Check out this review of Pat Benatar's Tropico. I love reading his take on music, so much so that I think I'm going to buy CDs and just hand them over for review before listening to them.
I wonder what he'd think of Fantasia's latest album.... I totally dig this single:
Woo, shake it!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Check out this review of Pat Benatar's Tropico. I love reading his take on music, so much so that I think I'm going to buy CDs and just hand them over for review before listening to them.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
[Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc]
Is FOUL. Way too sweet. Possibly it tasted worse than it really was because we drank it after killing a bottle of Ruffino Orvieto Classico, which rocks. As Sue said, what did I expect? It has a monkey on the label. Monkeys don't know wine.
But we drank it anyway, because it was open.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I put my car in the shop on Friday and took the day off work. Since the kids were in daycare and I had some uninterrupted time, I worked like a dog getting the bedrooms somewhat organized and rearranged. They're not done, because we can't finish putting art on the walls until the upstairs bathroom walls are in place. But here's the progress:
The Grownup's Room
(The red took 4 coats, and it's still streaky. I've decided just to say I meant to do that.)
We got this small sofa off Freecycle. Thanks again, Cynthia! It folds out into a single bed, perfect for sleepovers. Thea's very excited. (Ignore the little potty in the corner. Good news, though: Thea's potty trained! Even at night! Yay!) (Oh god, I hope I didn't just jinx it.)
Also, it snowed yesterday, and Thea was able to build her first snowman before our BFFs came over for a pre-Oscar dinner.
Speaking of BFFs and dinner, AJS and Nylonthread brought lunch over on Saturday from this Korean place up the street, Myung Dong. [CORRECTION: Make that Gar Rham. Thanks, AJS!] Amazingly good. AJS and I had this awesome dish made of gingery beef wrapped in lettuce leaves with kimchee, weird and delicious sweet cuttlefish, and a pungent bean paste. So. Freaking. Good.
Friday, February 23, 2007
In case you haven't heard about this already (from IzzyMom):
In a nutshell, there is a mom over on MySpace who is a breastfeeding advocate. On her page, she has the above photo [see it on IzzyMom's post or the SeattlePI] of her baby breastfeeding and you’ll note that you can hardly even see her breast but MySpace has already deleted it three times because it “violates MySpace policies against nudity and sexually suggestive images” and has threatened to boot her off MySpace.
Wow. I don't think MySpace is quite ready for the firestorm coming its way. No response yet from them, but there's an online petition you can sign in support of the mom if you're one of their users.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
We're thinking of getting a dog, probably fostering a dog first to make sure we're ready. A SMALL dog.
Alternately, we're thinking of getting two cats.
(Yes, the moment — the very instant — our lives reach an equilibrium, we think about tilting the balance again.)
Monday, February 19, 2007
His favorite foods are eggs, noodles, avocado, yogurt, and milk, but he'll eat almost anything (just like Thea at that age). He's a very adventurous eater. He's getting a back tooth in, which totally effed up his sleep for the last few nights. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to tell he was uncomfortable. When he hurts himself, he typically just shakes it off and goes back to being his usual cheerful and outgoing self.
He is highly mobile these days, too. It kills me how he can spend an hour running his legs off at Target, not wanting to stay in the cart or be held, but as soon as we get home, he doesn't want me to put him down. Oi. He's great at being held, though. Both he and Thea are like monkeys; you could take your arms away and they'd still hold on comfortably.
Liam is just the sweetest slice of angel cake. We're lucky to have him in the family.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
A lot of people wonder why activists push for full marriage equality, rather than settling for the same thing but called something else (civil unions or domestic partnerships). GLAD has a handy, easy-to-read chart that compares marriage and civil unions, and, of course, brainiac Evan Wolfson sums it up perfectly:
The right way to end discrimination in marriage is to, well, end discrimination in marriage. Not create something new, different, lesser, or other. Not to take our nation, again, down the path of separate and unequal treatment for some. Not to say to some couples and their kids, "You come in the front," while telling others to go around back. Couples seeking the freedom to marry deserve a clear and simple answer: marriage — same rules, same responsibilities, same respect.
Also, be sure to check out Mombian's take on marriage vs. civil unions. I think I stole my Day 7 post idea from her, and she's sure to do it better than I.
Thanks to the people who also posted for Freedom to Marry Week (Bitch Ph.D., Mombian, Nylonthread, Phil Free, WarriorMom, Wrekehavoc). I hope our kids grow up not getting what the big deal was.
Friday, February 16, 2007
You know how sometimes it feels like you're Don Quixote against the windmills, only instead of a knight you're a brainy, left-leaning woman and instead of windmills it's a vast right-wing conspiracy? Not that it has happened to me, but I find the situation with Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan to be truly horrifying. And I know that the lunatics who targeted Marcotte and McEwan would be capable of similar attacks on my family. It makes me sad, and it scares me. The reaction of some, though, has been kind of inspiring.
