went round and round and I told him that he needs to remember that he has a sister and cousins and to always treat girls how he would want boys to treat them. This always gets a kind of panicked look from him as his little sister is his biggest adorer and he returns that love full force. They are soo sickening to watch. That little nugget of advice always bring out the “man” in him as he talks about how he will be leaning on any guy that she brings home. OK now back to my rant this kid is 12 and in the 8th grade whose kid is this? Girl problems? I keep looking at him and thinking this is the kid who did not brush his teeth without me standing over him just 4 short years ago and now he has girl problems? Who are these girls and where are their parents? I know I wanted my kids to come to me but can’t they call their aunts or uncles for this kind of heartburn stuff? Is it too late to just bury my head in the sand? Lord help me I need some amaretto in this coffee.

My 7 year-old gets an IEP to officially tell me what I paid someone ($150) else to tell me a year ago. He is dual exceptional. What is that you ask? My kid has ADD AND he is gifted. Yeah, I know you can’t make this stuff up. He is already suffering from the biggest case of middle child syndrome that I have seen since my sister (33 and still not over it) and now this little fact. He makes 101 on a spelling test one week and the next he makes 30. The difference…. his table mate was crying when he made the 30. Not sure how to even begin addressing this. Is it fair for him to get another test? So I just send the teacher a note asking her to call when she gets a chance. Right now I guess I will just ask what her opinion of what we should do about this. I know he knew all of those words but how genuine does this sound from him mom? Sigh!!! Why can’t he just be pulling some girl’s hair or making noise? That, I know how to deal with. This I am a fish out of water, wayyy out. I do not want to be that parent the teacher does not want to hear from but I have to get my kid through school with at least a little self esteem, how else can I expect him to leave home before 30?

My charming, beautiful, loving daughter thinks she is princess of the world. Literally. She seems to think that class time should revolve around her. She has taken to throwing things, giggling to no end and making bad jokes. Her father and brother think it is because she is so smart that she is bored. I think it is her just being a brat. I know she is my kid and God I love her but she does think the world begins and ends at her feet. She told her last babysitter that her dad calls her princess but “you people” don’t. I am still trying to figure out who you people are I am guessing its those of us who live on planet earth. Anyway, I talk to her nicely and take away her TV time. She is all tearful and mournful telling me how she will not do it again. OK 2 days later I get the same call. This time I was not so nice and I would not let her wear any of her new clothes, make her carry her old lunch bag and all has been well ever since. Princess of the world indeed.

Just writing this has made me realize how much I need a trip to the adult drink store. Amaretto, red wine, white wine, gin…. maybe I just need to see if they have a store credit card. I see a lot of praying and drinking in my future and not always in that order.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bailout Please!!!!

I heard you are doing bailouts. I do not need an insane figure like 85B I would just like 85K. See I got a little problem over here. I have 3 children who all expect to clothed, fed and have a place to live. They want insane things like new backpacks, money for lunch, fees for football, soccer, basketball and then there are those dance lessons and karate. Not to mention all of the gear and the time and gas that goes into those things. So I just said no fall activities because truth is last time I went to the gas station and the grocery store in the same day I had to call that automated system to make sure I had enough to cover everything. I keep trying to get a second job but not one of them want to pay me enough to pay the babysitter. See I have collateral, well some. The great state of Maryland let me know last month that I am owed a little over 18k in child support. I know that only a little more than 20% but I do have a car and a bank account well some electronics may be better. I just need to know where to line up for this loan. I think my kids and I could use a little bail out too as some of the reasons we even need this loan could be blamed on your boss not doing such a good job. You see my healthcare cost have equaled to or surpassed my raise for the last 5 years. Gas, my goodness what a mess that is. It affects everything from a gallon of milk, which we rarely buy, to a dozen eggs which I now buy from the local farmer’s market because I cannot even think of buying them in the grocery store. I am driving a pretty old vehicle which I can’t even dream of getting rid of.

