The Butterfly

What you see here is the remarkably beautiful Kalias Mariposas butterfly.  This particular specimen is native to my home state of Indiana, the most lovely of all the colonies.  You might notice that Kalia, who is also my beloved niece, is the same color of butterfly as Barack Obama, and for the same reason:  because she has parents of different races, and she is being raised by a single mother and her grandparents (my sister, Melinda, of whom you might have heard, and Wayne, who is too nice for her).  Kalia’s mother, like Barack Obama’s, is raising her child while studying to be a nurse, and is nonetheless one of the best and most patient mothers I’ve ever seen.  One of the things Abby says to her daughter is that she can be anything she wants to be, because this is America.  Isn’t it interesting that we could have a President whose mother said the same thing to him, and Kalia might grow up seeing a President who looks like her?  I wish for that with all my heart, because of course I want to watch Obama change things at the national and the global level – and he will – and I also selfishly want Kalia to believe nothing is out of reach for her, as Obama wants his own daughters to believe.

And as far as McCain’s VP choice?  I will be kind and merely say that it appears she has named her seventeen children after car parts, and she is an absolute nutbucket.  And if he thinks he’s fooling anyone by choosing a loony, anti-abortionist, pro-oil-drilling woman whose youngest child is not yet a year old, and who has Downs Syndrome besides (and so might need, I don’t know, some attention, as all babies do?), it’s not just his age showing.  It’s the years he spent in a cage, being tortured by the gay Viet Cong.  Because no one in America is going to look at that old man and think, “Yes, he’ll die in office, and then we’ll have HER!!!  YAY!!”  We’re not idiots, you nasty old wife-beating patriot, you.  Come on, McCain – lose your temper REAL GOOD for the American people, and do it on camera, as you did with the female reporter from The Times.  Show everyone what you’re made of, and make sure you ALWAYS direct that rage at women, so every voter can see what a dangerous, lying, hypocritical mask-wearing villain you really are.  In fact, let it rip on Susan or Sarah Life-Begins-At-Conception-and-The-Extinction-of-Endangered-Species-Begins-At-Home Palin.  In fact, call her the dreaded ‘C’ word, as you did your wife, and see what a womb is REALLY capable of.

You know, Nabokov was an expert on butterflies.

Published in: on August 30, 2008 at 11:05 pm  Comments (52)  


  1. I do not vote with my vagina. I do not vote with my vagina.

    And O! Sweet Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick, she is a CREATIONIST!

  2. RIGHT?!? The only thing she has going for her is that a few people will mistake her for Tina Fey, who COULD be President. Other than that, she’s just a new chapter in our long national nightmare.

  3. Right on, Haven. We went to an Obama rally here in Dublin, Ohio tonight (along with 10,000 other people in a stadium set for less than 5,000). Speaking of Ms. Palin, we learned that the entire population of Alaska is LESS than the city of Columbus and HALF the size of Franklin County. Good lord, this woman couldn’t even be mayor of Columbus, Ohio!

  4. Honestly, I think what McCain considered canny will backfire immediately. And Obama already called it out, when he said in his acceptance speech that we had grown cynical. NO ONE ON THIS PLANET is more cynical than the Republicans in power now, or McCain himself, who thinks he’s pulled a pretty little bunny out of his hat, and will trick Hillary’s supporters into voting for him. That’s cynicism at the deepest, scariest level.

    Thank god she’s not the mayor of Columbus, Ohio. I like that city.

  5. Did you see in the news that she does’t believe gloabl warming is man made? (Maybe she thinks it’s retribution for all the gays, non-born agains,etc. Ya know, like AIDS…)


  6. Let’s not forget that Wikipedia sources claim she’s traveled abroad twice in her life — once to Ireland and once last year to Germany and Kuwait. And McCain first met her just 6 months ago!! This decision was forged in a very dark heart indeed.

    I’d rather have Tina Fey — and bring back that guy from Apocolypse Now who played the president on TV — but I still wouldn’t dream of voting for anyone but Obama.

