Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#400 To End a Month of Birthdays

True Blue Texan made her 500th post yesterday. You should go read it, because it was sad and angry and inspirational all at once. I feel her pain. A lot of the reason I disappeared from this 'blog for so long was due to an overwhelming apathy about what was going on in this great country of ours. It is difficult to maintain the drive to post constantly and the desire to DO something when it seems that no one else is doing anything.

But I am back and this is my 400th post. My plan is to be here, but maybe not every single day. My plan is to continue to check out the 'blogs of others, but maybe not constantly. My plan is to continue to work toward a better future for the generations to come.

On another note, today is my step-daughter's 27th birthday and we will be attending her wedding on Saturday. I am looking forward to seeing my In-laws, but I have had a strained relationship with this girl since the first part of the year and with her brother for several years, so I am a little tense about it. His birthday was last week and I chose to not attend lunch with him and DSD.

DSD's birthday was yesterday. If the rain ever stops I am going to make him burn some sort of flesh on that new grill I got him. If it doesn't stop, I am going to put that new grill on the ark I am going to have to build.

DSD's LittleMan turned 16 earlier this month, just 3 days after my father-in-law turned 70 and the day before my niece turned 13.

August is a crazy month in the LeftLeaning household. I hope yours has been great.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Crazy Magnet, Indeed!

The President of the AFL-CIO, speaking yesterday from Alaska, blasted Sarah Palin in a very impressive speech that is probably better than anything on late night TV.

My favorite part?

What is this crazy magnet that’s pulling people to the right?
I mean, look at your former governor….
Who is she, anyway?
Sarah Palin?
She used to have a job, your governor…. You knew her…. Or
thought you did…. I know I thought I did. She seemed like a decent person, an
outdoorswoman. Her husband’s a steelworker. She seemed to take some OK stands
for working families.
And then things got weird. After she tied herself to
John McCain and they lost, she blew off Alaska. I guess she figured she’d trade
up…shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the FOX TV spotlight.
I bet most of you, on a clear day, can see her hypocrisy from your house.

I think I love him.

He also says nice things about what the Obama administration is trying to do and how they are being stopped at every turn. It was an interesting read, you should check out the entire thing on CNN.

H/T to The Immoral Minority.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One Giant Step for Caterpillars!

I have just discovered the joy of gardening. As I get older (and wiser) I notice that I eat almost everything now that I never would have considered years ago and I enjoy it. Fresh fruits and vegetables from the grocery store are not very yummy, and who knows where they have arrived here from. Plus one day I will (I hope) be an old Southern woman and there is a requirement that we "wear funny hats and old clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt." (Shirley McClain's charactar 'Ouiser' "Steel Magnolias")

So I planted tomatoes and red peppers and cucumbers and summer squash and 2 kinds of basil and some oregano. And I watered. And I talked to the little darlings. And I watched them.

And blooms arrived. And I watered. And I fertilized. Organic, of course. And fruit arrived. And rotted.

I did manage several cucumbers. And a tomato. And a squash.

Ok, new tomato plants and new squash plants and LOOK AT THIS! Peppers growing. On the vine.

And the bugs came.

Nature is a circle. And these bugs provide a service, somewhere in the cirle.

And I do NOT want to use pesticides. So we have donated the pepper plant and 1 tomato plant to these really fat things.

And the cucumbers were taken by what DSD is referring to as 'mites'

But the basil and oregano are coming right along! I think we are going to be eating a lot of Italian food. (Basil/oregano pizza is really yummy! Too bad the sauce isn't fresh!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Government Of, By and For the .. Corporations?

Of course President Obama would like to the keep the country Of, By and For the People, but what are the chances he will win this one? And what are the chances he will be held responsible for the fallout?

H/T to True Blue Texan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Operation New Dawn

Is there a new dawn happening this moment as I type?

I have NOT had a good day. Crazy blankity blank who is in charge at work makes me nuts. First class scheduled tonight that is not online. Flat tire after I grabbed a quick bite to eat. I love my brother and I appreciate him coming when I called, but it took him FOREVER. (He was less than a mile away!) Then I got home, checked Facebook and my cousin was posting stupid stuff about the President WANTING a mosque ON Ground Zero. Which is not what he said. When I disagreed respectfully, she wasn't nice.

Then DSD said, "Troops pulled out of Iraq today."

What?! What?!?!? What???

Really? But, they said, on the radio.... "It was on the news," he said, completely nonchalantly.

Why? What? No one mentioned this TO ME. Did the President discuss this on Saturday while he was HERE? With the SecNav? 90,000 troops have left Iraq in the last 18 months, since he took office.

Another campaign promise kept.

PLEASE let this be the right thing to do!

Let's Celebrate

While Sarah Palin babbles nonsense, people complain about the state of, well, everything, and we all manage to get through another day, it seems that something wonderful and amazing happened 90 years ago TODAY.

