Monday, December 28, 2009

Renewed Focus for 2010

October 22, 2007 - On this day, I began a journey. I didn't know it at the time, but the journey was to be a life changing one. On this day, I typed a small story about my children and submitted it to DivineCaroline. And then I submitted several more. And then, someone commented that I was their "favorite new writer".

I was hooked.

My early writing was not very good. It was cute, but not good. Looking back now, I can see that it lacked something fundamental to good writing - a purpose.

September 3, 2008 - I wrote my very first political article and with shaking hands and a pounding heart I hit the "publish" button.

And just like that - Kristi the purposeful writer was born.

My political writing is the writing of which I am the most proud. The best piece I believe I have ever written was political and extremely personal. A feat that, in my limited writing experience, is very difficult to pull off. A feat, I've not yet been able to repeat.

My writing has been a bit distracted from the political realm as of late. This is an oversight that I intend to correct in 2010. The health care debate and President Obama's nuanced governing style has been difficult for me to get my arms around. And if I'm being totally honest, I also needed a break from the crazy train the conservatives are currently conducting.

At the end of 2008, I vowed that in 2009 I would write. Just write. And I did -a lot. Now it's time to move that writing to the next level and not just write, but write well - and with a purpose - my purpose.

As 2009 draws to a close, I leave you with what will be the guiding ideals behind in this blog in 2010.

I believe in the power of a singular voice.

I believe a singular voice, when properly focused, can change a heart, a mind, and a community.

I believe a singular voice can turn into a collective one.

And I believe there has never been any positive change in the world that was not initiated first by a singular voice and then by a collective one.

I have a voice. If you're interested, I'll be using it in 2010.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Christmas Miracle

Something miraculous happened in Stepford on Christmas Eve. (No, I didn't stay out of the vodka.) Something I've waited forty-two years to see. Something I thought I would never see unless I broke my own self-imposed rule about never traveling on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

We had a White Christmas. This is my backyard at 3 P.M. on Christmas Eve.

I don't know if it was watching the kids enjoy a pre-present opening melee romp in the snow...

Or if it was watching a yellow dog, who hates the rain, fall in love with the snow...

Or if it was having my brother and his family in my home... (Here is my brother letting me know that I if I haven't already decided that my current Champagne martini is my last, it should be.)

...but this was the Best.Christmas.Ever. This was the Christmas that I will always remember - the one I've been waiting upon my whole life. The one where an overwhelming sense of sadness was not right beneath the tinseled surface. The one where I laughed easily, gave of myself freely, relaxed and just let it be. I don't know if I've crossed some sort of Christmas chasm and this year signals a beginning of Christmases to come. I don't know if this Christmas was a once in a lifetime deal.

And I don't care.

Either way, I had this Christmas. And it was miraculous.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Naughty or Nice

When I was a child, my mom threatened me with every imaginary character and wives tale imaginable.

(I may have been a handful.)

If I made an ugly face, she told me I had better stop lest my face get "stuck like that".

(The thought of walking around with my tongue permanently stuck out of my mouth nipped me sticking my tongue out at her right in the bud.)

If she suspected I were lying, she would feign shock at my growing nose.

(I always gave my dishonesty away by reaching up to check that my nose had not suddenly grown three inches.)

And if it were Christmastime? She would play the Santa card.

(I think we can all agree we don't need Dr. Freud to figure out where my Grinchyness got it's start.)

Because of my mother's parenting style (child abuse), I've always been really careful with my own children to reinforce the positive aspects of Santa Claus.

Despite my efforts, something went awry with my daughter.

The year she turned three, the trouble began. One evening I was driving my minivan down Stepford's Main Street past the Fire Station that always has a huge inflatable Santa on it's roof. My son says to my daughter, "Hey look! There's Santa up there on the roof!"

My daughter burst into tears.

I adjusted the rear view mirror so I could see her and said, "Honey, what's the matter?"

She sobbed, "I'm so naughty."

I reassured her, "Oh Honey, no you're not".

She screamed, "YES I AM!"

Honestly, I didn't know what to do with that. Neither of my children have ever been particularly naughty. They've had their moments, sure. Like the time I told my son he couldn't have Rolos in the checkout line only to turn around and see chocolate and gold foil covering his chin. Or like the time my daughter was so angry with me she yelled, "THAT'S IT! YOU.ARE.FIRED!"

