Saturday, December 13, 2008
As soon as I heard the hulabloo with Blagojevich, I decided I wanted to start a rumor. So, I've posted a few comments in various Chicago newspaper websites. The comments were about how "everyone knew" about the Chicago Cubs curse: that no Cubs team would win the World Series until Illinois politics was cleaned up.
LOL. Now I wonder how long it will take before I hear this curse repeated back to me as fact!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
His roommate catches a bee (the part of the story that most freaks me out) and put it in the freezer for about 30 seconds. Not much longer than that or the bee will freeze to death. While the bee is in the big chill (ahem), he gets some dental floss or thin string and cuts of a piece about 18 inches long. After the time is up, he opens the freezer, grabs the bee and ties one of the string around the bee. Then he fastens the other end to the top of a table. When the bee wakes up, it can fly around in circles.
So, if watching bees flying around in circles is your thing, I've just described another way you can do it. Personally, I'm wondering what they were smoking when they were doing this.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sitting around and talking and eating also aptly describes my upbringing. You see, dinner every night was a command performance. No excuses not to be there. Good food (my mom was a good cook, surprise!) Dinner was always an hour, with all the talking 5 kids and 2 adults could do, and 2 or 3 hours was not unheard of. We really enjoyed each other's company, and still do. My parents are dead now, but when the 5 of us get together it's like a magnet. We're pulled together by some invisible force, because we're almost always in the same room together.
I must admit the traditional Thankgiving meal is my favorite meal. Just ask my husband - we have roast turkey (or fried - YUM) several times a year. In fact we have two (not one but TWO) 21 pound turkeys in our freezer. The local grocery chain was having them on sale (29 cents a pound, I think), but by the time we got there, these where the smallest birds left. I don't care. I'll eat it!
I'm most grateful for the people in my life, because they're the most important things in life: my husband - 13 years is hard to believe it's gone by so quickly. My family 4 siblings, 12 nieces/nephews with 2 GREAT nieces/nephews on the way, friends - some I've known since high school and others only a few years, but fortunately there's quite a few. I'm also grateful to have a job that I like working for a company that treats me well and that I think I can trust. Hard to find these days. I'm grateful for my home - not just the house - but everything about it that MAKES it home - the Trixie and Tillie my cats, the things husband and I have chosen for it and the memories we've made there.
And I'm really grateful that Thanksgiving is a holiday, so that I can take a moment and remember how lucky I am.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Mine is Illusions by Richard Bach. That book helped me change my life. Before reading it, I was going through life without questioning what I was doing and why. Afterwards, I was much conscious of the decisions I made and why I made them. Great read. Highly recommended!
Now share yours please!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
"I went to the protest yesterday here in Columbus. There were about 1500 protesters, despite the cold weather and all the rain. (not to mention the Buckeye football game scheduled at the same time.
). Not bad for an impromptu demonstration organized over the internet just earlier this week.
I couldn’t stay for the whole thing because standing on concrete in the pouring rain and cold is NOT good for my arthritis (I still hurt this morning), but I was there for about an hour. Like any demonstration there were speakers, chants, singing – you know all the usual suspects (Not THAT kind of suspect, sorry JJD!). What really struck me about it was the number of straight people there. There was a woman who was in her late 70’s if she was a day, with a pink laminated sign hanging from her neck (we weren’t allowed to carry signs on sticks. The sticks were considered weapons.) Her sign said “I’m here for my Great-Nephew”. She had a whole handful of other signs already made up with similar sayings and she was offering those signs to complete strangers saying “Do you need one of these?” She was a really neat lady, and hardly the only person her age in the crowd.
There were demonstrations like this all over the country, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the news. Here’s the web address for a blog I read everyday that has a lot of coverage on it from the people who were there. http://www.andrewsullivan.com/. You may need to scroll down to find the coverage under Saturday, November 15, 2008 because this guy blogs a LOT. (He actually gets paid for it.) I think his coverage captures the spirit of what the demonstration was like pretty well. It was very upbeat and hopeful, despite the emotions that passage of the Proposition engendered.
And I don’t know about you, but unless you’ve ever been to a protest yourself, you’d never know from the media coverage that any demonstration could be like that. And ALL the demonstrations I’ve been to were like that. The people who participated did so because they cared about the issue. So they were all very friendly to each other – even to complete strangers. So the protest was completely peaceful. The mainstream media doesn’t give peaceful protests more than a cursory mention, if they mention them at all. So the only protests Americans hear about are the violent protests. So American associate protesting with violence. That’s hogwash. Our country was founded by protestors (Boston Tea Party, anyone?).
This protest was only the first of what will wind up being a many years long movement to make civil marriage legal in every state of our country. Most of the work of the movement won’t be demonstrations or protests, but will be community organizing, lobbying Senators and Congressman, etc. I plan to be a part of that because this means a lot to me. But it means something not just because I want to marry M. We live in Ohio, after all, and you KNOW how conservative it is. So we may not live long enough to get married here. But it means something to me because I don’t want any niece or nephew – or great-niece or great-nephew (since we have 2 coming in April!) – to have to go through what I’ve gone through. I don’t have children, but I can still leave the next generation a legacy to be proud of. And THAT’S something I care about.
I hope you’ll help too.
Persuasion works best when you're honest and speak from the heart. Try it!
"I know that California is far away and the issue of gay marriage may seem
pretty abstract to you. It’s not to me. It’s very real and has been for a
long time. Chuck’s death, all those years ago, made the issue anything but
abstract to me.
You see he died the day after I moved into the house that we bought together. We considered that day to be the day that we got married. If we had actually been married, I would have been protected. As it was, I not only had to pay the mortgage and other bills on my salary alone, I had to pay his estate back for the portion of the down payment that he contributed. All of these bills were paid on about 1/3 of
the income we had when we qualified for the mortgage. A straight couple wouldn’t have had this problem, because the marriage license would have protected the surviving spouse. But we couldn’t get married, so I had no protection. I did manage to keep the house and to avoid bankruptcy, but only barely. And it took me 11 years to dig out of the financial mess I was left with.
So you see this is a civil rights issue. No matter how you feel about a religious marriage, a civil marriage is a separate issue. Religions are free to make whatever rules they think are right for their members. But Proposition 8, and constitutional
amendments like it in more than 20 states in the US, bars civil marriage to same
sex couples. This is institutionalizing discrimination and must be stopped.
This Saturday there is a nationwide protest of the passage of Proposition 8. I’m
going to be attending the local protest in front of the Columbus City Hall
because this is an issue that I am passionate about. I’m writing to ask you to join in the protest in your area. I’ve included a link so that you can find the details.
(sorry MED, that’s the closest I could find)
I’m asking you to join me in this protest because gays and lesbians need all the allies we can find if we ever hope to change the law. One of my favorite memories of the 1993 March on Washington DC was a group of about 12 guys on the sidelines with a sign that said “Straight Men for Gay Rights”. Their support meant a lot. History shows that civil rights are won only when there is a broad support for those rights. African Americans fought for decades for their rights, but what tipped the scales was when white American joined the protest. That’s why I’m asking for your help.
I realize this may be uncomfortable for you. Go with your spouse. Take a friend. Make a sign that says “Straight Couple for Gay Marriage”! Do what you have to do to make yourself go, but please go.
