Friday, October 31, 2008

Mel update

Mel is back home. She can't eat *real* food for like a week, which totally freaked me out. If my docs said I couldn't eat for a week, I would be dans l'hopital. She can drink stuff, but that's about it. It would be IV fluids for me!
Anyway, apparently some pill she was taking for the cellulitis on her leg got caught in her esophagus and didn't dissolve, leading to a very, very irritated esophagus. 
(Mel tends to have very odd things happen to her.) So after the test today, and once she could eat "food" (which probably meant clears, such as jello and broth--the joy!) she was sent home (much to dad's relief because he HATES hospital weekends. Hates them. Not that anyone really likes them as it is.). I would imagine she'll be at home until she can actually eat. 
So another medical mystery solved.

In my world,  I am NOT HAPPY with the new triglyceride drug that Dr. A has put me on. It's some "N" drug (I forget what it's full name is, and I'm not going to go turn all the lights back on to check, LOL) that, apparently, is NOT doing it's job, because my triglycerides are only down a little bit. 

This drug is a drug that has "instructions", which I hate. That means you have to take it at a certain time, with a certain food, with a certain drink. OK  FINE.
But even if you do all that, you will still get what the med sheet calls "flushing" of the skin. 
You would think that means you just feel warm, right?
No. 
Warm I could handle. 
What this is feels like a full-body sunburn, complete with a very, very itchy rash. If my skin wasn't red before, it is now because I am scratching like mad.
The thing that REALLY annoys me? I took this drug three hours ago. 
Now it's Friday night, so it doesn't really matter too much if I get to bed late (I cannot, cannot sleep when this is happening). But during the work week? Yeah, sort of matters. And it had to be taken "before bed" so I'm sort of screwed. You have to drink milk with it--I drink tons, which really isn't great for me, because it clogs up everything and I just don't prefer it. And STILL this happens. If I had long nails I'd probably be bleeding. 
It also makes me super tired, which isn't good for anything else, because all I want to do when I go home is sleep. Not cool when I have ballet, parish council, choir, and, oh yeah--work. 
So I will call the powers that be on Monday. My next appointment isn't for three weeks, so I want to deal with this NOW. 
OK Medical Rant done. :) 












Thursday, October 30, 2008

Very quickly

Mel has been admitted to Mount Carmel here in Columbus due to the cellulitis on her leg. She is very susceptible to odd things, and, to make it even more fun, she's allergic to just about every major class of drugs (stuff like basic penicillin). So that makes treating her for anything very tricky. 

Hopefully she won't be in there long. But blogging may be light. 

Prayers please!

Poetry Thursday V

That night when joy began--W.H. Auden

That night when joy began
Our narrowest veins to flush,
We wait for the flash 
Of morning's level gun. 

But morning let us pass,
And day by day relief
Outgrows his nervous laugh,
Grown credulous of peace,

As mile by mile is seen
No trespasser's reproach,
And love's best classes reach
No fields are best his own. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PSA: Vaccines!

OK everyone, listen up:

Please, for the love of all mankind, especially us immuno-suppressed ones: 
GET A FLU SHOT. 

Please? For you, the flu might be a pain. But for someone with a suppressed immune system, it can be horrible. The flu kills kids and adults every year--normal kids and adults. 
I work in an office with 6 other people. If one of them gets sick, then all of us are exposed to it, but they can probably handle it better than I can. I don't want to miss weeks of work and have to stay in the Resort because someone didn't get a flu shot!

This applies to other vaccines, too (except for HPV, which isn't transferrable in any way other than---sex). Please, please, please get yourself and your kids vaccinated. I know this is a hot topic, but "herd immunity" is not something I am prepared to take lightly. Kids might be fine getting measles, mumps, chicken pox. It can wreak havoc on others (like chicken pox in adults). 

Plenty of people are immuno-compromised, and you probably don't know it. People who have had transplants, who are getting chemo, etc. are all in this category. We can try our best to avoid large crowds of people and reduce our chances of getting sick. But we do have to work and be out Amongst You the rest of the time. 

So please, get vaccinated. You don't want the flu, do you? 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook



(with some editions from Elizabeth)

For TUESDAY, October 28, 2008 (yes, I'm late this week!)

Outside My Window...
The sky is a gunmetal gray, and the leaves are all gone, except for the bight scarlet ones on one tiny tree. 

I am thinking...
that it's a good day to read!

I am thankful for...
my friends

From the kitchen...
no idea. But I just got the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, so maybe some ideas from there. 

To live the liturgy...
Magnificat, daily Bible reading.

I am wearing...
a light pink sweater (with some brown undertones, so it's really like a dusty pink), a brown and cream checked skirt from Ann Taylor, brown tights and brown boots. 

I am creating...
new stories, new music. 

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and take it slow. 

Bringing beauty to my home ...
vacuuming. It never ends. 

I am going...
to stay awake! This weather makes me so sleepy. 

I am reading...
Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Bleak House (Dickens, which is really good, even if it is like 700 pages long!)

I am hoping...
for a good week.

I am hearing...
NOTHING because the CI battery died--AGAIN 

Around the house...
Vacuuming. Yeah, again. 

One of my favorite things...
sleeping. :) 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Wednesday: choir
Thursday: lunch with dad
Saturday: Outdoor Stations of the Cross
Sunday: 8:30 Mass, but it's more like 9:30! (thank you, DST!)

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
This is from Andrea and Tom's wedding on the 18th--I am the fourth from the left. Sean is on the left and Troy is on my right (over my shoulder). 
And yes, The Bride is sitting on a blanket and not the dirty bench!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dean

Dean Barnett, political writer for The Weekly Standard, radio personality, and CF-er, has died: 
Farewell to a Friend [From The Campaign Spot on NRO]
Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

I had been preparing for this news for a little while, since hearing the grim news about Dean Barnett's condition from Hugh Hewitt's producer Duane last week. But somehow I still thought Dean was going to surprise us all and pull through. He had done it before. Despite knowing the grim prognosis for the past week, I'm still stunned. He had written about his thick-as-chowdah Boston accent, but the first time I heard him when he was guest-hosting Hugh's show, I joked that I was going to need a translator. That could not have been that long ago... Dean was funny, and insightful, and witty, and even though we never crossed paths in person, it was easy to feel like you knew him. So much about him suggested he was one of those good guys the world needs more of.

He had made us laugh and made us think so many times since he started blogging back in 2004, that when he recently reentered the hospital, there was a palpable absence in the conversation about the campaign. I had already started to miss reading his take on the latest twists and turns of the campaign, and I don't think it's going to get any easier.

RIP, Dean. We are going to miss you something fierce.