(Seriously? Who fires their mother? I mean, hell, even my mother hasn't managed to get herself removed from her post.)

The next year, when my daughter was four, same problem. She would cry and carry on about being naughty every time Santa was even mentioned.

And the year she was five, same issue.

Then the year she turned six, we had a break through. One afternoon I scolded my daughter about something minor. The infraction was so minor that I cannot for the life of me even remember what it was. A short time later I walked into her room with some laundry to put away and found her crying on her bed.

I asked, "Honey, what's wrong? I'm not mad at you."

She said, "I'm so naughty."

By this time, we had a pretty set dialogue for how this conversation was going to go... except this time after I said, "No Honey, you're not...."

She said, "YES! YES I AM! Mom, you have no idea what I say about you to myself. I say bad things about you and I use bad words. REALLY bad words. I'm not nice to you when you can't hear me. I'M NAUGHTY."

I was speechless. I mean, cussing me behind my back is kind of, you know, naughty. If she had done that to my face, all hell would have certainly broken loose. And she knew this. So she... she... had been covertly cussing my very name. And for years. Years.

Years, people.

Nothing in my prior parenting experience could have prepared me for this. To make matters worse my son entered the room to find out what exactly had busted loose in our house. Because I was unable to speak, my daughter filled him in.

My son says, rolling his eyes "GAWD. You ruin everything. Don't you know by now you're not supposed to tell Mom what we say about her? It will hurt her feelings!"

(WE??????????? Both of my angelic children have been cussing me behind my back?)

At this, my daughter throws herself onto the floor and begins to wail, "Now I'm naughty because I've hurt your feelings!"

Well, it was banner day to say the least. However, it was also very cathartic.

My daughter learned that no matter what egregious sin she committed I would love her anyway.

My son learned not to confess to said egregious sins before confirming he had been implicated therein.

And I learned that I'm not a perfect mom. I learned that my kids do indeed sometimes not like me.

And most importantly, I learned that I can live with that imperfection.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This time next month our family will be in Florida...

doing something I swore we would never do...

traveling for a soccer tournament...
for a nine year old...

I've come to the realization that I will eat every word
I have ever spoken regarding motherhood.

And this face? Totally worth it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Political MMQ

I love this image. Because baby, it is some kind of satirific.

I mean, it's got it all.

Jesus in a suit with a dollar sign lapel pin.

An automatic weapon being held at the ready by Christ the King.

War planes in the background.

All set against the back drop of a confederate flag.


Now this is not a liberal Jesus. Certainly not a Democratic one. Or, dare I say, an accurate one?

This is a Jesus that the Southern Republican Leadership Conference can rally behind. I mean, after all, could the location of their upcoming 2010 Convention be more ironic than the Republican Jesus?

Friday, December 11, 2009

And The Grinch's Heart Grew Three Sizes That Day

This morning my nine year old daughter handed me an envelope with this written on the back. She asked that I please put it in the mail to the North Pole - TODAY.

I opened the letter to verify there was nothing surprising on her list.

What I couldn't have known was that the best Christmas present I'll receive this year was contained inside.

I am blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh Yeah, I've Added Pink to the Blog

When deciding upon a blog design I purposely avoided pink. Or any derivation thereof. Contrary to my love of shoes, martinis, and mani/pedi's, I'm not really a super girly girl. I'd take a day with no make up, sweats, and ball cap anytime.

(Just ask any Stepford Wife that has ever seen me on the weekends and pretended not to know me. Yeah, you know who you are.)


When given the opportunity for Stepford Stories to have a review blog, pink seemed just the right color.

So today, I'm launching the Stepford Stories Review Blog and in a BIG way.

If you're interested in hearing another one of my funny stories (and I know you are) and interested in winning a $200 gift card (because who isn't?) then get your mouse clicking over on those shopping bags on the side bar or just click below. Leave a comment, tweet it up, facebook it, or blog about it to be entered to win.


Good Luck!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

"What if I say I'm not like the others?"

"What if I say I'll never surrender?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

She's come a long way in the last four years.

Her skills have been honed and her uniform upgraded. She no longer wears her brother's hand me down cleats.

