25 January 2006

Some winter weather finally! & Random brain droppings.

Looking out my window is a pleasure when there's snow on the ground and more falling from the sky. We were forecast lots, as much as 5-8 inches, but got about 2 and maybe as much as 4 by the end of the day. I wish I had time this weekend to run away and ski, but I do not. I've got a work event to attend Saturday night and the another cooking class at Lyndhurst on Sunday which will end up precluding any skiing I might do on Sunday unless I was taking Monday off of work, which I can't. Should be good skiing weather, too, in the upper 30s and partly sunny. Unfortunately, the farthest I could get away would probably be Peek'n Peak in western NY state, which isn't a bad place to ski, but not my favorite, that honor would have to belong to Breckenridge in Colorado. Anyway.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about The Black Table shutting down? Tomorrow's the day. I never posted to the site myself, just enjoyed reading what everyone else posted. Today's update is the final Black List, which I love to read. You never know what people are going to submit. I like the random-ness of it all, plus the grades that they assign to whatever they are reviewing are funny.

I'll miss The Black Table, but I have found another fun author to read, planet mom, and funnily enough, she shares my name. Exchanged some nice e-mails with her; I've been thinking a lot about writing lately. I've never wanted to write the Great American Novel; but maybe something that someone would read. I don't have many ideas floating around in my head for fiction, but I am a really big fan of Charles de Lint, who writes what he calls "mythic fiction" and I like the possibilities of faerie being just at the edges of our perception. So maybe there’s an idea there. I’ve never really thought of myself (necessarily) as a creative person, but perhaps I am. Or perhaps that changes as you move through life.

Julia’s blog had a story about her son’s teacher saying he was gifted the other day. I too was labeled “gifted” somewhere around 2nd or 3rd grade and was in accelerated reading and English classes. Looking back, it makes me smile a bit because when you look at my standardized test scores, from the IOWA test we took in 4th and 8th grades to the SAT, ACT and LSAT, I consistently score high in language arts, reading comprehension, English composition, and then way down near the bottom for math & science. I liked science, just didn’t “get” it. I love to cook and bake now, and baking especially IS chemistry. I don’t know what made the school administrators decide that I was “gifted” but I am real glad that they did. I would have been more than bored if I hadn’t had the enrichment classes. We read J.R.R. Tolkien in 5th grade, had to follow an adult (long long before “Take your daughter to work day”) for about 3 days in 7th grade, and wrote papers that required more work than many things I did in college. The gifted/talented classes ran from I think 2nd grade through 7th. Then they put us back into mainstream classes in 8th grade, which was a pretty big mistake. We drove the 8th grade reading teacher insane. Literally. I’m not proud of this, but it is the truth. The man took a sabbatical about halfway through the year because of what we put him through. As an adult, however, I place most of the blame on the school district; we were bored. They put all of the really smart kids in the same class period with a teacher who was completely unprepared for us. After having spent the last 5 school years doing things like studying the evolution of democracy and being given the freedom to pursue things that interested each kid, they put us into a reading comprehension class. Duh! Half of us read War & Peace in 7th grade and the other half chose something else by Tolstoy. One or two of the smarter kids puzzled through the Russian. For fun. (Were we geeks or what?) Then they wanted us to move light-years backwards. No wonder we drove the teacher nuts. We did some terrible things. We organized our misbehavior. Had a schedule. Isn’t it amazing that I remember these details? The 8th grade history book was a 600-page behemoth; we would all bring it to class and all drop it on the floor at a specific time. It must have weighed about 12 pounds. Noisy. Then we’d all scoot our desks forward little by little until the aisle between the first row of desks and the blackboard was mere inches. While he was teaching, writing on the blackboard. He’d turn around, and we’d be right there. Which I now imagine was kinda terrifying. Then when he’d order us to move back, we’d overcompensate so that the last row of kids couldn’t get out of their desks. The instigators ended up getting suspended for a couple of days, but really, the adults had almost no control over the situation. The worst thing that I personally did was borrow someone else’s glasses and wear them only in his class; I insisted that he change my seat so I could “see the blackboard” about once every 3 days. Moving, of course, to yet another friend who I would then proceed to chat to through the entire lesson. A few years after we did this, the school system decided that when the gifted program ended, they would offer the choice of foreign language classes to the kids who had been in the program.

