Friday, December 21, 2012

maybe it really is the end of the world

Our elected officials, ostensibly the people we think can best represent our interests, are acting like recalcitrant children.  The Republicans can't even get their own people to play well together, much less play nicely with the other team. And there is no end in sight to this temper tantrum.

After one of the most horrific episodes of gun violence ever, the NRA wants to energize its base to arm virtually everyone except those people on its "database of the mentally ill."  I believe that Wayne LaPierre, exec vp of the NRA, should be the first name in that database.  This man is truly delusional and dangerous and has a huge following through the NRA membership.  Scary.

And the pope rails against gay marriage in each of his recent addresses to his followers.  This hatred, this bigotry, from a man who is purportedly the personal emissary of god.

Are any one of these people in touch with reality?  Or have they been so taken with their self-centeredness and righteous anger that they are unable or unwilling to see anything but their own very narrow perspective?

I've not felt so hopeless since the Vietnam War.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My daughter posted this article - "A Day in the Death of America" - from the The Guardian, June 8, 2007 on her Facebook page.  Although it is from 2007 it is sadly still relevant today.  It follows one 24 hour period in the United States and the deaths due to gun in children under 19.   If the average number of gun deaths of children under 19 still stands at 9 as referenced in the article, and I have no reason to think that it has decreased, then since this article was published based on November 25, 2006 data,  that means that over 19,000 children have died due to guns (and don't give me that shit about 'guns don't kill people, people do.') And that doesn't even count those that were injured and maimed such as the two year old  little girl who was shot in the face, and her mother killed, last week in Washington as she was being held in her mother's arms boarding a city bus. 

How many more thousands of children will we sacrifice to placate our gun lobby?  It's a shame that the children don't have the deep monetary pockets to influence our politicians to do the right thing.   Every politician that has been swayed by the financial backing of the gun lobbyists should hang their heads in shame, as should those citizens who supported and voted for them.

When is the right time?

So, why, exactly, is it NOT the right time to get all political about gun control?  Why do people keep saying this?  When, exactly, would be the right time?  Never?  If I hear that comment one more time I will rip the cord out of the back of the television.  Let's use this anger and energy and outrage for some good.   And although there is tremendous shock to the killing of 20 six and seven year olds in their school, is it really less awful to have children killed and maimed one at a time by guns through random violence, accident, and design as happens every single day? 

And where is the outrage that a mother who had a son with acknowledged behavior and mental health issues - one news report I read said that she had told people he had Asperger's syndrome - had guns in her home?  Yes, she is dead and that's sad, but I can't feel all that bad for her as she did such a stupid, stupid thing.    In fact the current Connecticut gun laws had stopped the son from buying a gun, but the mother had them readily available to him. And she had assault weapons!  She was worried about her safety in her large home in her safest town in America?  Didn't she ever hear of intruder alarm systems that will summon the cops?  THEY have guns so you don't have to have them.

And some of the Republicans who now think that we should arm school personnel or have even MORE gun availability so we could shoot people we think are the bad guys.... This just leaves me speechless. 

And I know that there will not be sweeping change.  We will all wail and gnash our teeth and politicians will blather on and Christmas will come and this will fade from the news and maybe, just maybe, Congress will pass some watered down bill that will do little good because it has to pacify the card-carrying, gun-toting gun lovers, and some child will get shot and it will barely make the local news because it's not 21 children that were shot. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just let me have a personal bitching moment

We have leaves in our yard.  Lots of leaves.  The entire yard is full of leaves.  You cannot see the brown grass underneath.  There are two schools of though on raking leaves.  Do a little at a time so you never have HUGE amounts to deal with or wait until every last leaf falls and do one enormous leaf job.  My husband subscribes to the wait until the last possible leaf falls philosophy.  I have mixed feelings and probably fall into the middle - do two leaf  clearings with one about halfway through the season and a final one once every leaf is gone.  My husband said he would clear the leaves, since I do all the summer yard mowing, planting and weeding, if I would take the giant leaf sucking machine to be repaired.  I did.  It is repaired and in the shed.  It is enormous and ends up to be so heavy with the now wet leaves that I can barely maneuver it around the yard    But the leaves have been gone from the trees for at least a couple of weeks now, easily before Thanksgiving, and he never got around to sucking them up.  We are now approaching Christmas and I  can no longer stand dragging them into the house with every footstep to say nothing about it makes our lovely home look abandoned.  I made a couple of observations about the leaves.  I moved to a couple of  reflections that he needed to get that job on his schedule.  I continued to using the shame that ours is now the ONLY house in the neighborhood to still have piles of leaves in the yard.  After he said, "I'm going to be giving a flying lesson on Saturday" and the weather forecast for Sunday is rain, I realized that this was NEVER going to get on his schedule. I finally gave in and said "If you'll teach me to get the giant machine started I'll try to do the leaves this week."  I thought that at that he might realize that he really had pushed me too far but instead he replied, "If you pull the machine into the garage today I'll give you a lesson when I get home."

