Saturday, April 09, 2011

One Month In, Process, Etc.

One month ago, I started blogging every day. It wasn't really a conscious decision. I didn't set out to blog every day for Lent or anything similar that would set me up for failure. I just started and kept doing it. I did a similar journal writing exercise last year and kept it up for a good three months. Its demise coincided with my exile from the nursing/pumping room at work.

Without the pressure of YOU MUST WRITE EVERYDAY, I am enjoying this. Sometimes I have something to say. Other times, I want you to read what somebody else funny has to say. Most of the time, though, it comes down to having the time to articulate what I want to put down. I never edit these posts. I just write and post because I know that I don't have a huge fan base that is expecting brilliance or anything from me. But there are some things I would like to spend more time thinking about, and time is luxury right now. I know, I know. This is the easy part.

A few years ago, YG and I saw Salman Rushdie read in Cambridge. Uh, so, I still haven't gotten around to reading the book he read from, but I always remember what he said -- that if you don't have a burning need to write, don't bother. I have no real reason to want to be a writer and I haven't exactly made any sort of real effort to get my essays published and I am well aware that I am not the next Proust, so I could just let it go. But I feel that need to write, to document, to make sense of. I process everything through writing. I see things, as they are happening, as stories. I see myself as a character in my own story.

I don't know what it is that I need to say, but I do know that I need to write.

I'm hoping I can keep this going. See where it takes me.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Political Tangent for My Daughters

Count down to shut down! Democrats and Republicans are still negotiating over the federal budget, and the things that are holding them up now are "social issues." According to the New York Times, Republican demands include:

No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.

• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.

• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.

• No regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

• No funds for health care reform or the new consumer protection bureau established in the wake of the financial collapse.

While the last two bullets get me frothing at the mouth, I am [insert adjective of your choice: horrified, dismayed, shocked, saddened, disgusted] that this all comes back to fucking abortion. This is not about abortion. This is, to get all 90s on you, a culture war about who believes in family planning and women's rights and programs that help women and children (mostly poor) and those that don't. Essentially, what the government shutdown is about is whether or not you care about women and their health. This is not about money.

So how do I explain that my daughter and stepdaughter? How do I explain that the government is probably going to shut down because you don't matter, and the health of people like you, the health of other women who represent 51 PERCENT of the population, is unimportant? That you have one party, led by an oompa loompa with a glandular problem (trademark SKB), that is totally okay with leaving millions of that 51 percent without access to healthcare, cancer screenings, contraception, pre and post natal support, and yes abortion? And you have another party that seems to completely lack the balls to do anything about it? How do I explain to MG and Zygote that ALL of those politicians are using my daughters' health and my health as political bargaining chip?

This isn't rhetorical. I'm asking how you're doing it.

Because while I can get all jazzed about telling my daughters they can be just about anything and do anything, it's really hard to feel like any of us really matter when I see shit like this.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Cambridge Kind of Evening

Sometimes I remember exactly why I love living here so much.

First, I went to a reading at Harvard Bookstore. Marc Freedman was discussing his newest book, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Mid-Life. I don't think (or at least I don't think I'm old enough to be in) the target audience for a book about moving through the middle stage of life, but YG had actually been interviewed for this book, so we both wanted to attend the reading. Unfortunately, he is traveling, and even more unfortunately, the babysitter I hired for tonight was a little late. By the time I arrived, the place was packed and I assumed I wouldn't get to meet the guy. I decided to just buy the book and leave, but by some random twist of fate, I ended up in the right place to be first in line to get books signed. I told the author who I was, and he told me how great YG was. He is great. Hopefully, I am great by association.

Then it was off to see Coyote Grace and Girlyman at Passim again. SKB bought the tickets, and there was an extra one, so my old work buddy, DS, was able to come. Both bands were brilliant and lovely and played the most awesome cover of 'Stayin Alive' I have ever heard. I found this video from 'Somewhere Different Now' at Passim from a few years ago.

