Monday, January 26, 2009


That's what we mothers are when our kids are small - balm for every scrape, bump, and bruise. But then the kids grow up and our former balminess loses its effectiveness, even going so far as to become an active irritant. What's a mother to do?

I wish I knew. I hate seeing my kids struggle, but they don't want to sit on my lap anymore and have their backs rubbed. My attempts to advise come off as evidence of a deep and irreversible character flaw on my part - and, let's face it, maybe that's what it is. I can make all kinds of excuses for myself but, in fact, don't my efforts represent an attempt to exert some control over their futures?

This is the essence of parenting - just when you think you've cleared the rapids, you round a bend and find more white water.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Here's my favorite temper-tantrum memory:

The toddler in question was Youngest Daughter. I had taken her to the mall, along with Middle Kid, who would have been thirteen or maybe even fourteen by the time this happened. Eldest Daughter was working at the mall back then, and if memory serves, we were there to see her during her break.

ED and MK took off to do some shopping together, and I stayed in the center of the mall with YD. There was a fountain there and YD loved to sit on the edge of it and dangle her toes in the water. That day, unfortunately, toes weren't enough. She wanted the whole-body experience. I said, No. She said, Yes. I said, No. She flung herself on the floor and began to issue blood-curdling screams which bounced off a thousand hard surfaces to create an incredible, ear-splitting, soul-shriveling racket.

I stood beside her and waited for her to tire out. She was young and lusty, though, and kept it up long enough that a crowd began to gather. I didn't notice; I was fully occupied with watching my precious bundle of joy spew out gigantic doses of toddler rage. I didn't say anything at all, just stood, watching, waiting for the tell-tale hiccup which would presage a collapse into baby-sized sobs, and permit me to gather her up for a calming cuddle.

Suddenly ED and MK pushed through the crowd to get to my side. I glanced around, noticing for the first time all the people watching us, and then shrugged a little sheepishly at my older kids. What's wrong with her? asked ED. She's having trouble with the concept of 'no', I said. She'll be all right in a minute. Okay, said ED. We'll just shop a little more, then. She and MK walked away, the crowd dispersed, and the episode ended happily enough with the expected cuddling. YD gave up on tantrums after that, apparently deciding that a tantrum was too much effort to expend if all it garnered was a standard-issue cuddle instead of a dip in the fountain.

Teenagers have tantrums, too, but theirs are harder to handle. For one thing, the rightness and wrongness of a particular position aren't as immediately obvious as whether or not it's okay to swim in the fountain at the mall. Although tantrums tend to be about self-determination, regardless of the age of the tantrum-thrower, teenagers frequently have a point. They're at an age when they need more power over their own lives, and the question tends to be, how much are they ready for? It's a delicate thing. They shouldn't have to be ready to march entirely to Mom's or Dad's tunes - maybe they're never going to be tidy; maybe they really don't like tennis; maybe they'd rather watch baseball than play it. At the same time, parents shouldn't turn their backs on their kids' futures - maybe you'll want to go to college after all, so let's keep those grades up; maybe you'll want to use those eardrums later, so let's turn the music down; maybe you'd like your teeth to stay aligned, so let's sleep with the retainer in.

Handling teenage tantrums - or, more properly, rebellion - takes honesty, insight, and love. It's the hardest part of parenting, and the most important. We all get it wrong a lot of the time, and sometimes we get it right without realizing we've succeeded until years later. It's so hard not to get drawn into the emotions of the moment, to react out of hurt or surprise or anger. I guess the only thing we can do is to try to give ourselves and our teenagers a break. Nobody's perfect here, but everybody's trying, and hopefully love will win the day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I get a great big smile on my face

every time I hear one of those guys on the news say, "President Obama..."

And that's all I've got for today. A big smile.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Only Minutes, Now

Here I am, doing what I said I wouldn't during the inauguration - blogging.

We're down to minutes, now, and then the Bush era will be over. I am three parts hopeful and one part scared that it's all a dream and I'm going to wake up to find out that it's 2006 and we have two more years to go.

I can't wait to hear Obama's speech. I heard some numbskull on the radio this morning saying Obama would have a big challenge in giving this speech. I thought, Huh? I believe the days of difficult speechifying are over.