UPDATE: I went back and checked. August. August, Dean was talking to me and other guests on the program as if nothing was wrong. Life can change so quickly, and so cruelly, sometimes. [emphasis mine]

Even more recently, at the end of September he and I exchanged e-mails laughing about something
It doesn't get any easier. 
If I hadn't survived my own ICU stint in October of '01, the last time most people would have seen me would have been at Capital's homecoming dance the night before. I was wearing a red velvet dress. My fiance and I were dancing, talking, laughing with my friends. A photographer took a picture of us on the dance floor (that one of my choir mates bought later, to give to me when I got back to school). In it, I'm pale, but I'm smiling radiantly. My fiance and I were in the middle of a dance. He's wearing a blue suit jacket and a blue and red striped tie. 
And for some people, that would've been the last time they saw me--in a red dress, dancing in the dining hall. I had just performed in our Homecoming concert two days ago. 
CF can go from good to bad to worst in a matter of days. It moves fast, and it moves without mercy. 
Dean had beaten the odds for so long--he was in his 40s when he died. 
One thing I know about having a terminal illness (because that's what CF is--even post-transplant) is that you "know" when things aren't going to turn out. At least, I always did. It can be so hard to fight the descent. And Dean tried many times. 
We need to find a cure for this. Now. It's not like cancer, where you can "survive" it. It's not a developmental disease, where you can have it and still live a long life. It will kill you. That's the very sobering fact. And too often, it will kill you too young. 
I know I am very, very fortunate. I want more people to be fortunate. I want CF to go the way of polio. I want kids to read about it in history books, not biology books. 
I want me and Tricia and Amber, and all the others, to live. 


Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm a believer

in the energy-efficient lightbulb. 

I was puttering around the house today and decided to change some lightbulbs that had gone out. I only had one lightbulb, though, for more than 1 lamp. So I decided to buy some more. 
I head to Kroger and notice that the "energy efficient" lightbulbs are marked down, and are plastered with stickers that say things like "good for 5 years!!" "will save $33!", etc. etc. 
So I buy a few, along with some regular bulbs. 
I love these crazy-looking things. 
case in point: My desk lamp. My desk is a computer desk that is sort of placed in a niche in my bedroom. It's a dark corner. I bought a "daylight" bulb that promised "fresh, clean light." 
Well, it delivered. This corner is now bathed in a lovely white light. It's so much easier to type when you're not squinting at the screen. 
So I'm a believer. Who would have thought? 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Movie with Mom

My mom and I have been spending a lot of time at the movies together lately. It's nice to spend time with mom (and parents in general) that don't involve medical madness.
Well, the first one did. 
On Tuesday I went over to the house for dinner--mom and I were going to see The Secret Life of Bees (one of the few books both of us have actually read). But first, we had to access The Port. 
Now the Port being mine, it has a mind of its own. Sometimes, it cooperates. Sometimes--not. 
Today was a "not" day. 
The House Rule is that we give it two tries before we call Polly at clinic and have her set something up with the Infusion Pros. 
First time--no go. It bled a lot, upon removal of the needle (which is not helpful). 
Second time (post dinner)--it finally worked, although it hurt like you-know-what. It was not a Happy Port. But we got a blood return, and that's all we need.
Anyway, after that, Mom and I went to the movie and had soda and Milk Duds. 
The movie itself was good (the book, of course is better), but I think you'll enjoy it more if you haven't read the book. Dakota Fanning is stellar as Lily--I actually cried during her scene with August in the bedroom. I never cry at movies. Never.  Paul Bettany, as Lily's dad T-Ray, is also wonderful (but he's wonderful in everything, the DaVinci Code excepted, of course). 

Last night, it was a cold, rainy, windy fall evening. Mom came over for pizza and we watched Signs, which neither of us had seen in awhile. That's one of my favorite movies, and now I want to watch Walk the Line and The Village and all sorts of other Joaquin Phoenix movies. 
(And watch Charlotte's Web and War of the Worlds for a Dakota Fanning fix)
We had to stop Signs at 7:00 for Jeopardy! though--of course! 

Fall and Winter are great times for these things--movies, games, pizza dinners. Indulge. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

And another thing...

We're supposed to get snow on Monday. 
That's right. Snow. 
On October 27. 

Not that this is unusual- when I was a kid, we would often have some sort of cold weather warning for Halloween. But it hasn't happened in a few years. 

ARGH!!!

I hate the bionic ear right now. 
HATE IT. 
I was at work, minding my business, and then, around 10:00, I hear...

the beep. 

Yes, the beep that alerts me to the fact that the current battery has about 15 minutes of life left in it before I am completely dependent on the 25% hearing that's left in my right ear for all sound. 

Yeehaw. 

Normally, I would just replace the battery. But the other battery, for some reason, has decided Not To Charge anymore. So I have one decent battery. Which is now charging beside me--at home. 

Sigh. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Awesome

Out of the 6 inhabitable continents, I have readers in all but Africa and South America. 
Thanks guys!
I feel cool now. :) 

ballet update

So tonight recap: 

--piles
--sous-sous with pile, tendu combinations
--petit and grand battement en croix (meaning we did them to the front, to the side and to the back)
--fourth position piles, etc.
--releves (of course! I have finally figured them out, I think. Lean forward a bit, and think down to go up)
--Center work: chasses dessus and chasses, petit battment en croix (except without the bar!)
--Reverence (how each ballet class ends)

I'm sure we did more than that, but that's what I remember. 

Poetry Thursday IV

To counter last week's poem...

"Leda's Sister and the Geese"--Katharyn Howd Machan

All the boys always wanted her, do
it was no surprise about the swan--
man, god, whatever he was. That day

I was stuck at home, as usual, while
she got to moon around the lake
supposedly picking lilies for dye. Think I

would have let some pair of wings catch me,
bury me under the weight of the sky? 
She came home whimpering, whined out

the whole story, said she was "sore afraid"
she'd got pregnant. Hunh. "Sore"
I'll bet, the size she describe, and

pregnant figures: no guess who'll get 
to help her with that kid, or Hera forbid, 
more than one (twins run in our damned

family). "Never you mind, dear," Mother said. 
"Your sister will take on your chores."
Sure. As though I wasn't already doing

twice as many of my own. So now 
I clean, I spin, I weave, I bake,
fling crusts to feed the birds I wish

to Hades every day; while she sits smug
in a wicker chair, and eats sweetmeats,
and combs and combs that ratty golden hair. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Tricia

news here
Looks like it's surgical biopsy time...
I almost had to have one of those, in October of 2006 (I think). We saw something strange and went in to bronch it, and it it didn't give us readable results we would have called in the Wonderful Dr. G (my surgeon) to do a better biopsy. As much as I love him, I didn't really want to see him again. 

Keep praying for them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wedding



ABOVE: Me and Tiff at the reception (and the jewelry? The bride made it. Yeah, she's like super-woman.)

BELOW: Me and Branden on the dance floor ("Unchained Melody"). Sean, the roving photog, took this picture. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook




(with some editions from Elizabeth)

For MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2008

Outside My Window...
The sun is setting, and the trees' few remaining leaves are golden and green. 

I am thinking...
that I need to get out of this funk. 

I am thankful for...
my friends. 

From the kitchen...
spaghetti

To live the liturgy...
Magnificat, Rosary, daily Bible reading.

I am wearing...
an orange ("pumpkin", technically) sweater and brown checked pants. 

I am creating...
not a whole lot. Need to work on that.

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and realize that everything's OK. 

Bringing beauty to my home ...
digging out the apartment after a crazy weekend. 

I am going...
to try to be positive. 

I am reading...
Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Pride and Prejudice, and just finished Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy. 

I am hoping...
for good news. 

I am hearing...
the clock ticking. 

Around the house...
Vacuuming. 

One of my favorite things...
reading.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Tuesday: Secret Lives of Bees
Wednesday: choir
Thursday: ballet class, lab work at lunch
Sunday: Faith Sharing Group

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
(see next post!)


