I can't put my pants on by myself.

I have always considered myself to be a fairly smart girl.  I have had the occasional lapse in judgement.  For example, the first time I went skiing it went something like this- 

boyfriend - "I'll teach you"
me- "ok"
boyfriend- "Do this"
me- " Hey I just tore my ACL.  Sorry cute ski patrol guy that is cutting my pants off - I didn't shave my legs."   

As you can see, usually my bad decisions are compound bad decisions (and often involve boys - go figure).  Despite this, people don't typically treat me like an idiot.  Until today.  At the Home Depot.  I needed to buy some moulding (which I cut on the mitre saw by myself  - and the corners are perfect thank you very much).  Anyway, they have those big open carts at Home Depot especially designed for carrying 12 foot lengths of moulding, and they say "DO NOT RIDE ON CART" all over them.  I have a two year old boy - he rode on the cart.  

As soon as I hit the door from the parking lot it started.  I was greeted with "He can't ride on that cart". (Another employee actually speed walked across the parking lot to tell me this as well.)  I told them that they didn't need to worry about it because he was my kid not theirs and I wasn't going to sue them if he fell the (literally) 6 inches to the floor.  Greeter/Rule Enforcer was not impressed.  So he climbed down and I said - " I'm sure it's going to be safer for him to be running through your store while I wrangle this big moulding carrier cart."

Everytime I stopped, my son climbed on the cart -  and like some little safety patrol drop out, a Home Depot employee was there, looking very grave and insisting that I save him from certain doom.  Seriously Home Depot - I grew up riding in a van that didn't even come with seat belts... and I drove ...when I was 9...while sitting on my dad's lap.  Your low rider carts do not strike fear into the heart of this girl.

So finally I make it to the parking lot (after pointing out to the "see you later" lady that since I needed both hands to steer the cart, it would be more dangerous for my two year old to be running loose in the parking lot than hitching a ride with my moulding.)  I start loading my moulding into the back of my father- in-law's really big truck and I realize that it's hanging out the back.  So, because I know these things, I start looking for something to use as a flag to mark the end of the moulding.  AS I AM LOOKING FOR A FLAG - some random man comes up to me to tell me that I need to mark the end of the moulding with a flag.  Poor, poor man.  "Yes - I know" I said with my hands on my hips and not a very nice look on my face "what is it about people today?  Why does everyone think they need to tell me what to do?"  (I will let you play my voice in your head - use your imagination).

Apparently he did not know the answer to this question, because he just looked at me.  Maybe he thought that if he didn't move I wouldn't be able to see him - like those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.  Come to think of it, I can't remember where he went.  Maybe he's still standing there, holding really still and wondering what was wrong with the crazy, angry, hostile - but not stupid - lady at the Home Depot.
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Tuxedo Pants

I am a little bitter.  What, you might ask, has brought about this change from my usual sunny disposition?  Homecoming.  What about homecoming, you might ask.  I don't get to go.  How is that fair?  I know that I'm thiry three, and that I have three kids, and that I graduated high school before the turn of the century, but I think it's more than just a little ageist (yes, ageist) to disinclude me from such a better -than-average party simply because I do not actually attend high school anymore.  Especially since I did attend high school - all four years.  (Disinclude is my daughter's word by the way - if Bush can make 'em up, so can Avery.)  

I am left with only one course of action.  Like great dissenters that have come before me I will form - a protest party.  (Mine will be an actual party with punch and cookies and sweet music.  Watch and learn Ralph Nader.)  Good people - we must insist on our right to ugly dresses, dyeable shoes, and huge rose corsages at all ages.  We must stand firm in our goal to achieve a fair and equitable dance community by establishing not one Homecoming Queen, but one Homecoming Queen every hour. ( We'll set a timer and pass the crown when it goes off.  A short reign, after all, prevents royal tyranny. On second thought, maybe we'll make it BYOC - bring your own crown.  Mine of course will be the shiniest - it will probably have feathers.)  Let us unite under the best homecoming themesong of them all - Forever Young by Alphaville (that was your homecoming theme song wasn't it.  If not, you didn't really have homecoming so this party will do you good.)  It will be the start of a dance, dance revolution.  Who's with me?