Ninty years is such a short span of time when you think about it. While it may be a longer span than many live, for countries and nations such as Italy and Greece and Iraq and Iran it is only the blink of an eye.

Here in the U.S. however, something wonderful and fantastic happened exactly 90 years ago. Someone decided it would be a great idea that FAR in the future, maybe to elect the first African American President, I should be allowed to vote. ME! A Woman!

So much went into Women's Suffrage. So many fought for it. Fought for ME! And I want to say Thank you to each and every one of them for allowing me to have something so precious............ A VOICE.

Sure, many of us are disgruntled. Sure maybe we aren't being listened to as we would like. But being allowed to SPEAK means something.

Let's take a moment to celebrate that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

You Asked For It

Well, maybe you didn't, and I know damned well I didn't, but if the voters of Arizona's 3rd district vote for and elect this guy*, they deserve everything they get.

The list should include (but will not be limited to):

Higher taxes
Sexual scandal
Dirty dealings
Lies, lies and lies

Go forth and vote, Arizona.

Isn't it great when Florida isn't the biggest piece of crap in the nation???

*It almost physically hurt to link to that article, I could not bring myself to actually say his name or anything else about him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

But I AM an American

I have not spoken a lot about my job. Maybe because I get those constant emails about security and NOT talking about it? Maybe because I don't want anyone I know in 'real' life to connect me to this 'blog? Maybe because I just don't? I don't know. All of the above?

I am employed by a company in.. the west? California? Or Arizona? Hell, maybe in Virginia. I work. My checks come. Life is good.

But my actual work location is at a Government installation in NW Florida. The Panhandle. The Redneck Riviera. I work there. I am a 'contract employee.' I am employed by a contract company, but I provide services for the government. I have done this for 10 years and I have never had a huge problem BEING a contractor. I have had difficulty with those I work with. I have had difficulty with those I work for. But I love my job.

The President will be here this weekend. The President of the United States. And his family. On Vacation. No public appearances.

And the email was sent out this morning, asking for volunteers to drive "members of the White House staff" around for the weekend. All day Saturday and most of Sunday. The reward? Meeting the President and (possibly) having a picture made with him. I had more than one person bad mouth this President and the fact that I volunteered. I had one person (who already had weekend plans, but who would have volunteered otherwise) tell me I would probably end up making coffee. I had one person tell me I would probably drive the hair dresser.

My response? OK. Make coffee. Drive hairdresser. Drive the DOG and/or the DOG trainer. Fine. Great. I don't even LIKE To drive, but I would. To meet the President. THIS President. His family.

Only active duty military and GS civilians will be considered. No contractors. So I came home and took a nap.

Because most of those GS civilians hate him. And 75% have no military bearing and no respect for those who served. And no respect for the Commander in Chief.

I am upset. I am mad. This was my chance to meet him. This was my chance to be a part of history.

There will be no next time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Want in One Hand And....

As you may or may not know, this is the year for the election of Florida’s governor. The current governor, Charlie Crist (a Republican that I do not hate) is not running for re-election, but for the Senate seat recently vacated by Mel Martinez.. Oh, Mel, we absolutely do not miss you!

So that leaves the Governor's mansion WIDE open.

On the left there is Alex Sink, currently the state's CFO, and the Chiles boy, son of former Governor "Walkin' " Lawton. Apparently Ms. Sink is doing fairly well, because she was on track to win the whole she-bang in the last polls I saw, due to the fact that those on the right were spending more than the federal deficit to bash each other every 30 seconds on TV.

On the right (and this is where we were headed from the beginning) is Rick Scott. Who says, "Sure, I bilked the public for TONS of money, but I had to pay FINES. And I lost my job." I can not stand to look at his face on the TV, he makes me see RED. He touts himself as an "outsider" and claims that the other righty kept stealing a taxpayer's jet and had it drop him off in his front yard. Soooooo, wow, what a crook and a crock.

Yesterday, however, Bill McCollum (the other righty), who I was not voting for, but didn't think was a complete moron (he is allegedly against the Arizona law of oppression and hate) announced that "I think the best thing for children is to have a man and a woman, a mother and a father, not gay parents. I don't think that's the right kind of parenting. That's my personal views. Those are my religious views." Which is bad but then, "told reporters that foster kids should not be in the care of gays or lesbians."

Florida currently does not allow adoption by gay parents (STUPID!!), but does allow gay couples to foster. So Bill McCollum is saying that HE wants to take all of those children who are in happy, healthy, loving homes and raise them himself? What does he think we are going to do with those children?

Stupid bigot.

Not a Criminal. Just Mad.

I don't know that dropping the F bomb over the PA system was the thing to do. I am pretty sure it is considered tacky in many circles.

I am also pretty sure that deploying an emergency slide from an aircraft when there is no emergency is also taboo. Maybe illegal?

