Sunday, August 31, 2008

Political Thoughts and Piffle*

I really don't like politics anymore.

Oh, I did. I grew up with a picture of Richard Nixon on our piano. We picked out my aunt and uncle on TV as they danced at his inaugural ball.

My dad was a precinct committeeman for many, many years; my Grandma P. was his vice until she had her stroke. Family dinners at her house often degenerated into loud political debates, complete with cursing and fist pounding on the table. And they were all on the same side.

All kinds of Republican politicos visited our house during campaigns, my cousin was the state president of the Young Republicans and I got my summer job at the State Highway because of my dad's service to the party (they called it a "patronage" job -- the state now calls it "illegal".) I knew Republican politics would always be in my future.

My dad taught me that Republicans stood for states' rights and limited federal government intervention; therefore, Republicans were the party of individual freedom, lower taxes and economic growth. The Democrats, under the guidance of those of the same mind as Roosevelt and Kennedy (or, as my dad would say, "those bastards"), were determined to push socialistic policies on all Americans which would strip us of our freedoms, send our taxes through the roof and undermine our strength as a world power.

Then I went to college, took some liberal arts courses and began to see the Republicans for the money-grubbing thieves my professors told me they were. I cried when Ronald Regan was elected president -- I was pretty sure he was the Anti-Christ.

This condition was further inflamed when I became Catholic, and was advised to view Republicans as heartless, with no compassion toward the poor, the sick, the weak. (In grad school, my office mate Laura, the future Dominican sister, encouraged me to boycott, protest and begin the letter writing campaigns I still participate in, albeit often by e-mail now.)

And then I became a mom. And through that experience, I became what I like to think of as compassionately pro-life (Meaning, I pray that women don't choose to have abortions. And I pray for all women who do have abortions, that they may have peace. And I pray for the babies. I don't carry placards, march outside of clinics, scream at women, carry plastic representations of fetuses in my pocket or condone any type of violence.) I cried when Bill Clinton was elected president -- I was pretty sure he was the Anti-Christ.

So, was I a Republican then? But wait, I am also adamantly anti-death penalty. Most Republicans are anti-abortion, pro-death penalty (which I think is just about the most hypocritical thing in the world). I didn't know where I fit in. With the social justice-loving but pro-choice Democrats? Or with the corporate-loving, pro-death penalty but pro-life Republicans?

Thus began my long and continued spiral as a woman with no party. (Although Clay insists that deep down, I am really a Republican. That just makes me want to be a little more Democrat, you know what I mean? Is this where Independents come from?)

For the record, let me say that I could care less how many homes John McCain has, where Barack Obama grew up and whether Sarah Palin was a beauty queen or the Queen of Sheba. And Biden? He surely didn't have very nice things to say about Obama in the primaries, did he? Well.

Whoever is elected, however I end up voting, all I care about is this: Get us out of Iraq. Keep us out of Iran. Help us become a smarter, cleaner, healthier country, and let's help others get smarter, cleaner and healthier, as well.

Is that too much to ask?

Thus ends my political rant. November 4th can't come quick enough.


PS - I also wish everyone would just leave Elizabeth Edwards alone. The woman was (and is) in an impossible situation, which as my dear reader and commenter lu has noted, no one can understand unless they, too, were cheated upon by a presidential wanna-be. So Democrats, shut up about it, and Republicans, wipe that snide smile off of your faces before political karma comes to bite you firmly in the behind.

* my new favorite word

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just a thought on John Edwards

Once upon a time, many years ago when I wasn't quite as secure about my marriage as I am now, Clay and I were having a discussion about cheating. I had just gotten back from a Girls' Weekend Out; we had worked our way through some of Pam's famous questions, and had some interesting conversations about remarriage, cheating, soul mates and the like.

Several marriages around us were breaking up over cheating, and I remember ranting and being ticked off at all men in general. Clay, unfortunately, bore that wrath until finally he yelled,

"Hey! Stop it! I would never cheat!"

At this point I believe I tossed some silly rebuttals, like what if I got b*tchier, fatter, lazier, etc.

It really doesn't matter what I said, because his reply has taken on historic significance in this family:

"It has nothing to do with you."

What? WHAT? Nothing to do with me? Well, now I was really ticked.

Then, he went on to explain that it wouldn't matter who he was married to, he would never cheat because he had made a promise. A vow. A solemn vow before God and my dad, for pete's sake.

It took me a little while to catch on to the fact that this was the most loving thing he could ever have said to me.
It has nothing to do with you.

It has everything to do with loyalty and keeping your word, whether spoken or unspoken. It's why he's such a good dad, son, brother and friend. You might not always do and say things he would approve of, but he will support you regardless. I've never known him to turn his back on anyone, and I can't even imagine the scenario which would lead to that.

So last year, when John Edwards, my pick for the next President of the United States, protested accusations of an extra-marital affair by saying how much he loves his wife, how wonderful she is, how sexy she is (ick, TMI), and what a good mom she is, I should have known better. A big red flag should have waved in my brain.
And I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he confessed last week to having the affair.

It should have had nothing to do with Elizabeth.

