Thursday, August 30, 2007

You cannot have it both ways....

Warning this a politically motivated post..... If you had not gotten it by now - I am leftist and liberal by nature and PRO_CHOICE!

Well I have been catching up on my blog reading and I have seen some interesting stuff - which taken alone is the kind of stuff that makes you pause and say - "ok, well that is interesting." But when I connected the dots - it takes on a more like, "oh shit not only is that interesting, but damn scary too...."

So let me connect a few dots for you. This is from the Diary of an English Courtesan:

the lowlights of the great British yoof (youth) sex survey were as follows:

- 60% of young people aged 22 to 24 had had more than five sexual partners, compared with 23% of 16- to 18-year-olds, suggesting that modern yoof is less frisky than older youth

- 18% said they had slept with 10 partners or more suggesting that modern yoof likes variety
- 57% claimed to have had a one-night stand, suggesting that modern yoof can be a bit of a slapper
- 70% of Scots have had a one night stand compared with only 56% of East Anglians, suggesting that Scottish modern yoof is even more debauched than English modern yoof
- 38% of 16- to 24-year-olds did not always use a condom with a new partner, suggesting that modern yoof can be scarily unwise when it comes to STIs. Being on the pill was cited as the main reason for not using condoms, but 17% said they were ‘too drunk’, suggesting modern yoof might be better off with a nice cup of warm milk at bedtime
- 24% used no contraception the first time they had sex and 10% routinely used nothing or relied on withdrawal, suggesting that modern yoof hasn’t been listening to sex education
- 10% claimed to have had no sex education in school, while 79% said they’d learned ‘only the basics’, suggesting that modern yoof has been skiving off classes or not paying attention in class

Ok they are British teens, but I think that teens are pretty similar and I doubt the US numbers are alot different. And I am willing to bet that a number of US teens
not using condoms is about the same - hell in certain parts of the country - they are not even getting comprehensive sex ed - thanks BIG W! way to go. Here's a tip buddy.... teens have sex - they ought to know how to do it responsibly.

But this is even better. This comes to me via NARAL-OHIO! It was link to this article by Anna Quindlen.

The great thing about video is that you can see the mental wheels turning as these people realize that they somehow have overlooked something central while they were slinging certainties. Nearly 20 years ago, in a presidential debate, George Bush the elder was asked this very question, whether in making abortion illegal he would punish the woman who had one. "I haven't sorted out the penalties," he said lamely. Neither, it turns out, has anyone else. But there are only two logical choices: hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place. If you can't countenance the first, you have to accept the second. You can't have it both ways.

Yeah, so here is the question - since there are large numbers of Americans who think abortion should be illegal, just what should the penalty be if you have one anyway. What if you go to Canada? What if you resort to a coat hanger like your grandmother or great grandmother may have. What then I ask you? Five minutes, five days, five months, five years, forever in jail. What will we do to the women who know in their hearts that this pregnancy is not for them, it is not the right time to bear a child. What is the punishment going to be. Back alley abortions existed prior to Roe and they will come back if Roe is overturned. Part of being a mother and being a woman is knowing your own mind. Knowing if you can bear a child. If you can provide for one for the long haul.

There is nothing easy about choosing to abort a pregnancy. This has baffled me for my entire life time - at least my free thinking political lifetime. The Anti- crowd thinks that this a decision that women take lightly or that they make this choice under duress. Not so, I say. Sure there are some women, who for lack of resources or education may not make the best choices. But no one thinks this will be easy. But raising a child in desperate or difficult circumstances is not easy either. Women are able to make choices, this choice above all others is between a woman and her God/gods and in certain circumstances her partner. That is it. It is a private choice. Damn it, government does not belong in the bedroom and it sure as hell does not belong in my womb. Seriously the W's own party is for smaller government - well here is a no brainier - stay out of my bedroom and my womb - there instant smaller government!

Plus while we are on the topic, I fail to see how outlawing abortion and at the same time canceling comprehensive sex ed is going to help provide (young) women with the knowledge they need to make good choices. The funny thing is - sex goes back to the dawn of time and frankly so does abortion. Now it is safe(r) and legal and a medical procedure. In olden days it was a combination of herbs, knitting needles or God forbid coat hangers. It was the "witch" who could help you deal with your problem. The one women whispered about, but sought out when they were in trouble.

