Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Cat Lover for Obama

I have no idea where this pin came from. Did Barbara Jo, my intrepid and creative mother-in-law, make it herself or is there actually someone out there selling Cat Lovers for Obama pins? Either way, my mother-in-law is a bold bad-@ss because I don't think there are that many people in southwestern Colorado running around with Obama pins of any kind on (yes, there are some, but they are by no means in the majority). In fact, at a recent craft show, a vendor selling jam told Barbara Jo that he liked her pin. He went on to add that he got the feeling that there weren't many Obama fans in the area and that the place seemed like McCain country.

All I can say is add to me to the list, sign me up as another cat lover for Obama.

Thanks to Little Jimmy and Barbara for sending along the fantastic photos. by the way, doesn't Barbara look snappy? She could give Sarah Palin a run for her money in the snappy dressing department and she would do it for a hell of a lot less than $150,000 - someone needs to show girlfriend how to shop at thrift stores, Little Miss Joe Six Pack.

A real "West Wing" Presidency?

Mitch and I have been watching old episodes of the West Wing on dvd. It is just as good as the first time around. I remember watching the show during the Bush presidency and thinking, "wow, if only we could have a real president like the fictional Jed Bartlett - but that will never happen."

Now, hearing many of Obama's recent speeches and some extended excerpts of his stump speech ("There is no pro-America and anti-America. We all love America." - I'm paraphrasing here), I am thinking that we may actually get to have our dreams of a president who is intelligent, well-spoken, and witty, come true. Not to mention a president who is thoughtful and actually seeks out and listens to expert advice. Just a few more reasons to vote for Barack Obama.

If you were a fan of the west wing, or just generally like witty dialogue, check out this fictional meeting between Jed Bartlett and Barack Obama.

I couldn't have said it better myself

Read why the NY times is endorsing Barack Obama for president here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Your Mud and My Mud Are Not the Same

Let's talk about mud slinging. This was a topic that came up in the final Presidential debate. Both candidates accused each other's campaign of mud slinging. Given that this is politics, and that we are playing for the biggest prize in American politics, I have no doubt that mud has been slung. But let's take a close look at the kind of mud being thrown from each side.

On the Obama Side (according to John McCain in the debate): Obama's campaign is mischaracterizing McCain's tax plan and McCain's health plan. Whether this is true or not, I couldn't say. I'm sure that the Obama camp is trying to highlight the most unappealing aspects of McCain's views on these topics and may, in fact, be painting an incomplete or inaccurate picture. Yes, this probably qualifies as mud slinging.

On the McCain Side: Palin is basically calling Obama a terrorist despite the fact that the guy he hung out with (Mr. Weatherman) is a respected academic professor who has hung out with all the political muckety mucks in Chicago including republicans and democrats. McCain and Palin are implying that we "don't know who that guy is" whatever that means and that we don't know "what he will do." Well we don't know what McCain or Palin will do either since neither of them have been President or Vice President before. There have also been e-mails sent around by someone (McCain supporters, perhaps McCain operatives) saying that Barack Obama is a muslim (totally irrelevant but also totally untrue). Not to mention that chanting things about killing people goes unremarked upon at Palin rallies.

These two kinds of mud are NOT equal to each other. One is focused on the issues and the other is flinging about unsubstantiated and untrue rumors and attacks on character that are untrue and totally unrelated to any policy stances. One sucks and is dirty politics and the other is totally legitimate political warfare. They aren't even in the same league. Oh John, how far you have strayed from the high road...

I'm sorry, but you really can't make the experience argument any more

Seriously, are we supposed to sit here and take it when John McCain tries to get on his high horse about how Barack Obama isn't experienced enough to be President? I'm sorry, but the second you select a mayor/governor from Alaska with absolutely no legislative or international experience as your running mate you have lost all ability to play the experience card. Do you really want to get into that fight, because I think you are going to lose. If you stack up the collective experience of the Obama-Biden ticket against the collective experience of the McCain-Palin ticket, we democrats are the clear winners. Our guy knows politics. Our guy has legislative experience. Our guy actually knows what the Bush doctrine is. Our guy looks and acts presidential. And then when you compare Biden and Palin, there is absolutely no contest. Palin makes Dan Quayle look experienced, and that's saying something.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Puppet show

A month or so ago we went to a pretty lame puppet show with Becca and Ava in San Diego. It was the most boring rendition of the shoemaker and the elves known to history. Anyway, the other day Lucy put all these cups on Roddy and called it his puppet show. Who knows where it all comes from but it sure is both adorable and entertaining.

