Friday, October 31, 2008

DC or Bust

So here you are, the report that you've all been waiting for. I could go on forever in words about our trip to DC, but I'd rather go on in pictures. And few words. For once.

The metro system there is all kinds of awesome.
It's aesthetically pleasing.


Clean.


Efficient as hell.


It felt good to be back on public transportation.



There are no words for this place.


Over 290,000 are buried there and it's one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever seen. I could have sat and stared for days.


This place made my heart hurt.


As did this one.


Recognize this guy?


Have you ever wondered what the inside of the dome looks like?


Well it's a fresco of a saintly looking George Washinton,
surrounded by his 13 angelic colonies.


The National Art Gallery now ranks among my top 5.
Maybe even top 3.


All my old friends were there.

While it was a work-trip for me,


it was still a great trip for us.



And it was awesome.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Put Your Hands Up!

First, this image is completely gratuitous and should put a smile on your face no matter who you are, so enjoy it.
No matter who you are.



And second, just to pass the time and just in case you are for some reason still undecided, perhaps this will help.

2 candidates. 1 vote. Where do you stand?

Click here to find out.




Saturday, October 25, 2008

What if....





A new poll by CNN says that 7 out of 10 voters do not consider race an issue when considering their candidates. While 70% is still passing and up 9 points from a previous poll, it's still a C. And like the lowest 'C' that one can get before actually becoming a D. Does this mean that on America's collective report card that we get a C- still in the race subject? I suppose that poll was put out there to make us all feel better but....


Marina, thanks for sending this to me. It definitely makes you think...

Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin--what if things were switched
around?... Think about it.

Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could
racism be the culprit?


Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage,
including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage
daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law
Review
? What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of
his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcé?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a
severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to
his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair
while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to
pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable
organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five?
(The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of
corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the
larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included
discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many
occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer
distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected
reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close
as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes
positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities
in another when there is a color difference.


Educational Background:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization
in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political
Science
.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

vs.

John McCain:
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894
of 899

Sarah Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College - 2
semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters -
journalism Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho
- 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices
in the land, as well as our standing in the world. You make the call.

Feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

License to Procreate


I try not to judge. I really really do. But right now, in the comfort of my own blogosphere, I am totally judging. I'm climbing onto my soap box and shouting from the roof tops. Hold onto your hats boys and girls for the story I am about to tell you is TRUE. I couldn't make it up if I tried.

Who knew a quick trip to Walgreens on a Sunday morning would be enough to awaken within me a violent beast-like urge to harm another individual? All I wanted to do was go in for coffeemate and oj and get back to my fresh-brewed pot of heaven when I noticed an alarmingly overweight mom and her 3 overweight (on the way to alarming) children walking in ahead of me. No judging, no judging, no judging... I repeated this mantra a gazillion times over in my head. Maybe they're here for healthy treats? Fun toys for active play perhaps? I let thoughts like these bounce around my noggin for the few minutes it took me to locate my items.

I could hear them in the next aisle over- the candy aisle - and the mom saying 'get what you want and let's go!' I jumped at the inflection of that last word. When I got to the check-out line they were ahead of me, the mom putting her basket of items on the counter. As the cashier scanned the items, I took mental notes: 1 package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - check, 1 jumbo Butterfinger - check, 1 box of Junior Mints - check, 2 packages of Chili Cheetos - check, check, 3 bottles of Coca-Cola Classic, 1 Mountain Dew and a big bag of Doritos. Breakfast of champions. My last-ditch at hoping that the items were indeed for someone else - anyone else - came to a crashing halt when the mother of the year declined the offer of a bag and each of her children grabbed their loot. Did I mention that the youngest one was a girl of about THREE!?!? She was easily 50 lbs. - insert judging here.

