Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bananagrams in Early Afternoon Sunlight

Without him, for a short stretch I could do everything as I once did it, in deliberate steps, the way you can when you don't have a handicapped child.

Ian Brown from The Boy in the Moon, a Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son

Friday, July 29, 2011

Suck it up and pay the damn bill

I'm not one for celebrities hawking their opinions, but I loved this by Alec Baldwin -- refreshingly bracing.


We stood for a few minutes on the bank and silently stared down the gator whose heavy flat stare spoke of centuries' darkness. When his tail slapped the water, we blinked and watched him turn and glide away.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


We've arrived in Hilton Head safely, the boys jumping out of their skins in excitement the blast of humid air redolent of the Atlantic me feeling strangely numb, exhausted really, no muster just here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I cooked for dinner:

Turkey cutlets breaded with parmesan and bread crumbs

our garden carrots and Swiss chard

my boys ate instead at the neighbors' house:

delivery pizza

I'm looking at right now:

the early evening light in my sons' bedroom

I should be doing:

luggage tag
The boys and I are leaving tomorrow morning for the annual "vacation" (for past experiences in HH, read HERE, HERE, and my all time favorite back in 2008, HERE) to Hilton Head. I'm not bringing Sophie this year and will be back, sans boys, on Monday.

I'll try to post, but just in case -- see you soon!

I know it's not simple,

but I'm wishing today that California Governor Jerry Brown hadn't vetoed adult day healthcare legislation. It sounds to me that once again, the elderly, the poor and the disabled are getting the shaft with only a weak argument from the old liberal himself.

Shame on you, Governor Brown.

Honestly? Can we keep the elderly and the disabled out of the budget? Or are we headed toward Depression times when the old, the infirm and the destitute were left in the streets to starve or perhaps caged in filthy, abusive institutions?

Shame on anyone who thinks the infirm and the disabled have to make sacrifices for our greater good.

For Robert Williams, 51, that combination of services has been invaluable. He moved across the country to care for his 81-year-old sister, Shirley, when Nolcox’s center alerted him that her memory had deteriorated to the point where she should not be living alone.
"She loves going to the daycare center," he said. "She has camaraderie, they keep her active, they exercise.... It gives her a reason to get up every day."
It took Williams nine months to find a job with a security company. Now he’s afraid he might have to quit if he can’t find another program for her.
"My sister is just one of thousands of people who need these services," he said. "And for them to be taken away is really a grave injustice.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Betcha didn't know that I can bowl

Neither did I, but I can.

I've always been an abysmal athlete and haven't bowled in years and years, but apparently, I've found my sport. I bowled three strikes and three spares and beat all the boys at Henry's birthday party, yesterday. But I also made a towering chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and Henry still stole the show.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Here's the sweetest boy in the universe.

Henry was born on July 25th, in one of the last years of the last century, and there hasn't been a day since that he has not touched my heart with his capacity for pure joy.

It was scary to get pregnant again, to contemplate what I didn't know, to have another baby and not worry was that a seizure is that normal is it starting, to hold him and Sophie simultaneously, like twins except that one was much larger and staying the same the other smaller and developing in miraculous ways before my eyes. I had thought I might be stunned by that development, stunned and saddened as he overtook his sister in every possible way, but I experienced the opposite and marveled at the simplicity of it, the simplicity and beauty of "normal" development, the effortless ability to swipe at something, to bend and crouch and fall down a step, stop and look back in surprise and try again, backwards. I thought him genius, of course, and admired Sophie all the more, her efforts double, triple, infinitely more difficult as they were stymied nearly continuously by seizures.

Henry came into the world screaming as all babies do who are fortunate to be strong enough to object, but his screams turned to smiles very early and there was nothing that didn't please him.

Henry, five WEEKS old

Henry did everything early -- smiled, sat up, rolled over, walked and talked -- and we used to joke that it was God's way of easing what might have been very anxious times. Either that or Henry was just eager, always, to get on with life.

