Thursday, December 30, 2010

Struggles, struggles...

Sigh. It's been a crazy week. Zoe has a bad cold/cough, so sleep has been really hard to come by for the past handful of nights. I'm tired, for sure, but I'm watching the end of a CRAZY bowl game (UNC/Tennessee), and I had coffee this afternoon, so I doubt I'd sleep anyway were I to try to go to bed. So I thought, while I sit and watch this craziness on TV, I'd share a couple of things with which I've been struggling lately.

And by struggling, I do mean spending altogether too much time wasting thoughts about these two completely random topics.

1. So. Michael Vick, eh? Really? Really? I don't know. I don't like to hold grudges, and I think I'm all about second chances, but something about Michael Vick in the NFL this year has made me a little sick. Charles tells me he's done his time and taken his lumps, but in any other sector of the world economy, a felon who is responsible for the deaths of countless animals would not be making millions of dollars, getting to star in the one-man-show that's been Philadelphia football this year, and being given the opportunity to be a role model for countless boys and girls around the world. But then...which system is wrong? The regular system in which a felon is essentially going to struggle for the rest of his life? Or this system in which someone is really, truly given a second chance?

I don't know what's right, but I do know that, as amazing as Vick has played this year, I still don't like watching him, and I'm conflicted about how the NFL is treating him. Any time I see him play, I want to go pet my dogs and tell them I'm sorry.

2. And...I can't zip up my wedding dress, and we're about a month shy of my fifth anniversary. It's just a few inches from the top that won't zip (stupid boobs!), and I could try to convince myself that my back has broadened a bit from five more years of yoga and push-ups, but really, it's tight everywhere. And as much as I know I had a baby two (almost three) years ago, and as much as I always knew that would change how I still pisses me off. I want to still be young and skinny.

I know the things I need to do to get skinny again, but here's the problem. I love food. I love red wine. I love coffee. I love cheese. And chocolate...oh, chocolate, how you torture me with your very existence. In fact, I feel sometimes like I love all the things that I should not consume in order to get back down to a size 4.

And so, should I give up the things I love (which I really don't consume in any great excess...except maybe chocolate)? In the past few years, I've already completely given up on fast food, most meats that I cannot trace back to a humane farm, and I've taken up eating many, many more fruits and vegetables. I run a lot (when stupid toe injuries haven't sidelined me for a WHOLE WEEK), I do yoga, I stretch and lift weights. It's really more about what I consume, not what I do.

Or should I just accept my new shape, learn to love it, give up any and all hopes of ever looking anywhere near as good as Natalie Portman (hey - a girl has to dream, right??)?

Or is there some compromise I don't know yet? I'll keep exploring.

Because for now, I can't do either.

I'm so conflicted tonight. Maybe I should go to bed. Oh - and by the way, UNC won! Go 'Heels!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My non-award winning essay

This is the essay which I submitted to my first-ever writing contest earlier in 2010. While it won ABSOLUTELY no awards, I still stand-by it as a pretty decent piece. I'd be curious to know what other people think


Broken Glass

Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile.
Here I am
The only living boy in New York

Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
And we don't know where.
--Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York" transports me, every time I hear it. I leave my adult life, my husband, my daughter, and fly away.

"I know that you've been eager to fly now."

I hear those words, and I am on a bus with my mother, her Simon and Garfunkel cassettes tucked in my backpack. My walkman headphones press on my ears and I listen to this song while reading The Diary of Anne Frank for the first time. I am awkward and quirky and fourteen years old.

We were on a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. In its first year, the museum drew bus-groups from up and down the east coast, and Mom and I couldn't ignore the opportunity when our synagogue, Temple Ohav Shalom, sponsored a trip.