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Auditions

Today were auditions for "The Resort's" Pleasure Guild Production of "Beauty and the Beast." Pleasure Guild raises money for Children's Hospice program.

It went OK. I thought I did well. I sang "Send In The Clowns", and didn't stop or forget my words, like some people did. The accompanist was fine--he was a bit off for some people (and looked JUST LIKE Bill Gates, I swear). There were about 70 people there and probably only 25 will be cast, so the odds are a wee bit long.


Callbacks are on Nov.2 (in two weeks) and I would imagine the cast list would go up that week.

So nothing to do now but wait...
I feel like I did my best, and that's all one can really do in an audition. They either like you, or they don't.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ode to Mel

Today is my little sister's nineteenth birthday.
nineteenth.
Yikes!
When she was born, I was in second grade, doing a reading quiz and making paper skeletons in Miss Huth's class.
After I got out of school that dad, Dad took me and Bryan to see her.
I got to hold her--the pictures have me with my long blonde hair in braids, tied with white yarn ribbons, and a goofy smile on my face. I'm still in my school jumper.

Now Mel is a nursing student at Capital, a flute/piccolo/piano player, occasional actress, and a super-fun kid (who really, really likes to take pictures).

Love you Mel!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poetry Thursday III

"Leda and the Swan"--William Butler Yeats

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast. 

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush, 
But feel the strange heat beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning rood and tower
And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put in his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whoa buddy!!!

Look, I like John McCain.
But DO NOT EVER, EVER, EVER put "cosmetic surgery" and "transplants" in the same sentence!!!!

ARGH!!!

One is...um...optional.
One is...NOT.

My skin graft on my right arm may have counted as "cosmetic", but I doubt it, since, you know, without it the risk of infection was sky high.

face lifts? Liposuction? That is SO not the same.

"Hey, can we stop the motorcade?"



"The baby needs some diapers."

Feast Day: St. Teresa of Avila

Elizabeth has this up over at her blog, and I stole it, because I love it:

It is most important that we have this [love for one another], for there is nothing annoying that is not suffered easily by those who love one another...If this commandment were observed in the world as it should be, I think such love would be very helpful for the observationce of the other commandments."

I would counsel those who practice prayer to seek, at least in the beginning, friendship and association with other persons having the same interest. This is something most important even though the association may be only help one another with prayers."

"Be gentle to all and stern with yourself."

"The soul is much more more than we can imagine, and the sun that is in this royal chamber shines in all parts. It is very important for any soul that practices prayer, whether little or much , not to hold itself back and stay in one corner."

"Pain is never permanent."

"God has been very good to me, for I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always see some other virtue in that person."

"Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices."

"To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that."

"To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience."

"We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us."

"We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God; for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble."

"When you suffer often, praise God that He is beginning to teach you this virtue of patience and strive to endure...He gives it to you, and you do not possess it save as though on deposit."

"There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers."

"I complained to Him for consenting that I should suffer so many torments. But his suffering was well repaid, for almost always the favors afterward came in great abundance. I only think that the soul comes out of the crucible like gold, more refined and purified, so as to see the Lord within itself."

"It is here, my daughters, that love is to be found - not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater."

In spite of all her wisdom she asked the angel: How can this be? but after he answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you; the power of the Most High will overshadow you, she engaged in no further discussion. As one who had such great faith and wisdom, she understood at once that if these two intervened, there was nothing more to know or doubt."

"Let us look at our own faults and leave aside those of others, for it is very characteristic of persons with such well-ordered lives to be shocked by everything."

"Mutual love is so important that I would never want it to be forgotten. The soul could lose its peace and even disturb the peace of others by going about looking at trifling things in people."

More on Tricia

Not happy news: 

Tricia's PET Scan (Monday morning) shows that the chemo has done very little to affect her PTLD, and, in fact, some of the spots in her lungs have grown, and the lymphoma has possibly spread to a lymph node in her chest (outside of her lungs). They are stopping the current R-CHOP treatment, since it is obviously not doing her any good, and performed another biopsy on Tuesday morning.

That is literally all we know at this point. We arrived home late last night. We should hear back from Duke later this week about what the biopsy shows and what they recommend next.

We are very discouraged as we very distinctly recall the cancer doc telling us a few months ago, "If this treatment doesn't work, Tricia is in serious trouble..."



Keep praying for them!

More on Tricia

Not happy news: 

Tricia's PET Scan (Monday morning) shows that the chemo has done very little to affect her PTLD, and, in fact, some of the spots in her lungs have grown, and the lymphoma has possibly spread to a lymph node in her chest (outside of her lungs). They are stopping the current R-CHOP treatment, since it is obviously not doing her any good, and performed another biopsy on Tuesday morning.

That is literally all we know at this point. We arrived home late last night. We should hear back from Duke later this week about what the biopsy shows and what they recommend next.

We are very discouraged as we very distinctly recall the cancer doc telling us a few months ago, "If this treatment doesn't work, Tricia is in serious trouble..."



Keep praying for them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stupid nerves

OK, this is stupid. 
And probably petty. 
But this blog is, generally, about my life post-transplant, and this is what I'm thinking right now. So here we go. 
I'm worried about my upcoming theater audition. 
Not because I'l ill-prepared--I've done everything I need to do. 
I have a resume. 
I have a photo. 
I have a 16 bar piece that I know like the back of my hand, and that I know I sing well. 
So, in theory, I am prepared. 
But--it's an audition and the outcome is really not dependent upon me. 
You know? 
I know a lot of other people trying out, and they are good. They are excellent actors, singers, dancers. I am quite positive that they will be cast. 
As for myself? Not so sure. There are only so many people that can be, y'know. 
And yeah, I've read all the audition stuff about how not getting cast isn't a reflection on talent, yada yada yada.
This is the addictive thing about theater.
When I was doing J&H I talked to my friend Jay about this. He was mentioning that he'd gotten a little bit part as the orderly in Act I, which included some solo lines. But he mentioned he wouldn't mind getting other things to do. 
I called that the "nature of the beast." For example: I was in the chorus, and I was thrilled. But then you want a solo line. Or a bit part. Or something. And if you're not careful that can ruin the whole experience. 
(Eventually we both did get "other things to do"--he and I were in "Alive!" together, I had group lines in "Murder, Murder!", etc.) 

It's so ridiculous, and yet we keep on doing it. 
That's one reason it's tough to get back into auditioning, because it's that whole "what if I don't make it" thing? 
Which, in the context of my life, SHOULD be fairly minor. I mean, come on. Let's get real here. Right?

I get the feeling I'm just rambling. But this is part of the whole post-tx life, I think. You get nervous about things that normal people get nervous about. And then you berate yourself for being nervous about something that's so small, in the context of your life. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kitchen notes

Over this long weekend I have been dabbling in my kitchen. Fall, winter and spring are the times I really like to do this. Summer can be too hot here in Ohio, so mostly my meals then are simple salads or dinners with my friends. 

But with the onslaught of autumn and the great produce I find weekly at the North Market, my culinary interests are budding again. 

Yesterday I dug out my copy of the Book Club Cookbook that I received for Christmas a few years ago (via Barnes and Noble gift card). For someone like me, who loves cooking and reading, this is a perfect blend. The book has recipes for some favorite dishes from novels--ambrosia from To Kill A Mockingbird; a trifle from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; honey cake from The Secret Lives of Bees (a fantastic recipe!), and others. There's also the Jane Austen classic Negus--spiced wine--that I must try when it gets cold this winter!

