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Archive for March, 2010

I’m a big … what?

By now, you’ve all read about V.P. Joe Biden’s, um, colorful commentary to the President at the health care bill signing ceremony on Tuesday.  If you haven’t, well, you really need to learn about TV and the Internet.  But I will bore us all with a mini recap so we’re all on the same page.

Biden’s speech at the start of the ceremony went sorta like this:  I love Barack Obama.  Obama is great.  This reform legislation is amazing.  I love this legislation.  And I love Barack Obama for bringing on this amazing legislation, which I also love.

Okay, it was much more heartfelt than that.  Let’s face it – Joe does not fear showing his emotions.  And I certainly got swept up in the moment.  I mean, you really don’t work on legislation of this scope and caliber very often.  To have played even the teeny tiny roll I played made feel feel all warm and gooey inside.  And it’s not just because CoCo is engaging in what can only be described as an epic battle for the survival of humanity inside my abdomen.

Anyway, as Biden and the President embraced, Biden was caught on his mic saying:  This is a big fucking deal!

Yes, Mr. Vice President, it is indeed.

So that night, AM, CO, HC, and I made the trek out to Two Amy’s pizza in Cleveland Park to round out our pizza tasting before I never want to eat pizza again.  For the record, it was delicious.  My only complaint is that either the knives aren’t sharp enough to cut the pizza, or something happens to the crust as it sits waiting to be devoured that makes it impossible to cut.  Either way, I don’t care for that.  And, turns out, I forgot about Comet something or other, also in Cleveland Park.  So the pizza eating must continue.

But I digress.

As we were driving up to the restaurant, CO told us about the Spanish-language reporting of Biden’s comment.  CO said that, as “fucking” in this usage does not have a clear Spanish translation, the press quoted Biden this way:  Esto es algo de puta madre.

So I’ve heard “puta madre” before, and it really doesn’t mean “fucking” in the English sense.  CO agreed, explaining that it literally means “mother of
all whores.”

Okay, so the bill is a big fucking deal.  But the mother of all whores?  I don’t think so.  Also, might this be a negative interpretation of Biden’s view?

Well, no, CO explained.  “The truth is that ‘puta’ is modifying ‘madre’ and not the other way around, which is why people think ‘motherfucker’ is more
appropriate.”

Again, the bill is a big fucking deal.  To call it a big motherfucker is not exactly capturing Biden’s sentiment.  At least, not in it’s English to Spanish to English translation.

Ever diligent, CO directed us to a Wikipedia entry explaining the translation issue.

Puta madre (literally “whore or fucking mother”) [de puta madre is an expression used in Spain, Mexico, Peru and Chile], on the other hand, while vulgar, can also be a term of praise, (me siento de puta madre, for example can be translated as “I feel motherfucking great”).  So, the use of puta madre is comparable to how “motherfucker” can be used positively in English, although more uniformly positive: Escribe como la puta madre (in Spain: escribe de puta madre) might be rendered “He writes motherfuckin’ great”; es una tía de puta madre can mean “she’s an awesome chick”.

Okay, I stand corrected.  This bill is a puta madre!

P.S. – When my mother said I should be speaking Spanish to CoCo, I’m not sure that this is what she had in mind.

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A moral, civil rights issue
By: Rep. Patrick Kennedy
March 25, 2010 05:28 AM EDT
‘No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor [his] memory than the earliest possible passage of the [bill] for which he fought so long. … His heart and his soul are in this bill.”

These words are from a speech made at one of those critical moments in our nation’s history when the character of our country was at stake. In a divided America, the public rhetoric was so filled with vitriol that it belied the fact that all of us in public office share a common desire to do what is best for this country. A vocal minority used every dilatory tactic at its disposal to frustrate the will of the majority of the American people.

While the above quotation could easily refer to my father, and the context could easily describe the health care debate, those words were, in fact, spoken by my father on the Senate floor, as he rose to honor his brother, President John F. Kennedy, during the debate on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The parallels between the struggle for civil rights and the fight to make quality, affordable health care accessible to all Americans are significant. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

My father always viewed health care in the context of civil rights.

Day in and day out, up close and often very personal, at home in Massachusetts and later here in Congress, on the trips we took to many different parts of the country, I saw him fight to make the dream of health care for all come true.