Thanks for listening.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Trixie is prone to bladder infections because she has bad kidneys. So I periodically have to give her a pill (antibiotics) every day for 3 weeks. She's currently about halfway through another course of antibiotics. So she's feeling well enough that it's not easy giving her the pills.
First I have to CATCH her, not always easy for those of us with arthritis. But husband helps with that, if I she's feeling really defiant. Then there's getting her to swallow the pills. Now the pills she's taking, to be fair, are pretty large for a 10 pound cat. But I have a way of pinning her down that doesn't hurt her and allows me to open her mouth and drop the pill in. Then I rub her neck until I notice her swallowing. This part can be time-consuming, as any cat owner will tall you. Then after she swallows the pill, she gets a couple of cat treats.
Yesterday I caught her fairly easily. And giving her the pill was no harder than most days and easier than a lot of other days, so I counted myself as lucky. Until today.
You see I found her pill from yesterday on the ottoman in the living room this afternoon. So, she not only fooled me that she swallowed the pill (not the first time!), but she managed to EAT TWO TREATS before jumping on the ottoman and spitting out the pill that she did NOT swallow.
I am humbled by your orneriness Trixie, but I'm still giving you your pills!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
In all of my 50 years, I've never seen the elation when a new president was elected. And not just on TV for the camera either. All day Wednesday, I saw people at work grinning from ear-to-ear when they talked about the election results. That's not to say that the happiness is unanimous. McCain had his supporters and some of those I know are sad (or worse).
But this is not the time to dwell on the negative. Those who heard Obama say for 21 months "Yes We Can" know for themselves that yes, we can! Four years ago the Republicans were talking about establishing a permanent majority in Congress, they were so sure of their support. But change can happen. It takes time, effort and money, but it can happen. Enjoy the feeling.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I've already voted (Ohio allows for absentee ballots for no reason, so I voted a couple weeks ago). But now it's YOUR TURN. Please stop reading this blog (or anything else for that matter) and GO VOTE.
It's important. It'll make you feel great.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
We have had 8 years of a republican-led administration. The Republicans are rightly held responsible for the current (and likely long lasting) financial mess. But it's their recklessness with American security that infuriates me. The current Republican administration lied to the American public and congress to justify the war in Iraq. Now there are 3,900 + Americans dead in that war so far and tens of thousands of Iraqis. This was a choice to go to war at a time when we were already at war in Afghanistan with the terrorists.
Going to war should always be done with deliberation (or not at all, since I'm Quaker, but that's a post for another time). Going to a SECOND war should be discouraged at all costs unless the chance of winning quickly is 100%. So now not only are thousands of people dead, but we are less safe than before the war started because our military is so pre-occuppied with the two wars it's already fighting, that if another conflict arose we aren't equipped to handle it.
Republicans should be held accountable for their actions, and as the current president is fond of saying, the ONLY time voters can hold politicians accountable is in the voting booth. So this once, let's take advice from George W. Bush and remember who it is that got us into this mess. The Republicans. And vote accordingly on November 4th.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
But this excitement must lead to MORE action on the part of Obama's supporters, not less. We can't assume that because things are going so well right now, that the outcome of the election is a foregone conclusion. Do more. Until November 4th, do more. Whatever you CAN do, DO. Donate money. Donate time. Talk to people you know or don't know about Obama. Take nothing for granted and DO SOMETHING to ensure that Obama is elected President on November 4th.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Except for the lavender top hat....
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
The second picture is me being silly at my birthday party. Someone shoved the plastic tiera with the lavendar feathers on my head when I started opening presents. I forgot I had it on, so it stayed on the whole time I opened presents. There must be 20 pictures of me with that darn thing on my head! But my favorite is this one with the magic wand that goes WITH the tiera. And of course the tee shirt just "sets it off" as they say. I bought the tee shirt when husband and I went to see Avenue Q when the toured here this spring.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Modern debates are all about zingers. Short clever sayings that capsulize an idea. The two campaigns have decided that the VP debate will be a series of short segments, none longer than 2 minutes. So, all Palin needs to do is to memorize a few prepared zingers written for her about something, say it with a smile and she wins.
Biden has been in the Senate for a long time. He's used to talking for long periods of time and at a very high (college or graduate school) level. If does that tomorrow night, he'll put the audience to sleep and they'll wake up only to find a smiling Palin joking with them.
But no matter, Obama will win in November!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
We had about 30 people or so - friends and family - some of whom came all the way from Lancaster county Pennsylvania. I was really touched (and no, not touched THAT way). There was a diner theme - because I LOVE diners. Any place where the waitresses call complete strangers "hon" is my kind of place. There was omelets made to order, meat loaf, open face turkey sandwiches and french toast as entrees (the party was a dinner time). The hors d'oerves were tiny chicken pot pies, tuna melts and crudite. We got 2 cakes from an incredible local bakery (Mozart's) one chocolate and one vanilla. I also made 2 pies - 1 apple and 1 cherry. Needless to say, no one left hungry on OUR account!
Oh I almost forgot - we also had some SPECIAL snacks: baked cheese curls, Reeses' peanut butter cups and Haribo Gummi Bears. Now these are specials because although I LOVE each of these treats, I NEVER keep them in the house. Mainly because I don't have any will power with these snacks. If any of these are in the house, I can't stop eating them. It's ugly. It's just easier not to buy them - except once in a very great while.
The party was loud and somewhat raucous - but not in that college frat party kind of way. It's was a party with a house full of people who liked to talk. I asked friends of mine to take pictures - knowing that I would forget. They took 198! So, over the next few weeks, I'm going to post some of these pictures. If there's a story behind the picture, I'll share it (assuming I know it.) Other times, there will just be a picture. And some of these picture are, um, ODD. But I like them because somehow they capture what the party was really like.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Does he really think that the only thing that thing keeping an agreement from being reached is his involvement in the legislative process? Please! He’s seen that the polls have swung 11 points against him in the last week based largely on economic issues. And, since his campaign has no actual IDEAS on how to fix the economy, maybe a little “razzle dazzle” will do that trick.
Suspend the campaign! Delay the debate! Boy THAT man really CARES about me! I think I’ll vote for him! Razzle dazzle’em and they’ll make you a star!
He really thinks Americans are stupid.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Some of the things that have changed to make that true:
1. The Fairness Doctrine was done away with during the Reagan administration. This was a federal regulation that required all companies that used the public airways, to give both sides of the issue (or candidates) equal time. Doing away with this regulation made possible Fox News and the conservative monopoly on radio.
2. Commoditization of news by corporations, oddly enough also in the 1980's required that each newspaper or news broadcast make a profit. Prior to this, it was common practice (for broadcast news especially) to lose some money most years. It was considered the price a company paid to use the public airwaves. With profit making now the goal, news was dumbed down, ratings or circulation became more important leading to sensationalizing of the news, finding good-looking anchors became more important than good reporters. Eventually even the reporters became pretty faces who read the news as increasingly the news producer did more and more of the actual reporting.
3. Twenty-Four hours cable news started in the 1980's and becomes embedded in American culture by the 1990's. It all started with CNN of course, but eventually led to MSNBC and Fox. Unfortunately there's not enough actual news to fill one 24 hour news channel, let alone 3 of them. That led to focusing even more on stories that can be sensationalized (Scott & Lacey Peterson anyone?) and the genesis of the "pundit". If it that reads like a curse word, then you're paying attention. These creatures (I can't manage to call them people) make an enormous amount of money by telling news anchors their opinions about news stories - often politics. Actual qualifications aren't required to be a pundit, just HAVE an opinion. Having 2 pundits with opposing opinions is supposed to be good television and is what passes for trying to follow the Fairness Doctrine nowadays.