Weekend Update: Pictures of the Girls

We had a pretty mellow weekend. On Friday we had a fantastic morning at the beach with Rick and Jonas and Elliot. The weather was amazing: sunny and high 70's with no wind. The water was, of course, freezing but Lucy put on her little wet suit and had a great time frolicking in the water. We went to this great beach at the harbor that is totally enclosed so you don't have to worry about your kids being swept out to sea by a rogue wave. Josie spent the entire time eating sand and waving sticks around. She didn't spend as much time with giant pieces of seaweed sticking out of her mouth so we missed out on that comedy routine.

On Sunday we went to the YMCA and joined up. Then we took Josie and Lucy "swimming" in their pool. Lucy actually eventually went into the deep end by herself (Mitch was 2 feet away in the water) using one of those pool noodles and kicking madly. Of course she kicks with her feet straight down so she is totally inefficient. Both Mitch and I tried to tell her to lean forward and put her feet out behind her more but she was having none of it. You can't tell that girl how to do anything!!! (remind you of anyone?)

We have also been hard at work on obtaining an actual full night of sleep without being woken up. This is a pretty darn hard feat. Typically one or the other of the girls wakes them both up and simultaneous crying results for any length of time. In a desperate bid to get Lucy to stay quietly in her bed regardless of what Josie does, we went to four thrift stores in downtown Ventura and bought out their supply of quality stuffed animals. It is amazing the bargains you can get. I purchased 12 stuffed animals for $10 at one of the thrift stores. For around a $30 investment we now have five bags of stuffed animals that we use to bribe Lucy into better nighttime behavior. For every night that she doesn't wake up Josie and spends the whole night in her own bed, she gets a surprise in the morning. We are still getting woken up but at least she is staying in her bed. Tonight we upped the ante to she doesn't get a surprise unless she STAYS in her bed and is quiet (typically when Josie starts crying, Lucy likes to get up and come in our room to tell us that Josie is crying - as if I can't hear it loud and clear both through the door , which is like two feet away, and on the freaking monitor!!). We'll see if she earns a surprise tomorrow or not. So far she has already accumulated three dogs (honey, soft dog, and sit dog), a sheep, a cardinal, a t-rex, a cat, sully monster, and a bunny. When we get too many we'll go through the give away process and teach her about non-attachment and giving to others.
Lucy and her "surprises"

You could be a school bus, or a flower, or a mouse, or a tree

My little butterfly!! First she was a flower, then a chicken, and now a butterfly! Who could wish for anything more???

On Saturday Mitch took Lucy and Josie to a costume party at one of our new local play places called Imagine That. Josie wore Lucy's old chicken costume and Lucy got her new costume, shown above. They had a great time and I was sorry to have missed it (I had to work on Saturday planting plants with kids from Santa Monica and some people who like parks and also wield a great deal of power and influence - don't ask). Afterwards I met up with Mitch and Lucy and Josie and we all went to the park together. On the way to the park, Lucy was telling me about getting her own halloween costume and she was encouraging me to dress up for halloween:

"Mom, you should make a costume for halloween. You could be a mouse, or a flower, or a tree, or...I don't know, a school bus, or a car, or a van."

How hard do you think it would be to make a school bus costume? Does anyone have a refrigerator box they aren't using?

Family portraits

You think this is a picture of our cat, but really it is not...

I love shoes - they don't care if you are fat or skinny, they come in amazing colors and shapes and sizes and they snazz up an outfit like nothing else. The other night, during bath time, I looked down on the floor and saw three extremely cute pairs of brown mary-janes. The sight made me feel so happy inside. There it was, a microcosm of the my three girl scene. Love those girls.

Later I went into the living room and started the laborious process of picking up all the toys, sippy cups, clothes, shoes, refrigerator magnets, soup pans, bags, books, spoons, etc. accumulated at the end of the day and I discovered all of these shoes. I added Mitch's to make a full family portrait since his are always so neatly put away in his room and not scattered about the living room like some people's...

