Like mud

Jul. 7th, 2009 09:44 am
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I am slow like mud. Inert. Thick. Stuck.

Sarah Palin is, of course, all over Facebook. This is unsurprising given the high number of Alaskans I know. I can't believe any one will ever take her seriously for the presidential race in 2012. I mean, what happens when Russia resists her? Or the press takes issue with her? Or her ratings drop? SHE'S JUST GOING TO QUIT. She says she doesn't need a title to effect change for Alaska. Well, it's not about HER, it's about ALASKA. And yes, actually, being Governor can effect quite a lot of change. If it's not about a title, I don't want to see her run for anything ever again. Ignorant, narcissistic, selfish woman.

Today is my 2nd wedding anniversary with Adam. To celebrate we are taking our books to Moe's, our cds to Amoeba, his clothes to Goodwill, and money to the bank.

Time to go attend to a poopy diaper.
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At one of my many meetings today some one's coffee cup had a map of the world on it. I saw Alaska on it and I was overwhelmed with the realization that as excited as I am to go to Wales, it's not SE Alaska. I was hit with longing for the rocky coast, the greys and greens, the foreboding expanses of evergreens, the quiet.... gah. I die a little every year more I spend NOT in Alaska.
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I really want to like Palin. I do. I want to support women in politics. I want to support the Alaskan. But I also see some of myself in her. She loves Alaska, as do I. She's bossy, speaks her mind, and is used to getting her own way. Me too. She's a big fish from a small pond. I'd be a liar if I said that isn't one of the appealing things about living in Alaska.

But I just can't get behind her. She's not smart (in terms of studying and learnin' and whatnot) and isn't curious about the world around her. She's an opportunist - and I think this is one of her most unappealing qualities. While I support taking opportunities as they come, she seems to have sold out her former allies and burnt bridges to get to each next step.

Every time I see footage of her I want to like her. I think the Republican party has completely used her. A taste of her own medicine? I really hope she doesn't run for national office in the future. But I'm pretty certain she will.
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So.... the GOP is basically in one giant clusterfuck to point fingers and assign blame for why they failed. I think pandering to the "base" of the party meant alienating too many other Americans, that Sarah Palin was a token nomination and an example of that pandering, and that in the effort to shore up the base McCain abandoned the aspects of his character and past that made him appeal to more than just Republicans. There's my off the cuff, politically clueless assessment of what went wrong. That, and Obama rules the school.

However, I find all the finger pointing at Palin distasteful. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan. I think she was way, way in over her head. She wasn't prepared, not yet quite educated enough, and more than a little naive and inexperienced. But the way her own party is treating her is horrid. Shouldn't they have her back? If she's one of their contenders for 2012, shouldn't there be more party support for her?

The Republican party is dead in the water and needs to shed a hefty load of its Old Privileged White Patriarchy persona. The patriarchy hates women, even women, like Palin, who are invested in that patriarchy. I continue to be convinced that women have to have each others' backs, even the women we don't agree with, even women who might be betraying the very spirit of feminism.

Are there no Republican feminists? I think Palin believes she's one of them, even though she refuses to label herself (although she's happy to label herself a maverick!). Taking advantage of feminism's advances does not make a woman feminist.

I hope Palin will come around and see that she's been used and spit out by the very party she worked hard to buoy. I hope she'll choose to label herself feminist. Not that I think she needs to defect and join the Democrats. Hell, they're sexist too. The whole two party system is deeply flawed and run by Good Old Boys. I'd love to see what a true feminist Republican would look like as a presidential candidate. That would truly be a maverick move. I'm not sure the country would be ready in four years or that Palin is up to the task. But hope can spring eternal.

For the time being, my more immediate hope is that Palin can get back to the needs of Alaska and that Republican party will pull its head/s out of its collective ass and stop blaming the woman, the woman they choose and created.
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I am so disgusted with Alaska right now. I can't believe Alaskans are still choosing Stevens and Young! And Palin!! Oh my god, I'm moving back to Alaska and running for Governor. I can't shoot a moose but I can clean a salmon AND I can name nearly all the countries in Africa and I definitely know my North American countries. Thank you, Economist and National Geographic for making me smarter than Alaska's governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate. Maybe if I lose some weight, get a nice suit and have 4 more kids I can run for president in 2016!!

Hell, I'm a maverick. With my syncretistic religious views and queer politics and undeclared political status, I am SUCH a maverick. Oh and let's not forget my rabid feminism - that would be maverick in current politics!

Sheesh. Alaska, you're breaking my heart.
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I didn't want to leave. I never do. This trip to Anchorage was the first one where I thought I might actually be able to live there. I miss family nearby. I loved being able to be all about babies with the FG. I liked having dinners with her family and my family. I loved walking along the interurban trail there, sun glistening on frosty tree tips, chill air biting my cheeks. Just awesome.

