Thursday, September 25, 2008

You look nice from the back, honest

OMG! So much to write about, so little time. I have topics and ideas, but no way to actualize them. But sometimes an event of enormous magnitude comes along when one must throw caution, considerations of time and efficiency and all such matters away, and simply blog. That sort of event happened today. Life, at least professional life, will never be the same. And I have a responsibility to bring this to public attention, well at least to those three people who occasionally read my blog.

I have this uncanny ability to channel out life around me. I walk to our super-duper new printer, for a water refill, or simply take a short stroll around the office, and on the way to my destination I completely zone out. Until something catches my attention. Today that destination was lady's bathroom. On the way there, however, I had to pass men's bathroom. The genius who designed it made a little quirk in the layout. Every time the door opens, the person passing by sees the back of every single man standing at the urinals. So today on my way to the bathroom, the door opened, and who do I see attending to his call of nature? Our esteemed CFO. I must've definitely made a grimace of pain and horror as I looked away ... only to come face to face with the CFO's #1 (the boss of my boss's boss). He saw the face that I made and must've thought, "What the heck had she seen there? And was it really that disgusting?"

Truth is, I saw nothing but the number of fully clothed male backs; however, that was enough. I have complained to our facilities head, but he said that I am the only one to complain about the men's bathroom layout. Which brings me to several suspicions.

1. My male co-workers are exhibitionists.
2. My female co-workers are voyeurs.
2. The head of the facilities thinks I am a peeping Tom, was caught by someone in the act and to look innocent concocted the story about faulty layout. BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE HAD COMPLAINED. EVER.
4. These things happen to me on a regular basis, and they happen only to me.
5. Why, G-d, why????

Which reminds me about another bathroom story, but that's for another time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I am a woman, hear me roar

Finally, I got the blogging fever back. Once again, so much to write about, so little time! I have topics in various areas: from kids' latest antics to politics (yes, politics) to fat entertainers. What shall it be today? Hmmm....

I guess politics. I know I promised to stay away from the topic, but some things just need to be said.

Call me any name you want, but I was relieved when Hillary left the race. The main reason was not because I very much dislike the woman, but because I finally could get a break from stupid polls and election coverage that were centered around female voters. Again, I am not opposed to women voters getting special coverage. On the contrary, we make up around 50% of voters, so if Hispanic and black voters get special coverage, so should we. What I didn't appreciate was media's assumption that we,women, are so fed up with government predominantly made up of males, that we have been waiting for a fellow female so long to lead us and the rest of the country that we would vote for any woman as long as she is a woman. I was getting so annoyed with the coverage of Southern states during democratic primaries - how will the black women in those states vote? special report from a beauty salon - that I stopped following for a while.

I find this attitude extremely insulting. Look at the Democratic primaries with the whole business of Obama vs. Clinton. The assumptions made by media were very clear: we need not concern ourselves with white males because they are all Republicans any way. White women will vote for Hillary - but of course! She is a woman, and that makes her a worthy enough candidate for anyone missing Y chromosome! Black males and minorities will of course support Obama (for the same reason women would support Hillary). So the only people who will have to make any tough decisions were black women - on the one hand women, on the other hand black. What would they do? Should they consult their hairdresser? How insulting is this? And how dumb?

Then Hillary was out of the race, and for a few months we were not exposed to this stupidity. Then again, McCain had to pick Sarah Palin, and the whole thing started all over again. Over and over I see CNN articles with titles about women of Alaska being divided over Palin's nomination, women this, women that. What about males, after all they make up another 50% of the voters, for goodness sake! And believe it or not, some women actually CAN see past the candidate's gender. I know, un-freaking-believable, women actually have brains, not only vag-----s. Who would've thought?

