Category Archives: Rants & Raves

A Little More Rant, A Little Less Satisfaction

June 28, 2009

My latest post over at Chicago Moms is a bit of a rant. Check it out at: Chicago Moms Blog :)

Posted on June 28, 2009 at 04:47 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Hattie B. Stokes Academy

April 17, 2009

The kids and parents of the Academy in Indiana that I ranted about have made a video about what the program means to them. To recap? The School Board is considering closing it and laying off its teachers. The special needs kids would be mainstreamed into already large classrooms.

Yeah. Stupid plan. Especially? Since there ISN'T A BUDGET SHORTFALL in the district - just the fear of one.

Tags: rant, recession, education, high ability, protest, parenting, family
Posted on April 17, 2009 at 03:08 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Dear Chicken Little Newsmedia: Screw. You.

March 02, 2009

One of the headlines on my Yahoo:

Consumer Spending Up - But It Won't Last!

A neighbor remarked that if he was a reporter, he'd would also be shouting the sky is falling. Because for them? It is.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth...

Let's get real.

No, I mean it.

Let's. Get. Real.

I am an American, a woman, a wife, a mother, a writer, a teacher. I have lived both pampered and impoverished. Shared the company of great and simple minds. I have walked in the footsteps of conquering Romans, Vikings, Redcoats, and Cypriots. I have contemplated my own mortality, stretched my mind to the breaking point, looked a man in the eye as I took his living from him.

I expect many things from this life. And none of them easy. No one promised me easy; and nothing easy is worth getting in any event.


They can call it a recession, a depression, a downturn, or a dip. Do you think it matters? Do you think any one of the real people on the ground are affected by the LABEL? Is there really any person, from the President to the rural reporter, who thinks they truly have that kind of power over reality?

We KNOW it's hard.

This? Is life. It's SUPPOSED to be hard!

It is our purpose and our passion and our blood and our dreams. Yes, the challenges today are so much more than they were yesterday. Yes, hope and opportunity are harder to come by. Yes, there is more fear in the mornings and more uncertainty chasing the sleep. Yes... yes.

It is winter. A time for pushing against the harshness. A time for reaching out a hand. A time for making do, or doing without. And as sure as this is winter, spring will come again.

Sometimes I look to the news and despair at their view of my world. As if I would surrender my hope.

As if I could.

There's a great speech from West Wing, that reads in part; "...every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great."

THAT is how I see us.

Tags: Media, news, economy, recession, survival, rant, response,
Posted on March 02, 2009 at 10:32 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

De-Lurk Tuesday

February 10, 2009

Help! I'm starting to freak out. Are the comments working in the new layout? Is it too ugly to look at? Did I break the RSS feed??? Is it not showing up right in some browsers? Mprq?! (Not sure if that's a word, but for today... it applies)

So I'm officially declaring it a de-lurk day. Please let me know if this thing is on, OK?

[thank you]

Tags: de-lurk, help
Posted on February 10, 2009 at 09:01 AM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink


December 16, 2008


Dammit, I'm a hardware chick. This stuff is hard....

P.S. Dear Martha, I know it looks like crap. It keeps looking fabulous and sparkly in my preview app. But not so much on the actual internet. Doesn't this sound a lot like my baking, too? I'm fixing it. As fast as Christmas/ Homeschooling/ Laundry/ Snow/ Dog allows. But don't stop with the lovely voicemails. I don't hear your voice nearly enough, and that's the truth. Love, me.

P.P.S. Just don't tell me you're still on Internet Explorer, OK? That stuff will rot your brains and let hackers into your system. Firefox, dearest. It rocks out and even knows a little nightmusic.

Posted on December 16, 2008 at 01:34 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Happy Election Day

November 04, 2008

You know, this is been kind of hard one for me because, in the past, I have voted for BOTH McCain and Obama (different elections, of course).

Although there's a lot of people who feel passionately one way or another, I think there's probably a lot of us who are passionately conflicted...

