Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm liking 2009 already.....

Tonight, as I was working on the buffalo chicken to take over to our neighbor's house for their New Year's Eve party, Mare called me. She wanted to let me know that the two of us have tickets to the swearing in of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America on January 20, 2009.


GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! happy happy happy dance dance dance fist pump fist pump Whoot whoot whoot!!!!!!!!

(end pause)

It's gonna be tough. We'll have to drive up to DC the day before to pick up the tickets. On MLK day. With inauguration activities going on. And knowing that we'll have to be in Richmond by 5 am the next morning to catch the Amtrack train into DC. And we're a lot older now than we used to be...meaning creakier.

But I feel like I have been waiting for this to happen for so long. Aretha Franklin will be performing. And Barack Obama will be sworn in as president. And I'll be there. With Mare.

Things are looking up. So far, 2009, I love you.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Being a self-professed and totally-accepting-of-myself type-A anal extraordinaire, there should be no surprise from anyone who knows me that my favorite holiday is New Year's. What's not to love about the ending of an old chapter, and then the beginning of a new one? ...about neatly tying up loose ends and packaging the old year into the box labeled "the past?" ...about a pure, clean, unblemished fresh new slate lying before me as I balance precariously up on the very left tip-top of the New Year's calendar on January 1? As much as I love the anticipation of the yet-to-come, I also love the wrap-up of the past year. I'll be the one parked on the sofa watching CNN's montage (to cheesy music) of the big stories from 2008, and I'll even shed tears for parts of it. (For what it's worth, I actually used to grade my years as well, and select songs for them. Haven't done that recently....Maybe I should return to this?)

So bear with me in this completely indulgent post as I reminisce over my past 12 months.

Without hesitation, 2008 will always and forever be to me the year that my country pulled its head out of its ass and finally made an intelligent decision by electing Barack Obama as our president. I've been wishing for this for 8 years, and anticipating it (with a name to my wish) for four years. I can't tell you why I instantaneously felt as strongly as I did in July of 2004, and I fully admit that then, it was purely a gut feeling that I knew he was destined to be my president. However, it ended up that my gut feeling was spot on and was only strengthened as I was able to shore it up with information, learning more about him through the years. This is a man with intelligence and integrity. This is a man of MY generation (I say with pride). This is someone who respects humanity, respects science and has ears to hear. He is the real deal (thank GOD). I wasn't sure exactly when he would become president, but the fact that it happened in 2008 will endear this year to me forever, despite the rest of the crap that happened worldwide.

So other than that obvious, my year-in-a-nutshell consists of the following:

This year I finally went into the field (Fairbanks, Alaska and Cold Lake, Canada) during our aircraft campaign. I am enormously glad I went, and documented some of my personal thoughts on the Discovery Channel science blog. For anyone who's interested, here are my entries. There weren't as many as I would have liked - I was sick for a significant part of my time in Fairbanks (99% sure I had Rubella, oddly enough - a mild but exhausting illness for a middle-aged gal).
and here4.

We added a gorgeous sunroom onto the back of our house.

We had a fantastic vacation this summer in Boston and Maine - were able to see not only my boys play in Fenway, but got to spend time with not-often-seen-friends in the Boston area.

I learned this year that I was able to survive Jamie and Jamie and their beautiful children being located in Austria for the year. It's been hard, and I could not go for longer than a year without them, but I have survived (so far). But hurry home please. I need that honesty and acceptance and pure love from your family. Plus, my kids are a million times happier when their best friends are nearby.

We saw the Counting Crows and Maroon 5 and Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew."
I finished up a year of being PTA president and embarked upon a year of taking it easy in the volunteer department (am loving that, I tell you).

The Red Sox made the playoffs. I saw baseball-boyfriend Mikey play in person a couple of times.

Q and E were busy with soccer and baseball and Odyssey of the Mind and Girl Scouts and piano lessons and African Dance classes and science/math camps and cooking and art classes and Model UN and band and making excellent grades and playing with friends. I could not have imagined kids more fun, more awe-inspiring, more loving, or more all-around wonderful than the ones I ended up with.

As for my blogging life, it's interesting that I have been so consistent for the past several years with my blogging. I wrote 115 posts this year (111 in 2007 and 110 in 2006). October was my heaviest month, with 19 posts (pre-election build-up to be sure) and April and December were my slowest with 4 each (though this one makes 5 for December).

