And another thing…

I’m wrestling with some big feelings. I got a birth announcement this week from someone I didn’t know what pregnant. I’m struggling with a lot of feelings around that.

  1. Because this is her third child. Her oldest is nearly 4. I don’t pretend that three young children isn’t a lot of work. I’m grateful that her children are healthy and that she is doing fine. But, can I tell you that I’m a little jealous of her. No miscarriages, no infertility. Just healthy children. I don’t wish ill on her. I don’t cast an evil eye upon her. I’m not jealous in the “I want to steal what you have away from you,” way. I’m jealous in the “why can’t I have that,” kind of of way. The sad way.
  2. I.Didn’t.Know. That means no one who knows me, from the mother and father, grandparents, all the way though every fucking one of our mutual friends, family, and acquaintances, and lo, there are many; bothered to mention at any time during the last…call it 8 months or so, that she was pregnant. I know some of that is down to COVID and a lot less face time, but…but… There are very few things as isolating as realizing that people are living entire lives that you’re unaware of. My heart wants to be charitable, but I feel isolated and lonely. I feel completely separated from friends and family and nothing brings that home quite like “I’ve been growing a child for months and you have no clue.”
  3. Adding to the stark contrast, while she was in the hospital recovering from birth, I was doing a home sleep study. We both were probably hooked up to wires and monitors, and my mind could imagine every moment of hers while experiencing every moment of mine. And I would much rather be recovering from birth than waking up in the middle of the night to change batteries because those dimwits don’t use high test batteries. (and let me just say, for devices with high power consumption, like my favorite underwater camera and apparently, this sleep monitor, it doesn’t pay to skimp on the batteries. Pay the premium for the Optimum or the Max or whatever you have to, because then you can get 2 whole nights of them, instead of 5 hours. (or in the case of my camera, 25 minutes.))

Unlike most of the people who are complaining about how cancel culture is banning Dr Seuss, I’ve actually read some of the books whose printing is being discontinued. I don’t know why the estate made the choice to not update the images rather than discontinue printing. I’m not going to assume I know anything better than they do. “If I Ran the Zoo” and “And to think that I saw on Mulberry Street,” are old favorites of mine, but I didn’t read them to my child. I read “The Sneeches and Other Stories,” and many, many rereadings of the Horton books. I read Hop on Pop and the Cat in the Hat. I “1 Fish, 2 Fish…” When she got older, I read her some of his funnier essays like “The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough.” But I’ve kept her away from the Flit ads, from his political commentaries, especially the early ones, and I supported Mo Willems and the children’s artists of MA when they asked the Dr. Seuss museum to remove the mural in 2017. ( The idea that Mo Willems would be antiSeuss only makes sense to anyone who has never met him or never read anything he wrote. His obvious admiration and respect for Dr. Seuss as a trailblazer of the genre is apparent in every line of his work. The older Dr. Seuss works are inappropriate for young children. I’m not breaking any new ground saying this. Interestingly, I’ve yet to engage with anyone who is supporting these books who has also read them. The people who have engaged with me on the subject want to make the claim liberals now hate The Lorax, (specifically called out in an argument with someone.) an ironic twist, given how I’m pretty sure these same people 10 years ago were saying they hated the Lorax (again specifically) because it was anticapitalism and brainwashing children. All the images and memes they share are of books like The Cat in the Hat, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas as if to remove old books is to say that the entire catalog of Seuss is being destroyed. I think my favorite part is where they take the position that liberals want to burn all Seuss books; this after conservatives spent years burning their Nikes because Colin Kapernick.