Mrs. Obama looks very glamorous. Neither of the First Ladies is wearing a scarf, though, and I'm feeling their lack. Come on, ladies. It's cold outside.

Hail to the Chief - for the last time, being played for Bush. As incongruous now as it was the first time.

Here comes Biden, leading a bunch of Democrats. Scarves a-plenty. Biden doesn't have one, but his overcoat looks sturdy.

Am I obsessing over the temperature? Probably so.

Here comes Obama. Hm. No scarf. Oh, dear, my eyes are filling up already. Picture me in my beat-up jeans and Obama tee-shirt, bed-head, wet cheeks, great big smile, applauding vigorously to the extreme concern of my very confused dog.

Feinstein's giving a nice speech.

Here comes Warren. I believe Obama's selection of him was a message to the country that no voice will be shut out, even when it's a voice that may be disagreeable to one side or the other. Oh, my goodness. He's praying to Jesus - the media will have a field day.

Oh, yaaaayyyy - Aretha Franklin! Oh, my. How do those people on the podium (like the new President, for example) stay so composed? I'm a basket a good way, of course. So prescient of me to set this box of tissues here.

John Paul Stevens is up. Biden's taking the oath of office. Kisses all around. Well, Stevens and Obama got handshakes, but most of the rest of 'em got kisses.

Itzhak Perlman, Yo-yo Ma. Wow, this is a great piece. Yo-yo Ma's got a big smile on his face. Perlman's concentrating on the music. The clarinetist - is that a clarinet? I think so - lets a little smile out now and then, in spite of the mouthpiece which should technically prevent smiles. The pianist smiles and concentrates and smiles again.

It's past noon in D.C. Lehrer says that means Obama's already President! Taking the oath now. Obama and Roberts are both having trouble with the words. Ha, they've got it now...

YAAAAYYYY! Clap clap clap! Sniff. Yaaaayyyy! Blubber, blubber. YAAAYYY!

Oh, thanks be. The Bush presidency is over. The Obama Era begins!

Now the speech. 'The time has come to put aside childish things.' Excellent. '...pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the task of remaking America...'

'Dignified retirement' - yes, please.

Malia's taking pictures of her Dad. I think she's a small version of Michelle.

'We are ready to lead once more.'

'Success is measured in what you build, not what you destroy.'

'...a new era of responsibility...we have duties to our nation and the world...this is the price of citizenship...'

'Let it be said that we did not falter...we carried the great gift of freedom forward...' Ah, very good speech. Are you happy, radio-talking-head-guy?

Lady reciting an excellent poem. Very down to earth. Not too flowery, but nice imagery. Repairing of uniforms, I like that.

Now Lowery is giving the benediction.

Sea Chanters singing the anthem - very nice. Very official.

The Obamas escort the Bushes out. Heh. Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Mr. Bush.

All rightie, then. I'm feeling good. I believe I can walk my dog now, secure in the knowledge that intelligence and thoughtfulness are back in vogue.

Updated to add the 's' after the word 'mean' in my comment about Lehrer. Hee. Pretty amusing typo - completely changed the meaning of the comment. To clarify, Lehrer did not say Obama is mean.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Black experience

Recently I've read several books by black-American authors, among them The Known World by Edward P. Jones, The Bondswoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, several of Walter Mosley's LA-noir mysteries, and, currently, One Drop by Bliss Broyard. Each of these books offered me glimpses into a black America I was not ordinarily privy to, but the most instructive has been One Drop.

Ms. Broyard's claim to the designation 'black writer' is tenuous at best. She's a white girl raised in the ultra-homogenous society of Connecticut's upper-crust who learned when her father was dying that, by the 'one-drop' rule, she was a black girl from Connecticut. This revelation sent her off on a seven-year journey to trace her Broyard roots, both the black and the white. It's a fascinating story, but what I appreciate the most is her attention to the last three hundred years of American history as seen from a black perspective. She's very good about providing the details which are glossed over, never understood, or simply forgotten by the white world, probably because the absences, once pointed out, are glaring.