What's really pissed me off is the fear-mongering and accusations that have flown by. Both sides are guilty of it, and if I were believe it all then the only conclusion I could have come to is that neither candidate is fit to hold office.

Both promised clean, budgeted campaigns. Both, as far as I can tell, broke those promises. Whether by going utterly negative or by spending money like it's water.

I have a bad taste in my mouth as I head to the polls.

But, to be sure, I'm voting.

Posted on November 04, 2008 at 10:02 AM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Bring It

October 29, 2008

After me and X broke up, I had to go get a bank account. I didn't want to, because it would be a bank account without him - without anyone else. My own, alone.

We all get gifts/burdens with our spin on the Earth. My mom? Can get a smokin' hott parking space everywhere she goes. I swear, people seem to race out just to move so she won't have to walk more than 10 feet on a rainy day. On the other hand, that woman has been in so many car accidents and tickets that it's bizarre.

Me? I can get a job. I would say it's because I work so frigging hard - and that's part of it, because I really do. But the truth is that opportunities often seem to mesh for me in a way that sometimes feels crazy lucky. On the flip side? Outside of work, bureaucracies HATE me.

Don't believe me? Go with me to the DMV, the bank, and then just for laughs, we'll head over to ComEd. If it's in MY name - it's f*cked beyond all recognition.

No, really.

It's the stuff of legend.

For years, the people who knew me secretly (OK, not-so-secretly) thought I must be an utter flake. Payments would go awry, paperwork would be screwed up, and accounts would shriek red the moment I opened them.

When the X and I split, so many years ago, this is why I was terrified to open a bank account alone. It took me over a year before I broke down and did it - but to safety my bet, I chose a small neighborhood bank where the only bureaucracy was two women in glass offices and a Customer Service guy named Dave.

They were stellar. For 7 years, my little slice of heaven. Credit Cards would hose up, the IRS would audit me, and the DMV sent me chasing 10-year-old tickets. But Baby Bank and I were going steady, and it was F-I-N-E.

Until they were eaten by a mid-sized regional bank. And then, trouble started. I was able to stay on top of it - but just barely. Fees that I was told wouldn't apply to my kind of account hit my bottom line. Checks I deposited started taking 4 and 5 days to clear. Online banking payments would take up to a week to process.

Then National City came along and ate THAT bank - and I was utterly hosed. Over $700 was assessed against my account in 6 months.

Yes, you read that right.

Welcome to the third tier of bureaucratic hell, the coffee machine is over there. I've got a futon if you're staying.

The bounce protection was magically removed from my account. Direct deposits took time to clear, charges were made after deposits were somehow reversed, and charges that had no explanation at all sent me negative for the first time in years. $34 per this, $19 for that.

On August 9, CD and I headed into the Riverside Branch, sat down in front of a guy in a tie, and said "Close the Damn Account."

He nodded and made it so without argument. Smart man.

Except? Stupid man.

I got home from Boston to discover that he never actually closed the account and some charge for $10 the following week made us negative (because, you see, when you close an account you don't leave them your money.) Then, National Bank assessed us an $8 charge PER DAY for being negative. And then tried to dun us for the whole thing.

I've been trying to fix it for a month, and today I did something I never do in dealing with people - I raised my voice. I raised it LOUD. I told the pseudo-manager at the branch that it was her responsibility to fix it - and fix it NOW.

Yes, I know we live in Bush's America. I get that the lone citizen against the Corporation ain't got a chance.

But you know what?

I'm a frigging grown-up. I pay taxes. I don't freak when a cop pulls behind me in traffic, because I'm pretty much always abiding the law. I've been to college, university, Bible Study, and corporate seminars. I've delivered mid-8 figure projects on time, hired and fired, changed my name and back, and given birth. I have crow's feet, a 401(k), and summer clothes packed in cloves in the basement.

So pseudo-managers at bureaucracies may still mess with me - but they've utterly lost their ability to intimidate me. When they continue to TRY, it does nothing but aggravate my waning patience.

I'm sitting here, feeling bad that I shouted at the pseudo-manager. But on the other hand, I doubt she feels bad about trying to throw me over a fence while my credit rating took a hit.