The plane rides home were surprisingly manageable, but I'm actually a little dizzy from lack of sleep, even after a 3.5 hour nap. Bennett had a melt down when we got home. Too much stimulation for little B! He's also noticeably larger than when he left.

The house is a mess. My bags are partially open and spilling out all over the floors.

I wish I were still in Alaska, but I'm glad to be home.
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I think B is using this trip to Anchorage to catch up on sleep. My sister has helped us get a night time routine. He now goes down between 7 and 8.30 (depending on afternoon nap), wakes about an hour later for more food and then sleeps until 6.30 or, today, 8am. WHOA. And an hour later he's back asleep. Yesterday he slept for 3.5 hours in the afternoon. Growth spurt I guess. Or else he's taking the diminished day light as a signal to hibernate.

I am liking the night time schedule, but now he's waking every 2-3 hours at night, rather than sleeping for 5-7 like at home. I suspect this is because he's not getting the massive formula bomb at night. While I am enjoying the evening breastfeeds, I AM A ZOMBIE from the lack of sleep. I'm achey and lack any spark of energy, mental or physical. Bleh.

This baby stuff is demanding!

All is well with the other kidlets. Miss A, Future Gov, the babies and I are supposed to be hanging out today. I want to go for a walk outside. It's lovely, all clear and 34 degrees.
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Baby kicking and fussing a little on Sis's bed. He's really enjoying his cousins and my sister. My sis is MAGIC with babies. Wow. I have revamped my night time routine for him in only 3 days.

Anchorage is warmer - high 30s. It's wonderful, just wonderful to not see the sun. Man, blue sky and sunshine every stinkin' day gets old. This is my one week of winter this year.

Today I am hanging out with the Future Gov and her babe. I am making granola at her house and then getting my hair cut in the afternoon. Got to be home by 4 to greet my eldest niece when she gets off the school bus. Tomorrow she doesn't have school so she'll be hanging with me and the Gov.

Nothing else of note. Just chillin'.

Oh, B said hi this morning. He was just copying my sounds, but he said Hi so distinctly that Miss A thought it was me.
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Yay! Leaving for the airport in 15 minutes.

Fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly.

Alaskalaskalaska!
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Tired. Really tired. Did not make it to the Bluegrass Festival this weekend. I couldn't face the crowds and public transport with baby and diaper bag and no back support for breast feeding all day long.

I leave for Alaska on Sunday. It started snowing in Anchorage. Crap. I have no cold weather clothing anymore. And Bennett has none. Our first task upon landing will be to get ourselves to a consignment store.

The other night I had a dream that I was going to get a facial and when I looked in the mirror afterward my face was wrinkled and lined like a woman in her 70s. I think I feel old and I don't like it. My hair is thinning/falling out/turning grey. I have enormous matronly boobs. I miss my flat stomach. I'm always tired and I have little focus. Ah well.

Bennett is a delight, but he is so tiny. When I see other babies I get worried. He's starting to reach out for things. He puked down my cleavage tonight.

I have a lot of thoughts about the election and the issues at stake. Perhaps I'll write about them later. For right now I'll say that both candidates continue to lose my enthusiasm. I think the government/current administration/congress is a bunch of greedy corrupt insiders. I don't think Obama is much better than most of them. Maybe I'm just cynical.

My job is tedious. My executive director is a gigantic baby. He's a big ol' Eeyore. I'm tired of it. I want a leader who leads. I'm tired of trying to boost an organization that increasingly feels irrelevant, out moded and unwilling to do what it takes to be awesome, or pay the salaries necessary to get people who can make it fabulous. I stick around because it's been great for my resume, and I can get away with whatever I want. Like bringing the baby to work, showing up when I feel like it, and being the bossiest person in the organization. I like being bossy.
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This is so far the single best article I've read on Alaska and Palin. It's long, but really worth reading.
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Two nicely written blog posts about Sarah Palin:

Scroll down to the second half of Savage Love.

A religious feminist's point of view on Palin.

Shocker!!

Aug. 29th, 2008 08:11 am
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Alaska' governor is going to be McCain's VP?? WOW!

Alaska is on the map! And not just for Republican corruption! Woot!

This election just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting.
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What did nursing mothers do before the internet??

When my mother was here in June she talked a lot about her life when I was born (I'm the first). She had moved to Alaska from Australia to be with my dad. It was 1975 and they were living many miles outside of Fairbanks in a log cabin my dad built while he was going to college. They had chickens and pigs and rabbits. My dad would take the only vehicle to work or school; my mother would be at home all day long. No couch, no tv, no phone. One rocking chair. I don't know how she did it.

