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!