No, it's never OK to be unkind, we're all God's children and all that.

Maybe it's this stupid cyst in my brain, I don't know. But between you and me? I told this woman exactly how to fix this problem. I told her clearly. And when she resisted taking responsibility, I told her loudly.

I'm gonna feel bad about it later. But for right now, damn, I feel good. Is that bad?

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 04:41 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

It Just Doesn't Matter

October 15, 2008

Are you sick of how polarizing politics have become?

I am.

My neighbors to the left have a McCain/Palin sign on their lawn. Across the street, it's Obama/Biden. No one in these families has ever raced to the middle of the road to scream vitriol at each other. Yet I wouldn't be surprised if these same neighbors, united in real life in so many ways, could be found in cyberspace slamming each other's choices.

This? Is how technology's veil has screwed the process. (Yes, it has improved it, too - but that's not my bitch here).

For example, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have had their citizenship questioned. I've watched as bloggers have ranted and raved about these accusations. Opposite-sided writers will assert "My preferred candidate is SO an American but YOURS isn't!" as though there wasn't some kind of ironic madness to the essential the "I know you are, but what am I?!" playground chanting.

It makes me want to just bang my head against the desk.

So I was grateful to see in my newsfeed this morning that CNN actually did a piece about "Internet Rumors" and how crazy it's become to try and counter them in a campaign.

It reminded me of a story that my mom told me about when she and Dad were still young marrieds. My father was up for a management position at a new company, and as part of the process an executive's wife interviewed my mom. Back then, it was believed that not only did a candidate have to "fit" - but their family did, too.

By the time I was in a similar position in my own career, no one even asked me if I was married - much less asked me if my partner would be an asset to the company. Can you imagine if they did?

I was asked about my management tenets, my strengths and weaknesses, my 5-year plan, my vision for the corporation and how I fit in it. These were questions that really measured how I would suit the team.

These are the kinds of questions I want answered by candidates for the job of President. It's an executive job, perhaps the highest-profile one on the globe. The two candidates could arguably be described as being on the world's most public job interview.

And also the most intrusive. Questions we no longer ask (by law or culture) in any other vetting process are de rigeur in politics.

I ask you - does it help? Does it matter? Does it clear the waters to know McCain adopted three of his seven kids? Does it add to Obama's qualifications to know he came to Christianity as an adult? While these may be interesting aspects of the candidate's lives - do they bear on their abilities to lead and manage?

Sometimes I feel like the crazy person standing in a storm shouting for moderation. But I am a product of the "Free to Be... You and Me" generation. I was told that the heart of the matter is the heart of the person - not the extraneous crap that just gets in the way. I was told anyone can be anything, as long as they have the skill and desire.

And? I believed it.

Posted on October 15, 2008 at 01:52 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink


October 15, 2007

The theme of this week seems to be abandoning.

And it's SO pissing me off.

I am so very tired of people who give up, who walk away, who posture in another room rather than fight it out.

Because you know what comes next?


They become ghosts.

Am I the only one who has them?

People who were gonna call me and get together, or have lunch and chat about whatever it was, but then it's years later and you wonder where they are, and what happened in their lives and if they are OK?

Is it so easy to just.... walk away?

And then, where do they go?

Tags: Friendship, life, conflict
Posted on October 15, 2007 at 12:04 PM and filed under: In My Life
Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Voice Mail

October 14, 2007

God, I hate voice mail.

Prior to hating voice mail, I had a nice sideline going in hating answering machines. But you get older, times change, and you gotta update your habits.

Basically, if you call me...I'll see your number on the Caller ID and call back. Ignoring that thwudda-thwudda noise that says you said something to the computer.

This is, on occasion, I'll admit, problematic.

"Hey, it's Elizabeth. You called?"

"Thank God you called back so fast. So what's the number?"

"The number?"

"Of the emergency vet?"

"You need an emergency vet?"