I know in my attempt to make a better world, I may dance alone - but at least I will be wearing a crown while I do it.

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Pants by any other name

I am going to make a confession.  I did not watch the presidential debate. (Should that be capitalized?) I figured that if I wanted to hear 2 people bicker for an hour I would put my kids in a room with only one toy and call it good.  Unfortunately for me, I did watch some of the political commentary after the debate.  They talked a lot about Washington.  "The problem in Washington is...",  "What people want from Washington...",  "Washington needs to...".  Enough already.  I've decided that all these people really are, are the gossipy kids in high school that felt it was their duty to know everything about everyone, and then sit around and talk about it with anyone that would listen.  The difference is that if you sit around a shiny oak table, wearing a suit you actually get paid to spread your opinion.  Also you get to be on TV (which could be pretty cool).  If, however you stand around someone's locker  in between classes dishing what you know, that is uncompensated labor, and your news must be spread the old fashioned way -word of mouth. Talk about your grass- roots- community- organizers.  

The one I feel for in all of this though, is Washington.  Not the city.  Not the state, (although-they have sales tax and we don't, and we have a professional basketball team and they don't..  Poor people.).  No, I speak here of the Washington.  As in George.  This poor man gave his whole adult life to help start a new country.  He stood on a boat in the middle of an icy river in the middle of winter (obviously, hence the ice).  He probably walked uphill both ways to get to the Continental Congress - and what does he get?  His name, synonymous with all that is wrong with the government that he sacrificed to established.  If there is such a thing as taking someone's name in vain (and I think we can agree that there is) - this is it- don't you think?

 George Washington was a great president.  (My favorite is Lincoln, but Washington's in my top 3.)  The thing I have always liked about him (unless my political science professors were big fat liars) was that he didn't really want to be in charge, in government at least.  He had the chance to be  a King - he turned it down.  He could've stayed in the executive office longer, there was no precedent for him to leave, but he didn't stay.  He was a great leader because he served.  He didn't rule.  It is ironic that the city that bears his name has become a symbol of greed and selfishness and (according to a friend of mine that lives there) is kind of stinky.  Although...George probably was stinky - not great personal hygiene in the 18th century- but so was everybody else, so odds are no one noticed.

So, to protect the name of  poor George Washington, the mother of all Founding Fathers, I am proposing that we "rebrand" our nation's capital.  I think something with "gate" in its name.  That seems to be how we define the little episodes that make our government great.  Watergate, Lewinskygate, and the soon to be announced Big-banks-that-aren't-good-with-money-gate.  (I'm sending that one to whoever names these kinds of things, so watch for it.)  The best one I can think of is Gateysburg, (I know, not great).  It does, however, conjure a false sense of patriotic self sacrifice which, you gotta admit, works well.  We are, of course, taking public comment town hall style.  Maybe it could be like the "name the baby elephant" contest that the zoo ran last month.  All I know is that if we can organize half as well as the gossipy kids in high school, we'll have this thing done by November and the real Washington will finally be able to rest in peace.

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Peg leg pants

I am a huge believer that a woman needs to have marketable skills.  In my opinion, (and since you're reading this I'm assuming you want my opinion,) the ability to be financially independent is vital to the long term well being of any girl, let's face it - stuff happens.  Because this is a subject so dear to me I have worked long and hard and can now do... absolutely nothing that anyone will pay me for.  Until now.  One word.  Pirate.

How, you might ask, have I settled on this lucrative career in "open ocean asset liberation"? Well, I attended the Portland Pirate Festival this weekend with my family (yes there is such a thing - my people are very organized), and I have seen the future.  Judging from the other attendees, whom, I can only believe, are pirates themselves, I need only three things - 

1.  A really bad English accent - I should actually call this a "British" accent, because I heard bad accents from every corner of the Queen's realm.  Irish, English, and I'm presuming Welsh. (I don't really know what the Welshies sound like.  Do you?  Well neither did the people imitating them.)  Also, there were many psuedo Scotts there doing great injustice to this lovely accent. Many of them, men in kilts.  Many of them playing bagpipes (ok - actually only one with bagpipes), but bagpipes are loud, so I just pretended.   Regardless, I can do a bad accent with the best of them, so...check.