Literature and literary sensibilities change over time. Books, to my eternal dismay, go out of print all the time. One of my favorite juvenile fiction books, which I shall not name, because I feel like it would uniquely identify me to anyone who thinks they might know me, had a single printing, and despite being a joyful romp, will probably never be reprinted. At the time it was written it was, like the Wonder Woman of the 70s, extremely progressive, but in today’s society would seem horribly sexist and outmoded. I read it to my child, but of course, with commentary. The same way I do with many classics, like the Wizard of Oz books, The Secret Garden, Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web… And we talk about it. We talk about the portrayal of women in Baum, which is super problematic after the first book. Don’t believe me? What about in Marvelous Land of Oz (Book 2) when the Scarecrow asks the Queen of the Mice for like 12 field mice which he releases in the throne room and scares all the girls of JinJur’s army away, because girls are scared of mice, you know. And how the girls were actually really grateful that the girl army was defeated because men can’t cook and their food was awful and governing is hard. And I know that you can follow that up with well, Ozma becomes the ruler and she is a girl. I have no objections to Ozma, but sometimes it seems like she’s less a ruler and more of a sweet, pretty, young girl who is victorious only because she is sweet. Not as much because she is clever and fair minded. (Although she is those things, it’s just that no one ever really notices or talks about it as much as they do about how much she is sweet and beautiful.)

It’s much harder to talk about the Dr. Seuss books in the same way. If my child doesn’t notice the stereotyping, then I don’t want to call attention to it, but if I don’t call attention to it, what might the child observe that that I’m not talking about that becomes normal or acceptable to copy or internalize?

But there are so many books that just don’t make sense anymore. Particularly picture books. We like to think books are timeless, but they’re not. Some books just don’t age well. Many have dropped off the radar entirely and that’s okay. And for the ones that haven’t vanished entirely yet, it makes sense not to expose children to them until you can discuss them.

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Stupid People Gonna Stupid

I really don’t try to police people or take disagreements personally. We all disagree on things. But a friend of mine who is a well educated, intelligent person who typically deals in science-based logic and facts just posted an article about one of the vaccine manufacturers “said” that getting COVID more effective than getting the vaccine so they were discontinuing their vaccine production. With the implication from the headline that you should go get COVID because it was more effective at boosting future immunity to COVID-19 than the vaccine.

But that’s not what they said. When I looked at the original manufacturer’s statement on the topic, they said *their* vaccine was less effective than natural immunity from recovered COVID patients and other vaccines on the market and so they were discontinuing the project to focus on complementary drug therapies for people who have COVID-19 to reduce symptoms etc.

I don’t expect much from people who don’t have a science background, but I do expect people who are intelligent, well-educated, research-based individuals to not promote bad data interpretation. We analyze data for a living, for crying out loud. Why do we stop doing that when it comes to our pet theories?

More political thoughts

I quite like satire. I was raised on a steady diet of sarcasm and satire, so I feel very comfortable sitting with it.

That’s why I’m in this weird love/hate relationship with the conservative satire site. I find the articles pointed and amusing, but I hate it because my conservative friends point to it and hold it up as their opinions, then whine when it’s pointed out that those opinions are obviously meant to be satire, “It’s a joke! Can’t you libs take a joke.” (That’s not a question. It’s never meant to be a question. Of course they don’t think libs can take a joke. They think we’re humourless asshats who kill babies recreationally, despite the fact that we’re cowardly pussies. (I’m pulling out all my stereotypes today. It’s been a long couple of weeks without a place to vent.))

So my conservative friends (who haven’t escaped to their conservative echo chambers so they can wallow in their own opinions unchallenged by pesky things like facts, feelings that don’t directly belong to them, and friends who aren’t crazy – the irony of me posting this here, where I control absolutely who can reply is not lost on me. Echo chamber indeed.) posted a link to an article entitled, Most Popular President in History to be Inaugurated in Secret Behind Giant Wall Guarded by Thousands of Soldiers. And they’re all giggly and gleeful about it.

And this is why we can’t have nice things. People try to overthrow the government, on camera, with equipment to attempt to take congress hostage, and plans to hang the vice president of their own chosen administration, during a pandemic, FFS which requires increased national security, which has caught at least two people in the past week that I’ve heard reports of attempting to sneak into the DC for the inauguration with ill intent, and the conservatives use that prop up their chosen narrative that he’s really not that popular. (and couldn’t possibly have won, etc.)