Whenever my siblings and I were ill, we knew that we had the good fortune to have a father who would make sure we received the best care. But as we recovered, it would be a painful reminder of the many millions of American sons and daughters who had little or no hope of getting anywhere near the quality of care we had. Because they lived in a country that locked and bolted the door against them.

My dad’s commitment to fight for those children as hard as he fought for us ingrained in me the understanding that we have to challenge the status quo. We learned from him that, in America, we could — and should — do better.

One telling aspect of health care, when it is compared with civil rights, is that the most vulnerable Americans are not those living at the edges of our society, for our poor have Medicaid, and our elderly have Medicare. It is the great middle class that is overlooked and ignored.

Like the civil rights legislation, some have called health care reform a government takeover or a government intrusion into personal life. But extending access to quality, affordable health care to all Americans is no less than the expansion of the principle of equal opportunity on which this nation was founded. It moves us closer to the ideals on which this country has thrived.

Shortly after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a popular Republican politician warned, “Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

The grim prophecies of Ronald Reagan, and those who shared his concerns, never materialized.

Instead, today it is unquestioned that the color of one’s skin or the context of one’s birth has no bearing on the opportunity to succeed in our society. That is because of the Civil Rights Act.

With the vote of the House on Sunday and the signature of the president on Tuesday, we have similarly brought a fundamental shift to how our country views the delivery of health care.

My father’s efforts — from Medicare to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, from the Americans With Disabilities Act to Community Health Centers — were driven by his belief that the amount and quality of care that people receive should not be a function of their income. It is appalling and inexplicable that we are the only major industrialized nation in the world that does not have a national health service or national health insurance.

Health care is not only a civil rights issue. It is a moral issue. It is about the content of the character of our country. Now, the onus is on the U.S. Senate, that institution my father so dearly loved, to pass the Reconciliation Act and complete the great unfinished business of our society.

Patrick Kennedy is a Democratic member of Congress from Rhode Island.

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Harry Potter

Is it wrong that I want to go to this new amusement park?  It seems wrong.  But I really want to go.

NYTIMES

March 25, 2010

Harry Potter Park to Open In June In Orlando

By REUTERS

Filed at 10:36 a.m. ET

ORLANDO (Reuters) – The ride just got wilder for Harry Potter fans waiting for the next big spin on the best-selling books and blockbuster movies.

Universal Orlando announced on Thursday the opening date of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — June 18 — and provided new details on the park’s major rides.

The 20-acre (8-hectare) Harry Potter park-within-a-park is based on the fantasy novels by British author J.K. Rowling. Though the park has been in development for over five years, details, including the opening date, have been tightly held since the project was announced in 2007.

The company has begun selling Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation packages. Four-night packages, which include an on-site hotel room, park tickets and various amenities, start at $645 per adult or $1,548 for a family of four.

Mark Woodbury, head of Universal Creative, said in September the Wizarding World scenery, attractions and souvenirs would be faithful to Rowling’s seven-book series. The books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and spawned a movie franchise that has earned billions of dollars.

Visitors will be able to sample butter beer and pumpkin juice at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant, relax in the Owlery and be fitted for their own magical wand in Ollivander’s Wand Shop, all familiar landmarks in the Harry Potter world.

Universal’s website gave new details of the park’s major rides on Thursday.

The signature ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” starts in Hogwart’s Castle and will run through Professor Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room and the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom.

The ride then soars over the castle grounds and bring fans face-to-face with creatures such as the Hungarian Horntail, a giant Acromantula, Dementors and the gigantic Whomping Willow.

A second ride, Dragon Challenge, an intense dual roller coaster, will provide guests with a view of the Goblet of Fire and the Triwizard Cup. Guests will choose their dragon and ride through what the website calls “an intense aerial chase” in which the dragons seem to twist, loop and nearly collide.

A family ride, Flight of the Hippogriff, will take guests past Hagrid’s hut. On their way to the ride, guests will be instructed on the proper way to approach a Hippogriff, Rowling’s magical creature with the head, wings and front legs of a giant eagle and body, hind legs and tail of a horse.

Universal Orlando is owned by the Blackstone Group and NBC Universal, which is part of General Electric.

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DC Pizza

With this pregnancy, I have eaten more pizza than I’ve eaten since high school.  It’s gross, but it’s what my Dark Passenger wants.