4. Also during the Reagan era, the federal law that restricted how many news outlets one company could own in one market was done away with. This law was intended to prevent one company owning all the TV stations, newspapers and radio stations in one market. Over a series of years that was changed. So now there's only one newspaper in most major cities (though, to be fair, this isn't the only reason). And there are many cities where one company owns the newspaper, a major radio and a major TV station. Clear Channel anyone? This has led to fewer voices with more power in fewer news outlets.
All of this is just to say that no one should assume that any journalist is solely devoted to the truth. They're not out to lie, but they are only concerned with reporting that PORTION of the truth that will get you to buy their newspaper or tune in to their news report. The news consumer, if you have any concern about getting the full story, must take the time to find it out for yourself. Sure, continue with the MSM if you like, but remember their bias. And don't forget about the internet. There are great blogs out there - with their own biases that they're very upfront about - and Google and Digg and too many other places to mention.
This is an election year, something to take very seriously. Don't let anyone bamboozle you into making a decision about any candidate - politicians have become adept at using the media (more on that soon). If you hear something interesting about a candidate, verify for yourself on the internet that it's true. Take responsibility for your own news, because nowadays, if you don't no one else will.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
When I did I discovered that my cat Tillie lying right up against my butt and I was dripping with sweat I was so hot. Even at 4 AM when I'm mostly asleep, THAT was funny.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
2. I bought a new cereal whose label describes some parts as "crunchy fiber twigs". TWIGS?? I need the fiber so I bought it anyway. And besides I've tried and liked other types of cereal by the same brand. But I laughed out loud in the grocery story when I read that. Someone in that company's marketing department got paid to come up with the copy "Crunchy fiber twigs". Who is worse the person who wrote the copy, or the person who approved the copy?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I have been a real slug about writing on my blog ever since vacation. I'm not sure why. I took a whole week away from all types of media (no newspapers, TV, radio or internet) and I guess I enjoyed being unplugged. But time to get back at it!
I watched the Democratic Convention last night. Teddy Kennedy was very inspiring. And Michelle Obama was phenomenal. She was very clear what her family priorities are. Her intelligence and sincerity came shining through. No wonder he married her.
To those of you who say you want to know the specifics of what Obama is planning: go to his website www.barackobama.com and read his positions. That's what I did in September 2007 (along with all the other candidates' sites) to make up my mind who I wanted to support. Then watch his speech on Thursday. Between the two, you should get a pretty good idea of what he'll do. (although I doubt the speech will mention policy much).
It's important to take the time and responsibility to do your own research about a candidate's stance and NOT depend on the media. Remember - the media is only geared toward getting more readers or viewers NOT to printing/showing the WHOLE truth.
John McCain a MAVERICK? Please! Maybe in 2000, but not now. Not after he caved to the Bush administration's policy on torture. If he can do that with the TORTURE issue, a man who actually was tortured for years, what scruples does this man actually have?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I've learned that mine are weirder than most, which doesn't completely surprise me. I mostly dream of people who are NOT in my life - usually completely made up people. I nearly always dream in color. My dreams often have music in them, like movie scores. I have in the past dreamt as a cartoon - one that I had completely made up - the characters, plot (such as it was), art work - the whole shebang. Once in a VERY great while I'll realize that I'm dreaming while I'm dreaming. I always wind up flying when I wake up in a dream.
What brings this to mind is a dream I had late last night. It was an opera. YES, an opera. Not Madame Butterfly or La Traviata, an opera I made up. Now it didn't last for hours - probably just a few minutes. But everyone was singing. And the funny part is that it was very much a modern opera. Everyone had their solo lines that fit together in sometimes harmonious and sometimes dissonant ways. I don't remember what the opera was about or the characters (though it was someone in my life). Very weird - even for me.
What about it? What are your dreams like?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Mind you this was the autumn of 1977. While that IS a long time ago, telephones HAD been invented. She wasn't THAT far from us or her family. Why not just pick up a phone? We did HAVE phones and knew how to use them. When LRR and I pointed that out to LF, she wasn't convinced. She wanted a letter!
So I sent a letter. LOTS of letters. But it was only a single letter per page, and only one page per envelope. Those envelopes were addressed to LF and mailed to friends and relatives all over the country with a request to mail the envelope on a particular day. So for the better part of a month, LF got the letters she thought she wanted. They came from all over, but they didn't say a thing. And, because I made sure that there were no vowels, couldn't be made to say anything.
When she figured out what was happening and who had done it (the former was harder to figure out than the latter), she actually called us on the phone! Imagine! She tells that story every time I've been to a high school reunion (been a while though).
That's one of my favorite stories (evil without actually being harmful).... But I doubt its one of LF's favorites....
Monday, July 21, 2008
I'll continue to post both kinds of posts, because both kinds of posts reflect my personality. I'm just curious why this is happening. It seems counter-intuitive. (And the idea of my counters being intuitive just freaks me out!)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I should be clear to state that I don't mean this as a personal vendetta. In many ways this actually has nothing to do with either of them personally, but everything to do with all future men and women who hold the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States of America. When you take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of that country, which both of these men did twice, then you have an obligation to keep that oath. When you don't keep that oath, and neither of these men did, you must pay a price and it must be severe. That concept should be clear as the full moon on a clear night. If future Presidents and Vice-President's DON'T know what will happen if they break that oath, then we will get the kind of government that we deserve. And eventually it won't be a democratic republic.
This isn't about me not agreeing with the Bush/Cheney politics or their policies. There have been lots of presidents that I've disagreed with, so what? It's about staying true to the American concept that the power that the government holds comes from those being governed - the people. If we, the people, don't use that power, then inevitably it will be taken away from us.
As an example, look at what happened with Richard Nixon. He broke a lot of laws as president and after he resigned Ford pardoned him. Its been fashionable since President Ford's death to call this pardon "visionary" and that it "healed the nation". Baloney. All that pardon did was convince future politicians that they can get away with anything, as long as they had a friend in office to pardon them afterwards. Remember, Cheney was President Ford's chief of staff. The pardon may have, in the short run, enabled the country to move past Watergate faster than it otherwise would have. But the price we paid for that was a generation of politicians who think that they can get away with anything, once they get in the White House. That's too high a price to pay.
Sometimes a wound has to be cauterized before real healing can begin. That's what should have happened in Watergate and what needs to happen now. In the short run it hurts more, but in the long run the infection is gone and true healing can happen. It's too late for impeachment now, even if Pelosi would agree to it. She'll allow the house judiciary committee to hold hearings on Kucinich's article of impeachment, but that's all. It will never come to the house floor; republicans will never allow it. And, in my opinion, there won't be any domestic legal options once Bush leaves office either, because the pardons Bush issues before he leaves office will make Clinton look like an amateur. He'll pardon himself and everyone who ever served in his cabinet during his two terms. Mark my word! There's nothing in the constitution that prevents a president from pardoning himself. And if he does do that, there won't be a thing anyone will be able to do about it within the American justice system.
That brings us to the Hague and trying him and Cheney for war crimes. I say, let's do it. Let's make examples of them for future generations that no man and no party are above the law.
