Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Modest Proposition

It seems that everywhere I look, someone has an opinion about California's "Prop 8." For those living under rocks, it's a proposal to change the state constitution to make sure homosexual couples will never, ever be legally married in this state. Since I'm an actual Californian who will actually be voting on this actual ballot initiative, I would like to weigh in on this thing myself.

Let me begin by saying that I detest ballot initiatives. I think they're a weak-kneed, cowardly device for an electorate that mostly can't be bothered to pay attention to what their elected representatives are up to. Here in California, we distrust 'em so much that we impose term limits and are never surprised when they can't manage to get anything done. I'm sure that some well-meaning person somewhere will tell me that it gets people more involved, but I think it's a major turnoff to sensible voters. This year's Voter Guide and attending Supplemental are enormous, and I resent being asked to do homework that should have been done by the elected representatives whose salaries we all pay. Stupid and busted. I hate ballot initiatives.

Which leads me right on to Prop 8. It's a sop to the "Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" crowd. Not only that, but this thing has been funded right along by groups that are largely based outside of CA. As a skirmish in the great "culture war," this looks a lot like James Dobson and his ilk counting coup. If Prop 8 passes, the hippiedippie Californians have been forced to behave for a change. If it fails, well, we all knew that California was home of wicked treehuggers and now can be hated with impunity.

In case it's not clear by this point, I think Prop 8 is hateful and disgusting. It's been 10 years since Matthew Sheppard was horrifically beaten and left to die on a fencepost in Wyoming. I can't believe that people still don't have anything better to do than imagine in detail what's going on in their neighbors' bedrooms. Who has time for that? Many of the people who seem most frightened of GAY MARRIAGE (booga booga!) seem to confuse homosexuality for pedophilia. Homosexual doesn't mean extra kinky, assaults precious snowflakes and is out to steal your husband or wife. It means human being who is sexually attracted to another human being of the same gender. Period.

As a society, we value individuals who come together for a common good. Think of our tax code. We give non-profits a tax break. We even give churches the benefit of the doubt and don't tax them, either. And, we tax-incent married people. As far as I'm concerned, a committed couple is a committed couple. It's not like better marriages get a better tax rate than crappy ones. I haven't liked some of the people that various friends have married over time. Their lives, their commitment.

This culture of fear we have here in the US is alive and well, and one has only to look at the expressions on the faces of the people in Prop 8 commercials. Parents heartbroken that their kid's teacher mentioned that sometimes men marry men, and women marry women. That's right kids, we want you thinking and asking questions in class, unless the very existence of something (or in this case, someone) makes us uncomfortable. There is also some convoluted nonsense about this being a free-speech issue, but it makes my head hurt so feel free to imagine what a homophobe couldn't possibly say if any gay person anywhere ever had rights equal to their own. Make it juicy, because it most likely would be. If Prop 8 fails, you will miss out on a lot of creative vitriol. Oh the humanity.

If you put lipstick on a bigot, they're still a bigot.

We've gotta have someone in the "out"group, otherwise I won't have any tasteless jokes to tell at public gatherings! First we couldn't make fun of black people, then they took away the respectability of hateful jokes about any brown people (yay 9/11-we got Arabs, Persians, Muslims and vaguely Middle-Easterney people back!), the handicapped are also off limits. I mean really, what else is there to talk about?!*

I suspect there exists the mistaken hope that a constitutional ban on marital equality will "cure" all of the world's homosexuals. All I can say is, given that national ban on drinking didn't rid our great country of alcoholics, I'm not holding my breath.

We here at Steingruebl World Enterprises value ALL families, and will therefore be doing our part to see that Prop 8 goes down in flames. Big, sparkly rainbow ones. Rest of the nation that wishes it were here, you're welcome.

*I made this up, but admit it, you were thinking of how to find out who said it so you could make fun of them, you Elitist Bastard you!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Funnier and Funnier

Several years ago when Elise was barely speaking, I set about trying to teach her the "Who's on First" sketch. Today, I finally got my wish.