For a long, long time, getting pizza in DC was a real disappointment.  But that has changed. … Or my taste buds have changed.

Anyhoo, if you want decent pizza in DC, check out these spots:

Al’s Pizzeria – Located on East Capitol and 14th NE, Al’s makes a decent plain pizza.  However, DO NOT get the wheat crust.  Not good.  Also, DO NOT try to get fancy and get veggie toppings.  You will be disappointed.  Also, when you call to order a pizza for delivery, DO NOT ask for a “large pie.”  This will bring about confusion and the talk of “fries”, which you also don’t want.

RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria – HC and I made the trek up to Columbia Heights a few weeks back to hit RedRocks with AM and CO.  And boy oh boy was it worth it.  The place is small, but these pizzas are really delicious.  I can’t speak for the beer and wine list, because of the whole sober thing.  But everyone else enjoyed what they had.  I would absolutely recommend it.

Pete’s Apizza – Another Columbia Heights spot, this pizza is excellent.  After I helped AM and CO pick up a dresser a few weeks ago (and by “helped” I mean that they carried the dresser five blocks while I drove by them yelling out, “You’re doing a great job!”), I was rewarded with a stop at their local pizza joint.  And it lived up to the hype.  The set up is very laid back.  You head up to the counter, place your order, and then look for a table a la Chop’t.  And like Chop’t, this place gets packed.  Because the food is excellent.  And it doesn’t hurt that they have a Boylan’s soda machine and beer.  That we had to stand while we ate was no bother.  At least, not to me.

[Sidebar:  I don’t love Chop’t.  It’s fine.  But it’s pretty darn expensive for what it is.  And the excessive chopping borders on insane.  But if you tell them not to chop it into a mush AND have them put like a 1/4 of the amount of salad dressing they want to use on it, it’s fine.  But that’s the problem:  it’s just fine.  But whatever.]

Seventh Hill – This place is on Seventh St SE between Penn and North Carolina, right near Eastern Market.  Back in the fall, CC and I went there on a Friday to check it out.  It’s very solid pizza.  At the time I was adhering very closely to the pregnancy food don’ts and missed out on some of the more delicious sounding pies.  But no matter – it is decent and worth the trip.  Now that my work load is about to reduce dramatically, I might have to revisit this place.

Rayburn & Longworth Cafeteria – Don’t judge.  The pizza in our cafeteria is so tasty.  Rayburn is all fat and sugar, but it’s fantastic.  Longworth give yous a larger slice cut in a square.  And they generally have more options.  This pizza has saved me from vomiting numerous times this fall.  And when you’re just so hungry you can’t handle lines, the cafeteria pizza is a great appetizer to lunch.  Next time you’re in the building, check it out.

Two Amy’s – Tho I haven’t been there yet, Two Amy’s has a great reputation for being a good place for a pie.  I will have more to say on this after AM and I hit this joint… maybe this week?

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D-Day

It’s D-Day here is Washington DC.  The health care reform vote is slated for today, tho the final-final vote could be pushed back to tomorrow, and people are losing their minds.  Outside, tea baggers are protesting against the bill.  You would think that this would be a great thing for American democracy – people taking to the streets to voice their opinions.  It would be a great thing if these people weren’t OUT. OF. THEIR. FUCKING. MINDS.

By now, you’ve probably heard the stories.  Protesters are heckling Members of Congress and coming into offices and screaming at the interns and staff earning less than $35,000 per year.  They are screaming racial epitaphs at Members of Congress who are of color.  One tea bagger even spat on Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver of Missouri.

Now, I know I can get loud and angry and raging and all.  But to use the “n” word or “s” word to refer to a Member of Congress who is African American or Latino is disgraceful.  To spit on a Member of Congress is beyond outrageous.

Because of the mayhem happening outside, our office is being locked all day.  And while I have mixed feelings about it – I believe our office should always be open to the public, but these people are nuts and I’m 7 months pregnant and have a big mouth and would be forced to lash out at someone for their behavior – it’s probably for the best.

So here we sit, waiting for … something.  I’m not sure what.  At least we have a lot of snacks and other staples.  Hopefully I won’t have to yell at someone today.

