Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Own Finger-Quotes

(Updated: It's merely a coincidence, but I love that Heather Armstrong at Dooce and Melissa Summers at Suburban Bliss have written posts very similar to this one in the last few days. I am restating my plea to anyone who reads this: it matters. It matters who you vote for. It matters that you vote to protect women in this country, women who can't speak out for themselves, who have no medium in which to say, at the top of our lungs, that this crackpot has nothing but contempt for us. It matters. It matters that you stand the fuck up and say, I'm an American and a patriot and you are not going to tell me to sit down and shut up because I have ovaries. John McCain doesn't give a rat's ass about me, and he probably doesn't give a rat's ass about you either, and it's high time that his career in professional politics was over for good. Let's end it together on November 4.)

I've been trying all week to write a post about politics, and failing. I have to say that I am totally and completely struck speechless by John McCain. So I've stopped trying, and I will now just say the following:

I think it's because I'm not great at talking through my outrage, and I do feel strongly about this election. I think that there will never be so important an election in my lifetime, and maybe not in my son's. I think that the conservatives have ransomed our economy, our environment, and probably our national security, and they must go. It's become a moral imperative.

I want to quote some other writers that I admire here. There are very smart people saying incredibly eloquent things about the current state of American politics, and if you are listening, I honestly cannot imagine a scenario in which voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin sounds like a viable alternative.

First of all, from Heather Armstrong:

I am angry. I am infuriated. And I don't think I would be if Sarah
Palin were a qualified or competent choice as McCain's running mate. But the
fact, the reality is that she is not. And instead of demanding better from their
party, instead of going, wait a minute, no, we deserve better than this, many
Republicans are contorting themselves into a denial of reality. (
please read this, it's a report from the AP, not some spooky liberal blog that wants to kill babies) And
that right there is what has been going on for the last eight

And I am just so damn sick of it.

From Nancy Keenan at Huffington Post:

Do you hear that?

It's the sound of even more women voters in swing states like Colorado,
New Hampshire, and Virginia moving to Sen. Barack Obama after

John McCain's response to questions regarding a woman's right to
in last night's debate.

McCain reiterated his call to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Even George W.
Bush didn't make this statement
when he was running for president.)

McCain used "air quotes" as he insulted women who need an abortion
because their health is threatened. (A friend of mine who was at the debate said
the crowd gasped at McCain's callous disregard for women's

McCain looked every bit as out of touch with women's everyday lives as
25-year record of voting against women's freedom and privacy

McCain even used the right-wing rhetoric of sending the issue "back to
the states" (a baseless argument that we've
debunked on multiple

From Completely Unnecessary:

My ‘health’ isn’t something you get to throw around as an angry,
uninformed talking point in a final, vain attempt to drag your base to the polls
as the pathetic and absurd campaign you’ve run grinds your last moment of
political relevance into the dust.

Only ten percent of the country agrees with your new-found
horror of a position
(h/t Megan) - which, if polls continue in the current
direction, is about the percentage you can expect on election

Women die in childbirth. They die being pregnant. Some of them die
inside - that’s why mental health is important, too.

It’s not ‘extreme’ to want the living, breathing woman to count for
more - or, hell, even only as much as - the fetus inside her.

And finally, and I think most eloquently, Alexa at Flotsam says:

McCain states that he would deal with the issue of abortion with “courage
and compassion.” I quote: “the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child
into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those
of her newborn baby.” As if terminating my pregnancy would be the easy way out,
the way not requiring his precious “courage.” As if dictating my medical care
based upon his religious beliefs is compassionate. And I find it interesting to
note that his “compassion” for this newborn does not extend to
guaranteeing it
health insurance

I have long suspected that McCain does not think much of women. First
because of what I regarded as his rather uncouth treatment of the women in his
personal life, and later when he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. But his
words last night, and the tone in which he spoke them, show such a terrible and
deep disregard for our personhood that they left me shocked and speechless. I
have never felt so powerfully disenfranchised as when hearing McCain insinuate
that women—us crafty minxes—are not above using trickery to get a (much-coveted, apparently) late-term abortion. How dare he. How dare he imply that women are either too stupid or immoral to be trusted to wrestle with ethical issues on their own. How dare he insult my intelligence, my character, and my commitment to my babies, to my much wanted and years-in-the-making pregnancy, by implying that he is better equipped than myself and my doctors to weigh my child’s life against my health. Women may have the vote, but we do not have the respect of a frighteningly vast segment of our government, and I am sickened and saddened to see it.

As am I. I've never felt that the Republican party had my best interests in mind and I know John McCain doesn't. And I am not okay with it.

You shouldn't be okay with it either. Unless you're a lobbyist for an oil company, a CEO, or an old, rich, white man (and I don't think I have many readers who are), John McCain doesn't give a fuck about you. He's made that sufficiently clear.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nourishing Me

I rarely do this.

Please go to Suburban Bliss and read Melissa Summers' post "This is a first draft." She has written a post about her childhood that is so raw, magical, and beautiful that it has completely taken my breath away. I have gone back and re-read her post several times this morning, and I will probably continue to do so throughout the day.

As parents, we want so much. We want it for our kids and for ourselves and for the world that they're growing up in. We can't fathom a world in which our children experience anything except love and compassion, despite what we go through ourselves as children. We fight tooth and nail to protect what's soft and new in them, the openness in them that comes from never having been hurt before.

Last night, Max and Dan were watering the plants. It's cold enough here that we've dragged all the tomatoes and peppers and herbs inside, and they're continuing to thrive in the loft, which gets a lot of light from the southern exposure. Dan was telling Max about the plants, how we take care of them, give them light and water and we trim them back, and they grow and make food for us.