To date, I'd only made the honey cake for a New Year's Eve dinner, since honey and New Year's are often paired. On Sunday, I made Griet's Vegetable Soup, adapted from the novel Girl With a Pearl Earring (which I love). The first time I read the book, I was 19 and my cousin Cheryl had invited me to her book club meeting in Vienna, VA. We were staying with her family for a week, touring Washington, and generally catching up with a side of the family we don't see very often. 

Cheryl has three kids and has a degree in architecture. I felt like I was going to a very grown-up and exclusive gathering (exclusive might be the right word--there was wine and perrier for beverage choices. I'd never had perrier before.). As I made the soup, I remembered curling up in one of their big leather chairs and reading the novel, kids and dogs running around and a beautiful Virginia day outside. 

The soup was also the first time I'd worked with leeks or turnips. Leeks, to my surprise, turned out to be just like celery, except bigger. I cut off the top and bottom, soaked the remainder for 15 minutes (to loosen any grit or sand, even though I saw them being washed at the stall), and then chopped them up. 

The turnips were another story. The produce stall didn't have regular turnips, so I bought two Japanese ones. These are bright purple, with roots and who knows what else, at the tops and bottoms. So first I trimmed them. Then I peeled them. That was a bit difficult--the thick purple skin took about three passes to get off completely. Then I chopped them. I don't know how anxious I am to work with these particular turnips again. 

But, the soup was divine. Wonderfully seasoned, warm, filling and healthy! It made two extra quart containers, one of which is in my freezer, and the other I gave to my parents. Soup is such a great winter meal--take it out of the freezer, extract from container, and heat. Mmmmm. 

Right now I am making meat sauce. I had an extra carrot left over from the soup, so I decided to turn it into meat sauce. The recipe I use has 1 lb. meat, extra-virgin olive oil, 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 3-4 garlic cloves, along with 3 cans diced tomatoes and oregano, thyme and rosemary. It's all simmering away right now and will be great to have when it's cold and I'm out of Prego (my bottled sauce of choice). 

If you have a favorite fall recipe, post it in the comments!

The Simple Woman's Daybook




(with some editions from Elizabeth)

For MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2008

Outside My Window...
It is brilliantly sunny, and the trees are now a rich golden color, with a few green leaves still hanging on. 

I am thinking...
that I love days off. 

I am thankful for...
my family. 

From the kitchen...
meat sauce!

To live the liturgy...
Magnificat, Rosary, daily Bible reading.

I am wearing...
Gap body PJ pants and a white tank top (yes I just got up...oh...about 45 minutes ago!)

I am creating...
my novel--I will be adding to it today. 

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and enjoy Fall. 

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Mom is coming over to help me organize and throw things away (one of her favorite things) 

I am going...
to enjoy today and see what it brings. 

I am reading...
Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Rediscovering Catholicism (Matthew Kelly), Pride and Prejudice, Bee Season (Myra Goldberg)

I am hoping...
for a great week. 

I am hearing...
the clock ticking. 

Around the house...
Vacuuming. 

One of my favorite things...
fall!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Tuesday: Dinner with Karen
Wednesday: Choir
Thursday: Ballet, bachelorette party for Andrea!
Friday: Andrea and Tom's rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
Saturday: Andrea and Tom's Wedding!
Sunday: Choir, Beauty and the Beast Audition!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This week is Mel's 19th birthday!! This was after her high school graduation in May

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dean update

From HotAir:

Earlier this week, I wrote about Dean Barnett’s current struggle with cystic fibrosis and how it landed him in the ICU. I asked for prayers, and we got a tremendous response from Hot Air readers. I’ve also seen how much concern bloggers have for Dean in the repeated requests for updates on his condition, but until this evening, I just hadn’t heard anything.

Duane Patterson e-mailed me a little earlier this evening with an update he received on Dean’s status, which sounds a little more optimistic than we’d previously heard:

Dean still in fragile state on a breathing machine in ICU. He is very willful and is fighting hard – the doctors are so impressed with him. His downward spiral stopped on Thursday, and we hope that with the continued prayers he will turn a corner this week end. He is in and out of consciousness.

Let’s keep those prayers coming for Dean and his family

Jane=happiness

From today's Happiness Project

Happiness quotation from Jane Austen.

From the novel Emma:

“Miss Bates…had never boasted either beauty or cleverness. Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle of life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeavour to make a small income go as far as possible. And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will. It was her own universal goodwill and contented temper which worked such wonders. She loved every body, was interested in every body’s happiness and quick-sighted to every body’s merits; thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother and so many good neighbours and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing. The simplicity and cheerfulness of her nature, her contented and grateful spirit, were a recommendation to every body and a mine of felicity to herself.” --Jane Austen

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Culture Cat: Dracula




First, full disclosure: I love Dracula
It might be my favorite ballet ever. 
Last night (opening night) I saw it at the Capitol Theater in the Riffe Center for the third time (I saw it in 2006 and 2007). While each outing has been superb, last night's was truly sublime, a perfect marriage of cast, choreography, story and emotion. 
The three leads--Dracula (Jimmy Orrante, the original Dracula), Mina (Jaime Dee) and Lucy (Carrie West) I have seen perform their roles before. But last night they were beyond perfect. They truly embodied their roles to the point of brilliance. Dracula and Mina's aching beautiful pas de deux in the second act is the high point of the evening. The ballet, as a whole, is very athletic, but here Mina actually supports Dracula and leads him in several places, demonstrating the evolution of gender roles that Stoker plants in his novel. Last night I didn't want the number to end. 
Carrie West as Lucy transforms from coquettish society girl to uninhibited vampire brilliantly, especially in the engagement party scene, where she arrives with her hair loose and wild and in a bright scarlet dress. 
One of the other notable things about this ballet is the number of male leads. There's Dracula, of course, but also: Jonathan Harker (danced by Bryan Jenkins), Mina's fiance and later husband; Dr. Jack Seward (Adam Hundt), the sanatorium doctor and failed suitor of Lucy; Renfield (Jeff Wolfe), Seward's patient and Dracula victim/crony, and Dr. Van Helsing (Hisham Omardien), the "scientist of the new century" who leads the men in the fight against Dracula. 
All of them, particular Jenkins, who is new to BalletMet, were wonderful in their athletic dancing and emotional range.
My favorite male dancer, however, was Jackson Sarver, who danced Lord Arthur Holmswood, Lucy's finace. Sarver, who has been with the company for five years, did the best job of the night. When he first enters he  is a confident lover, who proposes to Lucy and is accepted with joy. The next time we see him, he is startled by his love's transformation at the hands of Dracula. At the end of Act I, he falls into despair as Lucy dies before him. He was brilliant to watch, both in his dancing and his acting abilities. In Act II, his love for Lucy is so strong that he rejoices to see her undead form in the crypt; yet he finds the strength to finally kill her.  I was entranced by his performance from beginning to end. 
West and Dee are my two favorite female dancers at BalletMet, and both of them do wonderful jobs with this material. I imagine that since they have danced these roles so often that they are comfortable with the choreography and can give themselves over to the emotion of the story. Last night was the best I had ever seen them. 
If you get a chance you simply must see this production. It runs through October 18 (next Saturday) and then BalletMet will be retiring it from their active repertoire (but not forever, I hope!). It is a wonderful experience for both veteran dance fans, and serves as a wonderful introduction to our fabulous company for novices. 