All this makes me think that maybe friend Jen is absolutely right to home school her kids. But I think I’m against home schooling. Mostly because although the pubic school system is undoubtedly broken, I don’t think that the way to fix it is to pull out all the kids whose parents can afford to home school them. There’s gotta be another way. And then there’s the fact that socialization IS learned and that home schooling doesn’t teach social skills, exactly. If you only have to interact with your own family, you will never learn how to get along with someone who is different from you. It took me a very long time to learn how to interact with kids my own age, because I was always mature for my age. I spoke in complete sentences and whole paragraphs even at a young age, from “oh” to oration in nothing flat. I loved to read from age 2 on, and could read all by myself at 3. I haven’t ever stopped either; I’m always reading something, and usually 2 or 3 somethings. Fiction, non, doesn’t much matter. My parents worked really hard to make me pull my nose out of a book and to interact with neighborhood kids, but my closest friends were almost always older than me by 2 or 3 grades. I ended up skipping out of high school after my sophomore year, first to be an exchange student and then to start college a year early. I was in a hellava hurry to get going! By being only a year younger than most incoming freshmen at the local uni, I didn’t stand out too much unless someone asked me how old I was or if I wanted to get a drink with them, then they were usually surprised, as in “what are you DOING here, why aren’t you going to high school?” For all that, though, it still took me 5 ½ years to finish my degree. So being “gifted” didn’t really make a difference in the long run, I guess.

I work on a regular basis with someone who is a teacher in the public schools, and she tells me all the time that the “No child left behind act” which is Pres. Doofus’s answer to what’s wrong with the school systems is also broken. They’re required to test much more frequently, and all that does is cut into the time that they are able to learn new things. Then there’s the fact that you end up teaching to the test, so that more kids pass. O-hi-a’s got a voucher system that allows you to put your kid into a private school if your local public school is rated “failing” and they also recently enacted an open enrollment rule that forces any public school to accept any kid, no matter where they live, as long as there are enough spaces. Competition, as you can imagine, is fierce for desirable schools, which only “open” a few spots a year to comply with the letter rather than the spirit of the law.

OK, enough for today. I type the entries in Word for spelling and grammar checking which is easier for me than blogspot’s speller, and this has run on for several pages in Word, which is more than a bit longer than my usual entry. Cheers!

23 January 2006

President Doofus strikes again- - - -I'd like to vomit now, please.

Yes, I know. I posted once already today. And about a very serious topic. But on the way home listening to NPR I heard something I hadn't realized. Today's the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and do you know that the president gave a speech via telephone to supporters of the anti-choice movement from Manhattan, KS, where he is giving a bigger speech defending the domestic surveillance program? Argh, he irritates me. Him and that whole "culture of life" catch-phrase. Which makes it sound as if anyone who does not see eye to eye with him believes in a culture of death. Come on. They played a snippet of the speech as part of the hourly update of the news, and I can't find the link to that particular story on NPR. Here's a bit of it copied from someplace else, "President Bush called and spoke with marchers, 'We're sending a clear message to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy: We love you, we love your child, and we're here to help you,' Bush said. The president touted numerous pieces of pro-life legislation he's signed and renewed his call for a ban on human cloning and for Congress to pass a measure respecting parental involvement laws. 'Because human life is a gift from our Creator and should never be used as a means to an end, we will not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it,' he said."

HAS THIS MAN EVER HEARD OF SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?!?!?!? Please, please, contact your senator via NARAL and encourage him or her to VOTE NO FOR ALITO!

I like the bit about "we're here to help you" cause apparently, he's never heard the old joke about "I'm here from the government to help you" either. That made me snort my on-the-way home diet Coke nearly out my nose when I heard him say that. I do like it that the idiot's on the defensive in Kansas today, take a listen to today's Fresh Air where Terry talks to James Risen and Eric Lichtblau about the story in the New York Times. He SHOULD be on the defensive. Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, if you have friends and relatives in Islamic countries, he thinks it is perfectly OK for the NSA to listen along to your conversations. Also, run over to Save Roe and support them in whatever manner you are able. Sleep tight.

In which I hold forth at great length about the death penalty

The death penalty. Doesn’t get much more serious than that, does it? Just like there are no tasteful September 11th jokes, there are no tasteful death penalty jokes. So even though I want to make some flippant remark, because I’m a smartass by nature, I’m holding myself back.