Much of the trip was a blur; the museum itself was overwhelming in its most innocuous moments. Stepping into a cattle car that was used to transport people across Europe was one of the most horrifying moments of my life, as was seeing piles of shoes and glasses that murdered Jews left behind at concentration camps.
But I can clearly remember my fourteen-year-old self as I sat on that bus, curled up in a seat. Paul and Art sang in my ears as I read Anne's words for the first time. While the singers sang of strength and silence, Anne opened birthday gifts. She fought with her mother, her sister, her father. She felt afraid but was comforted by the endurance of a chestnut tree outside her window. She fell in love; she had her first kiss. She was me and I was her and we were the same age, separated by 50 years and the walls of a hidden apartment.

This was the first time I was able to bypass the paralyzing fear of the Holocaust, and focus instead on the humanity of its victims.

It was the first time I let go of my own fear which began when, four years earlier, the Holocaust came to New Jersey.

I was one a few Jewish kids growing up in a mostly Catholic town. I was the only Jewish kid in my grade school class. There were other Jewish kids in other grades, but when I sat at the lunch table during Passover with peanut butter and jelly on matzohs, everyone else had bread. I knew I was a little different, and to this day, I hate matzoh.

That's not to say I wasn't fully integrated into my town - I was. My best friend was Catholic, as is my father. I spent as much time in church as I did in synagogue, but I identified myself as Jewish. I liked Stars of David instead of crosses, and loved dancing to the songs on Shabbat.

Growing up Jewish in late 20th century America, you knew about the Holocaust. You knew your ancestors were killed by the train-load. You comprehended the horror of Kristal Nacht. Broken glass on a street raised the hair on your neck.

So by ten, I had a wealth of knowledge about Nazis. I knew about gas chambers, and Swastikas reduced me to tears.

I also wanted little to do with Ohav Shalom, or, particularly, Hebrew School. I already knew that Abba was Daddy and Ima was Mommy, so what more did I have to learn? A fear of public speaking made me dread my looming Bat Mitzvah. Plus, none of my friends from regular school were Jewish, and while most of them went to CCD, they got to do that together. I had to spend my time with girls with whom I had nothing in common, and one particular boy who made my skin crawl.

Greg. His name was Greg and as I remember it, he was mean. Vicious. He was overweight, and I was under, so he outweighed me by fifty pounds. Light brown hair, light eyes, freckles, he looked more Irish than Jewish. But he was there at Hebrew School, every Tuesday and Thursday, same times as me. And he was mean.

The number of days my mother found me on the back steps of the synagogue, in tears and with new bruises on my arms, increased instead of decreased after she talked to our Rabbi's wife. No one could make him stop. I don't remember antagonzing him, but I remember him punching my arms and shoving me into walls.

And those walls were hard.

While the upstairs of our Synagogue was beautiful, with tall glass doors and windows, and yellow bricks that shone like gold in the sun, Hebrew School lived in the basement. Cinderblock walls, painted vomit-yellow, were only occasionally hidden by the artwork created by our small hands. Bulletin boards were covered with cheery Hebrew Alephs and Bets, but there were no windows letting in the late afternoon light. It was a dreary place, unimproved by my weekly beatings.

That said, it was our space, familiar as it was dreaded. It was a home to all us Jewish kids.

One day, when I was ten and my brother Daniel and I were home by ourselves, our mother called. Daniel answered. He was thirteen and in charge of me when no one else was home.

" What? Oh, ok...sure, I'll, Grandmom's around, she'll stay here."

When he hung up the phone, I knew that "she" meant me. I didn't want to be left behind with my grandmother, so I tackled my big brother.

"No, you can't go anywhere without me. I'm going. I'm gooooooooiiiinnnnggg."

I had no idea where I was going. I just knew Daniel couldn't go without me.

He fought valliantly, but no amount of arguing, persuading, bribing or hair-pulling could convince me to stay home. Mom's friend Sheila arrived to pick up Daniel, and I hopped in the back seat quite happily. Daniel sat up front like a grown-up, and he and Sheila spent the short drive to our synagogue chatting. I wasn't paying attention - I was too busy staring out the window at the stunning day.

I was unprepared for what I saw when the car parked and I opened the door.

