Sunday, November 9, 2008


You would think that I would've written something about the momentous occasion of Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. Because my favored candidate won and there were tears and celebration such as I've never seen in my lifetime and may never see again.

You would think that I'd be telling you how proud I am of our country and how fantastic it is to see some of our history of bigotry fall by the wayside as we elected a man who offered hope and change. You'd think I would have woken up on November 5th, barely able to believe our good fortune. You'd think.

But the truth is, on November 4th, I took Smunch to speech therapy in a town not-so-far away, but far enough during rush hour. He's done at 5:30. I'd left Mam with her Sarah, so at least I was alone to sit out in the mommymobile and listen to the election returns come in. As Smunch went in, he said "It's eight to three. Does that mean McCain is winning?" Well, yes, but it's not really about who's winning at this moment.

I listened to the returns. It was cold. The heater was on and as it got dark, I didn't notice that the headlights also came on. I know what you're thinking and NO, the engine wasn't on. Because I'm a moron. That's why. The battery died about 5:15. And I ran around in the dark trying to find someone who could help me jump start my an idiot. I finally found a man in the park with his son who was kind enough to help me out. (Thanks a hundred bazillion million, kind stranger!)

My parents were coming over for a fine dinner of take-n-bake pizza and salad while we finished up the election. We got home just 15 minutes later than usual. Not bad. Considering. But I was frazzled and in the moment between turning off the engine and hence the radio and walking through the door (directly into the room with the TV), I missed the announcers calling Ohio for Obama...the one call that was probably most indicative of the nail in the coffin of the McCain campaign.

We enjoyed the rest of our evening. I went out and bought a celebratory berry pie at Andronico's. It was outrageously expensive, but it was a momentous occasion, after all. McCain made his very eloquent concession speech. (Reminding me that he really was an excellent candidate who somehow lost the way in his campaign.) Mam went to bed. Smunch begged to stay up and hear Obama's speech.

Really? After all this time, when you whined and stomped around every time I wanted to watch a debate or a speech? I'm sure there was a large element of procrastination to his request, but who can deny their child the experience of seeing history made right then and there? I couldn't. He stayed up, then went to bed after the speech. My parents left. Daddy and I hung out happily on the sofa for a little while before going to bed.

But sleep? It wasn't in the cards. By 11:30, Mam was awake, crying. I wasn't sure what was wrong, but I got in bed with her and snuggled down. I could hear her stomach roiling. Not a good sign. Moments later, the bed was covered in vomit...just the beginning of a very, very long night. The puking didn't stop until almost 11 o'clock the next night. Wednesday was horrible.

It was easy to forget about the momentous election. And there's so little pride to be had when you've had no sleep and you're holding back your 4-year-old's hair for the 100th time in 24 hours. I'd let Daddy off the hook because I figured she got this virus from me and he didn't need to get it. But by Wednesday night, I was in desperate need of help...and sleep. That night was a little better...not so much puking, but lots of writhing and tummy clutching.

Sadly, Thursday night was more of the same. And Friday began with more vomiting, so off to the doctor we went. She sent us home with some anti-nausea medication that instantly let Mam sleep...for hours. No more puking as of Sunday and she slept through the night and woke up happy both yesterday and today, but she's still whining and crying about her tummy by early afternoon. Now, she's sleeping again. She hasn't taken an afternoon nap in years. This feels bad.

Fortunately, with all this time stuck at home, I've been able to read a lot about the election and found several articles I really loved. Here are just a few:

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins on Obama's win.

Chicago Sun-Times film critic, Roger Ebert's blog post about his historical perspective on the election night scene at Grant Park.

The last couple of paragraphs of Heather B. Armstrong's blog post to her 4-year-old daughter, describing her experience of election night.

It's been encouraging to see the vigor with which Obama's transition team is diving into the work of the country before inauguration day, but the expectations are so high, I imagine many people will feel let down in the coming years. The morning of November 5th really did feel like a brand new day, despite my lack of sleep. The pride was there, but mostly it was the relief of knowing the last eight years are coming to an end.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


This is my latest piece of fashionable couture. Yeah, hardly. A while back, I wrote a big, long post about Barack Obama. Don't remember it? Yeah. That's 'cause I never published it and eventually, I just deleted it. It's lonely and cold up on my soapbox. I don't like it there. If anyone sees me there, I feel kinda naked. I'd rather be down here.

This is how I explain this shirt to Smunch. Do you see the letters that are biggest on the shirt? The reason they're so much bigger is because those are the important words. VOTE NOV 4TH. It really doesn't matter so much who or what you vote for, only that you do your best to turn the place you live into the place you want it to be.

Having spent some of my overly-sensitive, easily-embarrassed years overseas, it's markedly colored my view of the United States and its place in the world. The early 80s was not a particularly good time to be an American in spot in rural England that is home to an American military base...especially when you don't live within the confines of that military base. And if you were a preteen/teenager, it was pretty mortifying. Anyhow, that perspective makes Obama's attitude and philosophies work for me, even though his tax plan is almost certainly going to be bad for my family. I consider that an investment in the country's future...however misguided that notion may be. Just let me believe it. It makes me feel better.

Anyway, unlike some previous elections where I did my best to understand the propositions, etcetra, by reading my voter's guide, this year I actually attended a League of Women Voters meeting. It was totally non-partisan and they didn't even divulge whether the League was taking a stand on any of the issues. It was very, very helpful. I finished the rest of my homework (on judicial and school board candidates) up yesterday.

