Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Which I Go Crazy With the Links

It's true that I'm just about the furthest thing from a news junkie. I tend to live in my own little bubble of work, family, friends, books, personal triumphs and anxieties, and let the news of the larger world filter in like the wa-wa-wa of the grownups in Charlie Brown cartoons. Even our move to Canada, which from one angle might seem like the most dramatic of political statements, was in some ways an anti-political strategy: now that we're legally married, and not second-class citizens any more, we've lost that essential outsider perspective that keeps so many queers politicized; now we can be as apathetic and middle-of-the-road as anyone else, and in many ways we are.

Even I, however, have noticed that there is a great deal of eventage taking place these days. And that lots of people are writing about such eventage.

An election, for one thing. Actually, two elections. Did you know there's a big federal election coming up in Canada, too? The CBC did a story last week where they interviewed a bunch of Americans coming off a cruise ship in Halifax, and not one of them knew who the Canadian Prime Minister was. Frankly, I don't think I could've identified Stephen Harper by name either, when we moved up here last year. But now I have progressed and we even have our very own lawn sign (NDP! Woohoo!).

Of course, I can't actually VOTE in the Canadian election, not being a citizen. I can, and will, vote absentee in the U.S. election. And if you are a United States citizen, so can you. No matter where you live, and even if you've never ever lived in the States. This handy link will take you through the process of registering. (If you know someone who's a US citizen but lives abroad and might not be registered, would you mind telling them? Kthxbai.)

If you are a sentient adult living within range of either a television or a computer you have already seen Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin on SNL, but I will link here anyway just in case. Also, here is the follow-up bit from last week's show, in which she has fun being adorable under pressure from Katie Couric as portrayed blinkingly by Amy Poehler. RW and I had never seen Tina Fey in action, not having a TV, but now we are all over it and are waiting for our library copies of 30 Rock so we can see more more more.

Also, did you read Aaron Sorkin's write up of the meetup between Barack Obama and President Jed Bartlet? (What? You say Jed Bartlet was never really president? Sorry, he is in my world.)

And you know how gay people can get married in California now? And the anti-gay-marriage folks have (predicatably) put up a proposition on the next ballot that would nullify said marriages? Lesbiandad is writing a great series of posts on why fighting Proposition 8 is a crucial issue for all Americans (and, frankly, everyone who cares about equality). Also, she put up a video that made me cry.

Last, but emphatically not least, Arwen has finally explained the financial crisis so that normal people can understand it, and I will never be able to read or hear about said crisis again without hearing the phrase "OOBLYBOOBILLION DOLLARS" in my head. Me, I've been wandering around in a similar way to what Rosie Bonner describes, wondering if this is like "one of those dreams I sometimes have in which the end of the world has somehow been announced, but for the moment all is eerie, sunny normalcy."

L'Shana Tova if this is a new year for you; and may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pop Culture Minute (Several Months Late)

So, the Renaissance Woman and I finally watched "Juno" last night. We'd both heard lots about it, like how Ellen Page (who is Canadian! Woohoo!) was so amazing, and how lots of people loved it, and also how it was controversial and possibly gave ammunition to the anti-abortion folks and also inaccurate or at least incomplete in its depiction of the adoption process. Oh and also there was an offensive comment about Chinese adoption.

And we came away from it agreeing with about all of that. Ellen Page was completely adorable, as was the boyfriend. And the stepmom rocked, but Allison Janney always rocks. Both the adoptive parents' characters were totally creepy and the adoptive mom barely registered as a character at all, more a paper cutout of a stereotypical depiction of a desperate yuppie adoptive mom. Puhleeze. The Chinese babies remark could've easily been cut without losing anything. And of course they dismiss the whole possibility of open adoption with barely a blink on anyone's part, which is infuriating if you've read, I dunno, even one blog post or one magazine article on the topic in your whole life.

But what really creeped us out were the DVD special features, especially one that was labelled "Gag Take" which was mostly this one actor ranting about how they were making a stupid film with pimply teenage actors. Then the director yells at him. And we were all, like, "huh? Was that real? If it wasn't, what was the gag about? Was there something funny that we missed? Did you think that was funny? I didn't think that was funny. Sheesh."

Did anyone else see that, on the DVD? Because it was weird.

I liked the soundtrack, though.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More about the girl. Mostly.

So, we've been going along here, us two grownups and our now-no-longer-that-young child. I mean, she's eight years old, she's in third grade (or, as we say it up here in the Northern climes, Grade Three), she can read and write and get stuff out of the fridge herself (though I'm not sure if she can tie her own shoes; it doesn't matter, though, as none of her 21st-century shoes have laces), and yet...and yet...I continue to be not fully convinced that the Mermaid Girl is actually as old as she is.