Monday, July 14, 2008
"Dog is my co-pilot."
Name of a diner I saw on vacation in North Carolina:
"Eat your damn food and get the hell out!" I almost wrecked the car when I saw the sign on the side of the road. I didn't stop, because I didn't know how much further I had to go before I got to the house. And couldn't stop later because I didn't remember where it was! And I LOVE diners!!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I am disappointed in his FISA legislation vote, but other than that nothing he's done is really a surprise. I don't expect to agree with every position ANY politician has, including Obama. Anyone who doesn't understand that needs to grow up.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Before the movie, Pixar put a short cartoon called Presto. I can't remember laughing so loud and so often at any cartoon - short or long, Disney or Warner Brothers. This is a great cartoon. It's worth the admission price alone, just for this 7 minute cartoon.
Random thoughts that occurred to me while on vacation:
Even though I'm not much of a swimmer, I really love going to the beach. I can watch the ocean for hours - and did. The sound is very calming. The sight is somehow constantly changing and always the same. The smell... well I'll put up with the smell.
My niece CLS got married on the beach while we were there (the reason for the family vacation). She was beautiful. Yeah, I'm prejudiced, to be sure. But she was gorgeous. She and her new husband are crazy about each other. I'm thrilled for both of them. I'd forgotten how easily I cry at wedding.
I'm really lucky to have a family that gets along as well as we do. That's not to say that there aren't differences, but those differences don't take over the family and our time together. There were 18 people in an 8 bedroom house for 7 days. And not only were we talking to each other at the end of 7 days, but we were all really sad to see the vacation end.
I get really maudlin on the last day of vacation and I have no idea why. I LOVE vacationing as much as anyone. I love my life at home and look forward to getting back to it at the end of vacation. But for some reason the transition from vacation to home is a sad one for me.
More later. Bye!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
BUT, because I have stuff to do to get ready for the trip, I'll not be posting again until after I'm back.
Be Good. Have Fun. (take your pick).
Sunday, June 15, 2008
It's hard to describe my father, really. He was a quiet man - probably the only quiet person in my immediate family - and yet he liked to talk. He was quiet because he wanted to know what we were thinking and the best way to do that was to let us do the talking, so he did. But he did LIKE to talk, but preferred to do it one on one. He was never the life of the party (that would be my mom!), but he'd find someone to talk to and talk their ear off in an out of the way corner.
The only thing he loved more than his kids and grandkids was his wife. While some feel that parents should put children first, speaking from someone who grew up in a family that didn't - I think parents should put their marriage first. Don't misunderstand, both of my parents were VERY good to us. But I always knew how in love my parents were with each other. I heard him say many times that he was more in love with her than he was the day he married her. Until the day he died, his face lit up as soon as she walked into the room. Growing up in that kind of environment was amazing. Maybe that's what allowed 7 people to live in a house of less than 1000 square feet and only 1 bathroom! Things were different with post-WWII housing...
My dad worked in a steel mill for 30 years, then worked for the city of McKeesport for 12 more years. One of the things that he was proudest of was that none of his 5 children ever worked a day in a steel mill. He never nagged any of us about not working there. He would just ask us about our plans for college or some sort of schooling after high school. He'd never offer to help us get a summer job at the mill, but would make suggestions on where ELSE we could find one. That was his style, never in your face - just a gentle nudge in the direction he thought we'd be happiest.
And while he was quiet, he did have a temper. He didn't lose it often, but when he did you didn't want to be in the same room. Or area code... I remember once when my brother said one too many teen-aged smart-alecky things to my mom, my father picked my brother up, and pinned him up against the refrigerator (with my brother's feet not touching the floor) and snarling at him "No one talks to your mother that way!" And no one did, after that.
The last few years of my father's life were spent in a great deal of pain, because of a progressive illness that he had. But the grace with which he handled the ever-increasing pain was amazing. Selfishly I hope I never have to experience the kind of pain he did, but if that's what comes to pass for me, I'm very grateful for the role model my father was.
In so many ways.
I love you Dad. Happy Father's Day.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I work at a large, conservative company here in Columbus. By conservative, I mean the original meaning of the word, not the connotations its taken on the last few years. A few years after I started at the company I was asked to work on the Diversity Committee for my department. Each committee lasted for a year, beginning in January of each year. In February, we had multiple events around Black History Month. In March we had multiple events around Women's History Month. Both months were full of activities that were well-received, but frankly, pretty safe.
Then at the committee meeting after Women's History Month, I asked what the diversity committee planned on doing for Gay Pride Week. You could have hear a PIN drop. The looks of confusion would have been hysterical, if it weren't so said. To be fair this was 1997, but still....
Anyway, the committee decided to send a newsletter around to each employee on the first day of Gay Pride Week. That's how both Black History and Women's History months both started. The newsletter had a short article in it with a short history of the Stonewall Riots, a promotional article plugging the local gay men's chorus and a calendar of local pride events for Pride Week that year. That's all - one page both sides is all it was. But it was the first Gay Pride Week activity of any departmental diversity committee in any part of this very large, company.
It got noticed. (G) Naturally enough not all of the notice was welcome, but overall the reception was pretty much "Ho hum. Something else to ignore from the diversity committee." I had to talk the committee chairperson off the proverbial cliff the night before everyone would get their newsletter. She was sure there would be hell to pay.
What brings this to mind is that THIS year - a mere 11 years later - there are company sponsored posters in all the buildings celebrating "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Month" (corporate speak makes it longer, but I'm not complaining). It's clear that the company spent money on this by having marketing develop and print the posters. And the focus of the posters are gay FAMILIES - showing a gay couple with their toddler. And some individual departments now have a bulletin board devoted to Pride Month (yeah, it got longer too!) with a nice explanation of the Stonewall Riots.
I have to admit, the first time I came across this bulletin board I got teary-eyed. Things do change, they just take time. Happy Gay Pride Week/Month everyone!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I was at a family gathering on Saturday, so I didn't watch Hillary's concession speech live. I watched large parts of it on YouTube, but am having problems finding the whole thing there. In any case, she was much more gracious than I gave her credit for. I hope that she keeps her promises to work her heart out for Obama. He needs her help to win her supporters over.
But one thing that I think has been totally overblown is the sexism that Hillary has blamed for her failed presidential bid. Now to be clear, I don't doubt that sexism is alive and well in America and that it played some part in the primaries. But a determining factor? Please.
Why has no one in the mainstream media mentioned that Obama's campaign suffered because of racism? There has been coded reference in the MSM. Perhaps you've heard it couched as "white working class voters" "blue collar workers" and the like. These are "target groups" that he has "problems with". Oh bother. Let's be blunt - these voters don't support Obama because of he's black. His policy proposals are nearly identical to Hillary's, so that's not the issue - not really. While personally I think voting for or against someone because of their race is repugnant, each voter has the right to make up their own mind up whichever way they want.
The more interesting thing, from my perspective, is the different ways the 2 candidates dealt with this issue. The race issue started prior to the Ohio primary and went through the WV and KY primaries. Roughly 12 weeks. And when did you hear Obama or his campaign complain about this? I STILL haven't heard them complain about it. All I see or hear from them is an effort to persuade voters to vote for Obama. As for the Hillary campaign, I've been hearing complaints of sexism for months, at least since Geraldine Ferraro started speaking for the campaign back in early March. I didn't see persuasion of voters, but a tendency to caste blame on others.