The yellow bricks shone like gold in the sunshine, like always, but scattered across them like bloody wounds were red Swastikas.


The tall front doors were shattered. Glass shards covered the concrete steps. They glittered like diamonds and I thought, "Wow, the streets must have been beautiful after Kristal Nacht."

At ten, I got it. I knew what was going on.

The Holocaust had come to New Jersey.

I started trembling and reached for Daniel's hand, but he and Sheila were already walking towards the building. I didn't want to be left alone so I hurried after them.

We stepped on the glass. Crunch crunch crunch. We climbed through the doors we had no need to open. The red Swastikas were everwhere; the walls bled hatred. I couldn't breathe, and I couldn't stop walking.

The foyer glittered as we stepped in. The late afternoon sun lent an eerie glory to the wall of rememberances, where synagogue members were honored with engraved gold plaques that boasted the history of hundreds of families. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Ruchelman parents; in memory of the Levines' great grandmother.

We walked through the heavy doors into the main congregation room. Chairs were scattered here and there, and red paint splattered the walls and floors.

And the Ark was destroyed, a Swastika burned across its wooden doors. The Torah scrolls, which had led us in countless songs, which only recently lay on the podium while Daniel sang his Bar Mitzvah verses, were ripped and crumpled on the floor.

I almost threw up.

I followed Daniel and Sheila through the congregation room and out the rear doors to the basement classroom stairway. I didn't want to go - I hated those stairs under the best circumstances, and now a trail of Swastikas and shattered fluorescent bulbs lead our way.

Downstairs, the cheery Hebrew letters, and pictures of smiling Jewish Avot and Imahot were slashed, torn, tattered. Their eyes and noses and ears littered the floor.

I shuddered, and Daniel noticed. His arm encircled me, and he led me out of the darkness.

I did not cry, though. Not then, even though I was convinced Nazis had invaded my hometown. Not even though I thought my mother, brothers and I would be taken to a concentration camp that night. Not even though the hatred in that temple weighed a million pounds on my ten-year-old shoulders.

I did not cry.

Outside in the waning sunshine, the press converged, newspaper reporters and photographers swarming around the parking lot. We came out through the kitchen door, and our Rabbi stood below the steps with a reporter. He gestured for us to join him.

Daniel, at thirteen, was mature, articulate, brilliant. A reporter's dream to interview - the candor of a child mixed with the intelligence of an adult.I was the younger one. Immature, with a tendency toward hyperbole. Plus I was shy. Overwhelmed. Terrified.

I was the one quoted in the next morning's newspaper.

That night, the tears came. I knew the soldiers were coming; I could hear their boots on the street. I knew we would die. Another Holocaust had started and I was its first victim.

I feared what life would be like in a concentration camp; I worried that death would hurt. I wondered if my mother would always be with me, and how my non-Jewish father would cope with the loss of his family. I was unsafe in my bed, even with Daniel sleeping in the bunk above me.

It turned out that the destruction was caused by acquaintances of Greg, my abuser. He had antagonized them and in their youth, ignorance and spite, they targeted a place that was important to him. I never imagined he cared, but then, I never saw him again. Perhaps his family moved, ashamed by the destruction their son had indirectly sparked.

But I also never went back to Hebrew School after that day. I lost my religion that sunny afternoon; I never again set a comfortable foot into the synagogue. No matter how many times the walls received fresh coats of paint, the blood-red Swastikas never faded.

That sunny spring day instilled in me a need to understand the mentality that allowed the Holocaust to occur, the hatred that caused people to kill. I've read books and watched documentaries that made me scream. I took that trip to the Holocaust Museum with my mother and watched her cry silently as we walked its silent halls. I've read and re-read Anne Frank's diary until I can recite full passages. I've seen footage of men reduced to bones, women forced to parade naked before Nazi doctors. I've tried to understand and I have not succeeded.