I know you need to know what I will do with the money so here is my list:

I will let each kid chose a sport or activity for the fall as has been our tradition in the past.
I will fill up my car each week
I will take the kids out to eat once a week like we used to
I will go the grocery store and just buy food and a few snacks without feeling panicky on my way to the register
I will buy myself something new not from the thrift or consignment shop but something with real tags on it
I will take my care to the dealer for that $212 service it “needs” according to the light anyway.
I will buy my children a Wii and a few games for it. I know this is not a necessity but they really are great kids and follow my “the way we live bulls**t” as the reason for not having one when the truth is I cannot justify buying one see note above on trip to grocery store and gas station.
Lastly I will take my son on a special trip for his 13th birthday I have been planning it for a long time and even started saving for it but I will have to dip into that savings for Christmas this year so the trip is looking a little more like tickets to a football game (college)

Pretty much I would just like to live like it is 2003, 2001 even 1999. Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I will submit all necessary documents for your loan application. Just let me know where to send them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


There are some things that stay just below the surface. You know that they are there you just keep them at bay. One of those things for me is my sister’s illness. My sister is this really beautiful woman with this smile that is over the top. She has this gap that seems different every time she smiles. She is a 30 something mother of 3, who to this day is your typical little sister. She can be the biggest pain in the rear ever. I often say that even if she is 90 with advanced Alzheimer’s she will still be able to tell you my age and some embarrassing story from my youth.

Eight years ago my mom called and said she was sick. She was mid 20s then, so her being sick got an “oh, tell her I hope she feels better. I will call you tomorrow and check on her.” No major concern because after all what could be wrong with my little sister? The next day my mom called and said your sister is really sick and you need to get here. I got everything together and went home or rather to the hospital. I got in just in time for the doctors to explain that they were going to amputate just below the knee. WHAT? It was like someone had pushed me down that rabbit hole. I had to be dreaming. Amputate what? It turns out for some unknown reason my sister’s body had turned on itself and her leg needed to be amputated. They were talking about doing everything in their power to save her arm. I felt like there was that roaring in my ears that you get when there is too much water in them. I could not be hearing this correctly. My sister my 24 year-old sister could not be this sick. We needed to get a second opinion. There was no time as she was dying. To this day I cannot comprehend a lot of what went on during those weeks and months my sister spent in the hospital. I remember when she was in critical care and she was put on life support between the time we had seen her at 3:15 and the time we saw her at 4:00. I still don’t know why I remember the time but I remember my mom losing her ability to stand when she saw her baby hooked up to all those machines. I remember the look in her eyes the first time I saw her after the amputation. She later said she told me not to let her husband turn off her life support, which may be why she looked so lost and frightened. I remember the doctors telling us that they did not why and did not know how to treat her but they were working on it in the meantime the best thing we could do is pray. What?!! We had a minister there and it took 12 yes, 12 of them to crowd into a room and tell us that? I do know that I cannot spend more than 5 minutes really remembering that time without feeling scared sh*tless. My sister did since have her arm amputated in one of those repeat visits to the critical care ward; I lost count of them after # 7. She spent months in the hospital and in rehab. Then another few months in outpatient therapy.