  7. Angie and I attended the rally together. It was hot (87 degrees and just a little bit humid – can you say Midwest?) and we stood in a cattle line for about an hour and a half then baked in the sun during the rally, but it was soo worth it to see Obama in person. Nearly double the amount of people attended than what was anticipated, and the diversity among the crowd was beyond words. Every socio-economic, racial, sexual orientation, creed, etc. was represented. It was a fabulous night to be an American.

    To further outline how wonderful he is; during Obama’s speech a woman fainted in front of the press box. He stopped his speech and called for medics. Then went to the podium grabbed one of HIS bottles of water and tossed it in the crowd to give to the woman while waiting to ensure the EMTs had made it to the woman before continuing. What a man!

  8. Haven – You brought up an excellent point about Palin’s newest addition. I had that very discussion tonight. Is it right to be away from a baby during such a formative time? Especially, if that baby has special needs. It makes me wonder about her character. What mother would leave a completely dependent life with others while she tries to achieve world domination when the crypt keeper blows a gasket? I’d rather see Cindy McCain be his VP. At least she’s a robot and could probably be reprogrammed.

  9. I do not understand this VP candidate pick at all…not at all. I’m not going to try to understand it too much, it would take so much effort. I will rejoice in the fact that, if she hangs in there with McCain, electing Obama and Biden will be that much easier, and I will get to bed a little bit earlier on election night.

    However, one worry I do have is that McCain can “test the waters” via the polls regarding “his” choice. If the polls confirm that having Palin as a running mate is as damaging as we think, I predict that Palin (not really Palin because someone will direct her to do it) will step down and cite that she decided she needs to take care of her family. Then McCain will pick someone more traditional. By then, his goose (the one that Palin tracked, shot from the sky and retrieved from the high grass for him) will be cooked.

    So I think this is a good thing for the Democrats! Rejoice!!!

  10. I realize you are speaking in hyperbole, but is it really necessary to demonize this woman for having more than 3 children (I selected the number 3 because that’s how many you yourself have…I’m not sure how many you have to have before you are considered a nutbucket, but I’m guessing it’s more children than the accuser has) and for giving her children names that are creative and meaningful to her? Would you respect her more if she had aborted her fifth child so she could give more attention to her office?

    I get what you are saying, and I don’t necessarily disagree, but I do tire of women being attacked by other women for being mothers, or not being mothers, for being pro-choice, or pro-life, or whatever. You can be snarky about her politics, about her lack of experience, whatever, but something about making fun of her motherhood just seems a little too catty to me, especially when coming from another mom.

    Personally, I will not be voting for McCain, like it matters. I’m not an especially political person, but I am ready for something to change, and that’s what Obama feels like to me. He feels like a destiny I cannot control. I like him, and I don’t know if I should or shouldn’t, but I’m ready to sit back with my popcorn and see what this century is going to bring.

    So anyway, I’m coming to Indy to see you speak next month. I’m coming with my brood of 3 kids with weird names (currently only 3…I might end up being a nutbucket with 17, who knows? But probably I’ll only have 4, and I certainly won’t have more than 3 by the 11th of September.) Even though you will probably think I’m wacky because I’m a Christian (much like your darling mom, I don’t have a choice) and abortion grieves me, I hope you can be nice and sign my books, though you can certainly talk cattily about me when I leave. Though I wish you wouldn’t! I’d rather be pals.

  11. Oh yeah, and your niece is BEAUTIFUL!

  12. Ok, I just read this

    It’s a crazy conspiracy theory, who knows? But if this turns out to be true you can say whatever you want about her, and I won’t ever complain again.

  13. Kate — I bring up her children because it certainly does matter how many there are and if one of them has special needs if she’s going to be partly responsible for the running of one of the most powerful countries in the world. I have a two-year-old and I can’t run the vacuum cleaner. And abortion is grievous; I don’t believe anyone actually takes it lightly. It doesn’t matter whether you or I would have one — it matters whether it remains safe for women who choose to. Further, if she is pro-life I would like to hear both her and McCain declare that they’ll put an end to the death penalty — I’d take her much more seriously then. I believe she is not in any way a clear-thinking individual, and not just because she doesn’t understand science or the facts of global warming. And we’ve had enough muddle-headed bungling in the White House for a lifetime.

