Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Baby, baby...

Twenty years ago today I became a new mother. I was 25 years old, 2000 miles from home, and very insecure.

Today - Kelsey turned 20 and I am 45, at home, and at least a bit less insecure!

I can remember the day she was born as if it was today. I don't know why that is, because it seems I can't even remember what I had for breakfast on most days!

It was a sweet day, full of promise and mystery. The only thing I knew for certain was that things probably wouldn't turn out the way I dreamt they would that day I first held my little baby girl. But, that's ok. Life with Kelsey is a wild ride and I'm glad I'm still around to experience it!

Happy birthday little baby!

Love mom

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Yep. Been too busy to blog. Yep. Crazy time of year. But...had to share this. I was making a special lunch for my team, one of the dishes is my "world famous" lasagna. I cooked up a huge batch of homemade spaghetti sauce, and as we do so often in the cold months, I put it outside in the covered porch to store until the next day when I would assemble the lasagna. But, I wasn't thinking this time because I put the hot pot on our glass patio table...which no longer exists...because...yes...HOT + COLD do not mix! Within a minute we heard a HUGE CRASH. I went and looked, and sure enough, it looked as though someone had been murdered on our porch:

Happy Holidays everyone! Much love to you all...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Meaning of Trolls...

Today is my brother's 50th birthday. I am not allowed to celebrate with him, instead today I mourn the loss of this relationship. Everyone has their life stories and life challenges, this challenge in my life story has very much shaped who I am today.

All I ever wanted as a kid, and even as an adult was his love and acceptance. So much of what I did as a younger person revolved around this desire. But the reality of our relationship never turned out to be what I wanted it to be.

I recently reunited with a childhood friend of mine. In preparing for the party, she told her mother that I and my parents would be coming, but not my brother because of a fractured relationship about which she didn't know the details. She told me that her mother's immediate response was how she understood because she thought he was "mean" to me when we were children. Wow, did that hit me like a ton of bricks!

You see, I've never really had any outside validation of the pain I felt due to his behavior, especially not from my parents. They wouldn't acknowledge it, even though I know they saw it. But they were in an impossible position, and I don't fault them for their decisions. When my friend shared this revelation with me, however, I began to cry. In a way, it was like receiving the affirmation I have always desired from my parents.

Now, lest you think I am heaping all the blame on my brother, stop there because I am not. As children, we were both forced into situations that neither of us were equipped to deal with. The love that naturally grows between siblings never had a chance in hell of survival. But once we were adults I thought there was hope. But I made mistakes, and he made mistakes. I tried on several occasions to make amends for my part, hoping he would acknowledge his mistakes as well, but that never came to pass. I was appalled at the way he would twist things, and how mean and hurtful a person he was even as an adult - but truth be told, I hold his wife responsible for much of that behavior.

I fear he is not the type of person who reflects on their actions or does any soul searching, and I am fairly confident that he would be most uncomfortable with admitting any of his mistakes. Based on his past behavior I can also say with confidence that he would never listen to me respectfully or make any attempt to work out our relationship. I sincerely hope that changes some day because I still love him with all my soul.

So, that is the very short version of why I have no relationship with him. But, on today, his 50th birthday, I feel I need to recognize it because this challenge in my life has deeply shaped the way I view my personal relationships. This struggle helped me to learn the value of "family" - or those we choose to care about as family. This struggle has helped me learn to treat all my close relationships with the utmost care and respect. This struggle taught me that when my life is over, all that will matter are those relationships, not how much wealth or junk I have accumulated.

So, why the troll? My brother had a troll collection as a kid that I envied (and that I'm sure I disrespected by playing with without permission). A few years ago we were in a phase where we were still talking, but it was tenuous. On December 10th that year, I was stranded in Copenhagen on my way to Barcelona. I went to the Tivoli market and they had all these wonderful trolls. I bought this little one to give to my brother for his birthday when I got back. However, when I got back the nastiest and most heart-breaking set of events occurred that destroyed any possibility of a relationship - again his wife was at the center of it!

I have not spoken to him since that time. I kept the troll as a reminder of the fragility of our personal relationships, and as a reminder that every relationship is two sided and both parties must be vested in the desire to have a relationship. But it is also a reminder to me that you must have love as the base. I fear I have never truly had his love or acceptance. I have always loved him, and I'm sure that's why I lament this passing of such a monumental birthday and the fact that I can't be a part of it. I also know that if I were called upon to donate a kidney to him, I would be there without question. That's unconditional love, and if he were willing I would be happy to try and work out our differences.

Instead, this little troll reminds me of all the people that I have in my life that do love and accept me, and it reminds me to treat those relationships with the utmost care and love that a person could. I am so fortunate to have so many friends, some of whom have helped to fill this void in my life. Mike and Steve, Tim and Russ, Jon, Jodi, Ahna, Jackie, Bill, mom & dad, my girls, my husband. You all give so much of yourself to me, and I only hope I return it in kind. Thank you for being my family!

May the power of the troll be with you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

They say the memory is the first to go....

It was a moment of clarity that I will never forget. I'm old! I'm one of those old middle-aged women that I used to snicker at when I was 15. You know the ones...their clothes are out of date, their hairstyle hasn't changed in 10 years, they wear the wrong color-palate make-up for the season, and their bodies don't turn heads anymore!

My moment of clarity came on my 45th birthday last week. I had already been reflecting the fact that I was no longer on the upside of the 40's, instead I would be heading in the downward slide to 50. Half-way through my 40's on my way to 50. I got up the morning of my birthday, my young and beautiful 16 year old daughter was the first to call me and wish me happy-birthday (I was out of town on business). Not long after, my other young and beautiful 19yr old daughter called to do same. It was nice to hear from them and know that I am loved. I went about my business getting ready to meet my colleagues for breakfast. I went to breakfast and made no mention of the fact it was my birthday, I didn't want to acknowledge it really.

And then it happened, my moment of clarity. I went back to my room to fetch something before heading over to the conference for more meetings and I looked in the mirror. Aghast in horror, I saw a woman whose clothes were not hip, whose hairstyle hadn't drastically changed for over a decade, whose body was deplorable...and the makeup?


Yes, that was my moment of clarity.

I'm old.

But, as an old friend of mine used to say, it is what it is. I can't change my age, and I certainly don't feel all that old on the inside - at least not how my 15 year old self imagined it would feel. So what if my outside looks it?

This is why my blog address is named as it is. Every moment of (bitter) clarity I've ever had, has been followed by a (sweet) epiphany. Life is a wild ride and I'm sure rarely turns out as people expect it to. I may be frumpy and old, but - as they say - with age comes wisdom, and I think I finally understand the true meaning of this. My life has not turned out as I had planned, but I know enough to value the sweetness of my life and am smart enough to know that my 15 year old self had a lot of learning to do. Every person's life is a journey, and I believe we are measured by the depth and breadth of what we give of ourselves. I have a loving family and great friends who love me without the make-up! I hope that I've given of myself to the extent that they feel no need or want of more, but also know that I'll always be there with more anytime they want for it.

Love, and be loved.

That's all that matters in life.

Nothing else.

(On my birthday - I flew home and we went to dinner.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hippo Birdie Two ME!

Wow! I didn't realize it's been fully two weeks since I posted. Seems like just yesterday...

I'm on the road in Charleston, SC, and headed home tomorrow...November 19th...MY BIRTHDAY! What a crappy thing to have to spend my day in airports. But at least I'll be with the ones I love in time for dinner.

