Tuesday, December 18, 2007
As I sit here in my living room, listening for my newborn to cry out for mama between clicks of the keyboard, I cannot help but reflect on the last three weeks. It's December 18th and, if things had gone "according to plan" Peegie and I would be brand-new parents as of YESTERDAY...not seasoned, veteran parents of nearly one week. But, as the saying goes, "if you want to make God laugh, make plans!"
Over the last three weeks, I found myself thinking a lot about summer vacation...but, not because of fear of imminent child birth!
Every summer, Peegie and I travel to Hope Town, Abaco, for summer vacation. We usually plan our vacation to coincide with Regatta Time in Abaco...a five-race regatta that starts in Green Turtle Cay and ends in Marsh Harbour. Since 2002, we have been privileged to crew for Jeff Gale aboard local favorite, Abaco Rage.
The Rage is a traditional Bahamian work boat with a loyal crew. She is 28 feet long, constructed of wood, boasts heavy cotton canvas sails and relies on human ballast sitting on sliding prys to perform sailing maneuvers. It's the most exhilarating fun you can have in a regatta, and also the most precarious fun as one wrong move will send you off the end of the pry into the Sea of Abaco.
So, what does all this have to do with being pregnant or giving birth?? Tacking.
Tacking is a sailing maneuver performed during an upwind run, when your mark is straight ahead of you, and the wind is on your nose. Suddenly the wind shifts, and you have a choice to make: tack into the wind, or be blown off course and not hit your mark.
Jeff Gale is a veritable legend in racing circles in the Bahamas and beyond. His tactics are extraordinary and generally correct. As a skipper, he does not lose many races. Sailing with Jeff is a both an honor and a privilege, and it's extremely fun. Except for tacking. The same maneuvers that usually haul in the hardware are the most challenging aboard the slippery surface of the Rage because it's just not easy to scramble across a wet deck and 15 other humans to stake a claim on the high side of the boat - especially when you don't even know you're tacking until the boom hits you in the head. Jeff is particularly soft-spoken, and tacking maneuevers are usually announced in the following manner: "aaaaaaaannnnnd we're tacking..." all while he is pushing the tiller to turn the boat.
That's what the last three weeks have been like: one tack after another - all without any kind of warning, yet necessary to keep us on course to hit our mark, and not be blown off course.
It all began with the diagnosis of the evil Toxemia on November 27. A regular Tuesday, a normal appointment with my OB doctor, resulting in bedrest. Each week thereafter brought a new wind shift, and a new tack.
On December 4, my blood pressure "had not responded to bed rest as expected" so my doctor informed us he wanted to "monitor [me] on an inpatient basis." Our charge nurse told me the chances I would leave the hospital without a baby were slim and none. Hooray! Two weeks of bed rest in the hospital. Exactly what I did NOT want. Tack.
On December 5, both my OB and my perinatologist agreed I could be discharged (despite blood pressure readings that really didn't change much...). I felt like I'd been let out of jail free - with a date to return for a nicely planned, scheduled delivery by C-section on Friday, December 14th. Tack.
On December 11, my OB cheerily answered our questions about the surgery, listened to the baby's heartbeat and examined my overall well-being. I was positively giddy: for the first time in two weeks, I'd had an appointment with the doctor without being surprised by a tack. As it turns out, the maneuver was only delayed by a day, and it was the mother of all tacks.
On December 12, my sister fetched me at 1:15pm to make a 1:30pm pedicure appointment. After our feet were scrubbed and massaged and our toes polished and shined, we were off to the perinatologist for a final sonogram before baby was to be delivered just two days later. Not so fast. I walked into the hospital for a routine visit with my doctor, and I walked out three days later (yes, I WALKED out of that hospital) with a precious, beautiful and, most important, healthy baby boy. TACK!!! (It's a really good thing I'd had a pedicure...)
Looking back, we could not have planned Zane's arrival any better. In the end, we got everything we wanted: a healthy baby, a healthy mama, and Christmas at home as a new family. We've learned so much since that day - about each other, about our new son, about the infinite depth of love, and how children make a great life so much better. But mostly we have learned that letting go, and letting someone else call the tactics, is part of the fun; and we still brought home the best trophy of all.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
As my doctor wrote in the note for my employer, "Paige is experiencing a complication of pregnancy that requires bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy."