    I don’t think people who have children are nutbuckets: I had three over the course of twenty-two years. There were two other children I miscarried, so by now I would have had five myself. But the difference between Palin and me is that I raised mine. I went to graduate school twice and I have now written seven books for adults, and when my children get out of school I am right here. When they go to bed I’m right here. My daughter didn’t begin pre-school until she was four years old. I stayed home with Obadiah for three years, and the two-year-old is here 24-hours a day. It isn’t that I had the luxury of rearing them and many women don’t (not only that) — it’s that I found a way to do so. As anyone who knows me can attest, I fight tooth-and-nail going on book tours, even when I’m allowed to come home every two or three days, because I hate being away from my children. So all I’m saying is she gets no ribbons from me for making her brave ‘choice’ to have a Downs Syndrome child, when she was already the governor of Alaska. And now she’s accepted McCain’s offer, and that same child is not a year old. What she ‘chose’ is certainly self-serving, because it makes her look heroic while she goes right on seeking power.

    And for the record, I am not in any way a catty person — certainly not about anyone who ever attends a reading of mine or is gracious enough to read one of my books and tell me so. Last year in Indianapolis I signed books for three straight hours, and I was grateful to every person in line. The paragraph above is about and exists solely in the political arena. I’ve never publicly discussed politics in my life — I’ve always considered it to be a private area for individuals — but I’ve got a dog in this fight. We ALL have a dog in this fight. And McCain is a man with very dark secrets; I’ve heard things from people in the media that would chill your heart. I don’t even need to repeat them; they’re emerging on their own. The big things will come to light and the small things, too, like the way he is now retelling the story of his torture by the North Vietnamese by stealing from Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

    Most of all, that we even have to contend with a man with his character, and a woman who believes that dinosaur bones are 6,000 years old, when Barack Obama is standing right in front of us? It’s tiresome. I’m not snarky, I’m angry. I’m tired of a country this great that would settle again and again for a government that doesn’t even rise to the level of the mediocre. We once had Thomas Jefferson in the White House, for the love of God; we had Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt, and that we even have to DEBATE who is the better candidate until November is a sign that for many people the absolute lowest common denominator is good enough. But it is NOT. It’s not good enough for that beautiful Kalia; it’s not good enough for your children or mine or Shea’s boys. (Hi, Shea, love.) It’s not good enough for Brandon or any of my gay boyfriends, or for ALL WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY. As Obama said, ENOUGH.

    p.s. As you’ll find in Indianapolis, I’m actually one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Mom, jump in here — Abby, Robert, anyone. George? Where’s George? J. BRENT BILL, clean up in aisle nine!

  14. WHOA — I just read the article Kate sent from the Daily Kos — WHOA. Anyone who has a child knows that with each successive pregnancy you show sooner and sooner. By the time I was seven months pregnant with Baby Augusten I looked like I was carrying a mastiff. I felt that way, too.

    WHOA. Seriously. Of course it has conspiracy hallmarks, but just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t actually following you. I remember the whole event — the weird timing of her announcement, all of it — and when she went back to work after three days? HELLO? Three days after Baby Gus was born I was still lying in bed weeping and eating gummy bears. I couldn’t have gotten up or gotten dressed if the house was on fire. And as my mom and sister can certainly attest, we didn’t put that baby down for A YEAR. I swear, someone was holding him or carrying him or rocking him for the entire first year of his life. What an extraordinarily hinky story. THANK YOU, Kate!

  15. Haven — I am sooo disappointed in this blog. I mean, I have never know you to hold back like this. 😉 I guess I’ll have to reread it to see what you really think…

    The butterflies are lovely on the Ploughshares Farm prairie this morning. Monarchs, et al, fluttering by…

  16. i’d just like to honor butterly girl’s mother. nurses are the world’s greatest mercy. surely her children, and her cared-for humans, will rise up and call her blessed.

  17. and Delonda is a joy and a genius hard rock saint and a miracle. my own mother, Bunny, is already wicked jealous of her. i predict this will end very well. kiss that baby gus, whom i also plan on stealing away at regular intervals. pablo,my son, is his godfather. did you KNOW? s’true, babe. we had the ceremony last night over a burly balloon figure of tony soprano, and we burned joss sticks and swing tibetan porayer wheels, just in case. to be covered. oh i do believe in the importance of coverage.