A million statistics flooded through my head like a tidal wave. In my head I was jumping on the child abuser's back and with all my awesome strength I was sending her crashing to the ground, Doritos and Mountain Dew sent flying. I was holding her down and SCREAMING in her face DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE KILLING YOUR CHILDREN!?!? By the time I purchased my own goods and made my way out to my car, I saw them - the poster family for why people should not be allowed to have children - piling into their van. I sat in my car and waited to see what would happen next. I wanted her to look up. I wanted her to see the blatant judging in my eyes that were shooting mental darts her way. I wanted her to see my alarm and my hate. I wanted her to know that I thought she was a terrible person.

The child in the front at least wore a seat belt. But the 3-year old in the back did not. The lack of car seat for said 3 year old was too much to dwell on. Before backing out and continuing on her merry way, the world's worst mother cranked her music, lit her cigarette, and cracked her window. An inch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Rainbows


That's what I'm listening to. Radiohead's 'In Rainbows'. I'm taking a breather from politics tonight and staying away from the debates. Can you believe it?? Ok, ok, I confess - I'm recording it and I will probably watch it before I go to bed. But for now, it's just me, my wine, and Radiohead. And you guys.

Song 1: 15 Steps - It gets me movin. Swaying back and forth with a little extra hip jerk at each side. My head sways side to side, in time (I think) with the beat. Shoulders hunched slightly. To an outsider - or my neighbors - it might appear as if I'm having a seizure. No seizures folks, just me dancing. The crappy that was my day begins to fade. Song 2: Bodysnatchers - my head starts moving the other way in a back and forth crazy nodding fashion and the beat has doubled. Where do I get these sweet moves? By Nude I'm golden. Only 8 minutes to get me into the zone. Work? What work. This is more fun.

I was reacquainted recently with my childhood diaries - thanks Mom - and talk about a time warp. Not only had I forgotten about those little treasures but I'd never have guessed that I had so many! Yet as I picked up each one (there were 7 total spanning 1987 - 1994) I immediately remembered the feel, the look, the smell of them from so many moons ago. On September 4, 1987, my first entry read Today was an akward day... For you number crunchers out there I was 10. On October 24th Adventures in Babysitting was one of the most incredeble movies ever made and on December 6 I actually wrote 5th grade is the most confusing time of my life. Boy, if this is what the 80's is like, I don't think I want to be around for the 90's! I'll have to scan an image of that last one just so you believe me.

I can't tell you how many hours I have poured over those memories, reading about the adolescent dilemmas and teen angst anxieties that had gone forgotten for so long. I'm almost embarrassed to read the hundreds of pages that I devoted over 4 years at least to Nick Larsen, my first crush, who later turned out to be gay. From all the friend wars in grade school - girls can be vicious - to the notes to Alethea telling her to STOP READING MY DIARY YOU B****! Only I actually wrote out that last part. But she was reading my diary, she totally deserved it. It's been a fun and enlightening little trip back in time. Everything's in them. In 1988 I was distraught because Tina Gomez was 'unbelievable', trying to tell me that the INXS Kick record was way better - and cooler - than The Joshua Tree. As if! 20 years later I'm willing to bet my taste in music is still superior to hers.

I was disappointed to find that my entries didn't continue past Junior year, surely there are more books somewhere. What an incredible gift though, to be able to go back and read, in my own words and ever evolving hand writing, the world as I saw it. Uncensored and innocent. For the most part it makes for some hilarious reading, while there other parts that are brutally honest - almost painful. I'm thankful for all of it. Thankful to Mom for having the patience to store my sh*t for so long, and thankful to the young me for making the time to record those memories that have made for such insightful reading and reflection so many years later.

Song 9: Jigsaw Falling Into Place

What are you listening to?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Pensieve Effect

It's 5 in the morning and I find myself wide stinking awake with a mind so full of thoughts that I'm surprised Kevin didn't reach over and tell me to keep it down. Oh wait, I'm not surprised by that. The lad sleeps like a log. Ah well, trust me on this. It was loud. But it's starting to calm a bit now that I've started typing. Aaah.