Today for the most part she is just that same kid who was gonna tell no matter what. When we talk about her time in the hospital or her illness it is with a joking tone. I love to see the look on a salesperson’s face when I ask them if it makes sense to spend X dollars on shoes when she can only wear one? Or her telling us that we can rest assured that if she had passed she would have felt no pain as morphine is an amazing thing. We talk about how the nurse called us the Kentucky relatives because we just kept multiplying. She said no one wanted to take her on as they were afraid of us rioting. Her doctor looked like Doggie Howser I swear this kid looked 16. We never talk of the tears and how much we prayed. How utterly terrified we were. There are times when I talk to her that I do not even remember that time. Then there are those days like today when one scene or another keeps coming back to me. Do not get me wrong my sister leads her life as if there is nothing different about her. She gets a little miffed when people tell her what an inspiration she is. She says “What? I have 3 kids sitting around looking out the window is not an option for me.” You see my double amputee sister is a working teacher who cares for her family, drives wherever she want to go, the ultimate fashionista, a businesswoman and a wife. She sees no reason her illness has anything to do with how she lives her life. This post is just her big sister who could not protect her from this and am afraid of something else happening to her. This is about my fears not hers. She lives her life in a way that tells me to keep my fears out of her life. These are the times when I do not know what to do with the fear. I would not dare put it on her she was the one who went through the tubes, the probing, and the mystery that has never been solved. So I put it here. I try to come to terms with my fear and my helplessness because this chick seems fearless. It would be wrong to impose my fears on her life. But does she really have to drive 4 hrs with just her kids? Does she need to be the advisor on the school trip? Why can’t she just finish her master’s already so she can get out of the classroom and in a safe little office? Some time I think it is because she is just being that little pain in the a** sister who wants to cause me heartache. Then I think of this book I read by Maya Angelou in which she says in order to give up you have to have been taught how. No one ever taught us how to give up so she has no clue how to live within the realms of fear. But there are days like to day when I wish she would try.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I am in Oz? Did I fall down the rabbit hole? I am trying to get through my day without more tears so I go online to read the news. And I get this:

CBS takes down McCain webad, suggests it's 'misleading'

“One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life," Couric is quoted in the ad.
In the original clip, which aired months before Palin entered the race, Couric was talking about Hillary Clinton. The ad applies her words to Palin.

Then this:
Nasty Anti-Obama Push Poll Launched In Ohio
Two individuals in Ohio have described an identical push poll being conducted in their home state that presents Barack Obama as a quasi-radical leftist, uses inflammatory quotes from Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and offers risible interpretations of the Senator's policies on everything from sex education to abortion.

Then this:
As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They're Undone
From the moment Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that she had opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," critics, the news media and nonpartisan fact checkers have called it a fabrication or, at best, a half-truth. But yesterday in Lebanon, Ohio, and again in Lancaster, Pa., she crossed that bridge again.
"I told Congress: 'Thanks but no thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere up in Alaska,' " Palin told the crowds at the "McCain Street USA" rallies. "If we wanted a bridge, we'll build it ourselves."

Oh and lets not forget this:

Judge warned Palin in 2005 to back off brother-in-law's job
An Alaska judge warned Gov. Sarah Palin's family against trying to get her then-brother-in-law fired, according to court records. That warning came long before the controversy over her dismissal of the brother-in-law's boss, the state's public safety commissioner, records show.

You get what you pay for or in this case vote for. No matter where you stand or who you are voting for, this should concern ALL of us. We complain about how bad politicians are but do we call them to task? How many McCain supporters have called or emailed him about the campaign he is running. If you do not then it will just get nastier and nastier every year. Soon we will be to the point where we have to censor our children from campign ads. I, for one just finished this email to Obama:

Senator Obama:
I am donating today because I am sick and tired of this mess. I want you to stick to the issues concerning this country. We are trying to save our children’s future here. Fannie and Freddie has just been bailed out the airline industry is making it known that they may need help again, the auto industry is in that line and the line just seems to get longer and longer everyday. I want you to win but we have got to do this with grace and dignity as our kids are watching us. I do not want my kids to think that winning means you take out the other guy at the knees or hit below the belt. I want them to know that winning means being honorable even when your opponent is not. I do not expect to see my hard earned money spent on nastiness. On that note let me give you my humble advice stop looking at the shinny new object it will only blind you so you cannot see where you are going. I need you to be fully in control of all of your senses from here on out. Do not even look in the direction of Sarah Palin John McCain is your oponet. You talked about running a different kind of campign so now is the time to do just that. I am going now to set my time at the phone bank and to get more voter registration packets for this weekend. I am going to do my part and I expect you to do yours. Before AND After you get elected.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


When I first moved to Baltimore I did an adopt a grandparent program. I sat with this lady in a nursing home and she gave me some of the best and funniest advice ever. She told me something that I have thought about a lot lately. She said she never bought into feminism because it to her, it took away the good parts of being a woman. She loved her family depending on her. She enjoyed cooking for and keeping a clean house for her family. She told me that feminism told you you were wrong for this. That your worth in the world depended on your being selfish. I tried to explain that all we want is to be treated equally to our male counterparts. She told me that was just the stupidest thing that we could say because the truth is we are different. That’s why there are men’s teams and women’s teams. She said what we should really be striving for is fair treatment. And fair is not always equal.