  18. Have you heard? McCain and Palin merged and became McPain. or Pain Mac Daddy, in the “Black states.” It’s interesting to see him grasping at straws. HUH.

  19. I really hope that Sarah Palin remains on the ticket and that the people responsible for electing the current administration are more sexist than they are racist. If so much were not at stake I would have a sunnier view of things. How insulting to women to try and lure them from Hillary to this Palin person. In addition to everything mentioned above she also made legal the aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska. I do not think the post was snarky at all. Hit the nail right on the head. Thank you Haven Kimmel, you give me hope.

  20. Good heavens…this is what happens when I eat too many sublime chocolate chip cookies and stay up until 3 am due to the subsequent sugar/caffeine overload!

    Haven, I knew I loved you. Thanks for the kind and frank rebuttal. If you ever come to Evansville for a book tour I’ll watch Gus for you.

  21. And in defense of Haven being one of the kindest peeople you’ll ever meet – tis true, tis true. And, I mean, isn’t there some irony in a gun-toting, animal killing, pro-capital choice person being called “pro-life?” But maybe that’s just me. And I’ve decided to run for Senator because I was vice-president of Mr. Sarsfield’s class in 6th grade. “Qualifications, we don’t need no stinkin’ qualifications…”

  22. I can vouch for the fact that Haven Kimmel is one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met.

    And if the 13 pages of single spaced notes that she gave me for the first draft of my novel does not prove that nothing will.

  23. Wow, I don’t know what is more interesting, your original post, or your comments. I just wrote a little blurb somewhere (Not on my own blog) about how wrong I feel it is for a mother of five whose youngest is an infant with Downs to run for V.P. And, my god, I was so ready for Hillary to run, either as President, or V.P. I’m such a feminist, but come on, you work a ton of hours when you are a politician. How can you leave a sweet baby with Downs at home with the hubby or a babysitter for the next four years? My own husband and I have a theory – Women and Men want it all – The Career, The Marriage, The Kids. But honestly, you can RARELY have it all? I’m not so sure. When both parents work full time and have careers, not jobs, something slips for them. They lose focus on one of the three. For instance, if Ms. Palin becomes a kick-ass V.P., I believe either her marriage or her children will suffer. And, I’m sure she wont want her kids to lack attention first, so her marriage will go, which will in turn affect her kids. I’m not saying she can’t do it, she shouldn’t do it, but my money is on that marriage cracking over the next four years.

    Think about it- Why do we always hear about Politicians and their lovers … because I feel they lose touch with their wives, their marriages. And Haven, you are very lucky to have found a way to Have it all!

  24. Oh, you all are so lovely. This whole issue drove me out to my barnhole to work on my new book, and I gave my taxidermy some Beauty Parlor, then started reading THE CAGED PANTHER: EZRA POUND AT ST. ELIZABETH’S, and I read about twenty pages and just started SOBBING, and thought, hmmmm, perhaps I could do with a nap.

    And dear Girl From The Ghetto: much praise must be heaped upon my husband, who stopped working when I was twenty weeks pregnant and on bedrest, and has stayed home and helped me with the children for the past two years. He has sacrificed more than I have to keep the little one at home with us. If he didn’t do virtually ALL of the cooking and housework, I could never write two books a year, never. All I’ve sacrificed is sleeping. Oh, and all forms of vanity. At 4:15 this morning I was printing out some new pages and I thought, oh you know, this isn’t so unusual. Plath got up at four in the morning to write after Ted Hughes left her, and then I was like, RUH ROH.

  25. Kate, I would happily entrust Gus to you.


  26. Delonda once wrote a song with my dear (now deceased) godfather Will, about how many pro-life people are just WILD about the death penalty. It was called Put ‘Em In The Hot Seat, Fry Their Little Buns Off Boogie.

  27. Haven – Sounds like you married a great man. Any man who does not get hung up on gender archetypes gets an A+ in my book. AND if he’s any good at laundry then he gets brownie points. Lord, laundry is the bane of my existence.

