Thursday, June 19, 2008


I'm going to Nags Head, NC for a week starting Saturday for a family vacation. On Tuesday one of my nieces is getting married on the beach. Should be fun. I need the a break.

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

Father's Day

My father died in 2002. While I think of him often, I tend to think of him more on holidays, Father's Day among them. And this year Father's Day falls on his birthday.

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

Things do change for the better....

Just not always in a straight line.

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

Hillary (last one!)

I promise! (Unless someone picks her as Vice-President)

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


The only thing as reliable as death is that computer software will fail. This is even MORE certain than taxes, because you COULD be among the wealthiest 1% of Americans and not pay taxes. But if you use a computer, at some point the software will fail.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

MORE Roses

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. ). If you want roses but afraid of the work, buy these roses. They couldn't be easier.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Readers of my blog will know that I can't stand Hillary Clinton. What might be less clear, is that this attitude only developed during her primary run as president. Prior to that, I really didn't have strong feelings about her one way or the other.

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!


Last night was a BIG night. I'm very excited as an American voter in a way I've never been in my adult life. It's amazing, especially after the current, disastrous administration, that America can take another step toward living up to its ideal of "all men are created equal."

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.