Also inspiring was the profile on Evan Wolfson in the NY Times. The world is very lucky he uses his power for good.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
(Who appreciates the efforts on behalf of marriage equality but would really rather see more pictures of the kids.)
Liam purposely gets stuck behind the bar's foot rest.
Oh how we laughed.
Liam is developing a finely tuned sense of slapstick humor. He likes to shuffle his feet like he's slipping on ice, fall to his knees or flat on his belly, and look up smiling, like, "Good stuff, eh?" I need to be sure to tell the daycare he's being funny and it's not actually a blossoming neurological disorder.
Everyone's talking about Bill Donohue, the certifiably insane and possible-wife-beater president of the Catholic League. He may be the single most despised person in the country right now, which I'm sure has him back on President Bush's Christmas card list.
I found his kind of hilarious take on marriage equality through Pandagon, my new favorite site ever. Here's a quote from his editorial, "What’s Wrong With White People":
Really, it's hard to take him seriously, and I suppose therein lies the danger.
Virtually every nation in the world where the right of two men to marry is being seriously advanced is white: it is in Canada, the U.S. and Europe where the gay rights movement is flourishing. It is not flourishing in Asia, the Middle East, Africa or Latin America. Just in nations that are predominantly white.
This pattern is evident in the United Nations as well: non-white nations are busy resisting the tide of the gay rights movement that is being foisted upon them by rich white countries.
In the interest of learning more about this topic, according to Wikipedia, here are the countries that have recognized same-sex marriages, followed by the date of legalization: Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), and South Africa (2006). You can find out more about the international landscape of marriage equality efforts at Freedom to Marry's resource center.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
We had a snow day today, so I ended up getting a ton of work done on the house. We're switching rooms with Liam, which means the kids will be at one end of the house and the grown-ups will be at the other. Happy Valentine's Day to me!
Anyway, I'm pondering the similarities between the people who were so vile and insane toward the two bloggers for John Edwards' campaign and the people who are against marriage equality. If you haven't read about it yet, catch up at Amanda Marcotte's site, Melissa McEwan's site, and the Washington Post, as well as an older post on Marcotte's site about whack job Bill Donohue. Marcotte and McEwan are seriously my new heroes.
There was also an amazing interview in yesterday's Salon with Frances Kissling, head of Catholics for a Free Choice, on the Donohue vs. sanity dust-up. Kissling talks about her experience with Donohue, and makes an astute observation: "But the glee with which he went after Vanderslice [who worked on the Kerry campaign and once went to an ACT-UP demonstration; who didn't in the '90s?] and the glee with which he has gone after these women marks him as an abuser."
This has me thinking: Are people who are rabidly homophobic and anti-marriage equality also abusers (practicing or potential)? This is not far-fetched to me.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I thought I'd educated myself on some of the rights and benefits you get through a legally recognized marriage. (A commenter at Bitch Ph.D.'s blog pointed out that she had been married for years, though not in the eyes of the state. Point taken, anonymous lesbian!) Do-it-yourself-lawyering site Nolo has a nicely organized list and some info at the end on the distinction between state-only rights and federal rights:
- Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
- Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
- Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
- Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
- Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
- Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse — that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.
- Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
- Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
- Receiving public assistance benefits.
- Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
- Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
- Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
- Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.
- Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
- Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
- Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
- Making burial or other final arrangements.
- Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
- Applying for joint foster care rights.
- Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
- Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
- Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
- Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
- Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
- Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
- Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
- Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
- Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
- Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
- Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
- Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
- Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.
Note that if you are in a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts or a domestic partnership or civil union in any of the states that offer those relationship options, many of the benefits of marriage won't apply to you, because the federal government does not recognize these same-sex relationships. For example, you may not file joint federal income tax returns with your partner, even if your state allows you to file jointly. And other federal benefits, such as COBRA continuation insurance coverage, may not apply. Consult a lawyer with expertise in this area to learn more about the rights and benefits available to same-sex couples.
Monday, February 12, 2007
The conversation between my then-boyfriend/now-husband to get married started with, "Hey, you know what would be funny?..." (We got married on Leap Day, February 29, 1996, and decided to do it less than three weeks before.) What precipitated the discussion was the thought that we might want kids someday. Not right away, but eventually, perhaps, and we wanted to settle into marriage before making any big changes. For a few years, the decision whether to have kids was "no," until eventually it was a resounding "eh, why not?"
While I realize this is embarrassingly old-fashion of me, I do think it is ideal if parents are legally bound to each other before they take steps to expand their families. I don't think it's mandatory, I don't think kids of parents who aren't married suffer any more than kids whose parents are, and I don't think kids of single parents are more or less effed up than kids in two-parent households.