Now it is a doctor, who has training and it is done in a sterile clinic. Remember the Dirty Dancing movie. Had Baby not fallen on her sword and went to her Dad, the other women would have died from an incomplete and unsafe back alley abortion.

Is that what we really want for our mothers, sisters, and daughters. Is it? Do we want prison time for them? Or do we want to allow them the freedom to make personal choices and have safe options available to them?

We really cannot have it both ways.

Monday, August 27, 2007

She is going for it...

I just finished the 10,000 word novella I am writing for the Romance Divas e*book contest. I love this story. I think it rocks. I say, "she is going for it..." because my alter ego is going to publish it, if we get lucky.

Hats off to my faithful editor, JS and SS. I would not have the guts to go for this otherwise. (Well, H too... he always supports me, no matter how nuts he thinks I am... I think they call that love.)

So, I will let you all know how this turns out. It is a ways away, but I am turning it in soon and needed to tell someone.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

This sign is in my window...NOW IT IS HERE TOO!

Bourne or Bond?

I just read the August 3rd addition of the USA Today and they have a great compare and contrast piece on Bourne and Bond. I happen to be a fan of Jason Bourne. I like his determination and his persistence. He feels more real to me. I know I am supposed to feel for the somewhat tortured James Bond - but really I do not. With Jason, we see a strong and principled man seeking the truth. James Bond is busy drinking Martini's and chasing lovely ladies.

I think in the post- 9/11 era we are quick to think that the ends justify the means. That we can do whatever it takes to hold the wave of terror back. (Like invading a country and then hanging its dictator. MMMM, that's currently not working so well, now is it?) That aside, I think the Bourne series reminds us that there will always be consequences. Someone will get hurt, someone who maybe should be alive at the end of the day will not be, that the world is not black and white, that the little people will in fact get in the way, that there is never one simple and easy answer to the questions that face us and finally, that the human spirit will ultimately always demand its due. While some people can ignore their basic humanity for a certain period of time - or is Jason's case it can be conditioned out of him, at a certain point that little part of us, which separates us from our close animal relations - will hopefully push forward and set us on the right path.

I will not lie to you, I love the Bond movies, I like the action and adventure, but I really like the Bourne series. For the Bond movies the action is the story, with Bourne, the story is deeper than the action, the action is an accident, it is the quest for truth and understanding which drives the plot.

So what do you think?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

It's going to be ok

L starts kindergarten this coming week. I am fine with this transition. I am pretty sure that when my friends describe me sentimental is not one of the first adjectives, which comes to mind. I view my job as a mother to be pretty simple - raise a well adjusted and productive member of society. I am here to guide, to love and to treasure every day I have been given with L and E. However, there is a progressive nature to this journey and I am to go with it, I cannot stop the passage of time and to do so would be to their detriment. For every season, there is... - or so the sound goes.

L is having some trouble with this transition however. She has been very quiet and sulky for a few days now. Today she downright grouchy and mean. I was a little bit worried, as this is not normal for her. Some angst, but not this much.

So tonight as we were getting ready for bed she tells me, "Mom, you know - change - well change is good. Just like with caterpillars - they change into butterflies. So you see it will be alright, change is good."

Well, I guess that settles that.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Big C

Today I went with my mom to a doctors appointment. My mother has thyriod cancer. She had her thyroid removed about 5 years ago and underwent radiation treatment then. Recently she has had to go through radiation again. The doctor today, felt like we were in good shape, all looks well and now mom will just have to be monitored closely for the rest of her life. A little known fact, thyroid cancer never goes into remission like other cancers - it is either cured or not. In mom's case - it is not. Will it kill her - not likely, but the metastatic thyroid cells will just linger in her body, being controlled by the medication she will be taking.

I think dealing with any loved one's possibly terminal disease is hard. This has been a hard journey for us all. Lots of trips to the doctor, lots of unknowns. I have written about this and I have written a some poems too.

Today as I drove home, I thought about how thankful I am that this has had a reasonable, positive, and livable outcome. The best case scenario is blood work 4 times a year. The worst, well a trip to the cancer center and some serious serious thyroid cancer specialists.

I have always tried to take care of myself. Working out and trying to eat right. I have bad genes - I have known this for along time. In the last 3 years I have gotten increasingly diligent and motivated. I want to live a long and healthy life - and I believe that the choices I make now, very well will impact the future.