Toxemia. A wicked disease for which the only cure is delivery of a baby. In the meatime, it's Game Over. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go straight home, lay on your left side, and do not attempt any activity that will elevate your blood pressure. To-do lists, loose ends and plans be damned.
This is so not fun, but it could be worse. MUCH worse. To wit:
- I could be 26 weeks along, instead of 36 weeks.
- I could be situated in a job without flexibility, benefits, an understanding boss, and technological resources for telecommuting from home.
- I could be alone, without a loving and doting baby-daddy to cart me to my "social outings" (i.e. weekly prenatal visits) and keep me company.
- I could have had a challenging pregnancy from Day One
- I could be woefully behind in planning for Baby's arrival
- I could be in the hospital
As it stands, I am resting comfortably in my own home, enjoying the company of my beloved, surrounded by all of my own creature comforts, feeling well and taking it easy. Not bad. And, as Peegie reminded me on Tuesday, we may get to meet our kid even earlier than we thought. Again, not so bad. In fact, life is pretty good.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
As the oldest grandchild, I am clearly the most delinquent for I have missed the celebration twice.
In 1999, Peegie and I spent a gorgeous and lovely Thanksgiving week sailing the Exumas aboard Buddy, drinking rum, swimming in gin-clear water, soaking up the sun, eating Healthy Choice turkey from the package and dancing under the stars.
This year, I am at home, 35 weeks' pregnant, STRONGLY advised to stay close to home and my very capable doctors...
Yesterday, as I thought about the goings-on at my Grandmama's house, in preparation for the big day, I got a bit sad thinking, "my whole family is there, and I can't be there, and I really miss being there for this holiday."
Then it hit me: MY whole family is HERE. Peegie, Ziggy and me. That is MY whole family, and here we are, together. I have much to be thankful for.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
But, WE DID IT! And How! All indications point to a record-shattering year in terms of attendance and fundraising...not bad for a group of girls, eh?
Coming up next: Child Birth.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I love the third shot...the sonographer thinks it is a bona fide smile since "babies don't have gas in utero..."
We both got a good report today: baby is 2 lbs., 14 oz. (+/- .7 oz) and 15 inches long from tip to toe. Heartbeat was a "perfect" 150 bpm. The coolest news is, although I am 28 weeks, 5 days along, baby's development is at 29 weeks, 6 days, which means baby's development is 8 days ahead of my due date. The doctors have not adjusted my due date, but today's measurements indicate baby could make its grand entrance as early as 12/21.
My sister thinks baby will arrive on Christmas Day. I would be okay with that...what greater gift could I ever receive? But, I am NOT okay with her suggestion for a name, should the baby arrive on Christmas Day. Somehow, I'm just not feeling "Hey, Zeus!"
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
*Post script: sheesh! If I'm THIS gushy about my nephews, I may need the Paxil to prevent me from drowning in mush about my own child! My apologies to Senor Scientologist...I apologize for being glib.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
- I require EXACTLY nine hours of sleep each night. If those nine hours are interrupted for, say, an hour at some point during the night, I will sleep right through my alarm for the entire interrupted portion of the nine-hour requirement.
- Pregnancy Senility is a very real condition. I hear it morphs into Mama Senility after delivery.
- Swimming is the most luxurious form of exercise and stretching during pregnancy. Bonus benefit: quick and true relief for swollen feet!
- Sitting in a jacuzzi (heated to exactly 99-degrees) under the stars is the best way to bliss out before bedtime.
- Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream tastes better during pregnancy, especially if you mix in a copious number of mini marshmallows.
- Fast food really IS as bad for the body as they say it is, and the effects of sodium and caffeine are swift and sure.
- There is no point in pre-registering at the hospital for delivery. No matter how many times you dutifully FAX the carefully completed form to the correct FAX number and then follow up with a phone call to confirm receipt, "Susan" will not enter your information into their registration system until "about a month before your due date." Hmmmmm....wonder what happens if labor starts before then?
- The "Tummy Sash" from A Pea in the Pod is the best invention EVER. Favorite pre-pregnancy jeans, pants, skirts and shorts are entirely wearable with the simple technology of this wonderful little piece of lycra (as long as your ass hasn't grown as large as your belly...)
- Maternity clothes really have gotten a lot cuter since our mothers were pregnant.