It's not been such a good year for a lot of people I know, though, or for most of the US or world. We have global warming issues to grapple with. We have an economic disaster on hand. There are many people I love who are now without a job. We have wars continuing to rage and the associated deaths of servicemen/women and civilians. Overall, 2008 has not been good to this little blue dot in the universe (from the human perspective, that is). However, since that perspective is the one I hold most dear, I'm going to throw all my wishes into improvement on that front during 2009.

A grade? I'm gonna give the world a C-. Only the election of Barack Obama kept us from failing. For myself personally, this was a B or B+ kind of year.

Year's theme song? What else? I didn't even have to think about it. This is what I played ALL NIGHT LONG on November 4 as I downed a bottle of wine and a bottle of champaign and cried and cried with joy as I emailed several of my friends through the night with cries of "WE'VE GOT PENNSYLVANIA!!!!" and "LOOKS LIKE OHIO!!!" as I told them to hang on and don't give up on VIRGINIA.... What a night to remember.

It goes along with my slogan for 2008:

"It was about f*cking time."

from the last week...

Me, my mom and dad, and sisters with my grandmother on her 100th birthday.

Watching Stephen Colbert's Christmas special DVD on Christmas morning.

Son Q with his granny and pawpaw.

E with granny

E with her grandfather (pawpaw).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

more sundry

I know!! I'm doing a perfectly lousy job on keeping up with a steady supply of interesting and entertaining posts here. I'm the proverbial mom on the hamster wheel these days, running my little feet so fast that I tumble head over heels and crash into a heap into the wood shavings. (Speaking of which, we found E's hamster in the linen closet Thursday, after she pulled out all the bristles from the brush we use to clean the ceiling fans. Mmmm. OK.)

So here are some random thoughts/and/or/observations from the last few days.

As I leave work through the security gates, I have noticed they have recently installed what the signs say are "Speed Humps." Humps? Is there a difference between a speed BUMP and a speed HUMP? Who calls them "humps" other than the government?

My son would like to be Stephen Colbert and I am totally in support of that

I think the pressure on folks to buy gifts for each other on Christmas is not a good thing, and I would love to move beyond that. But of course I can't because it's not the "right" thing to do. I wonder if I would be more tempted to give random gifts throughout the year to those I love if I didn't know that it was "required" at Christmastime? Despite all that, I love the rituals from Christmas.

My grandmother is about to turn 100. I only now realized that her birthday is on the winter solstice. I think that's a really neat day to be born. I also wonder how it would feel to know you've been alive for a full century.

It's not much, but I've got to get back into the habit of writing slowly. I've got a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my overly stimulated mind....just haven't been patient enough to sit down and think them completely through.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

holiday fun

Today ended up being the offical start to the winter holiday season for my family. Although we do not consider ourselves christian, we embrace the spirit of this holiday season wholeheartedly. I love the warmth and the focus on family and togetherness and tradition. In the words of Martha, "It's a good thing." Indeed.

We started the day out by helping friends with their llamas in our local holiday parade:

(There are more pictures on my facebook page).

It was a lot of fun! I have to admit that the introverted portion of my nature (which is substantial, even if held in check most of the time) kicked into high gear when I realized that hundreds of parade-goers were watching me. If *I* felt a bit uncomfortable, I can only imagine what ultra-shy son Q was feeling. He put his llama between him and the crowd, and pulled his hat down over his eyes and was fine, however. Good coping skills. I was proud that he wanted to do it.

Next on the agenda was our annual christmas tree hunt.

The hunt:

The catch:

The dressing down:

And the final result:

And in case anyone is wondering what middle school aged boys do during all this:

And the obligatory eating of the christmas village...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the big ten

E reminded me last night around 8 pm that I'd promised her I'd send cupcakes into school today for her class. And I pulled it off. Moms Rock.

Happy birthday, my sweet girl!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

a more honorable existence

I suppose I've never written the obligatory post outlining the things that I am thankful for this year, have I? It's really a bit difficult since I've been solidly in a "find the cloud attached to the silver lining" mode for the last month or so.

It's a dreary day outside...

Here goes.

I am thankful to those who refuse to remain silent in the face of racism, homophobia, religious discrimination and sexism. It is easy (and cowardly) to remain in the safety of our homes and invisibility cloaks and privately condemn these actions. It is more difficult and much more honorable to respond publicly, whether it's participating in public protests against California Proposition 8, or refusing to let your friend stereotype a religion or race.