Now I've just been reeling, staring up at my ceiling
Wishing someone would reach out, come and bust up my hideout
I'm not quite lost, not quite found
Just somewhere different now

Sort of a perfect description for my recent malaise.

Sort of a perfect night.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Crystal Clear, not Crystal Meth

I don’t write about work. Or where I work and what my day-to-day job entails. Really, I don’t want to be dooced, and um, it isn’t interesting enough to justify blog posts. If you have been reading long enough, you know that I kind of fell into my career and that I am totally at a loss for what I want to do next. I don’t love what I do, but I’ve justified doing it because of the tradeoffs:

· I got left alone. People trusted that I was competent enough to do my job.
· I had flexibility to be with my kid(s) one weekday
· I was rewarded with lots of ass kissing and people telling me how great I am at what I do. I am horrifyingly embarrassed that this means so much to me.
· Stability
· Financial rewards

Over the past several months, a lot of those things have changed or have become more difficult. I have been thinking about making a career change, but then I found myself in the family way again and decided to stick it out for a bit. Today, for reasons that are neither interesting nor unexpected, it became crystal clear to me that the tradeoffs just aren’t worth it. I have to leave. I have to make a change. I am so tired of feeling like a loser all the time. I am tired of feeling like I am wasting my life away doing nothing. I am so tired of feeling like I’m not smart or valued or have ideas to contribute. I am so tired of worrying if I’m going to burn out like my mom did. I am so tired of worrying if this is the right message to send to my kids. I am so tired of wondering whether or not my kids and my husband are going to be embarrassed by my wasted ‘talent.’ I am tired of taking all of my work hormones out on the wrong people.

I’m tired. I need to do something new.

YG and I have a plan. We have a magic number. I’m going to keep working. I’m going to go back after maternity leave, but I am going to save as much money as is humanly possible while I am out, so I can get out. And I am going to network like hell.

And I need some help. If you have ideas, leads, war stories, tell me how you did it. Or tell me what to do. For the first time in my life, I am willingly asking someone to tell me what to do. And I might not be a big bitchbag if you actually do it. Shit, I might even be gracious.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Department of Random: Presences and Premonitions

Two things:

1. I was upset about giving up the armoire because it's followed me and my grandparents around for so long. I was out the morning the buyer came to pick it up, but YG assured me that it was a very nice older woman who was very excited to have it. When they were moving it, the woman and her helper removed the drawers and left behind a couple of random tags and receipts that were still stuck in there. I went to throw them out later, and noticed writing on one. It said, "Douglas, 1952, 3 years old," and on the other side was a picture of my dad as a little boy, wearing some sort of cowboy hat. I have never seen that photo before, in albums or around my grandparents' apartment. I have no idea how long it was in there, how many moves it survived, when it was placed there. Finding it made me...happy.

2. YG and I have picked out names for Z2. I keep thinking this is a boy. I don't know why, but it just feels that way. I should mention that I was about 99% sure that Zygote was a boy as well, so obviously, my feelings don't add to much. I was driving around the other day when an obscure song from the 60s came on the radio, one of those songs about a girl who is groovy and swell and all those other funny 60s words. I had a feeling it was a sign. Girl, maybe?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sing It, Gay Men

Despite the fact that this song always makes me think of the recital scene in Mean Girls, this made me tear up a little.
Don't judge. I can still kick your ass.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Check it Out

My friend, SKB, is writing for The Thought Cannon. You should go like her stuff. Like right now.

The Anal Retentive Person's Interpretation of Psalm 23

Every time you go to a funeral, you hear Psalm 23. Even if you're not religious, you have probably heard "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want...Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." It's also in a lot of action movies.

I heard this version today, a Japanese translation from 1969.

The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity,
He leads me in the ways of efficiency through calmness of mind,
And His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His prescence is here,
His timelessness, His all-importance, will keep me in balance,
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity,
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows,
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord and dwell in His house for ever.

I think I like this one better. It speaks right to my little Type A nerdishness. Yes, I do have a lot of things to accomplish today. Thank you for noticing.