Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hang on Tight!

Oh, that’s right! I have a blog! I had almost forgotten. Actually that’s not true. I just haven’t been able to complete a whole sentence, either spoken or written. So I feel that I have much to tell you.

First, I never meant for this to be a politics blog. Who knew that I could get so caught up in all of it that I’d dedicate several posts to the subject? Or that I would meet so many new friends with different ideals than my own? Blogging indeed makes this a small world. But alas, the election is over and it’s time to put the Christmas tree away and wonder what we had ever had in the corner before this. It feels so empty now. A friend asked the other night, “So now what do we talk about?”

Exactly, it’s a good time to contemplate the future – including the future of this blog. When I started this site earlier this year, it was to give myself a place to put my thoughts, snippets and sound-bites of what goes through my mind. I thought that if I had a defined space and perhaps an audience to hold me accountable, I would make the time to formulize these thoughts into the written word. And reaching out to you and having you reach back, has been the most wonderful outcome.

I knew I wanted the blog to be about how I feel about my life and the players in it. I wanted to use At Home With Me to talk about all those things that I often talk to my friends about or wish that I could. With some posts, the words come easily. I am inspired by something I read or experience and create a post in short order. Mostly though, I struggle with the words. It can take hours, sometimes days, to craft a piece the way I want it to be or often, to only come up with a paragraph. Those are the subjects I most desperately want to write about but find it’s too difficult.

I’m still working out some details. I still haven’t figured out where I stand on the subject of anonymity. There are some subjects that I tend to avoid based on the idea of who might be reading it. I have invited some folks from my personal life to read but I still feel so shy about it. And because the readership is so small, I have considered giving up the blog entirely. But you have been so encouraging. You tell me I still have a voice and a story to tell. And I do. So I will. I thank you for your patience.

The past two weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I’ll feel perfectly fine one minute and then something will happen and I will hate everyone. My husband noted this about himself last week and I thought he was being overly dramatic. But now I know what he means. I’ll be singing to myself as I load the dishwasher and then see out the window that the neighbor’s lawn care crew has herded all the leaves from the neighbor’s yard into mine. I become an instant grouch. Today, this has been especially true. There have been several annoyances and finally, the conversation with the pediatrician’s nurse left me to lose it completely. I called and asked the Doctor to call me back so I could discuss a question of my son’s medication with him. I was told I needed to make an appointment because he doesn’t talk to people on the phone. I started to argue a bit and then I started to cry. “My entire family has been coming to this clinic for ten years now and you are telling me he doesn’t have time to speak with me unless I spend an hour in the waiting room first?!” She kindly said she would give him the message and maybe he will make an exception. (I can see the message – “Dr. Don’t Have Time, Please return hysterical mom’s phone call.”)

See what I mean? From perfectly happy to pit of despair in ten seconds or less – there is no in-between state of mind. The chiropractor broke up with me and told me we can see other people – Yay! Husband’s company sends out letter stating there may be no bonus this year – Doom and gloom! My mother-in-law sent fudge – Celebration! That bitch cut me off in car line again – Misery! And so forth…

All this craziness already! The holidays are right around the corner. There will be school events (three different kids means three different “Thanksgiving Feasts” on three different days), musical performances, field trips and then the Christmas parties. Then there is the fact that the kids are out of school almost two entire weeks before Christmas. Don't forget the birthdays. And there will be the traveling. I don’t think I’ve discussed here my love/hate relationship with traveling. We will leave that one for another day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where Susie Gets Taken Down a Peg or Two and This is Not a Political Post, Really

I was planning on blogging about the day after the election, with all its elation and hope, but I won’t. There are no words or spin to those words that I could write that have not been spoken or blogged already (it seems Green Girl and I are more like-minded than I initially thought). Anything that I can say would simply be old news.

So in lieu of describing the spring in my step, my smiles for strangers and my eagerness to share in the euphoria of our election results, I will tell you something that may surprise you. Not all my friends and acquaintances (even in the blogosphere) are Democrats. While you are gasping out loud, let me explain, because I was surprised too.

I was catching up on some reading today while I was thinking about how to blog about something other than politics. I came across a post written on Monday by a blogger I regularly read and who often comments here. It was a concession confession of sorts. It seems that she’s a closet Republican and she was posting about how she’s doesn’t fit the media-induced stereotype and won’t be happy with a Democrat in office. And I left what I thought was a respectful comment at the time about how brave she is for stating her thoughts even though there are people (like me) who disagree and isn’t it great that we can all get along despite our differences? Or something like that.