So for now I am focused on enjoying the time I have with my mom and ever hopeful that she will be here to see her grand babies big moments. I am also working towards ensuring that God willing I will be here to see all of my grand babies big moments.

So the power of the BIG Cs - Cancer and Choice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nalini Singh's latest book is almost out....

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Protective, possessive and sensual to the core, Vaughn is a sentinel with the heart of a jaguar. If he decides to make you his, there's no getting away. So run...or get ready to tangle with the wild fury of a changeling who is more animal than most.Find out more about Vaughn and the series at
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Friday, August 17, 2007

A lesson learned...

Tuesday was as always a busy day. I workout and then try to squeeze in errands. H was home and E stayed home with him and L went with me to work out and then to the grocery story. I was feeling pressed for time because I had made plans to go with L to a friends house that afternoon. I hurried home from the store put everything away and then jumped into preparing lunch - so that I could get E down for his nap on time.

I was making a salad for me and BLTs for everyone else. Easy. Generally we grill the bacon outside on the grill - using a griddle - so that the house does not smell like bacon for days to come. H volunteered to handle the bacon. So I forgot about that and continued on the rest of the prep.

Then H comes inside and opens a beer and sits at the kitchen table to watch me cook and to talk to me. After a bit, I remembered the bacon. He ran outside and it was burned and I was a bit mad. I yelled a little and was generally being naggy and he pushed back a bit.

I could tell it was important for him to be right. He said I should have reminded him. Which I did not agree with. Honestly I was enjoying our conversation so much, I was not thinking about anything else.

Sitting at the table the most startling thought occurred to me. I should be happy that watching me and talking to me was more important that 5 strips of bacon. Really - H was more interested in spending time with me.

I was thinking about this again at the park with the kids today. Why do we let real life - the schedules and stuff get in the way of what is really important. The love of my life was focused on what I had to say - I was upset about bacon. It is not even in the same ballpark.

I wonder how many other busy wives and husbands fall into this same trap - when the when, where and how become more important that the why, than the love that brought them together, than the need to talk and connect. I think we fill our lives with so much unimportant stuff that we are too tired or distracted to focus on the truly important stuff - to love and connect to each other.

Truly I ask you, what is more important or feels better than being the sole focus of the one you love's attention?

I am glad I learned that, because I would be very sad to lose that which I value so much...

Bad Money After Good

There is still talk in the financial press about liquidity concerns, mortgage defaults and lack of remaining capital. American Home Mortgage has folded like a house of cards. For may of us, this situation will mean a blip in the stock market and perhaps a slight change in our 401K accounts in the short term. It is not a huge cause for panic - certainly not a reason to run out and sell all your stocks and mutual funds and bury your life's savings in a coffee can. This mortgage lending issue has been on the horizon for a very long time. Those in the know have known this to be a problem for a long while.

The question on alot of people's minds I think it what does lack of liquidity actually mean and how did this all come to pass?

What this means is right now, those companies, who have lent money to folks who perhaps for a variety of reasons have less than sparkling credit histories are now realizing that in their haste to keep pace with the exploding market place, made some bad business choices. The desire to keep selling mortgage products, to take more and more risk, hoping for larger returns, has not come to pass. What has happened is that those folks who have borrowed money have failed to pay it back or are not paying it back on time, every month. While it is true that mortgages are secured loans, that is the bank can take your house if you do not pay, that is a costly process for the bank. Then they have to sell the house and in certain parts of the country, that currently is easier said than done. Banks hate to foreclose, they try to work it out, it is less costly and some money repaid is better than none.

If the above were the only downside, we would not even be having this discussion. Here is the biggest problem of all - the mortgage companies who have made these loans, also now own investors monthly payments. No company carries all the debt on their own. The repackage the debt and sell it to investors - in the form of mortgage pools and other notes. The borrows pay the mortgage company and the mortgage company pays the investors. If repayment fails to happen - investors cannot be paid - or at least not for very long.

What does this all mean for us? Well I think in the coming years we will find it a bit harder to borrow money - even if our credit is really good. I think those people, who for a varieties of reasons have credit issues - may not be able to borrow money at all. Which for those who have recently divorced or had some medical problems - will be a hardship.