Couldn't THAT be the reason Obama won and Hillary didn't? They BOTH experienced discrimination, but Obama didn't let it bother him and Hillary did.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
This bottom picture is of the yellow rose vine. These are a traditional rose, in that they take the normal care - dead-heading flowers, have to watch for bugs and frost, need to feed regularly etc. The current bunch of flowers are in full bloom. As long as I prune the branches after each flower dies, I'll get more flowers later this summer.
The top picture is of a new variety of roses called a "knock-out" rose. Not sure why they're called that, but they are next to NO work. No need to dead-head the dead flowers, so far bugs don't like them much, you CAN feed them to get MORE flowers, but they seem to bloom fine without. As you can see, they come in a bush form rather than a vine, and the flowers are quite small - maybe an inch when fully bloomed. The color we have is pale pink (which husband just LOVES.
Friday, June 6, 2008
I didn't plan on voting for her - even from the beginning of the campaign - despite the fact that she's a woman. Yeah, I said that right - DESPITE. I think our country would be a better place with a woman as president. We need a different perspective of what a president can/should do that a woman president could provide. Men don't have a monopoly on wisdom. But Hillary is married to Bill Clinton, who has already been president. If she were president for 2 terms after Bush, that would 28 years of the president coming from 2 families. Dynastic families are NOT good for democracy (small D). Don't take my word for it. Read Kevin Phillips' Dynasty. He wrote it about 5 years ago, using the Bush family as an illustration of why this was a bad thing. I read it and was persuaded of the danger of dynastic families. So, nothing personal to Hillary, but I wasn't voting for her. Had Obama been part of a dynastic political family, I wouldn't have voted for him either.
But as the primaries wore on (AND ON AND ON AND ON......) my feeling on Hillary turned from indifference to anger toward her. It's not only what she and Bill said in SC about Obama (and yes I've watched the whole clip on YouTube, not just the clips from MSM). It's the whole attitude of her campaign that somehow she is entitled to be president and the rest of the country should somehow be "grateful" that she's "willing" to be president. In any case, the degree of her (and her husband's) power hunger became very apparent to me and I just can't stand the sight of her anymore. I know that's not fair, but there it is.
I've done my best to keep my mouth shut around people that I know are Hillary supporters - I have friends and family who support her after all. And friends and family are SO much more important than politics will ever be. It also doesn't do any good to have a hissy fit about politics, because no one really listens to your rants. It's just another, more personal, symptom of what is wrong with American politics currently. Why add more to the problem?
But I have to say that Hillary's speech on Tuesday really pissed me off. I really didn't expect her to concede that night, even after I read on the internet tubes that she was going to. It just seemed impossibly mature for someone to do that on the same day that she lost the election. Hillary has displayed many qualities over the years without maturity cropping up even once. I did, however, expect her to display some amount of graciousness in her speech. Show Obama and his supporters some respect.
Expecting anything from Hillary except self-aggrandizement was a big mistake. She displayed a total lack of class or dignity. She also used the flimsy excuse of needing to hear from her supporters about what should come next before she could make up her mind about what to do. Really? Your opponent has reached the delegate threshold for the Democratic nomination - the goal your own campaign manager said was the goal that very morning on morning television - and you can't decide for yourself what to do??? You've been running for president for 17 months and you have no EXIT STRATEGY?!!!??? Your opponent has made it mathmatically impossible for you to capture the Democratic nomination this election year and you need your supporters to email you before you know what to do?
I know that she was being disingenious about this. But is the time for ANOTHER disingenuous president? Haven't we had enough of that already? I know I have.
I've heard, along with everyone else, that she'll be speaking tomorrow to concede. Great. Let's get it over with, so I don't have to see her anymore. That's all I want. I don't have ANY hope that she will make any serious effort to support Obama this election. There's nothing in it for her. If he wins, her chance of ever winning the White House goes down dramatically. And she's proven, getting behind that desk in the Oval Office is the ONLY thing that's important to her.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Well last week was the FIRST rose and this week it's the whole BUNCH of roses on the rose vine! This vine has only been planted for 20 months, and its already outgrown the trellis that it's on. There are so many more flowers than I thought there'd be. Gotta love Miracle Grow! I have to decide if I'm going to get a new trellis this year or make due with it for this year before I work through some of those branches in the trellis. Even with gloves, those thorns hurt!
I've been a big supporter of Barack Obama since I researched policy positions of the Democratic candidates on their websites in September 2007, but not for the reason that I hear a lot of people voicing so far. When it comes to policy positions, Obama is not all that different from Hillary Clinton. There ARE differences, but they're not that significant.
The reason I like and support Obama is his temperment. He's very cool. It's difficult to get him angry. He has a habit of surrounding himself with people of differing opinions, listening to each of them and making up his own mind. Look at where he taught law school - the University of Chicago. It's one of the most conservative law schools in the country. He chose to teach there even though he knew he'd be surrounded by conservatives. This is a man comfortable in his own skin. To me that's what we need, more than anything else, in a President. It would be really nice to have an adult as President for a change. I can't honestly say that I think ANY of the Presidents that I can remember were really adults and I'm pushing 50.
Regardless of what readers of my blog think of Obama as a potential president, I hope we can all acknowledge what a big step forward this was for the country. I don't for a minute go along with the notion with Obama's candidacy being a signal that America is finally "post-racial." You don't move past centuries of discrimination (and worse) with one presidentail nominee. It IS, however, an indication that the country CAN move past race. Maybe not as fast as being hoped for at the moment, certainly not as fast as I would like, but we CAN - ultimately - move past it.
Yes We Can.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
This is the first rose this summer from the climbing rose vine along side the garage. By the looks of things though, it will have plenty of company soon! I've been fertilizing it and that, along with the good (if cool) weather this spring seems to have helped it immensely. There are already several dozen buds on the vines. I'm just concerned that the trellis I put it on is already too small for it - and it's only the second summer. This vine itself grew so much at the end of last summer - one branch in particular grew more than 3 feet in a week - that it's likely to look like man-eating plant from that musical whose name escapes me at the moment...
As glad as I am to see the rose vine blooming, I'm really excited to see what happens with the climbing hydrangeas. I have two of those, one on either side of the climbing rose vine. Neither of them bloomed last year because of that freak snow storm in mid-April. The plants themselves survived, but not in good enough condition to bloom. So this years blooms will be the first time blooming. I have no idea what to expect. Both plants are doing well. One needs to be worked into the trellis better than it is, but I'm going to wait a few more days for my arthritis flare-up to pass before I try that. Stooping that low for that long doesn't seem like a good idea.
The regular hydrangea bushes are doing quite well. One is bigger than the other and has more blooms, so I think they must do better in a shadier area, because that's the only difference I can see.
I'll be sure to post more pictures as thing continue to bloom. I love the warm weather.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
But I want to make sure that everyone knows that Husband finished HIS jelly beans BEFORE I finished mine. Two whole days before, in fact.
So THERE! Real MATURE!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Here's my email to her:
"I am absolutely APPALLED at your comment today about how "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it." I understand it Senator. This is clearly a not-so-subtle plea to some nut-job out there to do your dirty work and kill Senator Obama.