Salad Days

Did I mention that our lettuce in our garden is already ready for eating? Our sunny front spot plus water plus some cool fall days are all helping the garden kick butt. The edamame beans already have beans on them, the strawberries are going great guns, and we have lots of weird melons that I think are supposed to be watermelons but don't look anything like watermelons. I say bring on the fall season!

We ate our second salad containing our own greens this weekend at Seth's birthday bbq (don't forget that I hate barbeque. But this one did have some delicious food including great grilled veggies.). The salad pictured here features green lettuce from the farmer's market and red oak leaf lettuce from our own garden.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finally, a Tooth

Yes, Josie finally has a sliver of white showing through her bottom gums. I was starting to think that she was going to be the youngest person ever to get dentures. She eats like a fiend but having some teeth will definitely reduce our worries about choking and will make feeding her a lot easier. She doesn't like mushy or blended up food so currently we have to tear everything into tiny pieces. Since we have been out of the breast-feeding business for four months now, I say bring on the teeth!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Tie? I think NOT.

O.k., o.k., I, like many others, initially viewed the vice presidential debate as a tie. Sarah Palin didn't sound like a blathering idiot so that means they tied, right? Many of the post-debate commentators talked about how well they thought Palin did. She did seem very collected and was not intimidated. She did look at the camera and didn't pass out or drool on herself. On the other hand, as Mitch pointed out to me during the debate, if you actually LISTENED to the quality of the answers from each of the candidates, there was NO COMPARISON. Every one of Joe Biden's answers was extremely detailed and revealed his depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Almost every single one of Sarah Palin's answers relied either on the phrase "energy independence" or "maverick" as it's key, hard-hitting point, regardless of what the question was.

I don't care if you are a democrat or a republican, there is no way you can look at Palin and Biden and say that they are equally qualified. It is like that SNL skit imitating Palin and Clinton, one of them is an experienced politician and the other has almost no experience what-so-ever. I don't know whether Sarah Palin is a nice person or not. She does have lovely hair and nice glasses. I disagree with most, if not all, of her views. And beyond all that, she is almost totally unqualified to be the vice president of the United States. A mayor in Alaska??? A first time governor??? Are you kidding me? Not to mention that John McCain has completely eroded any credibility of his claim to put country first by selecting a running mate that is so clearly NOT the best qualified of those whom he could have picked.

By the way, I thought Joe Biden's agreeing with her on the wind fall tax thing was a nice touch, especially when he emphasized that McCain didn't agree with her. And, did everyone hear that she gave the wrong name for the general in Afghanistan? A tie? Are you kidding me?

By the way #2, Mitch read that the actuarial tables for a man John McCain's age with a history of melanoma is 1 in 6. Those aren't good odds. What you need to ask yourself is, how do you feel about President Palin?

Good Things

You might conclude from some of my previous posts that I spend all of my current existence dreaming up lists of things I would do if I didn't have two kids. I want to remedy that by posting a list of all the fun things that I get to do now, WITH my two crazy kids. We had dinner with some friends from the park on Friday night and we were talking about the old cliche of how your kids are only young once (or is the cliche that YOU are only young once?? either way, it's clear that time doesn't often loop back upon itself in our current configuration). It does make everything bitter sweet knowing that once this phase of the girls' life is past we won't ever get it back. When they are both screaming at 2 AM that is a fact that I praise the universe for repeatedly (by the way, they have both slept peacefully in their room together for the past four nights - yes! we have our bedroom back!). But when Josie is giving me her toothless smile or Lucy is telling me about how her new stuffed dog, Curly Fluffy, likes to be dragged around the house, this is a fact that makes me a tiny bit sad.

So here it is, a list of some of the great parts of my life as I currently know it.