I also think we still have not learned our lesson from the internet boom. Capitalism and business are really as old as time. I have something you want and I want to make money selling it. It boils down to that. Commerce is pretty basic - really. I have said this before - there is nothing lie bad business. It will bite you in the but. I am all for calculated risk taking - I get that you have to stretch a little, push yourself. But at a certain point, we have to satisfied with reasonable growth and not exponential. There is too much riding on these decisions. In the case of American Home Mortgage - over 5750 peole are now out of a job. Who wins there?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What we think we know...

Today as I drove to the gym, I was reminded of something funny that happened while we were in Germany.

I have said it before, I consider myself to be functionally fluent. By that I mean, I can speak German reasonably well. I understand almost every word people say - or can make a really good guess - and I can read just about anything, with no problems. Sometimes it takes me hours to read an entire magazine, which if it were in English I would breeze through in no time, but I can read it and more importantly - understand it.

While in Muenster I had decided to rent a car to travel around and visit with friends. It was going to be easier than trying to go by train. That said, H and P made the arrangements online and then P took me to the rental agency to pick it up. He said he would wait outside, while I did the paperwork.

We had gotten there, just as it was opening. I walked in and the agent looked to be in his early forties. I greeted him using my best formal German. He gave me the brightest smile and said, "Oh, you can bloody well speak the Queen's English with me."

I was a bit taken aback, he was a Scotsman to be sure. Now in Muenster there are a number of English soldiers, as there is a large British military base in Muenster. But it had never occurred to me that other Brits would be in the area, working in nonmilitary jobs.

So I gave him a coy smiles and said, "Well, ok, but she is not my Queen."

He was shocked. I think not by what I had said, but by my noticeably non-British accent.

"Oh, so you are Canadian now are you. All independent like."

I smiled again and shock my head. "No, I am, as I believe you say - A Yank."

Now his eyes had gotten big as saucers.

"Let me get this straight, luv. You are a Yank, an American. Here in Germany. You have nothing to do whatsoever with the Forces."

"Right. I am here to visit friends."

I could tell he still did not believe me. It is so strange to me, but most Europeans, well especially Germans, find it hard to believe that Americans would select Germany as a vacation destination, which I cannot understand, but this type of response and conversation has occurred to me over the years that I believe it to be true.

So we start verifying my reservation and so forth and he stops dead in his tracks - mid sentence- shakes his head and says rather sadly, "Oh, well here is a problem."

I figured there must be something wrong with the reservation or something and wait to hear the bomb shell, seemingly hanging between us.

Him looking a bit sheepish, he says, "Well, luv, I haven't an American car for you."

I am thinking to myself, why would I care where the car was made. If it drives, has fuel in it and I can get the little people an all our crap in it, who cares where it was manufactured.

I offer, "Well that is ok, a German car will do."

"No, luv, you know an American car. With an American transmission - you know automatic."

I giggle and say, "Well that is just fine. As it happens, I do not have an 'American' transmission at home in the States either." Which is partly true. We have one standard and one automatic. I much prefer the standard.

He is shocked again. But covers it well, goes on with the paperwork - then stops saying, "You mean to tell me you are a Yank, you drive a standard and you are here in Germany, speaking German and visiting friends. Is that about right."

"Yes. I am here for almost a month on holiday. I studied German at the University and have friends and family in Germany."

"You are an unusual one, Miss." and returned to the task at hand. We made bits of small talk, but nothing really memorable.

I thought of this today, because I find it funny, the things we think we know, the blanket knowledge that we just accept to be true, without much of a thought. Kind of a cultural consciousness, that comes from somewhere. The truths that in our experience are perhaps true, and yet not wholly so.

Sure, many Americans cannot drive a car with a standard transmission - but that does not mean that all Americans can not.

Sure, most Americans cannot speak a foreign language, but that does not mean that all American can not.

But in his experience, that seemed to be the case.

Isn't it funny what we think we know....

Saturday, August 11, 2007


L is a question asking machine. She questions everything. All the time. But rarely does she ask Why. Oh, no that would be too easy for me. I could give her the standard Mommy - "Because" and move on.

No, really she and Anderson Cooper should get together. She not only wants to know why, but how, when and who and then she takes a run at figuring out the philosophical themes underlying the situation she is questioning. As a mom I am so proud of her intellectual questing and her nimble little mind. As a mom, I am also frequently mentally exhausted by her questions. I mean, enough already.