Conservatives don’t even want me to enjoy satire anymore, because I feel like I have to explain to their dumb asses context. I’m sure the authors of the article understand the context. But I’m equally sure that while the sharers of the content claim to understand it, they really think it’s reality. I know this is true, because in most cases, I’ve engaged with them and instead of being like “yeah, this is funny because it’s ad extremis,” they’re more like, “Yeah, they mean it to be funny and ad extremis, but you know it’s really true and it really is like this.”

No, it’s fucking not. It’s funny and it’s ad extremis, and you’re an fucking idiot who doesn’t deserve satire because you can’t appreciate it.

Meanwhile, I’m secretly afraid to watch the inauguration coverage, because the last time I tuned into watch something I expected to be thoroughly boring, but I wanted to watch anywhere, there was a fucking insurrection in the middle of it. I’m hoping if I think of this more like New Year’s Rockin’ Eve part II, instead of like Electoral Vote Count Certification part II, maybe it will go better with us.

And another thing. I’ve seen a bunch of Trumpiatrian snaphots (gas was x, jobs was x…) going around of people preparing them for Biden turning this country into hell, as if images of Portland under siege, the riot at the capitol, and the COVID under Trump somehow weren’t hellish, and lists of his accomplishments which are all crazy out of context. Gas spiked like whoa under Trump and you know why it’s down now? Because the majority of jobs that can be done at home, including a bunch that maybe shouldn’t be like, doctoring, are being done at home, so demand is down, so prices drop. At one point during the the first spike, gas was like $1.15 around here, maybe even lower, because demand was non-existent and people only needed to fill up their tanks once every other month. So when demand goes up again, the price is going to go up again. One data point in an administration is meaningless if the context is removed. That’s why trends over time is a better metric.

And I hope that all those people who complained that I “wanted Trump to fail” (bigly?) are sitting with that right now while they expect(, but don’t want ?) Biden to fail. I, personally, expect a nice boring recovery as this country pulls itself back to the midpoint and attempts to appease everyone.

Uncle Carl

I don’t know if any of you have had a chance to listen to the song, “Uncle Carl” (Came out on Christmas).
It came out last year, (ha ha, see what I did there), but I did not see it until this year.

We never had a moment like this in our family. Like the kids in the songs, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know my dad’s uncle was gay. He was also hilariously irrevrent, filthy-mouthed (in a fun way), and everything an uncle should be. And not the least bit creepy. One of the best vacations of my life was when my brother and I went to NYC and spent a few days with him walking all over the city while my parents got some away time.

I don’t really know what I want to say here, just…I guess, love your Uncle Carl. Or your Aunt Carly. Or your friend that you’ve known forever who just had the courage to come out. Or the friend you stopped talking to in high school because they came out. Or the friend who might someday come out if they feel safe enough, or just exhausted from hiding who their authentic self for fear of judgement.

Related Psalm: 96 – a song about the loving the glory of G-d and G-d’s creation and leaving the judgement of people to G-d who will judge with fairness, mercy, and love.

Light and Strength

I had a really difficult night of Channukah. Our other bubble family came over and it was challenging. Without getting into a lot of specific, they managed to hit my top couple of stressors.

