Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Throat Is Still A Little Scratchy

I sang every word of "Separate Ways."

Every word of "Open Arms."

Every word of "Don't Stop Believing."

Every word of "Faithfully.

And whatnot.

I made my presence known when Arnel Pineda—in a rousing one-word call to his people—yelled, "PINOYS!"

I, along with thousands of other complete dorks, held up my cellphone/lighter during "Lights."

And whether or not it makes sense, I am still giddy. Here I am on the lawn with two of my oldest pals/most favorite gals:

I would like to apologize to the Spousal Unit. He knows most everything about me, but I don't think he was prepared for my vast and astonishingly accurate knowledge of Journey lyrics. Nor did he know that I was capable of singing at such volume. Here is our self(s) portrait, taken on my flashless iPhone, right after the Wilson sisters (Oh Nancy how I adore you! How jealous I am of your jeans! And the way you appear to rock in slow motion! And the way you work the wind machine!) ALMOST stole the show:

Sadness that I didn't see Barbara Jane or Oscar, and that I only caught a fleeting glimpse of Sunny as we traveled opposite sides of a packed staircase. There's always next time...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If You Thought Your Head Hurt Before...

...you haven't seen this yet. Understandably, the Couric/Palin interview has been lost (hey, maybe that was the plan!!) amidst all the financial crisis news, but it deserves to be seen. Why? Because...oh, never mind. Just watch:

Whole As Sum of Parts

On the way to soccer practice last week, Risa and Vida engaged in a serious debate about...me.

Vida's stance: the three of them are my life.

Risa's quote: "We're not her whole life, Vida. We're PART of her life."

In trying to figure out why Lea wasn't involved in the back and forth, I realized that she believes SHE ALONE is my entire life, and it's simply not open for discussion.

I didn't say anything because it wasn't my conversation, but I've been mulling it over ever since. And I'm grateful because it's the perfect path into an essay I've been trying to write for a new antho project.

In other news, I am truly enjoying my online class (via Stanford Continuing Studies). In these first five weeks, we are reading tons of stories from The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008, The Best Nonrequired Reading 2007, Best of the Web 2008, and the summer reading issue of Tin House. As I've pointed out many times, I am terrible in off-the-cuff exchanges about all things literary. But because the discussions are taking place in an online forum, I don't have that problem! I can take my time and respond the way I respond/think best: in writing. One unexpected plus is that there are students from all over the country and the world (I think only 3 of us are Bay Area folks), including Italy, India, and Norway.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Post That Wrote Itself

You have to possess a certain water-off-a-duck's-back attitude while phonebanking. The first rule is not to take anything personally. The second, third, and fourth are: do not spar, do not wish people ill, and do not scream. On Friday, I felt like doing all of these things, and I think it's a testament to my basically even-keeled temperament that I was able to restrain myself.

I began my shift calling Las Vegas, and things went pretty much as expected. Republicans were supporting McCain, Democrats were supporting Obama, and non-partisans were split. I worked my way through Vegas and then started to call a place which shall remain nameless, but which is rural and east of Reno. Here were some of the things I heard (followed, of course, by my comments). If they don't make any sense, it's because they...don't make any sense:

1) "Well, if I believed in SOCIALISM, I would vote for Obama. But I don't believe in SOCIALISM, I believe in our democracy. I believe in democracy, democracy, democracy!" (Okay, lady. Got it. Democracy is the bestest thing!)

2) "I tell you what. I would never vote for someone who refuses to say our pledge of allegiance and who honors the flags of other nations." (You tell 'em, mister! The flags of other nations should only be used as toilet paper for big American asses!)

3) "I'm voting for Sarah Palin." (I couldn't resist a little sassiness here. I said, "Sarah Palin isn't running for President." And she said, "I don't care! I'm voting for her!")

4) "My friend told me he's one of them whatchamacallits. And that don't sit well with me." (Well, who can blame you? Whatchamacallits are very, very scary)

5) "I don't talk about politics on the phone! That Obama is not getting our vote! He wouldn't get our vote if he was the last man on earth! I don't talk about this over the phone!" (He had me at 'hello')

But my favorite was an older woman who began to cackle like a witch after I identified myself as an Obama volunteer. "Don't you KNOW I'm a Republican?" Her tone implied that I was mentally defective in some way. This, combined with the cackling, set me off.