I am thankful to the climate scientists who have put themselves on the front lines of what remains of the climate change "debate" (, etc). The few remaining dissenters are quite uninformed and are wrong on all of the arguments I've seen out there, but they are also quite vocal, nasty, and persuasive/persistent, so to ignore them remains a mistake. It takes someone with an extraordinary amount of patience and an extraordinarily thick skin to respond to them. It is difficult for scientists who put in 60-80 hour work-weeks, and who have families and outside lives, to find the extra time and patience to power through the education of the public. It is much easier to bury your head in the comfort of your own research and assume that with time, the tide of public opinion will become powerful enough to ensure response. I am thankful for those who chose the more difficult path and continue to respond to ridiculosities with rational, science-based arguments.

I am thankful to those who volunteer hours and hours of their time every week to help make our public schools successful. It is easy to complain about the PTA or about school policies in the comfort of our homes while downing a few cold ones with friends. It is much more difficult to give up precious extra hours in order to plan fundraisers, print and distribute newsletters, and attend meetings.

I am thankful to everyone who has chosen the difficult path of action over the easier path of apathy and acceptance. For everyone who has acted rather than simply talked, I believe you have chosen the more honorable existence. So thank you.


Here are the two cousins

And here is my sister with Roxy. I double checked that Roxy was still in the house after we took them to the airport for their departure. I was a little worried Tracy was going to sneak her back to Texas in her luggage.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ready for visitors

I woke up smiling this morning.... My little sister and my niece will arrive tonight! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I especially love having a big group over to my house for a nice dinner. This will be the first dinner I've had where I've been able to have a family member here....Not that having friends over is a less than ideal thing in and of itself. I wouldn't change a thing from any of my wonderful Thanksgivings past. I'm just very excited to have my very own sister here. (Though I will be missing my other sister! I will get you out here for a visit soon, La.)

Thus far, on the table for Thursday:
Smoked turkey
fresh cranberry sauce (courtesy of friend)
cornbread/sausage stuffing
apple/cranberry stuffing (courtesy of friend - we all have our favorites so we
just agreed to put it all out there)

green salad (courtesy of friend)
pumpkin soup (though I'm thinking of changing this to sweet corn soup...?)
apple pie with whipped cream topping (courtesy of friend)
goat cheese and carmelized onion topped puffed pastries (courtesy of friend)
lots of good wine

I'll also do something with potatoes and probably the broccoli/rice/cheese casserole that we always used to have (I'm suspecting Tra will want this). I want to come up with some good appetizers and another dessert. And for sure we'll have a blazing fire in the fireplace and candles and good music.

I also really really really like ham with these dinners, but I've run out of oven space.

Today's plans are to clean out the fridge and the oven, buy more wineglasses, replace broken dinner plates, buy new tablecloths, return the carpet cleaner, and wash windows. See how I spend my vacation leave hours?!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We certainly did our part yesterday to continue the flow of good and services in this country. I finally couldn't stand it anymore that we had no seating (other than one papasan chair) in our sunroom, so DH and I ended up going shopping. We now have a new couch (courtesy of a local shop), and a new bookcase capable of handling the mountains of books daughter E collects (also courtesy of a local shop). This is on top of replacing the brake pads on the van this weekend (national dealership). So you're quite welcome, US economy.

(J writes here encouraging those of us lucky enough not to be unemployed at the moment to not become too cautious of spending. It's a cornerstone of our economy. If you can, then do.)

My heart is totally warmed by this couch, by the way, as the MOMENT the delivery guys put the couch in the sunroom, E grabbed pillows and blankets and a good book, and she has been parked there ever since. She's claimed her spot.

Note, at the time of this photo, E temporarily moved to the papasan chair because she wanted a snack and I'm forbidding food or drink on the new couch for a while. Wow - the walls REALLY need some color and some artwork, don't they? Regardless, Oh, I love our sunroom.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm here...

I'm sorry I haven't updated in so long. It's Mare's fault for getting me to join facebook so blame her.

We're all doing well, and it's looking to be a very nice holiday season, with visits from friends and family in abundance. The first order of business is Thanksgiving, in which my littlest sister and her daughter (E's age) will come visit us. No matter how old and responsible she is, she will always be the baby in my mind - poor Seester Tra. I have a turkey in the fridge and have invited a boatload of people (who may or may not be able to come), but that's the extent of my planning so far. I did notice that E was curled up on the couch watching Altan Brown last night and was taking notes, so she will probably dictate to me what our meal will be.