2.  Boobs.  Apparently, girls are totally allowed to be a pirates,  (the bad luck on ships thing is a myth, we like diversity aboard), but only if you wear a dress that is too small, with a corset that is too tight (it is best if the clasps make a creaking noise when you move),  so as to heave your boobs as close to your collarbone as possible.  This must come in handy during hand to hand combat - distraction technique.

 Bra in the way?  No problem, totally optional, simply toss it into the sea.  Go ahead, take the girls out for a walk without a leash and get the most bounce possible.  (Also, all those bras lying on the seabed make for an excellent reef starter.)  Didn't know pirates are eco friendly did you?

  Obviously, I've got the equipment for this but I will need to invest in some new pieces for my wardrobe.  (I think I will keep the bra though.  Maybe those other pirate gals haven't nursed three babies, but I have.  So, there you go). 

3.  Complete lack of concern for hygiene.  I admit, this will be the biggest challenge to my getting ahead in the pirate world.  I really like showers.  Also, I like pedicures, all manner of high end moisturizes and really good makeup.  (I think I can keep the makeup as long as I use every product I have when I wear it.  Pirates don't do the "natural look.")  I'm pretty certain that they will confiscate my deodorant though.  Maybe they have the same rules as the airlines - no gels or liquids over three ounces.  Stinky, but safe.

As you can see, I am totally qualified for life on the open seas and may be seeking employment soon.  So don't be surprised if I'm looking like a true career woman in our family Christmas card this year.  I'll be the one in the velvet corset.



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I always borrow my sister's pants without asking

I have three sisters.  I am the oldest, and therefore the bossiest.  The standing joke is that the only reason I was born first is because I cut in line.  A couple of things in my defense-  
1.  I know I am bossy - there has to be a boss, and since I like to be the boss, my bossiness comes in right handy.
2.  I had to be bossy because I was the oldest and therefore "responsible" for the stuff my sisters did.  I had to tell them what to do out of self defense and self preservation.  (They will deny this, but we all know the truth.)

Anyway - along with my bossiness I was known for being the fiesty one.  All fiesty all the time.  Sister #2 (we'll call her Keely) was the nice one, the sensitive one.  She was the one that my grandmother liked best because she always tried to keep the family peace.  (Except once when she was a teenager, but I'll talk about that later.  It's a pretty good story after all).  By the way Sister #2 actually named this blog, for which I have never given her proper credit.  Now I have. So let it be written, so let it be done.  Sister #3 (we'll call her Awny) was the stubborn one.  I actually don't remember her being any more stubborn than any of the rest of us, but there you have it.  Sister #4 (we'll call her Nika) was the talker.  (This is a gene that somehow floated across the gene pool and got all over my daughter.  I swear that girl uses circular breathing so as not to miss a word.)  Nika's tongue is the proverbial double edged sword.  Swift and unyielding.

So here's the thing, if you came across us in a dark alley (unlikely, because we all have kids that need to go to bed early) but if you did, I am not the one that you would need to watch out for.  The smart money would actually go on Sister #2.  You might not guess it, but she will totally take you out.  Especially, especially if her kids are involved.

This brings me to the injustice perpetrated (again with the sounding out of the big words) upon my little angel niece, who when presented with a wrong choice runs the other way.  (It would not suprise me if she actually ran, she's a pretty good runner.)  She does not like to be in trouble.  (I have heard of these people, but she is proof that they exist.)  So, she was falsely accused by her dreadful, mean, and no doubt smelly bus driver of the gross infraction of sitting on her knees and hitting the seat in front of her on the bus this morning.  (Yeah, I know.)  She wasn't even given a chance to defend herself, because Miss Dreadful M. Smelly just kept saying - It's not your turn to talk.  (I know).  My little angel niece had to stay late on the bus and everything and she did not take it well.