Dan said, "We take care of them, and they take care of us."

Max said, "They make us strong and healthy, right, Daddy?"

Dan said, "That's right."

I grew up without a father, and in many ways it was a mercy, especially when compared to the horror that Melissa describes. When I was 15, my mother remarried a man whom I have always called Tom. When my parents split up I was four, and I don't remember what I ever called my father. But the word "Dad" was not in my vocabulary until my son learned to speak.

The word used to be a question mark to me. Now it's a symphony.

It's just another way that my family nourishes me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


My wallet was stolen last week.

Literally, one minute I had it and the next I didn't. I was in Bethesda, on a job interview...

Oh, yeah, the job interview. I lost my job. Well, sort of. I quit my job, because I hated it so much I cried every day. I have already had that job. In the winter of 2001-2002, I got drunk every night just so that I could stand the thought of getting up the next morning and going back to this awful place. The thought of getting drunk that night was the only thing that could propel me through the day. It was not a great way to live. This was sort of like that, just maybe not quite so sloppy and drunken. So I quit my job, but I am not under the impression that they loved me so much. Nobody begged me to stay. They just said "Okay," and sent my stuff over via courier. So I wouldn't say I lost my job so much as I would say that I maybe gave it away. I really tried to like it there, and I don't think I was totally awful at what I was doing--I was an editor, for chrissakes--but I didn't like the people who I worked with, and I am not under the impression that they liked me so well. After all, they didn't even ask me why I wanted to go.

Nevertheless, losing/giving away a job does not so much feel liberating as it does being dumped. It's been awhile since I was dumped--damn, it's been 10 years since I was last dumped!--but still, this is what it felt like to me.

So, I've been going on a lot of job interviews. I went on two last week, another one yesterday, and there's one scheduled for Friday afternoon. To carry on the metaphor, it feels like going on a lot of first dates--you dress up and get nervous, there are a lot of polite questions that you try to find the right responses for, and while all of this is going on, you're evaluating yourself and them: do I like this person/place? would I be a good fit for them? would they be a good fit for me? will this lead to anything that I'm interested in?

Listen, I hated dating. The best thing about getting married? I wouldn't have to date anymore. Well, that and I had met this amazing man who I couldn't wait to spend my life with, blah blah blah, but dating sucked. I love to work, but I hate to interview. Crap.

So I was on this interview, and as I'm getting ready to get back on the Metro, I realized that I did not have my wallet. Oh. My. God.

Not a penny on me. Not a credit card. Not my Metro SmartCard. I went back to the Subway where I ate lunch. No. The lobby of the building where I interviewed. No. The office where I interviewed--awkward, and No. No, and No, and No.

I called Dan. The logistics of our being a one-car household caught up with us--the car was at the Branch Avenue Metro station. The key to the car was with me, in Bethesda. The extra key was at home, with my mother-in-law, who was visiting at the time--she did not have a car, by the way. Dan was at school. Max was also at school.

Max can't drive, of course, but he was also a factor that had to be considered.

So a friend of ours drove Dan to Bethesda to pick me up. He drove us back to the Metro and loaned us his Metro SmartCard so we could get our car back. He's a smoker, and in my extremely anxious state, I smoked the first cigarette I've smoked in about six years in the backseat of his car.

It was wonderful, but my lungs hurt for about three days. From one stupid Marlboro Red. Next time, Molly, just take a freakin' Xanax.

He delivered us back to the Metro, where we retrieved our car, picked up our son, and drove home. We told my mother in law that my wallet had been stolen. Her response: "Did you check all the places you'd been?"

Well, gee whillikers, I never thought of that!

I didn't say that. But I wanted to. Because, Oh. My. God.

I spent the rest of the night cancelling all my credit cards. My ATM card. My EVERYTHING.

I had a significant amount of cash in the wallet--about $200. I'd just taken cash out of the bank before I went to the interview. I also had a few baby pictures of Max in there that I can't replace--old ones that I don't have other copies of.

I feel violated. I feel annoyed by the incredible hassle. I am upset about the cash and the baby pictures, the things that can't be replaced.

When you begin losing things, you start to feel like it might continue. First my job. Then my wallet. It seems totally normal that, now that I've begun losing things, I will continue to lose things, and they will be increasingly important to me. Like Dan. Or Max.

I don't have a job right now. My job is finding a job. I have been on so many interviews recently--five in under a month. It feels like all I do anymore is put on a suit and uncomfortable shoes and try to show people how great I would be at whatever it is that they seem to need to have done.

Max is in pre-school three days a week. For one thing, we like the school. For another, we can afford it for now. Also, it is what makes it possible for me to continue to put on a suit and uncomfortable shoes and go on these interviews. On days when he's home, we have a great time, and I feel like I should like it more than I do.

But I don't.

My best friend recently quit her job to stay home with her son. Her choice makes a lot of sense to me. I stayed home with Max until he was 14 months old. I can't imagine having to leave an infant at daycare every day. But it's different when he's three. I wouldn't say he needs me less now--if anything, I think he needs me more. But he needs me differently. One of the things he needs is for me to feel fulfilled and stimulated. I'm a better mother, more patient, happier to be doing what I'm doing, when I am. He needs me to be involved and tuned-in, not checking my email thirty times an hour and making sure that the ringer on my phone is turned on.

It's not even like I have nothing going on. I am on the insulin pump now, and it takes a lot of time and effort and fine-tuning. The trainer is coming back today to teach me how to use the real-time glucose monitoring, which I am seriously excited about. Max is here. I've never been a person who's had to struggle to find things to do.

But I want to go back to work. Like, today. Getting a job would help me not feel quite so...paralyzed. It's not a great feeling.