Monday, December 29, 2008

Is This Thing On?

I have not been much of a blogger lately. Life tends to get in the way of such endeavors. And yet I can not bring myself to shut down or completely abandon my own little space in blogland. Most of the people who actually read my stuff in the past are either gone, on Facebook (ahem), or have given up the Internets completely, and even I am not sure I have anything to say worth reading.

Last night I spent some time going over my archives. At one time I was a pretty damn good writer. I went into this as a way to express myself and share funny stories from my somewhat deviant past, never realizing that blogging can very easily take over your life. Where did I find the time to write these entertaining little anecdotes? And then comment with such wit and wisdom on other blogs? And why did I have that giant L on my forehead?

In a rare moment of absolutely clarity, I realized that I wrote about so much about my past because not much was going on in my present - and the future didn't look all that exciting either. Actually that's not true. I had many dreams for my future - I just didn't know how to make them happen. I wanted to move home, buy a house, and get a dog. I also wanted a boy and a smokin' body. A smokin' body for me, not the boy. No wait, actually for the boy too. I've probably mentioned this 12 or 20 times on this blog at one point or another.

But things turned out differently than I expected. My future did change for the better. Moving home was the smartest thing I have done in years. Not to say that Florida was a mistake - it wasn't. I went back to school, started a new career, and made wonderful friends that I still stay in touch with on a regular basis. But coming here has been life-altering. I got a great job and work with fabulous people, I started working on my Master's (and I am about to start my ninth class out of ten), I bought a home, got a dog, and am generally - wait for it - happy. Yes, I am happy. It's hard for me to even type the word, so long have I truly felt this feeling. And I can't fight this feeling anymore...I've forgotten what I started....OK stop that. It's not necessary to make jokes about happiness. And that giant L on my forehead? It must have gotten lost in the move.

When I moved into my home after living in my mother's den for the better part of a year, I lovingly unpacked my many boxes that had been held prisoner in storage for so long. Never has unpacking felt so sweet. As I ripped through my kitchen gadgets, I found a little chalkboard that had been hanging in my Florida kitchen. I had drawn a picture of a house on it, complete with chimney and yard. Amazingly, the chalk drawing was intact. It was my own little dream photo, and there I was, holding a picture of the very dream that had come true. Two weeks later, I brought my puppy home. I quickly added him to the picture and hung it up in my very own kitchen.

I have no idea where I am going with this post. I think I just wanted a place to express my gratitude. I am beyond grateful for how things are going in my life. 2008 has been an extraordinary year for me and because of this, I am have never been so excited to see what a new year can bring. In 2009 I will achieve a Master's degree when not so long ago I hadn't even graduated from college. In 2009 I will achieve the smokin' body that I long for. And in 2009 I will find the one I have been waiting for.

Maybe I should put him in the picture too. Just to make sure.

Happy 2009 everyone! May all your dreams come true!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thank you Gloria Steinem

While I don't usually get political on this blog, I wanted to share this brilliant piece from the Los Angeles Times Opinion page.

Palin: wrong woman, wrong message

Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008
Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A week in the life of a squeaky toy

Day One: Hello! This is Monkey. Not the same Monkey as the famed videographer (wait, is that a word? why is it coming up as an error in spell check? dammit!) and retired blogger. Oh no, I am none of those things. I spend my life hanging from a tri-colored rope and resting on a fuzzy banana. I am a squeaky toy. A squeaky toy manufactured to be a dog's best friend. To supply hours of squeaky goodness to my canine master and human pack leader. Though it doesn't sound like much, my life has a purpose. I am grateful for this.

Yay for me!

Day Two: I was very excited when I met my canine, Riley. It was love at first sight! He's been through a tough time, so he was well-deserving of a Monkey of my caliber. He was very welcoming, and immediately introduced me to one of his good friends, Frog. He didn't say much, but I assumed that my new Frog friend was just very shy. (This is what they call foreshadowing.)

Look at those big, trusting eyes.

Day Three: Riley and I have been playing nonstop since I got here! Oh the joy of running around the house together, my squeaker sounding emphatically under Riley's powerful jaws. While he's a sweet puppy, he does play a bit rough. I figured that sooner or later he would let me rest with Frog and the other toys in the basket. I am already growing quite tired, and my tri-colored rope has become a bit unraveled. Also, most of my fuzzy banana is now in the dumpster. It was quite startling to see its innards spread throughout the living room, I can tell you!

I'm hanging in there!

Day Four: I have discovered, too late, that shyness is not Frog 's problem. His inability to speak is due to the fact that his tongue has been ripped out by the devil dog from hell. His beautiful green plushy outside is covered with the slime of our torturer, as am I. My ears are chewed through, and I have a very embarassing hole near my bottom. The human laughs at my pain. I am in fear for my life. Somebody save me!


Day Five: Frog tried to save me, but alas, it's too late for me. No needle and thread can undo this damage. My life's purpose is to end up in a dumpster next to the innards of a thousand other shredded squeaky toys. Run Frog, run! Save yourself!

Warning - the following picture may be too graphic for younger audiences.







This sucks.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

And get me a Snausage while you're up...

Riley wishes to convey his appreciation for all the good thoughts and well wishes during his time of need. He came through the operation just fine, but unfortunately the damage to his hip (the surgeon believes it was indeed from being hit by a car before we met) was worse than originally believed. Riley will most likely need another surgery in the near future (he doesn't know about this yet, so please keep it on the down-low) to completely repair the damage.

In the meantime, he is resting comfortably with HGTV and Soapnet on heavy rotation. I'm sure once the Tramadol wears off he will realize the TV is actually behind him.