What I do think, though, is that marriage offers kids a myriad of legal protections that they aren't guaranteed otherwise, including access to health care, parental family and medical leave, and the right to a legal relationship with both parents.
This legal protection of the relationship between parents and children is one of the reasons marriage equality is so important. Not allowing same-sex couples to marry is discriminatory and just wrong. This is self-evident. But equally important is kids' right to have their parents' divorce happen in a legally structured way, outside of the parents' flawed, human, and often destructive impulses.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
You may have heard of Washington State's Initiative 957, which would annul marriages that have not produced offspring within three years. From the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance's website:
If passed by Washington voters, the Defense of Marriage Initiative would:I think it's kind of brilliant.
- add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage;
- require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled;
- require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as “unrecognized”;
- establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and
- make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.
Here's Evan Wolfson talking about it with a contradictory, excessively blinky, and possibly insane Charmaine Yoest on MSNBC.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Freedom to Marry Week starts Sunday. It's an issue that is important to me and my family, and to all of us, really, whether we know it or not. Any kind of discrimination hurts the country, but denying people civil rights is particularly ugly.
So, if you're reading this and you have a blog, please consider posting every day from February 11 to 17 on the topic of marriage equality. If you don't have a blog but read them frequently, please comment and mention marriage equality. If you don't know anything about the issues, please take a little time to educate yourself.
You can also participate in the Freedom to Marry blog carnival at Mombian. I don't fully understand the concept of a blog carnival (Why "carnival"? Will there be rides? Can I get a funnel cake? Or is it that we're the freakshow?), but still. Power to the people, yo.
UPDATE: Check out Bitch Ph.D.'s commentary on the Suicide Girls site. I do love that Bitch.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
These disembodied hands may be the funniest, weirdest thing I have ever seen in my life.
Zaky — It's Like Leaving a Part of You with Your Baby
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
BedBath&Beyond.com has a 44-piece white stoneware set for $49.99 (found through Wists). It includes eight each of a 10 1/2" dinner plate, 8" salad plate, 6" soup bowl, 6" dessert bowl, and 12-ounce mug, as well as a 13" platter, 10" serving bowl, and salt and pepper shakers.
I just got mine yesterday and spent some time giddily throwing out chipped plates and bowls. More than having two kids, this makes me feel like a grown-up.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I got the kids a 13-set lot of Russian nesting dolls on eBay. The seller even threw in a couple extra; there were at least two, a big pumpkin filled with little monsters and traditional-looking Babushka, that aren't pictured here.
When Thea saw them, she immediately started pulling them all apart to see what was inside, getting them all mixed up and dropping them on the floor for Liam to grab and shove into his mouth. The OCD part of me almost had an aneurysm scrambling to put them back together, get them organized, and keep the smallest parts out of Liam's chubby little hands. You mean it's not fun for a one- and three-year-old to carefully take apart a matryoshka, examine each doll, and then carefully put it back together so that all the pieces line up correctly? Huh. Good to know.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
We took Liam and Thea for their first real haircuts this morning [at Today's Hair on Lehigh Road in College Park, for those of you who stumble onto this page looking for where to get your kids' hair cut in the neighborhood. You're welcome]. I've trimmed their hair before, usually chasing after each kid with scissors and hoping for the best, with mixed results.
The woman cutting Liam's hair commented on how good he was. I think he was mesmerized by the sound of the scissors.
Thea was kind of scared at first, but the woman cutting her hair made her feel much more comfortable, especially after I told her that the nice lady cuts Lila's hair, too.
Thea said she felt like a princess.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Did you see the pictures of the kid from the Harry Potter movies? They're publicity stills for his role in a new play in London. Rowr. Also, ew ew ew ew ew! They seem to be causing quite a stir in a "Think of the children! Won't somebody please think of the children?" kind of way.
Speaking of The Children, several states — including Maryland, until the bill was withdrawn recently — and D.C. are considering making the HPV vaccine mandatory for girls. On the DC Urban Moms list it's quite the heated topic. Some people are adamantly opposed to it, thinking that not enough is known about the vaccine to make it mandatory for our daughters, and that it's a scam by the pharmaceutical companies to line their pockets. Other people are for it, hoping to spare the next generation from a preventable cancer.
Here's one of the more well-worded and convincing arguments for it, from Feministing:
Here's the deal: HPV-related cervical cancer is a disease that usually only proves deadly if it isn't caught early. So women who get regular pap smears are likely to receive early treatment and survive the disease. But lower-income women are more likely to be out of contact with regular reproductive health care, and are much more likely to die from cervical cancer. This is a really expensive vaccine. So how do we make sure that everyone — not only wealthier girls — receives it? Mandatory vaccination.