I'm a permanent vote-by-mail voter and the idea is very appealing, but the truth is, I hate voting by mail. I like to somehow feel involved in the I did something important and there were people there to witness it. I like to see my ballot go straight into the ballot box. I usually just go to my polling place and hand my ballot in there.

But I was starting to feel like maybe I'd be doing to Registrar of Voters a bigger favor if I sent my ballot in early this year. Goodness knows they'll be swamped on Tuesday. So, the whole family took a field trip to the Registrar of Voters office this morning and I had lots of help depositing my ballot in the ballot box.We drove all the way down there despite the fact I'd found a drop box closer because I love the spectacle. It's Sunday morning for goodness sakes. When do you ever see a government office look like this on a Sunday??You might be wondering why in the world I even went in the building. Obviously, I dropped off my ballot outside. I just had to see this. It makes me feel like something really important is happening and that other people get that too.It was truly amazing the number of people they can pack into the building. They were handing out numbers. There was clearly a long wait, but people seemed patient.

These days people are so busy with work, with home, with family affairs that it's easy to let something like an election blow by you without even looking up.

As a volunteer at an elementary school, I know it's hard to get people to participate, especially when the return seems negligible, as it so often does with politics.

As much as I care very deeply about some of the candidates and issues this election season, I don't really care what these people are voting for. They're all taking a big chunk of time out of their Sunday to participate in something they have to believe matters. That's what's so totally cool.

So, if you haven't voted already, VOTE! It matters.

The Many Shades of Mam

It wasn't just Halloween for Mam last week. It turned into a veritable dress-up extravaganza! It all started with a playdate with her buddy Benjamin. Benjamin has loudly declared that he HATES princesses. Um...obviously.Then Thursday was "gold mining day" in Mam's "Innovative" class at school and they requested the kids dress up like they were living in the old West. Um. O.K. Howdy, pardner!Then there was Halloween, of course. I've posted quite enough photos of that already (see previous post), so I'll save you the princess outfit with glaringly missing crown. We had one, of course. She just decided she was not going to wear it.

Finally, it was time for Mam's Sarah's birthday party on Saturday. The guests were supposed to don fairy garb for the occasion. Thank goodness we keep a lot of crap around or all this dress up would have been annoying. Turns out it was a lot of fun. And somehow, it's all very fitting for our Mam. She's all of these things and more. Oh, so much more...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's Over. And I missed the whole thing...

Yesterday was Halloween. Last year, I was a little annoyed at the number of times I had to get the kids dressed in costumes for this party or that event. This year was different. Thanks to Smunch's soccer schedule and a nasty cold we all got, we missed the two non-school Halloween parties we were invited to.

Aside from a trip to the pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago with my old mommy group friends (not that any of them are old...just that they're friends from the mom's group I joined when Smunch was born) there were no opportunities to don the costumes before Halloween. I'm glad we had that little shindig. Turns out it was the only time I really got to see them in their costumes.

This year, Smunch wanted to be a baseball player (go figure)...and Mam wanted to be a princess.Both were easy costumes. Mam has a rather large collection of princess dress-up clothes, so all we had to do was get Smunch a jersey. Of course a Major League Baseball jersey costs at least as much as two store-bought costumes, so I don't think we came out ahead there. And his pants didn't match his jersey at all, but that was going to be good enough.

Mam was spending time at school each day rehearsing cute little Halloween songs for the big show on the 31st. Every now and then, they'd pop out of her mouth at home. Smunch's class was gearing up for the school costume parade around the playground. And I was a busy little mommy, organizing food and a little craft for Smunch's first grade Halloween party and decorating the house with some help from Daddy.On the 30th, Daddy went to school and helped the first graders carve pumpkins with their 5th grade "buddies".That meant that after school, I had to carve another one with Mam and Smunch had to carve another one, just so everyone was happy. We had a nice time. I roasted some pumpkin seeds.

After dinner, a grand affair with tortellini and Soycuttash for the kids and tortellini and salad for the grown-ups, and after the kids were in bed, I started on my own preparations for the Halloween party...a trial run with the craft project and a nice collection of cheese bugs. I finished up my pumpkin seeds with sugar and pumpkin pie spice. They were yummy. I ate a whole bunch.

I went to bed feeling kind of rotten. I woke up at 3am feeling more rotten. By morning, I'd been up several times and I was sick as a dog. Feverish and dehydrated, I was eternally thankful that Daddy had already planned to take the day off and was game to take over my duties. But I was so sad to miss Mam's concert yesterday morning. It's always such a cute event. I usually end up teary-eyed, but somehow also bored. I've seen the same show twice before. I sent Daddy, video-enabled camera in hand. But it's not the same as being teary-eyed and bored in person. The best part of the whole thing is seeing how thrilled Mam is with her performance and the fact that her parents are there. I hoped I might start feeling better by afternoon, but by then my fever was 102 and getting out of bed was next to impossible. I ended up in bed all day...and all night. I managed to eat a banana. Missed the costume parade. Missed the party.Missed dinner with our neighbors and all the dressed-up kids. Missed trick or treating and didn't even answer the door (although we left a bowl of candy on the porch).

Bleh. We were supposed to go out tonight, but it's just as well that our babysitter bailed when I told her I hadn't been well. I managed to eat a couple of bagels, some cinnamon toast and a bowl of soup today. Yipee. Maybe I'll lose a little of that extra weight I'd been fretting about. Sadly, I suspect it'll be right back if I manage to get rid of it.

It was almost nice to be able to spend the day relaxing in bed, even feeling rotten, but did it really have to be Halloween??