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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Politics Make Strange...

I've used this blog in the past to come clean about my crushes. I've spoken very honestly about the men in my life, such as Rob Lowe, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Johnny Depp. I even shared with you my List. Now it's time for more truth. There is one man for whom I have an almost wistful reverence and obsessive concern. After the tsunami I watched the television news for glimpses of him to see if he was looking wan or exhausted. I fretted over his health and welfare. In the past six years, I have often longed for his wisdom and levelheadedness. And recently, I applauded his fiery spirit and dauntless self-defense.

I'm speaking, of course, about President Bill Clinton.

This man had me at the start of the presidential campaign in his first term. He wore tan suits and baby blue shirts when everyone else was trying to "look presidential" in dark suits and sedate ties. His lilting Dixie accent sounded homespun and soothing and belied the incredible intelligence and sophistication he possessed. His wife wore horrific headbands, but what did I care? I wasn't electing a First Lady fashion icon; I was electing a president! Besides, everyone knew that Jackie O would always be the First Lady of Fashion. I'd like to see a Republican First Lady come close to being a style setter like her. The Bushwomen...well, not even. And do not even try to mention Nancy Reagan. If it weren't for red suits, she'd be a nothing. Feh!

The thing about Bill was, when he spoke, I always got the incredible feeling that he truly meant every single thing he said. And that he truly did care--deeply--about America. And every single American. And that he was smart. He never smirked or snorted behind the Presidential seal. He didn't have to. He was Presidential because he knew what he was doing and it was the right thing because he thought about it, he cared about it, and he wasn't doing it behind everyone's back, including the Constitution's. I could have done without the "thumb up" gesture all the time, but hey, we all have our little idiosyncrasies. And, apparently, that's a good one because John Edwards uses it now. Maybe it's a Southern thing.

I used to watch Bill at big events held in his honor or at which he was a guest of honor. He'd be introduced, naturally, and everyone would clap and all. Sometimes the events would be intensely emotional or patriotic, and the camera would zoom in, and there he'd be, eyes all welled up, but smiling. Almost like he's thinking to himself, "Oh my God. I am the President of this incredible country and I can't believe it. This is just too much."

It was devastating when Gore lost the First Election of the Dark Times. And I started missing Bill right away. I tried giving the Angel of Death the benefit of the doubt, and before September 11th, I thought, "Maybe this moron will just hide out and not do much damage, just play with some toys under the big desk and we'll be okay for four years." But no.

During the Kerry campaign, I was thrilled to hear that Bill was going to campaign. And then it happened: the heart surgery. A flurry of emails flew between my friend Leanne in southern Maryland (only 45 minutes from D.C.!) and me. Relieved to hear he was out of surgery and would be fine, I began to concern myself with his recovery. "This situation is less than ideal, " I wrote Leanne. "After all, Hillary does not strike me as the caring, nurturing type. She will probably not even be home, or , if she does go to him, she will probably be busy on her laptop or cell phone and fax machine. She might stress him out with Senate business. I can't see her fluffing his pillow or arranging the duvet. Likely she will not fill his pill minder or see that he is properly hydrated. Things could go downhill fast and she will not even notice. She might not even see if he is paler than normal. What a terrible thing. When Rick had his spinal surgery, I was home with him all summer. I made the doctor do a thyroid level test because I thought his eyebrows looked sparse! Do you think Hillary even knows what color his eyebrows are?"

Fast forward to the tsunami relief effort. When I heard that Bill was going to be flitting around the world on a plane with Bush41, I almost had a spasm. What was he thinking? And then, the news that he gave up his bed to 41 because the man is older made me almost apoplectic. Bill is a heart patient fergodsakes! I saw report after report where Bill looked tired and listless. I began to perseverate about his health. The pouches under his eyes became more pronounced. I emailed Leanne, "This trip is ill-advised. Very ill-advised. Again, I question Hillary's dedication here. Why didn't she step in and put her foot down? I would have told him that no way is he jetting off, gallivanting and traipsing around, compromising his recovery. He's not eighteen, you know."