It angers me that I have to write you about this. I voted for your husband in 1992. I decided not to vote for him in 1996 because of his decision to sign the so-called Defense of Marriage act in 1996. I thought then, and still think now, it was a craven act of political opportunism. But despite that, I supported your husband throughout his second term and after. During the impeachment hearings and long afterwards, when your husband was a laughingstock,I stuck up for him.
But that all stopped when you he campaigned earlier this year in South Carolina. The blatantly racist comments that you both made were unconscionable. I had already decided to support Senator Obama by then, but if you won the nomination I would have gladly have supported you. But with the two of you were so dismissive of him and his campaign, I could stand no more.
Now this. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a professional public speaker and have been for 35 years. You cannot claim, without totally destroying your own argument of experience, that you didn't mean it that way or couldn't have forseen how others would take it. If 35 years of experience didn't teach you that about public speaking, what are the chances that those same 35 years trained you to be President.
You are a disgrace to Democratic Party and I urge you to apologize to Senator Obama and stop your presidential campaign."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Invariably I read that to myself "Defense Against the Dark Arts" first, before going NO WAIT! Does that mean I'm a geek first THEN gay?
If so, why don't I work in the computer field?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
But getting TO that point was long and laborous, not to mention necessary. From a Quaker perspective, a decision can't be made unless there is not one single person in the Meeting who would stand opposed to that decision. As I'm sure everyone has seen for themselves over the last 5 or 6 years, marriage is something that many people have strong feelings about. Changing the institution riles some to the point of being irrational - on ALL sides of the issue. And if it took this long in a Quaker Meeting - individually some of the most liberal people you will find - imagine how long it will take the rest of the country! Change will come, but it will come slowly.
That being said, the CA decision is a big step forward. Especially because what they based their decision on was equal protection. They didn't proscribe a particular remedy, only that the remedy the legislature comes up with must treat both heterosexual and homosexual couples equally. It is entirely possible (and recommended, from my perspective) that the CA legislature will decide to call all committed relationships that have been legally sanctioned "civil unions" and let churches decide for themselves whether or when to call a couple's union a "marriage."
Readers of this blog may have gathered for themselves the level of commitment I have with my partner, since I refer to him as "husband". And, living in Ohio, we live in a state that has discrimination written into its constituion, when it comes to same-sex marriage. We don't feel this discrimination on an everyday basis, of course. If we did, why would we stay? But there are real ramifications of not being able to get married, and we have both felt them in the past.
Both of us have had other partners before entering this relationship. And both of us had that partner die. In my case, because my first partner wasn't out, I had to pay his estate back for the down payment for the house we had just bought together. I had to pay this back, without his income to help pay the expenses of owning a home (and his income was twice what mine was). I was working and going to school, living in a house I couldn't afford and trying desperately not to go bankrupt and lose the house. I managed, barely, but it took me 11 years to dig out of that financial mess. A mess that a married straight couple wouldn't have had to worry about, because current marriage laws protect them.
My husband, on the other hand, has not one picture of his late partner - a man he spent 10 years of his life with. His parents demanded all of his belongings after he died, because after all, why would he want them? It never crossed their minds, I'm sure.
So I guess I've seen both sides of the issue - people of all kinds who support same sex marriage and people of all kinds who don't. The time will come when this won't be an issue - either for government or for religions - but we aren't there yet. Honestly, I doubt that I will live long enough to see it. I'm not saying that because I'm pessimistic, but because I've seen how long real, lasting change can take. The thing to focus on though, is that things ARE changing for the better.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Once in a while I have a period where I can't seem to get enough of a particular food. And the food is never GOOD for me either. At the moment I seem to be in one of those periods and the food that I'm obsessing over is jelly beans (and no, I was not a Reagan fan.) It's happened before with jelly beans, but not for about 9 years. Like I said, it happens once in a while.
Anyway I went grocery shopping with my husband. We went to a particular grocery store because we knew that this store had a Jelly Belly display that included Sours. Now when I get this jelly bean craving they don't have to be Jelly Belly. I'm no jelly bean snob or anything. They have to be fruit flavored (spice - EW!), but other than that, I don't care. But once I had those sours in mind, well, I did mention that I was obsessed, right?
Anyway, I walk up to the display and tear off a plastic bag. I give it a cursory glance and figure it will hold about 1 pound of candy. Great. Perfect. So I fill up my bag with Sours I had been obsessing over for about a month, put them in the grocery cart and start to push the cart away from the display. Husband says something like "Aren't you going to get any other flavors?" PERMISSION to satisfy my obsession? Why YES! YES, thank you VERY much!
So I grab another bag, and go to the other flavors that he wanted to try (all fruit flavored. YEAH!) and put them in the bag. Then, just to top off the bag mind you, I put in a few other flavors that sounded yummy. Plum? Oh My God That Sounds SO Good! I nearly fill that bag too and we're done with jelly beans and off to fill the rest of grocery needs.
We weren't buying a TON of things so when we got to the check out and the cashier said "That'll be $89.13" I vaguely thought "that's a little more than I thought it would be." But I chalked it up to rising food prices and put the bags in the cart. (To those of you who have figured out where this is going, stop skipping ahead of the class!) Then Husband looks at the receipt and gives me this Look. It's a look that says "I know something that is very funny and I DARE you to ask me about it in front of ALL of these people." Naturally I asked about it in the parking lot.
It turns out that we spent $89.13 on groceries but $31.00 of that was on JELLY BEANS! The plastic bags held more than 2 pounds a piece and we had nearly filled two of them, so we bought over 4 pounds of jelly beans (and it was ALmost enough!)And to top it off Jelly Bellies are over $7.00 a POUND! Can you IMAGINE? $7.00 a pound for jelly beans? I hadn't even looked at the price on the display. It never occurred to me that they would be that expensive.
If we had a safe at home, I'd probably put the darn things in the safe. When you spend $31.00 on jelly beans, the darn things ought to last a while.
But with my current jelly bean obsession, they probably won't.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Here's a picture of the Korean lilac bush in full bloom. Of course it's raining today (hard!), so the rain will likely wash off all the flowers. So I took a picture of it so I can have it to enjoy!
Hope you do too!
A few weeks ago my husband and I were watching an episode of America's Test Kitchen on our local PBS station. (a show I highly recommend) One of the recipes on this episode was for something called Steak Diane. I had never heard of it before that show, but evidently it's an old, old recipe that doesn't get made very often. Turns out the original recipe called for a sauce that took 3 days to make. In a culture that finds it difficult to make a whole meal in 30 minutes, taking 3 days just to make a sauce is impossible.
That's where the America's Test Kitchen show comes in. They found a way to make a reasonable substitute for the sauce that takes 20 minutes of preparation time and 1 hour of cooking time. Then you put it over a steak of your choice (though they recommend a NY strip). We tried the recipe last night and had BS and his husband DK over for dinner. It was unbelievably good. If I even think of the steak, my mouth starts watering.
So if you have a special occasion and you eat beef, I highly recommend Steak Diane. You can get the recipe at the www.americastestkitchen.com website. The site is free, but you have to sign up for a user ID and password.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Every night when they pick the numbers, they always do it in the same order: Pick 3 then Pick 4. One night I'm sitting there watching it (actually waiting for Two and a Half Men reruns to come on), when it occured to me: the Pick 3 and Pick 4 numbers look like a phone number when you put them together.
That's when the Mr. Hyde part of my personality came out.