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A picky CF person note :)

OK kats and kittens, CF education time!
One does not have an "attack" of CF like one has a "attack" of asthma. 
One has a "flare up."
CF is always, in a sense, "attacking." So when you are admitted or need a clean out, then it's "flaring up."
Capise? 

Guess what?

Tonight is Ballet Class Night!
Yes, after a long hiatus (J&H, weddings, etc.) I am back to the ballet studio. 
New leotard ready to go--but I do need new technique shoes, since they still have stuff from the HDHS stage all over them. :) 

Poetry Thursday II

"On His Blindness"--John Donne

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wife,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bend
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?" 
I fondly ask, But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his owngifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
is Kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who stand and wait. 

Another CF-er to pray for

Dean Barnett   [Mark Steyn]

Keep Dean Barnett in your prayers tonight. Dean is one of our comrades over at The Weekly Standard, and the regular guest host of The Hugh Hewitt Show, and in both capacities is one of the sharpest commentators on this year's election. He's also one of the least deluded citizens in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Dean is in the ICU with a bad cystic fibrosis attack. We wish him well, and hope to see him back on the frontlines very soon.

(this was taken from the Corner)

Why does everyone get sick in October??? The worst bout I ever had--when I was in the ICU for 13 days--was in October. That's when the CF conference is, and when 99% of CF doctors are away from their hospitals (this year it's in Orlando). Why, why, WHY does this happen?  (The getting sick I mean--not the conference). 

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bookshelf: Render Unto Caesar

This is going to be an unusual bookshelf. 
I loved this book so much that, instead of reviewing it, I'm going to put some choice excerpts here. And yes, if these are "choice" excerpts, then you know the whole thing is really worth reading. 

These are widely diverse and cover a bunch of topics, so don't be surprised at the seeming "randomness". 

  • " 'The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic book.'" (quoting J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • " 'What is morally indefensible can never contribute to the good of the people.'"
  • "We need to be more zealous in our faith, not more discreet; clearer in our convictions, not muddier; and more Catholic, not less." 
  • "We will never build God's kingdom here on earth. When people have messianic expectations of the state, when they ask politics to deliver more than it can, the story ends badly." 
  • From a section on Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence:
Unlike Adams and Jefferson, though, Carroll faces an added danger. Not only did he risk treason against the British Crown; he also broke Maryland law. By the laws of his own colony, it was illegal for him--because he was Catholic--to be political active at all. In fact, under Maryland law, Carroll could not earn a living as an attorney. He could not run for office. He could not even vote for others who could run for office--because his home colony, for whose freedom he was struggling, forbade it.
  • "Freedom is 'not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.'"
  • "As [George] Washington said in his Farewell Address: 'Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.'" 
  • "..[a] key reason the First Amendment barred any official federal religion was that various states already had tax-supported established churches and wanted to keep them."
  • "[de Touqueville] noted that 'these Catholicsa re very loyal to the practice of their worship and full of zeal and ardor for their beliefs. Nevertheless, they form the most republican and democratic of all classes in the United States.'"
  • "In practice, American freedom meant freedom for belief. Continental freedom implied freedom from religion." 
  • "Social progress was the real task for believers. Even the idea of limits seemed to fade. True, certain kinds of limits did gain ground: limits on growth, population, corporations, and government. But the idea that wisdom begins with mastering our own personal appetites seemed to lose power." 
  • "We should remember that all Christian churches held that contraception was morally wrong untill the Anglican Church approved it in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference, though only for certain circumstances, and only within marriage...The Washington Post editorialized at the time: 'Carried to its logical conclusion, the [Lambeth] committee's report, if carried into effect, would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality.'" (ME: Wow, what is the WaPo would say that NOW!)
  • "Yet the Catholic faith does not hold, and Vatican II did not teach, that respect for conscience means that individuals have absolute sovereignty in determining their own truth, or that anyone's choice of beliefs is as good as any other. Even the secular order admits that some choices are good and others bad." 
  • "Common sense and daily experience suggest that any society that accepts all moral views as having equal weight is headed for trouble." 
  • "But when church leaders refrain from helping political leaders see their moral responsibilities, their lack of action implies that religion has nothing to say to the public square." 
  • "In [Cardinal] Newman's words, 'We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.'"
  • "We live under that unjust law [abortions on demand], but we sin only if we give up the struggle to change it." (my emphasis)
  • "People should come away from every encounter with every American catholic knowing that they have met a true Catholic." (Love this one!)
  • "We can never allow ourselves to offer an abridged version of the Gospel. We can never let Catholic social doctrine become an end in iteself. The Catholic faith is much more than another public philosophy or useful set of social programs. The church is not an association of social workers. She is a community of believers and disciples." 
  • [Quoting Pope Liberius]: "The truth of faith is not lessened by the fact that I stand alone." 
  • VITALLY IMPORTANT: "Not all evil things can or should be illegal. Not all issues have the same gravity...deliberately killing the innocent is always, inexcusable wrong. It sets a pattern of contempt for every other aspect of human dignity." 
  • From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Living the Gospel of Life (1998)--their emphasis: "But being "right' in such matters [other social issues] can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of the positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community...All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundations."
  • "The more truly we love God, the more truly we serve the world." 

Debate

May watch...
But will certainly pray. 

Tricia update

She's in Duke's ICU (as a precaution) with what they probably think is pneumonia. Her heart rate is high (coming down though) and her blood sugar level (BSL) is also very high, so she's on an insulin drip. 

I've had one bout of pneumonia (which encompasses a wide, wide variety of things) since my tx (February of '07, if you want to check the archives). And it sort of sucks, because you have to figure out 1) is there rejection 2) is it rejection and infection, or just infection? and then 3) how to treat whatever it is while still keeping the organs happy. It is a very fine line and can involve a lot of back and forth. 

So prayers are necessary! 

More info at CF husband. 

Monday, October 06, 2008

A good quotation

for the changing of the seasons:

"Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each."

--Henry David Thoreau

The Simple Woman's Daybook



(with some editions from Elizabeth)

For MONDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2008

Outside My Window...
Pale blue skies, and the leaves on the trees are slowly taking on a more yellowish hue. 

I am thinking...
that I better get more sleep tonight!

I am thankful for...
my faith.

From the kitchen...
coffee cake, hot chocolate!

To live the liturgy...
Just finished Mother Angelica's new book of Bible Meditations, and will begin Archbishop Chaput's Render Undo Caesar, about politics and Catholicism. 

I am wearing...
black pants and a black and grey Ann Taylor sweater.

I am creating...
my scrapbook--I finally put in my pictures from April! 

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and focus on what needs to be done.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
General tidying up. 

I am going...
to parish council.  

I am reading...
 Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Render Unto Caesar (Arch. Chaput), the Ignatius Critical Edition of Pride and Prejudice

I am hoping...
that Tricia gets better!

I am hearing...
the clock ticking. 