And honestly, I have seen a lot stronger reactions from men than from women to Palin becoming McCain's running mate. The reactions were different, from intelligent ("I can't believe he picked someone with no real experience") to dumb ("That was such a low blow to Democrats") to completely asinine ("It would be so cool to have a hot VP") . But honestly, in my experience men were a lot more vocal. So why don't they get a special coverage too? Or does having a Y chromosome makes one ineligible for anything special? Because honestly, that would be sexist, right?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quote of the month

OK, so it is a bit belated, but there, I found the quote I have been searching for to replace my old favorite about candidates making me sick. I love it so much because it is hilarious in the original context, and taken out of that context it is also rather witty. But what I love the best about this quote is that it so perfectly fits almost every situation in life: it could be applied to work, marriage, child rearing and life as a whole.

So there, the quote of September, courtesy of The Office writers:

"I used to play it over in my head, and it was just a little bit different. ... I always imagined less manure. I mean, some manure, just less." Jim Halpert

P.S. On the second thought, I have decided to leave the candidates quote in. Still relevant. Still funny.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things political

I received a call today from a woman conducting a poll for Time magazine. They had asked me some questions: who would I vote for, what are my views on various issues, mainly what I think about Sarah Palin, etc, etc, etc., which made me think that I should probably address this on my blog. As a rule, I avoid talking about politics at work, with my friends and on the blogosphere. The chances of persuading anyone are close to zero, but there is a real danger of getting into a fight or alienating someone. If I am asked directly, I don't avoid answering, but generally I do not initiate these discussion.

However, some things have been brewing for a while, and after all, this is an election year. So I will say a few things and probably will not touch on that subject again.

Most of my answers to most of the political questions and issues could be summarized in one word: undecided. I personally don't think it's a cop-out. I just find that most issues are not black and white, and a simple yes or no would not suffice in solving them. So I came up with a few topics, which I will discuss here and why I haven't made up my mind yet. And then, hopefully, I will hold my peace.

Are you a Democrat or a Republican? Neither. Both parties disgust me to no end, and if there were another party I could agree with (no, Green Party will not do), I would gladly support them. I find that both parties hold positions that are phylosophically incompatible with each other (i.e. Republicans are pro-Capital punishment, but generally anti-euthanasia. By the way, I do not support euthanasia). Those inconsistencies in their views could only be explained by one thing: who is footing the bill. As they say in Russia: the one who pays orders the music. So basically, I believe both parties have sold out long ago.

Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Again, neither. I do not believe that a woman (or a man) is free to do whatever she wishes with her body. "My body, my choice" carries little weight with me. Abortion in most cases is preventable, unnecessary and evil. In most, but not all. On the other hand, how do you compel a woman to carry a child that she doesn't want? How do you force her to give up activities dangerous for a fetus for the next 8 months of so? Does a woman with complicated pregnancy, little means and without health insurance really have a choice? What constitutes danger to a woman's life? I don't trust the government to come up with fair guidelines.

Universal health insurance. I am very much pro. I would love to see every American guaranteed to receive medical care without the worry of affordability. It disgusts me to no end that often times important medical decisions are based solely or mainly on financial means of a patient. It is absolutely unfathomable to me that someone would not get proper and necessary medication because it is not affordable or not covered by a health insurance. Then again, countries with universal health coverage are not without their problems. When the government foots the bill, it is forced to ration out the medical care. Everyone knows that getting a mammogram in Canada takes months. Yes, it doesn't cost anything, but it takes months. Those months could mean the difference between life and death, saving or losing the breast; you get the gist.

The war in Iraq? I don't know what to think any more. However, I am sure that we were not given all the reason for our involvement there, and the chances are we will never find out. I find it particularly insulting that the government thinks the average American cannot handle the truth.

Obama or McCain? What do you think about Sarah Palin? Don't ask me those questions. I haven't decided. I am not excited about either candidate, and I haven't formed an opinion on Sarah Palin yet. All I know is that with her coming back to work the day after giving birth makes me look bad. And I don't like that. That's the only thing I know for sure...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things are different today.

This is the list of things that I didn't think I would ever miss. Then I had kids. I don't particularly miss not having responsibilities, not being able to take adult vacation, go out on a whim or have a conversation on the phone before kids are off to bed. It's the simpler things in life that I crave. But once again, no regrets.

