Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sandra Tsing Loh here I come

We have officially begun our last year in preschool, and that means only one thing...start looking for your Kindergarten. I am not in a financial bracket where we are even considering private schools. We are in LAUSD with a myriad of public school, charter schools, and magnet schools in our immediate area. All of which have pros and cons. None of which we are guaranteed to get into, with the exception of our local school, which has a Spanish immersion program, that would be great, though after three years of a very progressive preschool any straight public school could be a shock to my daughters system.

I've visited Sandra Tsing Loh's site about navigating the choices in LAUSD http://www.sandratsingloh.com/index.php?pr=Guide_to_Schools. Which makes my head spin. I like to think I am not that frenzied. Though it could start to creep up on me. I preemptively looked at several schools last year, and the more I saw the more I didn't know where my kindergartner would do best. All the schools seem to have their own "gimmick"( just like strippers in Gypsy) there are language schools, and art school, Waldorf schools, and every other kind of school, and they all have something special to offer. Of course, they all have a down side too, some of them, you have to be in the after school program, almost all of their lunch programs are anything but nutritional, and then there are the playgrounds, the teachers,and the principles. There are a million and one things to consider.

Ultimately, I think I will have to do what everyone seems to be doing, which is enter every schools lottery and see where we get in. At which point I will put all their names in a hat and draw!

In the long run I wonder if it matters. I was reading a blog the other day about being overly protective of our kids, when we should be letting them experience lifes difficulties. We all just went to our local schools, though then they actually were funded. Still, as I've mentioned in previous blogs I was not a stellar student, now whether that had to do with the school or just my own distractibility who can say. I would like to give my daughter every chance to be a successful student, then if she screws it up we'll know it's just heredity.
I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this from me after the holidays and the open houses start. I promise not to completely freak out. Wish me luck...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman RIP

I love this story of being over come by Newman's presence. It may be a fabrication, but I'm sure we all know it could have happened to any of us. Best wishes to his family.

A Michigan woman and her family were vacationing in a small New England town where Paul Newman and his family often visited. One Sunday morning, the woman got up early to take a long walk. After a brisk five-mile hike, she decided to treat herself to a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone. She hopped in the car, drove to the centre of the village, and went straight to the combination bakery/ice cream parlor.
There was only one other patron in the store…Paul Newman… sitting at the counter having a donut and coffee.
The woman’s heart skipped a beat as her eyes made contact with those famous baby-blue eyes.
The actor nodded graciously and the star struck woman smiled demurely.
Pull yourself together! She chides herself. You’re a happily married woman with three children. You’re 45 years old… not a teenager!
The clerk filled her order. She took the double-dip chocolate ice cream cone in one hand and her change in the other. Then she went out the door, avoiding even a glance in Paul Newman’s direction.
When she reached the car, she realized that she had a handful of change, but her other hand was empty.
Where’s my ice cream cone? Did I leave it in the store? Back into the shop she went, expecting to see the cone still in the clerk’s hand or in a holder on the counter or something. No ice cream cone was in sight.
With that, she happened to look over at Paul Newman.
His face broke into his familiar warm friendly grin, and he said to the woman…
“You put it in your purse.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bowing to the princesses

Well, it's happened. I've been in a Mexican stand off with those Disney bitches for four years, and to my shame I must admit I flinched this past weekend. I thought I could hide it, but I can't stand the double life already. So here's the whole sordid story.

When my daughter was born I made a rule to all gift givers. The rule was "no Disney princesses" or other equally abhorrent anti-feminist propaganda, that means you Barbie. The rule has been followed with only a few uninformed errors, these gifts were quickly whisked away to the Guantanamo bay of the regift box. I even found a preschool where commercial characters are verboten.

I'll admit I cleared Belle myself. Who isn't technically a princess. I cleared her because she saves her father from the Beast and then due the the Helsinki syndrome or not (depending on who you believe) falls inlove with her hideous captor. Which of course turns him into a prince. Probably, not a great message either, you know what they say about trying to change a man.

But, there were still friends houses, and there I had no choice, she was exposed. At first there were no noticeable effects. But in the last six months I've noticed a subtle change. I tried to redirect her with fairies, which worked for awhile. But the damage was done.