Henry and his beloved cousin Mary with Pop Pop

He made his brother Oliver laugh for the very first time.

With Sophie, he shares the sweetest of all the relationships in our family. I really don't think I could do justice to the love between them with words only.

-- or the love and gratitude I feel for him. He's been the light of my life for thirteen years.

Happy Birthday, Henry. May you always be filled with joy!

Another birthday post for Henry is HERE.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ya'll need to come on out

Heading west
It's another glorious day in southern California. I hesitate to write it because I know the majority of you are out there sweltering and it might sound all smug. But I didn't have any part of this weather, this glorious seventy in the morning and sixty put on a sweatshirt evening sleep with the windows open and no ac all day. I am grateful for it, every single day. On bad days, it saves me.

So come on out, ya'll. You can stay with us for free.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

LBJ [Lyndon Baines Johnson] wasn't nice and he didn't care about consensus. It's time for a mean, vindictive SOB on the Dem side.

-- my friend Jeneva on her Facebook page

Clarence from Richard III, like you've never heard him

Thank you, Doug, for showing this to me!

Stimulate Your Brain Saturday

My good friend and fellow mother Erika of The Flight of Our Hummingbird said this, yesterday, in a brilliant post on sociopathy and our current political/economic climate:

Anybody who is masochistic enough to read through the comments after disability-related articles is keenly aware that a frighteningly large number of our fellow humans consider people living with disability a mere fiscal burden on society. There is an apparent tendency to assign value to people based on their profitability or their financial contribution to society. I find it rather ironic, or flat-out hypocritical, that there is so much disapproval and railing against "wasting" our scarce resources on accommodations and services for people with disabilities who allegedly don't contribute to society but there is little protest against the outrageous amount of money paid out to basketball players, movie stars and unscrupulous CEO's, whose societal contributions are  questionable. I wonder how someone can find it completely acceptable that a person is paid millions of dollars for being able to skillfully throw a ball, yet suggest that it would be better to euthanize people with severe disability so taxpayers wouldn't be burdened by the 8-dollar hourly wage of the caregiver providing In-home supportive services. 

Read the rest HERE.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Bacchus and Midas
Nicholas Poussin c. 1630

When I finally succumb to curiosity and click on a news page -- the New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, -- I hate seeing the tanned and smug mug of the current Speaker of the House. There's a particularly unflattering photo of The Tan Man right this second on Huffpost, but I'm hoping in the time it takes me to type this post, it'll already be gone so I don't have to retch again.

In any case, Nicholas Kristof, in an uncharacteristically satirical way, says it all right here.
In case the link doesn't work, here you go:

The first few times I heard House Republicans talk about our budget mess, I worried that they had plunged off the deep end. But as I kept on listening, a buzzer went off in my mind, and I came to understand how much sense the Tea Party caucus makes.
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof
On the Ground
Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.
Go to Columnist Page »

Related in Opinion


Presidents and Their Debts, F.D.R. to Bush

Who were the true budget hawks? Who were the Keynesians? Some historians tell us how the past led to the current budget standoff in Washington.