Check back again later...once I'm home and settled, I'm sure I'll be back to blogging...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

California: Land of the Fruits and Nuts

I can call it that. I lived there a good many years in my young adulthood. When time came for me to decide where to raise a family, I couldn't get back to Minnesota fast enough. California has some wonderful things, and I loved living there when I did. But, politically speaking, I was always frustrated by the lack of coherence in policy to any common ideals. I speculated then, and I think am proven right now, that this is due to the fact that California truly is the great melting pot of the US.

California likes to think of itself as a progressive society, leap years ahead of the rest of the country. And, I believe, for the most part the rest of this country believes that to be the case. I, however, believe this to be a false perception.

And on Tuesday they proved my point - much to my dismay! Of the many ballot measures they had, the outcome of two of them in particular speaks volumes about how haphazard and flaky their political psyche really is.

Prop 2: A proposal that would force more humane treatment of farm animals such as egg-laying hens, veal calves and pregnant sows. The measure would force farmers of these animals to provide space for them to fully extend their limbs or wings, stand up, turn around and lie down. It would outlaw cages and crates that prevent those movements.

Prop 8: Would amend the state Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, thereby outlawing gay marriage and making gay people second class citizens with little to no legal rights in relation to their partner. If one partner becomes terminally ill, the other could be forced out by family members and have no visitation rights, or have a say in the disposition of the estate. This is, of course, just one of many rights the partner has lost.

Prop 2 passed. Prop 8 failed.

Only in California are chickens afforded more respect than a gay couple. Well, at least the gay couple can still extend their limbs now like the protected chickens, calves and sows.

Welcome to the land of the fruits and nuts!!!

Yes We Can

Whew! It's happened. It's finally happened! This is indeed a great day for our country and I am so proud to be a part of the dawning of a new era. Stand Tall America - this is OUR victory!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please GO VOTE!

This is it. Historical. Exciting. Palpitating. I arrived at the polling place 10 minutes before it opened and got in a long line. I stood for 30 minutes, no easy task for me and my bad hips. But it was worth it.

Savor the moment.

Go vote.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Great Revelation

I've heard it said that Rush Limbaugh controls the religious base of the Republican Party. He has never been a fan of McCain who is too independent minded. But on one issue, McCain succumbed to Rush's directive. McCain selected Sarah Palin to appease Rush and his right-wing-religious-wingnut base.

Here's my thought for the day...is it possible that Rush sabotaged McCain for his own agenda? Is it possible that Rush wants Obama to win?

Think about it.

It gives him job security.

If McCain had won - with a rational pick for VP - who would care much what Rush says? But if Obama wins - Rush has at least 4 more years to stir the pot and build up his right-wing-religious-wingnut party!

(Post-script - I believe I may have been wrong in calling the right-wing-religious-wingnut group "Neocons" in a previous post. I am not 100% sure now what a neocon is, but it was pointed out to me that it is not what I thought it was. I've done a little digging and all I can really find is that it revolves around this particular group's ideology as it relates to foreign policy. I don't have a problem admitting when I'm wrong - but now I'm in need of a label for this group. For now, i call them "right-wing-religious-wingnuts" - mea culpa!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's the word? Tinklenberg

Michele Bachman is a total loser...Go Minnesota!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is where the right-wing-religious-wingnuts have brought us

A friend of mine with deep roots in Israel found this on an Israeli newspaper website - with video from Al-Jazeera (how's that for irony). I don't know about anyone else out there, but I was just sickened and stunned by some of what is shown here. I believe if McCain had gone with his true nature as a moderate republican instead of caving to the extreme right of the GOP party, that we wouldn't be seeing nearly as much of this divisiveness.

I respect the right-wing-religious-wingnuts right to express their views as long as it's not filled with hate-speech and violent-inciting rhetoric. And I support their right to have a party that supports their views...but I do not respect how they've bullied their way into the republican party and virtually taken it over. I used to be a republican (many many years ago). The GOP party used to be the party known for its intellect and common-sense solutions. Now they're quickly becoming known as the party of extremism where they think anyone who doesn't see the world as they do are evil or terrorists. Their agenda is no longer one of fiscal conservatism, but of social and moral conservatism. Fiscal conservatism has taken a back-seat to people who think they are the only "pro-American" people. People's who's agenda is to legislate their morality into everyones lives.

I believe this is the main reason Colin Powell is endorsing Obama. It's not so much an endorsement for Obama as it is against the GOP that has gone astray from it's roots and now only focuses on injecting their personal views on gays, abortion, guns, etc, into everyones life. The GOP used to believe (as McCain still does) that these personal issues should be decided at the personal level. What's right for you isn't necessarily what's right for me.

This is a dangerous path indeed and has pushed me further and further left as time passes...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

National Coming Out day - my thoughts

Today is National Coming Out day, and I'm celebrating how far society has come while simultaneously lamenting how far we have yet to go.

Yesterday after work, my daughter Kaitlyn picked me up from work and we went to a local gathering of GLBT people and supportive people like myself to recognize the the progress that's been made, and discuss the work that's yet to be done.

My best friend is gay. We've known each other since we were in second grade, and since the second grade I've known he was different. Of course once we were in puberty I was able to identify it and understand it better, but no one can tell me that at age 8 it was a choice for him! It wasn't. I get so irate when I hear people making the claim that homosexuality is a choice and they can be "cured" - what a crock! Honestly, if given a choice, don't you think young kids would choose the easier path instead of choosing to live such a difficult path? Being a gay teenage boy in the late 70's and early 80's was a very difficult road indeed.

During the VP debate, and through clenched teeth, Sarah Palin said she's tolerant of gays. Tolerant! But her obvious disdain for them betrayed her.

Here's the message we need to be promoting: Tolerance is just the first step. It's the bottom rung of a ladder we need to climb. People tolerate mosquitos, people tolerate dentistry. Society needs to do more than tolerate, we need to love.

One of the speakers particularily inspired me when she said we need to do more than tolerate, and beyond acceptance we need to celebrate! She inspired me to create this graphic represtation of the path we need to focus our energy. I challenge all of you to love and celebrate our gay brothers and sisters!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The White Canary of our Times

Yesterday, in response to a comment I made about what a challenging job the next president was going to face with our economic disaster, a colleague of mine said that actually he thought the future next president was in a pretty good spot because it can't get much worse than it is now...it can only get better.

At first, I thought there was probably some truth to that (and I genuinely hope he is prophetically correct). But last night we went to a volunteer recognition dinner where my daughter was being recognized for her outstanding volunteerism, and something was said there that made me re-think my colleague's hypothesis.

First, you need to know a little bit about the volunteer organization. It is CFR, Community Food Response. They are a local organization who three times a week goes around to various organizations such as restaurants, grocery stores, and school/work cafeteria's and collects food that would otherwise be discarded. They bring it back to their base of operations and repackage it into smaller containers and then open the doors at 5pm and hand it out to hungry families that have signed up for the program.

So, the president of the board said over the last month they've seen a dramatic increase in the need for their services so they are out stumping for more food providers to become part of the network. When he said this, in my minds eye - quite unconsciously - I had an image of a white canary. You know - the ones they sent into the coal mines as an early warning system for toxic gases! When I became aware of the vision in my head, I realized it was my subconscious telling me that this increase in needy people for CFR's food is an early warning sign of things to come.

I've been pondering that image ever since. Is there really no where to go but up? After much thinking and ruminating about it, my gut is telling me no. It could get MUCH MUCH worse.