Around the house...
Baking cornbread (tomorrow)

One of my favorite things...
football!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Tuesday: Tiff comes over, Borders with Richelle
Wednesday: Choir rehearsal
Thursday: ballet class
Friday: Lunch with Dad, Dracula with Tiff

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Why won't blogger post my pictures?! Argh!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The tale of the bouquet

Above: the reception hall for Justin and Lisa's wedding, Rochester Convention Center

So, at the wedding last weekend, there was, as usual, the bouquet toss. Normally, I'm a fan of this, since I like to watch people act crazy over a few flowers, and, at this point, I need some luck in the relationship department. 
So my cousin Cheryl shooes me and her two daughter, Jackie (16) and Gillian (12) over to the dance floor. We get there right as the bouquet is being tossed, and it lands at Jackie's feet. She manages to pick it up before one of the more--energetic--wedding guests tries to take it from her. 

Jackie looks at the small bouquet of peach roses. "What do I do with it?" She asks me. 
"Nothing. It means that you're going to get married next."
A look of horror crossed her face and she thrust the flowers at me. "No way! I don't want to get married!"
(When I told her parents this, they were very excited.)
I took the bouquet and walked back to the table, thinking I was done.
Oh no. 
Not even close. 
Apparently I am the only person on the planet who didn't know that the woman who caught the bouquet had the bride's garter put on her--by the guy who caught it. 
Um, huh. 
So I head back toward the dance floor. The guy who caught it (I didn't get his name), looked about my age, and looked Italian--dark hair, dark eyes. He was also a bit of a ham (like my brother). So he takes my hands and sits me down in a chair on the dance floor. 
"I'm glad my father isn't watching this," I told him. He winked. 
The garter went about three inches above my left knee, safely above my hemline. It felt rather odd. He was there with a date, so that was the end of our "relationship", but, apparently, he thought I was younger than I really was (according to my aunt). 
I was older than the bride by six months. 
I wasn't quite sure how to take that. I guess it's good to look younger than my age. I am starting to appreciate it. But still!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Why I Am A Conservative

to be updated later!

Connie Schultz in the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote a column describing the reasons why she's a liberal. I'd like to do the same, except for my political beliefs. 

The first, and the biggest:

  • I am a conservative, because I believe all of us have a right to life.  

I was born with CF. With genetic testing the way it is now, some mothers would have aborted me. Republicans like Henry Hyde (RIP) kept that from happening, so more of us are alive. 

More to come, so watch this post!

PIPER!!!

Yay Piper was there and the baby!!!!
Wow like the whole clan. Bristol has the baby. Nioce dress. 
Palin's parents....Mr. Todd. :) 
Willow, I think?
But Piper, my favorite!!
If I were Todd I'd be like "do not touch my wife."
I would kill to know what they are saying to each other. 
Wow Biden's wife is really young looking. If that's her. 
Piper is so cute! Right by her mom, adorable red cardigan. Awwww. What a smile. 
OK, yes I just love Piper. She is bar none my favorite political kid of all time. 
And she got her hair cut!
And noW Sarah has TRig, who sort of fell asleep. Doing the mom pat on the back thing. So adorable. J ust totally cute. 
Can I be the First baby-sitter? Because I totally want to be. 
Trig's oufit is really cute--a plaid shirt and little khakis. Baby Gap, perhaps? 

Todd...nice tie. 
Sarah with family, down to Piper. 
Piper has Trig!!! Yay maybe more grooming!
She totally has a hold on him. it's so cute. He's like a big doll. He must be really out or exceptionally good, or both. Expect more "oh my gosh the seven year old was holding the baby!" tomorrow. 
Family meets Gwen. 
She is carrying him like he's a sack of potatoes or something. Doing the little back pat. I just love that. She's like a total little mom. 
I don't know who's who for Biden so I can't help you there. 

Debate, c'est moi

Biden is really just going "on and on and on and on" (with apologies to Journey)

Sarah playing the Washington outsider card.
Biden is sweating...or something. He looks sort of bamboolzed while she gives him these lovely smiles. 
Gosh I love her make-up. 

Oooh--cutting troop support re: Obama--she quotes the primary debates! 
Alaska called for divestment in Iran. Legis hasn't passed yet but it needs to. 

Biden: The line that should be drawn is that whether or not we have the capacity to do anything abot genocide. 
Wait a minute--the MOST POWERFUL NATION IN THE WORLD can't stop GENOCIDE??? Huh?What happened to that thing in the opening statement about genocide being a priority? Ahhh, Biden consistency. 

Biden: We want prevention and cooperation. 
So basically we want Neville Chamberlain foreign policy. I got it--let's just sit around and sing "Kumbaya"!

Sarah: If I ever became Pres. (due to McCain death or whatever) she would continue the policies of putting the government on the side of the people. Working class Americans saying "Government, just get out of my way!" (LOL)
Support the ticket that wants to create jobs or the ticket that wants to increase taxes. 

Biden's body language is very odd. What was with the "let us pray" hand position? 

Gee, Biden sure knows how to pander--now "his people" are the DE constituents. 

Sarah: "Now, doggone it, let's look ahead." AWESOME!!!!
And Reagan: "There you go again." 
"I come from a  house full of schoolteachers."
No Child....mentioned! Wow!
Emphasis on the profession of teaching. 
"My kids are public school participants." 

Gwen: the "what does the VP do" question. (barf)

Sarah: well of course we know--it's in the constitution. (LOL)
Supportive of pres's policies. President understands what our strengths are. 
He would lead with his agenda. 
Government of all, working with families of special needs children (YAY!!!!)

Biden: Well NCLB was left behind b/c we didn't fund it. 
Role of VP: Point person for legis. Also, when asked--didn't want a portfolio. He will give Obama his best advice. (Don't you have political liaisons for that???? Sheesh. Watch West Wing!)

Biden has VERY SCARY facial expressions. 

And the requisite Cheney slam. 
The primary rol eof VP is to support the pres. (Biden)
Oh, now Biden has juidial insight and is all about strict construction!!!!

Drinking game: every time Sarah says "Energy", take a shot. 

Sarah: We are exceptional--quotes Reagan. Together we demonstrate the perfect ideal--freedom, democracy and tolerance. We can be a force for good. I share that belief and so does McCain. "A good team is a good ticket. "

Biden: says he won't change. Um, he's changed positions quite a few times since becoming the VP candidate. 
 
Sarah's dad is in the audience. 

Biden's last statement about kitchen table stuff made me want to vomit. (Sorry, but true)

I think St. Thomas More would like Sarah. 

Biden's judicial temperament answer was not so hot. 
Sarah: No I haven't had to compromise on my beliefs because I have always found a way to work together with people. 




More debate!

LOVED Sarah's clean coal answer!!!! WOOOOO! 
On the troop funding--Biden MADE MCCAIN'S CASE! It would have been so much more effective if he had just said that McCain voted against it, instead of doing the timeline tihng, because most people supported the idea of stay until you win! DUH!!!!!

Biden re: Isreal: We need NATO! Yes, they did a great job with other conflicts! Why don't we just send the UN?!
This adminstration's policy has been an abject failure. 
Oh, we need real diplomacy. 

Sarah: No, the administation has not be an abject failure. 
We both love Israel. 
Biden Obama doing teh blame game. 
There have been big blunders in this admin, but to talk about change while constantly looking back isn't good. 
Positive change is coming with us we'll learn and we'll put govt. back on the side of the people. 

Sarah is the queen of backhanded compliments. 