My mother likes to point out that I was the same. I was a questioning nag as well. (What goes around comes around perhaps?)

I am still the same frankly. I am full of questions. I love to ask questions. I like to do the mental exercises. It is good for your mind. (It keeps my little voice busy sometimes.) I love to learn stuff. It is exciting to learn something new and sometimes it is scary, disheartening and necessary. I also now, sometimes spend alot of time dwelling on the answers. I have the time and I have been dwelling alot of late.

Recently, someone told me that sometimes some questions simply have no answers. It is as it is. There is simply no answer for the question: "Why?" I think she is right. Part of becoming wiser I think is the wisdom to simply just accept that somethings just are. There is no answer. It just is, there is no reason, philosophical or otherwise. This is hard to accept, me being a bit "Why" obsessed.

As alluded to in my previous post, I indicated that I have been expending a great deal of mental energy thinking about various issues. I have been using the anti-Why lens a bit and you know what, on certain topics, I have decided that it is true. There is no why - and with that realization came real understanding. Sometimes there is an answer, but it is not neat and tidy and it does not answer the why - exactly. It is messy and untidy. Life is sometimes messy and untidy and that is ok.

Thoughts a jumbled

I have not written her much. I also have not written much on either story I am supposed to be working on. (Sven is angry about that, but I told him to go pick on someone else.) I have been writing however, just not on either of those works. I have been writing in my journal a ton - the journal that is for me. I have been trying to straighten the thoughts out, make them make sense.

This for me is why I turned to writing many years ago, as a means to get the thoughts and feelings out. Expressing my feelings in person is hard. Verbalizing them is damn near impossible, with out a ton of practice (see my 100th post) but writing them, wow, if I just let myself go and write and write, they flow and eventually they make sense, eventually I reach a place where they make sense to me.

It is as if after all that writing, the answer is just there. Not always a break through, but a peace - not a truce - but an honest to goodness peace, a moment of clarity.

So hopefully now, with that dealt with, I can move forward with the business at hand - the better for the break but ready to attach the story that I want to get written.

Do you know what the problem is?

So today after running some errands (and me actually running 4.5 miles) we were on our way home. The exit ramp we normally take from the freeway was backed up big time, so I made the choice to go on an exit and come into town from a different direction.

As we pass under the overpass, L announces: "Well yep! that is this the problem - there are just too many cars!"

Actually I am sure that was part of it, more than likely someone did something stupid - but it was the way she said it, with such authority and conviction.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ok I told you they were Just Freakin' Klueless, this proves it!

You must watch this video. It proves that the people who are in charge at JFK are in fact without a doubt - Just Freakin' Klueless......

I mean seriously, heads should role. We can orbit the earth, those folks cannot even keep the flow of planes going on a good day.....

Hate to say it, but I told you so....

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dont' like it.... Don't want it....

I have not mentioned E much. He is a little guy, but now in the last month or so he as gotten really verbal. Which is cool! I love it as kids come into language, what they pick up and what they test out. It is bits and pieces of what we say to them.

I find language accusation to be fascinating. How they sponge it up.

One of E's favorite things to say about something he does not want to do, to eat, to hold, to have - is "Don't like it... Don't want it....." Said just like that. Very matter a fact and very calmly.

I wish I could do that. There are so many things as an adult that we must do - which I would love to be able to reject as calmly and matter a factly as E does.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Riding in the Rain

Today H and I took the little people to an outdoor festival. We rode our bikes as it was not far from our house and I have become a biking junky. I love that I can combine outside time with my workout- it is fabulous!

So even with the threat of rain, off we went. We had a great time and then as we headed home the skies opened up and it was heavenly. The warm rain, gently pelting my skin. I loved it, it was as if the tears of heaven were reaching me.

I never used to enjoy the outdoors like I do now. I am drawn to the rhythm of nature. I like the feeling of the rain. I did not mind that my clothes were soaking wet and I did not mind that my hair was wet, in fact for the rest of the day I have enjoyed my soft rain conditioned hair and the smell of the earth, that I somehow absorbed during the ride.

There is something about rain in the summer time. It is cleansing and it gives everything a glow. When the weather is gloomy and rainy and cold, I am not happy to the see it rain. But in the summer, the rain is peaceful and soothing, it is warm and feels a bit like the shower.