I'm not an economics genius, but I do remember my Econ and Finance classes from my MBA quite well. What I remember most is how intricately intertwined EVERYTHING is to EVERYTHING when it comes to money. Although I've heard lots of talk about how the credit market seizing would cause unemployment - possibly mass unemployment - I haven't heard much about how our cities' and states' budgets are tied up in the same mess. Fewer loans being made means fewer people being able to afford home ownership. More houses sitting empty and in foreclosure means less revenue for our cities. Besides unemployment - we could see whole cities and states going bankrupt. If Iceland can teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, what makes us think it won't happen all over our country in our municipalities and states?

I am usually a very optimistic person, and indeed, if you read my blog much you know that I have subscribed to the hope mantra of the Obama campaign and do believe if he is elected that there is indeed hope! However, I also believe that things are much graver and more dire than we are being told. Obama gives me hope that the white canaries I see all around us will not wither and die, but instead will not only survive, but emerge stronger and healthier than before. Keep the hope alive!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

President That One

Obama clearly won the debate last night on substance, but also on style. McCain is an embarrassment to his profession (and almost to humanity)! I was so embarrassed for him, it made it hard to watch. Presidential he is not. Obama knew just the right way to behave. Every time McCain lied (which was pretty much anytime his mouth was moving), Obana just sat there and flashed his disarming smile. It was almost as if his smile erected a force-field protecting him from all the crap that McCain was spewing.

There were a couple questions that I thought Obama could have answered more clearly, but the overall message and tone from him was far superior than from McCain.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome President "That One" to the podium!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And so it begins...

All along I've been saying that "maverick" is just another word for foolish risk-taker. McCain takes crazy risks to get what he wants, and it has left him looking desperate, erratic, and sometimes downright stupid. He "postponed" his campaigning so he could charge into Washington and save the day - an obvious political ploy that backfired on him. His selection of Sarah Palin illuminated his risk-taking nature. Prior to her selection, McCain was spending millions on ads denouncing Obama as just a celebrity, but how much did we hear about Obama's celebrity once McCain had created his own celebrity in Palin? But most scary is that she's horribly unqualified to become President and McCain doesn't seem to mind that risk on our behalf (likely because he thinks he's immortal)! McCain has risked his entire bid, and indeed his entire reputation, trying to become President.

So, with less than 30 days to the election, I guess it should come as no surprise to me that McCain's next big risk he's obviously decided to make is to turn up the ugly machine. Elections should be about the issues, and Obama has endeavored to keep the discourse there. But, McCain can't win on the issues - so his last recourse is personal character attacks, and guilt-by-association tactics, as evidenced by Palin's recent charges that Obama pals around with terrorists, and her dredging up of the Reverend Wright crap again (even against McCain's earlier proclamations that this was off limits). Obama will have no option now but to go on the offensive. If he doesn't, it will be swiftboating all over again.

Strap your shit-kicking waders on, because it's gonna get deep and dirty before this is all over.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A case for being NICE to PALIN!

Are there do-over's in politics? The luster is quickly fading on Sarah Palin, and although many of us saw this train-wreck coming I don't think that any of us thought it would go this far. I'm talking specifically about the many very conservative journalists who are turning on her. We are a gawker society, and I can't help but gawk at this melt-down with some perverse pleasure!

First, there is Kathleen Parker's article that I read yesterday where she calls for Palin to bow out saying "Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons..."

And then there's George Will's latest article - yet another conservative (albeit never a true fan of McCain's), who is questioning McCain and especially his judgement in selecting Palin.

So, this leads me to ask...what would happen if she really did bow out? McCain gets a do-over?

Here's my fear...all those middle of the roaders that have decided to vote for Obama largely because of how McCain's choice has turned out to be so horrendous could reconsider their Obama choice if McCain gets a do-over. If she left the ticket, he'd have the option to be the real maverick he claims to be and select Joe Lieberman - the traitor democrat who's lost all of his senses. Or, in a less maverick-ish move, but probably more logical, he could go for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee to still appeal to the religious base. The point being that no matter who he picks, he'd be better off than he is now with Palin.

McCain's numbers have been in decline since the post-convention bump. This could be due to his wishy-washy approach to "leadership" (and I use that word lightly here), or his back and forth stance on the bail-out, or any other number of stupid things he's done or said. But, I'd like to say SHUT UP to all these crazy people for picking on Palin and potentially cause her to pick up her marbles and run home. She's the best thing that's happened for us. His selection of her was a clear demonstration of his decision making, and his risk taking personality. Having her on the ticket is a boon to our side, so SHUT UP ALREADY!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm in Shock and Awe

Truly, I am in awe. As I rode the shuttle home from work tonight I reflected upon the events of the last two weeks in the world. I read this Thomas Friedman article that I printed for my ride home, and then pondered the state of the world.

And then all the stuff I've been reading about credit default swaps, and mortgage back securities hit me smack in the middle of my forehead. This is big. No, scratch that. This is HUGE. Yes, we all know it's major, but what struck me was the realization that the events of the past few weeks, as well as the current political events, will be written about in history texts for decades, perhaps centuries to come.

So I watch with great amazement, and wonderment...and fear. Never have we, in my lifetime, had so much to lose as I think we do now. This is a game changer, folks. The way our country responds to this crisis will shape future generations to come. I remain hopeful that another "great generation" can be borne from this disaster. With the right leadership (Barack Obama) and the right messaging (innovate, energy independence, regulation on greed), I believe the future for our children can be bright!

On a lighter note - we went up north for a family reunion on my ex-husband's side of the family. I posted some pictures on my facebook, but you can view them here if you don't have a facebook account.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's the ECONOMY, stupid!

John McCain has been saying the fundamentals of our economy are sound. He's been saying it for months without qualification as to what the "fundamentals" are.

Why hasn't he clarified before now what these fundamentals are? Because we all know what the fundamentals are! They are bank rates, interest rates, mortgage foreclosures, imports and exports, GDP, supply & demand, and all those other markers of economic performance that we learn about in econ 101!

So - the economy took a HUGE fall yesterday - even Greenspan says it's the worst economy he's ever seen...a once in a century event:

But McCain with his decietful and disgraceful campaign methods is trying to turn this onto Obama. Now he qualifies that when he says "fundamentals" what he really is refering to is the workers of America! And therefore, Obama is criticizing the American people. How stupid does he think we are???

I am SO SICK AND TIRED of his lies and manipulation. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Skol, Vikings, Let's Go

My friend Kim has season tickets to the Vikings, and the person she usually goes with couldn't go. So - I got to be her stand-in. I love the Vikings, I know...it's a sickness....and every year we think it is gonna be The Year! Well, this year isn't looking any better than last year at this point. 0-2 - that sucks. So we lost today, but I had a blast despite the loss.

First, while tailgaiting, we saw Chuck Foreman...he was signing autographs:

How cool is that???

The seats were awesome - I had a great view - except during the first half when we had the "Get-a-freeking-room-people-this-is-a-vikings-game-not-a-love-nest" couple in front of us. I swear - it was nearly x-rated. The girl couldn't keep her hands off her guy. She would have her hands up the back of his shirt, or down the back of his pants everytime they would stand up. When they were seated her hands constantly rubbed his face, ears, ran through his hair. At one point he stood up, she stayed seated and slipped her hand between his legs from the back. From our view she must have had her hand all the way up the front on his crotch because we couldn't even see her arm, just her shoulder and his ass. It was gross actually. They were probably about our age, drunk and smelly, and her boobs were hanging out and her hickey's we showing. I thought I need visual proof for my blog, so I snapped this picture before half-time. I figured I'd get some more when they came back, but mercifully they did not come back after half-time.

the second half of the game would have been nirvana with their absence...had we not LOST THE FREEKING GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway - it was awesome - good conversation, good fun, good time. Thanks Kim!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Celebrity Envy

John McCain had Celebrity Envy. That's the only reason I can come up with why he would appoint Sarah Palin as his VP. He knew it would shake things up and that was his only hope at drawing larger crowds. I heard on NPR this morning that where he used to draw 100-500 people crowds, with her he's now drawing 5,000-15,000 people crowds.