But flight attendant Steven Slater did both of those things, before exiting the aircraft via that emergency slide.

He probably should have held his temper. He probably should not have taken that beer.

But, good grief, aren't we all human? And how much abuse can one person handle?

A website I read earlier said charges are being pressed and he is facing up to 7 years in jail. Now that is making a mountain out of a molehill, don't you think?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Electronically Tethered Part Deux

I love to read. I love it. Anything. Everything. Yes, I was the kid who always read the back of the cereal box and each and every sign on the road. Aloud. (And my mother let me live, so that was kind and giving of her). I read new books as fast as I can get my hands on them and even have to have DSD hide them from me if it is a time I should be reading school books or studying for a test. I usually have a book in my purse, in my car, and in my backpack, with stacks as yet unread at my house.

When I was younger (read: more poor) I borrowed books from the library and I bought at used book stores. Then, of course, I returned those books to the used book store for credit for MORE used books. There were a few that I owned and carried through each successive move, but less than 5 probably. I did check out books (occasionally) that I had already read, but I thought everyone did.

Somewhere, however, I realized that I was no longer living paycheck to paycheck, that there were a few dollars left at the end of each month and (brilliant idea!) why couldn’t I actually buy a book or 2? (or 200?) This happened to coincide with my mother’s foray into
!Book Clubs! Buy 1, Get 10 Free! *You must then buy 1 book a month at OUTRAGEOUS PRICES for the rest of your natural life*

Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but she started buying and I started buying, hard covered books, some in Large Print and then we would get together and trade books.

And there were a lot of books.

One Sunday, several years ago, I decided to catalog all of my books. Sort them. Put them back on the shelves in alphabetic order after placing them in an Excel spreadsheet. What a fun way to spend an afternoon. DSD was not home at the time, but when he returned he almost had a stroke, because there were books strewn across the entire living room.

We have a pretty large living room by normal people standards (as opposed to billionaires or Royalty). Our living room has allowed persons under 5 feet tall to perform a series of acrobatic moves, like cart wheel, back flip, split. But I digress.

At the end of the day all of the books had been categorized and returned to the shelves in alphabetic order and I had an Excel spreadsheet of over 300 books.

So I got rid of a couple (maybe 4 or 5) paperbacks that I wasn’t going to read again and I continued to buy books.

I don’t keep all of them. Some I receive from my mom and I pass on to others or donate them to the Senior Center and Goodwill or I give them to her and she passed them onto various relatives.

But the numbers grew. And grew. And grew.

Until finally poor DSD had a choice to make. Should he call that show “Hoarders?”

Or should he just break down, cough up the money, and buy me a Kindle? For my birthday in April. It was incredibly unexpected and I was speechless for over 30 seconds. And then I cried. And he was very proud of himself. My husband rocks.

So now I own a Kindle. And I don’t have to have books on every surface anymore**. I have them all in my purse. The technology is simple. The reading is easy. The purchasing is easy… too easy, I can spend $30 in less than 3 minutes without ever getting up from the computer.

But there are many, many authors whose work I would never have tried had their books not been Free for download. I have read many books, then purchased the author's next book because the first one was so good. I have downloaded over 100 since the end of April. I have not read even close to that many, but I am loving the freedom that having all (ok, some)*** of my books on the eReader brings.

And DSD is loving the fact that he no longer fears huge stacks of books will fall on his head.

**Ok, they are all hidden behind the loveseat, which is not pushed up against the wall. But I am out of books shelves (and space for bookshelves) and I will eventually read and pass on all of those paperbacks.
***My plan is to eventually replace many of my hard backs with downloaded books, but I will never give up all of them.

A Small Celebration is in Order

The first step in the demise of California’s illegal, immoral, and just plain WRONG Proposition 8 has been taken. It is only the first step on a very long journey through the courts of this nation and up to the Supreme Court where (hopefully) good sense, law & fact (NPR this morning said FACTS are the answers and that this decision was based on fact) will prevail and we can all get on with our lives on equal footing. I am not going to get into the specifics of this decision and how and why it is a good or how and why the entire thing could go wrong, I am just going to raise my glass in a toast to a job that is (so far) well done!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Electronically Tethered

BabyBoy, as befitting his status as the only child that I gave birth to, has always been a little spoiled when it comes to new and exciting electronics. For his 19th birthday, I gave him my latest upgrade to get him a very expensive cell phone and I took the freebie. He broke his fancy phone on more than one occasion, including last summer, when it could not be fixed and the insurance had replaced it the maximum number of times. Well, Mom was eligible for an upgrade at that time, so he used it. Thanks, kid.