To cut to the chase, what I've learned is this: the black experience is not the same as the white experience. And the inauguration of a black president is, for many black citizens of this country, a miracle. My vote for Barack Obama did not come because he was black; in a world turned upside down and inside out by the gobsmackingly incompetent Bush administration, Obama's ideas and speeches and brilliant campaign management were all I needed. This is not say I didn't notice he was black - that's the kind of silly thing people say to cover up the fact that they can't stop noticing. But it wasn't important to me, except to the extent that I worried about the mythical Bradley effect turning out to be real.

It really didn't occur to me how meaningful this would be to black America until I saw the scene in Chicago when Obama claimed victory, and became the president-elect. Jessie Jackson was crying, for God's sake. Jessie Jackson, who'd been caught on tape a few weeks earlier uttering a profanity because he felt Obama wasn't presenting a unified front with the rest of the black community, listened to Obama's victory speech with tears running down his cheeks. I saw that and was struck with wonder. Oh, my God, I think I said. We've elected the first black president. Oh, my God.

I've got it now. This is huge. It doesn't wipe out our history, nor does it mean that the black experience and the white experience will from this point on be the same. But it does validate black society in a way in which it had not been validated before, and for that I'm pleased and grateful and more than a little excited.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random thoughts

Items which have occupied my mind this morning:Link
  • There are fewer than 70 hours left in George W. Bush's presidency. The relief in my house is palpable.
  • Rod Blagojevich must be taking heart from the news of Orange County sheriff Mike Carona's acquittal on five of six felony charges yesterday. The rest of us? - not so much.
  • Words will never hurt you?
  • The good news: Battlestar Galactica is back. The bad news: it's the last season, and judging from last night's episode, they're going to end it for good by wiping out the entire cast, character by character.
  • I need to get a whole lot more sleep.
  • Finally, I won't be blogging during the inauguration. I'll be sitting on my sofa in my jammies with a pot of coffee, a box of tissues, and a great big grin on my face. Enjoying.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Musings on the afterlife

I have no idea what death means to the dead. Yes, yes - whole religions are based on people's beliefs regarding this very subject, but that doesn't mean anyone actually knows what happens. All the theories amount to leaps of faith - belief without corroborating evidence. I happen to believe that we all emerge from a pool of whatever you want to call the essence of life, and that when we die we go back to that pool. And I submit that my expertise in this area matches that of every (living) religious theoretician in the world, since our experience of it is precisely the same.

So, when I speak of the afterlife, I mean my life after somebody close to me dies.

Put in theoretical terms, it sucks. You never stop missing them. The best you can hope for is to get used to missing them. It helps to remember good things about them, especially things that make you laugh; but, frankly, there will be moments even years later when something reminds you of them, and you just ache to see them again.

The bright side of all this is that your memories keep them alive in some small way. Although my friend Wayne has been dead nearly eight years now, I still remember the last joke he told me. (Referring to his cancer diagnosis, he said, "Nobody in my family has ever had cancer, as far back as I've been able to trace the family tree. You know what this means, don't you? It's just as I feared - I'm adopted, and those bastards never told me!") Since my mother's death nearly two years ago, I have become hypersensitive to birds and flowers. It's as if she's in my head somewhere, using my eyes to catch glimpses of her favorite things.

The upshot is that it's important to share good things with the people you love - make good memories, include a solid dose of silliness, and laugh as often and as hard as you can. All that stuff will be important some day for carrying survivors through the afterlife.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Still can't do it

Even with eight days left in his presidency, I still can't make it through an entire Bush press conference. I tried, I really did. I thought, poor thing, let him go out with dignity. Listen to him, just this once.

He lost me at, 'I don't know why some people were so angry but I didn't let them affect my decisions.'

Yeah, dip-stick, we noticed. There we were, yelling, "HEY, WATCH OUT! THAT ICE IS REALLY, REALLY THIN!" Did you let that kind of negative, unhelpful criticism slow you down? Of course not! You had made up your mind, being the decider and all, and you waltzed right out there onto that pond. It didn't seem to occur to you that, since we were tied to you, when the ice broke we'd all go into the drink. And only the most deranged Bush-haters would be so mean-spirited as to mention that we're drowning out here.

Oh, for the love of God. Spare us. Just. Go. Away.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Youngest Daughter!

Your birth changed all our lives, and in a good way. Thanks for coming along, even if your coming was a bit more exciting than I'd have liked.

