Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Finally though, I had success -- two macy's gift cards in place of merchandise I didn't want. Of course, I used up all the free time I had, so I will have to go back later to redeem them.
The mall was insanely crowded. Every store, the food court, the parking lot. Tons of people carrying lots and lots of packages. Every kiosk was packed with people. The phone stalls were even crazier -- I guess phones were a popular gift this year.
And the people working in these stores were clearly overwhelmed, and understandably, fraying around the edges. Still, in a year when retail sales were slow, you would think that every single person at the mall would be trying to provide stellar service to encourage people to shop. I didn't feel like anyone was trying to encourage me to shop -- rather the reverse.
Don't people know there is a recession going on?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Dick Cheney is the anti-christ. He is the worst vice president ever. He is both intelligent and evil, a potent combination. And yes, I really mean it. He is an EVIL man. He has sold this country for his own profit and that of his friends. He is a war profiteer who first manufactured the war he then profited from. This is the man who said torture was ok. And when asked about it again last week, he said, yup, its still okay in his book.
34%? What planet do these folks live on?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We topped off our final shopping trip with a visit to the Miracle on 34th Street. For those of you not from Bawlmer, this is a street in the city that really does up Christmas. Every rowhouse on the street is smothered in decorations and lights. They string lights across the street from the rooftops on both sides. There are revolving lights, inflatable snow globes, all sorts of moving displays. There is a Christmas tree made entirely out of hubcaps (!). There are lots of pink flamingos. Christmas trees, candy canes, christmas music piped out onto the streets. The residents pay for all of this themselves, and they don't/won't take donations to help defray the costs of running this light show. They turn on the lights the day after Thanksgiving and they run until January 1st.
I love it, and it always puts me in a holiday mood. This year we both walked the block, and then drove through. Totally different experience. The walk through let us see the little details we never catch in the car. The drive through gives you the full impact of the whole street as one display. Awesome!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The big event of the breakfast is the white elephant game. Each person who wants to participate buys a gift in the $20-$25 range. You wrap it, bring it in and put it on the white elephant table. Then we draw numbers to determine the order of play. The first person opens a gift from the table. The next person can either take the gift from the first person, or unwrap a new one from the table. If your gift is "stolen" you get to pick another one, from the table, or from another person's open gift. The next person can "steal" from any of the people with gifts already opened, or open a new one. A gift that changes hands twice is deemed safe and can't be taken again. So there is some strategy, a lot of laughter, and occasionally you end up with something you really like as your gift.
What's funny to me are the unwritten rules of the game. For instance, you don't pick your own gift from the table, or steal it when its your turn. Even if no one knows you bought it, you don't pick it. And while "stealing" from each other is part of the game, and encouraged, you have to do it a certain way. There can't be anything personal to it, and it has to be good-natured. So how do the rules get communicated? We all know them, but how do new staff learn them?
It's like knowing what's a "good" gift for the table. You can tell gifts bought by new staff, because they don't fit in. So how do we all know that votive candle holders are good, but ear muffs are not? That a bottle of fancy booze with a nice glass in a gift box is perfect, but a case of beer would not be.
We also have secret santa for a week. If you play, you draw a name, and buy that person a tiny gift a day for 5 days, and then a $20 gift to deliver at the breakfast. You have to keep it secret, and if you know someone's secret, you can't tell. And you are supposed to leave a note on your mailbox, thanking your secret santa (even if you didn't like the gifts)... and you should try to make sure your person can't guess you. And you should try to find out what they like, and personalize the gifts...
It's office lore, and office ritual. And we all learn it somehow, and participate in it, and reinforce it. ? Is it because the office is almost all women? do offices full of men have the same kind of thing? Are we more of a group because we share this stuff?
Monday, December 15, 2008
The fear of being sued is everywhere. It is why kids don't play dodge ball in school. It is why we say "Happy Holidays" instead of "merry christmas". I have to sign waivers so my child can go on field trips. It is why I can no longer give a real job reference; I can verify dates of employment and salary, but cannot say the employee was wonderful, or is somebody I wouldn't hire again under any circumstances.
I receive 50 or 60 emails a day with a disclaimer at the bottom, saying the person's opinions are their own. Who else's would they be??
How did we get to this point? and how do we make it stop??
Friday, December 12, 2008
Today I couldn't remember who created the Chthulhu mythos. HP LOVECRAFT for gods sakes. I couldn't remember Lovecraft. I let the dog out and forgot he was out there. He didn't mind, but still... I forgot like six different things today. I made pancakes for dinner. Whole Wheat pancakes. Which my family doesn't like, but I forgot that part.
I am so glad the holidays are coming and I can get a few days of non-work. Not really rest, because you know how the holidays are. It's fun, but busy.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
There have been bizarre clunkers, but all in all, this has been delightful. I wish I could listen to radio all day long. Unfortunately we have a strict no-streaming policy at the office, and are in a radio-dead zone. No reception and no way around it.
It does make the drive time sweeter.
Monday, December 08, 2008
BUT this -- this is hitting below the belt! Archway Cookies went belly up. I cannot believe how personally I am taking this. No one bailed out Archway. I *loved* those cookies. The apple filled ones, especially.
and no, I am not joking. The idea of a world without Archway hits me much more deeply than a world without GM or AIG....
Friday, December 05, 2008
mortgate rates are dropping, so we will be able to re-finance and save some money
we bought GM stock at $3.50 a share, and it's worth more than that, even if they go belly up
our families understand when we say we are cutting back this Christmas
prices are dropping on all kinds of things we do buy
The Palin campaign spent EVEN MORE money than they admitted to earlier on clothes, hair and make-up for Sarah
Thursday, December 04, 2008
This Monday, our son had a shadow day at Towson Catholic. The kids were nice, the staff was nice, but the school really wasn't for him. He felt his current school was much better and academically stronger. He wanted to apply to another local school, Friends School. So I contacted them, and they do have openings for 10th grade in the fall. But we would have to jump into application mode quickly. So, we did the online application, signed him up to take the ISEE exams in January, and got our transcript and reference request to his current school.