"I LEFT A MESSAGE!! Diddums has swallowed a hypodermic needle full of crack and I need the number of the vet that helped you that time when it happened to you."

"I have never....! Why? Uh, I mean...."

"I LEFT A MESSAGE! Didn't you listen? This is life or death, here! I mean, poor Diddums, I think he's dragging himself to a corner to...oh, what is that number?!"

So, sure. Once in a blue moon, it causes trouble that I avoid my voice mail.

On the job, it was not unknown for me to listen to my voice mail barely once a week, on Fridays....

"You have 17,000 new voice mails! What is your frequency, woman? You think I got nothing better to do than stuff myself full of chat from your people?"

Instant messages, email, and text messages I am fine with. Prompt, attentive, responsive. But the bugaboo of voice mail has remained my nemesis.

Recently, we decided to turn off our home line. We never use it much, and it's costing us $50 a month to, in essence, give chimney sweeps and siding companies a way to contact us about their seasonal promotions.

So I've given myself permission, even though there is still some dial tone on it, to ignore the thing altogether in preparation for it being gone.

CD gave me the fish eye this morning, the phone against his ear, after I asked him if he thought I'd missed a call I was expecting.

"Please check," I begged.

"We have 33 new voice mail messages," he said with an arch of his eyebrow.

I shrugged.

"Have you EVER checked the house line for voice mail?" he pondered.


"Prove it."

I stuck out my tongue when he wasn't looking.

He pushed some buttons and listened a moment.

"Chimney sweep. Siding company. Chimney sweep. Credit card protection offer. Oh, Katie and some kid's mom are going somewhere and want to know if you want to go with," he relayed.

I looked interested.

"In SEPTEMBER," he added, all he-man snarky-like. "Computer talking, time sensitive offer. Hey, the counter tops are ready."

I looked in the kitchen where they are already installed. Turned back to the window, where I watched the drizzle that was delaying our annual pumpkin excursion .

He pushed more buttons. He listened some more. Counted them down for me. "20 more messages..." he sighed. "15, we're finally into October..." I scrunched my nose. "More computers, they love to leave messages...." I nodded. "5 more."

I waited.

He looked at me. "Sorry, hun," he said.

I shrugged.

"No big deal," I said.

But he knew better. He knew that this is why, deep down, I really hate voice mail. Because it never seems to be the locker of good news, of voices you really want to hear.

Ah, well.

Tags: voice_mail, humor, life, opinion, telephone, work
Posted on October 14, 2007 at 11:45 AM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

October 01, 2007

I know God must be close.

First of all, the Cubs are going to the playoffs. This was foretold when my beloved Red Sox won the World Series. There is only one other team with such a losing streak. One other team playing in its own old park with rabid fans and basement stats.

But that's not the only reason I spend most of my hours propped up almost entirely by faith these days...

I remember when I got my first real, full-time paycheck. I was 19, living in my first apartment, and I'd given up my 4 part-time jobs in favor of going to a temp agency and asking for something beyond minimum wage.

I drove the check to the bank and deposited it. Then I spent. I paid back a friend who'd loaned me some the month before. I did my first real grocery shop. I had the oil in my car changed. I got my hair cut.

Each and every expenditure was the right thing to do.

Except, I didn't have enough left over to pay the phone bill and it got turned off.

This is the lesson of the forest and the trees. And big pictures. And budgets. Hans Christian probably wrote a couple of fables about it. Much better than my nonfiction version, I bet.

We said we knew better. And we made one big decision: to have me be home with Bear, Homeschooling him until he could read and write at grade level - or until we decided there was a better way we could support to get him there.

And everything since that decision last April has come from it.

So, like a million other families, we face each week a million right decisions we can not afford to do. Oil changes for the car. Eye doctor appointments.

It saps your soul, you know?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of things being hard. Sure, it's humbling to be living on 30% of our former income. It's a challenge. It's word for challenge that means even more than just 'challenge'. But life should be hard; we're ready for it to be hard. I wouldn't bitch and moan about that.

OK, maybe I would, but I wouldn't mean it so much.