I understand how Dumbledore might have felt if he was to awaken in the wee hours with a head full of thoughts and memories and needed a place to put them for safe keeping and sound sleeping. Alas, I have found my pensieve and you are all my Harry Potters. Ew, does that sound weird? A little perhaps, but those of you who know me and the books know what I mean :-)

I had a really good day today (or yesterday I should say). I got an invite from a friend to spend the afternoon at her house outside of the city, an invite which I gladly accepted. I dared to venture outside of my 5 mile radius that has become my comfort zone. I traveled down highways and winding country roads, to a place where I could breathe. Like really breathe. The kind of breathing that only fresh air and tall trees can provide. So fresh that it almost made me dizzy. So fresh that I found myself automatically meditating, focusing on the inhales and exhales, as if I could actually see the air as it entered in through my nose, and exited out through my mouth.

Inhale, the smell of fall. Exhale, the politics of politics. Inhale, the smell the of fresh pine as it reaches all the way to my finger tips where it actually tingles. Exhale, the work that has become my work of late. Inhale the smell of burning wood (hopefully in a fire place or pit), exhale the weight of the death that is hovering around someone very dear to me. I inhaled the majestic fall colors that never cease to leave me awe-struck and humbled. And then, I exhaled. And it was good.
I clung fast to my nature buzz as I drove back to 'the city', and even managed to miss my exit from all the buzzing that was slowly fading to a hum. The humming continued through a side splitting dinner with Kevin (when we are old and have lost our looks, it will not be the age that breaks my brittle bones, but laughter. Of that I am sure.) and snuggling on the couch. I even clung to it as it began to flicker with the onset of sleep. And suddenly, I was awake, and it was 5 in the morning. And when I awoke there was no more buzzing, let alone humming. There were glimpses of a dream that I was trying to forget, and then all the noise -all the brain pollution - came flooding back tsunami-style. Ugh. Which brings us to the here and now.

Wow, I feel better and I make no apologies for the early morning rambling. But the volume has begun to fade as I focus on the words as they appear on the screen. I focus on the fall colors in my head. The smell of fresh pine. I remember my breathing. And I return to sleep. Good night.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I am so tired of my friends


Please friends of mine, do not fear! It is not you whom I am targeting in my title line!! Please, simmer down and hear me out...

Let me state for the record that from the outset of this blogging venture, I had absolutely no intention of making this political. No intention to offend, alienate, enrage, or cause distress. But some things just cannot be left unsaid so read at your own risk.

After watching Tuesday night's presidential debate, I was struck by how... anticlimactic it was. No major fireworks, no jaw-dropping revelations, no real TKO's. Perhaps that is why I'm hanging on to the small stuff. For example, McCain's over use of 'my friends' was so, well, over used and by the 10th time it was as bad as nails on a chalkboard - or for Kevin maybe teeth scraping on forks. In addtion to that, it just felt like he was condescending to the masses, trying to appeal to the the thick-headed 'Joe Six Packs' and pitbulls and hockey moms nation-wide. I'm not any of those so maybe that's why it didn't appeal to me, huh? Who told him that phrase was a good idea!?! Can't his speech writers see an SNL skit coming from like a mile away by now?? Who dropped the ball on waving the big red flag or SCREAMING into his ear when he had reached his '100th use of the same phrase in one speech' limit!?!?


And please, don't get me started on 'that one'.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm just sayin...


Sarah Palin believes in equal rights, but not gay marriage. Uh-huh.

She's never traveled to foreign countries because she always had to work, so she read about them instead. Fair enough. But the fact that she thinks that learning from books is just as good as real experience is scary. Hi, I could never afford medical school but I've read about it a LOT. Please, let me perform the brain surgery.

Looks like she didn't do enough reading...
COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

PALIN: Well, let’s see. There’s –of course –in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are–those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know–going through the history of America, there would be others but–

COURIC: Can you think of any?

PALIN: Well, I could think of–of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.

WHAT!?!?

To read or not to read:

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Again, WHAT!?!?

Yes, I am well aware that she is not the one running for president. Only second-in-line to be president.