Elise and I were sitting around the table after dinner and having some fun conversation. At one point she said something to the effect of "Who knows?" I answered "The Shadow Knows" and her being almost 5 and quite literal wanted to know "What shadow?" I of of course confused her and we kept chatting and she asked "Where is the Shadow?" to which I replied "Yes!" This made her quite confused and we went back and forth several times like this before I explained the joke to her and also had her watch the "Who's on First" sketch from youtube, link posted above.

Fast forward to bedtime. We're getting ready to read Elise a bedtime story and Heather said "The moon is made of cheese" to which Elise replied "No it isn't, it's made of shining armor, and it shines in the stars." Heather replied "Who is wearing the armor?" to which Elise said "Yes!".

Makes me proud.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Games We Play

We're in the midst of a game craze here at Steingruebl World Enterprises. It started innocently with Candyland. We progressed to Go Fish and Crazy Eights. Cards are fun because they fit in a purse and can materialize unexpectedly at coffee shops when Mommy needs extra time to mainline some caffeine.

And then, we found Uno. This was a favorite game for me with my elderly after-school-babysitters in 3rd & 4th grade. Andy recalls playing a lot of Uno with his family. (He also recalls the rules better than I do, but don't tell him I admitted to that.) Andy searched for and found a card holding helper thing, and now there is no card game Elise can't play. Well, she'd be pretty bad with poker since she tends to flash her cards a lot.

My favorite part of this new card playing trend is the trash talk. Elise can really dish it. And, she's great with strategy. I'm impressed by just how quickly she picked up on how to stick it to an opponent. She's usually so mild-mannered and sweet that this is a fabulous new way for us to see her.

Andy has also got her started on Yahtzee. They only play the top half of the score card for the time being, but Elise is learning it and has a great time playing a game that she knows we sometimes play while she's in bed. Sneaky, sneaky parents also look at it as an opportunity to teach math. (But seriously, don't tell Elise that. We're saving it for a surprise when she's in 1st grade.)

Since we're having such a great time with games at the moment, I'd love suggestions from loyal readers (and even the traitorous ones) regarding games that might be fun to play with a nearly 5 year old kiddo. Not that I'm getting tired of playing Uno several times a day, mind you....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Random Newsiness

Hi, there, loyal readers!

I was going to try to respond to the debate last night shortly after it happened, but really the whole thing just wore me out so I settle for leaving that commentary to others who apparently have more stamina.

Before I go off to bed and try to get a decent night's sleep for a change, I thought I'd share a few bits of current eventage here at Steingruebl World Enterprises.

1. Ebay's big layoffs have not included Andy. We think he's pretty well secure, but there are a lot of people who aren't now and it stinks. Layoffs. Yuck.

2. I hate street lights. It might be time to finally join the International Dark Sky Association. There is one light across the street from us that has been shining through the gap between the blinds and the windows to keep me up at night. At least, I assume that's why it's up there and on all night like that. We've installed curtains, and hopefully tonight will be better.

3. Power tools are fun! Curtain hanging required drilling, and I have to say that I continue to love the drill that I purchased awhile back. Even better, I get to pass my love of tools on to my kiddo. Today, Elise used our electric screwdriver to help me with some self-assembly furniture. Wahoo!

4. On Tuesday, we officially handed back the keys to the previous headquarters. I'm really proud of how we left things, and it was good to see Sandra and Celerino back in their home. Even though their stuff won't follow them from Spain for eons. I think they're going to like how the neighborhood has grown in the last 2 years.

5. Tomorrow's goal is to get the dining room to be less like a jumble of boxes and more like a cozy place for us to have meals and play games. Daunting. But I think I can do it. Especially if I quit dawdling now and actually go to bed!