  1. They insisted on showing me pictures of their new niece. I’ve talked about how people love to inundate me with pictures of tangentially related children. Still true. Also still true is the fact that I don’t care to be inundated with pictures of other people’s day. It takes me out of the moment that I should be enjoying and places me into a place of have not, where I’m reminded of all the things I can’t have. I try not to let it be a stressor. I am aware of the problem and I work hard to stay present. But…I don’t want an evening with my friends to be hard work and focus. I want it to be fun and enjoyable. I don’t want to be guarding my heart against hidden land minds. I don’t want to impede their joy, but is this really their joy?
  2. Okay, maybe this was only a few minutes of actual time, but it felt like a lifetime, because both of the parents spent a long time talking about how much they are glad they don’t have babies right now. How glad they were that they stopped at 2. And I get it. They’re in a totally different situation. They’ve been through two pregnancies. One of their children is on the spectrum, like they’ve had to deal with some shit. But I am THE.WRONG.AUDIENCE for this complaint. Like when my girlfriend who had an oops baby at 35(!!!!) OMG, the horror, was complaining to me how much it sucked being an old mom when I was in year 5 of my fertility treatments and the same age. Read.The.Room.
  3. Tangentially, I also didn’t need a 30 minute monologue on the subject of job searching in the third trimester.

Your related Psalm: 118.

A Psalm for all occasions

For awhile, I was studying the book of Psalms with a girlfriend, and we picked that for our study because of the idea that within Psalms there is something for ever occasion, every mood, every thought, ever state of being, every type of person.

In my last post, I talked about Psalm 27. In this one, I’m going to mention Psalm 115. It talks about the tendency of people to turn away from G-d and place their trust in idols. I keep thinking about it because from my limited perspective, as a human in the world, I see some of my friends and family and I see the Republican leaders of government raising Trump up like an idol.

And I keep thinking about that.

Those that make them shall become like them. – We see that as the congress repeatedly turns away from the people who need them to govern with wisdom and compassion in equal measure, to pass aid to help get us through the virus, to promote good health practices, to demonstrate practicing good health practices. Like their idol, they turn away from these things. Because they have made him as a god in his unfeeling rhetoric, and now they have become like him in theirs.

And those who trust in him; my friends, my family, who revere him. They too have lost compassion and balance and perspective. They no longer see me as a person. They see me as the other. The liberal. The outsider. No recognition that I am still the person they have loved. Because those who make them shall become like them. And also those who trust in them.

Turning to stone from the center outward until there is nothing left of the people I once knew. But I will hope and trust in the L-rd that they can be reached. That they can be saved. That we will once again stand together and be blessed in the sight of the L-rd and that we can bless each other. The dead cannot praise the L-rd, nor any who stay silent. But we can lift our voices and sing praises.

I don’t want to turn this into a blog about religion, but tangentially, I wonder if I could attach a Psalm quote to every post…just to see if there really is a Psalm for everything.

How do you feel?

My cousin posted a “Let’s focus on the positive. Share one good thing that happened to you in 2020.”

I know reading those is supposed to make me feel better. It’s supposed to remind me that there is still good in the world and that good things happen and that in midst of death, we are still in life. I feel like there’s quote from Psalms for this just at the edge of my memory. Oh yes, there it is. It’s from the Psalm that is added for the days of repentance leading up to Rosh Hashana and through the end of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret, Psalm 27 (L’David Ori, it’s called). (King) David is on the run from King Saul for his life. He’s at his lowest point, feeling besieged on all sides, but still, he declares that he has hope in the Lord’s deliverance. It’s this line I’m thinking of “If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of the L-rd in the land of the living!” That although everything around seems bleak, you can yet find the goodness of the L-rd, if indeed, you are looking for it.

And I understand her motivations. Maybe I’m just like Skeletor. “I don’t like to feel good. I like to feel evil.” But my best news from this year, doesn’t seem nearly as good as any of their good news. I feel like I’m just barely keeping it together. For many years, I’ve felt stagnant. Now I feel like I’m losing ground.

The other half of the sentence

I finished my sentence the wrong way. The first half started off okay and what I meant and the second half ended the wrong way and …what I meant.

The scene:

It’s morning. The child has just been bundled kicking and screaming off to school. There is a new backpack involved as the old backpack died last Thursday. The replacement arrived Saturday and I prepared the backpack for school, wiping down the surface, removing tags, etc. on Saturday and encouraged the child to pack it both Saturday and Sunday.

