nonBlog — September 2008

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Let’s Talk About Office Matelection—Monday, September 15, 2008

Helaine and I are reading at the Ferry Building Book Passage tomorrow (6pm—be there or be square!), so we are guest bloggers on their site this week. The only problem is, I am having a hard time talking or even thinking about the book. Every other thought that crosses my tiny mind is about the election. My interior monologue looks something like this:
“Gotta get groceries for dinner tonight God Palin is so scary Did I schedule a shadow visit at the International School for Olivia? Hispanic voters can’t really be falling for this What should I wear to the reading tomorrow? If we lose another one I’ll have to leave the country Gotta think of an ending for my This American Life pitch Do most voters really want four more years of this horror show?
I am glad I am not Tom. I would not want to be my husband, trying to communicate with someone who is in a constant state of rising panic.
So when Helaine made her contribution to the Book Passage blog today and couldn’t manage to get through her discussion of office romance without slamming preachy McCain for romancing his current wife while being married to his first wife, I thought, “Good. It’s not just me.”


I Read the Entire Sunday New York Times This Morning—Monday, September 8, 2008

I realize for most people the above would not actually be headline-making material, but for me it is. I just read the entire NYTimes for the first time in about two years. Reading a whole issue of the NYTimes has long been a goal of mine, and today I accomplished it.
That is because I am taking the fall off. Ish. My friends think it’s very funny that I consider this fall to be “time off,” considering that I am the mother of three girls, one of whom is going through the very demanding process of applying to high schools and one of whom is only 3. And that taking care of them and the house and our lives and “only” being on two committees at the big kids’ school and writing the occasional article can be considered taking time off. But for me it is, and it is an enormous step.
How enormous? Well, after my father died during what was supposed to be the last week of my book’s publicity tour, I continued to work so hard that I was doing radio interviews from his memorial. I handed in stories and volunteered some time at this cool new web site I wanted to work for and marveled at the level of my grief and anger after his death, which I thought I had prepared for. Everyone around me said I needed some down time, and for once I agreed with them. So I cleared three full weeks from my calendar in May. No deadlines, no book publicity, nada. And the Friday before the three weeks were to begin, the founder of the web site—— offered me the job.
I thought, this is really weird. It felt like the Giant Hand was reaching down to wave at me. FieldReport wanted me to work full time for three weeks, until its beta launch, and then work half time thereafter. Come on. Why would I be offered a job to work full time for three weeks when I had just cleared three weeks in my calendar unless I was supposed to accept the job? I had asked for the job. And yes, I was very weary and very grieving. But I took the job anyway.
But like all web site launches, nothing went quite according to plan. As simple a site as FieldReport appears to be, its ranking engine has enormous programming behind it, and it took longer to build than expected. The launch was postponed once, twice, three times. I continued to work full time. I thought, Well, I didn’t get my three weeks off. But our three-week house swap in Bishop, California, is scheduled for July and I’ll get to rest then. The next date for our public launch was set for July 1st, and Tom and the kids and the dog and I were heading to Bishop on July 7th.
The launch was postponed until July 2nd, then July 9th. The site went public on July 16th. I worked full time during the entire vacation. When we went to Death Valley for a long weekend at the end of our trip, I had to take the weekend off, forgetting that people are supposed to get weekends “off.” That’s how the work week works.
Heading back home from Death Valley, we decided to visit a close friend of Tom’s and his new bride. They fed us and plied us with lemonade for the entire afternoon while I told Joe my story, including the part about the Giant Hand. “Stephanie,” he said sweetly, “sometimes when the Giant Hand reaches out to give you a signal, it’s the finger. It’s a test, and you’re supposed to say no.”
So I went back to FieldReport and told them I needed to take the fall off, and they were very understanding about the whole thing. My work load came to a screaming halt, and my body didn’t know what to do with all the excess adrenaline I’ve been using as fuel for the last two years. It has taken about two weeks to get rid of it all. Suddenly, I’m falling asleep at 10pm like I used to, and waking up feeling refreshed. I’m taking yoga classes, and my mind actually quiets down. I’m confronting the truly scary pile of undone life on my desk, and reading the 400-some emails I’ve been neglecting. And the newspaper. Now that I know what’s going on in the world, though, it’ll be hard not to write about it. Maybe I can pitch a story to my editor at O Magazine without getting in too deep….


Oops, I Wrote About Abortion Again—Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

I just couldn’t help it. I know it’s not a fun topic, but I was monitoring all the bizarre and soapy tidbits about Sarah Palin yesterday and I just had to ask: Why is abortion so much worse than becoming a teenage mother?
So I posted this story on The Huffington Post today called, “So Sarah Palin Outranks Me on the Morality Scale?” Because really. I am so deeply sick of buying into this Republican view that it’s “conservative” to have unprotected sex as a teenager so long as you have the baby and marry the boy. That’s not “conservative.” It’s idiotic.
I know Republicans think that a woman like me, who had an abortion in college, counts as a murdering liberal. But let’s examine my choices. Even though I had a steady boyfriend from tenth grade through twelfth, I waited until college to have sex. Gee, that sounds conservative. I waited until I was nearly 19 before losing my virginity to a guy I was madly in love with. Kinda conservative. I used a diaphragm. Oh dear, that’s a little liberal. I got pregnant anyway, and had an abortion. Beelzebub.
I say, if you know you’ll have the baby if you have an accidental pregnancy, don’t have sex until you’re ready to become a mother. Go ahead, be the conservative you say you are. Adopt conservative behaviors. Wait until marriage. I have no problem with it. But don’t call Sarah “two generations of out-of-wedlock pregnancies” Palin conservative.



New, or Practically New

  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.