I believe in the death penalty, for many reasons, but first let’s talk about how I think it oughta be expanded. Yes, expanded. I think that if you are a serial rapist, a serial pedophile, a chronic child abuser, or even someone who commits vehicular homicide on your 16th DUI, you ought to be eligible for the death penalty. Now I know that in Saudi Arabia, if you steal something, they cut off your hand. I don’t advocate going that far, but I do think that there are folks out there who can’t be rehabilitated, and at some point, we should stop trying. How much of your hard-earned tax dollars is enough money to spend warehousing, feeding, and educating someone who raped 3 grandmothers? Personally, my answer to that is less than one red cent. There’s a bit that comedian Ron White does about the Texas state legislature putting in an “express lane” to the death penalty. The bit is funny, but every time I’ve seen him do it, rather than laugh, the crowd cheers enthusiastically. Makes ya think that maybe folks are more pro-death penalty than you think.

Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments about Illinois and their mistakes on death row. And the journalism students that totally exonerated a man on death row with DNA evidence. I’ve checked out The Innocence Project And yeah, there are definitely times when the cops and DAs and legal system get it wrong. But when it is YOUR kid or aunt or mother…I would want the maximum penalty. I stood in Barnes & Noble and then at a big box retailer that I don’t like to admit that I ever darken their doors and read most of Sharon Rocha’s For Laci while standing in the book aisle. In which she says memorably, “Divorce is always an option. Not murder.” The argument against the death penalty, of course, being that even if whoever murdered your loved one is put to death, your loved one is still dead. True story, as my sister often says. A friend of my DH’s died when I was about 22; she was only 26. She died as a result of horrible medical mistakes, and I didn’t know her parents very well at the time. I asked DH if her parents would sue the hospital and doctors who caused her premature and awful death. No, he thought, because they would say that it wouldn’t bring her back. He was right; they opted to not sue, although I thought then and still think now that they would have had an ironclad, watertight case. I’m digressing again. No, killing the murderer who took your loved one away does NOT bring them back. I know that. But I really think that if the death penalty were expanded, the murder rate would go down. In Sweden (here she goes again touting Sverige as utopia) if you drive drunk, you lose your license. Period. Forever. No “work and school privileges” no reinstatement fees and you get it back. Nope. Drive drunk, lose your license. Guess what their rate of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers might be. Just guess.

So that’s my take on the death penalty.

On to more usual fare....the Supreme Court sidestepped another Roe v. Wade case, for which we can all breathe a sigh of relief, but the thought occurs to me that eventually, they're going to stop sidestepping it, and step right into it.

Hope ya’ll are having a good one.

20 January 2006

the happenings keep hitting and the hits keep happening

So the cooking class that I took up at Lyndhurst was a blast. Learned some new recipes, had a good time, didn't really pick up any new friends, I don't think, but I do think everyone in the class enjoyed themselves. There was one guy who sat next to me that I liked, but I don't need another unattached (that is, single) guy friend...I have several and most, although not all, of them drive my DH crazy. But I'm a green-eyed monster myself when it comes to single female friends of his, so I can't blame him. There was a really sweet girl who told me about her sorority in college and the volunteer work that she did with them, she seemed very nice, but I didn't get her name. Dammit. Got home late (for me) last night and am feeling like I need a caffeine IV drip to get up and running today. That sounds like I'm a computer: Reboot? = yes, with at least 4 more hours of sleep, please.

Have you heard about Haleigh Poutre? I'm relieved that the Massachusetts Superior Court ruled that her stepfather who is being held in her savage beating was denied the right to make medical decisions on her behalf. Common sense. What a refreshing turn of events. This LINK is to the NPR story where I heard about her. The MA Superior Court found that her stepfather had given no evidence of providing a loving nurturing nature in his contact with her. They also said the following, for which I applaud them.
“To recognize the petitioner as a de-facto parent was unthinkable.
” My heart is breaking. It is likely that this little girl will die from the injuries she sustained in the beating. Child abuse is something I will not ever understand. Especially as a woman. How on earth do you carry a child for 9 months or thereabouts, give birth to that child, then hurt that child or allow someone else to hurt that child? This is NOT one of the issues where I straddle the fence. I'm not against spanking; I think an occasional swat to the be-hind is not a terrible thing. Reinforces your point, so to speak. This is all moot, since I don't have any kids, but I do know how I feel about abuse. I'm a firm believer in eye-for-an-eye justice in abuse cases. If they find Haleigh's stepfather guilty of causing her injuries, I think it would be perfectly acceptable for someone to hit him with a baseball bat and push him down a flight of stairs, as he allegedly did to her. I cannot imagine what an 11 year old could have possibly done
” or
” to merit such a beating.