Memories of that day: I'd been hospitalized for two weeks at that point, the goal being to put off your birthday long enough for your lungs to mature. That morning the doctor performed another amnio to check your progress. Having an amnio involves some extensive sonogramming, and when you turned towards the beam, the doctor and I got a clear view of your face. (This is commonplace now, but seventeen years ago, not so much.) We both started squealing (she was, besides being the doctor, a pregnant woman), and our racket apparently startled you so that you immediately wriggled away. But for a minute there we saw you, and you were gorgeous.

I'd always had the idea that in a c-section, the baby popped right out through the incision, sort of like a grape popping out of a skin. Ha. This was so wrong - and particularly in your case. I believe there were at least three sets of hands fishing around in my belly trying to get a grip on you. You, independent from the start, did such a good job of burrowing away from them that they finally had to use a suction cup on your head to pull you out.

In person, you were just as gorgeous, although I didn't see it right away. When I first saw you, I thought, 'Huh. It's just another baby.' When people told me you were pretty, I assumed they were being polite. After all, has anybody, anywhere, ever said, 'Well, that baby doesn't look like anything special,' to the child's mother? It wasn't until you were about a week old, and we were having lunch at Chili's, and the waitress burst out, 'Oh, wow! What a beautiful baby! You must be so grateful!' that I began to wonder if you might actually be pretty cute. I asked your dad if that was so - 'Is she pretty?' - and he said, 'She's beautiful!' And he was right.

You looked like the Gerber baby, eyelashes and all.

In my defense, my reaction was pretty typical for a new mother who really never expected to see her baby alive. Mothers caught in complicated pregnancies often disconnect a bit. Then, if the baby actually lives, they need a few more days to bond than usual. But we did bond, and pretty soon I was a typical, 'Look, she's more perfect than any other baby in the world!' kinda mom.

Last memory: this one I had to get second hand, because I was drowsing in the recovery room while this was going on. You had been whisked off to the nursery. Eldest Daughter and Middle Kid were waiting outside the nursery window to see you, and the nurse (who was the mother of one of MK's school friends) obligingly showed you off to them. Then she did all the usual stuff that newborns need and put you in an incubator to warm you up. She had other babies to tend to, so she moved off to check on the others, and you started squawling at the top of your lungs. ED was outraged that you'd been left alone, and naked! She began tapping on the window, shouting so she could be heard through the glass: 'My sister is naked! She doesn't like it! Put a diaper on her!'

I heard this story many times over, from your Dad, ED, MK, and from the nurse, who liked to tell it when we were at school functions and she had a large and appreciative audience for the tale.

So. Happy seventeenth, baby girl.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tomato sauce

Yup. Another recipe. Fresh tomato sauce is the best thing ever. It will cure you of any attachment you might have to bottled pasta sauces.

1 onion, diced
enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of your saucepan
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves
8 cups roma tomatoes (about a dozen of the little buggers), cored and quartered
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons (or more, if you're trying to stretch) organic tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded

(Preliminary: if you have a food mill - those sauce-pan-shaped thingies with a blade on a crank used to smash soft foods through a sieved plate in the bottom, ignore this part. If not, boil some water, pour it over your tomatoes, let them sit for one minute, drain, and peel them before you quarter them. This doesn't take as long as it sounds like it will, but food mills are preferable. The peels won't go through the sieve, so you're spared the trouble of removing them yourself. And I think the sauce tastes richer when the tomatoes are unpeeled during the initial cooking process.)

Okay, now that you've dashed off to the store to buy a food mill - or peeled your tomatoes - you can start.

Saute the onions over medium heat in the olive oil in a large saucepan or chef's pan, until the onions are golden. This will take about five minutes. (You're looking for translucent onions which have turned a sort of golden yellow color. If they're browning, your fire is too hot. If turning them golden takes a lot longer than five minutes, your fire isn't hot enough.)

Press the garlic cloves into the pan (or mince them finely if you don't have a garlic press) and cook for one minute, stirring gently. Pour in the tomatoes and stir to coat with the onion, oil, and garlic stuff. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and mushy and the skins are peeling off.