I think it would be hysterical to call the phone number that the Pick 3 and Pick 4 number generates and ask "Is this 123-4567? It is? Well you'd be really rich right now if you had played your phone number." And then hang up.
Mr. Hyde is not, needless to say, MATURE.
And I'll write about some of the practical jokes I HAVE played at some point in the future. I don't do it often, but when I think of a really good one, it's hard to resist.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Yesterday Cher and Tina Turner were on the Oprah show. The gay union sent a blast email telling everyone about the show, so naturally I watched it. Time to punch another notch in the gay union card.
A prisoner of your love
Entangled in your web
The show was worth watching - I still have it on my DVR to share with friends tomorrow night after dinner. But the BEST thing, was when Tina Turner announced she was going to go on tour again starting on October 1st! WOO HOO!!
Hot whispers in the night
Im captured by your spell
See the last time Tina toured (which was supposed to be her last tour, but I'm NOT complaining), I didn't get to see her. I was flat broke and couldn't afford a ticket. It was a real regret of mine that I had never seen her in concert, when I'm such a big fan of hers. And I try to live my life so that I have no regrets.
Oh yes Im touched by this show of emotion
Should I be fractured by your lack of devotion
Should I? Should I?
Tickets don't go on sale until Monday, May 12th, but the Oprah show's website had details on how to order tickets early. So I immediately went upstairs, got on the computer and ordered 2 tickets for her show in Chicago on 10/3/08. No shows in Columbus. I then left a voicemail for my friend BS saying "I hope you can get time off on your new job, because you and I are going to see Tina Turner in concert in Chicago in October. Call me." (See? I'm blunt in real life too, not just online). BS grew up in Chicago and still has friends there. And I know how much he loves music generally - although I wasn't sure of his opinion of Tina. But I HAD DECIDED. (G)
You better be good to me
Thats how its gotta be now
A little later I was talking with one of my brothers-in-law, FE. FE said to me, "Why didn't you ask your husband?" It wasn't until that point that I consciously thought about it, but I KNEW that he wouldn't want to go. He doesn't care for vocal music and he HATES large crowds. Traveling to to Chicago to go to a Tina Turner concert? Not likely. Just to be sure, I asked him about it later. He looked at me like I had grown a second (extremely UGLY) head on my shoulders and said "No. I don't want to go." He didn't SAY "Are you nuts?" but he didn't need to. Facial expressions can be very clear.
Cause I dont have no use
For what you loosely call the truth
So BS and I are going to the concert on Friday and will stay in Chicago until Sunday. I've decided that this weekend getaway will be the tail-end of my 50th birthday celebration. Unless I can get afford to go to Vegas and see Cher in concert. THEN ALL BETS ARE OFF!
You better be good to me
I decided to put the first verse and chorus of "You Better Be Good to Me" in this posting so that you could know what I've been like all day. That song has been running through my head since I ordered tickets yesterday!
Then, all of a sudden, it occured to me: I have a sinus infection. All of my headache pain started in the sinuses - and I had other symptoms that are just too gross to explain (but if you've ever had a sinus infection, I'm sure you know what I mean). So I contacted my doctor and he wrote a script for antibiotics. Doctors don't normally do this, but I've had sinus infections for years and had sinus surgery. I know when I'm infected and know how important it is not take antibiotics more than absolutely necessary.
So, I've take the pills, slept a LOT and am feeling a lot more myself. Now my face only hurts me when I look in the mirror! (it's okay when I do it) I have a few things on my mind, so I'll be posting a lot over the weekend.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
So, my question for Wii users is: what multiplayer Wii games have you played and recommend? See? This time I'm asking for a recommendation rather than giving one.
Neither of us like shoot'em ups, but other than that any games are fine. Thanks for the help!
Monday, April 28, 2008
My husband and I went to a benefit pie contest this past weekend. I had planned on entering the contest, but decided not to. We still went, because for a $5.00 donation you could have all the pie you wanted. I was in hog heaven!
I love pies - more than any other dessert. I can pass up a cake without giving it a second thought, but pie? No way! I learned to make pies about 8 years ago, so that I could make apple pies for my dad. My mother used to make them, but her Alzheimer's changed her personality in such a way that she no longer enjoyed baking and cooking. The first pie I made for my dad was I baked in a 13" by 9" pan. My mother and I each had one piece but my father, over the course of a week, ate the rest of it all by himself. Evidently he liked it.
A few years after that I was able to make a black raspberry pie for my mom, the summer before she died. Pies were her favorite dessert too and black raspberry was her favorite pie. But she hadn't had any since she was a girl on a farm in eastern Ohio, since black raspberries are so hard to come by in the city (until recently). The day I gave her the pie was a bad day for her (Alzheimer's patients often have good and bad days or periods). When my sister and I eye sat down to eat some pie with her, I watched her face as she tasted it and for just a moment I saw my mom again. Her eyes lit up in recognition of the taste and she made an "okay" signal with her right hand and kept enjoying her pie. It was a moment I'll never forget. It was worth the hours I spent on the berry farm picking the berries, just to know that she got her black raspberry pie again.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
We don't always get a spring like that. I live in Ohio, so lots of springs are grey, cold and rainy.
But this spring is what God had in mind when spring was created. Just gorgeous.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
That book being published at all is bigger news than it may first seem, if you haven't read the series. You see the author is now dead and didn't actually finish the last book. ANOTHER sci-fi/fantasy series' author dead before the series is finished! (YEAH I'M LOOKING AT YOU FRANK HERBERT!!!!) I was seriously annoyed. Yes, yes sad too, but ANNOYED.
But Robert Jordan (author's nom de plume) knew he was sick,, had already begun what was planned to be the last book in the series and made copious notes of what was going to happen. His widow has chosen an author to finish the book (Brandon Sanderson), who has begun his first draft. WOO HOO!
This book, when it comes out, will be the 12th book in the series. The books average about 750 pages a piece. The first 3 books were incredibly good. The next 3 were good, but not great. The rest of them were - MEH! I know, why keep reading when all I thought of them was MEH? Because I'm invested in the characters now. I want to know how their stories end.
So I guess next January I'll start re-reading the series from the beginning so I can read that last book with a clear picture of all the characters and all the plot lines. Sounds like fun!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
1. We installed an electronic thermostat, which regulates the furnace in the winter and AC in the summer to minimize energy usage. We have fairly predictable schedules, so this works really well for us. It cost about $100 or so at a big box hardware store. My husband installed it (he's handy and actually reads directions and manuals )
2. We wash our clothes in cold water only - using a cold water detergent. Frankly this may work for us because we don't have kids - but it does save energy.
3. We don't run the dishwasher unless it's full and when we run it, we turn the heated drying function off and let the dishes air dry.
There are other things we do, I'm sure, but that's the main things that I can think of. Our energy costs are remarkably low, considering the size of our house. My goals for the coming year are:
Short term: check insulation in the attic to be sure it's adequate. Install more, if needed.
Long term: investigate the cost of installing passive solar panels on our roof. We have southern exposure in the back of our house, so this could be a big help for 9 months of the year.
Happy Earth Day!
Monday, April 21, 2008
That woman will never drop out. Obama will have to pry her hands off of the bible so before he can take the oath of office....