Sarah: Dangerous regimes cannot be allowed to develop/have nuclear weapons. 

Talking about Afghanistan

(Sorry for the typos, I publish as I type so it's current!)

9:58: Gee, Biden is such a happy guy! "This will not work" 
We spend more money in 3 weeks in Iraq than we have in Afghanistan. 
Oh God in Heaven. 

Gree, Biden is SO SHOCKED that McCain didn't vote for the nuclear test ban treaty!!!!

Sarah: Gee, Joe, you didn't listen. :) 

Counterinsurgency principles could work in Afghanistan. The same principles apply. 
Commanders agree. Leaders agree. 

BIDEN STOP WITH THE STUPID GRIN!!!!!!



More debate III

Gwen: Bill tha twould make it more difficult for mortgage holders to get out from Debt.
Sarah: There have been so any changes in conditions in our economy. We need to look back and be appreciative of McCain's calls for reform, with Freddie Mae/Mac. The colleagues int he Senate weren't going for it. 

(OK yeah Sarah!)

Gwen: Biden voted one way, Obama the other. What gives?

Biden: Obama saw glass as half empty and I saw it as half full. We disagreed on that. Here's the deal--Obama said two years that there's a subprime mortgage crisis.  (Um, in Cleveland they knew that 10 YEARS AGO)
What we should be doing now is something w/ bankruptcy courts and interest rates. 

Sarah: Quick answer--energy vrs. alternative energy. Energy policy plan--we have to consider the need to become energy indepedent! We have domestic supplies of energy all over! Let's drill it!!!!!!!!!! (OK, that last part was me, but that's the point)
It will create jobs and allow domestic supplies of energy to be tapped. Energy is the ket to this nature's future-- both economically and in the case of national security. 

Gwen: Climate change!!!!!

Sarah: Alaska feels the climate of change more so than any other state. We can attribute some activity of man, but some to the cyclical effects of the planet. 

Debate II

Bide--YOU ARE NOT FROM SCRANTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You we reborn there, but you LIVE in DELAWARE!

McCain taxes payroll health care for the tax credits. 
Plan will go straight to insurance company. 
$12000 for a regular plan
OK, he's losing me with numbers.

12000 plan v. 5000 plan? 

Gwen: what promise have you and your campaign made that you're not going to be able to keep?

Biden: Double foreign assistance (GRR! Bush has done that!)
Will not go with Bush tax cuts (GRRR again!)
Will not support...

Biden is not answering the question. At all. 

I am having a really hard time udnerstanding him. 
Bottom line is that we are going to eliminate wasteful spending and.....what? 

Sarah: McCain doesn't tell one thing to one group adn oen thing to another. 
Energy plan that Obama voted for gave tax breaks to oil companies--the running mate voted for that and yoiu're rtailing against it? 
Alaska--she took on the oil companies and said that wasn't going toh appen in my state. I had to break the monopoly and people are going to come first. The people of Alaska will benefit, and tax breaks are not coming ot the corps. 
People in the state, or the country, shoulf benefit. 
Her area of expertise. 

Gewn: There's nothing you would take off the table?
Sarah: We will do what's right for the american people. The rescue plan has to include the massive oversight that the American people want. 

Biden: Support for alternative energy. 
I think he loses the normal Americans when he talks about all this procedural stuff. Most people have no idea. 
He wants to do what Sarah did, but SARAH'S DONE IT!

Live Debate Blog!!!

If you have no interest in politics, then scroll on down for some poetry.
Those who are---read on. 

9:00 Watching pre-debate prep on fox (time is my parents' family room clock, not necessarily "official STL time"). Really, really perturbed that the author of a BOOK ON OBAMA, to be released on INAUGURATION DAY, is moderating this thing. 

9:01 PM: We are on--officially--with Brit giving us the pre-deabte talk. 
Just switched to NBC-_Brian Williams on
Back to Fox

9:03: ON!
Ifil talking. Nice outfit. 
Domestic and foreign policy matters. 
90 secs to answer, 2 minutes rebuttal/discussion.
Coin toss determined order. 
Subjects and questions have been chosen by her and not shared w/ candidates.

Candidates out
Sarah in Black with th ebig pin. Hair down. 
Skirt uit--excellent choice. 
Nice heels. 
Biden is...Biden. 
Sarah looks HOT!
Biden goes first. 

First question--Bailout
Oh that stupid smile!
Good lipstick for Sarah. 
Biden begisn by thanking Gwen and saying it's a pleasure to meet Sarah. 

Oh, the last eight years have been the worst economic policies ever!!!
Gee--maybe because of W's PREDECESSOR!!!!!
He's like reading the answer!!
Two um's already. 
Has to be oversight
Focus on Main Street...sure, both of you are good for that. 
Treat the taxpayers like in vestors--then the taxpayers would want a GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS. Sheesh. 
Sarah taking notes. 
"Change the focus on ecoming policy" --focus on growing middle class. 
BEcause Biden ows...

Sarah!
Going to a kids' soccer game and seeing what the parents are saying. 
How are we going to afford college, etc. 
Small business inventory and hiring. 
Federal government has not provided sound oversigh that we need and deserve. 
John McCain has been a representative for reform. John Mccain opushed fvor reform two years ago. 
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. His collegagues didn't want to listen to him then. The aklarm has been heard and there will be greater oversight, again, thanks to John mcCAin's bipartisan efforts. 
But politics aside and put the countr yfirst. 

YAY!
Liked that. 

Would Biden work to shrink the polarizaion gap? 
Biden: I have worked on Violeven against women, geonice, etc. I've reached across the aisle. 
Sarah looks ready to pounce. 
No infanctice mention there. LOL. 
Fundamentals of the economy are strong thing again. 
Sigh. 

Sarah: 
John McCain referring to the fundamental economics--talkign abotu the american workforce, which is the greatest in this world. 
Team of Mavericks--talks about reform--we are known for putting politics asided and getting thejob doen. Obama--not so much. 96% of his votes have been along party lines. 
Put the special interests aside and get down to working for the people. 
Tired of politics as usual. 
Americans are creating something new and different, new energy. Commitment that comes with reform. We ened a maverick.

Gwen: Let's talk about the subprime lending bill. 
Sarah up first: Who is at fault? 
Sarah: The lenders that tried to talk people into buying more than they can afford. That's they're fault. We need to stop that. McCain and I have made a commitemnt to end that. Let's commit ourselves to normal american people--American people, Hockey moms!--we will never be exploited again. We demand ctrict oversight on those entities in charg eof our entities and our savings. 
We need to make sure that as infividuals we are taking personal responsilbity. *YAY!*
Never agian we will be taken advatnage of. 

Biden: Obama was on this two years ago (WHERE was he two years ago??? Oh yeah. Campaigning!)
Wow he blabbers I have a hard time udnerstanding him. 
McCain wants more deregulation. 
Lets free market rule health care.
Biden keeps looking at his papers. 

Sarah: 
tax increases--we need tax relief! Obama and Biden voted for the largest tax increases in US history. Barack had 94 opportunities an d 94 times he votged to increase taxes or not vote for a tax reduction. That's not what we need to reduce jobs. We need to keep more of what we earn, and we need to be more efficient. The government growth needs reigned in. We need tax relief. Obama supported increases taxes on families making only $42K a year--the average American family. That kills jobs. 