Thankfully, Bill made a complete recovery in spite of himself. (AND Hillary's obvious indifference, I have to say.) This was evident in his sparring match with Chris Wallace on the Faux News Network recently. He looked very fit. Quite. And still very Presidential. I may be able to stop worrying now, but I still miss him. Can't he run again? Because, we need him. And I don't want to hear a lot of bullshit about the monica thing--yes, small things deserve small letters, and it was a small thing. I don't give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut who does who or how or what in the Oval Office, even if it's on my dime. Did it cost 2700+ American lives? Did it destabilize an entire region? Was it anyone's business, really? In the broad panorama of any context, was it anyone's business and did it really matter? Did it make us less safe at home or abroad? Are you really better off now, in the grasp of the Angel of Death and Darth Vader?

Sigh. I miss those Bill Times. Who do we have that can follow him? Who is our next Democratic Rock Star President? I know who I'd like...but I'd rather have Bill.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Testing, Testing...Is This Thing On?


Okay, so I need brutally objective feedback. The following struck me as funny. Really funny. But when I related it at the dinner table, I got pitying looks and rolling eyes for my pains. Here it is:

Yesterday I was playing string with TravisCat. He was really going at it. "Wow!" I told him. "You have amazing cat-like reflexes."
Am I the only one?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Men: Can't Live with 'Em, Can't Afford a Luxury Condo in an Undisclosed Location


On Saturday afternoon I walked out of the bathroom after having dried my hair and wandered into the living room. There, on my couch, was the commissioner of basketball, eating McDonald's food. He was there watching the Ohio State football game with my son. "Hey," he said briefly, looking up.

"Commissioner," I responded, nodding. He merely reached into the bag for another sandwich. My husband was in his recliner with his laptop, frowning at the screen. "What's with all these emails from the Hornets and the Trailblazers?" he complained. "I don't want to get sent all this trash talk if it doesn't concern me! Why do they send this shit to everyone?" The Commissioner turned his attention ever so slightly from the football game. "I don't know," he said, a slight edge to his voice. "They're just idiots. I delete 'em."

I sighed and walked out of the room. This is what it is like to live in a houseful of males. It's Fantasy Sports Season. Right now, all three of them own fantasy football franchises and are busily drafting basketball teams for when that season begins. It never stops. And I mean never. It is the topic of dinner conversation, after-dinner conversation, cell phone conversations, Sunday morning over-the-newspaper conversations, and any other time they can possibly manage it. Oh, sure, they try to include me: "Mom, I need a shooter and I'm stuck between Iguadala and Prince. Who should I take?" But really, I'm so sick of it all. IT'S NOT REAL! THEY DON'T EVEN GET A PRIZE IF THEY WIN! WHAT THE HECK IS THE POINT, THEN? I just don't get it. It's "A Guy Thing." I can't even think of anything in the Female Experience that is analagous to Fantasy Sports Leagues. All this constant fantasy junk is making me want my own apartment.

Listen, that's not all. If you live in my house, you get to hear these as well:
--"It's as hot as crotch in here!"
--"Come ON! Don't sit there and tell me you've never, in your WHOLE life, ever had swamp ass."
--after whiffing own armpit, "Man, do I stink! Seriously, I need a shower."
--"Mom, my head is bigger than your whole torso!"
--"Mom, please. You're so weak you can't even drink from a big-girl glass."
--the word "piss" as noun, verb, and adjective
--farts and burps at the dinner table every night, sometimes simultaneously
--quotes from "Office Space" and "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Rain Man" every single day
--actual meltdowns over poor players' performances in Madden 2007, which is A GAME

And, apparently, if you are male and live in my house, these things are optional:
--hanging up the hand towel
--scraping food off the dishes before stacking them or loading them
--bringing used dishes or drinking vessels back to the kitchen
--putting the cordless phone back on its charger
--hanging up your car keys
--turning off or putting your laptop away or at least off the floor
--bringing up any clean, dry clothing from the laundry, even your own
--putting clean, dry clothing in a drawer
--recycling aluminum cans
--cleaning the catbox
--picking up your change
--noticing and then cleaning up cat yak

Oh, boo hoo, some of my male readers are saying. Or, big effing deal, some of my mommies of toddlers or newborns might be saying. THAT'S RIGHT, I say! I have the right to boo hoo over this big effing deal! After carping after sophomores and juniors all day about the sanctity of the English language and the stature of American literature, the last thing I need is all of that crap!