My sister, also, did not take it well.  I felt myself actually shrinking back from her on the phone as she told me this story.  She wasn't yelling.  She wasn't even raising her voice.  But I could tell, because I know.  I know that everytime she sees that bus driver lady after this, she's going to get that feeling in her stomach, and her eyes are going to narrow, and if she had a tail with a rattle on it, she would be giving fair warning.

Long story long, I am posting this to let Miss Dreadful M. Smelly know, if she meets my sister in a dark alley,  she'd better be able to run as well as my niece, because sometimes the quiet ones are actually the fiesty ones in disguise.  And my sister is.


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Did Donna Martin wear pants to her graduation?

 In the house I just moved to, there is no cable television.  In fact, there was an antenna on the roof, until we asked that it be removed.  My bad.  I guess that that thing actually had a purpose.  Now, my family enjoys 5 semi-clear channels (12, 10, 8,6 and 2), and these thanks only to some fancy electrical tape/hanger contraption attached to the TV antenna (which is now a bendy cable coming out of the back of the TV and not the "rabbit ears" on top like back in the day.)  Originally, I went with, (what else?) aluminum foil, but apparently my husband is into the kinetic sculpture look we've got going on now.

The upshot of all of this is that I have yet to see the new 90210.  I know.  I am more than a little ambiguous about the revival of television shows from my youth.  It feels like Corporate America snatched my teenage memories from the box with my letterman jacket and yearbooks, shook off the dust and is now trying to sell them back to me as "new and improved".  They even used the original theme song in a transparent attempt to get it stuck in my head like some kind of clandestine special ops torture technique.  Duh duh duh duh, da duh duh duh - clap clap ... (that's the beginning of the song, by the way - apparently instrumentals don't translate into print very well.)  

I can't imagine what plot lines have been left unexplored for those kids from Beverly...Hills that is.  (Oops, wrong show.)  If I were a writer for this "new" series I would totally steal lines from the old show - word for word- and see if anyone noticed.  I for one, would love to see one of the new characters graduate, with the accompanying dialogue "Donna Martin graduates".  This may be one of my favorite TV lines ever.  I'm not sure why, but it makes my sisters and me laugh everytime we say it.  ("Me" not "I" right?)  Really, why throw out all that compelling drama when it could be reused and recycled.  Now that's what I call corporate responsibility.

The show I really wish they'd bring back is "The Wonder Years".  I loved that show.  I always wanted Kevin and Winnie to fall in love and get married.  (I was 14 and apparently more romantic than I am now.)  Except, I would still want Kevin and Winnie to fall in love and get married.  And that's what the series would be - happy, married, children, knowing that they never loved anyone else or even wanted to love anyone else.  No one would cheat on anyone.  No one would have a midlife crisis.  No one would get cancer or male pattern baldness.  No one would want Botox.  They would live together, get old together, and die together asleep in their bed, as flashbacks from their youth played on the screen.  That would be the series finale, obviously.  And at the very end of the credits it would read "Donna Martin graduates" and I would laugh... undoubtedly all alone. 

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grass stained pants

My husband Derek and I have a standing joke that, although based on stereotypical gender-role assumptions, for us is sadly true.  In our marriage, I am the boy.  I'm not certain whether or not this phenomenon is a product of being raised by a stay-at-home dad (although obviously my mom made a suggestion here and there), or,  if when God was organizing intelligences and creating souls, some actual boy cooties somehow contaminated my otherwise pristine femininity.  (I had to keep sounding that word out - it's tricky).

I have long believed that there was some kind of secret orientation to girlhood where secrets of the girly sisterhood were explained.  Clearly, I was not invited and I think I missed some of the finer points that govern girly conduct.  For example, I do not even like the word cuddle let alone the actual act.  (Quoting my 15 year old nephew "It makes me want to throw up in my mouth").   I use quotes like - "It makes me want to throw up in my mouth".  I think Valentine's Day is a holiday promoted by the greeting card cartel (or "cardtel" for short) for the sole purpose of exploiting an unwitting consumer base, and if Meg Ryan's in a movie, I ain't watching it.