Readers’ Comments

"Here's my modest proposal ... sell Alaska back to Russia, minus the panhandle, to keep an eye on them."
JR, Canada
Why would we impose “job-crushing taxes” on wealthy Americans just to pay for luxuries like federal prisons? Why end the “carried interest” tax loophole for financiers, just to pay for unemployment benefits — especially when those same selfless tycoons are buying yachts and thus creating jobs for all the rest of us?
Hmmm. The truth is that House Republicans don’t actually go far enough. They should follow the logic of their more visionary members with steps like these:
BONUSES FOR BILLIONAIRES Republicans won’t extend unemployment benefits, even in the worst downturn in 70 years, because that makes people lazy about finding jobs. They’re right: We should be creating incentives for Americans to rise up the food chain by sending hefty checks to every new billionaire. This could be paid for with a tax surcharge on regular working folks. It’s the least we can do.
Likewise, the government should take sterner measures against the persistent jobless. Don’t just let their unemployment benefits expire. Take their homes!
Oh, never mind! Silly me! The banks are already doing that.
LET JOBS TRICKLE DOWN Leftist pundits say that House Republicans don’t have a jobs plan. That’s unfair! Granted, the Republican-sponsored Cut, Cap and Balance Act would eliminate 700,000 jobs in just its first year,according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, but those analysts are no doubt liberals. America’s richest 400 people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans, and the affluent would feel renewed confidence if the Republican plan passed. We’d see a hiring bonanza. Each of those wealthy people might hire an extra pool attendant. That’s 400 jobs right there!
Cut, Cap and Balance would go even further than the Ryan budget plan in starving the beast of government. Sure, that’ll mean cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other programs, but so what? Who needs food safety? How do we know we really need air traffic control unless we try a day without it?
ROOT OUT SOCIALISM Republicans have been working to end Medicare as we know it but need to examine other reckless entitlements, such as our socialized education system, in which public schools fritter resources on classes like economics and foreign languages. As a former Texas governor, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, is said to have declared when she opposed the teaching of foreign languages: “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for us.”
For that matter, who needs socialized police and fire services? We could slash job-crushing taxes at the local level and simply let the free market take over:
“9-1-1, may I help you?” “Yes, help! My house is burning down!” “Very good, sir. I can offer you one fire engine for $5,995, or two for just $10,000.” “Help! My family’s inside. Send three fire engines! Just hurry!” “Yes, sir. Let me just run your credit card first. And if you require the fire trucks immediately, there’s a 50 percent ‘rush’ surcharge.”
CHILL OUT ABOUT THE DEBT CEILING House Republicans like Michele Bachmann are right: If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, some solution will turn up. As Representative Austin Scott, a Republican from Georgia, observes: “In the end, the sun is going to come up tomorrow.”
We got through the Great Depression, didn’t we? It looked pretty hopeless in 1929, but in just a dozen years World War II bailed us out with an economic stimulus. Something like that’ll come along for us, too. Ya gotta have faith.
CONSIDER ASSET SALES While Democrats are harrumphing about “default,” Republicans have sagely noted that there are alternatives in front of our noses. For example, why raise taxes on hard-pressed managers of hedge funds when the government can sell assets?
Fort Knox alone has 4,600 tons of gold, which I figure is worth around $235 billion. That’s enough to pay our military budget for four months! And selling Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon would buy us time as well.
RENT OUT CONGRESS If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, we could also auction members of Congress for day jobs: Are you a financier who wants someone to flip burgers (steaks?) at your child’s birthday party? Why, here’s Eric Cantor! Many members of Congress already work on behalf of tycoons, and this way the revenue would flow to the Treasury.
Finally, if we risk default, let’s rent out the Capitol for weddings to raise money for the public good. Wouldn’t it be nice to see something positive emerge from the House?

An Honor for Me

Julie at Circle of Moms notified me that I've been nominated to the Top 25 SoCal Mom Blogs List.

If you're so inclined, you can click HERE, scroll down to a moon, worn as if it had been a shell and click on the orange "thumbs up" button next to the name. You can vote once per blog every 24 hours.

I am honored to be in the company of such great women and great writing. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dinner with Sophie

You know I love my boys. You know I'd do anything for them -- in fact, I've done nearly everything for them. They are a constant source of amazement to me -- their joy, their charm, their sheer good looks -- well, I won't go on. You know that The Husband is a chef, a Swiss-trained one, and that his cooking is outstanding. You might not know that I was a chef, and while I haven't worked in a professional kitchen in years and years, I'm pretty confident that I'm a decent cook That fact, coupled with the fact that The Husband has a mistress and is therefore never home for dinner, means that I cook nearly every night.

And can I tell you another fact?