Like complaining about the snow as you hike up Everest. It's not like you expect ponies and rainbows, you know. It's EVEREST. You expect the snow, you're dressed for the snow, so even if you say 'Damn! It's a lot of snow!' - you don't really mean it.

I'm not complaining about not having money. I left the job that brought the money. So, there that is.

But there's hard... and then there's the edge of impossible.

That makes us question ourselves. Bends our confidence.

If what we've decided is truly right, then how come we aren't able to take care of the basics?

And that's where we lean on our faith. And each other. Or drown trying.

There's no nobility in being poor. Any honor in it must come from the reasons for the condition.

And so we hang on to that. And look for the silver lining. Or, as CD says; Brass. We'll take brass. Or any shiny rock.

We celebrate our newfound simplicity. Solidarity. And faith.

Good things, and yet some days they don't balance out the pain.

Brought to you by the letter F, the number 1, and the conviction that wavers and then finds a gust to soar on, wearing a blue baseball cap.

Tags: Budget, Faith, Money, Family, Struggle
Posted on October 01, 2007 at 06:45 PM and filed under: Rants & Raves
Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

In which I let loose with my trusty flamethrower

August 04, 2004

Hey, this one's PG-13 for language. You've been warned.

I'm a hybrid.

I was born to a McCain Republican and a Obama Democrat. Which is kind of like saying that my mom was an alligator but my dad was a crocodile. If that leaves you scratching your head and asking what the fuck's the difference? Yeah, I'm with you there.

I like McCain. I like Obama. I'm a pro-choice, pro-family independent Christian. I like you, even if you're the opposite of all those things. I like people trying to have smart ideas. I like people who take the high road. I like tolerance, respect, and good listening skills.

I like the conflict of arguments looking for the greater good. I'll go face to face with you screaming about the issues, and know all long that neither of us will budge. And it will be cool.

Conversely, I am a fierce clawed predator who puts the vego-matic to the crap spewed by the bastards who make it personal. Who take debate to its lowest common denominator.

So, Cathy Seipp.

One day she's at a grocery store, sees a stay at home dad's attention drift from his kid in the grocery cart, and turns it into a treatise on all stay at home dads.

She took her bully pulpit via the National Review Online, ranted at the use of the word "parent" versus the word "father", mixed in some examples from the TV show Everwood, and voila! came up with: stay at home dads are woosie suckwads who are incompetent at best.

Like women trying to parallel park. Her example, not mine.

Then she went on the radio to defend her position. Then she blogged about going on the radio. Then she quoted her friend blogging about her going on the radio. She called her article "making fun" and sheathed her claws while shouting "look at me!".


Doesn't that sound like Nellie Olson on Little House?


Seriously, as Rebel Dad said, you don't even want to sanctify this shit with a mention in your own world. On the other hand, well, the truth is that there aren't as many stay at home dads out there. I know and love some stay at home dads.

In fact, the ones I know are so cool. And when I paid attention, I realized with outrage that Cathy's argument has nothing to do with stay at home dads, really.

It has to do with propagating disgust with the non-traditional simply because it's non-traditional. So here's my say:

1. It takes two people to make a kid. 3, if you're counting the gestational surrogate. Maybe 5 if the child's going to be adopted. Do we count the doctors? Here's the point: NO ONE GETS TO BE THE ONLY "RIGHT" PARENT.

Right out of the chute, there are lots of people deeply invested in that child. Personally, I think introducing my 2 year old son to beef jerky was insane. But my husband thought it was fine. Welcome to reality. The differences from maybe the ideas we have in our head about stay at home parents? They're gender. They're cultural. They're personality. But they are just differences, not "wrongnesses".

Let's remember this students, there will be a quiz later in the form of a grown child. DIFFERENT does NOT equal WRONG.

2. Everyone gets to be an asshole, sometimes.

Cathy talks about a kid maybe almost falling out of a cart.

Hell, I was in a grocery store once and ran into a stay at home mom and we got to chatting. She cooed over mine, I wanted to coo over hers. Figured she'd been left at home.