I AM a sheltered girl from the 'burbs, who grew up in a very nice home, with a (mostly) stable family [no offense to ANYONE I'm related to, but we do have a nut or two in our family tree, and you know it.] and because that's my experience, I admit to a very high degree of naïveté. Most of the time, I think that what most people are telling me to my face is the truth. I don'’t sugarcoat much of anything when I'’m talking to you, but you'’re also going to get my real opinion and the truth from me. Part of the reason I don'’t work for that big ol' bank anymore is that they'’d ask my opinion, I'’d give it, truthfully, and it would be more truth than they could handle. Then they labeled me
“not a team player
” because I wasn'’t a yes-woman. You can'’t win, sometimes. Sigh. I digress. Here'’s where I was heading before sidestepping. Several folks that I work with now tell me that abused kids don'’t know any different; just as I think that everyone'’s family dynamic is similar to mine, those who are abused think everyone'’s family is like that, that everyone is abused. If you don'’t know me IRL, you probably think I'’m a social worker. I'’m not...but a lot of what I do every day would easily fit the typical social worker job description.

I thought today that I was going to write about my death penalty POV, but that hasn'’t happened. Maybe next week. Just as I was DEE-LIGHTED when Pres. Doofus was disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling, I am DEE-LIGHTED today to have heard that one of the democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee has said that he won'’t vote for Sam Alito, although I do caution everyone that what usually happens when a nominee is not confirmed is that the president usually goes even farther into conservative territory. So keep your fingers crossed for a positive outcome on that.

Thank goodness it is Friday, I am looking forward to pleasant weather (for Ohio, ‘tannyrate) this weekend and will be thinking about what I want to say about the death penalty next week. I'm attending a sporting event tonight, one of the few sports that I like, hockey. :-) Hope they win.

18 January 2006


So be careful whatcha wish for, eh? I wished for snow, and got some, although the approx half inch accumulation wasn't what I was looking for, it got real cold. I think our high today was like 22. Maybe I ought to change the name of the blog to bitchingbouttheweather.blogspot.com.

I was DEEE-LIGHTED yesterday to hear Scott McClelland or however the hell ya spell his last name on NPR saying that the administration was, "disappointed" about the supreme court ruling that said Oregon's right to die act IS constitutional. Anytime President Doofus (thanks Jimmylegs for that appellation, I think I'll keep it) is "disappointed" I can't help but be elated. Its gotta be a great thing when he doesn't like it, right? More than that, though, is the fact that the Supreme Court held up the right of Oregon voters to (drum roll please) decide about laws in their state all by themselves without the federal government. And for the justices to thumb their noses at the administration’s feeble attempt to use the Drug Enforcement Administration to harass doctors who are just trying to treat patients with terminal illnesses. Do me a favor and google palliative care sometime. Or do one better and volunteer your time at a hospice organization, and then tell me that the terminally ill don’t have the right to decide for themselves when enough is enough. Having watched a 6 year old, a 12 year old, and my surrogate grandpa all die from cancer in the very recent past, it is my ever so humble opinion that you should have the right to CHOOSE when it is your time. Isn’t that a fundamental American right? Freedom of choice? Free will?

Finally, yet another link from yours truly to NPR, but I can't help it. Heard this on the way home today, and was inspired to check out My Sister's Keeper from the story. THAT's what I'm talking about!!!! These women fit the "well behaved women rarely make history" quote like no one else I've seen in a good long while. You go, ladies. On the MSK site, there's a link to Women Waging Peace which has made my day. , although the name change of the group at the top of the page to The Initiative for Inclusive Security makes me think of a Dilbert cartoon...Happy Wednesday, y'all.

17 January 2006

Rain, Rain Go AWAY!! Send me some SNOW

Yes, I'm going to bitch (again) about the weather. It is colder today, which is the proper trend for January, but it is cold and raining. Overcast, as usual. I don't mind overcast when it is snowing like mad. Yes, I love snow. I love the cold. Hellooooo!! I spent a whole year in Sweden. Of course I love the cold. I hate wearing coats, but that's another story. I have a wonderful really heavy warm coat for our cold northern winters, but it is so bulky that I can't wear it while driving. Anyway. There IS snow in the forecast, horray!! But not for a few days. I'm taking a cooking class at the Viking store in Lyndhurst on Thursday, probably that's when we'll get a ton of snow.