I'll admit I hyperventilated a little. And then I decided if she was going to go all Wicked Witch of the West on me, then I would become...Glenda the Good Witch. I replied sweetly, "Oh, yes, I know! But there are SO. VERY. MANY. WONDERFUL REPUBLICANS who are casting their votes for Senator Obama in November that I thought you might be one of them!"

Full silence for five seconds. And then, "Well, I'm not!"

And then I hung up and it was MY turn to cackle like a witch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How I Blinked and Lost an Hour

I found a little hiding spot in the library that is far, far away from other humans. As I believe I've recounted here before, I have a problem concentrating when there are too many humans about. I'm constantly making up stories about them or feeling bad because they have wedgies or their hair color is botched or they're reading a book that reveals their current state, whether it be a state of sexual ecstasy or a state of mild depression.

So I was using my time productively UNTIL I happened to glance at the shelves to my left, which were unfortunately filled with tome after tome of impossible-to-ignore titles. Tell me, could you remain seated if the following books were sitting within three strides of your perch?:

The Male Ego (Males? They have egos? Muwahahahahahahaha!)

The Girl Within (yes, yes, I'm trying to find her, but she's being suffocated by The Grown Up Without)

Jealousy (thank you Toad the Wet Sprocket for ruining the whole concept for me)

Forty: The Age and the Symbol (I'm totally checking it out and bringing it home and reading it in an hour. Okay, maybe not. One of the sections is called "Symptoms at Forty: Organic Decline")

Stranger in the Nest (What? WHERE?!)

Battling the Inner Dummy (Shoot. That was going to be the title of my autobiography)

I Am A Strange Loop (Hey, me too!)

The list goes on, of course. On and on and on. Next time I'll find a spot near the financial section...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cat Urine, Random Writing, and Things I Do Not Understand

Vida has kindly informed me that if you shine black light on cat urine, the urine will glow. I don't know exactly what to do with this nugget, but I'm sure it'll come in handy at some point. Like when I want to extricate myself from a strange close-talker at a holiday cocktail party.


Random list from a random Word .doc:

The heart is listening
The heart is weary
The heart is taking a nap
The heart is three girls
The heart is no what you think it is
The heart cannot feign sleep
The heart wanders lost in the wood
The heart is hard of hearing
The heart cannot make up its mind
The heart is laughing at your poorly told jokes
The heart thought you were kidding
The heart is bored
The heart forgets to rewind
The heart doesn’t know how much a stamp costs


Saturday's fundraiser raised well over $100,000. With people gamely bidding $4,000 on an item worth a third of that, it's really no surprise. Did the fundraiser, in fact, take place in a bubble floating high above the cares of the rest of the country? Was it simply a freak occurrence? What accounts for the open wallets and carefree generosity? I'm estatic, but I do not understand. Other things I do not understand:

1) Why does John McCain keep insisting that he wouldn't have to run attack ads if Barack would just agree to do joint townhall meetings? How does that even make sense?

2) Why do socks disappear, and where do they disappear TO?

3) Why is Sarah Palin getting away with so much shit?

4) Why is Lea's brain wired in a way that makes it impossible for her to put her damn backpack in the damn back hallway, dammit?

5) Why did it take me so long to discover Joe's Jeans?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Admit It

I think I need to come to terms with the fact that I have an illogical, pressing, ridiculous, power-hungry, control-freak, masochistic URGE to be Room Parent. Why else would I have returned home from Back-to-School night as Room Parent for all three classrooms?

So much for not raising my hand. Anyways...

...I have to bid you good-bye for a few days as I turn the majority of my attention towards the annual school fundraiser. And it's a good thing, too, since the state of California has yet to pass its budget. Do you know what that means? That means that almost every public school in California currently has ZERO money. Principals were basically given only what they needed to OPEN school. So this influx of cash won't be the gravy; it'll be the meat. And that is all kinds of twisted.

The current political landscape is also all kinds of twisted. I find that the best antidote to my anxiety and frustration is to keep making those calls for Obama. It's either that or screaming into my pillow. Tomorrow will be an exception, though, as the campaign has asked us to refrain from calling on 9/11. If hitting the phone is something you have the time or inclination to do, I hereby volunteer to be your Personal Assistant. Give me your zip code, and I will find you the nearest phonebank.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Camp Obama - Day 2

Just a little advice for you: do NOT take an Advil PM the night before you need to be somewhere important. Because if you do that, you might not wake up until 8:26 am, and this might make you a leetle beety late arriving at the very important place.