But it became clear to me today, as I watched my 5 year old niece play soccer, that the major difference between me and other girls can be summed up in one word - and here it is- "balls".  (Stay with me people).  As I watched my niece run around the field with her little pigtails bouncing, in a shirt that came down to her shin guards, the only thing I could think was "GET THE BALL".  While the other moms were shouting encouraging words like " do your best",  "good try, Honey" and "that's okay - it really doesn't matter which goal you score on Sweetheart",   I seriously wanted to yell - "don't let him take that ball from you - KNOCK HIM DOWN".  (Apparently, the rules on parental conduct have changed since I was in sports. Apparently, we don't say things like this anymore. When I was in a game - any game - my family was like some kind of crazed tribal war party ready to verbally assault anyone in their path including, but not limited to: the referees, other parents, players, and food vendors.  It was how they showed they loved me.  There was none of this silent treatment, passive-aggressive, "parental observer" nonsense.)  At one point a little boy from the other team actually yelled "I want a hug mommy" and ran off the field, during the middle of a "play" (I use this term loosely).  His mom totally hugged him and giggled about how cute her little cherub was.  I, on the other hand, noticed my niece's team's advantage and was on the verge of yelling "score now- that little momma's boy left the goal open", but thought better of it.  The thing is, if that were my little cherub, I would've thought the same thing, and sent his little goalie butt back in the game.  I ask you, what kind of boy-girl am I, to put a ball in front of a little boy's affection for his mother?  A winner, that's what.  It's not a pretty snapshot of my soul, and I'm not saying it's right - but there you have it.

I was always more aggressive than the girls around me.  I never wanted to be a cheerleader.  If those girls needed someone to cheer for, I figured they could cheer for me.  I never cared what my hair looked like (while I was playing). In high school I let my boyfriend (a soccer player himself) shave the whole back of my head because the hair was bugging my neck when I had to set the volleyball (something I did often, since I was a setter).  My mother took it rather well, I must say.  

I wasn't one of the girls that screamed and ran away when a little boy chased her on the playground.  If a little boy chased me, either I would turn on him (who's chasing who now, little man?), or simply outrun him (the best feeling in the world is to outrun a boy - even now.  I know, I've got "issues"- are you not paying attention?).  And I certainly was not going to be polite and take turns at getting the basketball... or volleyball, or softball, or baseball.  (Although, ironically for this post, never a soccer ball.  We didn't play soccer in the Montana of my childhood.  It was a state law or something - too European for Big Sky Country.)

In the end, my niece's team scored "some" goals and the other team scored... I'm going with - "not enough to beat us" goals (again, scorekeeping is not allowed).  My niece scored three times, and I kept my big mouth shut - for her sake.  But deep down, when I watch her play, I can still feel that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you're going to get to the ball first.  And the adrenaline rush of being better than that other kid, and seeing that quantified, with mathematical certainty on a score board is something that, though I know I should've gotten over by now, will always feel really, really good.  Which just goes to show that sometimes - to this girl at least - it's totally about if you win or lose and not at all about how you play the game.
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Where will my pants go when I die?

There was a death in my family this week. We weren't close, so I found myself sad for his family but not particularly sad for myself. I tried to feel sad out of obligation, but it just didn't work out, and that's that. But... it did get me thinking about what I want at my own funeral extravaganza (because I'm pretty sure I'll still be a fan of a good party when I'm dead), so I've decided to tell everyone what I want now. That way if anyone tries to mess it up, everyone else will know, and will therefore just ignore them. (I am not sure who these mystery funeral planners will be, but one must be prepared for every eventuality.)

The list goes as follows:

1. All the women must wear hats. Good, big hats. I want it to look like that scene in My Fair Lady when Eliza Dolittle (or Doolittle or Dulittle) goes to the races with Henry Higgins and ends up embarassing herself with her big mouth (clearly this is my kind of girl). Let it be known - no hat, no death party. Men, the jury's still out on whether or not you get to wear a hat - but I'd better not see any baseball caps (not even the Red Sox.)

2. Glitter. I want to be covered head to toe in lovely, finely ground, clearish-whiteish glitter. I absolutely believe in the Resurrection and I want to come forth luminous and looking well-rested. I want all those other recently-dead folks around me to wonder how I kept so well, and I also do not want to go to Judgement with dull skin. You might think that I won't care about this when I am actually at Judgement, but, trust me - I will. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression and I want that impression to be "Wow - she's really shiny. She must have been good".