The McCain-Palin ticket makes me question whether or not I am truly a feminist. Gov. Palin’s entrance into the race had me proud the first few days. Then came the story of Bristol’s pregnancy and the story of Trig’s delivery and I have been a pissed off chick ever since. Bristol’s pregnancy had me asking WTF was she thinking? How could she throw her kid under the bus like this? I have been mad with this woman like she was my family since I heard this. Then the story of her leaking fluid and getting on a plane and going back to work 3 days later. Who in their right mind does this? Many have said that we would never question a man’s parenting like we have her. I for one can say I would. If this were John McCain’s 17 year old daughter I would feel the same disgust for him. If my co-worker came back to work in a week after giving birth I would definitely question her. I saw a post from Reality Chick that helped me come to terms with some of my anger. As the oldest child my resentments rose every time I saw Trig on Bristol’s hip. I saw my teenage life as mini-mommy. Where the little ones come to you just as much if not more than mommy. You are the go to girl. Truth is you just want to be a teenager. Being mini-mommy had some advantages for me because I ran like HELL from boys. There was NO WAY I was going to get pregnant. I was tired of mothering. All that alone time did not do so well for my sisters.

I even stayed away from this for days because it was bothering me so much. I realize that I am a feminist. And Ms Linda was as well even if she did not think so. In my mind it is about having the opportunity to make the choices you want. If I want to work fine, if I did not fine. If I want kids fine, if I did not fine. I also realized that we should question the well being of politician’s children because if they are not taking care of their own then how can I trust them to make decisions that will impact mine for years to come? The truth is men have always brought their wives out as an example to the world that their kids are OK. Obama talked extensively about how he and Michelle were handling his kids. He was not asked because he answered the question before it could be asked. As have a lot of male politicians. On the flip side she should get credit for being a mommy and men get no credit for being daddy. Joe Bidden and many men like him have raised kids on their own and there is no talk of their skills translating into leadership. It’s not Bristol’s pregnancy that bothers me it is her mom’s exploiting it. As Ms Linda said we are different. Do I think Gov. Palin should have the right to make her choices abso-effing-lutely but at whose expense is she making these choices? In her I see what turned Ms Linda off from Feminism. The get where you can at anyone’s expense attitude. My feminism is in tact. I suspect that we are wasting our time and energy defending someone that does not need it. After all fair is not always equal.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I realized last night that I may need a 12 step program after this election is all over. I still remember those AA commercials and I see myself with the flashlight saying “My name is Michelle and I am an electionoholic” (better word needed). I was on the phone with a good friend of mine but I was too busy flipping between CNN, MSNBC and FOX to pay attention to her. Then she asked what are you doing? That didn’t get me to stop I just started going on and on about the election how Gov. Palin is just a distraction because after all how does any of this help with my gas, food and the fact that my company is going through “voluntary separations” with “involuntary” to come later. Then there are those that are just shutting down or outright laying off. How does this help me get my kids a decent education? I gave up the idea of retiring at 50 a long time ago but will I at least be able to retire someday? My 401k is looking a little shaky. We went round and round, but we kept coming back to our kids. By the time I got to bed I was drained and still seeing images of me with the flashlight.