It's bizarre. I want my daughter to grow up aware of these things. I want her to love Anne Frank as much as I do, but I hope she doesn't mourn Anne's death with tears. I want her to know that she is Jewish, but I never want her to be afraid because of it. I want her to be aware of hatred so she is not ignorant, but I hope she is never the victim of it. I want her to learn, but be protected and safe and happy.

And I hope that one day, we can listen to Simon and Garfunkel before laying in her bed to read about Anne Frank together, and I hope she will sleep well knowing that she is safe.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yay Hooray!!!

Tomorrow, President Obama will sign into law the repeal of the ridiculous Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy of the Pentagon. For the first time in a long time, the country is taking a major step in the direction of ensuring civil rights for all. Finally, people will be able to serve our country in active military duty regardless of whether they are gay or straight.

It's been a long time coming, and I'm glad it's here! I'm proud of our Congress today.

Up next (I hope): START and aid for 9/11 first responders. Lame ducks? Ha!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Let it be

I was sitting on the brick hearth in front of a roaring fire at my parents' house this evening while Zoe and my mother decorated a Christmas tree and my father and Charles watched the Jets/Steelers game on TV. The warmth of the fire had only just started to get uncomfortable, and I was lazily picturing my back turning red under my sweater.

A commercial for the Beatles' catalog on iTunes came on during a time-out, and suddenly there were black and white photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo flashing across the screen, while Paul's voice sang out to us.

"When I find myself in times of trouble...Mother Mary comes to me...speaking words of wisdom....let it be."

I started to turn to my mother to remind her about THAT time I'd been a complete blubbering idiot during this song, when I realized: I'd never told her this before.

In the summer of 2009, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and life changed drastically for a while. Two women with whom I worked were going through the same experience as my mom at the time, and although I barely knew one of them, I found myself sitting at her desk one day, choking back tears as I told her about my mother.

"Well, how are you doing?" she asked me. "You know this is about you, too."

I shrugged her question off. I was fine, of course. Being strong for my parents. Trying to be that rock everyone needs in a time of crisis. It wasn't about me, it was about my mom.

That front worked anytime it mattered. I was always able to put on my game face when I needed to, saving any random breakdowns for private times with my husband. (I'm dramatic even on a good day, so you can only few breakdowns were, in fact, epic.)

And then, there was that one night, the night before my mother's double-mastectomy.

I 'd spent the weekend cooking, filling my freezer with soups and casseroles that could feed my parents while mom recovered, and I decided to deliver my wares that evening. It was also an opportunity to sit down with them the night before a major event, and have a little quiet time.

Game face: on.

I stocked their freezer and had a chat, all the while not really thinking about anything. I gossiped and told stories about Zoe, we laughed and we giggled, having such a nice time that before I knew it, it was time to head on home.

I pulled out of their driveway, suddenly very much aware of what the following day would bring. Mom waved from the porch, and I turned on the radio. I had a CD in, The Beatles Let it Be, and the title song came on immediately.

And suddenly, game face: OFF. 100%, completely off.

I actually remember saying, OUT LOUD, "Sing it, Paul," as he got going on the chorus, and then I was singing along with him, and if you've ever heard me sing, you know this is NOT a good thing. And then I was CRYING and singing as loud as I could, windows down, wind blowing the tears off my face.

It was absurd, really. That was how I spent the entire ride home that night, blubbery and silly and singing unabashedly. I arrived home completely spent, exhausted, but clear-headed enough that at least by the time I got to the hospital in the morning, my game face was back on.

And so now, a year later when the whole family is excited to have a fully-cancer-free Christmas ahead of us, I think we're all kind of not-so-secretly thinking about last year.

So tonight, I am thankful for great doctors, a healthy family, and, of course, The Beatles.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A quick update

I've been blogging less and novel-ing more this week, as I finally feel like the end of that first-ever journey is in sight. I'm at around 45,000 words, which is by far more than I've ever written on ANYTHING. I'm so excited about it, I could scream.