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Names for realz

In just a few short months (I can’t believe it either), HC and I are going to have to be in agreement on a name so that this kid doesn’t have to live the first days/weeks/months/years of it’s life as Baby Girl/Boy.  For longer than I care to think about, HC and I have been discussing names.  And the discussions are going no where fast.

We don’t have resolution on what the last name will be.  HC and I don’t share a last name.  HC, as you would imagine, just assumed that we would give this kid his last name.  So much for the rumor that HC was one of these so-called enlightened straight men.  I’m not sure what I want to do just yet.  I know that hyphenating our last names is out, in part because I would not want a hyphenated name.  And I don’t want to make up a last name for this kid based on our last names, because 1) I don’t understand doing that if everyone isn’t taking the same last name, and 2) I have no intention of changing my name.

So it’s not like the name issue is easy.  We don’t know the last name yet, and we don’t know the sex.  So we need to pick a first name that sounds good with both of our last names, AND names for both a girl and a boy.  It takes complicated to a new level.

We agreed that name must be easy for my mother to say (read: easy to say and hear with a New Jersey accent), and it must be easy for my mother to spell.  So no ie or ei names, and no names that sound different than you’d spell it.  Also, nothing that sounds silly with our last names, nothing on the most popular baby name lists, and nothing that can be easily turned into a playground slur.  Beyond that, everything is in play.

You would think that we narrowed the field enough with the rules that we’d be able to find a few names that could work.  If you thought this, you’d be wrong.  As with everything else we do as a “team”, HC and I are SO not on the same page where names are concerned.

Here’s an example of how deep our divide is.

HC:  What about Seamus?

Me:  You’re kidding right?  1) I hate it.  2) My mother will never be able to spell it.  I can’t even spell it!  3) Little Seman [Last Name]?!  No, it’s out.

HC:  What about Shea?

Me:  What?!  Shea?  You want my father to go around telling his friends that his first grandchild’s name is Shea?  Can you think that through for one second?

HC:  What?  It’s a nice name.

Me:  HC,  my father is a rabid Yankee fan.  You don’t think he might have an issue with calling his grandkid by the name of the place where the Mets played?

HC:  They play at Citifield now.

Me:  Don’t be cute.  You know that most people in the New York metro area hear Shea and think Mets.  Besides, if we go with your last name as the kid’s last name, I don’t want to do an Irish first name.  No, it’s out.

HC:  Why not?

Me:  Because I don’t want to be completely cut out of this kid’s identity.  A name is important.  It’s a part of who you are.  It’s what most of us will be stuck with for the rest of our lives.  I find it irritating that I would carry this kid, give birth to it, and be it’s primary caregiver – because let’s be honest, I will be it’s primary caregiver – only to be cut out of this kid’s identity because we gave it your last name and an Irish first name and now this kid is Irish.

HC:  This kid will be Irish.

Me:  But I’m not Irish.  And your last name is unmistakeably Irish.  I don’t want to compound the problem by giving this kid an Irish first name.

HC:  So what, you want to give it an Italian first name?

Me:  No, I’m not saying that either.  My last name might sound okay with an Italian first name… or an Irish first name, for that matter.  But an Italian first name with an Irish last name sounds crazy to me too.  I’m just saying, I don’t want to double up on the Irishness.

[A few minutes pass…]

HC:  What about Siobhan?

Me (completely losing my patience):  You know what, I’m not even going to explain why this name is completely out.

HC:  What?

Me (getting increasing louder):  Can my mother spell that?  I can’t spell it.  Nobody can spell it.  And no one will be able to say it.  This kid will spend every new introduction – and like 3 or 4 more introductions after that – explaining what it’s name it.  And didn’t I just explain the new no-Irish-first-name rule?!

You would think that, following one of these discussions, HC would take my position into account when he suggests names.  Nope, not HC.  Undaunted, he is.  So here we are in the third trimester without even the slightest idea what we’re going to name this kid.

So it might be time to open it up to the Internet.  Using the rules listed above, anyone got any ideas?

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I’ve entered the third trimester.  I was just as surprised as anyone when this happened.  And I had no idea.

KW, MG, EP, and CC came over the other night to help HC install a light fixture.  I’m useless these days, and I know nothing about electrical work.  Anyway, KW asked me how far along I was.  I said 25 weeks.  She said, I guess you gotta keep it.  I said, Yeah, we’re stuck.  Then KW said something like, Yeah, that’s what the third trimester means.  And it hit me:  Oh, Christ!  I’m in the third trimester!  Early in the third trimester, but still.  I didn’t see it coming.  At all.

