"Things that interfere with writing well: Earning a living, especially by teaching."

-William H. Gass

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

requisite "year in review" blog

Despite my lifelong battle with being quite ordinary, I'm going to do the banal, trite, ordinary "year in review" blog. Rather than the ever-tempting top 20 of 2008, though, I'm going to shoot for a stream-of-consciousness-brain-fart sort of thing. Let's see if you can make sense of it. It was a pretty crazy year.

2008 begins and I'm having an allergic reaction right next to the stack of espresso pods and people are expecting more champagne and dessert but fuck them and fuck their dessert and while I'm at it fuck waitressing I have a master's degree how could this happen well it seems like it isn't turning respiratory so I guess the pills are working and at least there's a cute boy waiting for me somewhere ok he's not waiting for me but I'm going there anyway the drunk drivers aren't too bad this year and his blankets are scratchy but warm January: month of total chaos last state of the union by that miserable war criminal prick I'll just read the blogs I can't stand to hear him talk Richard Rothstein says NCLB is dead in the water mild rejoicing at edaction February: stupid god damn giants ruin everything and my mother doesn't understand the concept of time zones nayad meets a man and goes to church which makes us all quite suspicious SUPER TUESDAY no dennis but barack okay and the NSA gets away with a bunch of bullshit spying state of the police state? March: Peace out Huckabee and your crazy Jesus horse! I go to an Ambassador's mansion and eat caviar with people who frighten me terribly hatred of the wealthy reaffirmed I still live in their neighborhood in a house full of crazy and also wonderful friends California sends word that my old love is heading back home, some unconscious gate cracks open April: I'm a fool, for sure, but the girls at edaction and I keep trying to save public education how ridiculous meanwhile we're starting to ignore the newscasters when they tell us people are dying in Iraq people die in Iraq everyday and so it musn't be news... May: things fall apart and come together at the same time my community organizer job sends me to a terrible conference lots of talking and very little doing but none of it matters much when I walk the same little circle out in Boston Common and fall stupid in love with the same guy I always fall stupid in love with over and over June: BABYPROOFED victory sweet victory I stay in bed for many hours afterward and feel a kind of relief that defies description, then I eat sushi and watch tennis on tv July: Venus, Serena, offshore oil drilling, impeach (go Dennis!) but it's the summer of BIKES I take my newly acquired ability to the streets and knock on wood don't get hit by any cars, move my stuff, again August: Obsessively watch the DNC coverage, China decides air pollution is worth fixing for photo ops, back to school but not before a camping trip, canoes on a pond and wonderfully terrible cups of coffee the smell of trees and dying fires, far away Georgia and Russia reopen wounds and Mark David Chapman still in jail John Lennon still dead September: Move my stuff, again, to our new place we're finally home, together, only took like 9 years, Sarah Palin shocks the world with just how dumb she is, my first ever Hub on Wheels and then school school school October: DEBATES, American taxpayers dole out 700 billion dollars so that wall street big wigs can still go on vacation and housing prices continue to fall people are forced from their homes, meanwhile we go to Maine easternmost point in the US take pictures of boats drink strong coffee long drive back grading papers in the passenger's seat Jean home from Korea, briefly November: day before the election students say they'll "kill themselves" if barack doesn't win, but weeks of knotty stomachs worth every second our 44th president wins and everybody feels alright, for a minute, about being American, I turn 28 and Bill makes everyone jealous with his roses December: Snow, finally snow sweaters ice scrapers school cancelled three straight days Bill turns 30 skis down mountains but I prefer the fireplace and old, crappy movies family family family and finally a chance to take a nap 2008 the year I got my way good bye idiot president hello handsome brilliant awesome president (we hope) and hello hello hello baby proofed body and the body it sleeps next to every night and misses all day long.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


If anyone knows how to make the formatting NOT look like shit go ahead and let me know. Sorry about the last blog's quote looking so weird...blogger is dumb. (The question of whether I am referring to myself the blogger or blogger.com is yours to enjoy.)


The best thing about being a teacher in New England is not the proximity to so many great institutions of higher learning where you may build your content knowledge and wear tweed. Nor is it the apple picking field trip, the general lack of environmental disasters, the ability to spew left wing rhetoric at your students without a single complaint.... no no. It is your governor on the radio, a full evening ahead of you, telling you to sit back, have a glass of wine, and just forget about going to work tomorrow.

The bliss ends there.

I hate to break this to all of you who are currently enjoying your reproductive rights, but the Bush administration has dealt a final blow to gender equality, human rights, etc. He hates that stuff!

I got this in the mail from my buddy Cecile Richards:

Minutes ago, President Bush's rule limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate reproductive health information when they visit a federally funded health care provider was made official. And, unfortunately, it will take a great deal of work to reverse it — starting today. Please help.

We knew this was coming, of course. With your help, we've been fighting it for months. The rule is clearly a parting gift from Bush to the anti-choice fringe that supported him all these years.

Now, anti-choice medical staff can withhold information about abortion, birth control, and sex education from their patients. Facilities that receive family planning funding, like Planned Parenthood, will have to certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control. For example, a doctor who opposes pre-marital sex could refuse to provide a prescription or even information about emergency contraception to an unmarried woman.

This is the most frightening thing I've heard in a long time. As if unwanted pregnancies weren't enough of a problem, it's going to get a hell of a lot harder for women to prevent them. Nay, it's going to get a hell of a lot harder to even get INFORMATION about BIRTH CONTROL. What?! Beyond that, this will disproportionately affect women with limited access to information (poor women, English language learners, you know, the vulnerable people who Bush loves to shit on.)

I debate this issue with my students all the time. Many of these girls have been, as it were, totally snowed. They learned to believe, at some point very early in their lives, that getting pregnant is a sacred gift from god and...well I'll put this in their words:

"If you open your legs, you have to pay the price."

Three things:

1. How sad to be the child whose entire life is payment for something the mother eternally regrets.

2. How much sadder to be the girl who has been so beaten down by society that she actually believes not only that she is powerless, but that she should be.

3. Okay, so you believe "life is sacred" - but should you really advocate for those beliefs to be legislated? Because the people who are stirring this pot you're in don't give a flying poop about life being sacred (or at least not military prisoners or Iraqi citizens or death row inmates...those lives aren't sacred). They want to keep power in the hands of men, and taking decision making power out of the hands of women is the quickest way to do that. The life is sacred thing is just a convenient slogan these power mongers capitalize on to advance their anti-woman, anti-parenting, anti-medical ethics, anti-American agenda.

What a great trick you've pulled, you murdering sexist bigot war criminal. I wish that shoe hit you right in the fucking smirk.