So, since I have less words to devote to this blog right now (this should last about another week), I thought I'd at least share a great parenting read from my favorite parenting site. It's great advice, and from one parent to any other, do check it out. It's a nice breath of fresh air.

Hope your holidays are happy so far! Lots of love to everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa et. al.

It's been a bad week for politics, in my opinion, so rather than dwell on the negative, I thought I'd share some more happy holiday stories.

Every town or city probably has its own holiday wonderland spot, and Charleston's is pretty lovely. The Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is three miles of rather excitingly cool Christmas lights (My favorite is a rendition of the Old Cooper River Bridge that transforms into the new one. I remember driving over the rickety old bridge, and the reminder is nice and nostalgic, even for a transplant like me.), plus a Winter Wonderland area for kids (including the kid in Charles and me).

The park is about thirty minutes from our house, and we took the Jeep, hoping the novelty of our *other* car would keep Zoe happy even on a long-ish car ride. It didn't quite work, and by the time we got to the park, even the amazing, flashing, beautiful lights were not distraction enough for Zoe.

"I want to get OUT! NOW!" She demanded this repeatedly, only occasionally distracted by a super-cool light setup.

So we moved quickly to the play area, congratulating ourselves (rightfully so) on our good timing - we'd gone just at dusk, as the park opened, so that we didn't have to wait in any lines or deal with crazy parking issues.

Zoe was absolutely tickled by the marshmallow roasting pits - $1 per marshmallow stick wasn't a bad price, in my mind, for the happy, marshmallow-covered Zoe-smile that followed. After a quick wash-up in the bathroom, we went to visit Mrs. Claus, who was getting set up for a story-time session, but was talking to kids while she waited. Zoe was dubious at best, but stood near enough to get a candy cane.

It was when we moved to the additional play area that her night vastly improved. First, she rode on a beautiful old carousel, her first ever amusement park ride, and she thought it was the COOLEST THING EVER. She initially sat on a Dalmatian (Molly-dog), but then wanted to move to a horse. I moved her, since it was less than a step away, but when she saw the giraffe on the other side, I put my foot down. We stayed on the horse, and the ride started, and Zoe learned about the fun up-and-down-around-and-around of a good merry-go-round. And I only got a little dizzy.

Then, we saw the big man himself. Yep, Santa Claus. St. Nick. Father Christmas.

Now, I should say here that Zoe has never successfully seen Santa up close and personal. Her first year, we made a conscious decision that we didn't want one of those screaming-babies-on-Santa's-lap photos that grace web sites like Awkward Family Photos. Then last year, she was terrified of him.

This year, she was starstruck. She saw him and ran over to his stage, and waited less-than-patiently on line as other children had their turn with Santa.

When it was her turn, she ran up to him, probably her first-ever time running up to a stranger. She took his hands, and only got a little nervous when Santa set her on his lap. She chatted with him, and we actually have some photos of both Zoe and Santa looking at the camera and smiling. The one we chose to have printed shows them deep in conversation, Zoe's finger in her mouth, thoroughly engaged. It's my new favorite picture EVER.

Then, finally, we let our girl get on the carousel one more time, and she was so excited to sit on her giraffe that she was practically shaking as we waited for our turn. To the giraffe we flew, as soon as the gate was opened.

Zoe was in heaven, and we raced the other animals, patted the giraffe on the neck, and in general had a delightful ride that was over just a minute too soon.

As we left, Zoe cried, afraid other children were now riding *her* giraffe. I tried explaining that it wasn't exactly hers, but when that didn't work, Charles and I tacked right.

Me: "Yes, Zoe, that's your giraffe. I put a sticker on it with your name."

Charles: "So no other children will ride on the giraffe again."

It was a selfish way to end a really pretty night, but sometimes avoiding a two-year-old tantrum is worth a little white lie.

Anyway, I think we've started a new family tradition, and I'm glad of it. I had an amazing time with my family and I think Zoe and Charles did, too.

Thanks for a great night, guys! Love you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We should always remember

I guess every generation really does have that one catastrophic event for which every person remembers exactly where they were when it occurred.