- Baby's first real kick is the best evidence that there is a God.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
When the Bucs started winning, all of Tampa Bay - and her natives - rejoiced, and they actually started going to games. All except me. I was living in the ATL by then. So, for my birthday this year, my love took me to my very first game at Raymond James Stadium. It was the home opener for the 2007 season and, in a stroke of positive universal energy, the Buccaneers played like defending Super Bowl Champions and beat the New Orleans Saints (and their Heisman-Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush...) by 17 points!
It made me think of the song that the Morning Zoo on the old Q-105 wrote for the Yucks of old..."Hey hey hey, we're the Buccaneers!...Ho ho ho we're the Buccaneers! Offense, Defense, now we're here to say, Make the Saints walk the plank and throw 'em in Tampa Bay! Hey!"
These are the pictures from our really fun day at RayJay...
At right is a close-up shot of the figurehead...I couldn't help but wonder if Blackbeard is a football fan...
One of the coolest things about Raymond James Stadium is the fan-friendly atmosphere. Fans are allowed to wander freely along the main perimeter of the field on the second level of the stadium. Peegie and I spent the second half of the game taking in the action from "50-yard line seats." We also visited the south endzone just in time to see a Buccaneer touchdown. The photograph at left was taken just after the Bucs scored their fourth touchdown. And, for good measure, our signature ending.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
As I entered the house, I heard water running and assumed Peegie was taking a shower. But, oh no, this is the scene that greeted me.
So, what DO you do when you walk in on your boyfriend as he is shaving his legs?? Laugh, of course, then take pictures and then post them to the internet!! At least he is a hottie.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Everywhere we looked along the M22 Corridor there were wildflowers. I thought these were lilacs...they certainly smelled sweetly similar to lilacs; but I think they are just a variety of pretty wildflower.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The park is so named because the dunes resemble a sleeping Mama Bear and Baby Bear. I couldn't "see" the bears (I also can't "see" the Man in the Moon...) but, even so, the park took my breath away. We are standing on a dune that is 450' above the shoreline. There is a path to the beach below, but I was terribly afraid I wouldn't be able to make the strenuously steep climb. I love this picture for two reasons: 1. it illustrates the steepness of the dune in comparison to the lake and horizon; and 2. I appear as tall as Peegie.
Don't FALL! If you look closely, you can see people climbing the dune from the beach. Oy!
Space Monkeys. That's all I have to say about that.
A way of life: Life, Liberty, Beaches & Pie. This is a picture of the famous Cherry Republic where everything is all about cherries. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba describes to Forrest all of the different preparations of shrimp? Imagine a similar scene with cherries as the star ingredient, and Bubba is on crack. THAT'S what you find at Cherry Republic. You also find Cherry Butter (yum!) and Cherry Snickerdoodles (double yum!). We left $170 with the gracious and helpful ambassadors and they kindly shipped lots of cherry goodies home to us.
Sunset over Lake Michigan. A perfect ending to another perfect adventure.
The picture at the top right is titled "New Friends Familiar Places" because we are standing near the family plaque that Peegie and Mom LeB installed in the main building. I love the photo because Peegie's face radiates light and joy. Below is a close-up of the LeBoutillier Family Plaque. It boasts a starfish from Miami and the woodworking skills I have come to know and appreciate so well.
Another really cool thing about Camp Arcadia is the Cottage Colony. The Cottage Colony is where Peegie forged a friendship, at age 9, with John Neff. They became fast friends, and are still best friends today, at age 41. John and his wife, Dixie, live in Columbia, SC with their two boys, Zack and Parker. Happily, our vacation dates coincided and we were able to rendezvous with them in Arcadia. The picture at left is titled "Old Friends Familiar Places" - for obvious reasons. The one right below it is titled "Seems Like Old Times" because as soon as the boys, er, men, saw the box hockey, they cracked sticks and started playing as if no time had passed.
Arcadia, MI is nearly the southernmost boundary of fertile petoskey-hunting grounds. Petoskey stones are fossilized coral and are found only in Michigan. Hunting for them is much like hunting for sharks teeth on a Florida beach. It requires a lot of patience, and a lot of focus. My focus was distracted by all the OTHER pretty-colored stones, so I found only one petoskey stone. Peegie found three. He's a show-off like that.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
I love Mackinaw City, not only because the people are especially friendly and accommodating or because it's the world headquarters for homemade fudge; but because I learned a new definition of the word "pasty." Since leaving Wisconsin earlier that day, we kept seeing roadside signs advertising "homemade pasties." Finally, in Mackinaw City, we enjoyed a delicious chicken pasty - basically a homemade chicken pot pie in a dough pocket. Yum!!