In the meantime, we had to apply for financial aid for the fall for the current school, in case he doesn't get into Friends. So more paperwork, all with time deadlines. W-2s for last year, last year's taxes, online stuff. Ugh!
Then we got a notice that parent-teacher conferences are next week. So I ended up with an appt for Monday afternoon. So I will have to leave work, attend the conference, go pick up the dog, go home and eat, and rush off to my last class of the semester.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Yesterday, my husband and I went hiking with the dog. We went to Liberty Reservoir and did half of the Middle Run Trail. Only half, because the 2nd half of the trail involves crossing 3 streams on foot (removing socks and shoes and walking in the ice cold rushing water). We decided to turn back at the halfway point rather than take the dip in the water. We'll do the other half of the trail in the spring, when the water will seem a treat and not a punishment. It was gorgeous hiking, and the weather cooperated nicely, with temps in the low 50s and lots of sunshine. The dog also got to meet a horse for the first time. He seemed relieved that he wasn't expected to chase it.
This morning, I dropped my husband and the dog off at the park for a hike, and I went to the JHU library to pick up some books for my term-paper. The paper is due no later than the 15th, so I have to dig in, and fairly quickly. I got a great parking spot, and had the stacks to myself. Younger students don't get up early on Saturday mornings, so even the guard seemed stunned to see someone actually come in the doors.
When I got home, I took the child for a haircut. Since he has wildly curly hair at the moment, and tends to wear his hair over long and un-brushed, it was necessary. He loves the place we go, Sports Clips. All the stylists are cute girls in sports jerseys. They not only cut his hair, but give him a warm towel for his face and a neck and shoulder massage. Getting him to agree to a haircut has been much easier since this place opened.
We went this afternoon to see Quantum of Solace. We all agreed it was a good addition to the Bond canon. Craig is a much more menacing Bond than the previous incarnations, but it works. I was excited to see the Star Trek preview, although I was apparently alone in this opinion. The kid wants to see Angels and Demons, since he just read the book.
Tomorrow we are going to celebrate my husband's birthday with a trip to the Walters to see an exhibit of jewelry, and then to the Hamilton Tavern for onion rings and burgers.
It's been a great few days.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Nope. I flushed red as I realized what it was. Those hundreds of people I had just been pissed off at, those folks were lined up for food. It was a Thanksgiving food donation pickup. They were all hoping to get a turkey, some canned beans, instant potatoes.
On the news this evening, I saw a story about that line. Ray Lewis has a foundation that runs the food giveaway every year. This year demand was much much larger than usual. And he was there, handing out food, giving hugs, a few words of encouragement. The news then did a piece on other food banks across the country. The need is huge, but the pantries are nearly bare. A farmer in the Midwest opened up his farm to anyone who wanted to come and pick over what was left in the fields. He expected a thousand people. What he got was 40,000 people willing to spend all day digging in his fields for some potatoes, some carrots, a few onions. He hoped his idea would catch on with other farmers. I hope so too.
This time of year is hard on people. If you can spare some cash, some cans of food from your pantry, a few hours of your time at a foodbank or soup kitchen, whatever you can do, please help. It can be so little to one person, and so very much to someone else. Our office is doing a food drive, and we have adopted a single mom with six kids for Christmas. Our son's school will do a holiday food drive as well. Our local theater is doing a showing of It's a Wonderful Life with admission being a donation of food for our local food pantry. Our local grocery store has $1, $3 abd $5 food donation coupons at the register; you can just add a buck or two to your grocery tab to help buy food for others.
I all too often focus on what I haven't got. Today I got a little reminder that I have EVERYTHING. 1 in 8 people in America, 1 in 8, is going hungry today. I am not one of them. But I know I easily could be, and I know I can help those who are.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I am also impressed by his reaction to two recent screw-ups. In one, he hid a kid's camera. She was taking pictures of him, and he kept asking her to stop, and she wouldn't, so he hid her camera in the classroom. He felt bad about it. And called her to apologize.
In the other, my parents called and left a message with him. He "spaced out" and forgot to tell us. So we got a rather unhappy call this morning, asking why we hadn't returned their call... Our son heard about the call, suddenly remembered the previous call, and felt terrible. So he called them this morning, to explain that it was his fault, that he had not given us the message, and to apologize.
Kids screw up. Grown-ups screw up, and deal with the consequences. I like the way the kid is growing up. I really truly do.
Friday, November 21, 2008
It's not a huge time commitment, basically 1-2 hours per week. The dog loved it. He got a walk in the evening, and we went down alleys and really dark streets, which he thought was cool. Even better -- there were also other dogs to walk with.
Other than being a visible presence, and preventing crime by just being around, I am not sure what value this all will have. But it is exercise, it is pleasant for the dog, we meet new neighbors, and we show we care about the neighborhood. All good bennies, even if we achieve nothing more tangible.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
We might end up learning the lessons previous generations learned the hard way.
Make do. There is a huge difference between "need" and "want" Put a little aside for a rainy day. If you have to buy it on credit, you can't afford it. Eat what's on your plate. Fix what's broke. Do without.
Will we start saving string? planting vegetable gardens? Canning in the summer? taking car repair lessons? Sewing our own clothes?
We have been a truly spoiled generation. We have always had vacations, and dinners out. We have always had jobs. We had insurance, and endless credit.
I think that maybe, just maybe, we are living in interesting times.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
As to the automakers, I see that we have no choice but to help them out. The US economy is hugely dependent on the businesses downstream and upstream of the auto makers that rely on them being in business, and too many jobs are on the line. I get it. I just don't like it. They have sat on their hands, built cars we didn't want, that didn't meet our needs, often with terrible quality thrown into the mix. And we responded by taking our business to foreign auto makers. And they still didn't respond with better cars, more fuel-efficient cars, more desirable cars. And now they will get bailed out for being bad at business.
I recently did some car shopping on line. I couldn't find a single american auto that met my requirements. Not one. And I wanted to. Not only didn't I find anything, but the deals aren't there either. Toyota is offering 0% financing, on cars that get great gas mileage and have superior ratings. GM is offering employee discounts, high finance rates, and cars with fairly mediocre ratings and so so gas mileage. I'd like to help out the team by buying American, but I can't afford to do it. I just can't take the repair bills, the higher monthly payments and the higher gas bills. So, while our government, and corporate management can afford to reward poor performance, I can't. I have to reward my purchase dollars to the companies that do the best job.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
There is something special about shared history. You have the same reference points. You get the same jokes. We look older, we've all been through many changes over the years. And yet, magically, two seconds after we all get together, we are somehow 20 again. Sweet.