Biden: Oh, Sarah that's not true. 
He did not vote for those tax increases. 
Something about Senate procedure. 
McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes (someone check that?). 
Back to dereg

Sarah: I'm still on the tax thing because that's werong. What I did as governor and you make not like it but I'm going to talk about my experience as governor and mayor. Ever yyear I eliminted income tax, fuel eax, etc. we did that knowing that it would increase our economy. Campaign finance reform. 

Gewn: Time is up (BOOO) Biden, do you want to talk about raising tazes. 

Patriotic taxes! Yes!
Biden: How is that not class warfare?
Palin: What about taxing employer ta benefits. 

Biden: TI's called "Fairness" (LOL!!!!!!)
It's just simpel fairness. 
100 million middle class families. 
No one less than 250K would see an increase.DUDE, someone give him a tax lesson!!!!!!
people at this income level don't CREATE JOBS!!!!!
He says it's not punitive. HUH?????

Sarah: more tghan 2350K are the small businesses! They are the ones who will be hurt and that means less jobs and less productivity!!!!
You said paying high taxrs is not paytriotic!!! YAY!!!!
Patriotic is saying Government, you know, you're not always the solution. Get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow!
YES!!!!!!!!!! Woohoooo!!!
$2T in new spending under Barack's proposal. 
500,000 tax credit for families so they can purchase their own healthcare (mccain)
that's a smart thing to do. 
Obama's plan mandates health care coverage, government run program. If you've seen the way the federal government has been running anything lately, you don't want them running health care. 





Poetry Thursday I

A new BOP feature!
I found my old college English texts, and will now (in the hope of enlightening us all, lol) provide you all with my favorite poems on Thursday!

This week: "Ozymandis" by Percy Bysshe Shelley


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert...Near then, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kinds; 
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. 


Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!

Some comments on Sarah-palooza of late:

1) NO ELECTED OFFICIAL actually reads the papers. NOT ONE. I know they don't because that's why I have a job. I read the papers, I cut the stories, so I tell them what is important to read! I did this for a Congressman, I do it for 33 Senators now. Trust me--not one of them really reads every paper that's important cover to cover. If they want to know what papers they are in, they do a google alert (at least that's what we do) and all the stories will be delivered neatly to the inbox. 
So the fact that Sarah "couldn't possibly read" all the papers in Alaska is crap. Do you actually think the President reads the Post or the New York Times or the Orlando Sentinel? NO. His staff does, and they tell him what he needs to know. Sheesh, people. Next you're going to be amazed that politicians have speechwriters!

2) Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case(s) she disagreed with: She could have safely said Dred Scott v. Sanford, the case that said slaves aren't really people. I think we can safely say that everyone disagrees with that ruling (except, say, Chief Justice Taney and Southern plantation owners). But that's really not a fair question. Unless you've really studied Con Law then how many SCOTUS cases, PERIOD, can you name? This is a relevant question for a judge or judicial position. It's not really relevant for a candidate for political office. At all. 
For the record, I took a year of con law at Capital. Here are the cases I can name off the top of my head, at this moment:
  1. Lawrence v. Texas
  2. Kelo v. New London
  3. Marbury v. Madison
  4. Dred Scott
  5. Brown v. Board of Ed
  6. Donnely
  7. Lemon v. Kurtzman
  8. Roe v. Wade
  9. Griswold v. Conneticut
  10. McCullough v. Maryland
  11. Plessy v. Ferguson
  12. Miranda v. State of Arizona
Frankly, I'm a lot more interested in a political candidate's grasp of the Constitution--especially the point that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are NOT IN IT. 
3) It amuses me how many people on chat boards, etc. say that they want a "really experience VP." Dick Cheney was chief of staff, secretary of defense, etc.--he's really smart. And yet--people don't like him. Hmmm. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

St. Therese

It's my patron saint's feast day, so, if you haven't already, go read this
"My God, I choose all. I will not be a saint by halves." --St. Therese 

Bookshelf: The Lucky One





So my last bookshelf entry was of a really great book. 
This one is about a really predictable book. 

I've read most of Nicholas Sparks' novels and, while I wouldn't classify any of them as Great Literature, they are, for the most part, enjoyable reads. I liked The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, and At First Sight. 

I was maybe 30 pages into The Lucky One before I realized I knew--almost 99%--how this story would end. 

We start with Clayton, a local cop who has a run-in with a hitchhiker, Thibault. Clayton has been spying on some naked co-eds, which Thibault didn't like, and they had words (and Thibault slashed his tires). Clayton is a bit peeved that his voyeurism was ruined. 

We then swtich to Thibault, and his story. He has served three terms in Iraq, and during the first he found a laminated picture of a woman, with "Keep safe!--E" inscrawled on the back. He brings it back to base and puts it on the bulletin board, but no one claims it, so he takes it as his own, keeping it in his pocked. His squad mate, Victor, believes it's lucky after Thibault (whose first name is Jacob) wins at poker after being ridiculously bad previously. 

The picture does indeed seem lucky--he survives 11 bomb explosions, as does Victor--and he comes home to the states, wanting to track down "E". 

The third point of view in the story is Beth. And by this point, it all starts to come together. Beth (Elizabeth--"E") lives with her son, Ben, and her grandmother, and helps her grandmother run a dog training center. They are looking for help, and lo and behold, here comes Thibault with his dog, Zeus, who is, of course, perfectly trained. Thibault knows that Beth is "E" immediately. He gets the job, bonds with Ben and Grandma, and eventually wins Beth's heart. 

Buy guess who Beth's ex is? That's right--Clayton. 

So we have a classic love triangle thing here. Clayton divorced Beth, but he doesn't want anyone else seeing her (he watches her house when she has dates and scares off any potential suitors); Beth loathes her ex and the way he treats Ben, and Thibault loves both Beth and Ben. 

So we can guess where this is going. The only question is--how. 

One of Sparks' stock devises is killing people off at the end instead of actually having the characters behave like adults and resolve their issues with each other. Instead of Beth and Clayton and Thibault discussing the matter and making something realistic happen, one of the men dies. 

The other big problem is the one-dimensional nature of Clayton. There is absolutely no redeeming value in him, no shading, no complexity. He's basically like a permanent 13 year old, who, of course, comes from a very wealthy and influential family that pulls all the strings in town. He has joint custody of Ben but he doens't understand his son at all. In the chapters where we are inside Clayton's head, it's like a very simple, stereotypical rendering of a Southern redneck. As we increase our knowledge of Beth we find it very, very hard to believe that she would ever fall for this guy, even if she was  "nerd" in high school and he wasn't. 

Finally, the whole nature of Thibault and Beth's relationship is just sort of unrealistic. The first time we meet Beth, she's bemoaning the fact that there are no decent, single men in town to her friend Melody. Then--bang--up shows this awesome, handsome, decent guy who loves her son. This happens a lot in his books. 

This book seemed churned out and it's just filled with cliches and gothic influences. Of course the climatic moment of the novel comes during a cataclysmic storm. Of course both men jump in the swollen creek to save Ben, who has fallen from his rickety treehouse. And OF COURSE Beth has nothing but good feelings for Clayton after that. Hello?

Beth is by turns smart and appalling naive. She hates Clayton but then believes him when he says bad things about Thibault. She's just a mess--sort of like the book.