Friday, October 3, 2008

"Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."- V. Havel

Ok, so I regret (kind of) not starting a blog 4 or 5 years ago, when our everyday life took place in a post-communist and still socialized former eastern block country. When we were in a place where we didn't need a car for 2 years because the public transportation system in a city that was over 1000 years old far exceeded any transportation system currently found in the U.S. When we were in a place where crossing 1000 year-old bridges and walking through castle grounds was part of my route to and from work, and my footprints were often the first to disrupt freshly fallen snow in the wee hours of the morning on said bridges.

Don't get me wrong. Life here in Middle America has been good to me and for me. It just would have been a lot cooler if I had had forethought enough to document our lives abroad while it was happening. Ah well, you will just have to settle for random reminisces and the edge-of-our-seats life that is ours here in Indianapolis.

Why my work and kids are cool:
I work at a children's museum and it's awesome. Even the craziest, most stressful day isn't really that bad. I am constantly inspired by the most random happenings which sometimes turn into something really cool. So cool, I can incorporate those happenings into either one of my family programs at the museum or even - cross my heart - into one of my mat classes at the studio. Kids are absolutely amazing creatures (a term of endearment). I will share with you 2 stories to illustrate:

1) 2 little people (more endearment) - they looked about 5 or 6 - were taking their sweet time working their way up the ramp, much to the dismay of their parents. As I made my way up the ramp about a level behind them, I could see and sense the frustration resonating from the parents. I've seen the scenario a hundred times before and it always brings a smile to face, probably because I don't have kids of my own to frustrate me in that way. At least not yet. As I came upon the slow pokes, I discovered the reason for their pokiness - they were counting their steps! Every single little step, the whole way up the ramp. Brilliant! 2 months later families in my health-themed program, families were armed with pedometers walking the ramps and tracking their steps throughout the entire museum.

2) About a year ago I was walking through the museum and I saw one of the most impressively unholy fits being thrown by a 3 year old. At least he looked and sounded like a 3 year old. He was on his stomach and pounding his fists and feet into the ground, while his mortified mother begged him to stop. Her efforts were in vain I think due to the decibel at which he was howling. There was no deciphering the urgent pleas that flew threw pursed lips, even at close range. The fit could be viewed from all 4 floors, making it all that more amazing. I stood off to the side where I could witness the display from afar as I felt the inspiration wheels begin to turn. I started to notice the amount of abdominal strength that it took the tyke to maintain the fist/foot pounding. He was actually engaging his lower abdominals and lower back muscles to keep his upper-body hovering just off the floor while turning his head from side to side. And then, to my astonishment, his public display morphed into a more advanced move where he would lower his upper body down towards the floor, along with arms and legs, resting for a hair of a second, and then with a potent inhale, would bring everything to hover off the floor once again to resume pounding. I used that move in my mat class a few days later and it was awesome. A year later, still awesome.

Documenting stories like these will hopefully provide me with the tools to - one day - find anything remotely endearing in the fits and dilly-dallying of my own offspring. Hopefully.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape. - Paul David Hewson

Yes, I know. I'm jumping on the blogging wagon fashionably late as usual, with no real hopes to change the world or impress the masses with my inner ramblings. Therefore, no judging. Read at your own risk.

I know this much is true...
I am happy. I love my husband, my best friend. I love my job. my dog. my house. I love my family and all of the crazy that comes with it. My friends? I don't deserve them most of the time and I'm thankful every day for every single one. Even the crappiest days are actually pretty good.

Will I still be saying this in 35 days?


On another note - random thought:
I was running late to work this morning - what a shock, I live a mile from the museum and still can't seem to time my commute right - so I had to finish my make-up en route. No judging. While applying the last few strokes of mascara and managing not to spill my coffee all over my lap, I suddenly realize that becoming my mother is inevitable. I knew it was going to happen eventually. Little by little, and then suddenly one day, WHAM! I. am. her. From the open make-up bag on the front seat of the car, to the smell of coffee in the morning and the sound of high heels on the hard wood floor. I've even started to write down my daily outfits so as not to repeat often. Wow.

I'd be lucky to be as good a mom as she is.