Friday, November 14, 2008
The priest is the Reverend Jay Scott Newman. His parish is in Greenville, SC. And it seems to me that he is requiring his parishioners to disclose how they voted -- a democratic NO-NO. They will get to do so in the privacy of the confessional, but as a former Catholic, I can tell you that the priest knows the voices of his parishioners and the confessional is not that private.
He is going to deny a sacrament of the Church to people based on how they voted(!!!!) As if the only distinguishing characteristic between Obama and McCain was their position on abortion. Or that the issue of abortion was the only issue that mattered.
It makes me sick.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It's the big stuff that gets me down. Should we keep our car? Is it time to trade it in on a new one? Which is better financially? Can we afford it? Can we afford not to do it? Should our son stay in his small private school? or go to the large public city high school? or something in the middle? What's best for him? How much should his opinion weigh in the decision?
Should I try to move into administration? get out of hands-on tech? Take 1 class this semester or two? should we get another dog to keep ours company? how long can we wait to replace the roof? shingle the house?
It's so much easier to focus on the small stuff. What to have for dinner? what to wear to work? do I want a snack? is there time for a nap? which book should I read next?
I think I'll procrastinate for now....
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I feel like we aren't getting good value for our money. And it is OUR money, let's not forget. I feel like sending the government an invoice. If the bailout is not going to be used as intended, I want my share back. In cash. Now.
I think that's fair, don't you?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
So imagine my surprise last night when I was confronted with a HUUUUGGGGEEEELLLLYYYYY fat person. I was channel surfing and caught the first episode of a show on the Style Network, called Ruby. This is a reality show (I know, yuck!) about a woman named Ruby trying to lose hundreds of pounds. Yes, hundreds. At her heaviest, Ruby weighed over 700 pounds. This woman is gorgeous. Seriously beautiful, despite hovering in the 500 pound range... And she is charming. And fun. And you can't help but want her to succeed. Amd within 15 minutes, I pretty much forgot she was fat.
So maybe I am making progress. If I beat this bias, I only have one real major one left -- ignorant people. But I doubt that's gonna go away anytime soon.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
65. Durian -
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam -
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Friday, November 07, 2008
We will have weeks with little to do, and then these convergence dates, where we are struggling to decide the relative weights of all the things scheduled for that date....
Perhaps it's that I want to do everything, and that's just not possible. Or that it's part and parcel of city living, because stuff is always going on. I don't know. I just know I hate having to choose, because as soon as I do, I'm missing something....
Thursday, November 06, 2008
And no, I didn't come up with this scenario myself. Rachel Maddow discussed it on her show, and said the tactic had been used once before -- in 1939.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
YES, WE CAN and YES, WE DID!!!!!! I woke up this morning, still amazed. Against all odds, Barack Obama is the president-elect of these United States. I just watched his victory speech. I cried. Literally. I was so moved by his words, by his vision, by his inspiration, that I sat at my desk and I cried. I am so proud of our country, so proud of my fellow Americans for ignoring the attacks, the distractions, for choosing hope over fear. And for the first time in a very long time, I feel connected to the process, connected to the other voters.
For years I have felt like an outsider. My values were not the values of our leaders. I was not a "real" American. I was disloyal, unpatriotic, a traitor. Pick a perjorative. I did not think in lock-step with the conservative tide, and so was less a citizen than they were.
But now, I feel a renewed sense of purpose, and a renewed sense of hope. There is unity and peace within our grasp. We really are the United States of America.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
What I found were hundreds of people, patiently waiting in line. It felt like a celebration. People taking photos of the line, asking others to take pictures of themselves in line. A few people got discouraged and tried to leave, but we clapped and shouted encouragement until they got back in line. At one point, an elderly gentleman, who could barely walk stood looking at the line, with a discouraged look on his face. A good samaritan near the head of the line offered the man his spot; he would go to the back of the line in his place. The crowd wouldn't let the good samaratin give up his place, we just said let the older man in line. And that's what happened. No one grumbled, no one said no. We would all wait together.
I made some good friends today (Vernice, Allan and Victor, it was a pleasure!). We talked, laughed, encouraged each other, and shared our hopes for the future. Later, after we voted, we shared hugs and well wishes. Allan took a picture of his ballot in the booth. And he asked the polling judge to take a picture of him voting. She happily did.
They even had certificates of participation for those who wanted to commemorate the event.
So this is the REAL America. Where people were excited to vote, where people were united by a common desire. The REAL America is better than the last 8 years, and it wants the world to know it.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Perhaps tomorrow, some will begin to come true. I am hoping that we become a nation that other nations can look to as a model for how a country should behave. I hope we respect the Constitution again; civil liberties are not optional, they are fundamental. I hope we learn to use diplomacy instead of war. That the children of America get a first class education, regardless of their parent's education or economic standing. That no one in this country is starving, or homeless, or hopeless. That basic medical care is available to all.
I dream that the American Dream, the idea that each generation can improve on the one before it, is renewed, not just for some Americans, but for ALL Americans.
So today, I wish, I hope, I dream, I pray, that Barack Obama is elected tomorrow. And that this country can regain it's dignity and spirit, so we ALL might move forward together.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
It's a very full day, but I like the way it's home centered. And I love the feeling of setting up the coming week: clean clothes, lunches, breakfasts.
this week's oatmeal: steel-cut oats, with cinnamon and raisins. I'll add almonds right before I eat it, so they stay crunchy.
this week's tuna salad: tuna, hard boiled eggs(no yolks), diced pickle, celery, green pepper, shredded carrot, mustard, mayo
dinners this week: roasted chicken with rice and string beans, chicken tamale pie, red beans and rice with chicken, baked ziti with turkey sausage, carryout pizza
Friday, October 31, 2008
Please make lots of time in your schedule to vote on Tuesday. I have taken a 1/2 day of precious vacation time, just to make sure I can vote. Don't think your guy is so far ahead that your one vote won't matter. The size of the victory also matters a great deal in the ability of the next president to push his agenda.