Who's working the celebrity angle now????? What a hypocrit!

But here's the scariest part. Actuarialy speaking, there's a very good chance that Sarah Palin could become the president should they win the election. Sorry - those are just the facts of life. Look at the obituaries every day and you'll see that far more 70+ year olds appear there than 40+ year olds.

Given how weak her response was last night to Charlie Gibson's question on the Bush Doctrine, I'm scared to death of her being our president. Hell, she didn't even know what the Bush Doctrine was!!! Watch this and see for yourself.

The other thing I can see clear as day is the difference between when she doesn't know how the hell to answer a question as opposed to those where she's been clearly coached. Her whole demeanor changes and her hand gestures change. It's an incredible, yet frightening, spectacle!

So - here's John McCain on the Bush Doctrine.

At least he knows what hell it is! God help us if they win and he subsequently dies in office!

But now - because I don't want to end on a sour note, and I need to start my day of with cheerier thoughts, I will continue to campaign for Obama/Biden and hope the world sees the true Sarah Palin - as shown here:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The FAT Truth

I'm skinny! Yep! I've been dieting for...ummm...seems like years. Ummmm...errrr...I guess it actually has been years! But, I'm here today to announce to you all that I am skinny.


What's that you're saying?

I have a BMI that puts me in the grossly obese category?

Oh, well, ummm, the issue here is that these BMI calculators don't take into account some very important criteria (like my perception). We should never place our trust in objective measures that don't account for the ever important personal feeling index.

It's obvious to see that your data is incorrect and I am indeed skinny!

What's that?

I still wear a size 18 and have to shop in the plus sizes?

Yeah, but 18 is the new 8, havent' you heard? I'm telling you...I'M SKINNY DAMMIT!

Huh? What's that you say? No, you're wrong, I'm not fat!

I'm skinny.
I'm skinny.
I'm skinny.
I'm skinny.
I'm skinny.
I'm skinny.
I'm skinny!!!

ARGH! How is that possible? You still don't believe me!!!

Wait - I don't understand?!?!

It works for Sarah Palin and John McCain!

They tell lie after lie after lie. They repeat their lies over and over, dress their lies up in pretty clothing and put pretty pink lipstick on them, and turn their little pit bulls lies into pretty Alaskan-beauty-queen-govenor lies. Sooner or later the people they are speaking to just figure it's the truth. That's how stupid they think the American people are, and sadly sometimes are :(

Don't believe me? Read this

(if that link doesn't work - pretty much the same info is here. I noticed today the CBS link is gone, but I hope it comes back so I'm leaving it there)

So, Citizens of the blogosphere, I stand (actually sitting because I'm too fat to stand for long) here before you to tell you I AM SKINNY!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah who?

Ok, I was thinking about blogging about the wonderful waning days of summer I've been enjoying, but I just can't!

I have to vent...

  • Who are they kidding? How stupid do they think women are? Do they really think the women who are on the fence will vote for McCain/Palin simply because he picked a running mate with a vagina? How insulting this is to women who were Hillary supporters! Here's a video clip that pretty much sums up how I feel about it all...watch the whole thing, it gets funniest about 1/2 way through.

  • They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer...to that end, I vowed to watch the entire RNC convention, but here I am 2 days into it, and I fear I don't have the stomach to suffer through the rest. I'm listening to Mitt Romney as I type this and about vomitted when I heard him say that Washington is "too liberal" - is he high?

  • And what's with all this bullshit about about putting "Country First"???? These people could take a lesson from Obama about taking the high-road. How insulting to the Democrats by insinuating that they don't want to put our country first. Obama has made every effort to make it clear that this election should be about the issues and our differences, not to denegrate one another but it seems that's the only way the GOP knows how to operate and I'm sick and tired of it.

  • And, poor John McCain - his wife appeared on ABC's "This Week" - and completely embarrased him. Here's a quote that I just couldn't believe when I heard it (in response to Palin's lack of foreign policy experience): "You know, the experience that she comes from is, what she has done in government -- and remember that Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia." What the F*&k is that? The first part in blue - well, that's just non-sensical garbage! But the part in red? PUUUULLLLLEEEEZZZZEEEE. Does anyone really think that because geographically her state is near the outskirts of Russia, that this gives her foreign policy experience? This is frighenting, folks!!! View it here.

  • His decision to select Palin is a clear indication of his decision making process, and illuminates the fact that he's a real risk-taker. I don't know if I'm comfortable with my president being careless with such major decisions. Seems like a pretty big gamble to me!

  • Lastly, if John McCain were really the "maverick" he wants us all to believe he is, he wouldn't have selected Sarah Palin, he would have picked who he really wanted...Joe Lieberman. Besides a veiled attempt to pull some of those former Hillary supporters, the real reason he selected her was because he caved into the pressure from the religious base that has taken over what used to be a Grand old party. He placated the religious base that Bush allowed to take over the party. The Republicans of today, with their extreme religious base, is nothing like what it used to be 20 years ago. It's sad, really.

All my venting aside, here's the most serious (and scarey) issue of his selection. Even though Palin is on video six weeks ago saying she really doesn't know what the Vice President does, the fact is that a major role of the VP is to take over should something happen to the President. Given McCain's age, it is not inconceivable that he could die in office. Is she really someone who could assume the responsibilities of the presidency???

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is what I call QUALITY TV TIME!

I know, I know. I've been gone a long time again. You can quit emailing me now... :)

But, seriously, first it was the Olympics keeping me up til wee hours of the night, and now it's the Democratic National Convention. Who has time to blog when you've got stuff like that to watch? I don't think I've ever watched so much TV in such a small amount of time before.

The Olympics were awesome. Watching Michael Phelps made me feel like a little girl again. Many of you know that I am a swimmer. I was a competitive swimmer all through high school and a little into college. Mark Spitz was my inspiration. I was going into third grade that summer and fell madly in love. I had his posters all over my room, and I used to write "Mrs. Julia Spitz" over and over and over in my notebook. Sometimes, I'd get old fashioned and write Mrs. Mark Spitz, but being that it was the middle of the women's rights movement and my mother was a strong woman in her own right, it didn't feel right to write it that way. I never did think, however, of writing "Mrs. Julia Gallagher-Spitz" - so I guess I wasn't all into that feminist movement yet at the tender age of 9, was I?

Anyway - I was hooked. Hooked on swimming. Hooked on tall lanky boys in skimpy bikini swimsuits, with six-pack abs, dark eyes and hair, and gold around their neck! :) So, watching Michael Phelps brought back lots of those girlish memories, except for those silly swimsuits they wear now that cover so much up - who's brilliant idea was that, anyway? They should be shot!!!

After two weeks of being engrossed in that spectacle, I thought I'd finally get my life back to normal. Finish my book. Swim more. Catch up on newspaper reading, which is piling up. Lots of things. Oh, but I forgot about the DNC convention!!! I've been riveted. I TiVo it on MSNBC from 6pm to 1am. I sit and watch all the good stuff, fast forwarding through the crap.

