Thursday, February 14, 2008


This is what democracy looks like.
Dozens of classic yellow post-it notes tracking votes or maybe pledges. A woman with a baby on her back ticks names off a sign in sheet. She writes, scratches, counts and writes again. One sticky on top another, lining the ones, tens, hundreds columns. She counts in her head, on her fingers. It's Obama 4:1 and the baby doesn't cry.

But what about experience? And all that was swept under the rug? It's the health care plan. Remember the economic boom, budget surplus? Who can beat McCain?We're ready for change. The end of the war. Pro choice. Tell me why.

My neighbors talk. Argue. Implore. I look for the 6 who held who held our precinct for last election cycle. Are they glad to have our company? Do they puzzle why we left them, alone, to determine the second WBush challenger? Do they fault us, blame themselves?

There'd be more conversation. Maybe answers and surely tears. But the elementary school is filled. Beyond capacity. In violation of fire codes. The line outside circles the block. We're running out of sign in sheets. There aren't enough chairs. The babies will grow tired and the sticky won't hold my vote to the clip board forever. We've exceeded the space allocated our democracy. After pledging the flag, naming a candidate, and possibly making a donation to the party, we are welcome to leave.

I drag my feet. It's a flawed system of broken pencils and too few volunteers. A charming, near hypnotic chaos with errors more personal, more public, more likely to be corrected, than those of the machines,.

(I suppose lack of timeliness is just one of the issues preventing my successful career in journalism. Happy Valentine's Day!)

Monday, February 11, 2008


We haven't visited Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War at MOHAI, but Brad's thinking of taking the kids to living history day this Saturday. And we've all been learning a bit more about the war between the states. Aslin's learned to pronounce "Ulysses" and Ukiah finds it ironic that it was the northern republicans who advocated emancipation. We've been reading about the underlying labor and class struggles, the proposal that Union draftees could opt out of service for a $300 fee, and the power of individual states.

Our day would have continued with readings of the Gettysburg Address, but the Devo dvd couldn't be renewed. And I just paid $34 to clear our library fines. So, we turned our attention to August 17, 1980, the Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma, CA for lessons in the genius that is DEVO. The republicans were an entirely different breed by then- frightening, angering and motivating art-school kids across the nation.

I sing just a little too loud and we pause Jocko Homo for philosophical discussion on the evolution/de-evolution of society, government, industry and culture.
And today, I love homeschooling.

Freedom of Choice

by Devo
A victim of collision on the open sea
Nobody ever said that life was free
Sank, swam, go down with the ship
But use your freedom of choice

Ill say it again in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Your freedom of choice

In ancient rome there was a poem
About a dog who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom of choice!

Then if you got it you dont want it
Seems to be the rule of thumb
Dont be tricked by what you see
You got two ways to go

Ill say it again in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Freedom of choice...

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want

Saturday, February 09, 2008

today on craigslist

Ten hour days, six days a week, June-October.
I think I could do it.
Do you suppose they'd welcome the kids too?


Polls in all but Alaska were closed Super Tuesday when I over overheard Aslin on the phone with my mom.

"I think they should buddy-up."

She went on with her wise words, no doubt exciting my mom with her political insight on the potential of a Clinton/Obama, Obama/Clinton ticket.

Ukiah's holding judgment, unsure who might make the better leader, but assuring all that Obama is an impressive speaker. Aslin chimes in that she shook his hand.

We'll take them to caucus with us today. I'll excuse myself a little early and head for an equally lively event, the bride wrangler dress summit.

It's no help with the dress questions, but the fine folks at Fuse walk you right through the caucus process. Thanks to the homeschool folks for continuing to share great resources.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

big ideas

Aslin- Empathic Clown
Nora- Motivational Lipstick
Brad- Alien Vacation
Ukiah- Sport-Utility Vacuum

Three cheers for Cheap Ass Games!

With Monolopy money, Pokemon and Magic counters, pennies and nickels, and the ability to lobby endlessly, we've been enjoying our newest game. The day I draw "organic" and "paradise" in the same hand, is the day I invest heavily and bring in the 12-sided die.

Monday, February 04, 2008

that's better

Shelved between roughly 3 dozen cookbooks, file folders marked with chocolate finger prints and olive oil gather dust. It's not because the magazine clippings and hand copied recipes are disorganized, never alphabetized into a binder, that I ignore their content.

Maybe I'd find an identical cookie recipe in our ancient copy of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, but I bypass what I vaguely remember as tried and true as well as the would be better ifs. I know I should, I make mental notes to, teach my kids to- but I rarely make notes in the margins of my own cookbook. And since I don't remember if adding an extra 1/2 cup water or using roasted rather then fresh garlic would have improved the recipe, I trust the stories and suggestions of strangers.
  • "Perfect texture."
  • "We took these to a party and then ate the rest for breakfast. Easy and delicious"
  • "These were exactly what a snickerdoodle should be. I substituted 3 tsp baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda, and they still turned out beautifully - great texture. I'll probably add a bit of vanilla when I make them again."
Thanks RecipeZaar.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

note to self

When thinking of making snickerdoodles, really wanting homemade cookies and the extra warmth the oven provides, cream of tartar is essential.

When neither you nor your neighbors have any, do not attempt to satisfy the cookie urge with leftover beets. Even chioggias disappoint.

With a little notice, the baking fairy at flour power can meet all sweet tooth needs!