There is also the spectre of miscounting, dirty tricks, etc. By showing up, creating a crowd as witness, we might avoid some of the worst violations of election laws. And the dirty tricks are already showing up: A flyer has been distributed in Hampton Roads, VA telling people that because of the overwhelming turnout expected, they are asking people to split voting days -- so Republicans should vote on Nov 4 and Democrats should vote on November 5th (!!!) This kind of crap worries me. The flyer looked official, and really could fool some potential voters.
VOTE!!! and maybe hang around with your cell phone outside the polling place for a while, make sure nothing sleazy is happening in the process....
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It isn't just coupons... it is timing. Planning menus and buying based on what is on sale, and then using coupons to further reduce the cost. The coupon mom website is tied into local sales circulars (in our area its giant food), so you can generate your grocery list from the database, and then she tells you what coupons have come out that match your list. Really quick and easy.
I normally spent $180- $200 a week at the grocery store. Since I started this system, I spend about $120-$130. We have had no decease in the quality of our meals, or in the healthiness of what I make. It takes me an extra 15 minutes a week to use the coupon mom system, and then the normal meal planning time I take deciding what I'm gonna cook for the coming week. Then I do my grocery list. Saving $50-$60 a week is not enormous, but it does help offset the increase in our heating oil bill, and in our tax escrow bills.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Today we went to the Senator Theater for a very special premiere. The Steve Yeager's Young Filmmakers Workshop was showing a number of short films, 5 documentaries, and the feature presentation "Obscured by the Night". Our son did graphic design work, and green screen editing for the feature film. So today, he got a limo ride, a short walk on an even shorter red carpet, and a chance to see his work on the big screen. And at the Senator, that's a really really big screen. It was kind of a charge to see his name in the credits. And it was a bigger rush to see people buying the film poster he made. He doesn't want to pursue film work -- he's totally dedicated to video game design -- but it was a nice experience anyway.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
It's a blue collar story, I think. Until I was ten, we lived in a solidly lower middle class (veering to lower class) neighborhood. Girls wanted to be majorettes and mommies. Boys wanted to play baseball and then maybe do construction or join the army. Scouting was pretty big. All the men, except my dad, hunted during deer season. Getting a BB gun was a rite of passage. Everyone went to church on Sunday.
And certain values were instilled early. Take anything that's free. Don't get caught. If you get knocked up, get married. Don't be too uppity, don't be too smart.
It's the recent news stories about the $150,000 campaign wardrobe, and billing Alaska for taking the kids on official state business that got me thinking about the values, the lifetstyle I grew up with. Because to my adult eyes, what Sarah did was WRONG. On so many levels. But in the culture I grew up on, it would be, of course you would do that. What idiot wouldn't run the bill to the max when someone else was paying? If they said go get some decent clothes, and they told you to get what you wanted, what girl wouldn't spend $150,000? If you could wiggle the rules and get five nights in a hotel instead of 1, why wouldn't you? If you could say drawing a raffle ticket was state business, and get to bring your kids along at taxpayer expense, well, why not? It's the same culture that views slipping on a store floor as akin to winning the lottery. Cheating is fine, if you don't get caught. And it's not stealing if it's taking from the gubbamint -- hell, it's all your money, innit?
So you see, I could have been this woman. Really I could. Luckily for me, fate intervened, and I learned to read.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
But he found over the last few months a changed McCain. One who had let his defeat in 2000 change him profoundly. He found an angry man, willing to betray all principles to get elected. He questioned the judgement of a man who would select Sarah Palin as his running mate.
His endorsement came via The Daily Beast, not The National Review. He didn't feel it was appropriate to use a conservative forum to make his endorsement. In the end, it didn't matter. His principled stand still cost him his job as the back page writer for the magazine. BTW, he says it's not that he left the conservatives -- its that they left him. The last 8 years reflect no true conservativism; just poor judgement, a lack of ethics, and a willingness to suspend the constitution.
So, from the bottom of my heart, BRAVO!!!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
There is enough for all. There really is. But only when you look at "all there is" from a global perspective. Where there is a shortage of something in one place, there is an abundance in another. Only when we truly see ourselves as one world will we ever really tackle the problem of poverty. When our consciences will no longer allow a child to starve to death while we have 3 cars in the driveway, when we can't abide people sleeping under a piece of cardboard while we decide where to vacation this year, when the idea of anyone making ten million a year disgusts us, while others slave away to make a dollar a day, then we will see poverty disappear.
If we are willing to get by on a little less, so that others can have a little more, then we can make poverty disappear. It's not a huge thing. At the end of the month, I have no money left. But when I really look at it, another ten dollars here or there, diverted to charity, would make no difference to me, and the world to someone who needs it. I am not wealthy. I can't change the world. But I can do my part, and so can you. Skip a pizza once in a while, and give the money to the foodbank. Take coffee from home instead of buying it at Starbuck's and give the difference to Modest Needs. Rent one less movie a month. It's all small stuff. But if everyone who could do it, would do it, we can make poverty disappear.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I missed two classes, but so did a lot of other folks. I had time, so I finally replaced my bifocals, and can now see clearly for the first time in months. I feel less stressed out, more rested and my mood is improving by leaps and bounds.
so, always look on the bright side of life... (with a nod to Monty Python of course)
Friday, October 10, 2008
I discovered I loved the pace. I had time to take our son to school, come home, have breakfast, work a few hours, eat lunch, play out back with the dog, work a few more hours, go pick up my son in car-line (meaning no after-care for him), come home, work another hour or two, cook an early dinner. I felt relaxed, less clock-bound, even though I really was as "on the clock" as I am at the office.
Our son loved the week. He had a much shorter day, since he came home at 3:15pm instead of 5:30pm. I wasn't as tired so I was in a better mood when I picked him up.
A lot of my stress comes from the perception of control. When I perceive my time is not my own, I feel stressed. When my financial issues seem insurmountable, I feel stressed. I am happy, calm, relaxed, when I have the illusion of running my own ship, steering my own course.