Then, to make it all a little worse, he asked us to remember that he had the affair when she was in remission.

It should have had nothing to do with cancer.

I know there are many people who believe that a person's personal life should have nothing to do with his or her ability to lead the country, but I just don't buy that. If you can't keep your promise to the one person you love, how could you possibly keep your promises to a bunch of people you don't even know?

I joke that I would never have an affair because it would just be too much work -- along with all the logistical nightmares of sneaking around, there would be lots of grooming issues to deal with -- shaving, plucking, sucking in. And the man who would want to have an affair with stretch- marked, wide-bottomed me? Yikes. Pretty sure I wouldn't be interested in him.

But it wouldn't matter even if Alan Rickman or Colin Firth came calling.

It has nothing to do with them.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On a positive note

Tommy and Nate admiring the rhinos

The most dreadful thing that happened on Tuesday is that I spilled coffee on my new white shirt on the way in to school. I stopped in the kitchen and got most of it out, but the dreadful part was hearing Clay make that exasperated little sigh when I told him I drove in with coffee in my nice big red Loveless Cafe not-a-travel cup.

I was driving in to school because I got another part-time job! I am now the kindergarten assistant in my sister Sharon's classroom. She has 23 students this year, enough to justify an assistant for 2 1/2 hours each day. So far, so good.

In other good news, I had to have a second look mammogram and then an ultrasound last week due to a suspicious dark area on my first mammogram. It freaked me out a bit (OK, a lot), but it's just a fluid-filled cyst. I wonder what it's filled with? I'm guessing cherry limeade.

More good news -- my lower right molar isn't throbbing today. Actually, with antibiotics and hydrocodone, it's felt better for two days now, after a week of intense pain. It's not supposed to hurt, or so the dentist said -- I had a root canal and crown on that tooth about 3 years ago. But something is wrong, and I am going to see a specialist on Thursday. Ick. Do you know how much I hate going to the dentist? But I guess I hate throbbing, wake-you-up-three-times-a-night pain even more.

Here's some more good stuff: knitting.
Alex's blanket received a third place at the fair:
Same yarn, different pattern for Maggie's baby:

The Alp triangle shawl for Ruby:

My Olympic knitting has been a Mason-Dixon log cabin blanket, using Debbie Mumm Traditions yarn I purchased at Jo-Ann's last week. This yarn is absolutely beautiful, color wise -- I am using the Robin's Egg Blue and the Beeswax Cream -- but it bunches up horribly. I have never had this happen before -- the outside of the fiber slips down the synthetic core fiber and makes a big wad. Weird. I'm dealing with it, but I don't think I will buy this yarn again. I need to go see what they are saying about it on Ravelry.

I have two skeins of Sea Silk I accidentally purchased (I thought I had cancelled the sale when they didn't have the color I wanted, but it arrived about 4 weeks later and I decided to keep it.) It's perfect for a lace scarf for my dear friend's belated birthday; I tried to cast on for a scarf from a free Elan pattern without success -- seven attempts is enough, I think. There were three little bobbles in the first row, and I just couldn't make them look right. I don't really like bobbles anyway -- they look like little nipples to me, and after two mammograms last week, I've seen enough nipplage to last me awhile.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If it's Tuesday,

it must be meatloaf.

On today's menu at school: meatloaf.
On today's menu at the Lutheran Home: meatloaf.
On today's specials menu at the Cracker Barrel, where Jenny and I went for lunch: meatloaf.

So tonight for supper, we had MEATLOAF, of course!

Meatloaf has long been an item of dispute in our marriage. I like it my mom and dad's way; Clay prefers it the improper Coons way. Meatloaf should be made in a loaf pan and slathered with ketchup. Meatloaf should not be made in a roasting pan, surrounded by vegetables and naked (ie, no ketchup).

In the last 26 or so years, I have made meatloaf my way, his way, and many other unsuccessful ways with any number of special ingredients: turkey, sausage, cheese, spinach, oats (ick), bread crumbs. For the sake of marital harmony (and because my children have been coerced into wrong thinking), I now make it the Coons way, with just a little ketchup on one end to honor my heritage.

The one thing we do agree on, though, is mashed potatoes. A must with meatloaf. And tonight, we tried out our new kitchen gadget -- a potato ricer. Excellent investment.

Peace, and meatloaf for everyone (with ketchup)


I couldn't sleep last night. Well, I started out sleeping, but woke up around 2 when Clay came to bed (he had fallen asleep downstairs watching Olympics). I couldn't fall back asleep, and my mind was full of things I just couldn't shut up. Or out. Then, I think I fell back asleep around 4, but had some of the most wicked dreams ever, and I have some pretty weird dreams. I woke from them with this terrible feeling of impending doom. Like something very bad is going to happen today.

I don't have intuition, women's or otherwise. So this is freaking me out just a little.

I would like to talk to Clay about this, but he doesn't like me to be negative. So I will say it here. I pray I am wrong. And tomorrow, when all is well, I will delete this post and talk about something positive, because there has been a hell of a lot of positive around here lately.

(PS: Despite what blogger says, it's 8:00 am here.)