Then I went on vacation and left my daughter with family where she saw "The Little Mermaid". Also, technically not a princess, but still a perfectly happy mermaid who gives up her independence and her voice to walk around with some guy. bad role model.

And then it happened, in the movie aisle at costco, a barbie DVD, it was a double whammie not only was it Barbie but she was dressed as a princess. I tried to redirect with the Aristocats DVD, but no sale. There my daughter sat in tears desperate for the princess Barbie DVD. I caved.

I like to think of it as running into the incoming onslaught like Butch and Sundance, or driving the convertible off the cliff like Thelma and Louise. My fate is sealed so I might as well embrace it.

In another year or so I'm sure my family would have spilled about my Barbie utopia as a child(the grandeur and elaborateness of which I will not go into).

So congratulations princesses and Barbie, I yield to your dominance.

New new Blog

In, another, effort to stop ranting about politics and it's cousin the economy, I started another blog. Where I will only post what I'm making for dinner. It sounds dumb, but we're (mom's loitering on the sidewalks after the kids get home from school) always asking one another what we're making for dinner. So I figure there is an audience.
The new blog is dinnerderby.blogspot.com. I posted the corn chowder I made yesterday.
Hope you Republicans and Democrats enjoy it equally.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Here's a response I gave on LA Mom blog to a political discussion that is getting a bit heated and mentions Kool-aid alot.

People get angry in my opinion because they can't fathom the others point of view. Maybe we all drank our own Kool-aid. My Kool-aid says if you vote republican you can't be for equal rights (Reps vote against equal pay, choice, childcare, family leave, and don't trot out that slavery thing, back then reps were more like dem's and vice versa)You can't be for saving the planet (chanting drill, denying global warming, fighting saving endangered species) you can't be for fixing the economy ( the rep are the ones that want to deregulate everything, which is what got us to this terrifing place we're in now) You can't be for education( while they cut funding, don't even get me started on No Child Left Behind)That's my Kool-aid and I'll admit I was fed it in a bottle, my mother drank and smoked it while I was in utero and I'm doing the same to my daughter.
I don't think anyone could ever change my mind. Though I do grow more conservative as I get older, which only means I no longer dangle from the leftest point.I'll vote Obama to save MY daughters right to choose, which she hopefully won't come to because she'll have sex ed at school while being showered in condoms. I'll vote Obama to reign in the corporate greed that is killing our economy. I'll vote Obama to give our school enough money to educate our children. Lastly I'll vote Obama so my daughter has some planet left to raise my grandchildren on.But drink what you like. There's no accounting for taste.

Things are always changing

In this shot (by Ira Swett) we see the afternoon four-car Venice High School school train, about to use the crossover east of Centinela Avenue to run west to Venice High to pick up a load of students.

I just came across the top picture, which from it's description sounds like it was taken on Venice Between Centinela and Grandview or maybe Inglewood in the 1940's or 50's. Then I ran out to see if I could find it's present day appearance. I try to keep reminding myself change is good, or at least inevitable.
As Doris Day would say Que Serra, Serra

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chicken anyone?

I keep coming to post a new blog but all I can think about is politics, and I promised I would lay off. So here's a post about the economy, which is kind of politics, but I won't point any fingers.
Things are so crazy right now. My sister thinks the stock market is going to crash. I thought it was sort of OK, though I must admit I didn't put money in my IRA this year, on the off chance that it would all disappear. After yesterday and the forecast for AIG, I'm getting nervous. Is it actually possibly that we could relive the depression? If the banks fail where would our gov't in it's current financial state get the funds to back up the FDIC? And if we just start printing up money the dollar will be worth even less than it already is.

This morning I was considering the possibility of raising chickens and rabbits in the backyard (for food) if things really get out of hand. Though I have no idea how to get a live animal to a cooking state animal.

I'm imagining depression era living and wondering if Barack has a new deal up his sleeve or some WPA work, god knows we could use some new bridges in this country.

Anyway, see you all around shanty town.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I know I said I'd stop talking about "them" but this is sooooo good I had to share it. i promise to blog about something other than politics soon.

Leave it to Deepak to hit the nail on the head........

Obama and The Palin Effect
From: Deepak Chopra Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2008

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin's pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the re verse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other." For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin's message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

--Small town values -- a denial of America's global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

--Ignorance of world affairs -- a repudiation of the need to repair America's image abroad.