So, clearly, for me the best of all possible lifes is one where I can make my own time decisions. I have to get my finances in order, not so that I can become wealthy, but so I can have the freedom to control my time.
Monday, October 06, 2008
This is getting ugly. McCain has a long history of bad behavior, which to date, Obama has classily ignored. If they keep attacking him, he is going to have to attack back, and we all lose by it. McCain is desperate, and therefore dangerous. And Palin seems to enjoy her role as the "barracuda". It's only a matter of time until the womanizing, the Keating 5, the loss of 5 planes, etc gets splashed on every newspaper. And then we will be back to the racial slurs, the "hussein" cracks, and the un-american rumors swirl again. The country really doesn't need to be more divided as we lead up to this election; it really doesn't.
Everybody take a few deep breaths. Remember who we are, and what we really want. Hell, read the golden rule a few times if it helps. And please, let's not go down this path.
Friday, October 03, 2008
The only troubling thing is my reaction to the CO2... for those who don't know, when you have a laparascopy, they pump up your abdominal cavity like a balloon, filling it with CO2. This makes it easier for the surgeons to move around. Unfortunately, it causes hideous pain post-op for some people, in the form of shoulder pain. My shoulders hurt 10 times more than my tummy (which has several holes in it). I also look like I'm 4 months pregnant. Once this lovely side affect is gone, I should feel tremendously better.
I took all of this week off from work (!) and am going to work from home next week, as much as I am able... The week after that is our big migration to Outlook 2007 and Office 2007, and I absolutely have to be back at work to handle this.
The BEST thing about this whole process has been the warm wishes, the cards, the calls, the flowers, just the general concern from friends, family and co-workers. I'm very lucky to have so many warm and wonderful folks in my life, and this week has been a terrific reminder of that.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
At first, I was really disappointed with the casting. How could little Anna Paquin play Sookie Stackhouse? But she does a great job, and now I think they couldn't have picked anyone better for the role.
My only disappointment is that I can't watch these with our son -- way way too much very explicit sex. It really borders on soft porn. Good soft porn, mind you, but still... not watchable with the kid. Which is a bummer. I try to watch when he is otherwise engaged, just so I don't have to make a big deal of turning it off when he comes into the room [yes, it is that explicit].
The other bummer is that, because I watch through HBO on Demand, I can't see an episode until AFTER it airs on HBO. So the show is on Sundays at 9, and I can't watch until at least Sunday at 10pm. Usually I end up watching the following Saturday afternoon.
It's worth it though. I am curious as to whether folks who haven't read the books would like it as much, but for me its a kick to see them come to life. So to speak.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
And he looked like the cat who ate the canary when announcing it. I could just see him thinking "checkmate" over his latest move. What a SOB!! There was a time, a few years ago, when I thought he wasn't so bad. He was a moderate, and one of the few voices in the Republican party to be in favor of abortion. Now, he is a panderer. No positions to speak of. He'd sell his mother to get in office.
How do people not see through this??
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I would rather see Wall Street take a beating, and the Dow drop to 9,000 than I would to see Bush and Cheney with free rein. Yes, I know that is harsh and a lot of people will suffer. But truthfully, if we fund a trillion dollars without oversight of any kind, a lot of people will suffer and maybe nothing will get fixed.
Washington helped create this mess, with the Bush doctrine of "hands off". Let companies do what's best for themselves and our economy will prosper, and the individual will benefit with more jobs, better jobs, etc. Yeah, right. That worked so well. Let's do more of that. Give them big checks, and let them sort it out. They'll do what's in our best interests.
NO MORE BLANK CHECKS!!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
for breakfast: steel-cut oats cooked with dried berries. I make a batch on Sunday and it lasts through the work week. On the weekends, special K or rice krispies with fat-free milk.
lunch: fat-free soup (split pea, veggie, lentil), an apple or a peach, water
dinner: it varies. I have been eating egg-beater omelettes with veggies, more fat-free soup, toasted whole wheat pitas (also fat free). I've tried whole wheat, low fat pasta with canned fat free sauce, but its not very good. I've also tried salads with honey and balsamic vinegar, which isn't bad, and I've been eating a lot of fresh tomatoes.
evening snack: fruit, prunes, I tried making fat-free home made popcorn, but it was vile. I just made a batch of fat free no pudge brownies, and I can have those.
What's missing: dairy, meat, protein, healthy fat. I also had to cut back on beans, since I'm having GI issues anyway.
I have stopped dropping weight (I think). I've lost 8 pounds in two weeks, but my activity level has now dropped to almost nothing so I think that's gonna stop completely.
It's been interesting, and has shown me how dependent I am on foods for my mood, my social activity, my relaxation.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The Ravens are not a great football team. But yesterday they looked pretty damn good. I know it may all disappear next Monday, when they have to play the Steelers, but for now, I'm gonna savor the win.
Friday, September 19, 2008
McCain is on the record as being opposed to government regulation of business and industry. So he wants to write tighter regulatory rules.... and fire the chair of the SEC for not interfering more. I mean he says that now, now that he is running for office and there is a financial crisis.
This guy is frightening. Even for a politician... and I assume a certain level of bad behaviour out of folks running for office. They do need to appease the electorate enough to get into office. But come on -- this is just too too much.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I have been a total bitch for a week now. I blame the diet. The ER doctor put me on a NO-FAT diet. Not low fat. NO FAT. This is nearly impossible. I have tried to keep below 3 grams per day, since 0 is out of the question. I mostly eat fat free soup, fruit, veggies and no fat, whole wheat pita bread. It is miserable. I had toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian before this, and I still might, but right now - I miss meat. I realize I might not if I was able to have nuts, soy products, olives, things like that. But as it stands right now, I would almost kill for a steak. Or a piece of fried chicken. I was in an elevator yesterday with a woman holding a steak sub, and another with a plate of fries. Niether woman knows how close she came to being mugged for her food. The smells were making me drool.
I also seem to have no energy at all. I don't know if it is caused by the severe drop in calories, the lack of protein, an iron-poor diet, or just being ill. I do know that I don't even like taking the long walk down the hall to the bathrooms. And I haven't taken my lunch-time walk in over a week.