For my generation, it is and always will be the destruction of the World Trade Centers in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 (I was at a bakery in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, and I saw the smoke from the towers as I drove home that morning, in case you wondered). I don't think I've ever fully processed that day, and I try not to write much about it because I'm afraid that, even all these years later, I'll sound like a complete sap.

Other events, like the assassinations of John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr., have stuck with my parents' generation, and always will.

For my grandparents' generation, it was the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Sixty-nine years ago today. Hard to believe it was so long ago, and that a whole generation of people who remember that day ("which will live in infamy forever") is rapidly dying. Soon, within the next decade or two, I imagine, very few people will be left.

Hard to imagine.

Especially when photographs like this still exist, and if a picture can a thousand words, I'd estimate these say millions. They are equal parts disturbing and impressive, upsetting and awe-inspiring. Take a look - especially check out the one which shows reporters running to phone their editors, every one of them thrilled to have such a scoop. It's a pretty interesting juxtaposition, no?

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind today. Pearl Harbor Day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And we have a winner!

I am one of those people that love sweepstakes, lottery tickets, and raffles, but in all my thirty years, I have never won anything. My husband and I often joke that we must be lucky in some department because we sure aren't lucky in the contest/sweepstakes department. Well, that is except for right now.

Do you remember that scene from A Christmas Story when the father wins a sweepstakes and his package is delivered in a box with "Fragile" stamped on the side? We are about to recreate that scene in our house this week.

I have won a fleece pork chop. That's right, a fleece pork chop. Nope, you can't eat it because it's a toy, or according to the website, it could also serve as a pillow.

I'm almost certain this pork chop, which I have already named Porky, will become Max's favorite stuffed toy. My guess is that he will carry it around with him everywhere he goes and I'll have to explain to bystanders that no, it's not a dog's toy (although it could be, I suppose), it's just my son's favorite piece of toy meat.

Perhaps I'll frame and hang it next to the front door to remind us that we should never give up hope that we will (and can) win something.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Here come the holidays!!

In my house, we have always celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas, thanks to my Jewish mother and Catholic father. I've never seen any reason to abandon the tradition, so we're doing the same with Zoe.

Some years, like last year, the two holidays overlap, and they sort of merge together to form a big, overwhelming gift-fest, which is less than ideal.

But this year, Hanukkah is now-ish (it started Wednesday), with Christmas almost a full month away. So while there's still some overlap (i.e. we are already singing Christmas carols, and we put up our Christmas tree today), we're able to take our time and enjoy two almost-entirely-separate holidays.

Here are some share-able items from the first five nights of Hanukkah:
  • When Zoe asked me if Santa Clause was bringing her Hanukkah presents, I decided it was time to introduce the concept of the Hanukkah Fairy, a longstanding Soltis tradition. When we were small, the Hanukkah Fairy would sneak into our house and hide our presents, and I always loved the search-and-find missions that entailed. So far, our Hanukkah Fairy has hidden presents under the couch and entertainment cabinet, in a bookshelf, and behind some pillows. Zoe has started looking for presents AT ALL TIMES, assuming that if she's a good girl, the Hanukkah Fairy may come multiple times per day.
  • On the first night, the Hanukkah Fairy brought Zoe a super-cool gift, hand-picked by none other than my dear husband. It was (wait for it!!)...a Lego Star Wars R2D2 watch!!! (You know you want one.) Charles picked this out because a) Zoe loves R2D2 and b) Zoe loves to swipe Charles' watches and wear them. She opened the watch, looked at it for a moment, and then said, "But I just don't understand why the Hanukkah Fairy didn't bring me shoes!"
  • On the second night, the Hanukkah Fairy brought Zoe a pair of shoes! To be fair, she'd picked them out at Target recently, and had seen them purchased, but it had been a while ago, and she hadn't seen them since. I thought she'd be thrilled. Yeah, not so much. "But I don't like those shoes, Mommy!" It was not so worthwhile to explain that she'd picked them out, but Night 2 was another Epic Gift Fail.
  • On Night 3, I was determined to be more successful. I had a pink winter hat with pig ears and a pig nose and it was the CUTEST THING EVER and I was sure she'd love it. And she did...for three minutes. It was a step in the right direction.
  • On the fourth night, we went to a Hanukkah Party at my mother's house and we had such a great time! Mom made fried foods (latkes and fried flounder - well, Dad made that part), and Zoe ate...mac & cheese. Sigh.
So, these are just some funny gift-based memories. We are actually working very hard to instill traditions in Zoe, more than just gifts. We've been lighting the candles every night, and talking about the miracle of Hanukkah, and spinning the dreidel. We've also been making sure to talk about the importance of giving, particularly in this holiday season.