But once I hit the “post comment” button, I couldn’t help but feel like she had just pissed in my half-caf mocha latte. My elation was deflated. Of course she can write what she wants on her own blog – isn’t that the point of blogging? I really respect the fact that she did write that post because Lord knows; writing about politics can alienate your readership. I’d like to think that I am a better person and in riding the whole “We are United” feeling that both McCain and Obama infused in their speeches, I’d like to say that I’m OK with her having her own opinion. But I was surprised nonetheless.

My father’s racist jokes didn’t bring me down – I was prepared to hear them. There were a few Facebook comments from my more conservative acquaintances but these are people I know to lean more to the right. And I’m mildly curious as to why all the McCain yard signs have disappeared on my street, some before Tuesday even, because I couldn’t help but wonder, where is their loyalty? Even as we lectured our sons before school to be respectful to the people we know to be McCain supporters and not be all “Yes We Can” in their faces, I didn’t really consider that anyone out there might be feeling the same way I felt four years ago and four years before that. Because really, doesn’t everyone agree that this election ended in a rather exciting and awe-inspiring way? Are we not all enjoying the renewal of the American spirit?

So, yeah, I was surprised by the blogger’s post because I wasn’t prepared for her outing her party affiliation. And no, I don’t really think she was trying to ruin my fun. Judging by the other comments, I was the only reader who didn’t flat out agree with her. I don’t. It’s just a jolt to my self-absorbed psyche to find out that not everyone I like and have things in common with, admire even – have the same views as me. This was clear in the way that she wrote, “I hope they (the Democrats) don’t wreck the economy…” Um, because the economy is in such awesome shape now under the Republican watch? I may not be able to look at her quite the same way again. But will I go back to read her blog again? I hate myself for even asking.

She is simply exercising her First Amendment rights in stating one obvious difference in political views. In the simplest terms, Democrats think Republicans wreck everything and Democrats put it all back together and vice versa. Which is why Democrats are doing a happy dance right now (along with the rest of the free world) and Republicans are sneaking their yard signs into the trash under the cover of darkness.

So, I think my disappointment really stems from someone (and it just happened to be her) reminding me that not everyone is as happy about the returns as I am. I was forced to realize that it is pompous of me to assume otherwise. And maybe it’s just easier for a Democrat to feel this way, but right now, it shouldn’t matter whom you wanted to win. Right now, there is much work to be done and in the words of John McCain who said it so graciously and eloquently, disappointment is natural but our job now is to support our new president. Party lines are of little importance, really. No matter who has been voted into office, the work ahead affects us all. I said as much in my comment. I also said that my hope is that at least for now, the days of “it’s-us-against-them” politics are over.

And I hope they are.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Nail-Biting Finish

I haven't written about politics in awhile so now I have to ask: Have you voted yet?
Thanks to the convenience of early voting, I went last week. I would have rather waited until the 4th - the real Election Day. It felt a little unreal, a bit like opening Christmas presents early, but it was a matter of practicality. It was simply easier to go alone while the kids were in school rather than take them all with me and wait in line with them. And I'm glad I went alone because while I knew that I might get a little teary, I was surprised by the overwhelming surge of emotion as I placed my ballot in the machine.
I felt foolish as the tears streamed down my cheeks but not at all alone. This election feels monumental to me and guessing by the impressive voter turnout already, I know I'm not the only one. This is perhaps the most important election I will have participated in - ever. I'm not talking about the obvious historical impact since race has been a non-issue for me in this campaign. I'm talking about how casting my ballot was the last proactive step I could take to making change - change to make this country better for myself and my children. As I stood there feeding my ballot into the machine watching the number change from 40111 to 40112, I knew that my vote had been counted. Now all I can do is wait.
Some folks I know are hosting watch parties Tuesday evening. I am torn between wanting to be in the comfort of like-minded friends and wanting to be in the comfort of my own home as I nervously await election results. At the end of the day on Tuesday, the outcome (no matter how personal it feels to me) will be whatever it will be. I can not change it. I will either be happily filled with hope and optimism or I will be plotting my change in citizenship. Either way, come Wednesday morning, life will go on business as usual. Lunch boxes will have to be packed, laundry will have to washed, carpools will have to be driven. Eventually, we will find something else to discuss.
Until then, I feel both nauseous and hopeful. The finish line is in sight and I want to push to the other side quickly to get this part over with but at the same time, I want to keep savoring the possibilities. Once it is over, there will be no going back to this moment where it feels like anything can happen.
How will you spend the next two days? Will you seek the company of your political peers or will you sit in front of the television coverage, biting your nails?

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