Spoon the tomatoes into any large container with a lip for pouring. Set up the food mill over your pan, and puree the tomato mixture back into it. This sounds work intensive, but it takes as long as - oh, ten minutes, maybe? Not long. (If you don't have a mill, you can puree your tomato mixture in a blender. Don't make it too smooth - it should have texture. Some people - well, okay, one guy and I haven't seen him in decades, but he exists - use a potato masher to squash their tomatoes for a very chunky texture, instead of pureeing. Suit yourself.)

Add the white wine, tomato paste, salt, and pepper to the tomato mixture. Bring the sauce back to a brisk simmer and let it thicken a bit - this will take up to half an hour, depending on the phase of the moon and a host of political factors. In other words, keep an eye on it, and turn it off when it looks thick enough to make you happy. Stir in the shredded basil a minute or two before you remove the sauce from the heat.

Now it's time to use your imagination. You can use this sauce as is, or stretch it with more tomato paste, or add meat to it. You can add some fresh oregano if you plan to serve it with beef, or crushed red pepper for some bite, or - if you're looking for a very intense flavor - add a couple of tablespoons of pesto to it. You can pour it in jars and freeze it (leaving plenty of head space so the jars don't break) or you can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. In the last month, we've used it 1) as is over fresh cheese tortellini from the grocery store, 2) baked with gnocci, spinach, and cubed mozzarella, 3) pumped up with tomato paste and meatballs, and 4) as a seasoning in carbonara (that is, adding about a half-cup to a bacon, egg, and cheese sauce.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Yes, indeedy, this is a sensitive subject, but I have strong feelings about it so I guess I'll wade right in.

My support for the continued existence of Israel is unswerving, not least because Israel has the potential to provide a moderating cultural influence on a region known for cultural extremes. Israel does not treat its women as chattel, it does not demand barbaric and bloody public spectacles to punish criminals, and it has a rich tradition of intellectualism, creativity, and humor.

That said, the people of Palestine have as legitimate a claim to a homeland as do the people of Israel. They also have a rich tradition, emphasizing personal responsibility, generosity, and devotion to family and God. They have been subjected to increasingly brutal treatment by the government of Israel, and they have been deprived of any true voice in the world at large.

The killing and the siege in Gaza must stop. Israel's response to the continuing rocket fire from Gaza is disproportionate and deeply immoral. In this instance, Israel is wrong.

This is a failure of both Israeli and Palestinian leadership; and the dreadful policies of the Bush Administration have contributed mightily. I can only hope and pray that the incoming Obama Administration can effect positive changes in the region.

There you have it. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, January 5, 2009


As I may have mentioned, I love Christmas. I love it so much that I deck out my house with box after box of kitschy junk - every kind of nutcracker, including a vampire, a pirate, and a ballerina; a tiny farmyard with a house, a barn, a pond, skaters, and trees which light up; numerous Santa, elf, snowman, and angel figurines; a Jesus-Mary-Joseph figurine; various large and small wreaths; and multiple Christmas trees ranging from a 6-inch table topper to a 10-foot behemoth which takes over my living room. Oh, and candles. Lots and lots of candles.

I put it all in place as early as I can because I love having it out. But then the season ends, and I have to undecorate. Naturally, putting the stuff away nearly always requires some closet cleaning and repacking because somehow (unbelievably) the collection grows every year.

So, that's what I'm doing instead of blogging. I'm cleaning out two closets, a cupboard, and my hutch so that I can put Christmas away for another year. It's the unChristmas time.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another list: under-reported current events

1. Food riots - erupting in locations throughout the world as food prices soar.

2. Palestinian and Israeli casualty figures - cutting to the chase, here's an estimate by Physicians for Human Rights and quoted by the BBC: since September 29, 2000, 4,897 Palestinians and 1,062 Israelis have died. The Palestinian figure is considered conservative.
Corollary to 2: The Israeli military operation on November 4th to destroy a tunnel from which a rocket attack could be launched, which precipitated rocket attacks by Hamas, which precipitated bombing strikes by Israel... And yes, I realize there musta been something which precipitated the November 4th operation. How far back do you want to go?

3. Children imprisoned in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo by the Bush Administration - some estimates run in the thousands. The low thousands, Don Rumsfeld would say by way of reassurance.

4. Peak oil - the time at which oil extraction peaks, followed by a relentless and irreversible decline in production. Some folks (like Sadad al Husseini, formerly of Saudi Aramco; and Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens) say that we're there. Now.