But that doesn't stop her from being SO EXCITED every night that the Hanukkah Fairy may just come back a second time and hide yet another gift at which she can turn up her nose.

She's just lucky it's a cute little nose...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My thoughts on the past week

It’s been an interesting week in the news, hasn’t it?

First North Korea bombed South Korea and South Korea responded in kind, indicating an escalation of tensions that seemed to foreshadow another major conflict.

And then it sort of...fizzled. Nothing much has been done or said in the past couple days.

And then WikiLeaks dumped onto its web site tons of classified communication between American diplomats all over the world, airing so-called dirty laundry that threatened to break apart years of careful diplomacy. Think about it...would you want your coworker to know all the terrible things you’ve said about her to your cube-mate when her back is turned?

I like to think I’m a nice person who doesn’t do that kind of stuff, but let’s face it. We all do it. And I, for one, would rather maintain that semi-professional, good-natured relationship with ALL my coworkers, regardless of my opinions on their clothes or work ethics.

In this country, many leaders of the Republican persuasion were up in arms as soon as news of the leak came out, blasting the Democrats for letting this happen, claiming treason, etc. It almost felt like they were expecting this to turn into a big Freedom of Speech/Civil Rights debate, during which the Democrats (those devils!!) would stand up for WikiLeaks and all the damage that site has done on the basis of Bill of Rights principles.

And then that...didn’t happen. Turns out, the Democrats are just as upset by WikiLeaks as the Republicans, and with good reason. And here’s why.

In the first place, we need to be clear on one thing. The acts by WikiLeaks (as lead by Julian Assange) are no more treason than was the bombing of South Korea by North Korea because Assange is not a United States citizen, and the site itself is hosted all over the world (mainly in Iceland). Treason is defined as an act committed against one’s own state or country, so treason rules do not apply here.

That said, the airing of all these diplomatic secrets was a heinous act of espionage committed by a self-proclaimed anarchist who has gone on the record stating that he wants to “bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality - including the US administration.” (New Yorker's Profile of Julian Assange) The man is out to do some damage.

And it seems that, since everyone agrees that this was a terrible thing to do, they seem to be, if not turning a blind eye, at least taking everything they read with a giant grain of salt. After reading descriptions of the French President, Nicolas Sarcozy, that paint him as hyperactive and surrounding himself with yes-men, the French Foreign Minister simply called the posting of the documents “totally irresponsible.”

My guess regarding this downplayed international response is that it's everyone in the highest offices of government knows that, if their countries’ most secret communications were laid out for public consumption, it would come to light that THEY ALL SAY THE SAME THINGS.

Come ON, do you think other country’s top diplomats weren’t mocking GW, and don’t currently have choice comments about President Obama? You know it happens.

Still, this whole debacle has the feel of a spy novel to me. Tuesday, it was announced that Interpol has placed Assange on its Most Wanted list due to...wait for crimes! What? You can’t convince me that this isn’t trumped up just to get this dude into custody and get him off our streets and computers.

And while I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly, I just hope it’s done legally and reasonably so he doesn’t wind up back out on the streets after a slap on the wrists. I think some major espionage crimes have been committed here...they should not go unpunished.