I saw Michele Obama speak in Chicago on May 9th, and I knew then that she'd make a terrific First Lady. Besides being an amazing speaker, I truly feel like she's "one of us" - I'm sorry, but I don't identify in any way shape or form with Cindy McCain!!! But Michele - oh my - she will do our country proud and she showed that again in spades on Monday night.

I was never in the Hillary camp during the primaries, but last night I sincerely saw why she has so many supporters. She did our party proud and made some very salient points. I was very impressed with her speech last night, and she made just the point that she needed to make. It's not about the people, it's about the issues. And if you supported Hillary, then you supported her issues. A supporter of hers voting for McCain is truly an insult to her and everything she stands for because his position on the issues is in direct opposition of what she has fought for all her life. The best way to honor her, is to vote for Obama, pure and simple!

I believe one of the greatest challenges facing us is the global climate crisis. Hillary, Barack, and the rest of the Dem's are keenly aware of this issue and I believe have the better ideas for solving it. I read a Thomas Friedman article recently that says it much better than I. Have a look - he says it much better than I. Let me know what you think - I'm interested in your opinions!!! In the meantime, you'll find me in front of MSNBC on the boob-toob!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A letter from the future...

Date: July 30th, 2108
Post from Earth

Dear Kids,

This week I volunteered to clean out the storage room at my new church. Since I've just moved here and you're still visiting your cousins on Mars, I know you haven't been here yet. But, I recall many lessons in your childhood church which referred to past events of this congregation. Indeed, I know you even learned of their lessons in your high-school history classes. What an impact the events of 100 years ago had on our world today, and now I am knee-deep in that history!

It's truly a privilege to be allowed to sort through old newspaper clippings, guest book logs, and church bulletins that the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church saved over the last 100 years. I even found these large, shiny disc's that I think must be what were called Compact Discs - and a player that plays them. Of course we had to make some modifications to get them to play in the hologram, but the content was remarkable. For a Historian and Restoration Specialist like me, this has been truly an amazing treat.

It's hard to believe that 100 years ago this week, a deranged man walked into this haven and opened fire. Two people died, several injured. It was indeed tragic, and at such a pivotal time in human evolution. It's sad that two people died for a cause that they didn't even know existed yet. Back then, as unfathomable this is today, when people wanted to become martyr's they usually strapped dynamite to their chest and walked into a public place and killed themselves and as many as they could take with them. They killed themselves in the name of a cause. But these two people simply died innocent deaths, one of them heroically throwing himself into the line of fire to protect his fellow spiritual journeymen.

How could they possibly have known that all the attention to their tragic end would serve as a catalyst to bring the world's eye to their little known faith? It started first in the America. People were exposed to the truth and beauty of a faith that is so liberating, so accepting, so empowering. At the same time, a powerful sea of change was taking over the political landscape when the Americans elected their first black president. All eyes were on America.

And America did not disappoint. America once again took a leading role in the world, but this time with humility, not arrogance. With respect, not condescension. With compassion, not hate. With justice, not intolerance and inequity. As our society evolved, we began to see the profound wisdom in the teachings for which Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger unwittingly martyr'd themselves.

And so, I sit here messaging you today 100 years later, reflecting on the amazing journey our world has taken towards our free world that we enjoy today. Free from the constraints of prejudice. Free from the tyranny of power. Free to take the journey as we individually see fit. Man sits at the precipice of the next evolution. We are finally in an era where we can truly combat disease, repair our ecosystems, and learn our life lessons on our short journey to this world. What a great time to be alive.

I'm looking forward to seeing you for mother Zolitha's 95th birthday next month, I hope she gets back from her hike in the Andes in time for the celebration.

Love, mom

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Hate Crime?

I'm stunned. Simply stunned.

Yesterday we all heard the news of a gunman who opened fire in a Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church. What a horrendous act.

I am a UU. Let me restate that. I am a PROUD UU.

When I heard the news, of course, there was no information on motive or anything like that. I felt their pain and sorrow as I would had it happened in any other church. But today I heard that it is being investigated as a possible hate crime!

a HATE crime, people!

I'm filled with anger, sorrow, anguish, confusion, the list goes on. Near the top of that list is an overwhelming concern for a faith community I have grown to love.

How do we, as a faith movement, process this?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Unitarian Universalist movement, we are a non-creedal faith community who affirms to support the spiritual journey that each of us faces in this life. Although we don't have a creed, we do have some basic principles:
  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

You can learn about it at http://www.uua.org/, specifically about our principles and about our beliefs.

When I first ventured into my local UU church, I remember reading a brochure that listed these seven principles. The truth is - they had me at #1! As I learned more about this community, I came to understand the profound power of this principle, as well as the other 6. Once I really embraced this movement, discerning the right path for me, and indeed for humanity, became clear. UUism takes the good from all the worlds religions, and leaves the divisive paradigms and dogma's behind.

It's liberating. It's love. It's healing.

So, my mind turns back to the tragedy in Knoxville and my burning question about how to process this as a faith community. How can a faith movement based on love and acceptance of everyone cause people to hate us so much? It's so clear to me that people, no matter what their faith, race, or sexual orientation are people deserving of love and understanding. Why is that so hostile to those less fortunate to know our movement?

We are an interdependent web of existence. We can help heal our sisters and brothers in Knoxville through this interdependency. We must stay strong and hold firm our beliefs. This tragic event must not change who we are, but should serve to strengthen our resolve. I am proud to be a UU, and though I never met the courageous souls who died I feel a kinship with them and am proud to be associated with them.

In this time of shared pain, I fall back on the tenants of my faith and dare to imagine. I dare to imagine a world free of hate and bigotry. I dare to imagine a world filled with love and compassion. I dare. Do you?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My cathartic word vomit

Today I read the following letter to the editor in our paper here in Rochester MN:


It made me want to PUKE VIOLENTLY! But then I thought...instead of doing that, I'll do a little word vomit right back at her! Following is the letter I just emailed to the editor. I hope it gets published, but if not, at least I feel somewhat better!

To Lorraine Schuchard of Zumbrota, author of the "Gay marriage hurts children" letter to the editor printed July 16th:

Really? Maybe you should re-think that!

Upon which research studies do you base your opinion? After reading your letter I scoured the internet and scholarly and medical journals, but could find no studies confirming your assertion. Actually, had you bothered to do a little research or even googling, you would have found a plethora of supporting evidence and research that is contrary to your opinion.

Then I wondered if you based your judgment upon any personal experience? I personally know three gay/lesbian families in Rochester raising children and I can sincerely say they are some of the most committed and loving parents of some of the happiest and well-adjusted children I’ve ever met.

What’s most important is that our children are honestly loved! There is ample research to support that a loving home will produce a well-adjusted adult more often than a home filled with hostility and hate. Why are people threatened by an alternate parenting model that produces the desired result? Why are people so obsessed on denying homosexual couples the joys of producing a responsible, caring, and loving citizen for the world? Seems to me this world can use as many of those as we can get no matter who raised them!

Julia Gallagher

PS - the original letter I first drafted was much longer and had many more points to it, but then I went online to read that letters to the editor must be 225 words or less! Holy Cow! I know there's a lot more I could have said, but I was trying to make a succinct point...not an easy thing to do!