I'm excited about it, the class is learning how to cook once and eat twice. I grew up cooking for a big crowd; parents, 2 sisters, me plus whatever assorted friends we had over. My parents would always have prefered that we hung out at home, and the rule was that if you cooked, you could invite whoever you liked over for dinner. Consequently, if you need dinner for 12, I'm your girl. Dinner for 2? That's a problem. Total lack of portion control is how I got to be the lovely size 16 that I am today. I'm also excited about meeting some other foodies, albiet Lyndhurst is far away from home for me and undoubtedly everyone else there will be from the immediate area. But I am at least making the effort...remeber the recent post about making grown-up friends?

I've been looking through some knitting books trying to find a patteren for the baby blanket that I am going to make for Fred and Nikki. I know ONE (!) baby blanket pattern by heart, and I've made 3 of them. I'm tired of the pattern, but it is really easy. Cast on 150 stitches, knit 5 rows, then for the body of it knit 5, purl 5, repeat to the last 5 stitches, knit again.Do that for 5 rows, then the next 5, purl 5 knit 5, repeat to the end. Switch every 5 rows. When the blanket is as long as you'd like (about 36 in is good for a baby blankie), knit the last 5 rows, and weave in any loose ends. Couldn't be easier, and it is reversible; looks the same on the right side as the wrong, which is a great added bonus. So I checked a ton of baby pattern books out of the library, and most of what I've found is 1)way beyond my skill level, 2)ugly or 3)require me to follow charts, which I am TERRIBLE at doing. Why is it when they say "easy knits" that they DON'T mean easy? Easy if you learned to knit at your bubba's knee and she's still around to help you out of a sticky spot, maybe. I, on the other hand, took classes at a store in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, when I worked in Akron, which I don't anymore. Now that's so far out of my daily orbit that it might as well be on the moon. And they're perfectly willing to help you out of a tough spot IF you bought the yarn for your current project from them. I don't need to tell ya that they's ex-spen-sive, do I? Grrr.

Wish for snow for me, will ya?

16 January 2006


So if I still worked for that big ol' bank that I used to work for, I'd be off today. My mum still works for them and was rubbing it in that she's off...one of my sisters works in academia and the other one's still in school, so everyone but me is off today. Booo. I would definitely prefer to be doing what I am now to having MLK day and Columbus day and all the other silly little bank holidays off, but the downside is that I'm on call 24/7.

Anyway, hubby and I visited the NAIAS this weekend and had a blast. Detroit’s a pretty cool city, it turns out. Last year we stayed outside of the downtown area, but this year we stayed right across the street from the COBO center and had a nice dinner in Greektown...yum. Fishbones, baby.

If I wasn't so technologically challenged, I would take the pictures that I took on my cel phone of the concept cars and post them on the blog, but that takes more talent that what I've got. I brilliantly forgot my camera, which would have made the whole thing lots easier. Yes, I do manage some HTML here on the site, but moving pictures from my phone (that I am barely able to work at all!) to the hard drive of the computer is way too complex. Anyway. The funniest one was from Toyota, which looks to me like a little beaver. A check of Toyota's website shows it is called the Yaris. Here's a pic (bottom of the page.) Yaris Little eyes, nose, and one big buck tooth is what the front of the car looks like. Everyone I've shown the picture to agrees. And just what the heck kinda name is Yaris? Sounds like an old lady. You know, Violet and Carol and Yaris had tea yesterday. hehe.

A lot of the concept cars had these new cool seats, a lot like the Herman Miller chair for offices. And the new Pontiac Solstice!! Check it out here. The Solstice might be my next car if it weren't for the fact that Toyota's coming out with the Camry Hybrid, which I really really liked and I've wanted a hybrid since I worked for the bank and drove over 500 miles a week. Specs for the Camry are here

Ahh, cars. Such fun. Now on to more of the usual fare. I was ranting just last week about men and the abortion debate by saying, "Guys, you can't have a child. You don't get a choice." I've since had an occasion to reconsider; what do ya do when you want to have an abortion and your significant other does not want you to? Or when you want to have the child, and your S.O. wants you not to? I just don't know. In the end, I think each individual woman has to be the sole decision maker, and then the significant other, whether man or woman, has to just live with the decision. But that can really suck hard core. Any thoughts?

13 January 2006

Friday, finally, my lovlies

Thank. God. I mean that, I really do. There WAS a full moon this week in the northern hemisphere, and that whole full moon = lunacy thing is sooo true. Some of the things that happen when there's a full moon...well, since I can't get tooo specific about my job here lest they fire me, let's just say that I do notice when the moon is full.

