Thursday, December 31, 2009
Some more catch-up on columns missed to celebrate the new year!
There are days when you bound out of bed ready to fight the world.
And then there are the days you realize you’re the parent of a 4-year-old.
You can fight, but winning isn’t easy.
And sometimes you need help.
In fact, sometimes the help of five grown men is the best – men willing to act like total goofballs so your 4-year-old will acquiesce to the adults’ wishes and you can get the show on the road.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
At the end of the year, it's time to play catch-up with some Democrat columns that never made the Web. A little June remembering to get you through the cold! Happy New Year:
Graduation weekend brings out the philosopher in people.
They quote Dr. Seuss.
They offer up platitudes.
They sing song late nineties songs written by movie directors about sunscreen.
I can’t do it.
Because as my tenth reunion comes barreling into town, I’ve got to be honest. High school is really just the beginning.
Oops. That sounded philosophical, didn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong. Graduation is an accomplishment, a point of pride, a milestone.
But once it’s over, once the tassels are removed from their pride of place somewhere in the no-longer seniors cars, graduation dwindles from milestone to stepping stone.
It was a foothold along the way, one that made the walk across the river possible, but it’s that next stone and the next one that helps you avoid the rapids.
Oh, there I go again.
I remember my graduation vividly still. It was hot (the trouble with New York State’s late June graduations), and the reminder that all girls should wear dresses beneath their white robes did little to help us as we sat on the stage, much higher than the rest of the crowd, where the humid air hung heavy.
I remember the boy I walked to and from the stage with. The song sung by our choir members, the yellow honor cords wrapped round my neck.
I even remember our guest speaker, who did what I’d never heard any speaker before him and have never heard once since do – he made it personal. He didn’t just make us laugh. He made it about us.
Because graduation is about the kids. And in all my years of covering commencement exercises, the success of planners, administrators and speakers at remembering that it’s about them has been split almost evenly down the middle.
Sometimes it’s about the kids. Too often it’s about the philosophy.
Those are the speeches no one remembers – at least not the kids, not a year on and certainly not ten years down the line.
They were speeches endured as stepping stones.
And when you’re facing your ten-year reunion, the first of what will hopefully be many, many reunions, you remember fondly what it was like to hop from stone to stone rather than plodding along, enduring them along the way.
You remember what it was like to find platitudes ridiculous and Dr. Seuss juvenile.
And you realize you’re now a grown up who reads Green Eggs and Ham nightly and tells your daughter she’s acting “like a bull in a china shop” so she better not “do the crime if she can’t do the time.”
In other words? Ten years on, and you realize putting up with backseat philosophers is part of the oompah pah of graduation weekend.
Ain’t it grand?
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I pondered whether my last confession of 2009 would blast my reputation forever. And then I realized, my 4-year-old knows she's cooler than I will ever be.
So here it is folks: I miss the Christmas carols.
Yes, it's just a few days after Christmas and I'm swimming in pine needles and still trying to determine what wrapping paper can go into the recycling bin vs. the pile that needs to be shipped directly to the dump.
And I could use a little holiday cheer injection to keep me going until New Year's.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Of all the excuses I've had for being late with the Christmas cards, this is the best. Because it's true.
It was a chic black book leather-bound book that almost made me look like the organized woman I've always wanted to be. There was space to put in new date pages if I wanted to (I didn't), space for new pages of addresses in case I forgot to use pencil and ran out of crossed out names from all the divorces (I had).
And it's gone.
I used to at least have the means for making out that pile of envelopes, whether it took me weeks to mail them or not (it did).
This year, I'm dependent on my memory (pretty poor), the good graces of a few family members with time to read out of their own books, Facebook (hooray for technology) and those little stickers in the corners of the envelope.
I hate people who don't have time to fill out their return address. You are the reason I was online at midnight entering approximate addresses into the USPS zip code search.
And to all you procrastinators who have been waiting to send me a card with said return address - it's your own fault yours will be late this year.