Gone are her chubby fingers and preschool tummy. Her hair is long and silky and ponytailed. Her chin is now always raised, her eyes fixed on the goal, her feet needing no visual reassurance of the ball's location.

The thief of time has replaced this little bitty boo with an athlete.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Political MMQ

We're one step closer. Here is Senator Reid's email he sent to supporters of healthcare reform over the weekend.

Dear Kristi,

This evening, we took an enormous step toward achieving our goal of delivering quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans. Just a few minutes ago, 60 senators voted to block a Republican filibuster so that we can move the debate forward on the Patient Protection and Affordability Act - a fiscally responsible bill that will reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion in ten years, cut costs, protect patients' choice of their doctors, and insure an additional 31 million Americans.
I am very proud of this legislation, which will move us one step closer to ensuring affordable coverage for 518,000 more Nevadans.
The legislation will level the playing field for patients by holding insurance companies accountable. I worked hard to include a voluntary public option that will inject much needed competition into the healthcare marketplace and keep costs down. If you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. However, this legislation will provide something that is currently lacking for far too many Americans: choice.
The Patient Protection and Affordability Act protects our seniors. The bill strengthens Medicare services, making the critical program more sustainable while cutting waste, fraud and abuse. It also take steps to making prescription drug medications more affordable by reducing the Medicare "donut hole" and providing discounts for brand-name drugs and biologics purchased by low and middle-income beneficiaries.
The legislation addresses the skyrocketing healthcare costs for small businesses that are having a negative effect on our economy. It provides tax credits to assist small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable.
Tonight's vote is very exciting news. However, we will not pass the finish line until health insurance reform crosses President Obama's desk.
There's a long road ahead. But we are well on our way. Next step is to begin debate. When we return the week after Thanksgiving, we will begin the final steps toward passage. For a more detailed explanation of the pathway forward, you can go to my web site here.
You can also text "HCR" on your cell phones to 42779 for text message updates on the healthcare process.
Thank you for your continued support as we move closer toward our shared goal. Soon we will have health insurance reform that ensures quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Tinsel (Town)

Note: Thank you to Jayne Martin for this post. The main body of this post was taken from a personal email I sent to Jayne. She responded by graciously telling me I should post it. I love you, Jayne.

Some of you have figured out there is new book out about Stepford. It was written by Washington Post writer Hank Stuever.

Hank was in town this week and I attended a book signing he held at a local book store. Jayne emailed this morning and asked when I was going to tell her about meeting Hank. Here is my response:

"So Hank was... surprising. He really seems to like 'us'. And I can't figure out why. I hate us. Maybe he likes us because he can leave. I don't know. I'm going to question him more about that when I do my interview with him once I've finished the book.

The book signing itself was painful for me. About 20 people chose to stand in the back rather than sit on the front row. No one wanted to be that close to the gay guy - at least that's my assessment. I, of course, sat right up front. I wanted to look at his socks and shoes and check him out really closely in a physical sense.

He read some really funny passages from the book that were dead on and he even does a great Stepford Cougar impersonation. And everyone in the crowd laughed expect for me, a newspaper writer, and a photographer. It seemed to me that we three were the only ones that realized the people laughing didn't understand that the joke was on THEM. Such a lack of self-awareness makes me wanted to punch something.

The very first idiot lined up for the signing didn't even have a fucking book. He had a baseball. A BASEBALL. Five minutes earlier, Hank had actually said he would never attend anything in a stadium. Now, why would you ask a gay man with NO interest in sports to sign a fucking baseball?

One lady asked Hank what he did for a living. She was sitting right behind me. I considered turning my head backwards on my shoulders and shouting "HE'S A MOTHERFUCKING PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST WHO WRITES FOR THE WASHINGTON POST. W H Y.A R E.Y O U.H E R E?"

I met this really sweet and sad housewife who lives in Stepford. She belongs to what I think of as the "frumpy and poor brigade" of which the wealthy and fit Stepford wives make fun. She had four kids and had the two older ones with her. They were 9 and 6. And they were destroying the bookstore while we were in line. She was so sweet and so sad and so overwhelmed I felt like a total bitch for even posting my rant on Monday. Hank's book and her husband agreeing to watch the two babies is going to be her solitary Christmas gift. I hate myself. She's going to read my blog and not understand any of it. She asked Hank if he was a Twilight fan while Hank was signing her book. He said 'no' he did mostly TV writing, but that there was a writer at the Post who really liked Twilight. And she said - I'm not kidding - 'Is he Team Edward or Team Jacob?'