There is really only one thing I need to tell you about Day 2 of Camp Obama. Why just one thing? Because it tells you everything you need to know: today's session opened with the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V:

McCain is ahead in the polls. Phonebank if you can, folks.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Camp Obama - Day 1

I am tired, my friends. Tired, tired, tired. But it's an exhaustion that's wrapped in exhilaration and buttoned up in a coat made out of hope. And pretty butterflies.


See? THAT'S how tired I am! I am talking nonsense. There was one moment today, though, when I did not talk nonsense. And that's the one moment I will tell you about before I lay my head on my pillow for the night.

This morning I, along with 125 or so other camp attendees, spent a chunk of time in breakout groups thinking about what the campaign calls our "stories of self." At first I was surprised when my group's facilitator leaned over and whispered that he hoped I didn't mind, but he'd told the organizers that I had a compelling story. They were going to call me up to the podium to share it.

I must interject here and mention that the spousal unit and I were out late last night in Berkeley thoroughly enjoying the show that Dave Matthews Band gave at The Greek. There were 8,000 people in the theatre, and 7,998 were heavily partaking in tiny, self-rolled cigarettes filled with some very fragrant herb. Your Nesting Ground Mistress was not among them. However, despite the fact that I showered this morning, I still arrived at Camp Obama smelling like a complete stoner. To make matters worse, Lea had awoken me at 5 am. I was functioning on about 4 hours of sleep, and I'm pretty sured I looked like it.

Now, back to our story....

After a few minutes, I was less surprised that my story was picked. I am a writer, after all. It would have been surprising if I couldn't craft a decent personal narrative about the events that led to my engagement with this presidential campaign. Okay, I thought. I can do this. I can stand up in front of this group of strangers and "share."

Just then, Kamala Harris walked into the room. Do you know who she is? She is the District Attorney of San Francisco. She is beautiful and brilliant in every way. Here is a picture that fails to capture even HALF of said beauty and brilliance:

Ms. Harris was introduced to rapturous applause. She spoke skillfully for the next ten minutes as cameras flashed and people basked in the glow of what can only be called The Kamala Factor. And then, she was gone. Like Cinderella at midnight, leaving a trail of broken hearts—both male and female, straight, gay, married, and single—in her wake. I'm sure you can guess what happened next.


I was called to the podium. Me. Stoner-smelling, tired-looking, flustered me.

I think I said earlier that I would tell you about what I said. But now I'm too mortified.

Let me just end by saying that there are less than 60 days left before we vote. If you are already volunteering for the campaign, amp it up! If you haven't, do. It feels really good. If you're Bay Area-based and you're my friend or my relative, join me and my little cousin Lui on our "Drive For Change" from October 17th-19th. Like thousands of other California volunteers, we're headed to the battleground state of Nevada to help secure that state's 5 CRUCIAL electoral votes for Barack Obama.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Post That Started One Way and Ended Another

I just noticed that in an effort to amuse myself throughout the day, I often respond to strangers in an overly mannered—yet completely sincere, I swear—way. For example, today at lunch when a man held the restaurant door open for me and my mother, I said, "Thank you, kind Sir."

And tonight when I was walking home from my friend's house at 10 pm, I passed an older couple taking a stroll in the moonlight. I didn't want them to be afraid of me, so I said, "Good evening." The man laughed and said, "Hello."

I write about this meaninglessly pleasant aspect of my day to avoid thinking about the convention in Minnesota. Even as I type I am trying to keep at bay the memory of that horrible Sarah Palin person belittling Barack Obama's achievements, sarcastically proclaiming that the presidency isn't supposed to be about someone's "journey of personal discovery," and pretending she knows something about foreign policy. The condescending smirks! The mock air of importance! The parading of her special needs newborn! Horrible, horrible woman. I wanted to reach through the television screen and throttle her. And I don't care if it's sexist or not: it is NOT good parenting to preach abstinence and ignore your child's sexual activity to the point where said child ends up unintentionallly pregnant at the age of 17. And it's even more wrong to then parade that child on a national stage as some sort of proof of your conservatism and "pro-life" commitment. How twisted is THAT?

Great. I'm all pissed off again. The good news is that my enthusiasm for this weekend's Camp Obama has doubled.