This morning I realized that the reasons I am addicted are my children, my nieces, nephews and all those kids I love dearly. I have this host of brilliant little ones I am related to. My daughter is a fearless girl my middle son is an artist at heart and my oldest has the biggest personality with a smile to match. My 8 year old nephew is going to be one of the most successful people I know. How do we make sure they are better off than we? As a parent I know fear, we are on very intimate terms. He lives with me rides to work with me sits at my desk and sleeps with me every night. My prayers only makes him move a little out of my sight but is presence is constant. It is fear that makes me wonder how we manage if John McCain, Mark Sanford, Sarah Palin (I personally was rooting for him so we could be rid of him) and the like are in charge for the next X number of years. My concern is not where we drill for oil but how do I pay for the gas to get to work. As a single parent I fear for the social programs I rely on like after school programs and summer camps that I can afford. Programs that will help mine or my girlfriend’s teen when they need it. Help for those kids in abusive homes, or in need of a fresh start. I can barely feed my own family so my donations to the food bank are non existent these days. Will there be scholarships for my kids? Will there be student grants for their education? If my daughter or my son’s girlfriend gets pregnant what type of choices will they have? What kind of jobs or careers can they have? The outcome of this election will have long term ramifications. How will history deal with our decisions?

Over the course of the last eight years I have watched my bank account dwindle, my prospects for a better position vanish, and everything I touch is 2 to 3 time as expensive while my paycheck barely registers an increase but we can spend 1 billion dollars a month in Iraq? Many more of my younger relatives are in harm’s way. Then we get this bunch telling us it will all be fine, actually we are fine. Give me a break! Sarah Palin’s daughter will be fine but what about my girlfriend’s pregnant teen? McCain’s daughter will get to go to the college of her choosing but what about my baby brother or my brilliant children? Barack Obama is the person I am willing to trust to turn things around. I am tired of fear. I want a real date and a warm body in my bed. So, for now I hold that flashlight and hope my withdrawal isn’t too bad Nov 5th.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why Can't I Ask?

I have a lot of thoughts in me that I was going to get out today but Gov. Palin is on my mind. More to the point the fact that there are many who think she is off limits because she is a woman. We keep talking about wanting equal treatment then when it doesn’t go our way we get to yell, scream and stomp our feet. Sexism is a very real thing. As someone who has dealt with both racism and sexism I can tell you that whining about it gets you nowhere. I have been called a Black b***h more times than I care to count. You move on because, surprise, life is not fair! Does it hurt yes, but I and many others like me know that we got where we are because so many before us took far worse and endured so we can get to this place today. I wrote about this with the Hillary supporters who were yelling about her getting respect from Barack Obama. She should have been consulted about who his VP pick was and her issues should be discussed. In my years of following politics no loser has been given as much as she. All because of the political correctness of our day. Look, she was not the pick and did not need to be consulted because this was Obama’s victory to savor not hers. If she were a man she would have been sent on her merry way long before the primaries ended.

Now it is rally the uteruses time with Gov. Palin. Her family is off limits, calling into question her judgment as a mother cannot be done, she is a woman. Look if the playing field is level then her judgment at home is on the table just as John Edwards was considered a jerk for cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. Bill Clinton for sleeping a girl not much older than his daughter. When you choose public life all of it is public including your kids. Hillary went to great pains to protect Chelsea and we all remember the jokes one by even John McCain. Gov Palin thought that somehow she and her children would be spared? Give me a break! Remember all the questions about why John Edwards even ran or why Elizabeth let him? I do question her as a parent because I have made choices that hurt my career to put my kids first. It’s called PARENTING. Hillary could have run for office long ago but chose to wait. Gov. Palin did not make these same choices and she wants me to think she is just like me, normal? Normal my big wide a**. You talk about how sacred life is then what about nourishing it when it gets here. If she were a guy I would be asking the same questions. Why can’t I ask them of her? If we are not asking this of our public figures then we are all lacking. Just because she is a woman does not give her a pass. You want a level playing field then stop yelling foul and play! This is not little league where everybody has to play nice. In the big time you can sustain career ending injuries. It’s a risk you take. Gov. Palin put on the big girl gear you are in the big leagues now!