Wow. I feel tons better now.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

DoN to Hire Fashion Consultant; Apply Within



This is such an iffy time of the year in NE Ohio, climatologically speaking. One day, we are basking in 85-degree warmth with blue, sunny skies; the next, we are cuddling under our afghans while the sky is gunmetal grey and the northerly breezes remind us that we are glad we bought the snowblower last year. It is this type of changeability that wreaks havoc with my professional wardrobe and my fashion confidence.

I know it is September, but on Friday we had 86 degrees! Our building is not airconditioned! All my fall clothes are still in storage! There is no freaking way I am wearing a sweater, blazer, or longsleeved anything when it is almost 90. SO!...What's a woman to do?

Am I allowed to still wear white pants? If so, till when? Am I really, as Stacy and Clinton of "What not to Wear" fame say, still allowed to wear my ferociously cute white backless shoes now that Labor Day has passed? What about my fierce light blue and my flirty pink kitten heels? What about my pastel-colored blazers for sunny yet coolish days, say in the upper 60s? What about open-toed shoes? Is it over for them? Even if they might be black or brown? How long do I have?

See, I used to just cheat. There was a woman I used to teach with who was very uppercrust and very fashionable. I sort of watched her wardrobe's evolution and patterned mine after her. If she was wearing her sandals that week, I was okay to wear mine, and so on. Alas! she retired. And took her Chanel sunglasses with her.

The leaves have not yet started to turn here. I still have pink geraniums in hanging baskets and petunias in my flower boxes. My tomatoes are still producing and my basil is going crazy. I saw a baby cardinal on my deck.

So, what dictates my wardrobe, the calendar or the weather or some rules that I am not entirely sure of that someone made up sometime? I mean, I'll follow the rules if everyone else is because I don't want to look like an idiot. I am that vain, sadly. It's this damned not summer/not really fall season that kills me.

Aside from that, I'm good.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

If We Are What We Eat, Then I'm In Trouble


Thanks to Ernesto, this Labor Day Weekend which is supposed to be Summer's Last Hurrah is turning into The Festival O' Generalized Malaise. Yesterday we had a high temperature of 65 degrees (I officially began the season of Polar Fleece Body Encasement) and nonstop rain; today we have a high temperature of 68 degrees and lowering clouds that look as if we should be ready to grab Toto and head for the cellar.

I am fussy.

And...I am having one of those days where I am hungry, but I don't know what I am hungry for.

Do you absolutely hate that? You know what that's like. You stand in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open (ILLEGAL!), almost as if you are standing on a podium and addressing the appliance's contents: "I suppose you are wondering why I've called all of you here today." I stare for long minutes at the same stuff: bagels? no. cheese? no. pickles? no. leftover mac & cheese? no. jam, jelly? no. chocolate milk? no. SIGH.

Then, the cupboards. Cheetos? hmmm...no. pretzels? no. granola? ick. popcorn? you're insane. how long have these Peeps been in here? who bought these jalapeno Pringles? eew. where is the Hershey bar I stashed in here? Oh, yeah, I set it out for the cat-sitter. peanut butter? no.
AAAARRRGGHHHH!

I end up with 4 Ritz crackers, one of which I drop, blow on, and eat anyway. Completely unsatisfying.

I go back to reading my book about a Dutch she-merchant in the 1600s. She is eating eggs and beef and drinking ale after just having given birth. None of that ( and I mean NONE OF ANY OF THAT) sounds the least bit appealing. Either does going to the grocery store.

I am in a food/mood crisis. Send help.
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