Clearly the obvious result was that the backpack was not packed this morning. Which I knew last night and so budgeted for in the her morning schedule. But the child knows stubborness and so refused to wake up until I pulled the covers off. Then the child found the way into my bed and started cuddling there with blankets. So I said, “this is the last time I ask you nicely to get up and start getting dressed. After this I tear the cover off enraged mom and start yelling. “But I don’t want angry mom.”

“Then do what you’ve been asked to do.”

Well, predictably 2 minutes later, angry mom released instructions at such volume and intensity that it is still spoken of in reverent terms two generations from now. Child *scrambled* out of the room to find clothing.

Now child is dressed and hair brushed and begin the bag packing process by attempting to both transfer things from the old backpack and assemble all the things that migrated, as well as a packed lunch (which is my job) and a bundle of stuffs I’m sending to the teacher. Child is convinced bundle of stuffs will not fit, refuses to consider rethinking things. Mom repacks bag so it all fits. (That’s actually a special genetic talent along with a great deal of practice to hone it into a skill. The child will develop this over time and become awe inspiring. Today, however, not so much. By college though, roommates will be queuing up for packing assistance from the master.)

Child leaves for school. I wash the remainder of dishes in the sink from my cooking over the weekend and put out clean sheets for the cleaners who are coming today. I come back from putting out clean sheets and empty a cardboard box so it can be taken down with the trash my husband is preparing. I follow him to get a new trash bag to put in the trash can. He tells me he already got one. I put it back and get the one he’s draped over a chair.
“I was doing it.” he tells me, as he finishes tying up the bag.

“I apologize. I thought you were taking the bag downstairs.”

“I’m not wearing shoes.”

“I wasn’t looking at your feet. I was looking at your hands which were holding a garbage bag.”

He starts to complain again and I said, “I was trying to help. If you don’t like it…” then I think, what exactly? If you don’t like it…then…what? “…shut up and be gracious.”

Hrm…Is that what I meant to say? I mean, yes, it’s valid, but I’m not sure that’s what I was trying for. I’m not even totally sure where those words came from.

He stormed off without another word. I have no idea where he is now. Did he go upstairs? Did he go outside, with or without his shoes. He just exited stage left while I’m trying to figure out what just happened. Am I the asshole, as they say on the reddit?

I didn’t mean to be evil, if, in fact, evil I was. Cleaner days are always a little stressful around here. Combined with the usual Monday stress and the bonus of a new backpack, and I really need to give some grace. But when do I get grace. I don’t expect to be grumped at when I do a trivial task that anyone could do at a time when no one was doing it. Even if one minute from now someone would do it. I’ve been in that situation before, and I know what I do. I blink for a moment in confusion that the task I was about to perform is already in process and then say, “Oh! Thank you.” and move on to my next task. I guess that’s kind of what I was expecting. Maybe not even with the thank you. Maybe just a “oh. You did that thing.”


After he returned from his shower, which was apparently where he went, I apologized. He gave a non-apology in return explaining that he had a whole plan and I broke the plan, thus throwing him into confusion. I said that I’ve also been in that place and one of the better ways to handle that it is to practice just being nice about it. Disorder happens. And giving each other grace in that situation is also a life skill. Accepting help, even when it throws off your rhythm and adjusting.

Also Monday mornings are hard.

Unseen and Unappreciated

I’m having an unseen/unappreciated day over here. I’m half tempted to post to my Facebook, “I’m feeling unseen and unappreciated. If you can think of one thing I’ve done for you or one reason you’re glad you’re my friend, drop it here. Thanks.”

But I won’t. For the following reasons:

  1. My mother reads my facebook and I don’t want her to worry.
  2. It sounds needy. It is needy, which is fine, but I don’t want to sound needy.
  3. I recognize this feeling as PMS. It will pass, but do I really want a Facebook record of that moment?