On the plus side, sort of -- I have lost 8 pounds on the diet from hell.
Anybody want to go out for diner food when this is all over???
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It worries me. And I am one of the lucky ones. We have great jobs, we have a home we can afford. But will we EVER be able to retire?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
So what else? What do you all think works? How can we, as not very wealthy, not well-connected individuals, get the results we want out of this election?
These are not rhetorical questions, gang. seriously, what can we do?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
WTF? Is she a candidate or a prop? If she is running, take the bridle off and let her run. Or are they afraid of her answers? afraid of what she might say if she is unscripted?
In addition to trooper-gate, she is now also being looked at for her expenses as governor. Apparently, Ms Palin has claimed 43,000 dollars for travel expenses for this year. She takes her family on all official travel, and wants Alaska taxpayers to foot the bill. Because she is a fiscal conservative.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Fat, Forties, Female and Fertile. If I hadn't already felt like puking, this would have put me over the edge.
This is knowledge I could have lived without. And it smacks of a certain insensitivity on the part of physicians. It's not a bad mnemonic, but could they have been a little more understanding? In the days before the internet, this would have been private knowledge, shared just between MDs. But now, with wikipedia and webmd and google, its all right out there for the general public.
So I'm 4F... UGH!!!
Monday, September 08, 2008
I miss my sweetie, who is on a business trip. But other than that, everything just seems better today.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Nothing goes quickly at an ER. I was there for 3 hours. I did get a sonagram that found a few gallstones, which was the reason for the food poisoning-like symptoms. I got prescription meds, and a recommendation that I schedule surgery.
The kicker, at least for me, is that I also got a recommendation to lose weight and cut out fat from my diet. I'm already on a low fat diet! I eat french fries like once a year. But until the surgery, no fats. No cheese, no avocados, no butter, no fried foods. If that isn't motivation to get it done soon, I don't know what is.
Hopefully I won't miss class tomorrow night. I already took the day off from work, so I can sleep. And a dear friend is taking my husband to the train station so I don't have to get up at 4:30am....
Friday, September 05, 2008
All I can think is that these people are from some alternate dimension, one where there is no pollution, no global warming, and no finite resources. Otherwise, how could anyone, and I mean ANYONE, see this as a successful mantra?
Between that and Cindy McCain's $310,000 convention ensemble (just one outfit, mind you) really illustrates for me that these folks JUST DON'T GET IT. They don't get that people are suffering under a decaying economy. They don't get that the entire world is imperiled by global warming. They don't get that cutting taxes never gives you more money to spend. They don't get that we can't WIN the war in Iraq -- it was lost before we even started.
The 50s are OVER!!! Read a newspaper. Take some classes. Get your head out of your ass. America has to become part of the rest of the world.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I am free from the tyranny of breakfast. Free from the tyranny of lunch. I can move, somnolent, through my morning, speaking little, thinking less.
This is VICTORY, and it is sweet!
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
And because of her political ambitions, her daughter will have to go through all of this while the whole world watches her. What kind of parent would put their child through something like that? How could she?
She is running as a family-values candidate. Evangelical, anti-abortion, pro-creationist, favoring abstinence education.
She needs to get her priorities in the right place. In a choice between personal ambition and the needs of your children -- the kids come first!!!
She does have appeal to the evangelical base. She has the gun-nuts in her corner as well. But. She. Is. Not.Qualified. Not for higher office. She may be a very nice woman. She may be a great governor. But as Vice President to an old and not particularly healthy President -- nope, not a good idea.
I also found the choice to be, shall we say, CYNICAL. Let's put a woman on the ticket and all the Hillary supporters will flock to vote for her. As if we can't tell the difference between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I feel pandered to, and it's not nice.
So there you have it, Reason 734 for not voting for McCain -- he subscribes to the AWWD philosophy.
Friday, August 29, 2008
We have come far, but there is a long way to go. It needs to not be a wish, but a truth, when a parent tells their child -- yes baby, you can grow up and be President. It needs to be true when that child is a girl, is disabled, is poor, is gay, is muslim, is jewish. When we can't see an impediment, but only possiblity, we will have truly arrived.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The cynical might say she was saving her own political future, but I think she was sincere. If she can't be the one in office, she really will do everything to see that the next best choice (in her eyes) does win. I think Hillary cares deeply about the future of America. And she really is fearful of what a McCain presidency could bring. Four more years to drive the economy down, increase the gap between rich and poor, and lower our stature in the world even further.
I hope that people heard the words this week, and took them to heart. No how, no way, no McCain!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
And Michelle Obama? What an incredible woman. She is educated, articulate, poised, accomplished. I think she hit a home run with her speech last night. She humanized the candidate, and gave us a window into their lives.
The Dream does live on!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I was wrong. It looks like the next few months will be nasty as hell, as we gear up for November elections. It bothers me, mostly because I care a great deal about the outcome. I want Obama to win. I really truly do. I don't just think he would be a better president than McCain -- I think he would be a great president. I admire him. I think he's the right man for our time.
And so it bugs me when there are personal attacks on him. I don't want his patriotism constantly in question. Nor would I care if he was a Muslim. When did being Muslim become a bad thing, anyway? How insulting is that to Americans who are Muslim that it is used almost as a swear word in politics? and why all the attacks on Michelle Obama? is it because she is educated? successful? good-looking? loves her husband and children? WTF?? We'd be lucky to have her in the White House, in any capacity.
So, I hope people will weed out the facts from the fiction, the truth buried in the mire... so we can get the President we should have, and not the one we deserve.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Books still have that power, that with the right alchemical combination of words, they can change you. I don't think it's a bad thing, mind you. I probably needed to ditch hot dogs and fast food.
Sometimes, though, there are unintended consequences. I had a hard time eating an ear of corn the other day. It somehow had taken on an evil tinge for me. A beautiful, fresh ear from the farmer's market... and then I slapped some butter on the sucker and took out my revenge for it ruining the planet.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
China has a repressive government, and it does need to move forward with more rights for its citizens. I just thing George Bush has absolutely NO CREDIBILITY WHATSOEVER when addressing these issues. And the world does not love hypocrites... I'm sure his comments will play really really well in the middle east.