Nope, she'd been left to chill, playing with her feet on top of a stack of frozen pizzas. She'd crawled out of her seat and fallen (not hurt) into one of those open-topped freezers and yes, her frazzled mother didn't notice until I asked about her a few moments later.

That's because ALL stay at home mothers are over-tired martyrs who can't parallel park. Right? RIGHT?

Here's something to have tattooed in backwards writing on your forehead. It will make the world a better place if you do: Never judge anyone by their worst day or moment.

Better yet, don't judge at all - unless you wear a swirly black overcoat and were elected to do so.

3. If we don't value men who nurture, we will continue to raise boys who value war.

'Nuf said.

posted by Elizabeth at 10:42:00 AM


Jenny said...

Rave on, sister! (This is why I'm a huge fan of grocery delivery)
3:28 PM
Michele said...

Amen Sister!! You are my new best friend! And I also want to hang out with the mom who didn't notice her kid dumped it into the frozen pizza bin! We'll do lunch!
3:55 PM
Anonymous said...

Words to live by, Mom. This coming from a guy who's coming to realize he might rather be a stay at home dad than a trial attorney.

That was seriously well written.

3:39 AM
kalisah said...

I love when you rave. Especially when you're so RIGHT.
6:29 AM
Sexy Soccamom said...

Ah, I meant to comment yesterday. I loved your post! We must be kindred spirits.
3:59 PM
Philip said...

Thanks for bringing this article to my attenion. You've compelled me to write about this myself.
11:58 AM
Anonymous said...

Thank you! I'm a working mom married to a stay home dad and Seipp's column made my blood boil. Last time I checked, my daughter had two parents who participated equally in bringing her into the world (well, he didn't have the heartburn or the swollen ankles) and there's no reason in the world to think that he is not equally able and appropriate to take care of her. I'm not sure how one guy in a store and a fictional character are really a compelling indictment on stay home dads, but I can tell you that no one could take better care of my daughter than my husband. Oh, and for the record, I parallel park like a champ.
6:56 AM
Elizabeth Blair York said...

Dear Anon,

I identify with your story.

For 2.5 years, my husband was an At-Home Dad (thus his affiliation with the group a couple of posts upward) and it took a long time for him to figure out his own "style" - I was a SAHM when Bear was nursing and had set the schedule and the bar. Eventually, he established his own patterns and approach. We are different parents, imperfect - but equal in our investment in our child. Your husband is just as valid a parent as you.

It seems like Kramer Vs. Kramer was a very long time ago, and yet - we as a society is still struggling with that same issue.

In addition to Dave L.'s letter, - Philip at The Blue Sloth, Rebel Dad, and Jay at Zero Boss are 3 fathers who also took to their blogs against this article. All their links are in my blogroll.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
9:11 AM
Anonymous said...

"continue to raise boys who value war."

I think this kind of gender stereotyping is exactly what you are accusing Seipp of doing, isn't it? I mean if you really believe that men are intent on warring and violence, then you must believe that Seipp is correct that child rearing is best left to women, no?

"value men who nurture." I'm curious what does nurturing have to do with being a stay at home dad? Are you saying that all the mothers who are not stay at home moms are not nurturing?

Another question: do you think we value women who nurture? Since you seem to equate nurturing with staying at home, do you think we value stay at home moms? Clearly we do not. For the past 40 years we as a society have been ridiculing and belittling the idea that a stay at home mom has any importance or necessity, and instead we have extolled the idea of the career woman as the ideal. So if we believe in treating men and women equally, then since we don't value nurturing women, why should we value nurturing men? Again this is predicated on your apparent believe that nurturing equals staying at home. Or is that your belief only when it comes to men?

It seems to me that an article ridiculing and condemning men for staying at home with their children should not get any more criticism than all the gazillions of articles ridiculing and condeming women for staying at home, that we've seen since Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique." But that's just how it seems to me.
7:02 AM

Posted on August 04, 2004 at 10:42 AM and filed under: Rants & Raves
| TrackBack (0) | Permalink