I am considering moving into a condo, without him.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Noche Buena Menu

Guests - 20 - 25

Roast pork - purchased cook on Monday
meatballs - make on Sunday
Black beans - make on Sunday
Yuca and mojo - make on Sunday
Bread - go to BJ's

Need some other non-pork main dish - Maybe Chicken and Yellow Rice?  Make it ahead and heat in oven?  MEATBALLS!

Desserts -
guava pastries - buy at BJ's
pudin de pan - started thawing

Garlic Mushrooms
Olives - black and green, tuna, anchovy
Ham spread and crackers - make Sunday
Olive spread - make Sunday
Cheese and crackers
Plantain Chips
guava paste and queso blanco

It's pretty much the same every year,  Maybe I should just link to last years list.

It's time for a list

As the Christmas season gets into full-swing I feel like I'm falling behind.  This year I'm trying to not get insane with the shopping, rethinking, return cycle.  I've tried to just get things that the kids actually want/need and not worry about the "surprise" factor.  I really want to learn how to enjoy Christmas instead of dreading it.  But I feel like I'm approaching a critical period where a list is required to keep things in order.  So, bear with me for the next couple of weeks as I have my countdown.

  • Invites for Noche Buena - email and hand deliver.  Get Charlie's guest list.
  • Mail girls' packages.  
  • Have Daddy sign check and card for mailing.
  • Menu for Noche Buena
  • Decorate.   Can I get someone to help?  Maybe Sharon would have as much fun with tree decorations a she did with cookies?  Not exactly the activity you'd think to have a Jewish friend help with but maybe she's curious on what she's been missing out on.
  • Clean house.  Like really clean, not a lick and a promise.
  • Get Charlie to clear the leaves, before you do it yourself and then kill him.  I got the big blower repaired, the least he can do is push it around.
  • Order fresh ham on Friday for pick-up on Dec 21st.
  • Purchase Dragon Speak on Friday at Exchange - sale starts.order on-line as I was too late  to the sale
  • Today!  Buy children's books for bookclub and figure out a finger food to take to Margie's.
  • Wrap gifts Still waiting on delivery of a couple but everything in the house is wrapped!
  • Tidy D's room
  • Will I have time to make 1 more pair of slippers?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Book Recommendation - "The Betrayal" by Helen Dunmore

I love reading, but although I have a Kindle, I prefer books.  And I really prefer used books because I like the idea that they are being shared and enjoyed by many people.  I use to acquire and trade most of my books but that means I usually have to wait until what I have requested becomes available in the system.  Sometimes it is weeks and sometimes months before a book I have requested pops up.  "The Betrayal" by Helen Dunmore is such a book.  I remember reading a review one morning and putting in on my request list and then I forgot about it.  Not only did I forget about it, I didn't have any idea what the book was even about by the time I received it. Since I had forgotten why I had wanted to read it it kept getting pushed to the back of the reading list until this week and then I had to stay up late at night reading because I was so engrossed.

"The Betrayal" takes place in 1952 post WWII Leningrad.  The protagonists, who were introduced in an earlier book, "The Siege", have established a life as normal as one could in Russia during Stalin's time.  He is a doctor, she a nursery school teacher and her brother, who is almost young enough to be their child, live in an adequate apartment not shared by other families. They have plenty to eat and they are well respected in their professions  Then the doctor must treat the son of a senior secret police officer.  As a doctor he knows what he must do, as a husband and parent he knows the potential consequences. 

This book was riveting and very well researched.  She brilliantly describes the tension and fear that was part of everyday life.  It acts as a reminder that power and the powerful can do unspeakable things when left unchecked.

I was asked if I planned to read the earlier book, "The Siege", and I think not, because I think I would find it too upsetting given her amazing descriptive and evocative powers.  Does that even make sense that I would NOT want to read a book because it was TOO good?  But you should read "The Betrayal".

Sunday, December 02, 2012

homework assignment for this week

I am not a hoarder.  In fact, I'm noted for throwing things away, often things that I later realize that I need.  Once, in a frenzy of cleaning up I threw out my paycheck along with the some junk mail. But despite my tidy tendencies, I have a messy desk with paperwork that needs to be addressed - filed, reviewed and thrown out, sorted and organized.  And I doubt I could lay my hands on my will without going to the county offices where it is registered.  And there are some things I keep for no apparent reason.  It is just when my hand is over the trash can that I hesitate and pull back.  But as I start looking at my father's home through the lens of him moving, or dying, I realize that I need to do far more to get my act together.  Today's column by Michelle Singletary in today's Washington Post should be required reading by everyone, no matter what age or health status.  What a gift her friend gave to her friends...."A promise to a friend" by Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, Sunday, December 2, 2012.