And it will be interesting to see how he is received at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games, after insulting his hosts.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Now we are back to reality. It should be interesting. Back on the exercise and diet wagon. And on a budget, seriously. We suck at this, but I think we are motivated enough this time to make it work.
I'm back to making menus for the week. It keeps us eating fairly well, and cuts our food budget significantly. This week the menu is pork with many flavoured sauce (stir fry pork with broccoli and tofu in a brown sauce), chicken with red beans and rice, chili cheese dogs (low cal version with turkey chili, lowfat cheese, lowfat dogs for me), chicken fajitas, and fish and scallop chowder (fat free milk, flour and creamed corn make the soup base instead of heavy cream, butter and flour).
I've got low fat tuna salad on 9 grain bread, cherries, and weightwatchers cheese for lunches... the tuna salad is pretty good: tuna packed in water, finely grated carrot, celery, finely chopped green pepper, chopped dill pickle, hard boiled egg, soy mayo and yellow mustard. Ends up being about a third veggies.
and breakfast is either kashi go lean with almonds and banana, or oatmeal with blueberries and almonds.
Exercise is walking this week, and then wii fit added to the mix next week, and hopefully some core work the week after. I want to get the exercise routine firmly established before school starts in September.
Wish me luck!
Friday, July 25, 2008
I'm going to a conference in Boston on web 2.0 for higher ed. So we will be about half an hour away from our son. Work will pay for our hotel and travel, so it works out nicely. I'm looking forward to the conference. I haven't attended anything in my field in years. I did speak at one conference last year, but I only went for my talk, and left afterwards.
We love Boston, so my husband will find plenty to do while I am attending my sessions, and we'll have some time to wander around together in the evenings and on Thursday. Friday we are going to get together with old friends who live nearby. It will be great to catch up with them and hang out a bit.
Any travel is good. And a break from routine is even better!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So, in no particular order, here are some things I've learned in 46 years:
if it sounds too good to be true, it is
never try to fill an inside straight
never go to bed with someone you don't want to wake up with
good friends are essential
if you have to choose between head and heart, go with heart
timing is everything
luck is everything else
everybody needs to feel valuable
everyone has a story -- and they are all interesting
don't walk barefoot on hot pavement
you have to like yourself or no one else will be able to
men have an entirely different definition of FAT
laziness can hurt you
procrastination almost always works in your favor
be careful when you put on suntan lotion to not miss a spot
let your bait sit a minute so the fish can get to it
the error you don't check for is the one most likely to occur
some prices are too much to pay
sometimes you can't afford to save that much
playing the lottery is like throwing dollar bills in the trashcan, but more fun
education is always worth it
don't cook barefoot
the smoke always blows in your direction
you can be wearing too much perfume
laughter is the best medicine
it only hurts the first time someone calls you ma'am
change your oil
eat your vegetables
keep track of your keys
the world is amazing, stop and appreciate it
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Heath Ledger has created the ultimate Joker. No one could do it better. Ever. I don't see how anyone could even try...
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Our son is a good kid, and he is becoming a good man. This summer has been an amazing burst of development for him. He is getting himself to day camp at a nearby university, by taking an MTA bus. He voluntarily got a haircut, told me when he needed new shoes, is helping me carry stuff so I don't stress my elbow, is making polite conversation when necessary, and in general is just more responsible. We can hang out together now, and actually enjoy each other's company.
He's taught me a lot: more patience, taking my time over things, stressing less about the little things, that time passes much faster than you can possibly realize, that the people around you need more than your presence, they need your participation, to give to the needy, respect the differences in how people's minds work, that people can surpise you. That you can love way more than you thought you could. That you can worry more than you thought you could. And that you can enjoy the detours way more than you thought you could.
Happy Birthday, little one.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
In 40 years, I could have water-front property --without moving. I could finally have that summer place in the tropics that I've always dreamed about, right here in Maryland. I could have grandchildren who have never seen a tree, or been outside in the daytime, or breathed pure air.
World leaders? I don't think so.
Monday, July 07, 2008
While I have done many stupid or short-sighted things in my life, I have done one thing well. I have surrounded myself with good people. The people I've picked to be in my life are there because they ADD to my life. I am immensely richer for their friendship. The people life has placed in my path -- my neighbors, my co-workers, my relatives by marriage -- are wonderful.
Now I have to find a way to make more time for all of them. That is my biggest struggle these days. To carve out enough time to just hang out with the people I care about. What I get out of it is so huge, though, that I know I'll find a way.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
October 2009 to December 2009
No, not a typo, believe me. Because I couldn't believe it either. So I asked the company if this was a mistake. They said no. It really would be more than 18 MORE MONTHS to get the damn car.
You know, I am trying, really trying, to do the right thing. I want an environmentally sound car for commuting. One that I can afford. One that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and another leg. And doesn't have huge environmental disposal issues, like the hybrids do with their batteries.
Why is this so freaking difficult? How did we get to the point where a small, inexpensive, fuel-efficient vehicle is like the holy f*ing grail?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
If you want to defend your property, buy a shotgun. Handguns are an abomination in a civilized society. Oh right, we aren't civilized....
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I am bummed by a long series of physical therapy I have to have for my neck/near frozen shoulder (which is causing my elbow issues). And then I talked to a friend at the office who is getting traction for her neck and back 4 times a week. Now I don't feel so bad.
Really and truly, it's all good.
Friday, June 20, 2008
And like they can't get in trouble if they all do it, right? I mean, like, how could their parents get ticked off, when it's not just one kid, but like, a whole group of kids.
Wonderful. Just wonderful. And the school nurses just resigned. Because they couldn't get permission to dispense birth control to anonymous students. You know, you would think they not only would have been given permission, they would have been applauded. Because clearly these kids not only need access to birth control, they need COMPULSORY birth control...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Make no mistake, our values are being threatened, being undermined by the great liberal - press conspiracy. If we don't fight them, what will happen next?