--Family values -- a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don't need to be heeded.

--Rigid stands on guns and abortion -- a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

--Patriotism -- the usual fallback in a failed war.

--"Reform" -- an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn't fit your ideology.

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from "us" pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of "I'm all right, Jack," and "Why change? Everything's OK as it is." The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to r espond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How I learned to stop worrying, and love Barack

Barack Obama Hope Sticker
Originally uploaded by PEEL
My last two post have been about how I strongly dislike the Republican ticket, and I've decided to stop focusing on them and start thinking about my candidate. Some of you may know that Obama was not my first choice. I was a Hillary supporter all the way. I thought she had the experience, the connections, and she was a women.
But, alas it was not to be. There I was with Barack Obama, and I had to get behind him. I'll admit, it took me awhile (possible till this post)to fully embrace him and realize that if we ever want the world to trust us again he has to be our next president. I even understand why Hillary can't be VP. We've had too many years of Bush's and Clinton's, if we don't get some fresh meat in office soon we'll collapse under the weight of 20 years of deals and infighting.
Obama, tells the world we want a fresh start, that the American dream is not just a slogan, and we will reclaim our reputation as a civilized people. Obama, tells us that he will create socialized health care, that he will stop the corporatization of America, and he will improve our economy, so that a middle class can reemerge.
I can only hope that he is elected. And if not, I'll start looking at property in Baja...oooh or Costa Rica.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gloria Steinem

Here's something from the LA Times by Gloria Steinem, about the Republican ticket, I couldn't agree more.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton . Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq , she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq ."
She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq ; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.This could be huge.
Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center . She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

There's something about Palin

Man alive! This women has stirred things up. Personally, I don't care about her pregnant daughter or her new born. Those are her parenting issues that don't involve me. What I do care about are her politics. Which are terrifying to me, and in no way make McCain a friendlier candidate.
Palin is pro-life, and with aging court justices, this incoming administration will doubtlessly have an opportunity to get control of the court and over turn Roe vs Wade. Then 17 year olds (like Bristol) won't get a choice. I hope the gov't is ready to pick up the bill for all these kids having kids. Lots of them will be kicked out of their homes and forced to rely on the state for medical, and without proper prenatal care I'm sure the complications will be plentiful as well as birth defects. They thought they had a welfare problem now, just wait.
The up side of Ms. Palin is that it should finally make republicans look at their "Family Values" Palin has so many contradictions for her party. She is a working women in a party that just about crucified Hillary for her "stay home and bake cookies" comment, Her 17 year old daughter is pregnant while Palin preaches abstinence, She is also a mother of 5 include a down syndrome 5 month old who she will not be spend much time with if she becomes VP. All she needs now is one of her kids to come out of the closet, though that didn't seem to help much with the Cheney's.
I don't really have a problem with any of these things, but I'm a democrat and a liberal one at that. I'm hoping they lose, but that the republican constituents eyes are opened a bit to the feminist agenda.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I will be 39 on Wednesday....and I can't believe it. How does time pass so quickly? Yesterday I was at a birthday party for one of my daughters friends, and a mother there was sure she knew me from somewhere. I went through all the usual possibilities, with no results. Finally She asked my name, and when I told her my maiden name, she started to laugh. We had lived together, for a year, in 1989. I remember watching the Berlin wall fall with her and many other less historic events. We use to have a really great time together.
Last night laying in bed thinking about all the things that she and I had done, I realized. You have to be really old (at least really middle aged) to have lived with someone for a year and not be able to recognize them on sight. We hadn't even changed that much. It had just been so long since we'd seen one another. Soon I'll be able to say things like "I've forgotten more people than you've met". Sad. Of course, I like to think I've learned a few things along the way, not as much as I might have, but a few.
If I live as long as my grandmothers I'm about ten years shy of my half way mark. But, if I live as long as my father, I have 17 years. I need to start paying more attention. Most days just roll by in a blur of work and laundry. In twenty years will the people around me now be unrecognizable? I hope not, I know some really great people now.
Perhaps I've taken too much for granted in my 20's and 30's. I will make an effort to appreciate the people in my life and not let them drift away, due to random circumstances. I want my 40's to be about appreciation of all the things I have in my life, family, friends, work, and all the things in between that hold it all together.
Check back in 20 years and we'll see how I did....