Sunday, November 30, 2008

A pet BEE?

At my birthday party in September, my nephew JPJ told me a funny story that I thought I'd share. JPJ is recently out of college and still has 3 roommates, living in a university district of Pittsburgh. He said that one of his roommate knows how to make a bee a pet. I have to admit, I wondered why you'd want to, but it turns out that's not the point.

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


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Part of it is the simplicity of the holiday itself. The holiday is meant to be a brief pause in a busy world to be grateful. Just be grateful, that's all. We use the ritual of a meal to reinforce that feeling of gratitude. Many Americans already say a prayer before dinner that expresses gratitude. But this annual tradition also means gathering family and friends and enjoying each other's company. Nothing is expected - no gifts, no cards, no special trees or baskets - oh maybe contribute a side dish for the meal, but not even that in some families. Just sit around, talk and eat and remember how much you have to be grateful for.

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

What Book Do You Recommend?

I think most people have a book that, when asked, they always recommend? It doesn't have to be your favorite book, although sometimes it is. It's the book that's made the most difference in your life. What is yours?

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

Join the Impact for Gay Marriage

I followed up the email to my family before the protest with another email the next day after the protest. I've only heard from one of my four siblings and she couldn't go because of work obligations. I'm hoping that hearing about how things went from me will make it more likely that they'll participate in future demonstrations, especially if they know WHY the issue of gay marriage is important to me. We'll see what happens. Here's my email:

"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. 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!

Protesting Propositon 8

This is an email that I sent to my family a couple of days ago, asking them to be part of the national Join The Impact protest yesterday. I think it's important to ask family and friends for help with changing the marriage laws. Because ultimately the only way to change minds and hearts is one at a time. And who is more likely to be persuaded than people who already love you? Tell them your story and ask for their help.

"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

Telling on myself

My cat Trixie is smarter than me. That's not ENTIRELY a new idea for me, but I had it brought home to me again today.

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

Obama !

Words seldom fail me (ask anyone), but this time they have. This is the first presidential candidate that I've support from the very start of the primary season that actually won the general election. I was watching The Daily Show on Comedy Central when I heard that he clinched the election. I cried. (That happens more often).

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

It's a great day to be an American

Okay, so it's nearly always a great day to be an American, but election days are even better than usual. Especially when so many of the voters are engaged and active in the process, like this time.

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

Obama's Final Argument

This is what I think Obama (and all Democrats, for that matter) should be saying in these final days, not what he has been saying.

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.