On to the next thing. DH and I are heading to Detriot this weekend. I know, I know, not the vaca capital of the world, but the North American Auto Show, which you can check out here, is open to the public this weekend and we went last year and had a blast, so we're going again. I do just love the NAIAS tagline, "Drive your senses wild." Isn't that cute; they incorporated a silly pun into their advertising slogan.

Finally, check out what Nina Totenberg had to say about the Alito hearings. I agree with her 1000%. NPR

I'll check y'all on Monday.

12 January 2006


I was reading another blog yesterday, by interweb friend Julia which really cracked me up. She was writing about the difficulty of finding and maintaining friends as an adult. We all have friends that we've known since we were 4 or thereabouts, but how many friends have YOU made since you left college? Me; maybe 3. And that's IF you count those casual acquaintances that you occasionally exchange e-mails with or if you run into them in a bar you'd stop to say, "What's up". Julia's a great writer, check her out. She always makes me laugh with her lightning wit. This post, though, was really timely b/c my best friend from high school and I had just been discussing this. What's a girl to do? Work really really hard at it, is all I’ve been able to figure out.

I was getting philosophical because I read Julia's posts all the time about her infertility, and I had another note from Rachel at NARAL.org where she was saying that 7 out of 10 hits she gets when she searches for NARAL lead her to sites that say anyone with any affiliation to NARAL are baby-killing whores. Egad. But then anyone who randomly reads my stuff and does not know me IRL might wonder why on earth I'd be interested in someone's infertility woes. So I thought I'd clear up my whole point of view on the abortion battle and where I stand politically.

Simply stated, I'm a liberal who believes in the death penalty, but nothing's ever simple, is it? OK, take it a step down from there. I detest our current president for many many many reasons, but the first one on the list is that the man can't SPEAK PROPER ENGLISH. I don't even have to post any "bushisms", I know you can think of at least half a dozen without my help where he has mangled the English language. He is at least smart enough to surround himself with very smart people, but I can't say that I see eye to eye with many of them either. Condee Rice, for a prime example, irritates me beyond words. Donald Rumsfeld, when he tells reporters at the Pentagon, "That's a stupid question." makes my blood boil. Next high on my list of reasons to dislike "W" is his faith-based initiatives. Hasn't he ever heard of separation of church and state??!?!? The country was FOUNDED on that principle. I never discuss my own faith...but a look at my links and you'll figure out where I fall on the religion thermometer. I was raised Catholic, and married in the Catholic Church. I don’t agree with very much of the Church’s teachings, such as a woman’s proper place, the inability of priests to marry, the fact that women can’t preach, their stance on abortion, palliative care, or right to die cases like Terry Schivo’s, but for better or worse, that’s my church. I’ve never found another faith that I feel as “at home” in, and believe me, I’ve looked. Ahem. I digress. My next item up for bid on the “Bad W” scale is his lack of regard for the federal park system. He’s eroded lots of protections that Clinton put in place for federally protected lands. Don’t get me wrong; I think Bill Clinton behaved reprehensibly while in office. I liked what he did as president, but hated the scandals. Then there’s the whole war in Iraq, which I don’t agree with either. You might think that would be first on my list, but it isn’t. I should perhaps have my own squad of the grammar police, because that’s more bothersome, somehow, than his propensity to declare war on small countries. (I never said I was completely sane…)

When September 11th happened, I called my family in Sweden to let them know I was OK. Yes, I live in Ohio, and none of the attacks happened here, but I don’t talk to them very often on the phone, and for all they know, I could be moving about the country at any time, or be anywhere. So I called to say, hey, I’m OK, and of course to sob to them what a horrible tragedy it was, because you’d have to be an idiot to have NOT been impacted by the attacks. I will never forget what my host mother said to me. “Do you think it will come to war”, she asked, so hesitantly. “Yes”, I told her, “I’m sure it will.” “But it won’t solve anything. It won’t bring them back. They’ll still be dead. Dropping bombs won’t change that.” She sounded so sad. You have to understand that the Swedes have neutrality in their very veins. Fighting, as far as they’re concerned, is NEVER the answer. And she is so right. All those very young US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, all that’s done is brought more sorrow. It hasn’t made the world a safer place for Americans…on the contrary, the last time I was in Europe in 2003, I hesitated when someone would ask me about my accent (cause they know that I ain’t a Swede from the first words I speak, but they don’t know exactly what I is, either. My accent’s kinda f-ed up.:-) {grammatical errors intentional} to identify myself as coming from the US. If I thought that they’d get mouthy with me, I told them that I was Canadian. Add the fact that most of Europe is anti-Bush, anti-war, to the tidbit that my darling husband is a raging conservative and we NEVER speak politics except to disagree, and you have a fine recipe for a shouting match. Something to be avoided while I’m trying to visit my second homeland, cause I don’t get there too often.