I would probably get a lot more reading done if I didn't have the internet to keep me company.
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I've been homesick. Of course, I'm always homesick in the summer. I haven't had my mountains/glacier/old growth forest/hiking/fishing/long nights/tourist filled Juneau summer fix. But I also have some sadness in my heart that Benn has yet to breathe non-polluted air (the fires are still making the air hazy here, my nose has been itching for weeks), has yet to hear or smell the ocean. It's been cars and concrete and traffic when we go outside.

Also, having a new baby means being inside a lot. I feel both cocooned in my cozy nest and also a little isolated. Especially because so many of my new mama friends are far away. I wish I had actually met some of you ladies in the flesh, that we could hang out a little as our babes feed for hours on end, that we could be of some actual physical support to one another and that our babes could grow up together. This last part makes me sad. I think about my nieces and The Future Gov of Alaska up in Anchorage. If only Anchorage wasn't such a dump... I think of all the kids growing up together, of me being an active part in those girls' lives, of my boy knowing family well and being cared for by loving people invested in his well being.

Today is my eldest niece's 9th birthday and the Future Gov is in early labor as we speak. This new little person will born any day now. I am far away. She won't meet Benn and I won't meet this Maggie/Stella/whatever they end up naming her, possibly until Christmas. My sister and nieces won't get to meet him until then either.

I also wish Benn would smile at me. Benn will be 8 weeks tomorrow. He is still only 6 1/2 pounds.
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Adam has had a surprise arranged for me for several months. I had no idea until we got here. I just couldn't figure out what it could possibly be. What does he know about Anchorage? And what could we be doing that the girls (8 and 2) couldn't join in on? I needed to be dressed for the outdoors but we weren't doing something outdoorsy. Wah?

So yesterday, the Future Gov and her husband Jake come over, brother in law is getting ready, I'm dressed for the cold, and Adam tells me to bring my earplugs. I immediately know what it is: "I GET TO SHOOT THINGS!!!" I yell and start jumping up and down.

Adam had arranged for brother in law to borrow a gun (in Alaska one does not need a license to be in possesion of or to use a fire arm- I think). We were going to a shooting range so I could shoot a gun.

I have always wanted to learn how to shoot. Growing up, my dad kept 6 guns in a case - 5 rifles and a shotgun, I think. He would go hunting from time to time. Deer, moose, subsistence. He promised to teach me to shoot when I was 12. One winter when I was about 14 and my family was up the Chilkat River in Haines, staying in a cabin my dad built, he finally agreed to teach me. He gave me his smallest rifle, had me lay down flat in the snow, gun rested on a snow berm, paper plates for targets stapled to trees. I had lousy aim and we never did it again.

I'm not a fan of guns and I'm pretty pro-gun control. I mean, who needs semi-automatics? But, I do want to learn to shoot, both rifles and hand guns. I think it's a good skill and some day I'd like to go hunting. I'm intimidated by the idea, of course, but if I'm going to eat meat I think I should be prepared to hunt. Anyway.

We had to drive up to Chugiak, about 20 miles north of Anchorage to get to a shooting range open in December. It was a nice place, outdoors with a beautiful view of a large mountain range. Cold. We shared a.... I don't know the proper term, a stable? with a very nice dad and his two boys. Thankfully, they were too nice to mock our lousy shooting. It had to do with the gun we had. It was HUGE. I have no idea what purpose this gun serves, or whose hand is large enough to comfortably carry this thing. It was a Smith and Wesson .44. Really, really large, with tremendous kick. I could see the blast of orange out the tip of the gun as it fired.

The gun scared me. As well it should. After my first two bullets I put the gun down and said "I don't like this." It felt unweildy, and honestly it was a lot of power - scary stuff. I tried again with another round and a half. I realized it wasn't shooting that was problematic, but it wasn't the right gun for me.

All four of us liberals, shooting guns, looking completely out of place with the camo and pick up trucks and manliness. Yet, no one mocked us for our noviceness and the Future Gov and I got nothing but support despite being two of three women. I totally want to learn to shoot.

****

And today, Adam, brother in law, nieces and I went ice skating outside on a lagoon the city maintains for iceskating. They zamboni it and everything. It is truly awesome. And cold.

Tomorrow is our last day here. I feel as though I've spent enough time to get my fill of fam and Alaska, so I don't feel cut short before heading back to Oakland. I look forward to being warmer, my own place, my cats, my own routine - it's hard having a two year old hang on my every motion ("Nini, wha you do?" every three minutes).