3. (I stole this one from my sister Nika - If I die first, too bad for you, Nika!) I want a plain white coffin that everyone in attendance can sign with those smelly markers and (you guessed it) glitter pens. I want their "entries" to resemble what you would read in your high school yearbook. Things like: "Don't ever change", "Keep in touch", "Stay sweet", and "In case you haven't noticed, I'm in love with you and have been since the first time I saw you". (Someone actually did write that in my yearbook in 8th grade - despite my unfortunate eyebrows and fashion choices. It still makes me smile and I bet it'll make me smile when I'm dead, too. I'm not saying who he was, so don't ask.) Anyway, I want that baby covered with love graffiti. (By the way, I liked this idea so much it actually trumped my desire to be put in a boat, pushed into the Pacific Ocean and lit by a flaming arrow like my Viking ancestors were. So there you go.)

4. Catered food for all - mostly desserts. I want to send the message that sometimes it's okay to drown your sorrows in chocolate, caramel and cream in varying stages of whippyness.

5. Someone must do my roots after I die. This way I'll have no gray. Again, a girl needs to look her best on these big occasions. This also goes for any essential hair removal. If I am buried with a mustache, someone is signing up for some serious poltergeists.

6. Everyone must sing all 7 verses of "How Firm a Foundation". My mom used to call on me at every family home evening to pick the hymn, and this is the one I picked every week for like 6 years. It was one of those twisted kinds of family traditions that everyone both hated and loved at the same time.

7. Bag pipes. I'm not Scottish, but I love these things. They are like the loud and bossy mom of the instrument world, that, even if you don't like how they sound, you have to listen because they drown out everything around them. Plus, they sound a little haunting, and since I'll be a ghost, it seems appropriate.

8. No male pallbearers. With few exceptions, women have born me up in life and they can bear me up in death. I don't care if it takes 30 of them to carry me - it'd better be "sisters on parade".

9. (This should definitely have been #1) If my husband and I both "go" at the same time, my sister Keely gets our kids. She is the best mom I have ever seen and if my kids had any luck at all, I'd die now so that they could be raised by her instead of me. Less therapy, more fun.

10. I want my headstone to say something really funny. None of this sappy quotes business - when people are looking through the cemetery and being all sad and weepy, I want them to have a reason to laugh loud all the way from their insides. I'm taking suggestions if anyone has one - otherwise I may go with a knock-knock joke.

These are important decisions and must be made with care.  So people - follow my lead. Plan now... or be remembered for a really lame final party later.
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Does the First Lady wear pants?

Dear Sarah Palin-

You may not remember me, but I have seen you on TV an awful lot lately, and so I think that this qualifies me to give you some advice. Both personal and political. Don't worry, I have never actually been in politics, but I do have a lot of opinions (just like you) and have spoken in church a lot (which is pretty much like that convention gig - captive audience obligated to tell you they liked your talk) - so don't worry, I'm just the girl you've been waiting for.

So - since there has been so much criticism about you leaving your kids and all to get paid to go galavanting around the world eating fancy dinners and talking fancy talk to fancy people while wearing fancy clothes, and because I am sure you want to avoid such nonsense (the criticism, not the dinners thing) I have come up with this solution (and it's brilliant if I do say so myself) - RUN FOR FIRST LADY.

Now, at first glance this suggestion may puzzle you, especially since your husband is not actually running for president (I'm pretty sure we can get around this), but trust me Sarah Palin, this is going to fix all your problems. You want to serve the country? The First Lady totally serves the country. She has causes and charities and visits victims of bad stuff and diseases and makes speeches to important people and connects with the folks in small town America (you're good at this last part) - all with her children in tow. As a matter of fact, I think Michelle Obama totally makes sure they serve chicken strips and fries at all those fundraisers she's attending to help out Barack. Kids gotta eat too, you know.