    Speaking of taxidermy my late Grandfather had a squirrel mounted on the wall of his mudroom for years. He had a steady stream of squirrels that he would tame. All he had to do was click two walnuts together and they’d all come and eat out of his hands. Stumpy was his favorite by far, and when he was found dead he was promptly taken to the local taxidermist. I inherited my Grandmother’s Buddha which is one of my most treasured possessions, but damn if I wouldn’t kill to get my hands on Stumpy.

  28. Hi Haven. When I mentioned my ex-husband loving Tina Fey the other day I never imagined what would happen next. Eeek. But, I am glad Tina is not McCain’s vp choice because then I would pause for a minute to consider voting for him, but only for a minute at which time I would be beating my head against the wall saying, are you crazy??!!

    You make me smile. There is so little to smile about in all of this that I am grateful that you are allowing us to vent a bit. I have two kids so I have always thought people with 3 are crazy. My theory has always been that if God had wanted us to have more than two we would have more than two arms and there would be more than two back seat car windows.

    Thank you for bringing up the important issue of the death penalty. I am involved with TCASK (Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing)
    I have never been able to understand how “compassionate” people can support this unjust and horrific system.

    Sorry for rambling. So glad you are here. I hope a future book signing brings to Nashville. Davis-Kidd is a wonderful bookstore. I recommend it for a signing location 🙂

    And, last but not least, your beautiful butterfly niece is a joy to behold.

  29. I can vouch for Haven being one of THE BEST people I know. I couldn’t ask for someone to love my daughter or myself anymore. Well, except of course for her lovely sister which just happens to be my mom. But it appears to be a toss up. I can only hope that the changes Obama can make in this country will allow all little butterflies (especially mine) to spread their wings and become whatever they dream. He is proving that all things are possible.

  30. All right, baby girl, you are the best, so there too,kind and generous as well as beautiful. And Kate, please dear girl, Gus is the cutest and when he was a baby he let me hold him for HOURS and I loved it so much they had to wrench him out of my arms (gently gently). If Haven lets you watch him you will count it as a true joy. By the way, Haven’s husband is talented, brilliant, handsome, competent and utterly wonderful. I adore him. And–I agree with every word about McCain, Obama and motherhood, the latter of which I know the most about, thanks very much.

  31. I echo what Linda says about coming to Davis-Kidd in Nashville, as I’m here, too, and I’m evidently very selfish. Linda, where are you in Nashville? Any fan of Haven must be someone with good taste, so maybe we can meet up WHEN HAVEN VISITS DAVIS-KIDD IN NASHVILLE. I’m holding up a hypno-spiral, Haven. Can you tell? I’m waving it around the room. Davis-Kidd. Daaaaaaaaaavis-Kidd (say in a spooky, hypno voice).

  32. Who knew I was beginning an Everyone Compliment Haven Day?!? What fun! Okay but you can stop now.

    I used to ALWAYS read at the Nashville Davis-Kidd, and then directly to Memphis. And then they weren’t on the schedule for The Used World or for Iodine, but Memphis and Oxford still are. I don’t know how these things work. Love that store, though.

  33. The women in this family learned from the women in this family. Feeding from Mom Mary. Aprons and gardens from Mom Jarvis. Wings and flying from Dee. Put them all together and you’ve got Kat, Abby, Kalia, Jenny, Sabrinia, Olivia, Jess and maybe someday Joselyn. Those are some mighty fine butterflies.

  34. My sister rules.

  35. Brandon, I too would love to get my hands on Stumpy. Oh dear, I walked right into that one, didn’t I. At any rate, I just won something extraordinary on eBay and it will feature in my next author photograph. I can’t WAIT for you to see it.

  36. I’ve only met you once, briefly, but it was made immediately, painfully obvious that you are one of the most wonderful people living in the world. Also, I don’t think someone who paints the world as stunningly as you do could be anything less than stunning in all ways herself.

    Oh, and I so very much agree with everything being said about Obama/McCain/everything else. Even back in the day before I knew anything at all about McCain, I said to my best friend, “I’ve got a bad, icky feeling about him.” How true that feeling has come to be. I don’t care if you don’t give two hoots about politics — all you need to see is the contrast in their smiles. Call me silly, but it’s true.