Mackinaw City is ALSO the jumping off point for visiting Mackinaw Island. Wow! Mackinaw Island is known, of course, for the graceful and lovely Grand Hotel - although I'm not convinced "grand" is a "grand" enough term to describe this gorgeous corner of the world. Unlike the experience at many "grand" hotels, the Grand lured us with her beauty and and welcomed us to stay as long as we wanted, to sit on the expansive porch and enjoy the general loveliness of the day. Given that it was nearly lunchtime, we also enjoyed a Grand lunch buffet (for a GRAND price of $90, sparkling water extra...) I'm a sucker for dining in beautiful old dining rooms, especially when my dining partner is Peegie, the service is gracious and friendly, and the food is widely varied and simply delicious. We ate our fill and practically waddled out of the hotel en route to the ferry and the new adventures awaiting us along the M22 Corridor.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
After the rally, Peegie explored the Wisconsin shoreline and Washington Island. He also practically ate himself sick on cherries and, specifically, cherry butter...a cherry variety of the apple butter we southerners adore.
My adventure on motorbike began in Green Bay, Wisconsin...the most convenient rendezvous point, although possibly the most ironic destination we could choose. Not only do we thrive on the hot and humid languidity of summer in the tropics, we are also long-suffering fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The weather in Green Bay on the day we visited Lambeau Field belied its famous moniker "The Frozen Tundra" - site of so many heartbreaking Buccaneer losses in the snowdrift. Seriously, Lambeau Field is hallowed ground in the same tradition as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. I was happy to see Coach Curly standing guard. It was cool, but I'm still a Bucs fan so it was time for us to set out for parts north. Despite being loaded down with gear and an extra human, Peegie did a magnificent job of handling the bike. He even did a little showing off by snapping the self-portrait at right. During the rally he took an advanced rider course wherein he learned, among other really important things, how to snap photos while riding a motorcycle.*
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Aside from the "most significant property tax relief in Florida history" (snore...), special session produced three most excellent things: 1. more comp time (aka more free vacation days); 2. a grateful boss willing to grant vacation requests, even on short-notice; and 3. a feeling that we got to start summer all over again. Not too shabby.
Within a week of returning from the sweat box that is Tallahassee in June, Peegie and I were happily on our way to the Florida Keys for a 10-day interlude at Quiet Water, my mother's house in Marathon.* Towing my mother's 19-foot Mako, "Sook" behind us, were were giddy with anticipation, looking forward to new adventures in the Keys. And what an adventure it was!
Sook proved to be the perfect boat for exploring the Keys. She performed flawlessly - except for one small incident involving a disconnected oil line, a plastic bag and a healthy dose of profanity. (Peegie: When all else fails, try profanity. Paige: Trust me, it works.) We visited old favorites: Sparky's Landing, Cabot's on the Water, Dockside Lounge; and discovered new favorites: Islamorada Fish Company, Wahoo's, Smuggler's Cove, the D.A.B. (aka "Dead Animal Bar" or Safari Lounge) at Caloosa Cove, and the Chiki Tiki at Burdine's Waterfront in Boot Key Harbor. All by boat! It was a good thing we brought along a substantial supply of boat stickers...
Our good friends, Jimmy, pictured at the far left with Peegie...
and Melissa, enjoying a frosty beverage in the picture to the right, joined us for two days of nonstop fun. We obligingly initiated them properly with boat drinks, and trips to Coffins Patch, the sand bar, Sparky's Landing, and the Brass Monkey. Oh, the Monkey, a last little piece of authentic Marathon. Peegie treated us to a yummy supper of BBQ chips and Chili Fritos, and it was a good thing! We needed the energy to fuel our groovy dance moves to the vocal stylings of Freddy & Co. And, making good on an earlier promise to Peegie, and despite being filled to the brim with liquid courage, I did NOT attempt to sing Mustang Sally with Freddy.
It was a fleeting thought, however, as just in that moment my frosty beverage ran dry and, well, when in Key West...plus, it was getting later in the afternoon and the Schooner Wharf Bar was beckoning me to enjoy a mahi melt. And the sunset celebration was drawing near. And there were too many more fun adventures ahead of us...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It seems like we never left; only five weeks have passed since the 2007 Regular Legislative Session adjourned sine die with a veritable fit of congratulatory back-slapping and self-praise for a (do-nothing) "effective" and "successful" Session.
The Session was so successful that the Legislature called itself back into Special Session (the second Special Session of the year, so far...) to enact "the most significant and historic property tax relief in Florida history." I mean, really, why do in 60 days what you can put off to a 10-day Special Session?
This week promises to be loads of fun. We START floor session tomorrow at 6:00PM. I'm looking forward to all the compensatory time I will accrue this week. By the end of 10 days, my comp time balance will earn me at least three weeks of easy living.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
All kidding aside, I'm hoping all of the "tropical systems" we experience this season will be rainmakers a la "Tropical Storm" Barry and not horrific monsters like Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. That list is already too long.
Barry dumped more than 7 inches of much-needed rain on the Sunshine State, dousing rampant wildfires, clearing the atmosphere of the acrid smoke, and drowning the exceptionally large swarms (and when I say "swarms," I mean SWARMS!) of lovebugs that have invaded Florida during the past three weeks.
Closer to home, the rainshowers lovingly nourished our gorgeous, lush landscaping and my newly-planted herb garden. I may be just a wee bit crazy, but I SWEAR I heard our thick carpet of Bermuda grass singing a chorus of Halleluia and I just KNOW my herbs are greener and more perky since the rainshowers. Let's hope they stay happy - I can't wait to make like Ina Garten and Giada DiLaurentis and snip fresh herbs from my own kitchen garden for use in my culinary adventures. Yummy yummy yummy! Plus, Peegie says when I "get good at the gardening thing" I can dig up a plot of our backyard and plant all manner of vegetables. Oh Happy Day! A true kitchen garden! Oh, the tomatoes, the beans, the squash, the eggplant, the peppers, the watermelon...my Grandmama will be so proud! Of course, then, she will have to give me a refresher course in canning and freezing.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
...and it's windy...but, contrary to what The Weather Channel would have you believe, we're not all going to die. As a matter of fact, most of us (including hundreds of weary firefighters who have spent the last two months bravely fighting massive, widespread wildfires...) are doing a happy dance in anticipation of Tropical Storm Barry. Sure, sure, it's the first day of hurricane season and, okay, yes, it IS a tiny bit unnerving that an actual Tropical Storm, with a name and everything!, has formed so early in the season. But, in the days before insta-news, Jim Cantore, and the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, Tropical Storms were considered just slightly more serious than the summer squalls that typically roll in at 3:30 every afternoon. To be sure, weather can change quickly during hurricane season and it is important to pay attention and be prepared - with adequate non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights and gasoline for the generator. If you've lived in Florida for a while, you will add a well-practiced eye-roll to your hurricane supply kit.
Now, back to that happy dance...
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Florida is the first school to hold National Championships in both college basketball and college football simultaneously. Moreover, the 2007 basketball championship is historic in its own right: this team is the first to win back-to-back championships with the same starting lineup. They dissed the NBA's riches for a shot to repeat as National Champs. They got what they wanted - and HOW!
It's a great time to be a Gator in Tallahassee. I can't WAIT for Gator Day at the Capitol!
Celebratory Accoutrements, including good-luck kamikaze shots - $80
Cheering from the upper deck as your alma mater, the defending National Champion Gator Boys, slash down the court, shoot the lights out and demolish "THE" Ohio State University, leaving their drunk, camouflage mini-skirt wearing, "Hang on Sloopy"-singing fans in despair for the second time in four months - PRICELESS
All Hail the Mighty Gators, the best in basketball. Again.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
...health insurance salesman from Miami towering over a fellow aide in a (closely) neighboring cubicle and loudly explaining the "tricks and techniques" for conceiving a baby girl. Apparently, the trick is 1 TBSP. of vinegar dissolved in 1 Cup of water. I cannot bring myself to repeat in print the techniques. My eardrums are scorched. I can't afford to lose my eyesight, too.
...arrogant, pompous, puffed-out local official moving a chair into the conference room for a meeting. The chair in question? Removed from the workspace of an aide who, at that moment, was ON A PHONE CALL WITH THEIR BACK TURNED. Who DOES that?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Thing One: Mr. Earnest was my legislative shuttle van driver this morning. I remember him from my first stint in the legislature; but I was not sure he would remember me. It has been more than ten years since I first met Mr. Earnest, and he sees thousands of faces every session. I've always liked Mr. Earnest. He is a nice man with a shy smile but a quick "good morning" for all the weary souls who travel to the Capitol on the early morning shuttles. He knows everything about plants and flowers and I swear he has the direct-connect to Mother Nature. He can call a cold snap or a rainy day faster than Jim Cantore can sensationalize an area of disturbed weather located 400 miles off the coast of the Leeward Islands. Mr. Earnest made my morning when he said he was glad to see me back at the Capitol; he made me laugh out loud when he asked how many "dish gardens" I had already killed this Session. A fantastic start to a frantic Tuesday.
Thing Two: In a lot of places around the globe, spring arrives with nary a mention. Not so in Tallahassee. In the Capital City, the vernal equinox is heralded by a colorful explosion of blooming azaleas, petunias, pansies, daffodils and dogwoods. Oh, the dogwoods. They are so beautiful with their velvety white flowers that make me so happy! Spring is such a big deal in Tallahassee that "they" have created a festival to celebrate the season. The official event occurs on March 31st, but today I was overcome by Springtime Tallahassee. I had to escape the Capitol, if only for lunch (a treat in itself...) I persuaded my boss to join me for lunch at Paradigm, located just two blocks from the Capitol, but a glorious ten-minute walk (each way!) in the warm springtime sunshine. Feeling positively restored by the lovely fresh air, a brief respite from the vortex and a yummy Fiesta Chicken Wrap, I wondered, "what could possibly ruin this afternoon?" Nothing, as it turns out.
Thing Three: A shocking, amazing, exciting turn of events in the Junior League of Fort Myers. Thanks, Ashley! I love you. Enough said.
Tomorrow promises to be another grueling day. Hopefully I'll have FOUR good things to write about tomorrow night.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
My fondness for this acronym has deepened over the last two days. It has become the title of my version of Things You Need to Be Told. I like to think the Etiquette Grrrls would be pleased with this new iteration of their seminal work on the subject. After all, the world is still the opposite of kind and gentle; and more than ever, people seem to be ill-mannered, inconsiderate, impolite - and completely oblivious to their bad manners.
The Florida Capitol is an excellent case-study in the proper use of WTF?, as there are many, many, many people who need to be told many, many, MANY things. Things like, "hey, snot-nose lobbyist, my desk is where I work, so please remove your fat ass from the top of my workspace." Or, "no, dumbass, clueless, illiterate, this is not the information desk; I am working here. Please read the directional signs to find your destination." Or take your pick from any of the following: "my desk is not a garbage bin; it is poor form to stand in another person's workspace and converse loudly on a cellular phone; it is inconsiderate to 'lobby' someone while said person is on a business call; it is plain rude - and a bit creepy! - to hover behind and over someone while they are working; I am working on a deadline, so, no, I can't just stop (for the 100th time today...) for 'just two minutes' to listen to your (non-important) issue." WTF?
Session is in full effect in the Florida Capitol. GRRRRRRRRR!!!
Friday, January 26, 2007
With all due respect to Terry Gross, my new favorite is the weekly broadcast from The Commonwealth Club of California. In the last three weeks, I've managed to coincide my departure from the Capitol with the broadcast of this wonderful intellectual conversation. Yesterday, I found myself particularly rapt listening to Barbara Erenreich discuss her newest book, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy.
Publisher's Weekly offers this review: "It is a truism that everyone seeks happiness, but public manifestations of it have not always been free of recrimination. Colonial regimes have defined spectacles as an inherently 'primitive' act and elders harrumph at youthful exultation. Social critic and bestselling author Ehrenreich teases out the many incarnations of sanctioned public revelry, starting with the protofeminist oreibasia, or Dionysian winter dance, in antiquity, and from there covering trance, ancient mystery cults and carnival, right up to the rock and roll and sports-related mass celebrations of our own day. 'Why is so little left' of such rituals, she asks, bemoaning the 'loss of ecstatic pleasure.' Ehrenreich necessarily delineates the repressive reactions to such ecstasy by the forces of so-called 'civilization,' reasonably positing that rituals of joy are nearly as innate as the quest for food and shelter. Complicating Ehrenreich's schema is her own politicized judgment, dismissing what she sees as the debased celebrations of sporting events while writing approvingly of the 1960s 'happenings' of her own youth and the inevitable street theater that accompanies any modern mass protest, yet all but ignoring the Burning Man festival in Nevada..."