1. Not having to put all things valuable/fragile/deserving not to be destroyed on high shelves.

2. Getting dressed without a bunch of wild children bursting into my bedroom offering their help.

3. Sleeping in the middle of the bed.

4. Having consistently dry and clean bedding.

5. Uninterrupted sleep. Every night. For 20 years. Hard to believe, eh?

6. Eating without having anyone on my lap.

7. Living with only negligible amount of guilt.

8. Sleeping in late on the weekend.

9. An afternoon with a good book.

10. Going to the bathroom unaccompanied.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Update on kids

Recently I just can't find time to blog as much as I used to. Lunch at work is almost a luxury, and at home there simply isn't a free minute. Truth is, when there is such a minute, lately I prefer turning in early. My 30th birthday is approaching, and I guess the signs of old age are already showing. The funniest thing is that when I posted two or three posts per week, I couldn't wait to post something else. I thought I would be bursting at the seams with all the different topics. And at the beginning I was. But I guess the withdrawal phase is completed, and I frequently find myself wondering what to write about.

Well, there's always a rather cute topic of my kids. They are very reliable and always manage to do something post-worthy. So here are just a few episodes that occurred recently.

1. Yesterday my parent took the kids who were particularly wild. Now my parents are my heroes. I don't think I would've taken them in this condition voluntarily. When SubHub came to pick them up, he asked DS to kiss grandma and grandpa. My dad looked at SubHub and said, "Kiss? After everything he had done to us today, he has to marry us!" (Disclaimer: we do not marry our parent or grandparents, don't call social services.)

2. DD started school today. Let me clarify that. My first born, my little girl (don't tell her I called her "little"), my sweet princess is all grown up and is attending school. We had an orientation on Thursday, but that doesn't count. Today was really it, without mommy. And so far, thank Heavens, she likes it. She said school was so much fun! I am very happy she doesn't take after me. Changes were always hard for me. Well, back to DD. SubHub said that there were two girl in class who were crying when he came to pick up DD. When I mentioned it to Mom, she said, "I hope our little angel had nothing to do with those crying girls." I guess my kids earned quite a reputation with my parents.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation...

So we went on vacation with our kidlets. It was a short one - we left on Sunday and came back on Wednesday. SubHub wanted to go some place with lakes and trees and away from the city. So we went to Lake George. Overall we had a very nice time, but one theme kept on popping up that spoiled it a bit: how to entertain the kids. If we went alone, this vacation would've been just perfect. However, there wasn't much we could do with a three and a two year old. Some activities were too mature for them, some too long, some were just too expensive to justify the cost, and overall there weren't that many activities to begin with.

All of this reminded me the times when my parents, my brother and I used to go on vacation. Those weren't just three day getaways; ours were for 15 days (those damned Communists and their long vacations!). And I don't remember our parent wrecking their brains about what to do with us. Granted at that point we were older, and I, being three and half years older than my brother, could keep an eye on him, but still. This seems to be a common theme among many parents: how to entertain kids on vacation.

So what did we do during our two weeks vacations? We went to the beach with our parents. We also played cards and chess with them, read, and did some basic chores. At all other times, along with other kids, we were roaming the grounds of our so-called resort. And it didn't occur to anyone to keep a close eye on us. As long as we were back in time for dinner and not too dirty, all was fine. We had relative freedom, which was enjoyed by parents and children alike. Our freedom gave them freedom from worrying about how to occupy us during beach-free hours. Yes, we participated in mischief, scraped knees and got into fist fights, but no one seemed scarred for life. It was part of growing up.

Were our parents reckless? Did they not know about child molesters? I don't have answers to this. All my parents say now is: it's was a different time and a different country. So did people change? Or is it that the media brings so much spotlight on the horror stories that parents are simply afraid to leave kids unattended in their own backyards, let alone community playgrounds? Is it good for kids to have this much supervision and pretty much no freedom from parents' watchful eye? I think it's terrible.

But don't look for me to start the movement for bringing freedom for children. Because I'll be watching mine as a hawk, or least try my best. Still I crave those innocent times and feel sad that my kids won't experience them.