PPS - I learned today (7/22) that my letter will be published in today's paper!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Special Visitor

After a delightful evening with new friends over dinner, we cleaned the house and packed our bags to leave the next day for our 4th of July holiday "up north!" Fast asleep, I am suddenly awakened by a deep moaning sound, like a cat in heat.

Chris, my husband who is blind as a bat without his glasses, got up to see what was going on. Our faithful dog, Rocco, followed behind dutifully.

"What is it?" I shouted from the comfort of my bed

"It's Jordi" - our black cat of 12 years. Rocco (a Bischon who thinks he's a Great Dane) started barking like mad as Chris made his way back to bed. I said "Gee, Jordi must be really sick to sound so awful!"

Rocco kept barking, and suddenly a torpedo passed by my side of the bed, into the office adjacent to our bedroom. Up on the bookshelf flew the cat, down came all my frames! What a racket!

Suddenly, this cat is whizzing back to the other side of the bed, literally up the wall and across our heads, over my nightstand, knocking everything down in its wake.

Chris bolted from bed and ran to the kitchen where the cat has now made it's way to a corner. Rocco is continuing to bark. Then, all of the sudden I hear a loud CRRRAAASSSHHHHH, and then another, and another. The next thing I heard was my husband swearing. "Shit!" "Dammit!" and a few other choice ones I shant put in print.

I knew then that it was serious. You see, Chris rarely swears. He's a firm believer that if you want your swearing to mean something, reserve it for those times when it's called for. This was one of those times!

I jumped out of bed and came out to the kitchen. I saw more glass breaking and flying from the pantry out into the kitchen. That's when I realized...this was not our cat! It was a she-devil of a stray who had snuck into the house. And, of course, this stray had to find the one place where the entire top shelf housed the one thing you put up high so it will be safe. Glass. Glass vases, glass platters, glass bowls. If it was fragile, it was up there.

The crashing went on for about 10 minutes. This was one scared cat (or should I say scaredy cat?). Chris tried and tried to get the animal out of there, rescuing a bowl here and there if he could.

Finally, the cat came down and scurried out through the door we had opened for him. Here is what he left behind:

You're first question is - how did the cat get into the house? That's Kaitlyn's doing. She went to sleep over at a friends accross the street, but she figured she may not want to stay as has happened in the past. Since our door chimes when you open it and she wouldn't want to wake us if she came home in the middle of the night, she left her ground level window open to her bedroom, sans screen.

We stayed up until past midnight cleaning up the glass fragments and shards from the floor. We also discovered that the cat was so scared it peed frequently while hurling glass vases at my husband. What a horrible smelly mess.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that our house is on the market and our realtor was planning an open house while we were up north? Gotta love the fortuitous timing, huh?

So, how was your Fourth of July???

Friday, June 27, 2008

Welcome to summer....

I heard on NPR this morning that the mosquitoes are at a more "normal" level this year.

I have to ask, what could "normal" possibly mean? I mean, c'mon, here in Minnesota we are partly serious when we jokingly say our state bird is the mosquito! So, what could normal mean?

Perhaps it means that this year there aren't enough in a swarm to lift an octogenarian and carry him to his death.

Perhaps it means that I can actually dare to bare some flesh this summer - like maybe I'll uncover my pinky toe!

Perhaps it means I can wear regular perfume instead of Au 'du DEET.

But here's the real question - courtesy of my husband - How do they know what the numbers are? Does someone actually go out there and count them? Is that a job you'd love, Minnesota State Mosquito Counter?

And do they count them by standing bare naked in the woods and then coming back and counting the welts?

Maybe they set up a tent, open the doors for an hour, then zip them and sit in there and count them. Do they tag them with RFID tags like they do with the wolves so that they don't double count them? How do they know they've counted them accurately? I'm horribly concerned about the accuracy of their counting methods. If they're not using proper methods, they're cheery predictions of "normal" levels of mosquitoes this year could all be a load of CRAP! And you know what crap does - it attracts more mosquitoes!

Personally, I think it's all one big conspiracy. Since gas prices are astronomical right now, I think they'll say ANYTHING to get us to travel to the touristy, mosquitoey venues. Beware! This is all just another Bush/Cheney attempt to get us behind the wheels of our big SUV's and RV's in pursuit of an enjoyable summer trip. With that said - Everyone enjoy their holiday weekend. We're leaving tomorrow, in our SUV, on a 6.5 hour drive "up north" to MOSQUITO COUNTRY to enjoy the holiday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I want to live on Mars

The other night I attended a public forum on Women in Leadership. It was sponsored by Augsburg College, where I earned my MBA. The two speakers were both from the Rochester community here. The first speaker was Jane Belau, an amazing woman in our community who has been in leadership positions from private business, to community, state, and national leadership positions. The other speaker, Shirley Weis, is the Chief Administrative Officer where I work, Mayo Clinic.

Overall, the evening was engaging and thought-provoking. I truly enjoyed listening to these two women and sharing in their experiences and wisdom. But [and there's always a "but" with me, isn't there?], something has been sticking with me and it's really bothering me. Shirley was talking about how she is the first woman to hold the position she now holds, and indeed I think she's the first to break into that upper echelon (C-level) of administrative management here. She talked about the differences in communication styles between men and women and referenced the book Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus which makes an attempt to explain our gender differences.

Then she turned to a small group of men in the audience and addressed them, bringing up men's style and how men can challenge each other, be spirited, disagree, discuss issues, etc. And then she said "How many of you go home at night after a meeting or interaction that can be charged and think to yourself - 'Oh, I hope Tom isn't mad at me for disagreeing with him' or 'I hope I didn't hurt John's feelings' - etc, etc...

Everyone laughed...everyone. Everyone understood implicitly and intuitively exactly what she was getting at: How silly that was! Silly! Men don't worry about that stuff! Silly. Men aren't concerned with others' feelings in that way - especially if they know they've acted respectfully through their dissent. Silly!

So, here's what stunned me. If we all understand this and know it to be true intuitively...why, oh why do we as women continue? Why can't we have those kinds of exchanges in our work lives?

I don't quite know the answer, but I can relay an uncomfortable experience I had in my job recently that highlights exactly what she was talking about. For whatever reason, I already tend towards the Mars Communication Method! I've always been a straightforward talker...I speak my mind...I will object when I believe it's called for. I will advocate for my team, I will challenge someone when I think their conclusions are faulty.

My spirituality and ethical substance have always guided me to do these things with the utmost respect possible. I always attempt to take great care to be respectful to people when I am disagreeing with them. I know I'm not always successful, especially in my personal life where it's easier to get sloppy, but in my professional life I think I have been pretty good at it. So, recently I was in a situation that called for me to challenge someone's preceptions. I believed, and still believe, that this person was making statements and decisions based on faulty logic and misperceptions of fact. The decision I was asking her to make, and indeed other dowline decisions, would be impacted. I needed to make my case. I did so in a manner that I thought was respectful. Oh, did I mention this person is senior to me in our organization? Did I also mention that she's a she?

To make a very long story short, the next day she basically scolded me like a mother would do, reading me a prepared list of statements, most of which revolved around the fact that she doesn't like to be challenged. She said she felt "attacked" - and that I had made her uncomfortable. I left the meeting feeling pretty low - as if I am now in a position to never disagree with her again for fear of making her feel attacked. Frankly, I think this is her issue. I have reviewed the exchange over and over in my mind and I don't know why she felt attacked other than I was disagreeing with her.

But, she did...and now I want to live on MARS!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm back...

Dear friends. Sorry for the long hiatus. I have had the "blogging blues" of late, but I think it's finally passed. Life can get so hectic and busy and it's easy to lose yourself in it.