Seriously though, my prediction is that if the democratic candidate isn't decided before the Democratic Convention, then the Democratic nominee for 2008 will be Al Gore. I'm not saying how likely that is, but the longer that Hillary hangs on, the more likely it becomes.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I think we out to change our primaries so that no state can have their primary election before Memorial Day and all primaries must be over by Labor Day. If a candidate can't make their case in 3 months, they don't deserve the presidency.
And maybe, with a much for focused election season, people will actually pay attention.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
This is a picture of my front garden. My husband and I have been here nearly four years now, but the garden is only about a year and a half old. The house was a new build, and we had other priorities the first couple of years. This spring the garden (so far) looks great. I can't take much credit for it though, since we hired someone to put it in.
I have arthritis in several places and that makes heavy labor (like installing a new garden in clay soil) impossible. But the garden was designed so that there's not much upkeep to it, so I can keep it up and get some exercise too. It's important to get outside after spending all day indoors in cubicle-land for work.
The yellow flowers you see are daffodils, yellow hyacinth (which I didn't know even existed!) and tulips. The crocuses (crocii?) have come and gone already and some purple and white tulips and purple irises still to come. The bulbed plants bloom from early spring to early summer, then the bushes and climbing vines take over - rose bushes, hydrangea bushes and climbing roses and hydrangeas. So there's some color in the garden from early spring through September. I'm really happy with it. Still want to put a roof over the front porch at some point, then the front yard will be done.
Then the BACK yard. We're going for more of a Japanese garden feel for the back yard.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
For those who haven't heard about: Avenue Q is musical (still on Broadway) with puppets. That being said, it is NOT intended for children. When you order tickets on the phone, the operators even ask you if you understand that it's not for children! But with song titles like "It Sucks to be Me" and "You Can be as Loud as You Want When You're Making Love" you can understand why.
I've had the CD of the broadway cast for several years now and I got a book about the show for Christmas last year, but had never seen the show. The book says the writers' description of it is "Sesame Street meets Friends" I would add "if Friends were on HBO." I don't remember the last time I laughed so often at a show. Friends of ours came too, and even DK (who doesn't like musicals) liked this one.
So, if the show comes to your town, my advice is to see it - but leave the kids at home. (There is a website, of course: www.avenueq.com)
And no, I don't get a commission if you buy a ticket.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Even the presidential aren't talking about leaving Iraq in what I think is a practical way out. First McCain, at least when it comes to the Iraq war, is just another Bush president; he doesn't really want out either. But neither of the Democratic candidates do more than give numbers of how long it will take to get all the troops out - then hoping you won't read their website to see that they'll both remove COMBAT troops but leave behind other types of security troops (50,000 to 70,000). That's just too much like three-card monty - sorry.
First of all I should be up front and say that I'm Quaker. As such, I am against war, period. I'll write about that some other time, but this exiting Iraq issue has been on my mind so I'm writing about that today. Secondly I should say that I have one nephew who has already served one tour in Iraq. He has nearly 2 years of obligation left to the army because of ROTC, so will likely be there for at least one more tour - assuming he isn't stop-lossed which would mean he could be there as long as the army wants him there. His specialty is military police, so the current plans of the Democratic candidates won't change the likelihood of him going back to Iraq, since they'll be needing security forces there for years or decades to come. Third, I have at least one other nephew who wants to join the army too, also through ROTC paying for his college. So all of that taken together means that my opinion may be colored, but that doesn't mean I don't GET an opinion.
If you're going to be practical about leaving Iraq, you have to admit that this a regional conflict not just an Iraq war. More than 2 million Iraqi citizens have left the country since the start of the war. They went SOMEwhere. Wouldn't the countries who had to absorb these refugees (that's what they are now) be willing (maybe happy) to talk to the US about how to stabilize the country? If Iraq is stable, maybe the refugees would return to Iraq. That's leverage that we still have and could use, but aren't. And many of the refugees were middle-class people with skills Iraq will need again when the violence is curtailed.
So, why not a regional peace conference? That will mean talking to all of Iraq's bordering neighbors - even Iran. The thought of a regional peace conference during a time of war wasn't so unusual in any other war we've waged. Of course, we had competent presidents and secretaries of state then too, unlike now. But a peace conference would put all the affected parties (including the Iraqi government, such as it is) all in the same place talking about a way toward peace. Maybe some sort of federalist plan for the Iraqi government for the short term, with a long term goal of dividing the country - like what was done in Yugoslavia 10 years ago. But with all affected countries at the table making the decision, you'd have a better chance of avoiding violence down the road. Unlike the way that modern Israel was established by the UN. That is NOT a model to follow.
I guess my underlying concern is that no one is talking about the importance that diplomacy will play if we ever hope to get out of Iraq completely and permanently. I know that Bush won't talk diplomacy and that's just as well. His idea of diplomacy is "we'll sit down and talk with you only if you give us everything we want before we talk." But Bush's time in office is coming to an end. It's past time for the candidates to get serious about their Iraq plans. And in my opinion, peace will only come through diplomacy.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Then I had this weird dream. I was being wheeled into the operating room when the nurse asked me what kind of music I wanted to be played during the operation. I told her "Put on 'Blame it on the Bosa Nova.'"
I then woke up, laughed my ass off, and slept great for the rest of the night. I have no idea why.
That song doesn't mean a thing to me. I knew it WAS a song, but if you had put a gun to my head, hummed the melody and said "name that tune!" I would have come up empty. I even googled the lyrics to see if there was some hidden MEANING in the words. Nope. Just BLAME IT ON THE BOSA NOVA! LA la la LA LA!
Like I said in the first post: I like to laugh.
So why am I blogging? I mean at ALL, not just today after a migraine when I still feel mentally fuzzy? Because I'm good at writing - something I have known all my life - and don't have the discipline to write the stories, plays and poems in my head. I'm kind of hoping that blogging will get me in the habit of writing generally, which I can then transfer to creative writing. I read a piece on Andrew Sullivan's blog about how "addictive" blogging is, and I must admit that that was the final impetus to get moving. He, of course, was talking about addictive being a bad thing (which it is, of course), but I'm hoping to put that addictive-quality to good use. We'll see how it works out.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I have friends who have blogs. They were my friends first, and then later started blogs. (not sure why that's important, but there you are). And one friend in particular has chosen to be quite circumspect in describing any information that could be traced back to him personally. He gives pseudonyms to the people he mentions in his blog, for example. I realize that he does that to protect his identity against theft or just generally against yahoos (not the website).
I hadn't really considered that before I started reading his blog and for some reason it stopped me from starting mine. I had thought of blogs being much more like the http://www.andrewsullivan.com/ site or http://www.andrewtobias.com/ site. (See? I like my bloggers GAY and named ANDREW!). Both bloggers write about what they know (politics and politics/finance, respectively) and about themselves. They give their names, their partners names, etc. Neither writes about personal stuff very often, but when they do let it all hang out. I thought everyone blogged that way, until I read my friend's site.
So I was in a quandry. Which way would I blog? My friend's or my Andrews'? Because I couldn't figure out the answer to that, I delayed beginning this blog until yesterday - when I just couldn't stand it anymore! The truth is, I have no idea how I'll handle the personal information issue - but probably somewhere between the two. It doesn't bother me that people know I live in central Ohio, but I don't give my name. So, I'll find my way through the issue and see how it goes. I also won't give a link to my friend's blog, so I don't give out information about him that he would prefer to keep private. But he knows who he is. (Hi!)
And when did I become so indecisive?