Hank was extremely gracious while signing my four books. He asked who each of the people were and wanted to know about them so he could personalize it appropriately. I was very touched by that. He wrote in my book 'To Kristi, who sees everyone she knows and little bit of herself in this book. -Hank'. He's good. I'll never be that good... or patient... or able to research a subject and be as kind about people I don't understand as he is.

I'm going to read the book over the weekend and try to interview him in the next week. I want to be able to spend some time on the blog post and still get it up before Christmas.

So... long story short. He was kind. But I don't think he was the real Hank at the signing. I've been reading his blog and that edgy, out there, proud, gay, atheist, liberal guy was not the man I met. Since he has read my blog, I wonder if he felt the same way about me? I'm going to ask him."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

'Tis The Season

The Christmas Elf (my nine year old daughter) is peeing her pants today because the "Christmas Light House" has been switched to "on". Many gallons of gas and countless minutes over the next six weeks will be spent driving past this Stepford monument with my daughter humming in the backseat.

My twelve year old son has stopped asking for trips to this house. Although there once was a time when he begged and begged and begged.

So as long as The Christmas Elf asks, I will indulge her.

One day my backseat will be empty. Her small body, stretched long and lean, will have left for college or a job or a man or just a life in which she no longer needs my indulgences.

Perhaps then, when she's a woman with some jade to her eyes, I'll confess that while I always loved her joy, I often could not find my own during this time of year.

I hope that revelation comes as a surprise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 16, 2009

I've Lost My Balance

So Becky over at Mommy Wants Vodka wrote this amazing post about guilt, trying to do too much, being out of balance, and using her husband's toothbrush. Which compelled me to comment with this:

"Girl, I’m so buried right now I’ve gotten to that place that says 'whatever dude, bring it on, one more thing added to my list is like spitting into the ocean, it makes little difference if you add a thing or take a thing away, I’m screwed no matter what.' And I’m a total loser for it. Everyone in Stepford is perfect or can at least pull off the appearance of perfect and I’m that girl whose car is always dirty, never returns the school’s mounds of paperwork on time (if at all), and every morning before school I’m always running around looking for someone a pair of clean socks, or underwear, or pants. My son said this morning, 'You know, mom, PANTS are KINDA KEY.' Yeah dude, I know… my underwear are inside out so yesterday’s crust isn’t irritating my vulva. I get it.

Then Big Daddy Boss chews my ass first thing this morning. I was all 'take a number and get in line. My car is in the shop, the foundation of my house is slipping into the neighbor’s yard, I have a plumbing leak in my powder bath, and my mom is coming for Thanksgiving.' Sheesh. The ultra rich always think their hang nails are bigger than, you know, MY MOM or my HOUSE moving next door, or a little thing called MY CHILDREN.

Hmmm. So yeah, that thing about my underwear being inside out? Not really like me to bust out with that, but yeah... that's been my day. As a matter of fact, let's look at my schedule from today a little more closely.

4AM I hear my dad upstairs which means he's awake. Which also means his arthritis is bothering him. Sometimes it just really sucks to get older. I worry about him until...

5:30AM Alarm goes off.

6AM I've made my coffee, loaded the chocolate milk cups for the kids and opened the back door for the dog. It's 45 degrees outside and windy. I'm less pleased than even the dog. This, however, explains my dad's arthritis.

7:30AM Both kids are awake and looking for various clothing. Some can be found in the dryer. Other pieces, like my son's pants? Stillinthemotherfuckinghamper.

7:45AM I scribble a note to my dad about the after school schedule. Scream to no one in particular that we're about to be late and begin to load the car.

7:55AM My daughter jumps from the rolling car and sprints to the building to avoid the 8AM tardy bell. We'll do better tomorrow. Or not.

8AM I pick up my son's friend for Jr. High carpool drop off. We're twelve weeks into the school year and I can no longer stomach the smell of Axe body wash. Those commercials where the girls go wild over the scent? Cougars are totally immune.

8:05AM I break the law by answering my cell phone in a school zone. I tell my mom I'll call her back as soon as I drop the boys. She's irritated. My boss calls three times in a row and then texts "answer". He's gonna have to motherfuckingwait until I deal with BB.