You want to travel the world? The First Lady is on the move all the time. Hillary Clinton made 23 trips abroad without her husband (and let's face it - I would have done the same thing if I had her husband) and I'm pretty sure Chelsea must have been with her the whole time, otherwise we would have heard about it from all those political mom watchers that are giving you the "what for". Don't worry, I'm sure you won't catch any heat for spending taxpayer money for extra seats, but be warned - airlines have been cutting back on in-flight snacks and drinks, so you might want to stock up on that stuff (unless First Lady Air Force One gives better service.) I don't know how many trips Dick Cheney's been on, but I'm betting it's pretty close, otherwise there would've been tons more "accidental shootings" in the news.

Then there are the dinners and balls and fancy schmancy stuff you'll have to attend (just like the Vice President) and you get your own staff (just like the Vice President) and there will be big fun changing stuff in the White House, like china (the plates not the country) which is something the Vice President does not get to do. And again, just like Jackie Kennedy, your kids will play around your feet during all of it, reciting their spelling words.

So, Sarah Palin - as long as you're cool with all of the work, but none of the pay - or the power to make any relevant policy decisions (some that might actually help women raising families) - this First Lady thing could be just as good as being the Vice President. The real beauty part is that no one will ask any more questions about who will take care of your family, because as long as you're working for free to build up your husband's career we can all pretend it's something, that like the Jackie Os and Lady Birds before you, can be done on the side while brushing teeth, vacuuming the oval office and driving the car pool.

I told you it was brilliant. Let me know what you think.

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Put on Your Other Party Pants

Because I know you've been waiting, here are my suggestions for improving the next Republican Convention :

5. You can only wear one pair of pants at a time - Seriously - enough already with the political schizophrenia Republicans. Are we kinder and gentler - a folksy party for folksy folks, or are we heartless capitalists looking to exploit the workin' man? Are we in the middle or are we on the right? And since when is China "Adam Smith on steroids?" Aren't we for Adam Smith and against China and steroids? Maybe Congress should roll this into the whole baseball thing for us. (I know this China part has nothing to do with the rest of "#5", but I figured as long as the Republicans don't have a point I don't need one either.)

4. Ross Perot - Since we decided to go "platform free" in '08 why can't we invite Ross to give the keynote address? I mean, seriously, who doesn't love to watch him speak? He may be crazy, but the guy's got passion. Plus he's rich, and I think we are pro gettin' rich. (Hey, maybe we could get Dana Carvey too, which would be a super big bonus and capture the all important "Saturday Night Live voter block".)

3. No more bedazzled cowboy hats - As if I needed to explain...it's ugly (and I think we are definately pro pretty people - Sarah Palin for example) and it reminds everyone of Texas (and I thought we were trying to make a clean break from that wing of the party.)

2. Minnesota? - Really? Was Idaho all booked up? Did Nebraska not answer the phone? Let's face it- no one is going to think we're the party of big fun if we hang out in states like this.

1. Shave Ice - Free Hawaiian Shave Ice to all the reporters and speakers. Happy mouths make for happy commentary. Plus, it would be funny to watch Jim Lehrer and company do their bit with really bright purple, blue and red lips and tongues.

That's all I've got for you Reps - if all else fails just play the national anthem really loud and act like you can't hear what's going on around you.
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New pants can be uncomfortable

Today was Avery's first day at her new school - and as I learned yesterday, her teacher and her class moved up together from the 2nd grade. This means that Avery was the only new girl in her class - everyone knew everyone except her. Do you hear my panic people? Good, because there's nothing like a little mass panic to drive your point home.

I was very worried. But in vain... because there was a very nice girl named Bailey who saw Avery when we walked in, came right on up and said "do you want to sit by me?" Just like that, no biggie, no nothing, just friends just because. Adults do not do this. Adults do not befriend someone unless they know something about them first - we need a friend resume. We need to have similarities, we need to have commonality, we need to have a connection. The thing is, we really don't - we just need to be kind, like Bailey.

Maybe she was new once too and remembered what that felt like, maybe not. Maybe her mom told her to be nice to any new kids in her class today, maybe not. Maybe she liked Avery's smile and freckles, maybe not. But it doesn't really matter, she did right.