6. Someone has been trespassing in our back yard. Prickly pears have been harvested, which I actually don't mind at all, but I'd sure like the courtesy of an introduction before people come in and just take stuff. I'm thinking of getting one of those motion sensitive sprinklers that people use to scare off pests. And then just be on the lookout for wet neighbors...

7. The Sharks start their season at home tomorrow evening. Go Sharks!

Friday, October 3, 2008

What's there to Debate?

We watched Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. He was nice enough to stand there and not laugh at her which I think deserved extra-credit points. I can say that if this version of Sarah Palin had been on my high school debate team, I'd have been the coach's favorite in spite of the fact that I skipped meets for family funerals and the occasional band performance.

A few people have pointed me to an absolutely brilliant flow chart of this particular debate. Head over to The Daily Kos to see it in all of its original glory!

And then bear in mind that as much as this lady might be good at a number of things, she's not vice presidential material. And FSM forbid McCain kicks the bucket (what with running for president being his bucket list and all) and leaves her minding the store. George the clueless clown puppet has nothing on what Palin could be. By all means respect her as a human being, but my oh my don't imagine for a minute she'd be anything other than a disaster as VP.

Fall is Falling

Tonight, we're expecting our first rain of the season. Wahoo! I'm kinda hoping that we'll be able to hear the patter of rain on the roof in this house. I went outside this evening to hang some cute pumpkin lights for Halloween, and the air has that perfect autumn smell to it.

As I worked, I started noticing sounds in the distance. And doggone it if we can't hear the neighborhood high school's football games from here! The band was loud and clear, and we could hear the refs' whistles and the crowd's cheers. The whole thing seems so New Englandy/Midwestish. I continue to think we're gonna like it here.

The Tooth Fairy has Arrived

Yes indeed, folks, the Tooth Fairy herself has visited us here at Steingruebl World Enterprises.

At school on Thursday (Oct 2, 2008. Mark your calendars, people!) Elise was bored at naptime and resorted to wiggling her insanely wiggly tooth. Wonder of wonders, it popped out. When I arrived to pick her up, I was greeted by the biggest ever gap-toothed grin and a shriek of "Mommy! My tooth came out!!!" So exciting. I was also informed by Elise's teacher that getting her to put said tooth into an envelope was like...something akin to pulling teeth.

We made much of the tooth and the proud big kid was willing to show off her new smile.

It took awhile for Elise to fall asleep, but once she did the TF penned a little note and tied a sparkly ring to it with a length of dental floss. Awwwww. "The Tooth Fairy took some of your dental floss, Mommy," said a disappointed girl. "I don't think she'd do that, Sweetie. It looks like she and I use the exact same kind. How cool is that?!" I get the feeling there is something Elise isn't saying about the TF, something that's gnawing at her. Hopefully, we'll figure out what it is soon.

And hey, the good ol' TF gets another shot at it tonight! Elise's front teeth are coming in like crazy, and she had a second very loose one on the bottom. This morning, after running straight at me and crashing like a wave against the cliffs of Dover (one of her favorite things to do lately), she made a funny face and asked if we could go brush her teeth. Sure! Why not. She then complained that her tooth was "irritating" her, so we sat on the sofa to take a look. Good thing Daddy isn't squeamish about teeth. He took one look and said, "Woah! Did that just fall out? If not, I think you could just grab it and it would fall right out." Turns out, Father really does know best. Wow was Elise proud to have extracted a second tooth in as many days!

We spent a lot of time today talking about how very surprised the Tooth Fairy will be to have to come to our house for a second night in a row. That may well be the best part of it all. Hopefully, those top front teeth will hold off for a little while yet and let the TF catch her breath.

What a great milestone for our girl. After getting her teeth early, it's not a huge surprise that she's losing them so early as well. We're all in love with her big, beautiful new grown-up teeth. Wahoo, Elise!

Oh, and now she wants to know what the TF does with all of the teeth she collects. No clue. Luckily, she forgot to get me to help her write that question in a note for tonight, so we have time. Anybody have suggestions? The Tooth Fairy would actually really like to know...