But really, I shouldn’t be surprised.  Because while I’ve been crazy busy at work, my body has continued to grow, grow, grow.  My stomach is so big that HC walked into it twice while we were at the store the other day.  And I’ve noticed that putting on my socks and shoes is becoming harder and harder to do.  Already, I’ve had to move to the cross-your-legs plus the sideways-sock-application technique.  Bending has become so annoying that, if something falls, chances are it stays there.  Oh, and pretty much every meal I get something on myself.  And by “on myself” I mean on my breasts or stomach.

And my morning routine!  Jesus!  Now that is different.  I used to be the girl who would be ready from start to finish – including a shower – in 20 minutes.  I had it down to a science.  Well, that and I didn’t do much primping.  I always deal with my hair, but that really was the most time consuming part of my routine.  Now?  Well, let’s just say there are more steps.

For example:

Longer showers. Apparently, more surface area means more time in the shower.  I never thought this was true, but now I think there’s something to this.  That and being in the shower is the only time my back feels okay.

Drying my hair. Okay, pre-pregnancy I would dry my hair occasionally.  But not every time I showered.  (I initially typed “every day”.  But that would imply that I showered everyday.  And that would be a lie.  And if I didn’t call myself out, I know HC would.  He loves to point out things that he believes makes me gross.  I hate that guy sometimes.)  These days, drying my hair is mandatory.  My hair is just off.  I can’t explain it.  It’s drier and… I don’t know.  Just off.  So it requires more work.

Face cream. I have used face cream for as long as I can remember.  But my skin is so dry that I use two face creams, applying them at different times:  first, the heavier cream, then the lighter one right before I’m ready to leave the house.

Body lotion. Speaking of dry skin, holy moly!  My skin has been so dry, it’s stupid.  Seriously.  Okay, so everyone’s skin is a little drier in the winter.  But I am required – REQUIRED – to put lotion all over my body after showering.  And it’s not just one lotion, either.  I have the belly butter nonsense that I apply to the ever-expanding belly and two different body lotions that I rotate.  There’s no real rhyme or reason to the rotation.  It’s just two bottles of lotions I’ve had FOREVER because I never need to use lotion.  That’s right – never.  Sometimes for my hands in the winter, and the face, of course.  But that’s it.  Oh, and maybe after extensive sun.  But I just don’t need lotion.  Until now.  And it’s bullshit.

Make Up. As I’ve mentioned, I’m wearing make up now.  I started out slowly, but have picked up steam.  Okay, so it’s not like I wear a lot of make up or anything.  I mean, BB would be WAY less than impressed with my efforts.  But I manage to wear concealer and mascara every day.  I sometimes spice it up with some powder and eyeshadow.  But not often.  Still, the concealer and mascara are a victory and incredibly necessary.  Because I look horrendous.  Like every day.

Now all this is bad and has added like 20 additional minutes to my morning routine.  But because I continue to refuse to read frightening books like What to Expect When Expecting, I didn’t know that there was more bad and weird to come.

Until…

So I was in the shower yesterday, soaping up this massive lump under my lady lumps and I noticed something strange.  I noticed that I didn’t notice my belly button.  About two weeks ago, I noticed that my belly button was seeming to expand.  It was like it was stretching from side to side, changing from a circle to a sideways quarter-sized oval.  I didn’t give it much thought, other than it was grossing me out.  I just hoped that it was a temporary thing that would fix itself when my Dark Passenger comes out in a painless and clean way.  But no, turns out that this was a temporary stage that would lead to a more disturbing mutation of my belly button.  That’s right – my belly button is disappearing!  Somehow, somewhere along the way, my belly button shrunk to a perfectly round dime.  Well, dime is being generous.  I put a dime on my stomach for a side-by-side and my belly button is like half the size of a dime.  And it’s so shallow!  What the…

HC suggested I take a picture of this freakish situation so you can see what I’m talking about.  But I can’t get a good shot.  And HC has already told me that he won’t take a picture of it because it grosses him out.  Not that I want to defend him, but it is really disgusting.

I can’t even imagine what’s next.

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