I'll try to refocus energy here in the future, but you can still continue to blame Mare.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If you love your country, thank a vet...

Hoo boy.
I managed to make it through my daughter's 4th grade Veteran's Day program without crying, but only barely.
Here's E saying her part.

(Hello! Can you GET any more all-American then a 4th grade class putting on a Veteran's Day program in a school gym decorated red white and blue in front of a painting of the Statue of Liberty?)

I was able to hold back the tears (barely) when Mr. O, our school's beloved custodian, came out to sing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" with the kids. He does this every year, and invariably gets a rock-star reception with cheers and stomping and whoops (Mr. O is very loved in our school). So here was this black man, our custodian, who is as kind and generous and humble and hard-working a man as I've ever seen, in a setting with about 100 kids absolutely adoring him, singing about his pride in this country, which has just elected its first black president. I can only imagine what he was feeling. (It was at that point that I looked at Q who was standing beside me and said "I'm trying not to cry." Q gave me the middle school eye roll.

The section where the kids sing the service songs and have audience members stand up during their song, for recognition??... (sob) That one gets me every time - watching moms and dads and grandfathers stand up proudly and giving a big thumbs-up to their 4th grader. I watch the kids so proudly singing patriotic songs and think - well yes, that's pretty much what it's about, isn't it?

Thank you, my country's armed forces. I believe this one thing very firmly. Our country has remained a safe-haven for American families, a place where liberty and freedom runs rampant, only because of the courage and the dedication our armed forces. It seems trivial to simply say "thank you," but it is all that I know to say. I'm a little verklempt, having just run through the wars that this country has been through since it's inception, and thinking of the sacrifices that have been made to bring it where it is now.

And on a totally different subject, then there was the outrageous fact that my baby looked so freaking big up there.

Sorry, can't help it:

(note the lovely bangs-job courtesy of her brother that year)

When did she turn into this pre-pre-teen up there wearing jeans and flipping her hair and whispering with her friend (lord, those two are gonna TEAR UP this town when they're older). She has always been the smile in my family. She's a happy kid. (She cried during Mr. O's song...she's also sentimental.)

Friday, November 07, 2008

my afternoon walk

I spent the afternoon walking by myself at the state park just down from my house. East coast autumns. (sigh)

"If you're walking down the right path, and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress"
(Barack Obama)

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
(Henry David Thoreau)

"The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration."
(Claude Monet)

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. (Carl Sagan)

"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here."

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree”
(Emily Bronte)

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
(Frank Lloyd Wright)


My son is laying on the couch under the influence of muscle relaxers and zithromax, and my jaw is aching from the repair of my broken tooth. We're falling to pieces.

(But still riding the wave of optimism. Mostly)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Thank you, America.
I am freakin' proud.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Oh yes, it's personal

This is the traditional Tibetan prayer flag sent to me several weeks ago from my dear friend Kath. The colors represent the "five pure lights," or elements. Blue (sky/space), White (air/wind), Red (fire), Green (water), Yellow (earth). Each flag has a picture of a "Ta" (a strong horse) which is a symbol of speed and the transformation of bad fortune into good fortune. Traditional mantras are written around the Ta on each flag that promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. When you hang it in the winds, they are supposed to take the good will and compassion into all pervading space. I've been saving it to put out on this particular morning. I'm rather in the mood for some positive forces in this world. Wisdom is a good thing, as are peace, compassion and strength. We need it all.

So on that note, does anyone want to take a guess on who I might vote for in the presidential election today? Seriously. Any takers?

Well, OK. You're right - actually, I have known for a while. To be exact, I've known since July 27, 2004 that I would one day be voting for Barack Obama for my president. My family was in Baltimore, MD to watch the Red Sox play the Orioles that evening, and we had rented a hotel room near Camden Yards. I believe the Red Sox lost that night, and we had walked back to our room afterwards, totally exhausted. Once back and showered and pajama-ed up, we cozied up beneath the blankets and had the TV tuned to the Democratic Convention. John Kerry was being nominated that year. I liked the man, and still believe he would have been a good president. Whatever. (gasp and shake your heads all you want. He was swift-boated!!!) Since we were all so tired, we fell asleep quickly with the TV still on. I woke up a bit later and sat up sleepily to see what was going on at the convention. It happened to be just in time for the keynote speaker for that night - an unknown guy from Illinois that I'd never heard of named Barack Obama. I listened for a couple of minutes and ended up absolutely transfixed. In fact, I started crying. Bawling. The next morning I told DH that Barack Obama was going to be our president one day. I absolutely knew that it was inevitable. I told my parents. I told anyone who would listen to me. I wrote about it in my blog. I hope I was right, and will find out in several hours if I was.