  37. As much I appreciate anything you say or write, I can’t follow the logic in this post. So it’s OK for your husband to raise the children (primary), but not Palin’s husband? It’s O.K. for you, your sister, your niece to have a pregnancy while a teenager, but not Palin’s daughter?

    Please take caution to not judge others by standards you would not abide for yourself.

    One other point, if I may. As the wife of a man of another color, and the parents of children of both colors, we are very sensitive to a patronizing tone when talking of a child. Your grand-niece, is beautiful, yes she is, but leave the color out of it. You’ll notice Obama does, often, too.

  38. LORDY. i had no IDEA it was Sunday. And me late for our Lady of Perpetual Judgement Revival service. today was the day they were going to heal the BLIND.

  39. The Washington Post has a new story about Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, being 4 months pregnant NOW. She’s supposedly keeping the baby and marrying the father. Rumor has it that he is 26 years old and they’ve been dating for 3 years. Can you imagine letting a 23 year old man date your 14 year old daughter? WTF? I seriously question this woman’s judgement.

  40. Sorry, she’s 5 months pregnant. Here’s the link:

  41. Kelly, my husband and I raise our children together and I am the primary breadwinner. My sister was not a teenager when she had a baby, she was a grown, married woman; my niece was 26 years old and married. And forgive me, but if you think for a moment I am being patronizing about the beauty of my niece, you are sadly mistaken. I have never uttered a patronizing word in my life about any person of any color, and it appears to me that you are not speaking to me at all, but to someone else entirely.

    And Obama leaves color out of it? Do you mean by celebrating the DNC during the exact week MLK delivered his “I Have A Dream” Speech, which was reiterated countless times, both by him and by everyone else?

    That you would suggest I am patronizing my niece is not forgiveable to me. I welcome you to my readings, I wish the best for you and your family, but you are not welcome in this conversation. That is my beautiful family, and you have a crossed a line. That you misread me entirely is simply a matter of error; that accused me of a crime against love and progressivism and my deeply held Quaker beliefs leads me to believe that logic is not your strong suit. There are thousands of other blogs out there — please feel free to join one of them. You called ME patronizing and then referred to my sister and my niece as pregnant teenagers, which is both factually wrong and cruel. I find this unacceptable.

    You can call ME a pregnant teenager, which I was, and I too made the ‘heroic’ decision to carry that child to term, and this is the first and last time you’ll hear me exploit that fact for my own gain. If I run for office, you may pull out these guns again, but you and I are done here.

  42. One last thing, Kelly — if you want to know the definition of ‘patronizing’ it’s reading that my niece is a single mother of a bi-racial child and assuming she got pregnant as a teenager and never married the father. That’s textbook, isn’t it? But in fact they were wed in a Christian ceremony presided over by my mother. I’d hold those patronizing cards in your deck until you know how to play them.

    Isn’t that funny — I wasn’t the least mad at Kate — I thought we just needed to clear some things up. But this kind of thing just simply won’t do.

  43. And I was just cranky and over-caffeinated, anyway.

    Haven- POW! Right in the kisser!!

  44. And it was three in the morning! But Kate + Haven = friends.

  45. Hells yes!

  46. Well hell, I was gonna strain and think of some really vile Hoosier phrases to be a whoopin on Kelly, but in fact….Haven Kimmel did it all just fine! That…folks is why she makes the big bucks.

  47. I make the little bucks but then I add Miracle-Gro and implants.

    Love you.

  48. Crap…that’s what I’ve done wrong!

  49. Sarah Palin: She makes Americans feel that anyone can be president.

  50. I don’t understand what your objection to Sarah Palin is, is it that her children have eccentric names or that she is for oil drilling or pro life? I have daughters and like you I want them to believe nothing is out of their reach and they can be anything they want to be, I thinnk Sarah Palin becoming the first women vice president might make that concept more of a reality for them. I do however have immense respect for Obama.

  51. Also my thirteen year old daughter thinks Obama is “hot” in her mind that takes precedent over any ideology, oh if only it were that simple.

  52. oh this is wayyy late in sending a comment…is it?
    I’m not sure…
    Anyway I would simply love it if you could come to Nashville! There are more people than I thought that come to your blog, and I suspected that I was the only fan in the area!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: