Friday, October 31, 2008

Political Hysteria

So here's the deal. Recently I found myself in the midst of a rather heated political discussion on a friend's blog, and I have decided to pull back and refrain from commenting any more over there. But I wanted to post something here, knowing that some of her readers also visit my blog on occasion, and it's better for me to continue my discussion on my own blog rather than take up so much space in the comment section of hers.

I actually do count amongst my circle of family and friends some conservative people - conservative politically, conservative socially, conservative religiously. And I respect them and (I hope) they respect me, and we have several topics on which we agree to disagree. And that is just how it should be.

What bothers me in a discussion is when the arguments veer off from facts and rational opinions. And yes, I do know that the word "rational" is subjective. I accept that. So you may not always agree with what I consider rational, but in my mind rational does not include lies, personal slurs, or exaggerations which defy logic.

I don't agree with many of Mitt Romney's religious beliefs = rational
Mitt Romney wants to legalize polygamy = irrational

I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman = rational
If gays are allowed to married, polygamy and beastiality will quickly follow = irrational

I disagree with Obama's position on abortion because I believe abortion for any reason is wrong = rational
Senator Obama feels it is ok to let babies that have survived an abortion to be placed to[sic] a closet and to be left to die, they are alive and he is a twisted man = irrational

I found a site which had an article about "political hysteria" and read it with interest as it seemed to capture much of what I am trying to explain here.

Here's a portion of what that article said:

"Political hysteria" is when emotional forces serve a political, ideological purpose. . . .
In "poor reality testing" emotions overwhelm accurate perceptions and assessment of objective reality, resulting in poor judgment, denial of obvious facts and evidence. Reason has no effect. "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts." . . .
It is essential to address fears in effective, specific ways that reassure and correct misperceptions. McCain did this when reassuring a woman that Obama was decent and she didn't have to fear his presidency.

I am happy to agree to disagree. I understand and expect and count on other people having different opinions from my own. I learn a lot from others' points of view. But I get upset when I believe people to be propagating dangerous exaggerations or lies. I feel dark and clammy and heavy inside, and I want to just move away from the source of that feeling. Because really, there is nothing I can do about it except take a deep breath and move on.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Oh, man, check out this site for tons of cool (and some very strange) pumpkins!
If the link doesn't work, it's

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NY Times Presidential Endorsement

The New York Times announced its endorsement of Obama today. You can read the entire editorial here, but I have pulled some of what I consider the best, here:

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.

Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound.

The article is a bit long but very even-handed and well-written. I know the majority (maybe all?) of my readers are planning to vote as I am, but please forward the link to any undecideds you know ... your spouse, your sister, your neighbor ... Do it now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm flying high!

It;s 9:45 PM on Tuesday evening and I just got home from a League of Women Voters meeting where we showed the movie Iron Jawed Angels. We had about 60 people come see it - about 1/3 were high school students who were getting extra credit from their American History teachers - and afterwards I led a very quick "debriefing" about the film.


The movie itself is powerful. It's the story of the women's suffrage movement in the early 1900's. It opens in 1912, and ends with the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Powerful stuff, those 39 words. Women whose names I have only recently learned fought with every ounce of their beings to make those words into law.

And now 60 more people - mostly women - in Bloomington, MN have heard those words and have learned the struggles behind them.

And I am feeling pretty darn good right now!

Sick Day!

Today we are experiencing something we haven't seen in 5 years ... a sick day!

We never had a day in homeschooling where the kids were too sick to learn, at least for a little bit. And if we were still homeschooling, I would have them do something this afternoon when they were up and about and feeling stronger.

But they were also never exposed to the hodge-podge of germs in those days, unlike now.

So today is a sick day at our house. Wish I could stay in bed all day, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Word of the Day

It's too bad this venerable adverb has fallen from fashion because it is such fun (for native speakers, anyway) to pronounce. It means, in essence, "to that place," but these days its territory is pretty much taken over by there, just as its companions hither and whither have been supplanted by here and where.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Party

Last night was my nephew's annual Halloween Party. From the time he was little, he has loved to celebrate Halloween, and for the past 4 years he has hosted an incredible party for family, friends, neighbors and (I think!) anyone else who wanders in!

Here are Ben & Ty in their Halloween finest -- they spent most of the day making their costumes with their Dad. Ben is Domo-Kun - none of the adults knew what he was, but all the kids thought his costume was the best ever!

Here is my brother, Joe Six-Pack, and me ...

And my sis-in-law was a Hockey Mom, while my niece came home from college and dressed in a kimono ...

Every year there are prizes for costumes in several different categories - here are three of the winners. Ben won "Best Costume" - the guy next to him originally had a faceless mask on and was "the invisible man" - he won "scariest costume." And though I know that the gladiator-guy won something, I don't know what his category was.
On the way out, Ty had to try out the coffin in the front yard ... a fine ending to a fun party.

Bring kleenex

You might remember a while ago I mentioned I was following a new blog, CJaneRun, after hearing about the plane crash Jane's sister and her husband were in. Today there was an article in an Arizona newspaper, with an update. I encourage you to take time to read it. And bring your kleenex.

Cruise Part 3

Saturday we woke up (with difficulty, given our late night watching Pirates of the Caribbean on the big screen over the swimming pool the night before ... we got to bed around 1:30) and we were ready for a day on the island. Castaway Cay, Disney's private Caribbean island - lush, tropical paradise!

We took our spot on the beach and immediately got our snorkeling equipment. I have never snorkeled before - which I didn't realize until I had the equipment on and it came time to put my face in the water and take a deep breath. Couldn't do it.

Ty gave up on me and went off on his own, but Ben stayed with me and worked with me until I finally dared do it, and then it was pure bliss! I loved it. I started planning a trip where we could go somewhere with good snorkeling, as there really was not much to see here at all.

Later we swam, but it was playing in the sand that was the biggest hit for the boys. Ben buried himself up to his shoulders, and then helped Ty bury himself up to the neck! We got a lot of people standing around us, watching with amusement.

We wandered around the island a bit, saw the ... shoot, what's it's name? not the Black Pearl but the other ship from Pirates ... someone will tell me, I'm sure ... and Ben ran all over the beach trying to take pictures of the birds, without much luck.

Just before we left the beach, the hammocks were finally available to try, and the boys discovered how much fun it is to swing one another - nearly in full rotation - until Ty lost his grip after one mighty push. But it was all fun, he insisted I get a picture, and then in true 2-year old fashion, climbed back in the hammock and said "Again?"
As they played on the hammocks, I looked across the nearly-empty beach, and fell in love with the brightly colored umbrellas, the incredibly blue sky, and the gently-waving palm leaves, and I did not want to leave paradise.

We'll be back.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

7 Random Things

Ok, 7 things that I doubt any of you know about me:

1. Wow, I can't think of anything that I am SURE no one knows.

Umm, let me try again. Maybe I'll go for 7 things MOST of you don't know about me.

1. I thought I was born in Michigan because my dad was going to Grad School at Ann Arbor, but I just found out this year that he was actually a high school teacher there. (none of you could know that - other than my parents - because I didn't know it either.)

2. When I was in 7th grade I wanted to be a lawyer because I thought that was the most glamorous job ever.

3. To me, one of the absolute grossest things in the world is long toenails.

4. My college roommate and I dated the same guy (though not at the same time) for a total of about 3 years.

5. I was always "teacher's pet" in elementary school and proud of it.

6. I can't whistle. Or snap my fingers. Or curl my tongue.

7. My favorite food has always been spaghetti, and I can still, to this day, eat it 3 meals a day for a week and not get tired of it.

OK, your turn.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In for a penny, in for a pound

I just did something new.

I made a financial contribution to a political organization in California.

I just read this blog, about proposition 8 which is coming to the voters of that state on election day. It will put discriminatory language into their state constitution if it passes. It should not pass. I sent money to the people who are working to fight it.

I know some of you do not believe that gay people should be able to marry one another. And you know what? While I have to say I truly cannot understand WHY you believe that, I respect your right TO believe it and to act in such a way in your personal life and your religious life to not want gay people to be married.

This is something individuals have opinions about, and they should be free to live their lives as they believe. This should not be something that the state, separated from the church, dictates.

So, since I am just freely posting left and right these days about political stuff, I thought I would throw this out there too. Hoping that maybe some of you will make a donation, too. (you can do that here.)

Good night! (Cruise Part 3 coming this weekend - Promise!!)

Too cute for words

The true mavericks

Are you getting tired of me putting videos here? I hope not. This one is really placed here for one specific person, and I really hope she watches it and really truly contemplates what is being said.

The rest of you, watch it too. I think it's valuable.

"Conservatives for Change is a documentary project featuring Republicans and Conservatives who are voting for Obama. These are real people, speaking in their own words."

It's been a while ...

This is Max from Dancing with the Stars ... easily the hottest male dancer. Unfortunately he wasn't on the show last season, and this season he is already out. I miss him.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Peaceful, Easy Feeling

Since we got back to town from our trip, I have been just kind of floating along on a cloud, so incredibly satisfied with life right now. It's been a wonderful feeling, one which I am enjoying because I guess I am cynical enough to realize it most likely won't last. But for now, the kids are good, the dogs are good, my work is balanced and therefore good, my political intensity is balanced and therefore good, I'm happy with my house and car, and I love the crisp clean autumn weather.

If it takes a cruise in the Caribbean to bring me to this state of contentedness, I guess I will just have to force myself to take one annually. Right?

Political Videos with a Personal Twist

I found this video by randomly surfing around the web - it's been online a while, but I just stumbled across it. It's pretty funny, but the truly AMAZING thing is I know this woman.

I have never had this happen before, where I am randomly and aimlessly roaming around from site to site and I happen across someone I actually KNOW.

It totally freaked me out! She is a teacher from NYC and I met her a year and a half ago when I was in Africa - we were on a volunteer trip together. (Here we are in a picture together at dinner one night.)

And here is their newest, just posted a couple of days ago:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Knittin' Time!

Just found a new knitter-blog, and she had a pic of this hat here ... inspiring enough to make me say to myself 'oooooooooo! I need to make that one!!!' The blog actually hasn't been updated since April, but since it's new to me, who cares?

So I went to to find the book it's from (Hats On!) and ordered it with that handy-dandy one-click shopping (dangerous feature, that is) and soon I will be happily knitting hats :-)

Then I will just have to wait until it's cold to wear them all.

Truly LOL Material!

Cruise Part 2

When we woke on Friday, we were in the Bahamas. When we looked off the ship, we saw the bright aquas, turquoises, pinks, purples, oranges, and yellows of the shops and awnings and flags - it was enchanting and inviting and well, yes, magical!

We ate at another luxuriously extravagant buffet, and talked about what we wanted to do for the day. I had a desire to go into Nassau, the boys - not so much. I wanted to visit a beach and the boys were more in tune with that, so they went off to the arcade while I visited the Shore Excursions desk to learn more. The man there quickly and emphatically convinced me and the other two women in line that beaches in Bahamas (the ones here, within walking distance of the pier) were to be avoided. If we wanted to sign up for a bus ride to a safe beach located a distance away from the inner city, that would be OK - but that wasn't what I had in mind, so I decided I would go into the city near the pier to visit some shops, but we would postpone the beach activity until the next day at Castaway Cay.

I found the boys and told them they needed to come with me on shore for one hour so they could say they had been in the Bahamas. The deal was we would visit at least 3 shops, take at least 5 photographs, and buy at least one souvenir. We got off the boat and I turned around to take a picture of it (it was the first time we could actually see it as it was obscured by the buildings when we boarded in Florida) and Ty gleefully shouted "THAT'S ONE!!!"

His enthusiasm for new cultures overwhelmed me.

We went ashore, and were immediately bombarded with offers for taxi rides anywhere we wanted to go. We pushed past them with smiling "no, thank you"s and went into a craft market - right there at the pier! Wow, who wouldda thunk? I immediately found myself thinking "this is the Brownsville of the Bahamas." We visited several booths and looked at the things made from shells, the Christmas ornaments, the jewelry, and the food items. We went outside and took a couple of pictures ("that's TWO, Mom! And that's THREE!") and then went back inside to buy an ornament, and Ty bought a bowl and spoon made from a conch shell. Personally, not what I would have chosen, but he was totally enamored of it and said it would be his ice cream bowl from now on. Ben considered a dolphin trinket also made of conch, but decided to wait.
We went back on the street and looked at the crowds, felt the heat of the sun, looked at the crowd of eager "welcomers" we would have to make our way through to get into the town proper, and decided to turn around and go back to the ship. That was the only time, really, I wished for another adult to be travelling with us because I would have taken the boys back onboard and then explored the town - but I admit I wasn't quite up to doing it on my own.

So back onboard we went (though it was a slow process as Ben wanted to take dozens of pictures of the fish we could see along the pier, the water was unbelievably clear and beautiful shades of blue - even right here in what had to be an incredibly congested area) and we had pizza for lunch, the boys swam in the pool, and I read.

Wonderfully relaxing!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Because I don't want to go to bed mad, here's one more photo for the night ...

Politics Schmolitics

Well, Minnesota has a new reason to be embarrassed at the national level with Michelle Bachman's performance last week.

I didn't pay any attention at all to anything media-related, election-related, or news-related while we were gone, so I have been working hard to catch up. I have been reading a lot about Congresswoman Bachman, and a really lot about McCain's "air quotes" during the debate while discussing women's health.

I have been reading this blog, and this one - both women who have personal stakes and stories surrounding the issues McCain seemingly doesn't want to acknowledge as real. And I have been following a heckuva lot of links around the internet, reading many empassioned opinions, viewpoints, and rants.

And then I read Calandria's aunt's blog - she lives in the Netherlands, and got on the topic of socialism - and then Calandria had a post about socialism - and all that got me remembering living in Norway, which I did a long time ago for a few years - and so then I was reading comments and jumping to more blogs and more websites and on and on and on. And I agree with both Calandria and her aunt. I am absolutely willing to pay more taxes if it helps keep our society running more smoothly, and keeps its citizens healthy and educated. Does that make me a socialist? Does that make me anti-American? Guess it depends on who you ask.

Now I just want to go back on the cruise ship until November 5.

And I *am* voting for Obama, and I *am* scared when I listen to people (or read their words) who believe McCain and Palin are the better options for leadership in our nation, and I *am* doing what I can to try and keep that from happening.

Oh, and I *am* happy that Bachman's opponent has received over $800,000 in donations from across the nation since her television appearance on Friday!

Cruise Part 1

Well, we left our house in the wee hours of Thursday morning last week for our flight to Orlando. All carry-on because NWA charges $15 for the first checked bag, $25 for the second. Insane.

Anyway, the flight was fine, we were SO excited to get there. Seeing the palm trees, the pelicans and gulls, the OCEAN - from the airport to the bus ride to the port - all was bringing our excitement to a boil! The video on the bus ride which toured the ship and talked about activities was so much fun (gee, someone planned that, ya think?) and when we got there, the only flaw in a perfect experience was it was 1:00, we had been up since 5:30, and we were STARVING.
We got on the boat and immediately went to Parrot Cay for lunch, even before finding our cabin, and we were just amazed - even though we had been warned - at the extent of the buffet. The boys just kept going back for more and more and more. Then found the cabin, and explored the ship, and got ready for the pre-departure lifeboat drill. During the drill it all seemed like a game, but late that night I was walking outside on the deck by myself and it kind of freaked me out, that we were on a boat, travelling REALLY FAST, in the deep dark ocean.

By dinner time we had explored the ship pretty thoroughly, and were starting to feel a titch queasy, so the boys took some dramamine and I put on my wrist bands (the boys thought they looked too nerdy) and that took care of it for us all.

After dinner we found the QuarterMasters Arcade, and the boys spent a bit of time there ...
We all slept well the first night - the position of our cabin (right in the exact middle of the boat) made the motion as minimal as possible, just enough to lull us to sleep. The beds were comfortable and our energy was depleted - I don't think any of us even rolled over once!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A reading aside ...

While on vacation, I read volumes 1, 2 and 3 of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer - thanks to the extreme generosity of Shawn who not only lent me the books but also allowed me to take them on a ship on the water!!!!

And first off, let me say that this series is a teen romance and all the main characters are between 16 and 19, and pretty much all the girls and women in the world are ga-ga for Edward, the main squeeze of Bella, the main character.

But I think I am more of a Jacob-woman, myself. Jacob is a younger, Native American teen, with a secret (don't want to be a spoiler here) and frankly, if I had a choice between Edward and Jake -- it'd be Jacob for me.

Plus Edward is cold all the time and Jacob is hot. Seriously, their body temperatures play a part in the story line. A big part. And I always want someone who can warm my toes in the cold winter, I avoid people with cold hands and cold feet as much as possible!

So Shawn, you can have Edward, I will keep Jacob. (And tomorrow I will be starting book 4!)

Sneak Peek

Most likely will go down in the records as one of the best vacations ever ... Here's a taste of all we did, details will unfold over the week ... The ship ...The food ....
The sand ....
on the beach ...

Yeah, it was really that beautiful.

More later!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I know I'm taking too much

I am just about done packing for our vacation, and I know I am taking too much - but it's so easy when everything is so little. Swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts. They take up no space at all!

I am resolved NOT to check email or anything else while we are gone, so I will be back Sunday night!

Have fun without me :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And this one is baffling.

OK, in the beginning this sounds a bit like a rant, which I normally would not post here. But by the end, I found myself just sitting here thinking, "she is right."

The reporter quotes the findings to Palin which say "Palin broke ethical laws." Palin responds, straight to the camera with a smile "I am so glad to be cleared of accusations of any unethical behavior."

The reporter says "You were found to have had unethical behavior." Palin replies confidently "I was cleared of any unethical behavior."

Seriously? Seriously?

This one is clever (I haven't actually seen it on TV)

Did you know...

That when you go on a cruise they make you sign something that says you are completely aware that they (the cruise company) do not guarantee or even imply that their ships are seaworthy??? I can see the no guarantee part, but for them to say they don't even IMPLY that the ships are safe????

Geez, what a confidence builder.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sweet Dreams

(I don't even really know who this guy is. I just saw his picture online.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Today's Awwwww !!! site

Click here when you want to be overcome by cuteness.

Danger Ahead

This afternoon I was avoiding a work project and happened upon this recipe. Of course I had to drop everything and try it, in the interest of public service. What kind of friend would I be to find this recipe and NOT test it before telling you about it?

So here goes. Personal Mug Chocolate Cake

Simple list of ingredients:

Mix in a mug:

4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa

Add one egg, mix well

Add 3 T milk + 3 T oil + small splash vanilla, mix well (It looks like really, really thick hot chocolate.)
(optional but who wouldn't?) Mix in 3 T chocolate chips

Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. (It will rise above the mug, don't worry!)
(this is in the microwave - you get the idea of how high it goes, and it did spill over the edge a small bit, but it's not hard to clean up. Next time I might try making it in a pyrex measuring cup.)
It does sink back down a bit when you remove it from the microwave.

Let cool, remove from mug (optional) and enjoy!
And the verdict? It's a bit chewy, sort-of brownie-like, and very rich. And truly, it's enough for 2 people. (for me to say that, you KNOW it's rich.)
It'll do, pig, It'll do.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm gonna have to start carrying a half-knit sock around with me

Today I heard about a new contest, of sorts. The Yarn Harlot, a knitter from Canada, has challenged knitters everywhere to get a picture taken with a politician - or a famous person - where that person is holding a sock in the process of being knit.

It started when this woman saw Greg Kinnear somewhere, and asked to take a picture with him ... and her half-knit sock. Don't you love his expression???

Then another reader of the Yarn Harlot's blog got a picture of Barack Obama holding a sock-in-the-works. Her brother actually took this picture, and her camera didn't work, so this is the best it got to be, but still. It's Barack Obama holding a sock!!!
How cool is that? Click on the photos to see the rest of the story ...
The Yarn Harlot's dream is to hear one politician say to another politician something like "What's with all the socks? Have you been getting them too?"

Scarily TRUE

Oh my gosh I hope you can read this. I found it here, and it is so funny - because it is so TRUE. If you can't quite make out the descriptors, they are:

- Arguing over logo color
- Wordsmithing mission statement
- Lamenting drop in fundraising
- Curling into fetal position
- Praying for major planned gift

It is actually quite depressing how many retreats I have been on that follow this chart EXACTLY. Though I don't recall actually seeing people in the fetal position ... it must just be a mental thing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I need help

I was just walking the dog, and glanced down at what I am wearing. It's kind of become my 'uniform' lately.

Sweatshirt: it's really Ben's but it's a bit big for him so I have taken it over
Jeans: really my mom's, but she gave them to me when they didn't fit her right
Shoes: Carla bought them for herself but they were a bit too small, so when she asked me to return them for her I instead started wearing them myself

I did buy my own underwear.

Did I mention I hate shopping?

I can't emphasize enough how much you should do this...

Just click here to learn more.

Blog Archive