I absolutely admit that my support for Barack Obama at that point was visceral. He is a young, good looking man with an overwhelming aura of control about him. He is an electrifying and eloquent speaker. Visceral, perhaps, but the ability to inspire and persuade are not traits to dismiss when you are talking about the president of a large and powerful and influential country. Since that night, my support for him has remained.

In the very long (f*cking LONG) four years since that night, well... things have certainly played out on the world stage, haven't they? We are still sending our future, our young men and women, to Iraq into what I believe is a misplaced war (wrong place, wrong people). Many of these young people aren't coming home. Ever. We are in the middle of a global financial crisis that, I daresay, most of us don't understand. What I do understand is that within the past month no less than 6 friends have told me that they or their spouse have lost their jobs. The climate is changing with increasing speed as a result of global warming and folks? If you think these other issues are difficult to deal with, they will pale in comparison to this.

We have some very difficult times ahead of us and it is going to be a painful time for so many people. That's not going to change regardless of who we elect as president. In the short term, it's going to hurt. But it is crucial that we pick someone who is going to move this giant elephant back into the right direction. We need someone who is wise enough to listen to experts and discuss options. We need someone who will move beyond politics and be honest with the public. We'll need the cooperation of the world to do this - this country cannot continue to exist in such isolation as it has for the last decade. We've got to put that arrogance aside and realize we are part of the global community. The opinion of the rest of the world about this election is obvious. My friend in England just yesterday sent me an email to wish me luck with "our revolution." It's an important election for them, too.

I could continue for days on individual policy points and why I believe Barack Obama is on the right track, but I won't. This post is a personal one for me, a visceral one. I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I don't know what the outcome will be. I do know that there will be tears tonight, no matter what it is. I'll have my champaign handy, in case I need it. I'll be at the computer with my cell phone handy so I can enjoy this night with my personal gang (Mare, J, Polli, Jamie, Kath, Carrie...) who feel as strongly about this as I do. Ladies, if the world was made out of people like you, we'd be unstoppable. Maybe...just maybe today, we'll start moving in that direction.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

from the mouths of babes

I received a call from E's 4th grade teacher while I was at work today. Those are lovely calls to get, aren't they? "Hello! This is Mrs. L. Is this a good time for you to talk? I need to talk to you about an incident with E today."

I should point out that I'm good friends with E's teacher. She didn't sound overly upset or anything, so I didn't freak and simply said yes, this was a good time and please tell me what happened.

The 4th graders put on a Veteran's Day program every year at our school. It's very nice and usually brings a few tears to every eye in the auditorium. Anyway, they were practicing the song "God Bless the USA" today, and Mrs. L told me she noticed that E and her good friend were just sobbing and sobbing. She pulled them aside, very concerned, and asked them what was wrong. My dear, sweet E told her this: "Next week is the election and if John McCain is elected, he's really old and has cancer and if he dies, that means Sarah Palin will be president and then we're going to have to move to CANADAAAAAA!!!!!" (sob sob sob) E's friend was sobbing because she was going to miss E. E was afraid she wasn't even going to get to perform the Veteran's Day program with her class because she would be moving either to Canada or somewhere else overseas.

Oh geez.

I started to apologize profusely to Mrs. L, but had to stop because she couldn't hold back her laughter any longer. "I'm sorry - I don't mean to laugh but. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH" etc., etc., etc. "I think you might ..." hahahahahah" etc.,e etc., etc., ...need to reassure E"....bwahahahah..."tonight. Unless you're really going to move to Canada."

"I think I need to stop shooting my mouth off in front of my kids" I said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

turning point

My husband made me cry tonight. He did. (and I will continue to remind him of that).

He came home and told me to watch a couple of youtube videos. Remember the WHASSUP!!!?? commercials from (OMG) 8 years ago??

OK. Now watch this one:

I believe they're the same actors.