I've mailed a few - dribs and drabs which I'm sure the postmistress appreciates in her own way. They're nothing like the 1,500 at once the guys in front of me were toting into the post office when I showed up a few weekends ago (they were kind enough to let me sneak ahead of them to exchange yellow slip for my package - thanks guys!).
An organized woman would have purchased a whole pile of stamps beforehand, been reading to pull them off an affix them to all those envelopes.
See above: missing address book. I'm not an organized woman these days.
But like all good things (and a few bad, if you've taken a gander at what they call the Mom wardrobe), I have someone to blame.
If you want a Christmas card this year, talk to my four-year-old. Maybe you can convince her to ask Santa for a new address book for Mommy.
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Friday, December 18, 2009
"There's that little girl from Callicoon Center!"
It couldn't have been a better greeting from Santa. Her eyes got wide - he knows where I live.
Then he kicked it up a notch. "Did you spend the day with Grandpa Steve?"
OK, so she calls him Opa - but she knows his first name, and so did SANTA!
She was ready for launch - and she did, directly to his shoulders, where she wrapped her arms tight around his neck and snuggled her little chin into his whiskers and refused to let go.
The photographer with the camera wasn't incentive for the hambone to turn around. She had her man.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
And then the New York Senate got me down.
I sit here ashamed to live in New York State eight years after I moved back to Sullivan County in part because I was proud to have been raised in a place where race, gender, sexuality mean nothing on a snowy day when your neighbor just needs a hand.
Eight years on, I live in a state where discrimination is just the name of the game, where ignoring the U.S. Constitution is OK as long as it gets you re-elected.
There's a tricky part of the Constitution. It allows for freedom of religion, and with that comes freedom from religion. And you can't have one without the other.
Because freedom from religion allows you to decide today that you no longer want to be a Catholic, say, but want to convert to Judaism to marry your true love.
It allows you to practice as a Methodist, even though the Assemblies of God up the street would really love to see you on Sunday morning.
It allows that all religious views are equal under the law. Not better. Just equal.
It allows that a Catholic church does not have to allow a divorced man to marry again. That a pastor in a Presbyterian church can simply decide "no, I don't want to marry you."
It's the law, you see.
And it's the law that allows for marriage in New York State, not the church. A pastor may oversee a marriage, but it is not legally binding until the license has been signed and sent away to the issuing governmental entity.
And as such, the government can't force a religious ceremony. You can go to city hall or call the justice of the peace to your house. Nor can they force you out of a religious ceremony. Don't want a JP? You can call on your minister or your rabbi.
And none of them can uphold the "sanctity of your marriage." Not legally, anyhow. If Susie and Billy meet tomorrow and decided to get married on Friday, there's nothing holding them back - provided they're over 18, not brother and sister and not trying to get Susie a green card.
How's that for sanctity? Anyone want to lay bets on how long that marriage will last? How screwed up the kids will be?
And what's the State of New York going to do about it? Nothing - because the U.S. Constitution prevents them from doing so. As the Declaration of Independence states, "all men are created equal." Created to make our own way in life - regardless of color, of gender, of sexuality.
By voting against gay marriage last week, the New York State Senate put all of that in jeopardy.
It took a stand on behalf of discrimination, not against it. Those Senators who voted against gay marriage decimated the legal standing of New York State.
Because as long as the government issues marriage licenses, it's a legal term, not a religious one. And as long as New York State allows for religion to take over its legal proceedings, we have lost the battle to protect our own religious freedom.
So if you're looking toward Christmas with a lighter heart knowing Adam and Steve can't be married, just think what it would be like to see the state shutter the doors of your church just in time for Christmas services and tell you to switch religions.
If gay men and women aren't equal, neither are you.
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The reviews I put up on this site are NOT paid for by any company. They come from my little ol' head. Some of the products I found myself - on the 'net, at the store, or from other moms. Some were sent my way by publicists. Usually they didn't fit the mold of another project I was working on, but I thought they were so cool I couldn't help sharing!
As for what happens to the products I didn't care for - you'll never know! Because I won't write about them on here. So if you see it, I liked it. 'Nuff said!