Flash forward several months and I realized that I wanted a new phone. I DESERVED something nice! The Blackberry Curve was available, giving me a full key board for texting and a little track ball. I hate track balls. What about the Blackberry Storm? All touch screen. Was this Verizon’s answer to the iPhone? Because most people I know hated it. I debated. I pondered. I touched everyone’s phones. I promised myself I would buy until after Finals in December, because Hi! Finals.

Then I saw it. One night while watching TV with DSD

And I had my answer.

I did wait until after Finals to get one. Merry Christmas to me!

I didn’t pay full price for it, but I did pay more than it costs now.

I also had to start coughing up the money for a data plan.

But I love this thing.

New apps every.single.day.

Music and videos and Facebook and, NOW! Blogger also. (Although I did have to add that picture of my reunion from the computer; it didn’t work from the Droid.)

I know many who scoff at being tied to electronic devices. I know many who think we should step away from the keyboards and be social.

But I have the world at my fingertips, all the answers that Google can provide, trivia games on history, U.S. Presidents and college football, plus a light saber (Really) and a Schott Gun to use on unsuspecting motorists. (Pump action. It must be loaded and it has a kick. I don’t hurt anyone and I relieve stress).

So don’t sneer at my Droid.

And I won’t sneer at your little free phone.

What Have I Been Doing?

You may ask! Or, if you aren't going to ask, I am going to tell you anyway.

Over the 9 months starting August 2009 and ending May 2010, I managed to accrue 25 more college credit hours. And I did not go insane. That was a lovely bonus. I don't have any idea what my GPA is, but it is above a 3.0 and I can live with that. I did take the summer off from school, but it starts again in less than a week. I am not taking 13 credit hours over the next 18 weeks though. I do want to get my degree, but I do not want everything else in my life to suffer for it. I am taking 9 credit hours. 3 during Term I (August 9 - October). 3 during Term II (October - mid December) and 3 at Gulf Coast Community College over their traditional semester. If that is too much to be able to enjoy my life (at least a little), I will drop the number back to 6 in the Spring. I don't want to do that. I would like to graduate one day. But it may be necessary. OH. And I am adding History as either a 2nd Major or a Minor. My advisor was out last week when I went to register, so I haven't spoken with her about it.

I finally started walking the walk I have been talking.
Composting - Check.
Recycling more than just cans - Check.
Enough reuseable shopping bags to never have to use plastic again - Check.
Growing my own vegetables in the dirt - Check. Weeeell. I am trying. I hope that practice will help. I do have vegetables growing, but they aren't producing much. Except the basil. WOW. Do you need some basil?
Cooking more from scratch - Check.
Buying products that are more natural with less preservatives - Check.
Buying local, organic, grass fed meats - Have you seen the prices of those? I am working up to this one.

All in all, I do feel like I have made some progress toward being more responsible to myself, my family (even when they fight me) and the world. I still have a long way to go, but every journey starts with the first step.

I will try to do an entire post about my gardening, what I have accomplished so far (which just includes spending money, sweating and getting dirty, but not much actual food production) and where I hope to go next year (out of the containers and into the actual ground!).

DSD is still out of work. He looks for a while, then he gets discouraged. But I like the fact that the I don't have to touch the vacuum or clean the bathroom. He does a lot of the cooking (although little of the planning) and most of the cleaning. He does 95% of all errands; quick shopping trips, dry cleaners, oil changes, bank runs, etc. And Lola has her Daddy at home to play most days. Financially we are doing okay and we are very thankful for it. So many are losing everything and we are in no danger of that.

Lola is great. Almost 100 pounds (she is getting fat), but on a diet.

The kids (my 1, his 3) are doing well. BabyBoy moved out, but he is back at home. Working now. We will see about school for the fall. He is without medical insurance. The health care reform does not force Tricare to cover children who are 21, but not in school full time. Nice, huh?

I have suffered from what I believe was an incorrect diagnosis of Lupus and 4-6 pills a day to an actual diagnosis of Plantar Faciitis that is 95% better with physical therapy. I am now drug free, except for the occasional alcoholic beverage and/or Tylenol. And I am dealing with the early stages of Menopause. Yes, I am only 43, but it is common in my family.

There is so much more. I hope that I am energized enough to continue to post. About DSD's daugher's upcoming wedding and why I am dreading it. About my parents' and the fact that they are loving retired life. About the oil spill and how its effects have been felt locally and how the media has taken a horrifying situation and made it so much worse.

Enjoy your Wednesday and keep checking back. I hope to be here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is This Possible?

This is a test to see if I can actually publish from my 'Droid. If so, I may be able to post more often, although not very in depth.

The picture was taken last month in Destin, FL @ my 25th high school reunion.

Monday, August 2, 2010

News of My Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

I am alive. I am kicking.

Somedays I am screaming.

Work is work.

Sometimes fun is work.

I miss you all more than I can say. More than I probably should.

I will check in with your 'blogs briefly over the next few days.. but then school starts again.

and college football!!!