13. The playground on the beach. We have not one, but TWO playgrounds on the beach. Could there be anything better than pushing your kid on the swing while you stare out at the ocean and contemplate the universe?
12. Smoothie time. Sometimes it creeps me out that my three year old daughter requests Jamba Juice by name but who doesn't love a good smoothie? Watching both of my daughters suck down Orange Dream machine while we stroll along on a sunny afternoon is pretty much bliss.
11. The carousel. Once again, we have not one, but three carousels that we visit regularly. There is one at the harbor, a crappy one in the mall, and one at the Santa Barbara zoo. I love riding with Lucy or just watching her ride. Something about a carousel is still totally magical to me and I am super happy that our kids get to ride them regularly.
10. Gardening with the girls. I love picking strawberries, tomatoes, mint, and flowers with Lucy and Josie. I love watching them get muddy knees and look at bugs and chasing them down as they truck down the sidewalk clutching handfuls of fruits and vegetables.
9. Playing Band. This is something that Mitch, and Lucy, and Josie do and it involves guitars and kazoos and drums and recorders and frequently ends with a shout of "Thank You Ventura!" Need I say more?
8. Listening to Lucy say crazy things and tell funny stories. She says so many funny things, I can't even remember them all. Today, out of the blue, she said, "I want a hamster."
7. Making Josie and Lucy laugh. It is great to make your kids laugh. It is fun to make anyone laugh but when I make the girls laugh I feel like I am doing a decent job as a parent.
6. Sharing a treat. I love sharing yogurt or cookies or a bagel with the girls. I like all of us sitting around enjoying our food.
5. Drinking tea with the girls. I love that both Josie and Lucy like tea. It feels so civilized to sit around together sharing a cup of tea, even if it is out of a big mug and we are sitting on the floor wearing our pajamas, instead of all dressed up at a table drinking out of fine china.
4. Nap time!! I loved taking naps with Lucy back in the day and love taking naps with Josie now. I love having her fall asleep in my lap and then laying back to sleep for an hour or two with her nestled in my lap. Total bliss.
3. Buying them stuff. I know you're not supposed to like this and I do try to limit how much crap I buy them but I still love it. I love picking out stuffed animals or cool toys or fun things for them to play with. It is fun to get to indulge my own childish side and it is great fun to watch them play with whatever new thing. The thrift store is a good guilt free way to indulge this whim.
2. 95% of all family time. Yes there are those moments when I want to kill Lucy because she has snatched something out of Josie's hand for the 50 thousandth time and there are the times when Josie makes me crazy because she keeps asking me to read her a story but then rips the book out of my hands after two pages. BUT by and large, just hanging out with the girls and Mitch, regardless of what we are doing, is great fun.
1.Giving the girls snuggles and telling them that I love them. I love cuddling with the girls. Lucy isn't a very cuddly person in general so I am sure the days of cuddling with her will be short-lived. So I am relishing every moment of it now, while it still lasts.

Same Old Story

We went to see Josie's urologist on Thursday. In some ways it was reassuring. After the confusing acid trip of our last visit where the doctor implied that it was a miracle that Josie's good kidney was still functioning (which previously had never been questioned - her good kidney was her good kidney and was supposed to stay that way!) and then mentioned that maybe she was miraculously cured and wouldn't need any further surgery (when the initial diagnosis was that her anatomy was so messed up that there was no way we would get out of this without major surgery), this time we were back to the original story. Her VCUG, done that day, showed that she still has grade V reflux on her left side so she will need to have major surgery in a few months. The surgery will involve reimplanting both of her ureters on the left side (she has two instead of one) and then "resculpting" her primary ureter on the left side. The reimplantation somehow results in the formation of a functional valve between the ureter and the bladder (this is the critical missing element in Josie's anatomy currently that allows lots of urine to backflow up to her kidneys). The surgery will involve a three to four day stay at the hospital and will include temporary stints in her ureters for a few days.

I was extremely disappointed because I was hoping for the miracle cure. I was hoping that Thursday would be our last visit to the pediatric urology department at the UCLA medical center. I was hoping that we would be able to come home and stop giving our daughter antibiotics three times a day. But no such luck.

So that is the crap news. Josie's kidney plumbing on the left side is still all messed up. The good news is that our guy has done this kind of surgery on little kids literally thousands of times and none of them has expired on the table. The good news is that we have a hospital with not one but literally tens of pediatric anaesthesiologists. The good news is that Josie has already had anaesthesia twice and did just fine. The good news is that Dr. C. says that his surgery will fix the problem. The good news is that a person has two kidneys and you can live on just one. The good news is that Dr. C. claims that even Josie's messed up kidney is 85-90% intact and that if anything happens to her good kidney, she could survive on her bad one. So that's all reassuring. We have tentatively scheduled the surgery for sometime in January.

Until then we have an extremely happy baby (except when she doesn't get her way) who has a complicated regime of antibiotics and pro-biotics all working together to keep her intestines happy and her kidneys infection free.