My boys are a pain in the ass to cook for.

Henry is finally at an age where he'll pretty much eat anything at any time, but it's on the run, on the fly, gotta go I'm done. It's purely utilitarian eating -- fuel for the explosive growth into manhood. Oliver, on the other hand, is extremely picky and is becoming ever more so. He appears to have regressed to that weird stage of toddler-hood when strawberries are all of a sudden verboten and  his face takes on the still mask of death when a plate of vegetables is placed before him.

But Sophie? Now Sophie can eat, and she loves nearly everything.  Tonight I made watermelon salad with feta, mint and balsamic vinegar. I scrambled three eggs and threw them in the pan with a pat of butter, some salt and grated mozzarella cheese. I toasted a baguette, and we enjoyed our dinner while the boys ran around outside with their neighborhood friends, not interested in food on the table. It's summertime, so I'm not pushing it. If they want to have a bowl of cereal later, I'll let them do it themselves. I imagine Sophie and I will be eating dinner together, alone, for years to come. I hope I'll get the chance to put some wine in her sippee cup.

Food for Thought

Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna

I just read two very interesting articles in The New York Review of Books, written by Marcia Angell about the state of psychiatry today. Angell is a Senior Lecturer in Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is also an outspoken, vehement critic of both the United States' healthcare system and, particularly, the pharmaceutical industry. Here's a quote of hers from a recent PBS interview:

Our health care system is based on the premise that health care is a commodity like VCRs or computers and that it should be distributed according to the ability to pay in the same way that consumer goods are. That's not what health care should be. Health care is a need; it's not a commodity, and it should be distributed according to need. If you're very sick, you should have a lot of it. If you're not sick, you shouldn't have a lot of it. But this should be seen as a personal, individual need, not as a commodity to be distributed like other marketplace commodities. That is a fundamental mistake in the way this country, and only this country, looks at health care. And that market ideology is what has made the health care system so dreadful, so bad at what it does.

The two-part article that I just finished is titled The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? and The Illusion of Psychiatry and is partly a review of several new and prominent non-fiction books about the "epidemic" of mental health diagnoses and the concomitant rise in the use of psychopharmacology. It's a shocking article that I can't stop thinking about, and I highly recommend that everyone read it, particularly those that use drugs to combat depression, anxiety and the like, as well as those who debate the merits of medicating children for ADHD and other mental health disorders.  I know this is a controversial subject, but all controversy demands near-constant reflection.

Here are the links:

The Epidemic of Mental Illness:Why?

The Illusions of Psychiatry

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Beauty of Private Enterprise***

Here's a copy of a check I received in the mail yesterday from that bastion of corporate respectability and efficiency:

Attached to the check were two other pages -- a polite letter stating the company's kind intentions for reimbursement (this was overpayment on the company's part and we were being refunded) and the requisite sheet of paper stating the company's overall intentions in seventeen languages.

To all those who are new to the blog and those who believed that The Mistress is my husband's lover and not his job: this post is dripping with sarcasm, disdain and contempt. Despite intentions to espouse the Four Noble Truths of the way of the Buddha which include right speech and the eschewing of sarcasm, I can't help myself when it comes to health insurers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beach Monday

It was all glorious, every bit of it. Even the too-old men in their too-skimpy brief bathing trunks. And the mothers from another planet in their tiny bikinis and perfectly flat stomachs, babies on their hips.

The ocean was freezing cold, like always, but we went in a bit anyway.

The Mermaid felt the usual magnetic pull of the Pacific, nearly running toward the water.

I really just can't pick one photo of The Mermaid from this series. The pink hat, the top -- her delicate hands and face -- she looked divine, so here you go:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Roundup and a Sophie/Patti Smith Series

Oliver on his bunk at camp

Retro camp

I'm going to be fine

Brotherly love

Henry at lacrosse camp

Henry's dorm room at camp

The photographer

messing around with Picnik again

Sophie as Patti Smith Series






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