5. The number of times the Republican minority in the Senate used filibuster, or the threat of filibuster, to block passage of legislation. It's a lot. Because, despite repeated failures to clarify this by the mainstream media, the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate is 51, not 60. 60 is the number needed to cut off debate on a bill - it's called cloture, and failing to reach cloture is the definition of a filibuster.

6. The number of tornadoes in the US during 2008. There were a lot of them. Statistics show a gradual trend towards more tornadoes over the last 50 years or so, but 2008 was a biggie: 16oo+ of the little buggers through October (with reports for the last two months of the year not yet available). The next biggest year in recent memory was 2004, when we had 1800+. That was also under-reported.
Corollary to 6: Frequency of floods isn't getting as much ink as it should, either. Some folks (like Eugene Takle and Elwynn Taylor of Iowa State University) say that megafloods, like the one that wiped out big chunks of my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June, are on the rise.

Update: Yeah, already. No sooner had I clicked on the Publish button when I remembered something I'm still waiting to hear about: the extent of the damage to Galveston by Hurricane Ike in September. How many dead? How many missing? How much property damage? Where's the reporting?

Anything to add? Put it in the comments.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


In honor of the New Year, let's have some lists:

Some Movies I liked in 2008

The Dark Knight - although I was grief-stricken halfway through because Heath Ledger will never appear in another movie.
Wall-E - because it showed us where we're going if we don't turn off our tv sets pretty damn soon.
Iron Man - because it was so deliciously tongue-in-cheek.
Twilight - because it recalled those tangled teenaged emotions so accurately.
There Will Be Blood - because Daniel Day Lewis is stunningly good.
Traitor - because Don Cheadle is stunningly good.
The Duchess - because it does a wonderful job of laying out the case for women's rights, and by extension for the rights of every disenfranchised group.

Some Books I Read in 2008 - which were not necessarily published in 2008

Wuthering Heights, E. Bronte - I was finally ready to enjoy this, after three aborted attempts.
World War Z, M. Brooks - to please my daughter, and I'm glad she insisted. This is a very compelling book, and yes, it's about zombies.
Grendel, J. Gardner - again, to please my daughter, and again, I'm glad. This book is a treasure.
The Worst Hard Times, T. Egan - wow. This makes the Great Depression personal and accessible for those of us (most of us, now) who missed it. The parallels to current events are inescapable.
Careless in Red, E. George - once a Lynley fan, always a Lynley fan. (As in Inspector Lynley. You know, mysteries?)

Favorite Political Moments of 2008

The election of Barack Obama to be our 44th President - and his acceptance speech. Wow.
The shoe incident - and the truly bizarre expression of delight on the (so-called) president's face as he received the deepest insult the Arab world knows how to deliver, proving once again that he is an unreconstructed doofus.
The arrest of Rod Blagojevich - the man's been an embarrassment for years.
The defeats of William Jefferson of Louisiana and Ted Stevens of Alaska - two more embarrassments. To the showers, you two. You're done.
Sarah Palin's Thanksgiving interview with turkeys being slaughtered in the background - another doofus, and thanks be that this one remains on the fringe where she belongs.
The resurgence of intelligence - as Obama announces cabinet members and advisors for the new administration, all of whom are smart. Hurray.

Things I Hope to See in 2009

Dick Cheney and Karl Rove in the docket, and George Bush exiled to whatever country is willing to take him.
A thoughtful energy policy put in place, which takes into account both the importance of energy independence, and the climate change crisis.
Thoughtful health care reform legislation signed into law.
The restoration of our right to privacy. And, yes, I mean no more tapping of phones and reading of emails without proper court supervision.
The end of the global gag rule. In the midst of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, this rule has restricted access to birth control. One hopes this was an unintended result. One is not certain, though.
The end of the laughable (and yet not funny) policy regarding liquids on airplanes. Puh-leeze.
The end of the No Fly list. Ted Kennedy? Countless children? Eighty-year-old ladies? Give us a break, please.
The repeal of No Child Left Behind - one of the stoopidest laws ever passed.
The economy healing, the unemployment rate dropping, and hope reigning supreme.
My children all happy, healthy, and thriving. And yours, too.