Bay Area? Alaska? Bay Area? Alaska? I wish I didn't feel compelled to choose.

Moose

Dec. 27th, 2007 11:01 am
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Have I mentioned it's cold here? About 20 degrees. Not THAT cold by the standards of those that live here, but I'm all wussified now from the easy living in California.

However, some things never get old, even to those that live here. Moose. They never get old.

Yesterday evening the Future Gov and I took her dog to a dog park, basically a series of trails in a wooded area near the airport. We got out of the car, started walking from the parking lot and a man (very loud and annoying) was standing at the start of the trail yelling at one of his dogs who was barking at a large dark object. "There's a moose there," he said. Sure enough there was a bull moose standing and munching on the trees. FG's dog took off to join the moose harassment. Silly reatures trying to round up an enormous mammal with horns.

Oh but wait! There are TWO bull moose standing there! The first started to charge the dogs. I immediately run back to the car - hoping it's the right one. Basically I just opened a door near me and got in. It wasn't after us humans standing there, but when a ton of animal flesh and horns comes racing in my direction, I tend to get out of the way.

The second moose followed suit and then they both ran off in to the woods. Oh they are so ungainly, those moose. FG and I started off on our walk finally. After about 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile we saw two more moose - females. The dog took off after them and we immediately turned around and went back the way we'd come. Only to find out that there was another moose nibbling by the trail. We veered off to the side, avoiding it. And then there were TWO MORE blocking the trail. Moose moose, every where moose. It was fun.

We did get back to the parking lot in one piece.

Love

Dec. 23rd, 2007 04:53 pm
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13 hours after leaving home, Adam and I arrived at my sister's house. 2 am Anchorage time, 3 am California time. When I woke at 8.45 this morning it was as dark as it was at 2am. Awesome. It's cold. It's dark. There is snow. It's everything I was hoping for!

My nieces are *seriously* the most well behaved, joyous little girls in the world. I have no idea what my sister and her husband have done differently than anyone else(they can't figure it out either), but PLEASE GOD I hope my kid is as happy and chill and fun as these two.

I hope for some photos to post. I finally saw myself in a full length mirror and I AM showing! Woo! I look pregnant. Still mind blowing.

Must go upstairs now and join the 8 year old in "destroying Adam." I have been given orders.

Also, waiting for pizza. The pregnant lady needs food.
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It's Solstice! And I'm not celebrating as I normally do because Adam has been in New Mexico all week making the big bucks (oh thank you Jesus!), I'm pregnant and mildly retarded, and we're leaving for Alaska tomorrow.

I'M GOING TO ANCHORAGE TOMORROW. I am so excited. Nieces, my sis, snowdarkcold, and my preggers bf Future Gov. It's been warming up there - it was in the teens today! Sun rises at 10.14am and sets at 3.41pm. Hot damn. Gimme some real winter to balance out the perpetual (beautiful) autumn that is a Californian winter!

Work has been hijacked this week by stupid contractor drama. Our IT guy had (HAD - because he was FIRED today, thanks to my insistence) the communication skills of an autistic kid - although I'm sure the autistic are kinder to others than this guy was. Rude, demeaning, negligent, disregarding of others' time, and manipulating others' words. I threw a stink and my boss fired him before I could do it. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Pregnancy brain is real. I used to think that all the 'mommy brain' talk was insipid nonsense, but it's real and I fear it. I wonder when my personality and mental recall will return.

Off to fold the laundry and go get Adam from the airport.

To those that celebrate the Solstice, let there be light! To those that celebrate Christmas, joy to the world! For those that celebrate nothing, or wish they could, may you be as little annoyed as possible. But above all, may there peace on earth.
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I dreamt last night that I was in Juneau, walking out towards Thane. No cruise ship docks, old wooden framed houses, precarious icy dirt slopes to the water. I was having trouble staying balanced on the edge of the road. The sky was slate grey, a typical winter day's sky around 2 in the afternoon. I dream of this light from time to time since it's not available here.

My sister wants me to move to Anchorage. There are many good reasons to move there: nearer to my nieces, nearer to my sis, nearer to the Future Gov; Alaska; free day care: Sis can watch the baby while I work on my PhD. That's hard to pass up.

But Anchorage. It's a hole. If I want strip malls and box stores, gang violence and meth fiends, pretentious rich folk with fancy cars, I can stay right here in the Bay Area! It has many good things too, of course, the most important being that it is in Alaska and if you look up, over the fast food outlets and dingy streets, the mountains and ocean are right there.

But Juneau. I miss that town. Today I am homesick for the water, the overcast impenetrable grey skies, the fishing boats, the snow capped mountains, and even for some of the mind-numbing hometown politics.

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