I didn’t like when W started talking regime change, because that’s such a slippery slope. Do I think the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power? Yep. But do I think that we ought to go about changing regimes all over the world that we don’t like? No. Let’s say that he next decides that he isn’t crazy about the German Chancellor. Or the president of Fiji. Who gets to decide when “regime change” is appropriate?

And then there’s the fact that he’s said he wants people on the federal bench who share his religious right leanings. The first time I got into an argument about abortion, I was 10. Someone I was in the 5th grade with thought that even in cases of rape or incest that abortion was still wrong. Don’t get me started about THAT one. But I have always thought that it is such a personal decision, that YOU can’t choose for ME. Faced with an unwanted pregnancy, I just don’t know what I would do. In my early 20s, well, I wasn’t sure then either. But now, I’m over 30, married, have a stable job, he does too, and I’d be less likely to NOT want a child. I just want to make the choice myself. There are so many children that I see through my work who are abused, or unwanted, that I think the decision to bring a child into the world should be a deliberate, conscious thought out procedure. In a perfect world. Hahaha. I think that there ought to be a test, that you should be able to care for a plant, then a pet, then maybe a baby. That you ought to have to take parenting classes. That you should at least get some instruction before you’re responsible for another human being. And if you give birth to your 6th baby that is addicted to cocaine, well, maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have any more. The reason that I like to read about Julia’s infertility is that I know she’s a great mommy, and when I have bad work days, it is nice to see that there are still folks out there in the wider world who desperately would love to have a child, healthy or not. When I was 19, many moons ago, I had an OB/GYN tell me that I have endometriosis, and that I might not ever be able to conceive. If I do, by some miracle, it would be unlikely that I would be able to carry the child to term. At 19, that didn’t bother me much. It still doesn’t; after all, I’ve had 12 years to get used to the idea. And if I someday decide to stop ignoring the loud ticking of the biological clock, I may face some of the same ordeals that Julia has. That voice of experience counts for a lot. Plus, she’s really funny. And her super-precocious kiddo is a hoot to read about. I see no psychosis whatsoever in believing in abortion rights and hoping that someone I’ve never met succeeds this time in trying for another pregnancy.

A little bit like how I’m a liberal who believes in the death penalty. But that’s a story for another day. Cheers!

11 January 2006

And the rain came down

So if you live in southern California, or Hawaii, or Florida or south Texas and you are tired of that constantly sunny weather, move to northeast Ohio. We have a saying here; "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes." Cause it will change. Early this morning, leaving a meeting at a satellite site, I was BLINDED by the sun. And then when I left my office at 11:25 for an 11.30 next door, it was pouring down rain with winds gusting around 25 mph. It IS January, right? We should have about half a foot of snow and temps in the 20s, and our high is 50 today. Don't tell me that global warming isn't happening, cause our weather is proof.

I have not been listening to the confirmation hearings about Sam Alito on NPR, I'm feeling like all the fighting in the world isn't going to make a difference and we will be S-O-L when it comes to abortion rights in a few years. A delightful byproduct of the gloomy weather, don't ya know. But the nice lady at Pro-Choice America has been sending me daily "must reads" and I'm posting them here. Don't forget to contact YOUR senator at NARAL.org and check out save roe while you're at it.

Alito gets boost from Bush before hearings
Must Read 1
(Associated Press, January 9, 2006)

Sharp contrasts separate nominee, retiring justice
Must Read 2
(Associated Press, January 8, 2005)

Alito to face Senator's queries at hearings today
Must Read 3
(New York Times, January 9, 2006)

Majority of Americans favor Alito nomination; most expect nominee
wouldn't vote to strike down Roe v. Wade
Must Read 4
(Washington Post, January 9, 2005)

Editorial Highlight
Alito's fantasy world
Must Read 5
(Boston Globe, January 9, 2006)

09 January 2006

Oh, Monday.

Gotta love Mondays. Especially cold, grey, Northeast Ohio rainy Mondays. I only have about 6 bazillion things that need doing both at work and at home, and here I am blogging. What could be better than a hot cup of tea and a warm computer monitor on such a miserable day?