And there it was: the intersection of the "real" world and the "default" world.
I have been a Burner since 2003 and I would bet my last dollar that Barbara Ehrenreich has never set foot on the playa. To be fair, I haven't read her book; but I would bet she "ignores" Burning Man based on second-hand anecdotes and judgments of others. A popular phrase in our home is, "when you don't know, you're making stuff up." That is a common trap for non-Burners who talk about Burning Man. They don't know, so they make stuff up.
Burning Man is an experiment in temporary community where radical self-reliance is imperative and radical self-expression is revered and expected. Isn't that the point? Participation? Isn't that what drives rituals of joy?
During her conversation with The Commonwealth Club of California, Ms. Ehrenreich related a story about the origin of her own inhibitions around dancing. She seemed to say she became paralyzed by a fear of "not doing it right." She followed that account with a story about her young granddaugthers who, in marked contrast, "know how to do it." They dance and sing and giggle and act silly. They participate. In a way that brings them joy. The dedication of her book, "To Anna and Clara, who know how to do it" underscored for me the importance of participation and made me wonder: if her point is to bemoan the decline of rituals of joy, and to suggest that we as a culture rebel against attempts to suppress this innate quest, then why would she seem to suggest that only certain modern rituals of joy are worthy of our attention? That suggestion is not only contrary to her point about participation, it seems to be her way of saying, "you're not doing it right."
If the point is to pursue joy collectively, then I invite Barbara Ehrenreich to step outside the "default" world of "shoulds" and "ought to's" and join us in the "real" world. I know the 38,000 citizens of Black Rock City would welcome her home with a bear hug. And she may even learn to dance again.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Last year, we celebrated the big 4-OH! with a swanky party in Tallahassee. It was the first time Phil had been feted on his birthday and, since it WAS a milestone birthday, I went all out: yummy catering from M.A.D. About Food; boozy libations; sweet tunes from our favorite local band, The Recliners; and legions of friends and family surrounding the birthday boy with love and good wishes on his special day.
Today, on the day of the big 4-ONE! I am in Tallahassee and Phil is at home in Fort Myers. The key clause in that sentence is "Phil is at home in Fort Myers." Yes, HOME. In FORT MYERS. The irony of that reality struck me as I was driving north on the 75, heading to Tallahassee for yet another week of Special Session/committee meetings.
In the year since the "40 Is The New 30" milestone birthday party, more than just ages have changed. It was just before his birthday last year, during a trip to Key West, that Phil announced to me his intention to move to Fort Myers (from Tallahassee, natch), and that he had already begun house-hunting in earnest. He was so earnest, in fact, that he almost bought a house two days before we left for Key West. Whoa! Just a month after returning from that trip, we found "our" house and set about planning for cohabitation (the SAT word for "living in sin.")
Life is good; but, after 6 years and 6 months of living long-distance, some habits die hard. To wit, I'm still EXTREMELY protective of our time together (it's a vestige of that long, long time when we could only spend weekends together.) During the past four weeks, I've been home for exactly 6 days. That ratio of time takes me right back to our time in long-distance exile. Being apart for extended periods is never fun, but it is especially not fun when you have to be away from the one you love on their birthday. Thus my abject sadness at having to leave, yet again, and miss celebrating with Phil on the actual day of his birthday. The more things change, the more they stay the same. A cliche, sure, but so very, very true in this case.
Still, I know how very lucky I am. When I return to Fort Myers Thursday night, I'm going back to a beautiful home, and the love of my life will be there, and all will be right in the world (at least until I have to leave again...).
Thursday, January 11, 2007
This year it happened early: this is just the first of six committee weeks in January and February, in advance of the Legislative Session that begins on March 6th and runs for nine weeks. Fifteen weeks of work in a petri dish. Oh joy!
Pink-eye is not fun, it's not at all pretty (especially when disease travels from the right eye and also infects the left eye...when that happens, I look like Kate Moss at the height of heroin chic) and it's expensive. In addition to the cost of the medicinal eyedrops, ridding oneself of the pesky pink-eye plague requires tossing every bit of makeup and every makeup tool that has been in contact with the virus. Lovely (read: pricey) Chanel products are not exempt. Sigh.
Fortunately, as a state worker, I have excellent healthcare benefits. Unfortunately, I haven't figured a way to force the Chanel counter to accept my insurance.