8:10AM The boys unload from the car. Arms, legs, backpacks, and musical instruments fly everywhere. I hand my son his freshly washed gym clothes. At least I got that right. A tender mercy.


8:45AM Big Daddy boss' boss dresses me down. I nod, I say "Yes sir", I could give a shit.

The day passes. It sucks. I drink too much diet Dr. Pepper.

3PM I call my dad to remind him my daughter has tutoring after school. We discuss what a long day this makes for her. I feel guilty. Damn you, Dyslexia. My dad says he'll pick her up at 4PM.

4PM My dad calls to tell me tutoring isn't over until 4:30. We talk again about her long day and that my son will be now be coming home while he is picking up my daughter. Acid guilt burns my throat.

5:30PM My dad calls to tell me he has dropped my daughter at soccer. I sprint to the parking garage for the commute home.

5:45PM I call my son to check on his day, his homework load, and tell him I love him.

6:15PM I hit Taco Bell to grab dinner for my daughter. I wolf down a Burrito Supreme with extra sour cream.

6:30PM I pick my daughter up from soccer, she eats her quessadilla, and changes her shoes in the back seat.

6:45PM My daughter and I arrive at her basketball practice. The next hour is spent listening to two women discuss a third woman who has not "organized a single thing for the PTA, like ever." I hate them.

7:50PM My daughter and I arrive home. My son is practicing his saxophone. He's doing a pretty good "Smoke on the Water". My daughter hits the shower, my son and I attack Social Studies.

8:30PM My son gets in the shower and my daughter and I review the sound "wh". Whatever.

9PM My husband arrives home and makes the mistake of asking about my day. I try hard not to complain and leave it on the keyboard. Major FAIL.

God's mercy is new everyday.

I want that to be true.

Political MMQ

My faith in CNN as a legitimate news source was restored last week with Lou Dobbs' "resignation". Mr. Dobbs has a right to his opinions no matter how incendiary, racist, or xenophobic they may be. However, opinions like this have no place on a serious news channel without the appropriate disclaimer that they are just that, opinions, and not fact. Thankfully, the executives at CNN have not forgotten this nor what journalistic responsibility to the public entails. Fox News executives would do well to pay attention.

And, of course, no one makes Dobbs' departure more fun than Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lou Dobbs Goes Rogue
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To The Fan of My Sister

Dear Googler of "When is Audrey Easley's Birthday",

You can find Audrey at her website by clicking here. She has a contact button and if she wishes for you to know her birthday, I'm sure she'll respond right away.

As an alternative, you could continue to keep up with Stepford Stories. I am sure I will be compelled to wish my sister a "Happy Birthday" sometime soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

(Not) Wordless Wednesday

This is Republican Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma.

The same Senator Coburn who has voted for every single Iraq funding bill that has been presented to him in the Senate.

Not one of those war funding bills contained provisions that paid for the expenditures that were authorized thereunder.

This is Ed Edmondson shaking hands with Senator Harry Reid from Nevada.

Mr. Edmonson's son, U.S. Army Specialist Eric Edmondson, is seated in the wheel chair.

Mr. Edmonson and his wife serve as their son's caregivers since he was injured in an IED attack in Iraq four years ago.

Senator Coburn is single handedly holding up the passage of a bill designed to help veterans and family caregivers of the seriously wounded.

Senator Coburn says he is doing so because the bill does not contain provisions that pay for the bill's expenditures.

Apparently, Senator Coburn thinks it is okay to vote for a bill containing no provision to pay for it if it sends our service people into harm's way, but not for one that would provide for their care if they return injured.

Happy Veteran's Day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Political MMQ

Voltaire said, "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

This is a tough quote for me. I like perfect. I seldom achieve it, but I like it. I desire it. I'm hard-headed, stubborn, and will fight for it.

However, what we need most as a nation at this moment is not a perfect health care bill. We really don't even need a particularly good one. What we need is a bill. A start. A beginning. A first step that if never taken will prevent the eventual passing of a better bill. A good bill. And maybe, one day, the near perfect bill that will provide true universal health care.

This bill is not the ending, but a beginning.

I celebrate today, not because we have won this fight, but because we have finally begun to fight.

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