This totally took me by surprise and I burst into tears, somewhat stunning poor DH.

Sixteen years ago, I was very young. I was single and so naive and idealistic and when Bill Clinton/Al Gore were elected, I cried. I'd gone to the local Democratic Headquarters on election night and felt the love and the optimism and I ate cake in celebration with other democrats. (I also remember hiding from some guy that wanted to date me. LOL. I was pissed beyond belief at him for interjecting something so stupid and unwanted into something I felt so incredibly strongly about. This was a night about the FUTURE and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and um, not so much about who to go out for pizza with.) No, I never went out with him and I successfully avoided him that night, though I left the festivities earlier than I would have otherwise. But he didn't ruin my fun. I went home and watched the returns and I cried and cried and felt like there was intelligence in the world again after all. Later, I drove to DC in January for the inauguration festivities and ate NY cheesecake and danced with friends. I felt more optimistic about the world than I can remember feeling since.

Next Tuesday holds the opportunity to surpass that feeling of optimism. I will either fall in love with my country all over again or I will... I don't know what I'll do. I saw announcements for work in atmospheric chemistry at York U. in Canada a few weeks ago. Maybe I should look into it. I don't know if I can bear it if John McCain and Sarah Palin are elected. I cannot understand how there is even a possibility of that happening. WTF is WRONG with people?? Seriously? I don't understand. John McCain was someone who held my respect before he nominated doo-dah know-nothing fluffy bit of meanness Palin. The thought of her holding the position of Vice President of the most powerful country on earth is in the realm of horror movies. Seriously. How can anyone that thinks not be scared as hell by the thought of her running this country? OMG.

Turning point.

It's baaaack!!

Four years ago, I was on tenterhooks over the 2004 presidential election and the chance to stop George W from having a second term. I wasn't raving over John Kerry, but I certainly liked him, and he was orders of magnitude better than the alternative. So one evening during the long, long, long election season, I found myself in front of the computer drinking a bottle of wine and watching snippets of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911". (I'm sure I've told this story before). Somehow, my credit card ended up in my hand and then I was at the Kerry campaign headquarters website punching in a donation between my heaving sobs at what a wreck the war in Iraq was, and at my fears for another 4 years of the Bush administration. I learned a valuable lesson that night.
Wine, credit cards, and the internet is a combination best avoided.

I clicked "submit" on the donation page and immediately got back a "Thank you for your generous donation of $2000.00 to the Kerry campaign!"
It took a few seconds for it to compute that somehow, an extra zero had appeared in my donation. Thus ensued a stunned silence, rubbing of the eyes, disbelief, and then one of the fastest sinking feelings in the pit of my stomach that I've had to date.
To make a long story short, I was able to straighten it out with the campaign the next day, and they cheerfully removed one of the zeros, after laughing at me (not with me but at me).

I thought that was the end of that particular story.

This last weekend, I got a phone call from the Democratic candidate running for the US Congress in my local district. I mean, I got a call from the candidate himself. I thought that was surprising. We chatted for a long while, and he started telling me about his stance on the current financial crisis. He mentioned Obama's tax plan and said something to me like "You know, taxes won't be increased on families making less than a quarter million dollars a year. Now, I don't know if you're in that bracket or not - you very well may be."
(Um. OK.)
I told him I was not but that if I were, I would not waver in my support for that sort of tax increase one bit. I then told him I was an atmospheric scientist and that I was especially concerned that the current financial crisis would put the global environmental crisis down the priority list. He immediately assured me that this was the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE in the world to him and that he'd campaigned on it for years. It was in all of his stump speeches for the last 5 or 10 years or so. (Oh, really? FWIW, I couldn't find the word mentioned on his website, though his support of alternative energy sources was quite prominent, in a vague sort of way)

Anyway, he then asked me if I would contribute $2300.00 to his campaign. I immediately burst into laughter, which I don't think was quite the response he was looking for. I recovered enough to tell him I didn't have that kind of cash sitting around and asked him for his website, which he was happy to share with me.

Today, I received a letter from him, again asking for $2300.00 for his campaign, or at least, for a smaller donation of $1000.00. What the hell?

It finally occurred to me that my erroneous extra-zero donation has returned to haunt me. It must have remained on the list of donors to the Democratic Party, and he's targeted me as a money-bags. I hope he's not counting on it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

autumn rites

Systematic disassembling of the pumpkins begins.