Part of this is that she had a very difficult, snappish, weepy, whiny August, which I didn't write about that much because, a) we were buried under moving-related tasks, and b) I was afraid that if they read about how difficult she was being, all the grandparents would cancel their plane reservations. Um. Only partly kidding.

Even at the time, we knew that she was probably acting out of a) discombobulation at all the moving-related upheaval, and b) fear of having to be all responsible when she hit age 8/grade 3. Also, c) exhaustion, as she was seldom asleep before 11:30, despite our best efforts to get her into bed at a reasonable hour (it was hot, it was light until 9:30 or 10, and also she's just naturally a night person). I just didn't know what to do about it. Until the light suddenly dawned, one afternoon right before Labor Day, and I pointed my finger at her like the Wrath of Jehovah and intoned, "There WILL BE no more rudeness; there WILL BE no more backtalk; there WILL BE no more threats." And she burst into tears and slammed into her room and after that there has been pretty much no more of that stuff, plus she's been more cheerful in general.**

I could try it for other things I want ("There WILL BE no more food pickiness!") but I don't want to push my luck. Also, I think it only works when I have genuinely come to the end of my rope, and apparently I am willing to work with endless variations on cheddar cheese/peanut butter/eggs -and-a-vegetable. Also there are no peanut allergies in her classroom this year, which expands by about 33% the number of things I can send in her lunchbox. No kidding.

There was a related story I was going to tell about her lunchbox but I think I will save it for next time, also to motivate myself so that Next Time is sooner than a week and a half from now. Instead here is a short one, from last night, after I made her a bet that she couldn't clean up her room in 5 minutes, and the winner got to pick if the window was open or closed (it was sweltering in there, I swear).

MG: Mommy, it is less than five minutes and my room is all clean! You LOST!
Me: *big fake sobs* Oh! I lost! I loooossssst!
MG: [merrily, tauntingly] You are being a CRY BABY! Cry baby! Cry baby! Sore loser!
RW: [in the game but also trying to teach compassion/good sportsmanship] Um, I don't think that's going to help her feel better. Or act better.
MG: [complete change of mein to measured, therapeutic tones] Mommy. I see that you are crying.
RW and Me: *hysterical laughter at her dead-on imitation of "Good" Parenting Technique Gone Hopelessly Wrong*

p.s. I am not much for teh random funny links--or for Twitter, for that matter--but as one who actually once followed a good part of the Laura Ingalls trail across the country [albeit in a blue Dodge Dart rather than a covered wagon] I really must share this. Sample: "Must remember that when one drops candy on the floor, the "five-second rule" doesn't work. That's the trouble with sod houses" So very true.

p.p.s. Rosie Bonner is back! O Frabjuous day!

**Writing this down, it suddenly reminds me of this Dharma & Greg episode in which for some reason they were taking care of a teenage girl, and she missed her curfew and Greg was all "Young lady, YOU are GROUNDED!" and Dharma was like, "wow, I had no idea it was that easy!" Which was funny because, you know, grounded, grounded, two different meanings of the word...But in this case, actually, it was that easy. After my outburst MG seemed much more grounded. Go figure.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Third day of school, first day I got a good shot of The Walk from my assigned place at the end of our yard.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Those fricking painted ponies still going up and down

Hi-ho! We've been having momentous anniversaries over here.

Like so:

Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of our big move to Vancouver.
Thursday was the Mermaid Girl's 8th [8th!] birthday, celebrated with a party at the 1920's Museum and Carousel.
Friday was the one-month anniversary of our move to the New House
Saturday was the Renaissance Woman's and my anniversary (10th or 5th, depending on whether you're counting from the big commitment ceremony or the legal wedding)

Yesterday the tenants moved in.

And today we finally started to unpack in earnest.

Tomorrow MG starts Grade Three [Grade Three!]. She'll have school for a whole hour the first day, which will be just about enough time for me to shower, get dressed, and follow her to school in time for pickup (she's insisting on walking by herself, which I guess is okay since the school is about five steps from our house. I'll be watching from the yard, though.)

Tonight we sat down to make a chart for her mornings. She has six things to do: get out of bed, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush her teeth, feed the fish [they were a birthday present], and get her stuff together to get out the door in time. If she does all those things cooperatively and cheerfully for a week, she gets a new lunchbox.

I asked her to estimate how long she'll need for each job. Next to "get out of bed," she put down "30 seconds."

"Do you want to allow some time for cuddling on the couch?" I asked.

She gave me a scornful yet pitying look.

"I'm big," she explained.