I am excited to have received a note from NARAL about my blog. I didn't think anyone out there was reading, and here, someone at Pro-Choice America is. That's cool! Then I saw this old white guy with a button on his coat that said "Abortion stops a beating heart." Can someone please tell me why it is that the people that I run into who are most adamantly anti-choice are almost always men? Guys, you can't have a child. You don't get a choice. And you certainly shouldn't have the right to make mine for me. When I was in college I had a bumper sticker that said "Against Abortion? Don't have one." Wish I still had it, but in the current political climate, I'd likely be lynched. Sigh.

I’ve been trying to do some research on the Postal Service to find out if it is indeed illegal for them to make a profit, but haven’t found any information to support that just yet. I did find some interesting postal history, so if you're a complete geek like I am about history, check it out over at USPS.gov Did you know that Ben Franklin was one of the first postmaster generals? I didn't either. And do you know why they started using ZIP codes? You will if you read that.

Finally? In looking for weird and wacky stories, happened upon News of the Weird, which entertained me greatly. Cheers!

06 January 2006

Such SAD News!!!!

I am totally bummed this morning. There's an online mag that I check almost every day, The Black Table, which is funny, sarcastic, and mostly written by folks that live in New York City. They announced today that they're going offline. Booo!!! I have to assume that BT is a little bit like crack. Assume, because, I've never tried crack, but once you start reading all the stories they have on the site, you can't stop. You are compelled to go back every day, because of the banner at the top of the page that says, "Updated Daily". You wonder what the daily update will be. Amy Blair's column (Week In Craig)...the ten weekly reviews of random life events...I'm just so sad about it. You do have 3 weeks left to check out daily updates, so the world is not completely over.

My other topic of the day is about my new t-shirt, which my sister got for me for my birthday. (Thanks Sis!!) It has a picture of an apple falling on the front of it and says, "Evolution is ONLY a theory, just like, um, gravity." Check out Cafe Press for funny funny anti-Bush t-shirts, bumper stickers, magnets. There's actually a whole wealth of funny stuff, not just anti-Bush, but those are the ones I like best. A bunch of anti-intelligent design stuff, another one I like says "BS-IQ=ID". And surfing their site has let me to a bunch of Firefly/Serenity goodies, which would be great for my hubby’s birthday. Hmmmm.

05 January 2006

A New Year, and yet so little has changed.

After not posting for a short eternity, I'm back. We had a very successful fundraiser at my work, which kept me off of the interweb for about 3 months, so now I'm back. I've decided to broaden my commentary horizons in the New Year and not focus solely on the abortion debate. That said, I was really surprised yesterday to hear THIS on NPR. Perhaps because I live in O-hia-a, or perhaps because my work is in and around a children's hospital, I often feel like the only pro-choice person that I know.

Please get involved...the hearings for Sam Alito are coming up soon. NARAL and NOW are great places to contact your senators. Although I can tell you that I wrote to my republican senator about the last nominee and he wrote back to tell me what an honor it is to be involved in the Bush administration. ARGH. Insert projectile vomiting here.

And also on the political front...can anyone explain to me why the postal service is raising rates to 39 CENTS? Why the heck don't they just make it a dollar to mail a letter, turn a profit, and stop with all the crappy one or two cent rate hikes. This dates me, but remember when it was a quarter to mail a letter? My parents will tell you that they remember when it was a nickel. I don't understand why so many rate hikes in recent history. Is there a law against the postal service being a moneymaking operation? Why not privatize it? If you really want to ship something, you use FedEx and UPS, don't ya? Almost everything I buy on the web comes to me via a private mailier. So I don't get it.

So on to other things, congrats to my friend Jen who gave birth on Dec 30 to beautiful baby Olivia, welcomed to the world by sister Sam and daddy Mark. Jen doesn't know it, and I don't think she reads my blog, but I'm working on a pretty blanket for Olivia, with a washable acrylic variegated yarn in lovely pastel shades of yellow, blue, green, and purple. Very gender-neutral. I think Jen will like it. If you do read it, Jen, the secret's out. Although you knew I was going to do that. I think. And then Fred and Nikki are having a baby this year too, I found wonderful yarn at Dream Weaver Yarns for the baby blanket that I'm going to make them. People's faces when they open a hand knitted baby blanket are so wonderful. Makes all the hours and hours of knitting worth it. Cause let me tell ya folks, it takes me about 6 weeks of knitting in every spare moment that I have to make a baby blanket. I've been investigating Project Linus recently, what a great thing to do if you like to make baby blankets. Check it out. projectlinus.org