And so... I am inventing : "the Bailey Prize" to be awarded to those whose acts of kindness effect (or affect - I can never remember) my life - and the first recipient? Bailey.
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Maternity Pants

Bristol Palin. I imagine her having to tell her mother, who is by all accounts some kind of actual superwoman - she may have the invisible jet, I don't know - that she is going to be a teenage pregnancy statistic. Beyond the sheer terror that that girl, that 17 year old child turned adult in a moment, must've felt when the stick turned blue, I would think that telling her mother who has accomplished a world of everythings would have been ... I don't even have the word. Because as much as you know that your parents love you - this is going to be big pain- for both of you.

And then...

Your mom gets vetted -(this is my attempt at fancy pants political talk - hope it's the right word) - to be the Vice President of the United States... in an election year... with a viable chance to become the first female in an executive office ... running against the first non-white major party candidate for executive office... and the Clintons (because they always seems to be lurking around) ... and it is beyond a media circus, it's a media... I don't even have the word. If timing is everything, this kid got in the wrong line.

And then...

after the initial - announcement to her parents - you gotta know that this girl's private, most personal business, was now being discussed by all kinds of political people (who may say they care about her, but...) and they were trying to figure out if it would damage her mom's political career, (can you imagine the guilt), or if it would be seen as an asset because it would make her seem more "real" or something- how totally mortifying. (Did you want your parents' friends to know who you'd been kissing let alone this?) And then she must, at some point, realize- maybe right away - that everyone, anyone that cares to know, is going to know about this mistake, and that it is going to be discussed by everyone, people she knows and people she doesn't know, and the political mileage that anyone with a cause, or a soapbox, or an agenda (or a blog) is going to get out of this - and the immensity of the consequences must be like the most crushing snowball of realization ever. I don't even have the word.

This poor girl is facing humiliation on a scale that most of us didn't even think existed.

And so...

Bristol Palin, if you're reading this, (and I'm pretty sure you are), take heart. It is... what it is right now but this will pass and it could be really good eventually. My grandparents got married when they were 17 (Bristol Palin's age- although under admittedly different circumstances) and they were married well over 50 years when my grandfather died last summer. My grandmother called him "The Old Gent" and she kept asking for him after he was gone. They raised 10 children, my really good mother among them. They were married at 17 and it was not too young to have a long successful marriage and family and life. I hope that for Bristol Palin. I hope that she really loves the boy that will soon be her husband the father of her baby - and I hope he really loves her. I hope they keep really loving each other - even if they look around and wonder "what if...", because "what if" may not have been better - easier maybe, but not always better - and even people that get married a lot older than 17 can understand that.
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Make sure you pack your pants...

Listed Rant...

The 5 things I hate most about moving-

5. moving- Just say the word and people take two steps back. No one likes to pack their own stuff around let alone someone else's. And let's be honest - we've all got too much crap that we don't need but insist on keeping "just in case." (This is why I'm amazed that we got so much wonderful help with our move this weekend. Thanks all - clearly you are just better than I am.)

4. What the heck is that stuff behind the refrigerator - (and washer/dryer for that matter.) If you don't know what I'm talking about then you are clearly a better housekeeper than me, or you've just never looked. Trust me - ignorance is bliss, but it can also be really dirty.

3. No window coverings in the new house- Sorry neighbors, but you're just going to have to watch me... do everything. I can only crawl across the floor like some sneaky Army Ranger guy for so long. Mostly because it hurts to drag yourself across carpet, and if you've just showered you get all linty. I suppose I could run really fast, but I can't really run that fast, and plus... bouncing -yikes.

2. Hanging pictures- How I deal with this dilemma: I don't hang pictures. I prop them against the wall on top of the fireplace, armoires, cabinets and sometimes the floor and call it good. I don't think of it as lazy, I think of it as "artsy".

1. The kids still insist on eating - Like 30 times a day my kids tell me they're hungry (physically impossible I say). And while this is annoying anyway, I find it particularly irksome when I'm in the middle of a project like putting away every last one of our earthly possessions. Come on people- let's show slightly more grit here. Those Donners did okay for a really long time and they moved from way farther away than we did.

Hopefully this will be the last time I have to pack up my pants.
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