(I ADORE the color of baked pumpkins)
The seeds are currently soaking in salt water overnight in preparation for toasting.


and then creamy pumpkin soup with cinnamon (YUM):

There's still lots of puree left, and I'm not running out of ideas for what to use it for - I'm only running out of time.

In other pumpkin news this weekend:

A good time was had by all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

polling website

Here's a site someone showed me yesterday, that has more information on polling and statistics and projections than you could possibly need to know.

I swear I'll try to stop with the negative political posts now. It's just so hard to stop when there is so much material showing up daily.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


But wait!!! More hypocrisy!!!

Another popular RNC smear of Obama: "That one" is associated with ACORN, that evil no-good group associated with the most massive perp of voter fraud E.V.E.R.
No politician worth anything would associate with them would they?? Since Senator Obama represented them in their attempt to carry out the motor-voter law in Michigan, that proves that he's BAD BAD BAD. Right?

McCain, on the other hand MUST be lily-white pure as snow, since he's the one spreading this wealth of information, right?

Oh look! Here's a video of the KEYNOTE SPEAKER at an ACORN meeting just two years
ago!! Hmmm. I wonder who it might be?

"What makes America special is what's in this room tonight."
Was he speaking in code?

lies lies, dirty lies

How is it that my 12 year old son so clearly sees the hypocrisy of John McCain and that 40-something percent of Americans don't (or won't) see it?

Let's look at his latest charge. Barack Obama is a (gasp) socialist because he wants the wealthiest what - 5%?- of Americans to pay a little more tax. Socialist!!! Socialist!!!

Senator McCain. How about this - before you start with the pre-programmed political soundbites, you should probably make damn sure that whatever it is that you're railing against is something that you yourself don't support. You don't want to come across as hypocritical or anything, you know.

Here's John McCain in HIS OWN WORDS.

This one is even more fun. It's from the Daily Show and Q and I just watched it together. (The sheep-thing was a little uncomfortable, but he's nearly a teenager. I was good. I managed.)

Stop! Stop! Your lack of ethics is showing!!
Watch to the end.
John McCain (during 2000):
"Here's what I..I really believe. That when you are ... reach a certain level of comfort, that there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat more."

And what is it again, honorable senator, that you are bashing Barack Obama for? I forget. Something you totally disagree with, SURELY.

Bah. No.Respect.Left.At.All.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I can't stand it

My political posts these last few months have focused almost exclusively on the travesty that is otherwise known as Sarah Palin. I figured enough was enough, and I've tried to lay off. But I cannot stand it anymore. You may (or may not) remember something I posted last month about Governor Palin's answer to a question posed at a stop for cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. The question dealt with whether the US military should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists. She responded (I'm quoting): "If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should." I used that as an example of her utter lack of preparation and knowledge about this campaign (not to mention foreign policy) because her answer was in line with what Senator Barack Obama believes, and not what Senator McCain believes.

OK, keep that little episode in mind and consider the following from CNN news today:
Sarah Palin’s pointed criticism of Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda Tuesday morning included a swipe at Obama’s stated commitment to strike at terrorists inside Pakistan’s borders if they are in the sights of the American military.

“Senator Obama has also advocated sending our U.S. military into Pakistan without the approval of the Pakistani government,” Palin said. “Invading the sovereign territory of a troubled partner in the war against terrorism.”

Oh, the hypocricy, the ignorance, the ridiculousness of it all simply boggles the mind. I wrote about a dozen posts in my head during my drive home from work today, all in response to similar ridiculousness on the "honorable" (dripping sarcasm) Governor Palin's part. I'll limit it to just this for now, since my original intent was, after all, to try to lay off. But gracious. What boggles my mind even MORE is that there are actually people out there who intend to vote for her. She could be running this country. Are these people, in fact, actually ok with that idea? (faint)

Edited to add: I just checked out a friend's blog who is discussing and comparing the RNC's (and McCain's very vocal) stance on earmarks versus the incredibly honorable Governor Palin's actual actions. Check this and this if you're interested.

Edited again because I posted the wrong link up there under the "something I posted" line. (See how frazzled I am??!!)

never too old

I made my kids come with me to the pumpkin patch after school yesterday. They complained about having to leave the house...but I didn't hear any complaints when we were there.

Trying not to have fun on the hayride. It was us and a bunch of 1-2 year olds and their parents. You can see how miserable they are.

Careful selection.

Handsome son.