I am lost no more. I am found.

There've been so many events since I last blogged, and I missed the opportunity to rant about some amazing political junk. Here's the shorthand of where I've been...

  • Trip to chicago with my girlfriends (we affectionately call ourselves the "church ladies" because that's where we all met) to a politcal fundraiser. Guest speaker was Valerie Plame - amazing story - and special unnanounced guest was Michelle Obama
  • Kaitlyn turned 16 on May 22nd. Got her license that day. Dinged up the car pulling out of the garage 3 days later. Over $1000 damage!!
  • Kaitlyn held her "Koncert for Kenya" to fundraise for her trip to Kenya next month. It was basically a flop...but a very fun flop! We just barely covered our expenses...
  • Kelsey and Kaitlyn left for Australia to visit their dad the day after the concert, June 8th. They come home today. We've had a wonderful two weeks being mom and dad (Nonna and Papa) to Kaden. He's so much fun. Oh to be 2 again!!!
  • Through all of that, I continue to be sick with something. I'm on my third round of anti-biotics. I'm hoping to start feeling back to 100% soon!

That's it in a nutshell - just wanted to catch everyone up on my life. I'll be back to my semi-introspective blogging and political ranting soon! I hope I haven't lost you all, and that you'll come back with me on my journey!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I am a verb

We are taught that human beings are nouns. A person/place/thing. A living object. But a thing; not an action. As the days of my life transpire, and expire, I see in retrospect that we are verbs, not nouns at all. Life is a process of learning, changing, growing, acting. With all those "ing" words, how can we be a noun?

At no other time in my life have I understood this as deeply as I do today. I've had the great priviledge this week to play "mommie" to my beloved grandson whilst Kelsey is on a tour with her college choir. There's something so profound about young children. They have an ability far beyond their years to shape one's perspective on life. Looking at this face, you can't help but see only the good in humans, only the pure and innocent.

I have been so blessed by his presence in my life. He is a gift in every sense of the word. On October 26th, 2005, my then 16 year old daughter told me she was pregnant. What ensued was life changing indeed. Such a major life decision lay ahead and all I could do was guide her and provide support. As she pondered her options, termination/adoption/keep the baby, I pondered what life might be like under each cirmcustance. I made it clear that it had to be her choice. I have always supported abortion rights because I don't believe it's a government's place to be. But inside I was tormented that she may choose to terminate the pregnancy. However, I would support her through whatever choice she made. She choose abortion. She called Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, made an appointment, got the paperwork filled out. Through it all, I tried to be supportive and help her through it.

The day before we were going to take the drive to St. Paul she came to me and said she didn't think she could go through with it. We sat down and talked out her other options. She wanted to keep the baby. To this day, I wonder if she thought it might give her an "in" back with her ex-boyfriend? I don't know, but somewhere along her way to motherhood, my baby grew up. She stood at that fork in the road and made the right decision, and continues to make the right decisions. Kelsey is now enrolled in college, Kaden lives on campus with her in single parent dorms. She's become an amazing mother to Kaden, dare I say a better mother than I was as a new mom.

On May 9th, Kaden will turn 2. Tempus fugit. As I reflect on the last two years, I see this bright glow that he has brought to my life. Spiritually speaking, I believe that before we incarnate here in life, we create a plan for our lives with major life choices to help us learn lessons for spiritual growth. There's no doubt in my mind that this was one of those learning moments from which I have grown so much. And there's no doubt in my mind that Kelsey and I made the right decision. Her, for deciding to keep the baby. Me, for deciding to support her through it. And somewhere deep in my soul I feel a connection to him. I feel as though I've been waiting for him to come and be here with me. I feel as if this were meant to be and that I'm reunited with an old friend. Here's a couple of videos for you to enjoy.

So, although my body is old and broken, being a verb is the only way to enjoy my life with him and all of my precious family. Go be a verb with yours and lavish in every minute of it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


My new cyber-friend over at the Skin I'm In posted this cute little karma test. Many of you know that my spiritual beliefs aren't traditional, and I've been thinking a lot lately about blogging about it more. I've been reading many other bloggers and engaging in very interesting dialogue. It's fascinating, really.

Anyway, being that so many of my spiritual beliefs are based in buddhism, I thought I'd take the silly little Karma test. For many of the sections it was obvious what the "right" answer was, but I resisted the temptation to fill in what I wanted my answer to be. I was happy that for the most part I believe I am in balance with my beliefs.

However, I called it a silly little test because to someone who has studied this stuff a little bit it's also a little disappointing. I know it's just for fun and kicks, and that's all I tried to take away from it, but it does distort the concept of Karma somewhat. For one thing, there are four stages of enlightenment in buddhist karmic beliefs - none of them simply called "enlightenment." The concept of Karma is actually a complex matter that can't be boiled down to a simple online test. But - hey - it was just for kicks, right? So, I'm not going to get my undies in a bunch about it, and I'm just going to have fun knowing that some silly little internet test thinks I'm enlightended! HA!

Julia, Your Karmic Alignment is: Enlightenment!


Score: 25 You have a lot of positive karma, and have good intentions in life. People would normally characterize you with being a kind, sensitive giving person. Remember that by creating positive karma seeds, they will soon blossom. If you work hard enough it is capable to gain enlightenment, and maintain inner peace.

Golf is backwards!

My 15yr old daughter joined the golf team. Golf, I tell you! I don't know SQUAT about golf! It's not exactly a spectator sport, at least not in my eyes.

Last night she had her first golf meet. In the cold, drizzly, rain. YUCK.

My theory is that it must have something to do with boys. It must give her an "in" with the boys? Beats me - but I can't understand the draw...

We picked her up from the meet and I asked who won? She had no idea. So, I stayed up late to watch the local sports on the news. Century High - 219, Lourdes - 212. Yeah, Century won. I was excited that I could tell her that in the morning.

As we drove to school I completely forgot to tell her. Pulling away from the curb I remembered, so I pulled out my phone and called her:

Kaitlyn: "What? You just dropped me off!"

Me: "I forgot to tell you that your team won last night. 219 to 212"
Kaitlyn: "Oh, AWESOME! Thanks Mom, thanks so much for calling! Thats so great!"
I hung up, and my husband who is a golfer said "Who had the 219?"

"Century! Didn't you hear me? I said they won!"

He looked at me with that look. You know the one. That look like you are the dumbest person on the world and he is hysterically laughing on the inside! I knew right away something was wrong. And then I rememembered it. Golf is backwards!

Me: ring, ring, ring "Kaitlyn!"

Kaitlyn: "Mom - you just called me, now what?"

Me: "I was wrong. I forgot that the higher the score in golf, the worse. I'm sorry honey - you guys lost last night"

Kaitlyn: "Oh My God MOM!"

Click. She hung up.


Friday, April 4, 2008

A teacher of all people

Would he be proud of our society today? Would he be discouraged? Would he delight in the impact he had on our country, or lament his time was cut short?

He cried out that he had a glimpse of the "promiseland" - is this it? Are we close? Or do we sadly have miles and miles to go?

On this, the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's assassination, I pause to honor him, his ideals, and his efforts on behalf of all mankind. I would like to believe if I had been old enough during his time here that I would have marched next to him as a white person. I would like to believe I would have assumed his cause as mine as the right and just thing to do.

But, would I have had the courage? Would you?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Intolerant of Intolerance

I've had a couple weeks to ruminate over Obama's now famous "Philadelphia" speech. I was home sick that day and saw it live. I knew when I was watching it that it was special, and over the last couple weeks it's been on my mind on and off every day.