Good lord, people might become tolerant, or even worse, accepting of the rights of others. We might decide marriage is a good thing, even between two queers. And our kids might find out what naked people look like. That'll turn 'em into perverts. And then they might grow up and marry a pig, or a dog, or something.
So be vigilant. Defend our right to be narrow-minded, prudish Americans.
Monday, June 16, 2008
My sweet husband is bruised, but on the mend. Some of the stitches come out tomorrow night and the rest go away on their own. He has to go back for some more dental work, but the worst of that is over.
My nerve tests came out okay -- I have triceps tendonitis and golfer's elbow and the swelling was pressing on the nerve. I'm scheduled for some PT, but I should be fine.
Thanks again to everyone who called and emailed!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Unfortunately, life is doing its best to keep things interesting. I am working half days this week to rest my elbow. More on that after my drs appt tonight. Our dear son is in the hectic last days of school, with ceremonies, half-day dismissals, parties and the like. So I am playing Chauffeur/Mom in a big big way.
And my husband did a face-plant off his bike last night. 2 hours in the ER, stitches, late night trip to the pharmacy. Today is the dentist and then new glasses (his got run over). He is miserable -- can't eat, can't get comfortable. I feel horrible for him. He is incredibly incredibly lucky though -- he wasn't wearing a helmet, and he landed on his mouth instead of his noggin.
I want a large lemonade and a damn hammock!!
Monday, June 02, 2008
My elbow is ulnar nerve neuritis. I have to have nerve conduction tests on Wednesday. This is not good news, nor is it terrible. It just sorta exists in short-term suckage...
The Spud, our wonderful son, graduates from 8th grade on Thursday. On to HIGH SCHOOL!!!
The weather has been beautiful. The spouse has been wonderful. Life is good, despite the bumps.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Problem is, my elbow isn't much better, despite the rest. I went to the doctor yesterday, to get my referral, and am going to the orthopedist today. But I pretty much know the drill-- rest,and type less. Right now, while I am feeling the urge to write (which I can only accomplish by typing, no longhand for me), this is particularly frustrating. And of course, I have huge projects looming at work, and no end of keyboard time in my future.
Still, I loved the break.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I wish him all the best as he battles cancer.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The thing is, I have an RSI -- tennis elbow caused by typing. I am sitting in my office with a heat wrap on my elbow. Two days ago I had x-rays taken of my right hand. I also had lots and lots of blood tests, to look for arthritis, lupus, etc. Pretty much everything checked out fine. But I wake up every morning with the fingers of my right hand swollen at the joint, and very very sore. Guess what? Another RSI... seems my tendons dislike typing. A LOT.
So my work is hurting me. It's not damaging me. Nothing like carpal tunnel, where the affects get worse and can become permanent. Nope, this is just pain. But it is discouraging. I should really take a few weeks off, and let everything rest. But I don't want to burn sick leave for what is basically an owie. Ditto with short-term disability. I'd rather not use it for something this minor.
It's a gray, gray day.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I can't do programming on it. It really isn't suited to photoshop, typing for long stretches of time, or really serious work. So it's perfect.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Now that the paper is turned in, I have that feeling -- the after the deadline feeling. Depleted, aimless. I can't really seem to focus on anything, just want to drift in the sea of "done". Read some trash. Watch bad TV. Sit on the front porch and have a beer in the sunshine.
I guess its nature's way of forcing a re-charge. You just don't have the energy or the impulse to do anything for a while.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Being a mom is one of the two smartest things I ever did (and yes, the other one was marrying my hubby). Beats out going to college, getting into computers, absolutely everything.
It's funny -- I don't see myself as traditional, and I'm definitely no girly-girl -- but wife and mother are my top two.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I thought so, but recent news articles made me re-think that. Recently, an Austrian man was arrested for keeping his daughter imprisoned for over 15 years, and fathering six children by her. Persephone, maybe? Olympian incest?
A Baltimore teen was just convicted of raping and murdering his 4 year old cousin. Truly a headline plucked from Greek tragedy.
A polygamous sect was raided, in trouble for their practice of forcibly marrying off young girls to older men. Again, right at home in Athens, 500 BCE....
So do we ever progress? Are we stuck in the same place as our Greek and Roman forbears? Do we sing the same old song, over and over and over?
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I am writing about Herakles, not because I have a particular affinity, but because that's the slip I drew out of the envelope. I already did my oral presentation, which went fairly well. What we do with the subject is up to us. I am focusing on apotheosis, since it's a fascinating aspect of the myth.
Heracles is born of mortal mother (Alcmene) and an immortal father (Zeus). He lives his life as a mortal, albeit an extraordinary one. At the end of his life, when it is clear he is dying (accidentally and painfully poisoned by his wife), he has his own pyre built. He climbs in while still alive, and is burned alive. Zeus zaps the pyre with a thunderbolt, and the "mortal" part of Heracles is burned away. His mortal soul goes down to Hades, and his immortal self is swept away to Olympia, where he joins the host of Immortals.
He was worshipped by the Greeks as a hero, and as a diety, with separate shrines for both and separate forms of ritual for each of his roles.
My paper focuses on this transformation from man to god, after a horrible and painful death (sound like anything familiar?) and what purposes it served for the Greeks/what it said about them. Or it will focus on this, once I actually manage to get it all down on paper. Probably on the 11th, if I follow the usual pattern...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
But where do we draw the line? I'm an atheist, more or less. And many folks in this country feel that is not only wrong, but intolerable. Should I be arrested for depriving my child of the BIBLE? There are folks that would argue YES, that I am endangering his well-being, and his soul.
I don't happen to have a problem with polygamy. I don't think it really works well for most folks, and it certainly wouldn't work for me, but if all the parties are consenting adults, go for it.
I don't agree with the FDLS stance on husband's rights, either. But if the adult women, and the adult men agree that the husband is ruler; again, go for it. I don't have to live that way, so no skin off my nose.
The issue comes down to choices and freedom, and how much we allow. My gut says adults should have all the freedom they want, as long as it doesn't bump into anybody else's rights. And children have the right to be protected from wrong-headed adults, until they are old enough to make their own choices.
as a side note, and I mean way aside the freedom issues, does anybody but me wonder where the FDLS folks get the money to support all those kids, and do all that building???