It's sad, but true: There is a racial divide in this country. We all know it's there, our society dances around it. The time for pussyfooting around it has finally past. Obama may have had to respond to the Rev. Wright situation, but the speech he gave finally puts it out there. The time for honest dialogue has arrived. Based on the several opinions in various papers I've read over the last two weeks - I'd say the dialogue has started.

I'll leave you with my thoughts about racism. It's our jobs as parents to teach our children that differences skin color, facial features, etc, do not matter. It's what's inside a person, the quality of their character, that truly matters. But, I think my thoughts are best summed up by a song from one of my favorite musicals - South Pacific:

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Potty Partners?

OK! Now I've heard it all! Have you heard about "potty partners"? I guess it's the new rage in potty training your toddler.

My daughter called last night to tell me that my fantabulous grandson, who isn't even 2 yet, used the potty at daycare yesterday for the first time! The conversation went like this:

Mama: "Mom! GUESS WHAT!?!?!"

Nonna: "What?"

Mama: "Kaden used the potty at daycare today!"

Nonna: "What?! That crazy, he's not even two!"

Mama: "That's not that young for potty training"

Nonna: "Are you kidding? You were nearly 3 1/2 when you finally started"

Mama: "Kaden has a potty partner, maybe that helped him start earlier"

Nonna: "A POTTY PARTNER? What the heck is that?"

Mama: "It's where they pair a younger toddler with one who is already mostly potty trained. The concept is that they will learn quicker from a peer."

Nonna: "OH MY GOD! They're using peer pressure to get them to use the potty earlier now? What will they think of next?"

Mama: "It's a big deal - you can google it - everyone is doing it, and it really works!"

Nonna: "I guess it does. Maybe I just caught on late - I didn't want a potty partner until I was about 13, and ever since then it seems if I'm with a group of gals we always have to go together!"


I'M BACK from the pneumonia and feeling better everyday, and just in time. I'm performing in two concerts this weekend. On Saturday I'm singing with the Rochester Symphony in the Mozart Requiem (one of my favorites!), and then on Sunday the orchestra I play in, the Mayo Chamber Orchestra, is giving their final concert of the season. It's been an incredibly hectic February and March. I've had something going on nearly every night of every week. I'm happily looking forward to no more rehearsals for a while and just relaxing when I come home from work.

Oh, and did I mention we're trying to sell our house? No, we're not leaving Rochester, but I'm tired of having two mortgages and since we haven't been able to sell our other house (a rental), we decided to try and sell the one we built 4 years ago. Here's a link to the listing if you are curious about what my house looks like (or know someone who wants to buy it!)

I've been watching the politics closely with disgust and musing and surprise - all the while ranting quite a bit at home about it. I'm sure once I'm through this weekend, I'll be back to ranting online about it again.

While I was out sick, I've had several emails from friends that I had no idea were even reading my blog! What a nice surprise. Please leave me comments, I love knowing you're reading...

That's it for my catching up blog today. Hopefully I'll be back at it more regularly!

thanks for reading (and commenting!) jg

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Under the weather...

Sorry I've been absent of late - first it was a sinus infection, then last week a horrible cough crept up on me. Yesterday the doctor said I had pneumonia! No wonder I felt so crappy.

So - two days at home, barely paying attention to work and emails, and I'm starting to feel back in the land of the living! And to inspire me further in life was this incredible speech I watched on CNN today. I really admire this man...


That's all for now - back to my sick bed - so that I can be completely back in the game tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ferraro's Fiasco

Who is she fooling? Does she really think we're THAT stupid? I'm referring to the outrageous claim by Geraldine Ferraro that her Obama remarks were not racist. Oh, I'm sure she doesn't think they are - but they are! Therein lies the true challenge in defeating racism in our world today...people don't truly understand that a comment like this is not simply an "observation of fact" as some people would have you believe, or as she would have you believe - a compliment!

For those of you who don't know precisely what she said, here it is: "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

The insinuation that Obama wouldn't be where he is today if he were not black is an affront to the democratic party, and indeed to all citizens who work so hard for diversity causes and equality. It's also an affront to the man, Obama, who has built a reputation and career based on the quality of his character and conscience and not the color of his skin! Her comments are an attempt to diminish his candidacy by alluding that he is benefiting because of his race. I loved Obama's response, he said the quickest and easiest path to the presidency is certainly NOT being a black man named Barack Obama!

Why, oh why, can't people just look at the man for who he is, regardless of race. Why can't they look at his 20 years of public service, his brilliant ideas for how to restore our country to greatness, his love for this country and it's people. Why can't it be about his ideas and his vision for our future. Why does it have to be about race? I wouldn't be ranting if she'd made a derogatory comment about his policies - but this? Unbelievable!

And, here's the kicker-me-in-the-gut blow that I felt when I heard about it - it came from someone who should know better! I was a huge supporter of hers in the 1984 election. I think I was the only person in all of San Diego County who wore a Mondale/Ferraro shirt and spoke openly of my support for the ticket. Shame on your Geraldine! Would you have taken it as a compliment in 1984 if someone had said the only reason you were where you are was because you were a woman? How ridiculous!

Now, I'm not stupid enough to think that race won't play a role in this years election, it will, I acknowledge that. But people have to resist the urge to judge Obama based on it. I was further incensed when I heard Geraldine trying to explain it away as a compliment to Obama and his race. I'm insulted that she believes we'd fall for that! She is one of Hillary's TOP supporters. Do you honestly think she's going to intentionally say something in support of Hillary's rival??? It just infuriates me that she debases us further by trying to wiggle her way out of it with platitudes and insincerities. Sheesh!

And, for those of you who don't know me - I'm not black, I'm a middle aged, mid-western white mother of 2, and grandmother of 1!

Vote your conscience, not your color!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ethical Wills...

A while ago in church our minister's topic was that of "Ethical/Spiritual Wills." What's that, you say? It's actually a pretty neat idea, you can get all sorts of info on the web about them. Basically, it's the act of documenting your ethical and spiritual beliefs - your life's lessons learned - for your descendants.

All of my grandparents are passed, but my dad's parents both passed when I was fairly young, so I didn't get to know them as well as I did my mom's parents, the last of whom passed just two years ago. I carry with me today some of their wisdom passed down from my father, but I have to say I would love it if today I could open a diary and read what was really in their hearts, not just the cute sayings like - my favorite is "Hunger makes a great sauce" (a true child of the depression)!

I may work on one for my children and all their descendants, but for now I just have to ponder some gems from what some infamous people's ethical wills would look like....

Snippets from Anna Nicole Smith's ethical will:
..."Use condoms"
..."Silicone is a wonder drug"

Snippets from Gov. Eliot Spitzer's ethical will:
..."always pay in cash, don't bicker about price, and use a fake name"

Snippets from Michael Jackson's ethical will:
..."Babies can fly, really they can!!!!"

Snippets from Bill Clinton's ethical will:
..."Fight for gender equality, a man can be 'First Lady' too!"

Snippets from Brittany Spears's ethical will:
..."I know I sucked as a mom...get over it!"

Snippets from former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper's ethical will:
..."Charter your own boat and don't invite your friends!"

Snippets from Pres. Bush's ethical will:
..."a lie, repeated ad nauseam, is the truth"

Snippets from Barry Bonds's ethical will:
..."Do what it takes!"

Think about it...I'll bet you can come up with some gems to pass along!